I love giving presents to my loved ones…

‘Just because’

I get enormous joy out of the simple gift of giving and hope this simple tradition lives on long after I am gone.

I hadn’t been able to do this for a while, but last weekend when we were out shopping I found something special for our ‘Bre’ who has been going through a very difficult time and the joy on her face when we gave her gift was priceless and it reminded me how important it is to look out for more opportunities to give…’just because‘…

Of course there are always times when we do not have spare money to give to those we love or help someone you know who is having a hard time.  You don’t always need money, a kind helping hand or gesture sometimes can make someone else’s day. Or in the case of our life and the story I am about to share, it can change the course of their lives.

Before we bought our first home thirteen years ago, there was a period in our lives where Bill did not work for 7 years and my library officer income just didn’t stretch very far.  We certainly did not have any cash for for coffees out or hair appointments or new clothes. As with many struggling families on low incomes, we did what we could to make ends meet.  It was during these ‘lean‘ times I became very creative and made our presents to each other fun and totally out of love.  I would think of lovely things we could do for each other for free, such as a ‘Free Massage‘ or ‘You can have the night off’ which meant the other parent had to sort out the kids, dinner, bath & bedtime. I remember ‘No Cooking tonight‘ was always a favorite of mine as was ‘ a beautiful long sleep in on the weekend.

Our ‘gifts’  handwritten, folded up paper placed in envelopes were given ‘just because‘ and we would hang onto our little notes until the time was right to use them.  We had a rule, that the receiver of the ‘gift’ could use it at anytime and the other person had to comply.  It was a sweet and beautiful way of still feeling very special even though we could not buy each other gifts. In many ways these were the best gifts we ever gave each other as they were thoughtful and very much appreciated.

I was reminded of this practice the other day whilst uncluttering, I came across a hand made computer printed card Bill had made for me during those times, a simple gesture given from a househusband to his wife who left early each morning to go to work, just saying that he and the kids would miss me while I was gone.  That special message on a beautiful computer generated card is now in my ‘special memories box’ of things I cannot bear to let go of.

The concept of ‘Pay it forward has always shined bright for me, ever since seeing the movie of the same name with Helen Hunt, I have always tried to do this wherever I can and believe it is one of the best ways we can improve our world to be a better place.

It was during our lean years mentioned above, we had someone in our life who’s act of kindness certainly changed the course of the rest of our lives and always reminds me how we each have the capacity to change another’s life, just by being kind, or giving a hand or being compassionate to those who have fallen on hard times.

We have been at the receiving hand of someone who I like to call our angel on earth, Brenda, a lady who I have now lost contact with, but who’s generous big heart I will forever be grateful for and who taught me through her own kindness just how one act can alter the course of another.  Because of her kindness to us during a time in our lives when we most needed hope,  I intend to pay forward again and again.

When Bill was medically discharged from the Army and no one came by to see if he or his family were ok, the years went by with Bill feeling lost, rejected, beaten, & disabled, labelled never to work again, it was Brenda who reached out to us like a beacon of light and slowly gave Bill hope that he was worthy of working again, slowly at first, a couple of hours a week which then turned into a day, then a few days and finally after being at home for nearly 7 years, Bill returned full time to the workforce which then paved the way for us to buy our first home and subsequently created the dream of finding our way to mybeachretreat.

I know how fortunate we are to have finally found our beautiful life down here by the sea and know it all stemmed from the act of one kind lady who taught me; you never know what your kindness will do for another…