A few weeks ago when Brandy came to me about writing the annual Joy of Giving article, for the first time, I actually hesitated. This is typically one of my favorite seasonal projects.  I enjoy getting to share the wonderful works that take place in our community.  This year I just wasn’t sure I could write about “joy” during what has been a long and difficult year for me and many others in our community.

While pondering writing the article, I checked my Twitter feed and found one of my favorite authors quoted.  Even years following his death, C. S. Lewis is still impacting lives.

“If you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.” The author is C. S. Lewis and the book Narnia.

I then picked up the phone and called one of my fellow nonprofit friends.  She has definitely been rewarded with harder and harder good deeds. She has just joined One Gen Away to provide a basic need for all people - access to food provided with dignity. I asked, “Jennifer what do you think are the five things every person needs in their lives?” 

Without a moment’s thought she said, “Love … everyone needs love”.

With that, it was time. I would write this article about giving.  Jen’s right, everyone needs love. Even better, it is a gift that has no cost, either to give or receive. 

We live in a community that has the passion to give to nonprofits, to schools, to politics, churches, children, the elderly, families and single folks.  Financially we can support just about anything that comes along and meet those needs of which we are aware. We have nonprofits that are willing to receive on behalf of those who need help.

But what about the needs we don’t know about? 

The widow who sits alone on her sofa as her heat is turned off because she can’t pay her bill.  The people who feel trapped in their homes as depression becomes too overwhelming to allow them to leave their homes.  The husband who is out of work and can’t feed his family.  The child with no coat at school.  Those who fear for a family member’s safety as the numbers for opiate addiction rise. These are the things we cannot see unless we look with diligence, notice those in our realm, and take action.

Webster’s refers to community as a “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location”.  We live in a wonderful county in a beautiful state – Williamson County, Tennessee. 

Franklin and Williamson County is where love, community, and good deeds converge under the heading “the Joy of Giving”.


Along with these 20 actions, there are numerous great local causes to support this December.  You can find them throughout this issue of Southern Exposure Magazine; ads with “the Joy of Giving” logo. 

If you or your family would like more suggestions on how to give outside of Tennessee, please reach out to folks in the Florida Panhandle.  People there are reeling from Hurricane Michael. To donate money or volunteer, please contact REBUILD 850 www.rebuild850.org.  If you want to help any of the 14,000 children in the panhandle who need jackets and other cool weather gear please google Kathy Gloer at thecitizen.com to find addresses to ship items to those in need.

For further opportunities, reach out to me at 

stacey@staceywatson.org for more suggestions on the Joy of Giving.

This season bring love, participate and get to know your community in all its facets, do good deeds and anticipate more to follow.

Merry Christmas and God’s Peace in 2019.

During this season of giving and into 2019, I hope you will consider bringing the Joy of Giving to everyone you meet.  Here are some suggestions for how to bring the joy:


Ask for help.

Shift your mindset.

Comfort the comfortless.

Have faith in a higher power.

Inspire and share gratitude. 

Notice those who may go unseen.

Be mindful of the world around you.

Pay attention to serendipitous events.

Share your experience, strength and hope.  

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Find willingness to receive good deeds and know that more will follow.

Love those who may believe they are unlovable.

Embrace those who live in the margins.

Make the ordinary extraordinary.

Anticipate gratitude and share it.

Teach the gift of community.

Speak to your neighbors.

Build good fences.

Raise the bar.

Take action.


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