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Monday, December 5, 2011

Giving Back with the Giving Trees

I think everyone is guilty of taking what they have for granted. I know I am so guilty of this.

It's much easier to look at what we don't have than at what we do.

All it takes for me to realize just how blessed I am is to make a list of all that I have in my life. Let's start with:

-Love [family, friends, business supporters, church community]
-A cell phone
-A computer
-More shoes than what can fit on the bottom of my closet
-Purses to match my outfits...

See? That only scratches the surface and I've already been slapped in the face by how much I've been blessed with.

I try to make a point of keeping the excess in my life to a minimum. A constant battle in the materialistic society we live in, but I do try. I frequently go through my closet and remove anything that I don't need or love, or doesn't have true sentimental value. This is one small way that I give back to others, and in the process, streamline my life.

This winter, Matt and I decided to use some of the blessings that my photography business has brought us and give back. We were doing some Christmas shopping of our own at the mall and we came across the giving trees. You know, the Christmas trees with the gift tags on them, with information on someone who is in need in the local community. We chose four tags from the three trees.

The next day, we went to Target together and carefully selected gifts for each tag. The tags are anonymous for obvious reasons so I have no idea nor will I ever know who these gifts are going to. But I kept thinking about the people who will receive these gifts and I wondered about them. About their lives. About what their Christmases will be like. What struggles they face or have faced... It made me thankful for the organizations that put together these giving trees so someone can have a better Christmas.

As I wrapped up the gifts, I prayed for the people who will get these gifts. For the kids that will play with the legos we carefully chose. For the teenager who will use the journal to process her thoughts, maybe writing songs or poems in a personal literary escape. I prayed for a happy Christmas this year, and for blessings in 2012.

As I taped up the edges of the wrapping paper, I added to my list of things to be thankful for. The ability to bless others because of the success I've found in my life. The freedom to be able to make the decision to give. The option to give locally, making a difference in the community that I live in.

Life is so full of blessings, all we have to do is look.


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