Thanksgiving This Year

Autumn candle

This year was a milestone for me—I turned 60 and it was the first birthday that my mother was not able to celebrate with me, call me, or sign her name with my father’s to my card. When she passed away in late summer of 2017, I had no idea of how her passing would change me. I learned very quickly it was a hurt for which I had no words or experience.

I was excited about my 60th birthday and had planned a party (theme: Honey, I’m Grown) months in advance. As the June date drew nearer, I became apprehensive about how I would feel on that day, and wondered if in the middle of the celebration, I would realize that it was not a good idea. But that didn’t happen. Continue reading

Why Giving Well is Living Well

 

Shortbread Christmas cookies for cups

Several years ago, before I shifted from being an employee to focusing on my writing, I was a development officer, also known as a fundraiser. One of the most fulfilling parts of the job was getting to know my donors—not their capacity for giving, because I quickly learned that most people want to give, to be a blessing—but learning why giving back was important to them.

These were generous people and it was an honor to get to know them and their families. I loved hearing their stories because I realized that few of the benefactors that I met came from enormous wealth; it was just that they had an enormous inclination to share their blessings with others. And the gifts were not always monetary, some gave time, some gave lectures or internship advice, others hosted events. Part of being creative about giving is recognizing that it is not always necessary to write a check to serve others. If you can, that is great, but all of us have some unique gift we can share with the world. Continue reading