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29 Gifts

Today I give with mindfulness.

I just finished 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life and am tempted to start my own 29 Gifts in 29 Days journey.

But it feels a bit weird and exposed and braggy to journal about giving. They have a website for people to share their daily stories. I'm not sure I can post it there, so I'm compromising for now and posting here.

Also, can I start with today? Or do I have to officially declare it and start tomorrow? Heck, can I start with last week?

Today I did give with mindfulness AND in light of the book. I gave a coworker $20 so that she could go on the AFC Biloxi Trip. At our executive board meeting yesterday she said she wanted to go on the trip but didn't have the funds. We need 35 people to go, and while the Chapter had 35 people originally respond that they wanted to go, 19 backed out. So if we don't get replacements the trip will have to be cancelled. They can run it with 25 and take a slight loss, but less than 25 the company will refuse and we lose the deposit. I didn't want to go on the trip, but as historian I felt obligated so that I could take pictures for the Chapter of the Year book. When I heard they got 35 and that my office mate was going, I felt freed and made other plans. After all, they didn't need me for numbers, and she would take pictures. Then her mother's surgery got scheduled for that weekend, so she could not go. Then we heard about the cancellations. So my gift for today was paying for another coworker, who wanted to attend but couldn't afford it, AND doing it in a way where she didn't feel guilty or embarrassed about taking my money because she was doing me the favor as she could take pictures for me. I had to say that three times in three ways to convince her. :) And it was a gift to our Chapter and the others attending by adding one more - up to 17 now, 8 to go. Yes, I do benefit from it because I will have someone take pictures for me, but that's just a happy bonus. Also, I felt really happy - more bonus.

I actually did gifts other days, too. Tuesday I gave blood. I love giving blood. It's an easy thing I can do that helps others. I like easy! And the idea it's saving a life and it's a part of me going out to other people - interconnected. My friend Lisa used to give blood after taking communion because the Host would be in her blood when she donated. How beautiful to think someone getting that blood is getting Him, too.

Monday I gave an apology. I talked to my coworkers about the weirdness of the new building and apologized for any unintentional eavesdropping, butting into conversations, grumpiness or shortness, and general out-of-sorts that I projected since moving into the new building. That was definitely mindful. It also spawned a nice discussion with the group - lots of us were feeling that way. I think we all were smiling a lot more at the end of that day.

Sunday I gave time and music at the Easter Service. Love that. I don't feel I sing well, and am so grateful they let me stay in the choir. But getting to be there and provide music for the service is so special I cannot vocalize it. Also, we cooked my parents lunch. :)

Saturday was Toaster's birthday - so of course there were birthday presents. I drew her pictures. Also, I gave Easter gifts to Tammy's boys. :)

Friday I gave time at church. And I got my hair cut for the cancer wig donation. Both mindful. I planned those out for ages, really. Looked forward them. :)

Thursday I gave time and music at Good Friday. :) :) :)

Wednesday I gave time and music at practice. :) :) :)

Tuesday I gave time and money to the Ronald McDonald House. :) :) :)

But I don't think those can count. As much as I want them to, under the 29 Gifts rules they couldn't count toward the 29 Days. Plus, it was Lent during that time, so that's more why I did them I suppose, so that's okay that it doesn't count for 29 Days. I think I'm just nervous about the idea of setting out to give a gift every day. It's one thing to just happen to give something, it's another to commit to it. And to commit to not feeling OBLIGATED to do it, which is a strange concept to me - because if you commit doesn't that obligate you? But I'll work through that. After all, I was trying to be charitable during Lent, so this is just more of that, right?

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