ThanksLiving: Kelly

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This is the second post in a short series called "ThanksLiving."  You can read the first (about the crucial difference between being touched and being moved) here.  Today I'm sharing with you about my friend soul mate, Kelly, and how she and her family have committed to living moved.

Kelly and I met at a mutual friend's party in college, where we discovered our mutual love for coffee, the French language, travel, missions, Olive Garden bread sticks, writing, and more coffee.  (Fun bonus fact: Kelly is a cancer-survivor, and her general awesomeness got her on a billboard in Boston.

(Or maybe they blew her face up to giant proportions because, as far as cancer-survivors go, she's one of the prettiest.  But either way, I love her.  I love her heart.  By the time you're finished reading this you're going to love her heart too.)

Kelly and her husband, Jesse, love coffee.  More than your average bears.  Coffee drinking for them is a pass-time, a sport, a sacred ritual.  Starbucks coffee was on their wedding registry.  (You see?  My soul mate.)

Kelly and Jesse also love Jesus, and they have great big, giant hearts for people everywhere that are hurting.  So this is what they did: they gave up decaf.  Privately, humbly, and without any fuss, Kelly and Jesse decided to sacrifice their ability to drink coffee in the afternoons and evenings so that they could use that money in a selfless way - giving.

How practical and simple and small!  And yet so sacrificial - so beautifully purposeful and big-picture.  When I learned this about their family I was challenged in the best way:  What is something that I enjoy -no matter how small - that I can give up in order to excel in the grace of giving?

This is ThanksLiving in practice. 

Kelly has a blog where she talks about couponing, which she started a few years ago (an economic downturn, husband in grad school, babies, and medical bills will do that to a person), and why she does it.  'The why' makes my heart swell.  Kelly started couponing not so that she could have more, but so that she could give more.

Kelly explains in her own words:

"But as I started couponing, I began pondering about why we are frugal. Is it just for our own good?  The more I read in the Bible, the more I found the admonition for us to give, to everyone and especially to our family of believers throughout the world.  As an American, even as a low income American, I am so blessed in abundance compared to the rest of the world. As a believer in Christ, I am called to be a faithful steward of what God has given me, in both earthly and spiritual riches, and to increase it ... Yet all too often, we as the American church, become caught up in our culture’s pervading materialism and self-indulgence. We hoard our wealth, and the body of Christ fails in generous living. Not only do we hurt those who have not, we hurt ourselves by missing out on the joy that comes through giving. I don't believe this is what God has purposed for our lives.

There is great contentment in the simple, frugal life. And there is true joy when we learn to hold our possessions with an open, grateful hand and freely give to others. This blog is an exciting challenge for myself, and hopefully to you as well, to trust God more, live generously and excel in this grace of giving. Not only can we meet our needs each month through couponing, but we can give abundantly and regularly to people in need."

This is ThanksLiving in practice. 

And finally, this year, Kelly and her family are doing something really special for Christmas.  They are asking their friends and family to, instead of buying them Christmas presents, put the money they'd normally spend on their family towards a $1,000 well to provide safe water for a needy community in Asia.  (You can read about the Jesus well and it's impact here.)

This is ThanksLiving in practice. 

The reason Kelly comes to mind when I think about Thanksliving is because she isn't just thankful at Thanksgiving, and she isn't just charitable at Christmas.  She has allowed gratitude and the love of Christ to invade her life, and over and over and over again I see example after example after example of consistant, intentional, extravagant generosity.

Thanksliving.

I pray (seriously, I'm praying for this) that as you read about Kelly and her family that you aren't just touched - you're moved.  I certainly don't share any of this so that you'll think that Kelly is awesome (even though she is); I share it so that you can see real, live people living generously.

I share it so that Kelly's lack of evening coffee and her commitment to serve a community in Asia might move you to examine your life and see where you can turn your abundance into blessings for others.

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You can give to Kelly and Jesse's Jesus Well here.  100% of the money goes towards the well, none is taken out for administrative costs. You can read Kelly's blog here.

Make sure to come back tomorrow to read about how my friend, Jamie, is living moved.  Her story is 100% different from Kelly's - not a drop of overlap - but so full of family tradition and preciousness and Christmas spirit that you won't want to miss it.