29 Days of Giving: Reflections and a Giveaway

So this is it – the 29th day of my 29 Days of Giving Series.  I started with the hope that I could get back into the writing groove again, and spread some kindness along the way.  It's been that and so much more.

I have a new found respect for people who publish something every day.  It's a lot of work.  I do feel as if I've gotten over that hump of being so scared to post something that's not perfectly polished that I chose not to write at all.  If y'all wanted perfection, I imagine you'd spend your time reading something a bit more lofty.  That being said, I will not be posting every day again for a loooong time.  Or ever, probably.  You have to actually live a life in order to blog about it.  In fact, as a special gift to my husband (and probably to a few of you, too), I'm going to take the next week off.  He'd probably like to see me some evenings in a capacity other than hunched over the laptop.

The giving part, though?  This is a practice I plan to continue as long as I can, albeit in a more private manner from here on out.  

My mindset, prior to starting this journey, was that giving was really only for people who had a lot of time, or money, or both.  Sure, I could manage to write a check here or there, or volunteer every once and awhile, but every day?  Impossible.  It never occurred to me that even the littlest things could really make a difference.  

I think about the Cup of Joe, how just a few minutes and few dollars could mean something to someone halfway around the world.  I think about gathering the books we already had around the house, and how much that one act of kindness impacted my child.  I think about how we've been kinder to each other in our own home over the last 29 days than I ever remember, and how it just seems sunnier in our home, even on our darker days.  

Time and money – those things help, but it takes very little of either to make an impact.  What it does require, though, is mindfulness and an attitude of love.  You have to make up your mind that you're going to do something, and that you're going to do it out of kindness and not obligation.  Each and every one of us has the ability to do just that, if we so desire.

29 days was over and done before I got around to do many of the things I wanted.  I still plan to do them, but I thought I'd share a few here in case you needed any ideas of your own.

  • Donate blood or platelets.
  • Pay for the car behind you in the drive-through.
  • Don't walk past the Salvation Army bell ringer.  Drop some change in.  Better yet, drop in a larger bill.
  • Offer to deliver a meal to someone who is going through a difficult time or transition.  That couple you know that just had a baby, your older neighbor who doesn't get out much, that mom down the street whose husband works extra shifts to make ends meet.
  • Offer to run an errand for a friend, especially if they have some littles in their care.  Better yet, offer to watch the kids for them so they can run an errand in peace!
  • Call someone just to tell them you love them.

Here's the thing about opening yourself up to giving – once you do, the ideas keep coming.  In case you need any more inspiration, my gift today just might help.

Today I Gave:  A signed copy of Cami Walker's book to one of my very special readers.  Well, I haven't given it yet, but I will in one week when my 29 Gifts Giveaway closes!  I met Cami at St. Luke's this morning and she signed her book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, for one of you.  She just got some exciting news – they're making a movie out of the book.  If you're anything like me, you'll want to read it before it hits the big screen.  All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me about the nicest thing someone has done for you.  The winner will be chosen at random after the giveaway closes on Sunday, November 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET.  I can't wait to read your comments and be even more inspired!

Today I Received:  An unexpected phone call from a dear friend.  Sure, she initially called to talk trash about how her Patriots were going to trounce my Colts and I would owe her a pitcher of margaritas.  (And yes, Rebecca, I will gladly pay up at the beach this spring. Victory was so close!)  But then we spent the next 20 minutes or so catching up, and I remembered how much I love this girl and miss having her right down the street from me.  Even if she is a Patriots fan.

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  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading this month!! As far as the nicest thing, I am so blessed with good friends it’s hard to pick just one thing. the first thing that came to mind was when both kids had a stomach bug and my husband was or of town, my friend made a pedialyte, diaper, toilet paper run for me. And then she threw in a bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate and a magazine for me!!!

  2. “At age 33 Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis” just like me — I was diagnosed at age 33, too. And I believe in the power of giving. These two things make this woman and her book very appealing to me.
    Angie, thank you for taking on this challenge and sharing your journey with us. I have found it entirely inspiring.
    My husband agreed to attend an Imago workshop with me when we were dating and then subsequent sessions with that therapist. We got insight into why we interact the way we do and learned tools to facilitate better communication. Our relationship has so much safety in it now that I still stop to think about how grateful I am to have found such a wonderful partner. That is the nicest thing anyone has done for me.

  3. I am sure I have many but the first nice thing to come to mind is a very simple one. I received a card in the mail from a friend. I miss real mail and it was nice to be thought of in that way. I am the one in the group who sends little notes. I rarely receive any in return. They are just acknowledged in conversation. I tend to be a person who easily holds it all together but a while back I was going through a rough time emotionally. One of my friends wrote me a letter in a beautiful card. It was nice to be thought of, nice to have validation in my feelings, and nice to know my best friend was there for me no matter what. I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate you sharing.

  4. Just wanted to say this series you’ve done has been wonderful to read. Put another thing down in your “gave” column, because this blog is a gift to many!

  5. We are selling our home in Tulsa, and until it sells, my family and I are all staying with my parents here in Indiana. We recently went on a quick weekend trip to check on the house and visit friends who over the years had become more like family than friends. As such, they new how emotional it was for me to be back in our home, in our own space sharing time with family and friends. To make the weekend perfect, they had weeded our back yard…7 TRASH BAGS FULL, left goodies in the fridge, roses in the bedroom, and a huge welcome home sign for the kids. Not to mention the cookout they had for us that night. I love them not for the things they did for us, but the love that went into every moment of that weekend. I am truly blessed to call them friends.

  6. Love it! You’ve definitely kept me reading more. BTW I haven’t read nienie or dooce in at least a week because I only have so much time. I’ve read every single one of your posts though!
    For some reason the first nicest thing that came to my mind was when a friend/co-worker offerd to work Christmas day for me. It was my holiday to work, but she just out of the blue volunteered to work it for me.

  7. Thanks, Angie for your wonderful posts! You have inspired me to do even more for others.
    Matt is always doing things for me-letting me sleep in on Saturdays when I should be up (according to him). 🙂 Also for him cooking dinner for us almost every night and taking care of the dishes afterward. He really is the greatest husband ever!