Melanie Stroud

Episode 45 – BONUS EPISODE – Cheerful Giving Ideas

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Episode 45 - BONUS EPISODE - Cheerful Giving Ideas
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Here is the cheerful giving bonus episode from 2019.  

This episode includes many of the awesome stories that were sent to me about ways that people have given and received love, service, time and money.  I know you’ll love it!

I’m also including a talk from President Russell M. Nelson, the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talking about some of the ways that fast offerings and contributions from members have helped people all around the world.  

Last year when my daughter had just turned 3, I decided that in our family, I want my kids to help participate in a family service project every year for Christmas. I am still brainstorming what to do this year, so I hope your list helps me come up with some good ideas. But last year, I found a woman in South Jordan who collects books and then mails them to kids in need. So my daughter helped me pick out some of her own books to donate and then people from our ward brought us some. So we had a whole box of books to drop off to her. – One lady in my ward is always brining people Swig (Flavored drinks). One day, I was having a rough morning because it was the end of my maternity leave and she happened to cal me and just said, “what’s your order?” Then she dropped it off. I don’t really care for soda and drinks from Swig, so I had her get me a lemonade. But what she brought wasn’t important, it was the fact that Heavenly Father knew I was having a rough time and he sent her over so I would know he was thinking about me. And for that I am grateful. I know she often brings drinks to lots of women in our ward, and I think she goes by the spirit to know who needs one that day. So awesome. – A friend of mine was super ill this summer with her pregnancy (so ill she couldn’t get out of bed, was in and out of the ER and on IV’s). Rather than just ask to take her kids, I set up a playdate rotation so she didn’t have to worry about it. She gave me the dates and I set up the people to pick up and drop off the kids and to take over lunch when necessary. – Once when I was a Mia Maid leader, I felt prompted to write my girls small notes each week to give them on Sunday. They were small (half the size of a index card) and I put silly stickers on them. Usually they just contained a small compliment. I did it for a month or so. I don’t know if the girls needed it or not, but it was something I felt prompted to do. – When I was a Laurel, I remember my Young Women leader at the time gave each of us 6 girls $100 of her own money to spend on any kind of service. And then we reported back to her with what we did and how it felt. Another girl and I pooled our money and went to Sam’s club where we spent $200 on food items. We door bell ditched my neighbors across the street who were struggling with money and had young kids. We ran to my garage and hid and watched him. First the neighbor was super mad because someone door bell ditched him (and the food was in a box and not wrapped like presents, so not very noticeable in the dark). He stated yelling and was mad, but then he realized what was on his porch and started crying and saying thank you. When we met with all of our laurels, we found out that another Laurel had also been prompted to help that family and she spent her $100 on toys for the kids. It was a sweet Christmas and if I’m ever rich enough to do that, I would love to do it with my kids or future young women.
My husband is the best example of service I can think of. If someone needs to move, a car has broken down, someone needs a truck ride to home depot because they only have a small car, he will always drop what he is doing to help (to the point that it annoys me and I need to work on my attitude). – I have been in my current ward for about 5 years now. And I feel like it took me and my husband 3 years to make any friends. Now we love it and it is a very inclusive ward. But to get this way, I started planning a bunch of activities that I would invite the whole ward to on our ward Facebook page. Once I posted that we were going to the local elementary school to play Four Square and it almost turned into a primary activity with the amount of kids that came with a few moms. I’ve planned a big game night where everyone can come hang out or bring games to play. In Herriman, there is a little manmade reservoir that is about 20 minutes from our neighborhood. Over the summer, for 3 or 4 Mondays in a row, my friend and I invited our whole ward to join us and let ward members use our paddleboards, kayaks, and kid kayaks. We ranged from five -15 families that came. And after summer, 3 or 4 of the families had jumped on the band wagon and also purchased kid kayaks. At the end of summer, I booked a group Campsite at a lake and invited all of my friends that wanted to come. About 10 families form our ward (plus other friends) ended up coming and there were people introducing themselves to each other that didn’t know they were in the same ward. It was really fun (and probably had a better turn out than our “ward campout”). So I’m not good at spreading the gospel, but I try to be good at including everyone in fun activities. And that has made a difference in the feeling in our ward.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (Moro. 7:48.)

More experiences that I’ve gotten since or weren’t included in the podcast.

I just want to add my wonderful experiences that I was reminded of during this episode. When my mom was sick with cancer, I lived 3 hours away with three small children. When I mentioned to my friend, Shelly, that I would love to go spend time with my mom, she rallied around and arranged for herself and neighbors to watch my kiddos every Wednesday so I could drive up to Idaho and spend the entire day focusing on my mom with no distractions.This went on for about two months. I didn’t have to arrange any thing, she would just let me know the night before where my kids were going that day. This let me spend some very precious time with my mom! I love them all so much!

Later, after my mom died, a family friend from years ago showed up at my parent’s house and filled the table with groceries and meals so that all of us kids didn’t have to worry about that while we were planning her funeral. Such an amazing act of love! I have been blessed by so many wonderful people! Thanks for letting me share my experiences. 

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I’m a delivery driver for FedEx, and I’ve been listening to your podcast every week since episode 8 or something (I went back and listened from the beginning), but I’m usually too busy with work and my family of 5 kids to ever comment. (Plus, I listen through Google Podcasts, so I can download it to my phone, but it doesn’t let me comment.) I wish I could have shared a story about cheerful giving, but I always felt too busy. This episode was so great, I felt like I just had to pull over and write this comment. My wife and I have had a lot of financial trials in the 13 years we’ve been married. We were homeless for almost a year in 2010-2011, and had 3 kids at the time. In 2014 we moved to a new state to live closer to family and look for better job opportunities, but we were just barely scraping by. A little before Christmas that year, we were doing so poorly that we didn’t know how we were going to get any presents for our kids. We went to Church one Sunday morning and put our things on the pew to save our seats while we took our kids to the restroom for diaper changes, etc. When we got back, we discovered that someone had left a sealed envelope on the pew with our things. Our last name was written on the outside, along with the message, “From the Green Bandits”. We opened it up and found that these “Green Bandits” had given us $300 in cash! To this day, we don’t know who gave this to us, but I remember having to leave the chapel for a little while to cry privately and thank Heavenly Father for answering our prayers. We’ve decided to pay it forward every year — as well as whenever we see someone in need — with our time, our love, or just with money when we can’t do more and when that’s needed most.

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I was in the category of I’ve been helped a lot in my life and now I’m in a place where I can give back, but I didn’t know how or who needed my help. So I took your advice and I prayed!
 The first day I prayed nothing happened. The second day I prayed I walked into a sandwich shop for lunch and there was a homeless man sitting there with a soda, but no food. So I bought him a sandwich. The next day which was today, I was driving to Walmart to get my daughter some stuff, and there was a homeless guy with a sign that said he needed winter clothes. We live in a cold climate and winter is fast approaching! So when I was at Walmart I bought him a bunch of snacks and a bunch of winter gear and brought it back to him. And he was so happy he was literally did a little jig when he was opening his bags. And it made me feel so great!
 And then I got a blessing back already! My son who’s on leave for the military, pre-deployment :-(. He went to the dentist to get some work done and insurance covered everything but about like $250. He had an emergency root canal crown. So the dentist at first was like oh 19-year-old kid blah blah and then Calvin was like yeah I’m getting ready to go overseas I’m an army ranger and the dentist was like wow your 19 and an army ranger! And my son said yep and I’m getting ready to be deployed. so at the end the dentist said  the $250 is on me and my son was so happy he started crying and of course me told me I started crying! We’re a bunch of bawl babies in our family 🙂 S

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I wanted to share what my sweet ministering sisters did for me for your cheerful giver. It may not seem like much but it meant the world to me. My husband has had some serous health issues this past Summer. I have been preoccupied and overwhelmed at times. My dear Ministering sisters invited all of the sisters they visit to go to lunch, the other 2 couldn’t make it the day they wanted to go but they still went and took me, just me! I felt so much love and genuine concern that they would go anyway when I was the only one.

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So, l’ll start with some background. We are broke. Always have been. Every time we double our efforts to save, stuff happens that depletes it. Paying all of our bills on time every month is a serious struggle. We try not to complain because we know that the blessings of tithing make it so we will never be without a roof over our head or food to eat. However, in my prayers, I’ve been asking Heavenly Father to please allow me to be successful enough in my business to help our family have the things we need, to be able to pay the people who take care of my kids while I work on my business, and to be able to financially bless others.

That being said, I put a brand new crib up on FB a few months ago. No takers. Lowered the price a few times- nothing. Our room got super messy and so husband and I decided to spend the day cleaning it. I posted once again about the crib and a few others items that we were just going to give away. We took the

crib down, thinking we’d put it in the garage until someone offered to buy it. This was going to help us financially, right?! This was going to be the answer to a few prayers.

As we were cleaning our room, we were listening to the Cheerful Giver episode. A friend texted me, asking to take whatever baby stuff I had left. I told her yes on all the free things, but that we really needed to sell the crib. She was grateful for the small things. As we listened to the beautiful stories people shared, especially about the last minute $50, my husband said to me, “I feel like we need to give the crib to her.” And I knew he was right. So we did.

We doubled our fast offerings this month also. I don’t know how all the car repairs are going to happen or how we’re going to pay the mortgage on time, but I’m not going to sit here and worry. The Lord will provide because giving that crib felt so SO right. It’ll all work out.

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I hesitate to tell you of an act of service we did many years ago.   I had a small business, and while having breakfast in a local restaurant, a member of our stake was talking to a man from Chile that he had met on his mission.  The daughter had been severely burned and the family needed to move to Salt Lake to be near the Shriners hospital for regular treatment as she grew.

I felt impressed to offer to have them live in a home we purchased to operate our small business from.  We paid the payment and utilities in exchange for some help from their family.   Unfortunately, they never learned English, so it wasn’t ideal, but it felt good to help them.   

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I’ve been trying to be a more cheerful giver since that lesson a few weeks ago. I’ve decided to donate $10 to every Go Fund Me that I see pop up on a Friend’s Facebook page. So far it’s only been 2, but they’ve been very special experiences. One of them was for my blind cousin. She divorced her husband while I was on my mission a few years ago (his bad, not hers) and she is struggling to support herself and her 3 children. Her braille machine broke, so that money went to support her it getting a new one. The other donation was to a friend’s brother who lost his 5 week old baby. I plan on continuing to support those friends I see who are in need by giving my measly $10.

Another way I decided to give was to ship a gigantic package of diapers to any new parents. My neighbors just had their baby three weeks early, so I shipped a box of diapers to them. And they’ll never figure out who did it!! Bahahahaha! I was at work when it shipped, so unfortunately I didn’t get to peek out of the window like a creeper and see how they reacted.

I don’t think that this blessing was a coincidence, because the flights I’ve been looking at to get my mother-in-law here for a month and then to get my kid and I to Mexico and back went down by hundreds of dollars today. I saved over $800 on those three round-trip flights! I will forever be a cheerful giver and continue to look for more ways to give to others.

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Last year about this time I found myself in another ward in our stake on a certain Sunday. I had just come back from taking an out of town friend to Music and the Spoken Word and by the time we got back home it was too late to make my own ward but still wanting to participate in the sacrament ordinance quickly drove over to another building in our stake to catch their sacrament meeting. Unbeknownst to me it was a missionary farewell of a young woman whom we had some association with on the Trek the summer before. As I sat there taking in the spirit of the meeting, I felt a very strong impression to give her the crisp $100.00 bill that was sitting nicely in my wallet. I approached her after the meeting and said, ” I didn’t even know it was your farewell today, but you are suppose to have this,” as I handed over the money, she looked at it and almost screamed with delight right there in the chapel. iI love spiritual nudges, especially when I listen and follow.

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1 thought on “Episode 45 – BONUS EPISODE – Cheerful Giving Ideas”

  1. Thank you for sharing all these miracles!
    I was pondering about praying for inspiration as to how and when to support someone in mourning.
    I’m encouraged to follow the promptings I receive because of these examples.
    Thank you 🙏

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