29 Gifts – Again

Some of you may recall that last year I read and then participated in the 29 Gifts project.  For those of you that don’t know what this is, here’s the story in a nut shell:

A woman named Cami Walker was diagnosed with MS shortly after her marriage.  She was feeling pretty miserable – physically and psychologically – when a neighbor, who was studying to be some sort of healer, told her that to feel better she should give a gift a day for 29 days.  Cami thought this idea was absurd at first.  She could hardly get out of bed – how could she go about giving gifts every day?  But one day she decided to try it.  And it was pretty amazing what happened.  So she gave a gift a day for 29 days, and then just kept doing it.  She wrote a book about it.  And started a web site where people, like me, can also give a gift a day and post about it. Because part of the process is to write down the gift you gave each day.  You can write it down in a note book, or on the site.  It doesn’t matter.  But you have to write it down.

A little note about the gifts: they don’t have to be monetary.  In fact, many aren’t.  A gift can be a complement given, a phone call to someone you haven’t talked to in a while, helping out when asked even though you really don’t want to, a thank you note written.

What I’ve found is that the opportunity to give presents itself every day.  Usually more than once.  So I no longer think, “What can I give today?” but instead start my day eager to see what opportunity will arise.

Note, too, that the one qualification is that the gifts must be consciously given.  None of this looking back on your day and trying to figure out what you gave.  If you didn’t do it consciously, it doesn’t count.

And you can’t skip a day.  If you do, you start over at Day One.  Note it took me three tries before I did it for 29 consecutive days.

Anyway, I feel like now it seems you may think there are too many rules.  But not at all.  The idea is pretty simple: consciously give one thing each day.  Write it down.  Watch how your life changes.

I did this early last year.  And I can’t quite put my finger on how to explain how wonderful it was.  Giving also makes you more open to receiving, which is such a blessing to me as I’m not so good at feeling good about receiving gifts from others.  Giving also opens you up to all that is good about your life – even when you think nothing is.  Eh – I’m not doing it justice.

All I can say is this: I’m doing it again.  You can read what I give each day by clicking here.  And you can read other people’s stories by clicking here.  And if you’d like to try it, I’d say order and read the book (it’s short, and a good, quick read) as it helps with some of the trouble you might have as you try to do it.

Today was my first day – again.  I’ve already tried to start three times, but keep forgetting to consciously give.  But there’s something so freeing about saying, “Eh – I failed.  So what.  I’ll just start over.”

29 Gifts – Day 8

One of my students had an issue with his homework.  The issue?  He never did it.  It was eventually decided that a call home was needed.  Oh how I dreaded that.  But thankfully, his father was very appreciative.  “He’s always been an A student, so we never had to check on his homework,” he explained.  “We were surprised when he got a B first quarter in your class.”  I explained how homework is the practice students need in order for the material to move from short-term to long-term memory – and that’s why he did poorly on his tests.  The father promised to take away some privileges and keep on top of him.

Well, it worked.  Since that conversation two weeks ago, he’s had his homework in on time every day.  So I called dad to tell him what a good job his son was doing.  Then, I walked in today to find him with an excuse as to why last night’s homework wasn’t in my basket.  Ugh.  Just when I thought it was getting better.  He swears he had it earlier.  Two classmates attest to this fact.  But he can’t seem to find it.  “I’ll reprint the worksheet for you and you can do it at recess,” I said.

When recess came, he came into my classroom to do his work.  Normally if the work isn’t in on time, it’s a zero.  But today I gave him a gift.  “I believe you when you say you had it,” I say.  “So I’m not going to give you a zero as long as you turn it in by the end of recess.”  “Thank you,” he said.

As he worked, he stopped once in a while to chat with me about random thoughts that crossed his mind.  “My sister took this course and she said it made high school a lot easier.”  “Oh, really?” I said, hoping he’d continue.  “Yeah – so I’m glad I’m taking it now.”  Did he really just say that?  The student who complained the first two months that he didn’t want to be in this class?  The one who said he wasn’t good enough to be in this advanced course?  I had noticed a turn in him the last couple weeks and it was amazing to watch.

That afternoon, he found his homework.  He had put it in the wrong section of his binder.  Organizational skills is one of the topics we’re working on, so I’m just happy it was in his binder.  And thankful that by believing him and beliving in him, he’s come to believe in himself.

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To see what other gifts I’ve given as part of the 29 Gifts project and to read about others doing the project, click here.

29 Gifts – Day 2

I woke up happy today.  This hasn’t happened in quite a while – usually I want to go back into my dreams.  But today I woke up happy.

Or maybe I didn’t wake up happy, but became so when – in my groggy state –  I glanced at my phone on my nightstand to see what time it was.  Since my new fancy phone now has e-mail on it, I checked my e-mail, too.  (Ugh.  I can’t believe I’m one of those people who checks e-mail from my bed now.)  I couldn’t believe the number of new messages.  And guess who they were from?  Other people on the 29 Gifts web site.  Genuine e-mail from real people who wrote something from their hearts.  What a fabulous thing to wake up to.

So I’m off to start my day.  On a happy note.  Oh what a welcome feeling that is.

 

29 Gifts

I started a new book the other day that I can’t put down: 29 gifts by Cami Walker.  She is suffering from MS when a spiritual teacher tells her to give 29 gifts in 29 days.  It’s amazing what happens from the moment she starts.  She’s gone on to create a world-wide movement at www.29gifts.org

I just joined the site and gave my first gift today: fondue pots to my sister.  You can click here for the first blog entry, or I’ve posted it below:)

Check out the book and the web site – and maybe try it yourself:)

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29 Gifts – Day 1 – Dec 8, 2010

I’m thinking of selling most everything I own and traveling the world. So when a new consignment shop opened in town, I took a look through my belongings to find things I no longer use that perhaps someone else would want to buy. At my mother’s house for dinner the other night, I told her I had packed up a few things to bring to the shop. “But I can’t tell you what they are, otherwise you’ll try to talk me into keeping them,” I said. Mom is a saver. I am not. “You can’t say that and not tell me!” she said. “Okay…well, I have a couple fondue pots. I used to use one of them, but I haven’t used either in a few years.” “Your sister just said yesterday she wants to have a fondue party but doesn’t have any fondue pots.” “Okay, so I’ll give them to her,” I said. “I also have a mini crockpot. Which I’ve never used.” “I’ll take that,” said my mother.

So today I gave my first gift. My sister lives in the apartment over the garage at my parents house. I went to my parents house to do laundry and I left two fondue pots on my sister’s dining room table. My sister’s laundry was still in the washer, so I moved it over to the dryer to start mine. When hers was done I folded it. I didn’t have time to wait for mine to finish drying – I had a couple tutoring students to see.

One of my students canceled last minute. That meant that I was free after 7:30. I called my sister to see if she wanted to help me decorate my Christmas tree, and she quickly agreed she’d be at my house at 8. Guess what she brought with her? The laundry I had left in the dryer – all neatly folded. We spent a wonderful evening catching up and decorating. And guess what? She went home with some Christmas decorations I no longer wanted. What a joy it was to be able to give to her twice in one day! And to accept her help – both with laundry and with decorating.