Tuesday, March 23, 2010

29 days.

{the book can be found here}

I've embarked on a journey to give one item a day for 29 days, and let me tell you -- apparently I don't give enough.

To be honest, I kind of thought this would be easy. I feel like I'm a generous person; I give of my time and yes, even my money (giving is in the budget!) pretty freeily. But I am discovering that giving with purpose is an entirely different beast.

Friday was day one. The Spring girls provided the perfect inspiration: these affirmation cards. I quickly printed out my favorites and decided to do a little anonymous giving. (Gifts don't have to be anonymous, and probably won't usually be, but what can I say? Sometimes a girl likes to do things a little differently.)  I took two of the cards and posted them on my neighbors' doors and mailboxes with a little tape, then placed two on the community bulletin board. I know this may seem like a small gift, but I remembered the feeling I get when I see mail in my mailbox, and I pressed on. I felt a little silly, sneaking around our townhome complex armed with tape, but in the end, I think it was the perfect start to my project.

Saturday's gift was for Jordan. He'd been wanting to see Back to the Future at the drive-in movie in town, and Saturday night, that's exactly what we did. We didn't plan ahead, and we went armed with just enough money, but we had a blast.

Sunday night, several young men at our church were brave enough to conduct the worship service. We love these guys and spend a lot time mentoring and hanging out with them, so my gift was simple: thank you notes for their courage and for sharing their talents with us. I put them in the mail Monday with crossed fingers for happy recipients!

Monday might have been the hardest gift. I had in mind what I wanted to do by mid-afternoon, but circumstances changed, and I realized my gift would better be put to use elsewhere. I sat down at the computer to write an email I knew needed to be written to someone I love but have felt distanced from. It was a hard email to write, but I knew the encouragement was needed, even if it might never be acknowledged. It was a gift to the girl I love, but it was also a gift to me, allowing freedom from the cycle of poor communication and the hurt of broken relationships.

And that's just the beginning. Part of the process of this 29-day journey includes keeping track of what you receive. On day one, as I was racing from mailbox to mailbox, I spotted a patio chair in the complex dumpster. FREE FURNITURE. I couldn't believe it. It was karma defined. Then Sunday, I received a gift from a friend also participating in the project. The more you give, the more you truly do receive.

I've got a long road of giving ahead, so I'll again pose the question: Can you remember a gift — of time, thought, or money — that meant a lot to you? As I try to give a gift a day for the next 29 days, I’d like to know what it is people love to receive. Is it a phone call? An anonymous word of encouragement? A monetary gift? Food? Flowers? Mail? Leave a comment with your ideas, and find out more about the 29 Gifts project here.


Brooke Bailey said...

I love getting surprise mail!! You are awesome Annie. Always up to somethin'.

Lindsey said...

I went out of town once right after a friend of mine and I got into a bit of a fight. She had asked my roommates to let her into my room, and when I got back there were balloons around my room with little lovely notes on each one (not to mention some chocolate bars dispersed throughout the room). I loved it.

Anonymous said...

To me it is the element of surprise! A simple candy bar gets magnified by me when it was a surprise or unexpected. With this beautiful weather though flowers would be pretty and who dosen't like flowers!

Elizabeth said...

This is so inspiring...I'm so glad you commented yesterday so I could find out about it. My favorite gifts are always surprises, so no hints involved. It's lovely to know that somebody thought about you, but kept it a secret until the present arrived. And then you call and can gab about it :)