So, I have been somewhat AWOL for the last few months and I will apologize now. I resolve to do better. Let me catch you up. First of all, my life took an insane detour into the crazy round about August. I began a journey to better health and between July and now, I dropped 60 pounds and I have never felt better. My health has improved, my attitude has improved, and I have more energy than i know what to do with.
Some of this new found energy i put into writing a new book. It was recently picked up by my publisher so expect to see it this upcoming, July/August. Also, I have a son moving to the Marshall Islands in a few short weeks and helping him buy everything he will need to live there (the economy there is more pricy than my own Beverly Hills) has been very time consuming. Additionally, we have a graduating HS Senior in our home who ends his High School career and begins his College one in one short week. That has taken a lot of his mother’s new found energy to help him accomplish this enormous achievement of graduating EARLY.
To top it off, I volunteered to sing in several Christmas productions this season AND I undertook a major home remodel project (or three to be exact). So needless to say, my life is overflowing with things to do and accomplish before the year turns.
Which brings me to my thoughts for today. This is the season for giving. For expressing your thankfulness not only for God’s blessings but for those angels on earth who have blessed your life. I love to give gifts. It’s so heartwarming to see the look of joy on the face of those who receive your gifts. But let’s face it. Shopping is a headache and sometimes a store bought gift doesn’t convey all you wish to express in a gift. So here are a few suggestions for you.
Instead of a store bought gift:
1. Give the gift of forgiveness. Is there someone you have offended or who has offended you? Is there a friendship you have let fall apart over a different of opinions or a falling out? Write a letter to that person and ask for/ extend forgiveness. At some point, that person meant enough in your life to be considered a friend. Don’t let one rough patch cause you to throw that all away.
2. Give the gift of gratitude. One of my children’s teachers sent my child a short note when they saw my child was struggling. The note was encouraging, uplifting, and helped my child over a rough spot. I took that letter, had my child write a response telling their teacher how that letter had helped, and my child and I framed the two letters together and gave them to this dedicated teacher. It was a simple gift but it made a world of difference in two lives and affected the lives of both our families.
3. Give the gift of service. A young newlywed and his wife decided to spend the month of November and December volunteering at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and at Cancer activities in memory of his first wife who passed away two years ago from cancer. The couple felt that the best way to honor her and give a “gift” to her was to serve others as she had served so many during her life. Her “gifts” continue to inspire others to gift for her.
4. Give the gift of compassion. So many people are alone at the holidays. They are elderly and have outlived their families. They are ill and home bound. They are newly divorced, or single, or widowed. The gift of time is the greatest gift they can receive. Spend some time adopting an individual who has no one else to be with. invite them into your home and your life and share this holiday season with them. The small act of including someone in your life can make all the difference to someone who feels that no one cares.
5. Give the gift of love. Don’t forget those who are closest to you. Some of my families’ most memorable gifts were not the Wii, or the desired guitar, or even the brand new car. They were gifts that were giving out of love and devotion. My sister once made me a nativity set out of wood. The characters are rough and the paint job is obviously done by a child’s hand, but it is one of my most prized possessions. She knew I collected nativities and she wanted to make me one. The love and effort she put into the gift are more important to me than the gift itself. Those I will always cherish long after the wooden Nativity crumbles to dust.
Money can buy a lot but it doesn’t buy what really matters. Make this Christmas special. Give a gift that will last a lifetime. A gift that comes from your heart and keeps giving long after the excitement of Christmas Day is over and forgotten. Give someone you care about the gift of yourself this Christmas.