Blessed to Be a Blessing

www.overflowproject.org
Yesterday was Easter. My teeth still hurt from jelly beans, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the dwindling supply stashed at my side as I write. 
For several years, I’ve celebrated Easter with church and gatherings and the 50 Day Challenge.
Until mid-May, I’m giving up eating-out in any form. No coffee on the go, no ice cream, no dinners. It’s not the easiest season in my life to give this up. I’m about to have a newborn. I won’t want to cook, and I will need an IV of caffeine to combat all the sleeplessness.
But I’ll still eat ample food and treats at my house and stock our shelves with coffee grinds. Truly, my sacrifice is small. While the average American spends just under 10% of their income on food, poverty stricken people tend to spend nearly 75% of their income on food.
Photo credit: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2013/02/24/a-deeper-look-at-the-average-americans-budget/
Until I saw the above graphic, I truly believed I spent less than the average American on nearly everything in my life. But the truth is I’m often average. Yes, my rural life forces me to spend astronomical amounts of money on gas, and yes, I buy healthy food as much as possible which makes my grocery budget larger than average. And sure, I don’t spend as much as the average American on some things. But the average American isn’t my measuring stick. Neither is my neighbor.
In fact, there’s no need for a measuring stick.
I’m obviously blessed.
If that’s my starting point, sacrificing to bless others is no-brainer.
So for 50 days I simplify my life, save the change, and give it away, providing much-needed access to clean water for those living in desperate, impoverished situations.
My husband and I have given up different things each year. We’ve given up coffee and other drinks. We’ve stayed home instead of traveled. We’ve walked to anything within a few miles of our house. We’ve sold-off our excess in a yard sale.
It’s easy to believe there’s nothing I can do, but the truth is we all spend money we don’t need to.

During the 50 Day Challenge, we’ll celebrate two holidays – Easter and Mother’s Day. Last year, the average American spent $145 on Easter, primarily on sweets and new clothes. Together, our country spent just shy of $17 billion. Also in 2012, the average American spent $152 on Mother’s Day, totaling $18.6 billion nationwide. While I’m certainly an advocate for acknowledging and honoring our mothers and celebrating Easter, we must consider what this consumption says about our culture. We must consider what our consumption says about our character.


In the entire world, it’s estimated that an additional $9 billion a year could provide water and sanitation for all, meaning every single human being on the planet. That’s only half our country’s spending on a single holiday.


This means the power to solve the worldwide water crisis lies in simple, collective change.

We have the power to consume for good. We can devour, absorb and obsess – consume – solvable worldwide issues. We can simplify and change lives.

If you haven’t already, join the 50 Day Challenge!

I have clean water whenever I want. I have excess in my life. I am blessed to be a blessing. And so are you.

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