Have you ever agreed with someone on most things, but then one day you turn around and discover you differ on pretty much everything, even though you’re not really sure what changed?

Considering what I see on Facebook these days, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one in that boat.

Here’s the thing… I’m going to be honest here, and I hope you’ll stay with me through it.

I’m the one that changed. Well, sort of.

What I mean is that I’ve always questioned what was considered normal in my circles, but since I never really fit into any of the boxes I was “supposed” to… I never took the risk to seriously consider the real answers to most of my questions… which means that while I mostly didn’t fit in anywhere, I fit in just enough most everywhere.

If that’s not a Bilbo Baggins ring-wearing-disappearing-at-my-birthday-party statement, I don’t know what is.

Now that I’m an adult and have to make my own decisions not only for myself but for other people… I’ve been testing the waters. Making changes. Trying things out. Researching and coming to my own conclusions.

And most importantly, I’ve been acting on those changes.

Change is hard, but I think it’s necessary and helpful. I’m ready to show you what I’ve been changing and why. I haven’t known how to share them till it felt bigger than when it started… it’s that snowball effect.

But first, there are three myths about change I want to overcome with this series of blog posts.

  1. In order to make a change it has to be instantaneous, difficult and executed perfectly or it doesn’t matter.
  2. Small changes aren’t really changing anything at all, so why bother?
  3. You have to pick one of two sides because that’s all there is to choose from… and you can only ever be on that one side.

In our social media-driven world where the media and marketing affect the larger conversation… I understand where these ideas come from.

But I think they’re wrong. I think we can sift through all the crap to find truth that answers the questions we may have pushed aside for the sake of picking a team… and by making small changes, we can actually make a difference for ourselves and those around us.

And if you’ll join me in making small changes, I think together we can make the world better.

Here’s the deal: read my posts, ask questions, try it for yourself… and let’s do it together.

You’ll get my personal experience, reasoning and research. The failures and the wins. My advice as I can offer it.

These first half-dozen changes or so that I’m going to share with you have been years in the making. The one from today’s post is something our family started doing at the end of 2015. And it’s only this year that I’ve started making more small changes.

This is one of the easier changes and something I think we can all agree on: giving on a regular basis to those in need.

But assuming we agree, do you actually do this consistently? My guess is no. It’s easy to say, but it’s hard to act on.

If you’ve known me for awhile then you’ll recognize this. What you haven’t seen yet are the numbers I’ve run to understand the impact of this small change we’ve made with our giving.

Here’s what our family does: every time we are grocery shopping we buy one, yes just ONE, extra item to give.

Small potatoes, yeah?

Usually I buy a can or bag of food. I try to buy what’s on this list of Most Wanted food items from the San Antonio Food Bank. Other weeks I don’t stress myself about it and I buy a can of green beans.

Again, this is just 1 item at every grocery trip. I usually go just once a week, so that’s about 52-60 items in a year at $5 or less every week.

Cool in theory… but I also ran some numbers. Which means that in 2017 I tracked everything I bought for an entire year.

Number of items purchased in 1 year: 68
Average spend per week: $3.31
Total pounds of food purchased: 172.1 lbs

Not only that, but I figured out the impact of what we were buying.

An adult eats on average 5.5 pounds of food per day.

That means that in one year we purchased food for an adult for an entire month (31.2 days).

You know what else? I know a few friends joined me on this venture and started buying an extra bit of food each week. If there are 12 of us? That’s a full year of food we’ve purchased for someone.

There are around 250 houses in my neighborhood… if each household purchased food to give in this fashion for a year? We could feed more than 20 people for a YEAR.

Now, I don’t buy food every time. Sometimes my yoga studio or church is doing a clothing or first aid drive and I want to be part of that. But it can still fit within my one extra item per week initiative.

This was truly a small change in my routine. I already have milk, tea and apples on my list every week… now I have “giving item” added as well. And I track all of this in an app on my phone so it’s easy to add and mark off.

If I miss a week? No big deal — just buy two next week. If I buy something big one week, just skip next week.

If this is a small change you want to make, will you let me know? I’d love to hear from you. I know a few of you already started doing it, and I was so excited to hear it!

Just leave a comment, or feel free to contact me any way you already know how. Here’s to giving together. ❤️

August 2, 2018