Giving and Receiving

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Since the Holiday Season is upon us, I thought I’d contemplate on what it means to me. I’ve always preferred to give than to receive. However, receiving is an awesome feeling to me only when it is unexpected; a complete surprise. But, then, I feel sort of guilty for receiving. I know I shouldn’t feel that way. It is everyone’s God-given right to give. If I have the right to give than so does everyone else.

So, then in contemplating the act of receiving, I realized that I am also giving. I am giving another human being a chance to do something unselfish (or at least I hope it is a selfless act). The act of giving compliments the act of receiving and vice versa.

I remember one year when I was a young girl, my siblings, parents and myself were all sitting in our living room handing out presents and unwrapping them. Well, everyone else was unwrapping gifts, but I was just watching them. I never even gave a glance at the pile of gifts sitting before me to unwrap until my Mom said: “Jill, you have presents to unwrap too!” I was so startled by the fact that I forgot I had my own pile of beautiful gifts. I was happier watching everyone else’s happiness and excitement. To this day I am more excited watching everyone else as they unwrap their surprises.

Now that I am much older I enjoy the ambiance of our home and family gatherings as much as the giving of gifts. In fact, the gathering of family in and of itself is a gift. A gift that I enjoy more than ever.

To all of you who enjoy the act of giving please remember to enjoy the act of receiving.

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A storm of Many Faces – Faces of Community

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It was a week before Hurricane Irma was to hit somewhere in the state of Florida and tensions were high. I could feel it everywhere I went. Water and gas were beginning to deplete all over the state of Florida. I recall the moment when we decided to fill the gas cans with gas for our generator. It was Wednesday, September 6, 2017. Irma wasn’t supposed to hit the west coast of Florida. She, or rather her core was supposed to hit closer to the East side or up the spine of the State—and Irma wouldn’t reach our section of the state until Sunday night. Therefore we figured we would have no problem finding gas for the generator. We always were able to do so for other hurricanes. We had misjudged the timing, however, and even five days ahead of the storm the gas stations were already running out of gas. No matter what time we went out looking for gas the stations were out, or there were lines so long that by the time we could get up to the pump they’d probably be empty. By Friday the point was mute—no gas anywhere. Continue reading “A storm of Many Faces – Faces of Community”

Duck the Swallows

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I remember well the summers in upstate New York when I was young. The four-acre farm that my family lived on was not just a training ground of responsibility for my siblings and me. It was a natural school. We learned how to work as a team–which was often a tug of war for the best and easiest assigned chores. There were five of us–three girls and two boys. My father had a riding lawn mower, and thank goodness because he mowed about two-thirds of our four-acres.

If you stood at the side of the road facing our two-story farm house, you would see a large freshly mowed field to the left. Closest to the road was a large raspberry patch that my mother employed us to pick from for jams, jellies and sometimes pies. Much further back in the field was a fenced in chicken coop where the meanest rooster in the world lived. But that is another story. Continue reading “Duck the Swallows”

Thanks, Mom

 

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As she sat alone on the bench in the round-about in front of her favorite store in the mall, she wondered where time had spent its days. Was time on vacation? Time didn’t seem as though it was aware that the world was still turning. Life had not been friendly, and she realized how lonely she was. She had many friends and acquaintances, but here she was in the mall all alone once again. She ate lunch alone, shopped alone, went to the movies alone. She was certain that people knew she had the weekends off from her job but nobody every invited her to go anywhere or do anything. She felt like she was begging when she would call a friend and ask what they were doing for the weekend. Everyone was always telling her that she was so likable so why would they exclude her?

From the time she was a young girl, she was the independent type, but that didn’t mean that she didn’t need companionship or friendship. There were several moments in her life that she had one or two friends that she would see every day or at least nearly every day. Then, like this time in her life, she didn’t have anyone that seemed interested in spending time with her. As she sat there on that bench alone, she felt tears water up in her eyes, and she shook them off.  “No.,” she thought. I’m not going to cry. Not here. Continue reading “Thanks, Mom”