I have to start this post by saying thank you. I’m always blown away by the people who read this blog, and it’s been so encouraging to see the numbers grow since I’ve gone full-time with this endeavor. More astounding than seeing the numbers though, is finding out who all of these eyeballs belong to!

Friday morning, my friend forwarded me a text that she received from one of her friends, which said “Thank you for showing me Generation grannY,” followed by ways Generation grannY has touched this friend of a friend’s life. I literally cried when I read the message, primarily because of the kind words from someone I’ve never met, and partially because I cry over everything. This is why I choose to write at the table in the dark corner of Starbucks, where no one can see me get emotional during blogging breaks as I scroll through Facebook to read inspiring stories about school teachers and therapy pets.

Tears just won’t stay inside my face when I feel so uplifted and creatively revitalized. I will never stop saying this periodically: I am so grateful each time one of you shares a Generation grannY post, texts me something loving about the blog, introduces yourself at an event, or simply likes, comments, or takes the time to read at all. As much as I absolutely love writing, I often question if I’m having the effect on the world that I so earnestly want to generate. I wonder if I’m being selfish for doing something that makes me happy instead of something that would allow Aaron and me to save faster for our future. I wonder if I sound ridiculous most of the time, and if my humor goes over the heads of readers, or if my deep thoughts sound like total hogwash.

So, as always– thank you. I may not know you, we may not have seen each other in years, or maybe I call you all the time, but the fact that you spend a few minutes each day (or perhaps just once in a while) soaking in a dose of my madness means more to me than words can do justice. Every single person who reads Generation grannY is an individual I truly love and appreciate.

Alright, alright, I’m done with the sappy sentiments…kind of. Let’s talk about generosity.

We’re all pretty attached to money, mostly because we like to eat and be protected from the elements. When we have to part ways with our money for a reason that doesn’t directly benefit our own lives, it’s a mental challenge– even if we know it’s for a “good cause.”

Last week, I received a package in the mail from an old friend with whom I keep in touch primarily through Facebook. We don’t talk often, but I’ve followed her pretty life through pictures and statuses since we first met in the pageant world about five or so years back. When I opened the gift, I found this gorgeous rose gold (my fav) Stella & Dot necklace:

Stella Dot 1

Victoria’s card was short and sweet, congratulating me for managing Generation grannY, and encouraging me to continue forth. The “S | G” stands for Shanny the Granny, to remind me what kind of impact I can make on the world through my writing. Heartwarming stuff. Tears, duh.

I have no clue what made her generosity expand to little ole me– just a girl she competed with at Miss Virginia years ago– but I was deeply honored. Not only do the engraved letters remind me to keep the spark alive for this blog, but the whole gesture really makes me take a long, hard look at where my heart stands in terms of giving things of monetary value to others.

I often give small donations to Go Fund Me pages that hit home, or for people I personally know. I try to support my alma mater or friends’ projects, even if my contribution feels embarrassingly little. I challenge my heart to give money to God through church tithing, and even bought a lady’s groceries last week when her card was denied at the cash register. I didn’t see what was in her bag, and imagined she was trying to get something for dinner for her family. When I looked at the receipt, I saw that all she bought was a tub of name brand mint chocolate chip ice cream. Oh, well. She better have really enjoyed that.

Despite the fact that I regularly give little bits of money to other people (giving feels good in the end, after all!), my heart still gets a little tense with each transaction. I like a healthy bank account. I like knowing that I’m making responsible choices. I like control.

But generosity is giving when it’s hard, as much as when it’s easy. When I feel my fingers clench around those dolla dolla bills, I know that’s when I need to give the most. Whatever I have is His, not mine, anyway. Plus the more I try to hold onto money for selfish desires, the more miserable and desperate I know I’ll become.

Generosity is thinking about someone who you’d like to make smile. Generosity is about putting your own desires aside to make room for someone else’s. Generosity is not always in the form of something with monetary value, but when it is, it means pushing yourself to show love and support despite internal tension, or simply displaying an act of camaraderie– like covering someone’s drink, food, admission, etc.

Being financially responsible is hugely important. I don’t want to send the wrong message in terms of being foolish with your income. But if you have to choose between buying a necklace for yourself, or buying a necklace for your friend who is in need of encouragement, you know what to do.

Thank you, Victoria, for thinking of me in such a sweet and adorning way! You’re quite the amazing stylist, and your generosity with the jewelry you’re able to gift to others does not go unnoticed. I appreciate the reminder to use what I have to happily and willingly encourage others.

Everyone check out Victoria’s collection of Stella & Dot goodies HERE! You may find a little something to give as a gift in the spirit of generosity…or you may want to treat yourself, too. I won’t judge. 😉 By the way, this post is not sponsored, and Victoria had no idea that I wrote about her act of kindness until I tagged her in this post on the Book of Face. <3

stella dot 2

In the process of trying to take a good picture of the necklace while eating lunch with my husband in his state room, we managed to accidentally choose the most PERFECT background…the donut calendar I bought him. #photographyskillz