Sometimes when I’m chatting with people about Uganda or Haiti I hear them say things like “I’d love to do something like that….” I know so many people who truly want to do something that helps others, makes a difference and matters. But often they don’t know what to do or what they can offer.

I’ve been mulling this over recently. I have met so many people lately who give generously in such creative ways. They see a need. They see their own strengths and abilities. They put it together and the result is beautiful.

And I just keep thinking we ALL have been given gifts. And it really isn’t a gift unless it’s given away. If you think of buying a present for someone, but putting it in your closet for safe keeping (and dust collecting) and never giving it to them…. it somehow can’t really be called a gift now can it?

Likewise I think about the gifts we have been given. Somehow our abilities and talents seem insignificant. We wonder how they can possibly make a difference.

And so I thought I’d share a few examples of people I’ve connected with recently who have inspired me with their ordinary extraordinary gifts…

-tonight I had the honour of photographing at a women’s shelter for their “Self-Esteem” day. They had people come in and do the women’s hair, makeup and nails. To see these women walk in feeling beautiful – women who’ve been abused and mistreated – was awesome.

-had a visit with a friend yesterday who had to go off work with health problems and now refers to himself as a “Professional Do-Gooder”. He checks kijiji daily now, and responds to ads for people looking for help. And he offers it for free. Helping single mothers, new immigrants, the elderly… people who don’t have friends or family to help them move or do an odd job. Love this.

-I know a few women who have collected milk bags and crochet them into bed mats to send to Haiti. Instead of people sleeping on the damp ground – this raises them, provides a dry spot and protects from bug bites. And helps recycle!

-there is a woman at our church who is baking banana bread and selling it – $5 from every loaf goes to help needy kids.

And the list could go on and on. What amazes me is these gifts that are being offered are not rocket science… they are taking ordinary abilities and hobbies and using them in an extraordinary way to meet needs. Baking. Crocheting. Carrying boxes. Hair dressing. For me, I don’t crochet, do hair and definitely don’t bake. But I do take photos. And I am committed to using my camera as best I can to make a difference in this world. One image at a time.

I love this quote by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The newspaper is God’s to-do list, delivered to our front door.” As we read the newspaper, listen to friends, read Facebook statuses and Twitter… may we be moved to dust off our talents, and give them away…. using our gifts to meet the needs of the world.

If you’ve read this far – I’d love for you to leave a comment about how you have seen someone use an ordinary gift in an extraordinary way. And perhaps – your comment will inspire another person to act!

IMG 3322 Somethings Gotta Give

Celebrating life and love,


11 Responses to “Somethings Gotta Give”

  1. Maria Brito says:

    This is wonderful. I had some friends bring some baby clothes to give as donations to an orphanage in Russia. I went three times and each time I would take a bunch of things for those children. My baby was lucky to get out of there, but some not so lucky. I always pray they all find great homes, as mine did.

    Maria (proud mommy of Giancarlo). :).

  2. Tonia says:

    Krista, I just love people like you. I love your stories, I love your heart…I love that you are walking the faith line with Christ and you aren’t shy about it! I love that you donate your photography skills and in February I will be doing the same thing! Finally, a missions trip…this one to Ecuador to photograph an orphanage that is being built for children who’s parents are in prison. I think it’s amazing that people around the world help people around the world. I also think it’s important to remember that people here in our own community need help. I had no idea that Caledonia has a food bank! CALEDONIA? I don’t even know what our population is, but my goodness, this small town…there are starving people. It’s amazing when we have a ‘bad day’ and then just stop and realize how blessed we really are. How can we have a bad day? Bills are paid, we have a roof over our head, food on our table…we can go to the mall and buy clothes…yet there are starving children all over Ontario (not just the world). I’m so thankful to all of you who are making a difference! God bless you all so very much and thank you for sharing…xoxo

  3. Kim says:

    For a number of years our neighbourhood held a Christmas Party and we would each bring a small toy for each child to unwrap. One year a few people suggested that our children really had more than enough and really didn’t need anymore. We decided to adopt a family for Christmas instead. We contacted an agency that arranges this program and we were given a “wish list” for a particular family. The neighbourhood divided up the wish list and instead of buying for our own children, we bought for another family. At the party we brought all the children together and showed them what can happen when everyone gives even a little. Together all our little contributions came together to mean a lot for someone else. It wasn’t hard and it didn’t cost anyone a lot of money. Together we were able to give a family a very special Christmas Day with gifts and Christmas Dinner for everyone. It was a little thing but it was a great opportuntiy to teach the kids about giving and community. Now, each year, our extended family adopts a family through CAS. We involve our kids in the shopping and the wrapping and it helps to keep them thinking of others. We talk a lot all year long about karma… being kind in spirit and sharing generously of what we have. We are all still a work in progress around here and I am in constant admiration of the ways that others give of themselves. Thanks for posting this Krista because I am going to read every single post and think more about how we can improve what we give back to our community. Krista, you are a wonderful role model in this regard- I feel blessed to call you my friend!

  4. Sarah says:

    I read a list recently of little things we can do that make a big impact. Things like holding babies in the NICU, painting the rooms of your local CAS emergency shelters and such or giving a single mom a night off. Also read this today: What if everyone donated one day’s wages to fight global poverty??

    Do small things with great love – Mother Teresa

  5. Uncle Joe says:

    the other day we had a family dinner and there were 18 of us sitting around the tables. I placed a can on the table and told them that anyone who used their phone or other electronic device during supper had to pay a fine of $1 and the money would go to my friend Patrick in Uganda.

  6. Sabra says:

    I love the way you use your blog and your pictures to send such meaningful messages and to bring to the forefront of our minds not only the gifts we have but the abilities we have to share these gifts. So often that gets pushed to the background while we busily go on with our lives often complaining about such nonsense things! At work several years ago we decided that rather than exchanging gifts we would put the money we would have spent and use it to buy gifts for the foodbank or a family that we know is in need that year. We end up with a few hundred dollars and have a “girls” night shopping. We like to concentrate on the teens and parents because there are so many toy drives. Really selfishly I can say we do not give any more than we would have already and we have a great time doing it so I guess it may not qualify as truly giving of our gifts but I do know the food bank is very happy when our car load of gifts arrive!! Christmas morning I always take a moment to picture a teen opening a great Campus Crew sweater we got on sale, or maybe a make-up kit…giving truly is the greatest gift! It is a pleasure to know you!!

  7. Kerri says:

    My bootcamp fitness trainer holds what she calls “Karma Classes” a few times a year to raise money for a charity or a family in need. She has everyone who goes to donate whatever they can and all the money raised goes directly to the ones in need. She’s doing one tonight for a family who has no idea.

  8. Thomas McKechnie says:

    My wife has been enriching the lives of friends and children for years, both as a day care provider and also just as a friend. She opened our home for years to provide a loving, safe environment for children so that their parents could go to work knowing that their child was taken care of. As a friend she has always wanted to help “fix” problems for others – sometimes that has merely involved listening and giving advice and other times putting herself out to make things right. She has also been an active Cub leader for over 15 years now helping many, many children enjoy the magic that is Scouting.

  9. Caroline says:

    I take old jeans and make them into bags, then sell the bags to raise money for a very small charity which feeds starving children in Utange, Kenya. I don’t see what I do as remarkable – just using the skills I have been given to do some good. Anyone who can sew could do it. The beauty of it is I am using something which would be thrown away (I take the jeans you can’t give to charity, and line them with old sheeting, curtain fabric etc) to do some good. Recycling rubbish into money if you like! More details on my blog.

  10. Christa says:

    Great post, Krista! I think you said it best when people have such amazing talents and gifts, they simply don’t know how to put them into practice (or where to start looking!) Some may look at helping others as a large to-do list, often overwhelming as to where to start. (as the item on the list may read, “save the world.”) Your post is a reminder that it doesn’t have to be solved or fixed with one person, but if we can use our gifts and put them to use, we can certainly make a change for the positive, one person at a time. A few of the things I have seen or are going on around me: 1. hair growing long enough to cut 10″+ for kids with cancer: 2. we have purged our closets and have donated to Sick Kids (recently) and a friend does a luggage shipment every few months to Uganda and I like to give to her whenever I get the chance 3. You’ll be happy to know that all of my employees will be wearing turquoise TOMS at the new store! 4. We are requesting “no gifts” for Andrew’s 2nd birthday party (it has become an annual thing now) and instead, are asking for canned food items for the FareShare Food Bank here in Oakville. These are just a few things, they are only minor in comparison to the wonderful things you are doing, Krista but we are definitely trying! :D xoxox Much love to you, my dear friend!!!

  11. janet gibson says:

    well said krista
    i believe in the ten second rule, have been practising it for yrs. i also believe when you walk down the street smile at a strange and see there reaction. some are just amazed. my best 10 second rule was saying i will do fundraising for gautemala and you know how successful they are.being a cancer survivor for 14yrs,i crochet blankets and they have been shipped to haiti, new orleans,camp trillium just to name a few places.people could volunteer at the local food bank,soup kitchen, bake cookies for there neighbour, guiding, scouting,soccer.we all don’t need to leave the country. thanks
    God Bless
    Travel Well

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