Today I’m participating in a Thanksgiving blog hop started on Brenda Drake’s blog. She’s a lovely writer, so take a look at her blog, too.
So here’s what I’m thankful for: I’m thankful for the freedom to pursue things I love. Writing is something few can turn into a career that earns a living wage. Writing takes an unbelievable amount of time simply to develop skill, much less perfect that skill. It’s a luxury to be able to write- it doesn’t directly earn me anything beyond personal fulfillment right now.
I’m thankful because I have the time to write. I don’t have to spend every minute I’m awake working to feed my family. I’m not so overwhelmed and overworked that I couldn’t imagine using my free time to do yet more work. A lot of people in this world live in those circumstances. Undiscovered talent, weighed down by the demands of survival, is one of the tragedies of poverty. What if those people could contribute to the world like we can, instead of working all day simply to survive?
I’m thankful I can work to make something happen- something I’ve wanted to happen since I was twelve. I can put in the time reading, writing, listening, drafting, revising, querying, critiquing, and blogging to make myself a writer. This dream is a dear thing to me, and I’m incredibly thankful I’ve been placed in circumstances that allow me to pursue it.
So, stick around for just a moment longer- I want to do a few things here. First, I want to encourage you to loan just $25 to Kiva. Kiva is a microfinancing organization that combats poverty by loaning out the money to fund small businesses. The borrower uses your loan to fund their business- construction, pottery, agriculture, whatever that may be- and the loan is repaid as they earn back the money. That’s right- you get your $25 back. It’s truly a loan. You can then choose to keep your original loan, or else loan it out again. Kiva borrowers have a 98.98% repayment rate. Your same $25 can be loaned out countless times to help countless people combat povery in a culturally sensitive, non-intrusive manner. You’re helping them help themselves. Check out the Kiva website for more information and stories of how Kiva has helped their borrowers here.
If you forward me your confirmation from Kiva (feel free to remove sensitive info) to katebrauning(at)gmail(dot)com, or else use the “post to FB/Twitter” feature when you check out and link it to me, I’ll mail you a book of your choice. Be sure to comment on this post, telling me that you made a loan and what book you want! (First come, first served.) I’ve got a great list of titles here in my library that would love a new home. I may add to the list as the list of donators grow, so please do spread the word! Here’s the list of the books to choose from:
Cry, the Beloved Country– Alan Paton
Sons and Lovers– D.H. Lawrence
Angela’s Ashes– Frank McCourt
A Wrinkle in Time– Madeleine L’Engle
The Hiding Place– Corrie Ten Boom
The Associate– John Grisham
The Case for Christ– Lee Strobel
The Norton Field Guide to Writing– Richard Bullock
The Magician’s Nephew (hardcover)- C.S. Lewis
Far From Here– Nicole Baart
Jane Eyre– Charlotte Bronte
The Pilgrim’s Progress– John Bunyan
Ship Fever– Andrea Barrett
Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen
The Subject is Writing: Essays by Teachers and Students
Freak– Rebecca O’Donnell
These books aren’t ones I’m looking to get rid of- they’re some of my favorites. A few of them have a scuffed edge or maybe a crease in the cover, but most are in nearly perfect condition or new. They’re all books I think have changed the world in some way, so I’d love to mail you one for your part in changing the world. Start a Kiva loan, send me your confirmation, and I’ll mail you a copy! Keep it or give it as a gift this Christmas- whatever you want.
Making a Kiva loan is, by the way, a great chance to explain to children how blessed they are to have the lives they do, and it’s a great way to model generosity and compassion. So this Thanksgiving, as we spend time with our families, turn our houses into a disaster zone of pumpkin and cranberry, and eat all we want, let’s remember how blessed we are to be able to do these things.
Make a loan to Kiva here. Comment on the post to request your book, spread the word, send me your confirmation, and I’ll mail you the book right away. Be the change you want to see in the world. Let’s start there.