Two words:  Truly Inspirational!

Follow one family’s journey to leave the rat race of consumerism, sell their dream home to move to home half the size and donate half the money from the sell to help end hunger in Africa!  It’s about more than charity work; it’s about bringing a family together!

It’s a fantastic adventure.  And from my “life of service” mentality, it gave me a great perspective on how I approach my community service.  Better yet, it gives me a different angle to use when teaching my Girl Scouts and helping them with their community service projects!

The book is mainly written by the dad, Kevin and at the end of every chapter (and sometimes in the middle) his teenage daughter, Hannah gives her insights and gives the reader assignments to follow through with.  As a mom who is always looking for ways to get the family involved, this book is an awesome resource.  Not only does it actually give you websites to look up to try look for the “perfect” community service fit, but it also gives you suggestions on how to pick your community service project.  This is a big one for me.  What inspires me may not (and usually doesn’t) inspire my husband or my children.  What I am talented in, the rest of my family may not be talented in.  Last year my son and husband volunteered with Recreation Unlimited, teaching physically and cognitively challenged individuals to ski and snowboard.  It’s perfect for them!  I volunteer in other ways.  And my 11 year old daughter, she tends to like what I volunteer with and she helps when she can.  As a family, though, we have not found something that we all want to be part of.  Maybe that will come one day……

This book also gave me a completely new perspective on “mission trips” to other countries.  I learned that alot of what we Westerners perceive as to be helping is actually just continuing the cycle of hunger, poverty, and begging.  What an eye opener!!!!

There are a lot of great quotes in this book; and most of them are quotes by other people (not the authors).  Here are some that I loved:

“He who does not live in some degree for others, hardly lives for himself.”  Michel de Montaigne

“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.” Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm

“I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right.  It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.”  Julia Diaz

“Nobody  made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”  British philosopher Edmund Burke

“Think of other people.  Serve other people sincerely.  No cheating.”  Dalai Lama

“You give but little when you give our possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”  Kahlil Gibran

One of my favorites that has nothing to do with service…..  “Everything you do that is not walking is dancing.”   a saying from Ghana

And I will leave with these quotes and a challenge:

Anita Roddick (founder of The Body Shop) said, “if you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”  Then Kevin Salwen followed by saying, “In fact, we think everyone can give of the three T’s:  time, talent, or treasure.”

So, my friends, we all have some time, talent or treasure that we can use to be of service.  For me, as a stay at home mom, I have lots of time, so I do a lot of community service for different organizations.  I also use my leadership skills, public speaking talents, and organization skills for these organizations.  And when I can, I give of  my treasures by donating.  Get out a piece of paper and make a list of your 3 T’s……and then do something about it.  I bet you would have more time if you watched less TV or played less video games or spent less time on Facebook :).  What about reading?  You can spend some time reading to kids at the boys and girls clubs or at the libraries :). could just go play bingo with the residents at the nursing homes!  There is always something you can do :).

Don’t know where you can volunteer?  Go to or check with your local religious institution, these places will give you some great ideas!

If you have teens or you work with tween & teens, pick up this book and give it a read..maybe even read it with them!  It’s a great reminder of the way we should live our lives :).