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Posts Tagged ‘giving’

I love gifting.  To most anyone, but especially to my grandkids.

You won’t, however, usually find me giving the latest toy or “must have” item.

I want my four grandboys and one grandgirl to enjoy and appreciate the gifts they receive for me.  But I also want them to have real value for their lives.  So my presents to them usually fall in one of these six categories:

Books

My first gifts—new babies, showers, every birthday and every Christmas—are always books.  I offer variety—old favorites, classics, new releases.   Board books, picture books, beginning readers.  Topics change:  trucks, tractors and Star Wars always win with the boys.  Grandgirl Madison has moved from princesses to horses.

I love reading to my grandkids, then letting them read to me, and finally just watching them reading on their own.  Books provide amazing adventures, take them to exotic places, introduce them to real heroes.

Imagination

This is a broad category.  The boys love building and constructing; recent gifts have included Star Wars Legos and Lincoln Logs.  Jewelry kits and cooking always please Maddy.  Music of every kind is a hit. And I give art supplies galore—appropriate for every age, using every medium. The boys especially love painting dragons and cars and dinosaurs they can then play with.

Hand puppets play a key role in our frequent storytelling—lions and kangaroos and mice and koalas—and the all-time favorite is a realistic alligator.  Costumes allow them to be superheroes or knights or ninjas or cowboys, or the latest pre-teen idol.  A sand and water table has given the grandboys hours of wet fun on hot days.

Action

One of my best gifts was the backyard playset—swings, a glider, a slide, a climbing wall, a fort–in my backyard. They have spent hours playing together there.  Our own bounce house has been a favorite, plus a slip-n-slide, bikes, a spring horse, even a pogo stick.

And sports equipment.  So many balls of every kind, shoes and practice shorts for soccer, soccer goals, a punching bag.  They burn up some of that incessant energy, strengthen their bodies and grow their skills.

Experiences

I love to take my grandkids on fun outings.  Books stores and pet stores are always fun, the zoo is amazing—except I can’t keep up with them—and any place with a train or a carousel delights.   Science museum, children’s museum, even Chuck E. Cheese—we do it all together.  And the beach—can’t forget the beach.

I used to teach horseback riding, and a friend has been willing to give some lessons to all of my grands.  This is Maddy’s favorite—at 10 she is getting pretty good.

Living in Orlando provides so many attractions.  Gatorland was a big hit—we have pictures of them on an alligator and draped in a python for a real memory.  One year’s Christmas gift was an annual pass to Sea World for all the local family members.  This past year the Indiana group got passes to a climbing gym, which the boys love.

Time

Any of these gifts can fall under the Time topic—if I do the different activities with them.  But sometimes Time means a trip to Chick-fil-A or watching a movie together, or playing games on my I-pad.  I love to just be with them.

I also give them Time they don’t really know about:  I pray for them all the time.

Giving

This last category is one I did with my children, and am now beginning to do with the grandkids:  Giving.  I love to help them choose toys or clothes to give to someone else who can use them.  I also give to Angel Tree in their names—providing gifts for children whose parents are in prison. Maddy and I together support a Haitian girl through Compassion—she loves writing to her.  I hope to expand this category more as the kids are old enough to understand their own giving.

Do I ever give a gift just because they want something?  Sure.  And I buy little trinkets and snacks when I go to visit them.  But most of the time I seek to give life-expanding presents that keep on giving.

And so far they all still love their Jeedoo (which is what they call me).

What about you?  What are your favorite gifts for the children in your life?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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My friend Natasha is making me jealous–she is on a 3-month sabbatical.  Her purpose is to seriously pursue the Radical Challenge in David Platt’s book Radical.  This is her next monthly installment on becoming a more radical follower of Jesus.

You can click over to her post here.

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I have a serious addiction.

And it’s not to chocolate.

It’s to giving.

One of the most joy-producing things I do is give.

Of course, I enjoy giving to my children and grandchildren.  I have been trying to give more events and opportunities and fewer things.  I love thinking about each one and choosing what would be special to him or her.  Such fun!

I love giving to the work of God–to church and ministries that I participate in, believe in.  I feel privileged to participate with individuals who have surrendered their lives to serve God in missions—here or across the world.  It is especially delightful to be able to encourage those on a short-term outreach to help them be open to where God might lead them in the future.

I am passionate about a lot of compassion and justice issues across the globe.   Anything that seeks to make a difference for women and children oppressed around the world catches my attention.  I care about rescuing and restoring the defenseless, enslaved, abused.  I want to help those in poverty because of things and people beyond their control.  Of course, I can’t give to all, so I seek God for wisdom.  And I pass on the needs of many via Facebook and Twitter.

I also try to set aside money that I can use to meet needs of individuals as I become aware of them.  Sometimes I do this openly, but I especially like to do it secretly and imagine the person’s joy and gratitude at God’s kindness.  And I try to carry cash to be able to “give to the one who asks you.”

When we are through with some of our things, we gladly pass them on to others who might use them.

My husband appreciates my joyful generosity, but he works hard to make sure we stay solvent.  Sometimes he reminds me that we do not have unlimited funds and I need to be prudent.

Why do I tell you this?  Am I bragging?  I certainly hope not.  If my joy in giving will motivate someone else similarly, that would be wonderful.

I write it because I am realizing that, as much as I have given, I have probably never given till it hurt.  The biblical widow who gave all she had did just that.  She gave all she had, with no sense of where more—the next meal, clothing, maybe shelter—would come from.  That is radical giving, and I am nowhere near that level.

My long-time leader Bill Bright loved to say, “I never heard of anyone ending up in the poor house (shelter, on the street) because they gave too much.”

So what am I saying?  Should I give away everything?  I don’t believe God is saying that to me—at least not yet.  But it seems that the joy I receive in giving would be even greater if it cost me a little more.

I am asking God to make me a radical like Jesus.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said radical life choices should be true of me.   I should look less and less like the world and more and more like Him.  I think that calls for some changes.   So I am asking Him to speak to me, to show the way, to give me courage, to grow me into a true radical like Him.

What about you?  Are you a radical?  Is giving a good place to start?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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In a church I used to attend, at Christmastime, we often sang  “What Can I Give Him?”

Christmas is, after all, a celebration of Jesus’ birthday.

Here are a few gifts I think Jesus will like:

Trusting

Jesus talked often of the power of faith—of believing who He is and what He is like.  He tells us to have faith.  He asks, “Where is your faith?”  He tells us that nothing is impossible to those with faith.

Author Brennan Manning, in his wonderful book Ruthless Trust, describes trust as faith in action.  When I put feet to my faith, my belief in Jesus, I entrust myself, my life, my needs, my fears, my hopes and dreams to Him.  He gladly receives that gift, and gives amazing gifts in return.

Obeying

In our relationships, we often look for proof of love from others in their actions.  “If you love me, you will….”

Jesus also looks for action that demonstrates that our love is true:  “If you love me, you will obey my teaching…” (John 14:23).  His teachings provide the how to’s for life and health and joy and meaning, and our obedience says “I love you.  I trust you.”  And it brings Him great joy, and amazing benefits to us.

Loving

The greatest commandments we are to obey?  Love God with your whole being, and love others as yourself.  When our greatest love belongs to Jesus, He is pleased.

But He desires that our love for Him leads to love for others:  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

How did He love us?  He laid down His life for us.  He wants us to die for people to show we love them?  Perhaps.  But the primary ways was lay down our lives in love is by giving time or help or money or encouragement….  Jesus really likes this gift, and we often receive more than we give.

Thanking

Scripture is pretty clear about this gift: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Say thank You in everything?!?  That makes no sense.  How do you say thank You for tragedies?  Betrayals?  Losses?  Disappointments?  Even the smaller pains of life?

Because God is God and God is good.  Saying thank You is one more way we express trust in God—that He cares about us and will work even terrible things for our good.  Another gift that gives back.

And of course, the best gift, the one that makes all the others possible, finishes the song:

“What can I give him?  Give him my heart.”

What will you be giving Jesus this Christmas?

C2011 Judy Douglass

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She had beautiful brown curls halfway down her back.

Soft, 8-year-old hair that had never been cut.

And my grandgirl decided it was time.

Not just to cut off her lovely tresses—but to give them to Locks of Love.

To help provide a wig for a child with cancer.

So we took Madison to the hair salon, where they measured the required 10 inches.  We all held our breath as the scissors did their work.

She said good-bye to her curls, as the stylist held up the length of hair in a ponytail, then packaged it to send off to Locks of Love.

Madison said her new short style suited her perfectly—light and easy to care for.

It’s hard, isn’t it, to give up something we treasure, something that has become a part of us.  It’s a little easier when we know it will benefit someone else.  And of course hair grows back.

But giving away the things of our lives—even something we treasure—is exactly what God loves for us to do.

Most of us have far more than we need, and decluttering our lives is good for us.  Of course, giving to benefit another feels good to us.  And what a blessing to provide help and hope to someone in need!

One more benefit:…your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  (2Corinthians 9:11-12)

I’m seeking to give away at least 100 things of mine next month.  Lots of clothes.  Food.  Décor.  Books I’ve written.

How about you?  Is there something—even a treasure—the Lord would have you give to benefit another?  Your very own Locks of Love?

c2011 Judy Douglass

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