I’m participating in the ThanksBlogging #AWBChallenge over at Arkansas Women Bloggers this week.  Follow along and link up!

I have been abundantly blessed and am humbled as I pause to think of ALL I have to be thankful for this season: healthy children, a 20+ year marriage to an incredible husband and provider, the freedom that comes from simply being born in the United States, and of course – the GRACE of a loving God.

Amidst all of those blessings is one more that I am especially thankful for today, on National Philanthropy Day.  I am thankful for my vocation.

Full disclosure: I’m a Christian in the Lutheran tradition.  And Martin Luther had a somewhat unique take on the sacredness of vocation.  I happen to agree with him. (Imagine that!)  In fact, dear ‘ole Marty had this to say:

A cobbler, a smith, a farmer, each has the work and office of his trade, and yet they are all alike consecrated priests and bishops, and every one by means of his own work or office must benefit and serve every other, that in this way many kinds of work may be done for the bodily and spiritual welfare of the community, even as all the members of the body serve one another…”

The adoption of my baby brother in 1975 inspired me to become a Social Worker.

Reading The Great Gilly Hopkins in 4th grade affirmed my career aspiration.

Instructors at the University of Arkansas such as Debbie Hall and Glenda House encouraged me along the way.

Eventually I graduated and began working for the Department of Human Services in Benton County where a little boy named Kenny and his impoverished family became my first case.  Eva Taylor, Darlene Vinyard, and Becky Shell shepherded me through those early days.

And now, 18 years later, I’m privileged to work with a dedicated staff and committed volunteers to turn poverty into prosperity for single parent families.  Students like Andrea, Pam, Katy, Meghan, Jeff, Liz, Jacqueline and now Amy have fanned my flame of inspiration through their determination to succeed and their expressions of gratitude along the way.

Today we sent an email out to our supporters to show the results of their investment.

Their success is really the success of this amazing community we live in in Northwest Arkansas.  Happy National Philanthropy Day everyone!