November 14, 2013

Thanks and Giving

I gave my daughters a copy of the book Thanks & Giving by Marlo Thomas back in 2005 when it was first published. Having grown up in a religious family and then marrying into a religious family (my father-in-law is a retired minister), I was taught it is far better to give than to receive. Believe me, there is a lot of room for improvement in this area of my life, but I do the best that I can and always strive to do better. The one thing I have continually tried to do is to teach my children the lessons I was taught so they appreciate all that they have. It's not easy in a world of gimme, gimme, gimme. So along with saying our prayers at night, serving food at our church's community suppers, and picking out Christmas presents for the Salvation Army, this book became go-to reading this time of year to reinforce some of those lessons.

Those days seem so long ago. With my son married and living out of state, my oldest daughter away at college, my youngest daughter's crazy schedule, and having precious little together time, I hold onto family traditions very tightly indeed. One of the traditions my daughter's actually started a few years back was to give away our money jar savings. My husband and I would empty our change into a jar to use for school lunches and other miscellaneous must-haves. But now we fill the jar knowing that we will donate whatever we have to a local charity. As we sit around our Thanksgiving table, we will pull out photos of years past and share stories and memories, and then we decide where the money will go.

But there's one thing money can't buy and that's time. We had a guardian angel move into our wooded neighborhood and he has been a true blessing. During the ice storm of 2008, he grabbed my husband and went around to all of the neighbors to check on them. He found generators for some, water for others. He has helped us with countless projects and we couldn't have survived here without him. So whenever we have time, we try to give as good as we get. Pet sitting, yard work, snow removal....lots of apple pies.

As I continue to give thanks this holiday season, I wanted to share a few links that have inspired me this week.

Blessing Bagsfor your community, the troops, and whoever needs a little pick-me-up.

I'm thankful when people give away knowledge for free. Visit Sew Many Ways and learn how to add a Pinterest image hover Pin-it button to your site. I just added one to mine.

Be inspired. Start a gratitude journal/happiness journal (or contribute to this online journal over on I am Thankful), and start a thankful tree.

I like to shop at stores that give something back. Did you know that November 2nd was National Family Pajama Night. Me neither. Now until December 2nd, The Company Store will donate $1 to the Ronald McDonald House for every pair of PJs sold. (I love PJs!)

What are some of your thanks and giving moments?