Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gardening time and giving back

It has been a beautiful Sunday here--bright blue skies, low humidity and warm temperatures.  Neither of us felt like doing much yesterday when it was overcast and blustery.  But today, we broke out the tiller, hoes, and rakes and got most of the garden ready for planting.
The garden--a lot of work!
Some good earth with compost added ready for planting. 

Strawberry plants with some ripening berries. 

Raggamuffin, the kitty, checking out what's happening in the garden. He follows me around like a dog. 
The strawberries are ripening, and a few other plants are in the ground. I'm glad that we held off on getting everything planted because the cold snap a few weeks ago would most likely have killed off some of the tender plants.  Today, Ragamuffin, one of our cats, decided to sneak outside and help out in the garden. He stays very close and watches everything that goes on.

We are having a 21st birthday party for a member of the fellowship next week. This young lady has worked the steps, is doing service work, and is a great example of Al-Anon.  Some of you know her story because you donated to her college fund. The great news is that she has aced her entrance exams and will be starting school in early June.  She doesn't currently have enough money to pay for a semester so she will be taking classes while she works.  She is determined to be the first from her family to have a professional career. I think that those who know her understand her determination to succeed.

I have heard it stated over and over in Al-Anon that the groups and people need to be self-supporting through their own contributions (Tradition Seven).  I know that this came about so that groups wouldn't ask for outside contributions and that alcoholics would not be enabled through family and friends giving them money. What if someone is really deserving and needs a little help?  I see no problem with helping someone out who is in need.  And I don't expect to be repaid. I have a philosophy about money that it is to be used for comfortable living and if one has enough, then it is to be shared to help others.  Philanthropy is a great thing, because even small amounts can help others.

I know people who hoard their money, keeping account of every dime. Most of these people are elderly and quite a few are millionaires.  I imagine they are hoarding to give to their children because they don't appear to be spending it on themselves. Somehow I like the old bumper sticker that said "I'm spending my children's inheritance."

I remember how my parents saved their money. I learned from them to be cautious about spending. I didn't worship money but had concerns about how to pay bills and to be self-supporting. It took a few arguments and some deep soul searching with my wife to get over being afraid to spend money. She taught me to be generous. I didn't realize that generosity was uplifting to the spirit. Relaxing my grip on the household finances was an important part of recovery for me. And a huge stress reducer.

I don't plan to die a wealthy person.  But if my some strange coincidence I do, then a fellowship has been set up to help out Ph.D. students who are in need of funding at one of our alma maters. One way of giving back. There are many other ways to help out those in need. It's important in so many ways.


  1. One of my oldest friends was a tax/estate attorney. He said that the best advice he could give was to live so that the check to the undertaker bounces.
    I sort of love that.

  2. I have saved and will have a comfortable retirement. But, I have told my kids I want to go out the same way I came in, broke and naked.

  3. first, i love your cats name...and wow what a garden you have created...
    and i agree on is a tool to be used, for your life...and to touch the live of others...and as long as you are smart with it...and dont expect it back...i am with you there...

  4. Syd that garden is going to be so beautiful and abundant this summer! Please post more pics. Love meeting Raggamuffin too.

    And your attitude towards money is so grounded and ethical as well as kind. I would not survived these last hard years without some advances from generous publishers and friends. I pass it on when I am more able to be self-supporting and out here there is both struggle and opportunity.

  5. Your information today Syd, was in the proper order. Start by helping yourself. In your & C's case that was preparing the garden that will feed you and if abundant others as well.

    Then you speak to helping others. Some people are natural givers and other come to it by way of the "light bulb" moment. Others never see beyond their own fear of want or lack. My own attitude is much like your own, give and let go, don't count the financial cost but the comfortable heart as the reward.

    Be Well old man.

  6. That garden is amazing! Makes me want to get outside and work on mine.

    That young lady sounds like she is on her way, even if her path is more difficult than it is for others. She will probably be stronger for it, and I think it's great that she has had some help from others. I'm sure it will inspire her to do the same later on when she is able.

  7. Thank you for mentioning generousity...I grew up with a alcoholic father who bought the house drinks and had numerous valuable items stolen at this same bar and then would come home with no money for our family. I grew up with abundance and scarcity. Learning to take care of myself and not live in financial fear is challenging.
    Despite this giving to others with my time and energy in the program is freeing up my limitations and helping me to learn another way to live in my life. I value my ability to learn to give to others without payment in return rewarding and freeing.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.