“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
~ Anne Frank ~
When I committed to doing the 29 Gifts Challenge I really underestimated the amount of effort it would take to think of things to give every day. The first few days went by smoothly and it was easy to think of things to give or to do for others. Then life got a little busier and I found myself struggling to come up with things. Sounds insane in a world that has such great need, doesn't it? I guess for me, it was not about just sending a check to all of my favorite charities, though that would have been easy enough to do. There is no minimum amount that constitutes an appropriate gift in this challenge. I was trying to be more mindful and more aware of opportunities to give that might come my way in my everyday round. What I found is that one of my personal goals for January conflicted in a way with my vision of my commitment to the 29 Gifts Challenge and I had to sort of adjust that vision in order to fulfill my commitment.
Day 23 ~Extra Play Time...I've been really busy with work projects and home projects and while our two sweet pups have been given lots of love, daily exercise, food, and you know, the necessities, we haven't taken a lot of time to romp and play. Today though, I found a bit of extra time and it was a beautiful day outside so I found myself releasing gift #23 to the puppies in the form of extra play time. I took a couple of toys to the back yard, tossed them across the yard and praised them lavishly for bringing them back. Then we engaged in games of hide and seek, chase, and tag. I turned on the hose and let them lap up the water for as long as they wanted and them seemed to enjoy it. When we were through, I came back in the house to work, and they both, exercised and exhausted curled up in my office to take a nap. I don't doubt that it was as much fun for me as it was for them. :-)
|Michael and Minnie Mouse ~ Sleepy Puppers|
1) Two adorable pups 2) A beautiful day 3) Time to play
Day 24 ~ A Basket of Toys for the East Valley Crisis Center ~ I had this little basket sitting around my office in case children happened by and needed a distraction. I work with women and the possibility is always there, though it hasn't occurred in three years. I think it is safe to send it off to where it will be more useful.
1) Rainbows 2) My husband 3) Work that I love
Day 25 ~ We who write blogs generally write to an audience who we hope will find some value in what we have to say. One of the ways that we know people are finding value is that we receive comments on our blog posts. I love reading your comments and I make time every day to comment on several blogs. In today's gift, I took some extra time to comment on as many blog posts as I could. There are some fabulous women writing some fabulous blogs...I sometimes wish there was more time to visit everyone everyday!
1) All my blogging friends 2) My computer 3) My smart phone (that allows me to twitter, fb, & blog :-)
Day 26 ~ We received our annual for tax purposes statement from United Food Bank in the mail today. Rick and I have several charitable organizations that are dear to our hearts and our local United Food Bank is among the top. Hubs talks about "the early days" when he made a single pizza or can of tuna last him for three days and we are grateful that our own pantry, fridge and freezer are full. The food bank was not on the schedule for donation this month, but after receiving the statement, I felt compelled to send off an extra donation. Perhaps the Universe is telling me something this day :-)
1) That I always have enough food 2) A fun date night 3) Home
Day 27 ~ Mom picked up the computer we purchased earlier in the week and was needing some help setting it up so after our Saturday matinee Rick and I drove over and helped her get her up and running. It feels odd calling this a gift, but I am sure Mom sees it that way. I helped her get online, set up her email, facebook and gave her a little lesson on the workings of Windows 7. She's one happy geek wannabe and expressed an interest in taking a class at the local community college. I hope she does because I'm sure she'll enjoying getting the most out of her new toy.
Today I am grateful for:
1) Mom's delicious green chili burros 2) A fun morning with Rick 3) PF Chang's Leftovers for Dinner :-)
Day 28 ~ I shared with you on Day 26 that we had received our annual statement from United Food Bank. There were a couple of inserts with the statement, one for the Tempe Empty Bowls event and one for the Pound for Pound challenge. I can't do anything about the Empty Bowls event until the end of February, however, the Pound for Pound challenge is going on right now, and it really is a perfect gift. One of my goals for this year is to simplify and shed from my life that which I am not using. I have a few extra pounds that really are not serving me and the sponsors will donate 11 cents for every pound pledged. I only pledged 20 pounds so it doesn't add up to much, however, I am sure there are many of us who together can make a huge impact in the lives of so many. If you'd like to join me, go to www.pfpchallenge.com. It costs nothing to pledge, no weigh ins or before and after pictures. Just your support.
Today I am grateful for:
1) Blankets 2) Birds outside my window 3) An unexpected surprisingly good Sunday Matinee (The Way Back) very powerful movie
Day 29 ~ My stepson, Christopher snapped this photograph his way through Spain and Italy during a high school trip back in 2000. As a memento of his trip, Chris gave me this panoramic shot of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He is really quite a gifted photographer and I was happy to display the photo. I found a thick glass photo frame over at the Metropolitan Museum of Art store over at Scottsdale Fashion Square. I could tell that Chris was pleased that I had taken the time to display his art in such a beautiful way...and I could tell he really liked the frame. I have looked over and over during the last 10 years and have yet to find this frame, so knowing that he loves it, I am re-gifting it to him. He has his own apartment and I'd like to provide a little encouragement for him to dream his way back to Italy...It was his favorite place :-)
Today I am grateful for:
1) Delicious hearty stew 2) Finding the puppers treats for less (saved $8 pkg.) 3) My garden
Wow! There we have it and how amazing it has been to just open myself up a little wider to see all that I can offer. Not just in big monetary ways, but in a "thinking of you," and a "I see your pain," and "How can I help you" sort of way. I typically go through my days offering "gifts" if you will, and so often receiving as well, but I don't it consciously. There were other gifts given and received along the way that I have not posted because it would just take too long to list everything. What I can say, is that by taking on this challenge and seeing it through, I am even more aware of how truly blessed I am to be living a life of abundance and how much more I can share in so many ways. Giving doesn't have to take us out of our daily plan, it can become an integrated part of our lives and make life so much richer. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about taking on the challenge to jump right in....and I will warn, it is not as easy as it seems :-) I struggled on some days where I couldn't see what I had to give, but then an opportunity would present itself. It is so powerful that I will take it on again later in the year. For now, I'm going to spend some time reflecting on the experience. ~Blessings, Janet
If you want to see what it is all about, you can check out the website here: 29 Gifts :-)
“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.”
~ Charles Dudley Warner ~