2019 is about to rush onto the stage as 2018 slinks off in embarrassment.
The world isn't the best place to live right now. Has anyone else noticed? People are at each others throats over politics, religion...just about everything. Seems to me, we've got a lot of nervous energy being directed at anyone who looks like they might be a safe target.
Let's make a real change.
Growing up, I learned that God wanted us to give Him 10% of our wages. Maybe you learned that differently. Maybe you learned: save 10%, give 10%.
Or maybe you never learned that.
A lot of people have learned to make every penny count. The majority of people have had to. We all know hard working individuals who are struggling to get by.
And we all know the Scrooges who pinch every penny even though they have more than they could ever need.
The problem is that "more than they could ever need" is subjective. What is abundance to one may appear as starvation to another.
I want to take a moment and urge you to make 2019 a better year for yourself as well as the rest of the world.
Buy someone a cup of coffee.
Tip a server 30% instead of 15%. You can afford to eat out. Celebrate that with generosity.
If you have nothing to give, at least give a smile and a word of encouragement. Notice those around you. They're living in this ugly world, too.
I work with writers who are often forced to give their work away for free just to reach new readers. What if you tracked down that author whose free book you loved and bought the rest of a series...even if you didn't have time to read them? What if you found their donation or Patreon links and blessed them? Those sorts of gifts make the difference between an author giving up and one who writes prolifically. Don't have money? Follow their blog, and leave a comment periodically. Write a review. These are free things that can inspire them!
The world is full of hurting people. In the US, giving someone $5 doesn't seem like it will help. Find a way to support someone elsewhere in the world. Look beyond our borders.
Want to stay closer to home? How about donating to Flint, Michigan?
One of my favorite places to send even a small amount is to a young man named Gideon who is studying to be a doctor in Nigeria. His college tuition is a tiny fraction of what it would be in the US, and even a small amount makes a huge difference in his life. When he graduates, he will have a huge impact on his entire community.
On those bad days, when the world seems to be coming apart, it is encouraging to think beyond ourselves and see that we can help others. No politics required.
This may be the hardest change to make.
When you can get books for free, why should you pay for them?
If you can negotiate a better price, why should you pay more?
If someone is willing to work for less, why shouldn't we benefit?
The answer is simple: by paying more, you are giving someone (usually a creative individual) the opportunity to earn a living wage. Doctors, dentists, and lawyers all expect to be paid. Gardeners, writers, and graphic artists need to be paid if you want them to keep creating and making the world more beautiful.
Pay extra to buy products not made by slave labor. Research the companies you deal with, and be willing to pay more to those whose employees are earning a living wage.
Let's use our dollars to empower companies to do better by their workers. Let's use our cents to fund a more creative world.
Let's change the world.
Let's make 2019 something to be proud of.