giving what you've got

More often than not, when I sit down to blog, for better or worse, words fly off my fingers. This isn’t one of those nights. I’ve already deleted two opening sentences for this post, so I’m just going to start blurting and pray my heart comes through.

Sometimes I feel like there’s a world of need out there and not a whole lot I can do about it.

What’s burdening my heart at the moment? Exploited children in Cambodia. Orphaned children in Kenya. Scared, hurting women facing unplanned pregnancies. Their unborn babies. And now the people of Haiti.

I feel paralyzed by my lack of resources (money, time, connections, know-how, courage). But I sense God telling me to think outside the box. “Look around at what you’ve already got. How can you use what I’ve given you to help these people who have nothing?”

He reminds me of the Expecting campaign–of willing donors (you!) and eager recipients at pregnancy centers around the country.

He reminds me of Coins 4 Cambodia. We’ve collected and sent $25 so far. Not a lot, but I’ll bet it can buy quite a few snacks.

And He’s given me a few new ideas. My sister Stephanie is a talented jewelry-crafter (jewelress?). Remember the necklace she made for Big Mama? She’s donated two beautiful necklaces for me to sell on my blog with all proceeds going to Cambodia.

And the boa? Do you know about the boa? Long story short, many of the 507 Siestas who gathered this weekend in Houston wore pink feather boas to help them identify each other in airports and restaurants around town. Staying true to my thriftiness, I made my own (and helped my girls each make their own too). We talked about how cool it would be to make custom boas and sell them to raise money for missions.

Maybe you have something unique and fun that you’d like to donate to the cause.

And remember my NaNoWriMo novel? It’s a story about two friends–one in Ohio, one in Cambodia (I know–however did I come up with that?). There’s a lot of other stuff thrown in there from my personal experience (babies, an orphanage, in-laws–remember the book I’ve always wanted to write on that topic?). Someday I might muster up the creativity to write something (fiction) outside the realm of my own life, but this is cool for now.

Anyway, Gabe is making me a new blog (in addition to this one). It’ll launch on February 26 (which is the first day in my novel). As the story unfolds, I’ll post it bit by bit on the blog. The last entry will post on February 26, 2011. You can either read it over the course of a year or you can pay a fee (with 50% of the proceeds going to missions) and download the whole thing instantly.

Fun, eh?

And then there’s something unrelated to missions but definitely related to mission. One of my missions in life is to help women be the best wives they can be, to do their part to create healthy, God-honoring marriages. One of my greatest blessings is getting an e-mail from a woman who read Blushing Bride or Is That All? and says, “God used your book to save/heal/touch/help my marriage.” I can’t even tell you.

I stood in my closet this afternoon (looking for things to get rid of) when it hit me. There are boxes and boxes of Blushing Bride books stacked up in there. When it went out of print, I bought the remainder from the publisher. Over 2,000 copies. Yes, you read that right. At 90% off, I couldn’t resist. And little by little, I sell them/give them away.

But you could help me give them away faster. Because you know people I don’t know. You have girlfriends at work and church and in your MOPS group. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and wouldn’t it be fun to have a (free) gift to give to all your friends? Something that (by God’s grace) could help make their marriage better?

Here’s what I’d love to do: send you either 4 books (in a mailer) or 14 books (in a box) for you to give to your friends. All you need to pay is shipping. ($5 for 4 books, $15 for 14 books)

So now I’d like to hear from you. And to make it worth your while, I have a beautiful green/black (5″ x 8″ spiral-bound) 2010 Weekly Planner from Living Proof Ministries to give away (we got them this weekend, and I already have a planner) to one random commenter. If you don’t need a planner, I’d still love your input.

Just tell me one of these things:

1. I would buy a necklace to help kids in Cambodia (and tell me how much you’d pay).

2. I would buy a boa (for how much).

3. I have something I’d like to donate.

4. I would pay to read your first novel (especially because/in spite of the fact that in-laws are a major theme).

5. I would like 4 or 14 Blushing books to give to friends. Just tell me how to get them.

6. I have a cool idea/thought/suggestion for you.

Have a wonderful day, friends! Love you much!

38 thoughts on “giving what you've got

  1. katie n

    hey marla! the baby’s doing great so far. we’re at 14 weeks already. 🙂 hard to believe…haven’t heard anything back about the books yet. sorry…

  2. Crissy

    1. Yes I would buy a necklace $20 – $30
    2. Yes, I would buy a boa. I would like to know how to make them too! 😉
    3. I am sure I could donate something
    4. Of course I would!
    5. I have several people I can think of right away that I can give a blushing bride book to.
    6. My idea is that I can help you with all of these tasks above. Making boas, packing/shipping books, organizing whatever, just let me know.

    I also wanted to let you know that we have started a coins for Cambodia jar at our house. We have been doing things for Cambodia but now we have a jar sitting right on our table. A very visible reminder for the kids.

  3. Kimberly

    I. Can’t. Wait. To read your book! Of course I’ll pay to read it immediately!! I’ll take 4 books for friends too, just let me know how! I’ve already given one and would love to give more!

  4. Pingback: Marla Taviano | Christian author and speaker » Blog Archive » whatcha-ma-call-em

  5. Teresa Henry

    I would definately read your novel.

    I would buy a necklace for $20

    I have felt the same heart tug…about doing more. I just blogged on that a few days ago. I will be praying that God directs you as to what to do.


  6. Georgia Jan

    Marla – I would love 10 books to be able to give away to young women in my church!

    Just tell me what to do.

    It was so good to be a part of the SMT last weekend – wish I could have spent some time with you!

    Another day – for sure.

    GA JAN
    Isaiah 58:11

  7. Rebecca

    Just tell me one of these things:

    1. I would buy a necklace to help kids in Cambodia (and tell me how much you’d pay). – $100

    2. I would buy a boa (for how much). $20

    3. I have something I’d like to donate. Yes several items

    4. I would pay to read your first novel (especially because/in spite of the fact that in-laws are a major theme). Absolutely

    5. I would like 4 or 14 Blushing books to give to friends. Just tell me how to get them. Hmmm, all my friends are married already.

    6. I have a cool idea/thought/suggestion for you. I have an idea. How much would it cost to get the Expecting books to every pregnancy center in the US with you keeping a 10% profit? I’d be willing to devote my time and money and resourses and connections to help you raise that money and help you in all the efforts…

  8. Kiki

    I would buy a necklace. $25 – 30. But, it’s also hard to put a price on it without seeing it, ya know? Is it super detailed or simple? I mean, a woman just can’t commit without seeing it!

    I love your heart.

  9. Angela

    I would definitely buy 4 Blushing Brides. Especially since my maid of honor is getting married this summer – she definitely needs a copy. Please tell me how.

  10. Bethy

    An idea for the necklaces (and apron–although I know those aren’t as in high of demand)–all the raffles are closed now so I’m not sure what the program was called, but at Hope for Haiti (a blogspot blog) the author had raffles set up and each entry cost $1. You paid via Paypal and could give as much as you wanted (for example–give $10 and your name will be put into the drawing 10 times). All proceeds went to a specific cause. I bet you could raise TONS of money this way!

  11. Rachelle

    I am a sucker for jewelry…I’d probably go as high as $40-50 it’s for a fantastic cause!

    I wish I had something to donate…I have time. And a good story: yesterday my stylist told me that recently at a benefit concert at her church, put on by children from Africa, she felt led to give. She had paid her bills and had 20-bucks left and thought, “I’ll give the $20”. However, God convicted her during the concert and told her not to give the $20. She asked, “then what AM I supposed to give?” and God replied, “whatever hurts.”

  12. katie n

    i emailed my pastor to see if they want to give away some of the blushing books as door prizes at our church’s valentines day dinner. praying i get a positive response!!

  13. Denise

    Hey friend, I love you, you are such an amazing person 🙂
    1) I would spend 10-15 on a necklace (only because at this point, that’s all I can afford, but I love necklaces)
    2) I would buy a boa too – maybe for 5 – 10
    3) I can cook, can I donate food?
    4) not sure on this one
    5) not sure
    6) Well, maybe you could give some of your books away/sell them at the conference in a couple weeks? Also, have you thought of maybe doing the same thing at a Bridal fair with the books?

    That’s all I have for ya!

  14. Emily

    I would LOVE 4 Blushing books to give to my friends! I have several recently married girl friends that would definitely benefit from your wise words. 🙂

  15. Beth In the City

    I just ordered four books via paypal but I overpaid – $5 for shipping, $5 for you to treat your girlies. I can’t wait to give your book to the girls in our small group.

  16. Marla Taviano

    I think I’ve responded to all of you about the Blushing books, but I’ll post the info here in case anyone else wants it.

    Just go to and click to donate either $5 or $15 (just enter the amount). Make sure your Paypal address is correct, and I’ll send you the books ASAP.

    If you’d rather send a check, let me know.

  17. Sarah Parsons

    Thank you for the reminder that we can all do our part. I, too, often feel so overwhelmed by all of the needs out there. What an encouragement you are to all of us!
    I would love to buy 4 books. I have some friends getting married who I would love to give these too. (And will most likely keep one for myself)

  18. deanna f.

    I’m a fanatic for jewelry, especially necklaces. You are so generous, and always thinking of others. God bless you!

  19. AKat

    Hi, Marla! I’ve read your blog since you stayed at Kelli’s for your zoo tour, but I’m going to try to be a better commenter…commentator? I’ll answer allllll of your questions, because, well, because you’re Marla and I just love you to pieces!

    1. Yes, I would buy a necklace – $25-30???
    2. Your boas are amazing. If you’re wanting to sell them just to sell them, maybe $30-40, but for a fundraiser….more! (Trust me, y’all, they’re quality!)
    3.I’ll email you if something comes to mind.
    4. YES!!!
    5. Yes, please.
    6. Hmmm. I’ll be thinking…

    (And I don’t need the planner. Got one! I love the idea of giving it away, since I sadly already bought mine for this year.)

  20. Lisa Beaty

    Hi Marla! I would love 28 books!!! Can’t beat the price to share with the women of my church! We can use some as door prizes next month! I’ll e-mail you…

  21. Holly V.

    Would buy the necklace….or the boa.

    Not a big one to spend money on books….but this author seems interesting, so I might! :0)

    Would love to donate something to help Cambodia.

  22. Suzi

    Hey Marla! Reading this makes me sad I didn’t get to talk to you last weekend!

    I’m with Amanda May, I would be the most interested in buying the jewelry. $25-30

    Also, I think it would be fun to go through your book with a group of girlfriends-maybe kicking it off in February like you said. I will take 14 of them. What do I need to do? And Thank You!

  23. Amanda May

    Wow, Martha…you are one creative girl!!

    I love that you’re actually doing something to make a difference…instead of just thinking about it (I’m so guilty of that).

    I LOVE fun jewelry, so if I had to pick ONE, I guess it would be #1. I would pay around $25 or $30.

    (#4 and #5 sound great too!)

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