Impact with Simplicity and Savings

Page 1

Impact with simplicity and savings

Summer 2014


Cover Photography:

Mickie DeV!es

Mickie DeVries is a hobbyist photographer living in West Michigan with her husband Luke of almost 14 years and their two children Alex 9 and Rylie 6. While her children are her main subjects, she does also like to use her God given gifts to spread joy to other’s live’s through photography. When not pointing her camera in her children’s faces, she enjoys reading, scrapbooking, geocaching, and camping! Mickie’s site Fresh Modern Photography and Facebook Page.


Compassion International

An organization that is near to Mickie’s heart is Compassion International which she has had the pleasure of sponsoring a child for the past 6 years. She writes the following about her experience: “Sponsoring a child through Compassion is more than just sending a check every month! It’s a relationship that you and the child develop through letter writing and photos. It’s so awesome to see your child learn more about God and the plans he has for them!”


Welcome to Impact

A Note from $ E%tors

Summer boasts time together with kids, long and lazy days, and melting popsicles, but in the name of fun, we often find ourselves just as busy, during the summer as we are the school year.

Time and financial resources are often my biggest hurdles in giving as fully as I hope to. I always find myself devouring anything about living simply or saving resources.

The idea behind Impact ezine is serving others, and this issue focuses on battling busy by focusing on simplicity and savings. With practical ideas, writers share tips on how they make room for others by cutting out time sucks and focusing on simple.

I love the voices of these women so willing to share their best tips to making a dierence through living simply and saving. They seek to live simply not just for themselves, but to find space to give more.

As an added bonus, writers also share about their favorite otherscentered organizations. After you peruse the tips, make sure to check out the organizations, which make our writers swoon.

Amy L. Sullivan

We hope you find ideas to apply to your lives as you seek to make a dierence through this edition of Impact.

L'a Van En(n


Table of Contents Photography Contributor: Mickie Devries and Compassion International...2 A Note from the Editors... 3 Crafting for Less.... 6 Contributor: Leslie Manlapig and Room to Read... 7 A Lifestyle...8 Kim Fernando and Bowery Mission...9 Food! ... 10 Contributor: Jennifer Peterson and World Help... 11 Monthly Giving... 12 Contributor: Jennifer Iacovelli Barbour and various ... 13 Planned Spontaneous Giving... 14 Contributor: Amelia Rhodes and Outreach ... 15 The Simplicity of Being Intentional... 16 Contributor: Beth Stiff and Wreaths Across America ... 17 Fasting Month... 18 Contributor: Lisa Van Engen and Free a Family... 19 Being Present... 20 Contributor: Julie LaJoe and Finding Balance ... 21 Boxing it up and Wearing my Fancy Shorts... 22 Contributor: Amy L. Sullivan and Transformation Village... 23 Resources...24

Dear God, I am so afraid to open my clenched ďŹ sts! Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me.â€? ~Henri J.M. Nouwen The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

“We need much less

)an we )ink we need.” ― Maya An(l*


Cra+ing for Less

I really enjoy crafting and making things with my young son. I think it’s important for children and adults to have a creative outlet.

However, crafting supplies can be quite costly. We try to save money by doing projects with everyday objects. Sometimes we’ll use items intended for the recycling or garbage bin (like toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, corrugated cardboard, or milk and juice containers). Other times, we’ll use random things lying around the home like these leftover corn tortillas. (See above picture.)

It feels good knowing that we can make something together and not have to spend a fortune on supplies.




Leslie is a mom, cardboard hoarder, crafter, and blogger at Pink Stripey Socks. She loves making things and turning everyday “junk” into something beautiful, useful, or interesting.

Organization: Room to Read

One non-profit that I’ve recently started supporting is Room to Read. This international organization’s aim is to improve literacy, education, and gender inequality in education. So far they’ve improved the lives of over 7 million children worldwide by establishing libraries, building schools, providing teacher training, supporting girls’ education, and publishing children’s books in local languages.



Lifestyle My husband and I made a series of decisions to live more simply to reduce financial stress while still being able to enjoy time with loved ones and give regularly. Some of those decisions include living with a housemate, getting rid of cable, and changing our phone plan to a smaller provider. We also use Capital One 360’s savings plan that allows us to earmark funds for specific things like “car repairs,” so the expense doesn’t take us by surprise. As soon as I’m paid, I send an offering to my church and match that offering to one of our debts so that we can pay it down faster and give bigger in the future. We supplement that giving by helping two homeless men in our church - making sure they get a hot meal every Sunday and stocking up on items from the dollar store. Things like Advil, Zantac, bandaids, wet wipes, socks, muffins, and cereal bars go a long way for someone with nowhere to live. It only costs me a few dollars, but it means the world to them.



Fernando Kim Fernando is a 31 year old Midwestern woman living in NYC, where she spends her days making wedding planning easier and her nights loving on her husband and their two cats. She has a thing for good books, planning vacations, and sharing hope and help, and she blogs with her sister, Steph, at Pray Live Create.

Organization: Bowery M'sion

Homelessness is a big deal in our city, and our church is one of many that serves with the Bowery Mission to help men, women, and children who have nowhere to go.



I heard it said once " It's the little things in life that nickel and dime you to death." I've never forgotten that. Little things in our daily lives can rob us of being able to be generous with our money. I started to look at how our family was wasting money on little things and it came to clear to me that food was the biggest money waster.

Food was eating our budget We were left at the end of the month with little money to bless others with. It came clear to me that something needed to change. We purchased coolers and containers and started to bring food with us everywhere. To competitions. To the zoo. To the park. To the beach. It has left us with more money at the end of the month to bless others. Because let's face it, being filled with I purchased the Thirty One bags on Amazon helping others tastes a whole lot better than any snack can. and the containers at Target.




Jennifer Peterson writes at Scribbling Fresh Words and author of the ebook 31 Days to Brighten Someone’s Day. Blessed wife. Momma of three figure skaters. Runner. Writer. Wannabe baker. Lover of candy bars. Saved by GRACE. Been blessed by a wonderful family and friends like YOU!

Organization: WorldHelp

Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow.

offers hope providing humanitarian, medical, and education assistance and ensuring access to clean water and people’s spiritual needs by providing Bible and establishing churches in as many communities as possible. World Help


Mon)ly Giving

I write a lot about philanthropy on my blog, mainly because I want to show my readers how simple it is to make an impact. I think too many people associate giving in a meaningful way with a dollar amount that they don’t have. To stay committed to giving regularly, I made my own monthly giving pledge. I designated a specific amount to give each month as part of my overall budget. Rather than donating to just one cause, I decided to spread my money around to a dierent nonprofit each month, which allows me to explore new causes throughout the year.





Jennifer Iacovelli Barbour is a copywriter, blogger, author and new media consultant. Jennifer is the author of the Another Jennifer Blog, curator of All-Things Left Handed and creator of the Simple Giving Lab. Her passions are writing, philanthropy, her awesome sons and bacon, though not necessarily in that order.


Check out the nonprofits Jennifer has supported like Habitat for Humanity and St. Jude’s through her giving pledge and/or on her blog here.


Planned Spontane*sGiving

This past winter, my husband and I felt God to prompt us to increase our giving. We support a few missionary friends and organizations through monthly direct withdrawals from our bank account. We wanted our increase in giving to be more “hands on” and something tangible the kids could see and participate in. After evaluating our budget, we set aside a monthly amount to withdraw in cash and stash in an envelope in a kitchen drawer. I’m calling it “planned spontaneous” giving. When we hear of a need, we pull the cash out. One month, we slipped a handful of cash in a family member’s hand who, after one and a half years of unemployment, was making a cross country move for a new job. Another month, my daughter and I shopped to fill a list of needs for the local pregnancy resource center. This month, we are using cash on groceries to restock the shelves at our local food pantry. It’s an exciting adventure as we ask God each month where He might want to use this monthly. Then, we work together as a family to meet the needs He shows us.


Amelia Rhodes

Amelia Rhodes lives in West Michigan with her husband and two children. She is the author of, Isn’t it time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world, and is featured in four Chicken Soup for the Soul Books. Connect with Amelia here .


Flat River Outreach Min't!es

In 1999, thirteen churches decided that together they could do more to help meet the basic living needs of a hurting community. Their united effort sparked an entire community to serve together. Today, Flat River Outreach Ministries is the place to go in our town if you need basic living assistance.


Being Intentional

",ere ' no greater love

)an to lay do- one’s life for a f!end."

~ John 15:13

My son taught me a lot about what it means to honor our fallen heroes. His first two years in the military were spent spending countless hours attending to the meticulous details that came along with being a Ceremonial Guard for the United States Navy. This meant He honored our heroes as they were laid to rest. Â To prepare for a funeral, the guardsmen had to properly clean and press their uniforms. Shoes and any brass they wore were polished to perfection. They trained on the ceremonial aspects of a funeral until the point of being able to perform with their eyes closed. Numerous inspections took place to ensure they upheld to the honor they were giving. For two years, my son put aside his chosen career in the Navy to remember and honor our heroes. Becoming a Ceremonial Guard was not out of duty but a willingness to lay down his own desires for another. Five days a week he made his way to Arlington National Cemetery no matter the weather conditions to ensure these men and women received the honor they had earned.


Be) Stiff

Beth Stiff is a wife, mom of two boys, and a mother-in-law. They are a military family with her husband in the Army Reserves and her oldest son in the Navy. Beth loves Jesus, family, friends, reading, and a hot cup of coffee to begin her day. She writes at Simply Beth, about how her relationship with Jesus has changed her life.





Wreaths Across America’s mission is to Remember, Honor, Teach.

This mission is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies a specified Saturday in December at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.


Financial Fa/ing

Once a year, my family chooses a month to practice financial fasting. Fasting is to willingly abstain from something… and we practice financial fasting to intentionally work toward using our resources the very best we possible can. We live in cold West Michigan, so we usually choose a winter month to do this challenge. • we use up what we have • cook at home • do free activities for entertainment • complete projects around the house as a family • my husband and I go over all our finances • spend time organizing what we have At the end of the month, we have usually saved money, and freed up money to use toward giving in the future. This process really allows us concentrated time to focus on how we are using the resources God gave us and adjust when necessary. I also love this time because the whole family can take part and be involved!



Van En(n

Lisa Van Engen lives with her husband and two children in West Michigan. She writes at About Proximity and seeks to encourage others to place themselves in the proximity of renewal by serving. The beach, books and Junior Mints are her favorite things. She loves sharing the hope she has found in Christ by advocating for justice.

Organization: Free a Family

Free A Family through World Renew helps families overcome poverty through community programs in agriculture, health, nutrition, literacy, and more!


Being Present

I don’t naturally think of money as my first way to give. Usually, when I think of giving it’s by being present with people in situations that burden me and reorienting my life so I can be an advocate. I believe the best way to impact with simplicity is to figure out what you are already doing that brings you and others joy when you serve – and keep doing it. Kids who live in poverty, human trafficking, eating disorders, fostering/adoption, that’s the short list of what fills up my heart. I went to a clinical conference on eating disorders a few weeks ago called Hungry for Hope. While this doesn’t feel like a way to simplify my life to impact others, it’s been a main focus for me over the year. I saved, I planned and planned (and I’m not a planner), and most of all, I prayed. Being at the conference opened doors for me to be present in the lives of those that struggle with disordered eating.


Julie La Joe

Julie LaJoe is a writer and counselor in North Carolina who loves Jesus, today’s youth, and telling stories. You can find her writing about her adventures at Mercy Notes.


Fin%ng Balance

Finding Balance puts on Hungry for Hope. They bring truth and hope to the lives of many and work hard in the battle of disordered eating. Learn more at Finding Balance.


Boxing it up

and wea!ng my fancy 0o1s

I boxed up my entire wardrobe last week. Putting the majority of my clothing in a giant plastic bin, I happily shoved a mound of rarely worn clothes to the back of my closet. Obviously, I need clothes for the summer so I kept three pairs of shorts, a pair of jeans, two sundresses, a handful of t-shirts and tank tops, and one bathing suit. Courtney Carver calls this kind of scaling back a Capsule Wardrobe. I call it less laundry on my floor and more time at my disposal.

Time. More than anything, time is what I struggle to give. If you want a check, I want to give it to you. If you want time, I’m busy. “But Mom, I don’t think Edie has ever seen you in anything except those green, zig-zaggy shorts,” my daughter points out. I find this statement hilarious, and every time I see young Edie I ask her opinion of my shorts.

For me, simplicity isn’t about denying myself possessions. It’s about finding freedom in what I already have. Once I experience a little freedom, I find myself thinking less about what I don’t have, and more about what I have to give. Amy’s Tip: Box it up and wear your fancy shorts. You will be a hit among the eleven-year-old crowd, and you will realize just how much you have.


Amy L.


Amy L. Sullivan plans on wearing a black tank top and her fancy shorts all summer. In the fall, her first book on generous living will release. Connect with Amy here.


A0eville Buncombe C*ntry Ch!/ian Min't!es

The cause Amy crushes on: Asheville Buncombe County Christian Ministries (ABCCM), specifically, Transformation Village, a new housing development for single women, mothers, and families in crisis. To learn more visit here.


For ,ose Who Want More, Er, We Mean Less Fu1her Rea%ng on Simplicity and Savings

Be More With Less By Courtney Carver This includes the Minimalist Fashion Project 333 for all of you out there who are just plain sick of laundry. Minimalist Fashion Project 333. Simplicity at Work: A Single Eye By Kimberlee Conway Ireton Link: “Simplicity isn’t about stuff or schedules.” The Minimalists Joshuam Fields and Ryan Nicodemus Always interesting stuff happening at the Minimalists. Life Edited Fine, we all aren’t going to jump at the chance to live in 450 square feet, but it sure is fun to read about! Simplicity: It’s Complicated By Ellen Painter Dollar When we try to make things simple, but lose focus and end up stressing out ourselves and our families.

“A simple life ' not seeing how li2le we can (t by wi) —)at’s pove1y—but how efficiently we can put fir/

)ings fir/. . . . When y*’re clear ab*t y*r purpose and y*r p!o!ties, y* can painlessly %scard whatever does not su4o1 )ese, whe)er it’s clu2er in y*r cabinets or commitments on y*r calendar. (148)”

Victo!a Moran,

Lit From Wi)in: Ten%ng Y*r S*l For Lifelong Beauty