Good morning. I hope everyone is doing well. Weekend is almost here. The sun is shining and it is expected that we will no longer have 1 digit weather...life is good. Now if we could just get to no weather under 30, I would be even happier.
Today's blog is about receiving or giving unexpected gifts. I don't know about you, but the pressure for gift giving can sometimes be overwhelming. I pay great attention in the gift or present I give a person. I try hard throughout the year to remember if they have said they liked something, or that they needed something. It is just as much pleasure for me to get the right gift as it is for the person receiving it. I despise when I hear people say "Oh he/she is so hard to buy for" Really??? sometimes could it just be that you haven't looked or that you don't pay attention?
And then there is the unexpected gifts. The ones you buy someone or give someone, just because.
I just recently bought something for a friend because it is so perfect for her. I cannot wait to give it to her and get her reaction. She sews purses and loves what she does. Back when she turned 60, we through her a purse themed party. It was a riot. As a storyteller, I even wrote a program called the girl and the purse. I put together a collection of purses from the time you are a teenee tiny girl through the years and how it changes along with your life. So when I was in a store and found a coffee mug with purses all over it and one with purses that actually spells out BAGS I had to get it for her. Not because it is a birthday or Christmas....but a just because gift. I think those types of gifts are so special. I have been on the recipient side of that giving and am always so touched when that happens. It says that you are important in that persons life.
An amazing gift to me, came at my birthday. Aside from a gift, a dear friend made me a birthday dinner. In my whole life, I had never had a birthday dinner. During my married life with children, I always made the birthday person their favorite request for their birthday dinner...yet I had never had one. That one year...someone dear....out of the blue made one for me. I was touched to tears. Someone thought that much about be to be so caring and loving. I will never forget that moment in my life. Unexpected and a real treasured gift.
Well, another story that I want to share with you is just so amazing. At least it is to me. It is about the opening of your wallet along with your hearts.
There was a family who had been burned out of their home. This was just before Christmas, and all of the children's Christmas presents had all gone up in flames. Now, not only did the family have no where to live, no clothing, no food...there would be no Christmas for the children. It just so happened that this was a family from my husbands school, so I got on the phone and on the computer and got in touch with my friends. Well, I must tell you...I had items pouring in left and right. Now, it turned out that the family was picked up by family members out of state and in a flash they were gone...and there I was with all of this food, clothing and gifts. Well, I had a friend who was collecting for another family in dire straights and thought okay...I packed up my van full...and was going to meet them to give them the items. It was a bad winter day and the side door to my van was frozen shut and the it was the only spot I had room for the microwave someone had given me. Well, I thought...maybe they can come and pick that up. So off I went with a car full of love! I transferred it all to their car to take to their family and then explained about the microwave. They said that they already had gotten one donated...and I thought..well, there will be someone else I can donate it to.
When I got home, my telephone answering machine was blinking and upon listening to it ...I understood God's plan in this. It was the social worker from my husbands school who had another situation where one of the young workers there had gotten her nieces and they were in a one room boarding house and had next to nothing. When pressed about what she and the children needed...the only thing she asked for was for the children and a microwave to warm up food for them. Well, lo and behold...there was the reason. Now, it was great...I had the microwave...but gave the rest to another needy family...so back I was contacting my friends. Well, my friends contacted their friends and so on and so forth....You know how emails travel. One day soon after, I received a phone call from a woman...asking if I was who I was. Upon my yes reply, she proceeded to tell me that she got this email from a friend of a friend of a friend and that their company wanted to help this family out. She asked for a list of things that they might need. I asked whether it was alright if I emailed her a list of little girls sizes and other things. The social worker had arranged for a larger place with a minimal rent, so they could move...but they only had one blow up mattress...that was all. The children came from Florida...were abused, and had nothing for the Chicago winter. This was December.
Now others were dropping off things at my home....even perfect strangers brought gifts. I had a table set up in the living room for wrapping unwrapped gifts. Boxes of food and items for the home. Some gave me money to buy things they needed. I bought things like dishes, silverware, towels.
Then the unbelievable present came. that woman that called me, called me again to say that they had collected $2,000.00..yes, $2,000.00 to help them out. Now the reason behind this was, their boss who owned the company said he didn't want them to spend their money on gifts for him....he had enough of everything he needed and if they wanted to do something...to do it for someone who needed it. She asked if she could forward on our emails to him to show him what they were doing in his honor...well, if you thought this was amazing...WAIT....the man then read the story and donated furniture from another of his businesses for them and a truck to deliver everything in on Christmas Eve.
Two days before Christmas, I dressed up as Mrs. Claus, and went to the apartment. which was bare to the bone. My husband and I had bags of gifts for the children for Christmas morning that we told the young girl to put in a closet while I talked with the girls in another room. I had selected some of the wrapped gifts and had them in a Santa bag and explained to them that Santa was so impressed on how good they were...he sent me down ahead of him with some special gifts. Their eyes were as big as saucers each time I pulled a wrapped gift from the bag and handed it to them. The youngest was 3 and each time her name was called, her little hand shook when she came close to take the present. And when I pull out a stocking for the young girl who was their Aunt...she was only 21 years old, she just began to cry. She was overwhelmed by it all. Inside her stocking were gift cards for groceries and sundries and watch and some bath supplies.
When I left that day, I truly understood the meaning of an unexpected present. I understood how amazing people can be. And mostly, how God works. There is something to be said about the gifts from the heart. When all we hear are bad and negative things in the news...we need to hear about how those presents are all around us....paying it forward is just as rewarding as the receiving.