Generosity Is Not a Feeling

That is a quote from Andy Stanley who is a pastor, writer, and speaker in Alpharetta. I recently attended a conference for financial planners, and he was one of the speakers. That statement really hit me because my acts of generosity are definitely inspired by the feeling I have in that moment: the child at the door raising money for band/sports/schools, the plea for funds at the charity dinner, the pictures of the starving animals on TV. Certainly I can be pushed into generosity, but is that really generosity? Andy would say, “absolutely not;” it’s a response to good marketing.

Andy describes generosity as the “premeditated, calculated, designated emancipation of personal assets.” Under that definition, I am not generous in the least!

Let’s look at that:

  1. Premeditated – planned in advance; an action and not a reaction (the child knocking on the door)
  2. Calculated – you know the amount
  3. Designated – you know where it is going
  4. Emancipation – you set your money free to do good in the world (how inspiring is the word emancipation!)

One thing that has always bothered me about my random acts of giving is that I am scattering seeds to the wind rather than purposely planting them where they will grow in a direction that is important and meaningful to me. That “designated” part was the initial source of unease for me but certainly premeditated and calculated are just as much an issue.

How do you rate under Andy’s definition of generosity? Is that definition meaningful for you? Maybe you have your own that makes sense in your life. Mine was based on responding to a need from someone else but did not ever really belong to me. What is my desire to share my blessings in a direction that touches my heart, and how do I go about doing that with some forethought?

This directly ties to Andy’s question: “what is your plan for supporting organizations and causes that you are passionate about?” Gulp. I am a major planner (uh, it’s actually part of my job title!), but I don’t have a plan in this area. I am as random and un-premeditated as you can get. Oh, good, another area of my financial world that needs work! What’s new?

So, I am moving in the direction of premeditation as a first step. What are the organizations that I am most passionate about? As my kids launch into their own independent lives, the organizations that have received my passion (and my time, talent, and treasure) are no longer relevant – their schools, their activities, their passions. So what are mine? Where do I want to make an impact?

Think about your own premeditation in this area. Is that meeting your heart’s desire? If not, take the step with me and start “meditating” on your own passion for changing the world.

To your financial success (and generosity),


Tis the Season of Giving and Saving !

In the spirit of giving, I thought I would pass along a few sites that I have come across with some free activities for those of you minding your budget during this season of spending.

For a list of free (or nearly free) Christmas activities, I found The link is to their page on free Christmas events – and they have a long list. Looks like they have lots of other ideas for Georgia trips, outdoor adventures and date nights to name a few so you may want to bookmark this one.

Roswell square has a number of free activities not only at Christmas but year-around. Go to for their many activities and offerings. My family is headed to A Christmas Carol at Bulloch Hall this year. It’s not free but it is much less expensive than the big venues.

Lights, lights and more lights:

  • com has a whole guide to light displays near Atlanta. I have been to the Botanical Gardens in the past and plan to head down there again. It’s not free but it is spectacular. Off-peak nights are Monday – Wednesday so you may want to try one of those nights.
  • Lights of Life (Life College) – Monday – Thursday until December 18th, the cost is only $5/car. After the 18th, the price goes up to $10/car.


For those of you in the Marietta area, try for their activities. I also see that Uber is offering new customers a free ride – use code MariettaNYE. has all of the happenings on the square.


  • If holiday volunteer projects are your thing, Kathryn Boortz has listed 5 projects on her November 19th blog post.
  • CBS Atlanta has a list of organizations that need volunteers this holiday season.
  • Hands On Atlanta has a whole calendar of volunteer opportunities


Remember too, the old fashioned decorations of popcorn and cranberry strings, cut out snowflakes, and glitter stars. Even your big kids will get into the spirit once you get going. For a list of projects try Homemade Gifts Made Easy.


Want to make your home smell like Christmas? Put a large pan of water on the stove. Add apple peels, orange peels, a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves. Bring to a boil and then keep on low heat. It will definitely fill your house with the smells of Christmas.  Just don’t let the water get too low or it will fill your house with smoke!

With a little bit of planning and a good internet connection, you can find fun, entertaining activities to fit your holiday traditions and not bust the budget.

I will be on a little hiatus over the holidays but will back in January with lots more tips to help you be more financially successful. May the spirit of the holidays fill your home and your family and bring peace, love, and joy to you.

Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas!