How to become wealthier

Consider this thought from Jim Rohn:

Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Leaving behind Oregon’s impossibly tall trees, driving southeast through California and into Arizona, Elisha and I were on a mission: To get our friend, Charity, settled in Tucson for astrophysics grad school at the University of Arizona.

Charity, Elisha, Bug (a PomChi), and me

Before graduating with honors from University of Oregon, Charity served as a NASA intern, published a research paper in the Astrophysical Journal, was awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship, and was accepted at five top astrophysics grad programs, accomplishing most of this while dealing with grief and the post-traumatic symptoms that come from having watched – helplessly, hysterically – as a sneaker wave snatched her husband and three-year-old son out to sea off the coast of Oregon.

As Elisha and I set out to support Charity in her move away from all that was familiar, we returned wealthier than when we drove away from Oregon—no surprise.

There were several other people involved in this particular giving story.

Friends paid for the truck rental; along the route, a sis- and bro-in-law housed us, and a nephew and nieces threw a lovely dinner party; a girlfriend surprised us with a Starbux gift card (which we put to good use out in the middle of a desert place called Tehachapi); another sis- and bro-in-law purchased my return flight with their airline miles; and a friend picked me up at the airport with a supply of groceries. Thank you, Jim & Deb, Steve & Cheryl, Ryan & Julie, Angie, Heidi, Bree, Ann, Lonnie & Karen, and Susan!

The wealth returned to us on this particular adventure showed up in the form of deeper connections, much laughter, and a sense of accomplishment. Oh, and spa treatment.

Deeper connection

The most valuable payback for me was a strengthening of our relationships. I already had a bond with both these young women. I’ve known them since junior high; I was their high school cheerleading coach.

But that connection was reinforced this past week because of our joint mission, because of all the conversations around important issues, like, life and love, and work demands, and being female in a male-dominated field, and having dreams and chasing them down, and which nail polish color would be best. Those conversations.


I can’t remember laughing this much in a long, long time. Gleeful, bubbly, side-hurting laughter, beginning with Elisha’s classic Chinese fire drill in stalled SoCal traffic, but certainly not ending there (these girls haven’t changed much since high school).

Sense of accomplishment

Great joy comes from accomplishing something worthwhile — filling kitchen cupboards and drawers, folding towels and sheets into a hall closet, tearing down boxes, and utilizing public transportation through the local Home Depot …

… to purchase bricks and rough boards to create some epic bookshelves (which held only about half of Charity’s books).

Spa treatment

Late-night manis and pedis and facials is how a small group of women should always celebrate productive days. Should. Always. (I almost posted a photo of the three of us in black facial masks, but your dogs would have howled. And so you were spared. You can thank me later.)

This thought from Ann Voskamp in her book, The Broken Way:

It isn’t having that makes us rich; it’s giving. Give sacrificially, live richly.

Charity thanked Elisha and me more than once — profusely — during these past six days of crossing deserts in a big, rattly truck, and hefting boxes, and purchasing toilet paper and outlet converters, and trying out local eateries.

But as it turned out, it was Elisha and I who should thank her for the gift she gave us: Letting us be part of this next chapter in her story.

I suspect every time we reach out in love—whether giving of our time, or resources, or expertise—our hearts expand a little more. And my hope is they never deflate back to Before Giving.


Supercharge your caregiving batteries


Treasuring the past; living now


  1. Lonnie Johnson

    This is one of my favorite blog pieces you’ve written Marlys, so much truth and so well put!

  2. Julie A Miller

    Marlys, A great reminder that the richest rewards in life come from the giving. I love that you’ve stayed in contact with these girls, admirable!

  3. So enjoyed this, Marlys, and love your spirit of adventure. Gives me hope for sunnier day’s ahead. ❤️

  4. It was nice to read about an adventure where everything fell into place. It’s good to see a smile on Charity’s face.

  5. Grace Lawson

    I agree with all the above comments !! God bless you Dear Marlys !!!

  6. Qiwen

    Miss you guys and loved reading the story…I can see it in my head the fun and what an adventure you guys had! Thank you for sharing Marlys!

  7. Cheryl White

    We enojoyed having the 3 of you in our home. We we’re honored! It sounds like the rest of the trip was a smashing success. Love this blog….AND blogger!

  8. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    At last I’ve found a couple of minutes to say thanks once again. Just before I read this blog, I had been reading some ‘Prayers for difficult times’ (you know of some of what has been difficult for us due to my Barbara’s ‘incidents’) and I read, ‘Let me give to others willingly, cheerfully, without begrudging, I know Your grace will be enough. You will give me all I need to give to others’ – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. With this ammunition!….. shortly after, I was singing with The Breeze, at a coffee morning at a Farmer’s market day, it was so enjoyable, rewarding and encouraging. Then I was scheduled to sing at a Summer Fete at a Community care/residential home….. the ice-cream van came, the Fire fighters visited, comfort dogs visited etc etc and families joined in all that was happening, even dancing, singing along to me playing in the background… a total of 55 songs for the day, BUT – ‘what a lovely day’. Your blog says it all, we are so rewarded in our giving, thanks to God purpose. God Bless, Barbara & Peter.

    • Peter, a beautiful story of giving of your musical talents and bringing joy to others … and to yourself in the process. Wow, a total of 55 songs for the day … that’s amazing!

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