Here are two stories about "giving" that we're collecting from readers and publishing this week. To find out more or submit your own >> click here.
From Danielle L.:
My favorite part of the holiday season has always been giving people gifts to let them know I've been thinking of them. This year we've taken a hit as my significant other was left unemployed by the recession and we're living on my income alone. I thought my holiday season would be depressing, as I'd miss out on my favorite part and not be able to afford gifts. Then I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that the part I truly enjoy is taking real time to think about the people I care about...
This year everyone's getting baked goods with a note inside letting them know how much they mean to me. The whole time I'm baking I'll get to think about the recipient and what they've meant to my life.
It's not much (besides super sappy), and the cookies won't last more than a week. It's just my way of saying something I don't say often enough: "Thank you for being part of my life."
In response to today's mailing, I'd like to share the following with you:
My son (21) came to me a few days ago and said that he and his girlfriend have decided that instead of spending what little money they have on each other, they're adopting a family - a woman and 2 kids - that have just come out of an abusive relationship and have nothing. They need furniture, household items, clothes, bedding - everything.
He has a small fake Christmas tree and asked me if I had any extra decorations. God works in wonderful ways - I'd gone to my mom's in October to help her clean out her garage and found a box of old decorations that I decided to bring home and play with as a craft project.
We're going to pick out the best of them to give. Another "funny" thing - when I got married last year and we moved to Bakersfield into my husband's house, I'd put most of what we had in our apartment into storage for my son - refrigerator, furniture, etc. He moved into a little one bedroom house last September and we pretty much emptied the storage unit, but we couldn't find the 2 sets of dishes I'd had. I actually spent several hours in 105 degree heat opening every box in that storage unit looking for them and finally had to come to the conclusion that I'd given them away, so we found bits and pieces in the thrift stores for him.
The day before yesterday we went to the storage unit because I thought I had some blankets we could give to the family he's adopted, and guess what we found? Yep - 2 boxes of dishes. He's keeping the one set that he'd helped me pick out when we moved to Phoenix 12 years ago, and we'll give the others to the family. I went thru the box of stuff I'd been accumulating to Freecycle, and found some plastic food storage containers, cooking utensils, and some bits of jewelry - earrings, necklaces, etc. that we'll box and wrap.
I am SO dang proud of my son!!! He hasn't been able to find a job and is getting food stamps to survive, but he's willing to give of what he has (he's sorting thru his pots and pans as well) and forgo gifts to help someone else. We were talking last night and he told me that he and his girlfriend really do have what they need, and that it feels good to help someone else. What better gift could I ask for than a son who's willing to help those less fortunate than himself?
(Painting by Sebastian Stoskopff via Ancient Industries)
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