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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving...a list to help ya out is here...

....if you want the list of some of my best gifts and skip my mumbo jumbo...just scroll down a bit.....

As we sat out and thought out the gazillion things we were thankful the other day....I felt blessed in a gazillion ways and had tons of sentimental and nostalgic thoughts throughout that day.  ....This morning, as I was doing yet another work out in hopes that eventually my exercise, food choices and mind will come together in a perfect union...I started thinking about giving.  After all, Christmas is on all of our minds now.  ...........Before I put myself out here, I need to post one of my "disclaimers".  I am ok.  Somehow things always and I mean always work out for us.  I have rock solid faith in my God, my family, and the world at large that works in a way that keeps us afloat.  When we need....it never fails to show up.    ............With that, here I go.
My mom asked me recently some gift basket ideas for someone she knew who had a loved one (specifically a little one) that was in the hospital and quite possibly dying.  This person spent most of her time at the hospital and had been caring and loving this little one.....and my mom wanted the right little gifts.   ..........I'm glad she asked.  It's inspired this post even though it was weeks ago that I gave my mom a small list and some thoughts on the subject.
.........now I've had a bit of experience being poor.  I was on food stamps back in the day when my ex and I first separated (and this is in no way a reflection on him...he's a good man...he suffered too and was in a completely different country serving our country).  I lived with a friend for several weeks with Tristan when he was small until I was approved for a small income based apartment.  I lived there for about a year and a half before I decided my son would not get on a school bus living in that spot.  ........seriously, pride has its place.  ..........in that time, I had one specific Christmas memory that has impacted me for a loooooong time.  ....in positive and negative ways.  I literally had $10 to spend on Christmas.  My ex and I happened to separate before Christmas.  Specifically 3 days before I flew from Guam to Utah to live with my friend.  ..........my ex had given me some money and there was a mishap with my ticket and I ended up needing to buy a ticket from California to Utah....to get that ticket, I spent all he gave me except $10.   ............yeah, it left an impression on me how awful that moment was.   .........Well, let's just say Tristan literally had a dollar store Christmas that year.  My friend bought him a Barney doll.  This was the Christmas of 97 so Tristan was only 2.5 so he doesn't remember.  .....Well, I do.  I'll never forget it.  ..........What left the deepest impression?  Tristan was perfectly happy and had a blast that day.  ..........I also remember my friend who also lived in a low income based apartment had a ridiculous amount of gifts for her children.  And I mean ridiculous.  .........Now, I'm going to try not to sound bitter because I seriously am not but I am trying to simply leave a truthful account.    .............because at the time she did not work or have child support, she was on every service imaginable.  She was a good person...hell, she opened her home to me for 3 straight weeks and helped me get on my feet in more ways then I have time to blog about.  ..........anywho, she was a beautiful person but she was young and finding herself...not too unlike me at the time but I can say the way I was raised probably helped me get on my feet faster.   .........with that, her home was ridiculous that Christmas because she had her name in about 3 different giving trees and her church (which she did not attend but she did allow visiting missionaries in her home) had a Christmas explosion under her tree.  She paid about $5 a month in rent and utilities, her food stamps were a ridiculous amount and the gifts for her children barely fit in that room.  .................people can be beautiful and your giving does go somewhere...........but seriously, this was wrong.  ..........as much as I like to blow out my opinion on a gazillion topics, I'm just going to let your mind simmer this truth for awhile on your own.
............next story.........Ireland.  I believe most who will read this already know Ireland's story, so I will not go into a major detail here.  I found out she'd have a 50% chance to live at 20 weeks pregnant in 2009.  Despite us doing all the right things, gazillions of prayers and well wishes, medical intervention from the start.........a 39 week gestational period before finally giving birth that was unheard of..............she was only with us for 11 days and she never came home with us.  .........I can still cry for her.    .............now, people were wonderful.  People were amazing.  ........this was a little before we were into facebook but I blogged so ended up with a ton of support from friends in similar situations.  That support was simple comments or emails and let me tell you.............it meant everything during my pregnancy and during her hospital stay.  ........I want the seed planted that you throwing a dollar in an umbrella at walmart wasn't what I needed then..........I needed a virtual hug.  I needed someone saying you look great.  I needed someone saying despite a gazillion wires, a bloated body, a dire outlook,   that yes, Ireland mattered and she was the most beautiful baby ever.  .............when she passed away, we probably easily got 100 cards.  I needed them.  I don't remember what they all said.  I do remember getting them from strangers and people that had simply heard of us.  I remember weeks later looking at those cards.  Those cards were a big deal.  The emails I received were a big deal.  The food sent and made was needed because I had a hard time doing the daily tasks.  The money helped.  Some went to bills.  It went to a pizza more days than I can count.  It bought the outfit I wore to her memorial service in Utah and it helped pay for tickets for us to go back home and have a service with our family.  I got flowers from a friend that I did not expect them from.....one of those flowers is in her display case that is just outside my bedroom....it was a big deal.  .........we got a case of water.  Seemed weird, ya know....it was awesome.  The basics are a big deal because you don't think right when you lose a child and grieve.
........our family this year has been blessed with Connor.  We had absolutely no clue he'd be born anything but perfect..........and really, besides that first night where we had to come to terms with our own personal tsunami, he is perfect.    ...........we've spent our fair share in a children's hospital and with alot of mail from blue cross blue shield.  ...............we bought a car one week before Connor was born.  We had been on a path of paying off all of our debt since I had decided to be a stay at home mom after Sawyer was born.  .............we had just paid off my car, our credit cards, the four wheelers.  We had sold one four wheeler and had some money in the bank so put that all down on the car to keep the payments lower.   ............yeah...........one week before he was born, we felt pretty proud of ourselves.    ...............and then he was born.  Our beautiful baby was going to need alot of help.  ..........today, Connor is a modern miracle.  He's still got a long way to go.  He has a g tube......but eats ....but aspirates .......and doesn't suck ......but uses a bottle and makes it work for him...he's having a tough time weaning off meds....but the meds are working for him......he still needs surgeries.....we hear therapies will be in his life for a loooooooong time.....we hear dental work will be a nightmare..........on and on and on.  He's awesome.  He's worth some sacrifice.   .........this year people have helped again.  Sometimes we feel like people suck and the world is against us and then the next minute...we feel grateful.  ...........this is a roller coaster ride not made for the weak.     ........Some things we were gifted........3 homemade lasagnas for our freezer......dude....frozen food is perfect from the new mom, the hospitalized, those suffering in any way, the elderly, the lazy, the anybody............PERFECT gift for anyone, anytime.........we got some monetary gifts.......always nice when you have a hospital stay because gas, food, basics are not cheap.  Phone calls.  Whether I answered the phone or just got a message.........it was a big deal.  A homemade blanket for Connor.  This year, maybe because he was the 3rd baby in a row...he only got one, simple blanket and it is a big deal because my family knows someone took the time to sit down from their busy life and do something specifically for him.  ..........don't nit pick your homemade goods, they are loved.


THE LIST of perfect gifts...in Chanda's humble opinion.

1.  Don't write a check to redcross.  Despite your warm and fuzzy feeling and really wanting to help.....ok...if you are truly busy, write the check.....but seriously, you have a neighbor or someone you know that could use that money.

2.  Seriously, 25 cents leftover from your $200 purchase at walmart for the salvation army?!  .....go ahead, put it in the pot.....but then maybe take a $20, put it in an envelope and drop it in the parking lot of your nearest Children's hospital.....maybe put a note to open if you need some help or kindness today.

3.  One of the best moments I saw of my hubby was when we had been giving some help from my parents and we had a little extra money during a particular hospital stay....our friends had visited with their kids and Sawyer but had to go the Children's play area to stay away from where Connor was at that time...well, we noticed the playstation only had one controller (may have been an xbox..who knows?!)......after asking for another controller and hearing there wasn't one........we took the time when we could....went out to buy an expensive butt controller and physically brought it to the Children's play area and gave it to the volunteers there.     ...........let me stress, that we've noticed poor toys at our very expensive Children's hospital.  People donate like crazy and throw toys in boxes and money at telethons and we've had more than one nurse say they don't know where that money goes.   ..........go buy a toy....don't leave it at the front desk.........wash your hands..........make sure you've had your flu shot............go to the 3rd floor of Primary's hospital and walk a toy to the Children's play area (or your local hospital).

4.  Send a thoughtful email or card.  They matter.

5  Don't gripe about Obama or congress or your local representative...........stop typing or insulting and physically do something.  Make a freaking casserole and if you don't know someone suffering, take it to your grandma, your friend, your mama, .........someone.

6.  If someone has died ........don't think that mother is still crying years later and you think she should get over it.  ...........she will never get over it.  Tell her you remember her beautiful loved one.

7.  If you know a mother or father (or anyone() tending a loved one, remember they're having a hard time focusing on anything.....don't give novels or cliches of they'll be fine.  Give them something tangible.    .....don't ask them to call or if they'd like this or need this or please let us know........we can't think in these times....we aren't ourselves and we probably need it so just give it.  Yes, we need you to babysit but don't want to be a burden.  Yes, we could use a meal, but don't want to sound pitiful.  Yes, we are going broke but don't want to seem needy or that we're not handling things ourselves.

8.  If you know someone is not doing well.  They're gaining too much weight, losing too much weight, not taking care of themselves, a teen dressing too provocative, a kid talking in hateful ways.......reserve judgement....let them know they're loved.  Provide a little self esteem, hand out a recipe of you absolute fav healthy food, gift something meaningful, give them a compliment......make them know they are awesome and meant for so much and that when they get through the hard stuff, they will feel amazing knowing they can do anything.

9.  Did I already say gift some food?  Alot of people don't want to give money.........don't if that's your thing.  And don't just make junk food.  Seriously.......if someone is truly in need.....what they need is a meal.  We got some great mexican type casseroles once....probably didn't take forever to make or cost a ton but man..........it was one less thing to have to do during a particularly rough patch.

10.  Your used stuff that's still nice really is a gift for someone that needs it.   .......with a little bit of embarrassment....I posted the need for my growing babies.  And let me tell you........it is embarrassing to put yourself out like that........When you're putting up a fence this year and getting new windows for your house, you feel judged....big time!   Every thing I do and definitely where money is concerned, I can feel a sense of judgement.  It's not necessarily from others either........it's something I do to myself.     ...............anywho..........our house is older and the windows desperately needed replaced..........our fence is basically a gift from my folks because seriously, Sawyer is hard to keep up with and needs to run around.   ..................anywho, back to my embarrassing/swallow your pride moment.    It is beyond hard to ask for help....to say, I don't exactly have everything we need.  ............of course, we could charge up another credit card and get everything our boys need.  We could go borrow, again, from our retirement.    But I knew, I'd give my things away for someone so I flat out asked.    ...........for those who helped us out, and helped others out.....it was a huge burden lifted........thank you..........and keep up your amazing gifting ways.

11.  A man from out of nowhere bought our breakfast one morning.  No idea who he was.  No idea that was going to happen.  ............it was an amazing feeling to know people like that exist.  When we're in that position again, I'm going to do this.    ..........If you can truly afford to do this for someone, some family, do it.  If you're not sure who to do it for......a hint would be any serviceman or woman.........any family with young kids....any older people.......any single parent..........really, anyone....even a rich person may like the feeling and reminder of saints and angels walk among us.

12.  Babysitting for free.  We've been blessed here.  We even had a teenager that we love to pay because she's just that good and sweet refuse our money once.   Wow.    (and seriously Sarah, don't ever do that again...we have older friends that'll do it for free  :D  )

13.  Visit.  We're not exactly the jet setting family anymore.  We don't remember our last real vacation though we've been blessed to have family come out and last thanksgiving we flew back east.    ..........I've had a few friends call and stop by just to hang out.  It's always been awesome.  ........we are in a situation where we have to be germaphobes.  We still are not that crazy type that offers sanitizer when you walk in......but we sure like to think everyone has the common sense to not come over sick and to wash up if you've been out and about before stopping by.    ............with this visit.........I'd also like to add that we had some family of ours gift their time share to my parents so they didn't have an added expense when they came to visit us.  That was beyond thoughtful and a huge gift...not only to my parents but to us.

14.   ...................make your giving count.  Be thoughtful not just quick. 


..........I'm pretty sure anyone can leave comments so please do if you have some great ideas to add.  This was just a quick blog post that I wanted to get out there and get people thinking about


2 comments:

  1. pretty sure I got the best gift in 2004... xoxoxo

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    Replies
    1. I love you both.....can't wait for when you guys can visit. We know it's been a rough year for y'all too. <3

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