An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scofted. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 364-Gifts Galore!

Yesterday may have been one of my busiest days giving days of the year.  I had several gifts that I had meant to give earlier but for one reason or another I just didn’t.  Also, I have been off work for over a week and I have been cleaning out every drawer, cabinet, closet and room of my home and some gifts from decluttering.

Several of my gifts came because of a tradition that was started when I was little and continues to this day.  When I was growing up mom, my sister and I would spend a day baking cookies and candies and then deliver the treats to friends and family.  Sometime around Christmas, even though we all can’t be together to bake, I still spend a day or two in the kitchen making tons of goodies for neighbors and friends.  This year on Day 363 I took cookies to a neighbor and then yesterday on Day 364 I took cookies to several friends, the post office and a nonprofit I support.  Gift #1.
The non-profit that I took cookies too is Housing Opportunities.  They provide housing for the homeless, help families prevent foreclosure; provide home ownership education and affordable rental housing in Northwest Indiana.  On Day 187 I donated toilet paper and on Day 238 I volunteered in their food pantry for the United Way ofPorter County’s Day of Caring.   Yesterday besides cookies, I dropped off new hats and mittens and toilet paper and paper towels.  They always seem to be running low and in need of the last two items. Gift #2.

I love the public library but my books to tend to always be overdue.  I finally finished, Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow and needed to return it. It was only about 10 days overdue!  I enjoyed the book though there was too much play by play of his college football games and the book got a little boring for me.  I am intrigued of how the media has treated Tim Tebow over the past year.  We have a guy who has, from what I can tell, done nothing but good things in his college and NFL career yet the media makes him out to be some terrible person just because he boldly talks about his Christian faith. Call me crazy, but I am not for sure what’s wrong with a guy who does a lot of charity work, goes on mission’s trips to help with an orphanage in the Philippines and is a role model for the upcoming generation, regardless of his faith these are all positive things that children of today don’t see much of.  You would think positive is positive and let us encourage him to continue to do good deeds. Okay enough of my soapbox!  I got a little sidetracked; while I was at the library I donated used books and magazines.  Gift #3.
Finally I dropped off a car load of unwanted items at Goodwill.  As a professional organizer, now is a good time to make a commitment to simplify the material things in your life.  Go through your home and keep only those things you love and you use on a regular basis.  The other things are physical and mental clutter which causes stress.  This donation was Gift #4. 

I want to wish everyone a safe and blessed New Year’s Eve.  Have a fun New Year Eve but please don’t drink and drive!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 362-My favorite Christmas card

Christmas cards are one of my favorite things about the holiday season.  With Facebook, e-cards and e-mail I am fortunate that many of my friends still take time to send Christmas cards. I enjoy the letters and family photos, especially from those I don’t see or talk too much throughout the year.

Out of all the Christmas cards I receive, there is one I always wait for and is my favorite. It is the Christmas letter from Coach Bullock and Mrs. Coach.  Coach Bullock was my cross country coach at Taylor University.  He is a spry older man who had an impact on me that few in my life have.  Yes, there are many people that come and go in our lives and many make an impact. But there are those special few that make such a significant impact in your life that no matter where you are, how old you are or what you do, they will always be there in your thoughts, be reflected in how you make decisions and in your heart. Coach Bullock is one of those people. He was there with me day 1 when I stepped on campus at Taylor University, he was there when I suffered heartbreaking injuries and he was there with me on my wedding day.

He wasn’t only an amazing coach but he was a great friend who expected a lot of us as runners and as Christian women.  I think what I liked most about Coach was that he never made a decision for us as a runners.  He always gave us choices, the choice to work hard or be lazy or the choice to run extra miles or quit for the day. He made you want to work hard without ever raising his voice or being negative. He was an encourager. I worked hard because the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint Coach.

My gift yesterday was a hand-written note to Coach Bullock and Mrs. Coach.  I didn’t send Christmas letters (only cards with photos) this year, but felt it necessary to write and send one to him.  He is getting up there in years and his health has deteriorated but through his Christmas letter, I know he is still the same old coach.  By sending him this letter I wanted him to know what I had been up to but also to let him know that I still think about him and that he is loved and remembered.
Over the years, who has impacted your life? Take a couple of minutes today to drop them a note to tell them thank you for the difference they made in your life.  It will brighten your day and theirs!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 96-We received a gift!

Today I am going back to Day 96.  This day renewed my faith in people, strangers in the world that also believe in random acts of kindness.

My husband and I were in his squad car going through the drive thru at the Dairy Queen, our favorite summer treat place! When we pulled up to the window to pay for our delicious ice cream treats the cashier said, “the lady in front of you paid for you!”  This was a shock to both of us.  My guess is it had something to do to the fact we were in his police car and believe it or not there are still people out there who love,  respect and know the sacrifices law enforcement officers make on a daily basis. 

We told the girl at the window we would like to pay for the person behind us. This was my/our gift for the day! She was a little puzzled but accepted our money.
As we drove away I wondered two things, one what did the person behind us say when they found out we had paid for their meal and two did they pay it forward or did the gift giving end there?

Next time you are in line at McDonalds, Starbucks or the Dairy Queen offer to pay for someone’s meal.  Random Acts of Kindness go along way and may times have a ripple effect.  Start a wave of giving today!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm Still Giving Gifts!

Over the past couple of months people have been asking me if I am still giving gifts on a daily basis and the answer is YES!  I have kept up with my goal of giving at least one gift a day for every day this year.  I just haven't been blogging about it.

The blogging for me got a little overwhelming.  As summer came, increased responsibilities at work and more traveling, the blog was somthing I had trouble fitting into my day.

 It is my goal to go back and write about my favorite gifts over this past year and then start the new year with daily posts, some will be long and some will just be a sentence. I believe in what I am doing and it has changed my life for the better. 

Yesterday was day 336 and through Samaritan's Purse  I was able to give an orphan a month of loving care.  In more than 20 countires, Samaritan's Purse is caring for orphaned, abandoned, and destitute children by partnering with local ministries that meet their physical needs while sharing the hope of the Gospel.  A gift of $35 provided a child with a month of meals, lodging, healthcare and education.

I hope you have been giving through out the year and that it has made a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Thanks for taking the time to come visit my blog and look for more posts in the future.  In the meantime, take a minute and go back and read some of the gifts from the first part of the year.

Have a blessed day!