Video Blog: Introducing You to Chris Seay

We had the incredible opportunity of getting to have Chris Seay and his cameraman come to our home for a short visit last week. Chris is a pastor, author, and a man with an amazing heart for the poor. I was so blessed and inspired to meet him and get to hear a little of his heart.

Chris has traveled all over the world to visit those living in poverty. He’s seen suffering beyond what most of us could even begin to fathom (some of the stories he shared just blew my mind!). But he’s not just witnessed the poverty, he is actively seeking to live a life of walking with the poor–sacrificing his own comforts and wants in order to reach out to those in desperate need.

In his new book, A Place At the Table, Chris is issuing a challenge for us to not just talk about the dire needs and poverty around the globe, but for us to actually walk with the poor. His book challenges readers to consider a 40-day fast from excess.

This week, I’ll be sharing short clips from our interview and encouraging you to consider if there are sacrifices you feel called to make in your own life in order to help those who are in need in your own area–or in other parts of the world.

In the short video below, I share about two books that have impacted me recently when it comes to giving and living a simple life and Chris shares more about his heart for the poor (excuse the fact that this is the very first time I’ve ever conducted a video interview before so I’m a wee bit nervous about it!):

Interview w. Money Saving Mom Part 1 from Chris Seay on Vimeo.

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The most exciting thing that has ever happened to me as a blogger

I’ve been hinting around recently that I had some big news to share with you all. Truthfully, this is probably the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me as a blogger and I’ve been bursting at the seams to share this with you all, but I had to wait until a lot of different things were in place before I could make it public. Today, all the behind-the-scenes details are in place and I can finally share my big news with you!

But first, I need to give you some background story…

When Simon & Schuster contacted me out of the blue in late 2010 to offer me a book deal, I was really hesitant about taking it. The thought of being a published author was exciting, but I was scared. Scared of the work involved and the short time frame they were asking for it to be done in. Scared of the strain it might put on my health, my marriage, and our family.

But the biggest reason I was uncomfortable about the whole thing was the money issue. Simon & Schuster offered me a nice first-time author advance and I just didn’t want it. Sure, I could come up with some savings goals we could put it toward, but it just didn’t feel right–especially because we already have more than plenty.

I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink and contemplating and wrestling over what to do one day when it was as if God spoke in a still, small voice to me and said, “Give it all away, Crystal. Take the book deal, but give all your proceeds away.”

Without a doubt, I knew that that’s what I was supposed to do. And not only that, but I knew instinctively that I wanted to give the proceeds to Compassion International, an organization that exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry to some of the poorest of the poor.

For the first time since I’d gotten the book offer, I actually felt really stoked about the whole thing. This project was no longer about me. It was no longer just about writing a book. It was something much bigger–helping to meet the basic needs of those who were impoverished.

And so I accepted the offer and spent the first half of 2011 writing and editing my book, The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget. It was a lot of work, there were days when I wanted to throw in the towel, and I often had to ask the Lord to give me strength and wisdom beyond what I humanly possessed in order to do everything I needed to do to pull off this project.

But through it all, I felt such a sense of peace and purpose. I was excited to think that this book wasn’t just going to impact thousands of lives in America, it would hopefully also directly impact many lives through the money it raised for Compassion. That was such an exhilarating thought and it kept me going even when I was tired and drained.

After I finished the final draft and the manuscript went to the printers, we turned our attention to exploring what God was specifically calling us to do with the proceeds from the book. After discussions with Compassion, we really felt that we were to give the money to the Child Survival Program Fund.

On the phone, they off-handedly remarked that we could actually fund an entire Child Survival Program in one area, if that was something we were interested in. I asked them for more information and, after much thought and prayer, my husband and I knew that this was what we wanted to invest all of the proceeds from The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget into.

We chose a Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic that was already established and needed a donor. This Child Survival Program offers life-saving health and medical care for over 80 at-risk expectant moms and young moms and over 80 at-risk babies and young children in the Dominican Republic.

It provides healthy deliveries in hospitals or clinics, immunizations, growth monitoring and development for the babies, and education for the mothers on how to care for and feed their children. In addition, one of the facets of the program is equipping mothers with income-generating skills so they can provide for their babies and young children.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support of my book project. Thank you for buying the book and telling others about it.

I’m beyond thrilled to let you all know that–thanks to your amazing support–the money we’ve received from The Money Saving Mom®’s Budget so far was enough to completely fund an entire year of the Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic. How amazing is it to think that your support of the book is directly helping to impact the lives of over 160 at-risk women and children?

Pictured above are a few of the women in “our” Dominican Republic Child Survival Program. Women and children who have proper nutrition, medical care, and hope, thanks to you.

Our family is committed to supporting “our” Child Survival Program in the DR for as long as it is in existence and we are looking forward to taking a trip to visit there in the not-too-distant future. We’ll take pictures and share with you all about the lives you are impacting! {And I have a feeling we’ll come home forever impacted ourselves, too.}

Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m humbled, honored, and overcome with gratitude to be a part of all of this. And it never would have happened if it weren’t for you all. You all mean more to me than I can express. Just thank you.

Postscript: I’ve been planning to share this post today for a number of weeks. Little did I know that one of the women I appreciate most in all the world would also be writing a similar post today. You must go read Ann Voskamp’s post Because Saying Thank You Can Change The World.

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Weekend Giveaway: Papa’s Pastries Children’s Book (5 Winners)

Every once in a while, we come across a children’s book that we all just love. And that we read over and over and over again — until almost everyone has it memorized word-for-word. Papa’s Pastries is one such book.

Not only does this book have beautiful pictures and an engaging story which our girls were captivated by, but it introduces children to the reality that so many people around the world are much needier than us. In our affluent and wasteful culture, it’s hard to even imagine what it would be like to not know where our next meal will come from or to be so poor that no one in your family has shoes.

Papa’s Pastries has served as an excellent springboard for discussions with the girls on the importance of giving. As this story shows and we’ve experienced in our own life, when you’re a cheerful giver, you will always end up immeasurably blessed. Through hardship, young Miguel learns a simple truth: “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” This is a story of faith, compassion and giving that your whole family will enjoy.

Would you like to enter to win a free copy of Papa’s Pastries? Just click on the link below and type in your name and email address. Five winners will be chosen to receive a free copy and their names will be posted on Monday. This giveaway ends Sunday, November 7, at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Enter the Giveaway

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Join the 30-Day Giving Challenge

During the month of November, a group of my blogging friends are banding together to host the 30-Day Giving Challenge. This challenge will run for the month of November and you are encouraged to participate by giving in some way every day during the month of November.

The team of ten bloggers who are hosting this challenge will be sharing ideas and inspiration related to giving for the next 30 days. I know you’ll be blessed by following along.

Truly, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”!

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The Blessings of Giving

When my husband and I got married seven years ago, we made a commitment to give a tithe of 10 percent of our gross income to our local church. While this has not always been an easy thing to do, it has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

For the first few years of our marriage, we were barely squeaking by on an income of $800 to $1,000 a month. Yet we made tithing our number one budget priority—even before paying our bills.

The blessings from making giving a priority have been amazing.

Read the rest of the article.

Note: I received an email from a reader who was very concerned that I’d write an article for a site sponsored by American Express. I just thought I should clarify that I had committed to writing three articles for Currency.com months ago — and just found out a few weeks ago, to my dismay, that this new financial site was going to be sponsored by American Express.

I would not have written the articles for them had I known of the AMEX sponsorship, as that would be a conflict of interest for me as I do not support or encourage the use of credit cards. However, the articles were already written and slated for publication so I am going to go ahead and share the articles here over the next week as I know some of you will enjoy them. I’ve closed off comments on this post to facilitate discussion on the main article should you wish to comment there.

photo by MindfulOne

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“Give, and it shall be given unto you…”

Last week, I was excited to get a great deal on an item we needed. After I bought it, God strongly prompted me to give the item to a friend who is going through a difficult financial situation.

I struggled to follow the prompting as I knew this was an item we needed and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find a good deal on it again for awhile. But I gave it to my friend, because I just knew in my heart that was what I was supposed to do.

There was so much joy in giving this item to my friend and I realized that I could always pay full-price if I had to because following what God called me to do was more important than saving money, anyway.

In the mean time, I knew we could live a little while without the item, so I figured I’d hold off as long as I could and see if another great deal came along.

Well, not two days later, someone emailed me out-of-the-blue and said they had a package they wanted to send to me and could I please email them my new address?

Can you guess what arrived in that package yesterday? The exact same item I’d given to my friend — only this was a bigger and better version.

Truly, you can’t out-give God!

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