The Joy of Giving


     Ever since I was a little girl I have always enjoyed making something and giving it to someone.  It has always been part of me.  Usually it was a painting I made but sometimes I would get more inventive and make mud pies or brownies in my easy oven baker.  As I got older, as in middle and high school, I found I gave my time to others.  I  volunteered in the special needs class and helped those with down syndrome.  I helped a college student my senior year in high school, at the wildlife preserve, doing her small animal tracking for one of her science classes.  I got to go out in nature and help ear tag small animals.  That was fun.

 As I became an adult, I volunteered in programs like animal therapy.  I had an amazing golden retrieve named Abby.  I rescued her when I was 21.  She was a gift from the heavens after my car accident.  She got me up and walking again.  She was an amazing dog, and I enrolled her in a dog therapy program.  We went to senior centers and to a head injury center to help others, just by showing up.  Her love was so unconditional, there wasn’t anyone that couldn’t open up to her.  She was magic.  I shared her love with many many people.  After she died, a little part of me died with her.  You see she died  when I was 28.  She died right after I started get flashbacks and began remembering about the sexual abuse. She was my anchor here on earth.  It was so hard to get through the grief.  Part of me believes her time on earth was solely to get me to a place of healing.  She was such a special dog that came at a time when I needed a miracle in my life.  I am blessed to have had her.

     When I came through the darkness of my healing or as my husband says , coming out of my garden,  I found the joy  to continue my giving.  My desire to help others grew still as I expanded in myself.   I cooked for mediation retreats, AIDS  hospice, mothers that have just had babies and have donated my services as a baker or a chef to give for silent and live auctions.  I’m always baking something and finding people to eat it (so I won’t eat all of it I’m sure…wink wink).   As finances changed, we began sponsoring children in Nepal, sponsoring an elderly couple in India, and many people from The Himalayan Children’s Fund (a non profit near and dear to us).  It is a joy receiving letters from all around the world of children and elders and in between of people we help.  Some of them even tell me  they are my daughters.     I even found myself playing my flute in nursing homes or hospitals as music therapy.

     Part of ‘who I am’, has always been found in giving part of me.  I think it is just part of my nature, but I believe part of it grew from an understanding that money and time are of the same beast.  Because I didn’t have a lot of money to give, I decided as an adult to come up with things I could give that were of equal value to money.  Now, it is so engrained in me that I just overflow everywhere with giving.  People often say I give too much.  But what is too much?  As long as I am balanced and as long as I am breathing…I am giving.  That is part of the flow, receiving and giving.  I believe generosity breeds generosity.  In my giving, I find lots of joy.  I find lots of love and it moves me deeply.

     Look for something in your life today that you can see has been a part of you your whole life.  Something that has made you feel good about yourself.  Do you still do it? Or has life gotten so busy you forgot about that part of yourself?  Perhaps you stopped it for other reasons and regret stopping.  Search inside to remember what one of your inner joys were.  Bring it to the surface again.  Bring a smile to others.  Share this part of yourself just because.  Make some magic in your life today by sharing a part of yourself to someone.  Part of loving yourself is remembering the parts of you that you love.  Dip your toes inside and find out what that is.  Remembering is bringing the “members” back together again.  The members are the parts of you.  Life is too short to forget what brings us joy.  You never know which will come first, tomorrow or the next world.  Enjoy today, it is all we have.  Fill it with love and joy.  Make a difference today.

Here are some other wonderful ways that you can give:

Foundations….Find something that you are passionate about.  Look up local, state and global things that need our help.

Volunteering your time...helping to teach adults to read, reading to children, visiting nursing homes to the lonely ones, another endless list.

Creating something of your own baking,knitting, painting, drawing, pottery, is limitless.

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