This week's gratitude challenge was to share about something that someone gave me. It's really hard to pick just one thing to "celebrate" in public (meaning, on this blog. It's public, right?) So instead, I'm going to share my gratitude for the generosity of my friends in general.
There are such loving, kind people in my life who have given me such neat things or memories. And I remember why and how I got all of these different things. Giving gifts makes me really happy, and is my favorite part of holidays like Christmas. But everyone knows that it's also nice to get little surprises from people, too. :)
Jess and I exchange bags or baskets of little gifts for major holidays, which is so much fun. It probably started with Easter baskets. But we also do Halloween baskets and Valentine's baskets. There's usually candy involved, and she almost always includes either socks (fun ones!) or dish towels (also fun! I like seasonal themed things.) And things like lip gloss and nail polish and nice smelling candles. When we worked at our former branch, which was close to two grocery stores and a Walgreens, sometimes she'd surprise me with a pint of Ben & Jerry's waiting for me in the freezer! Little gifts from her brighten my day, and make otherwise boring holidays a little more exciting.
My friend Steph is such a generous person. She always buys things from me when I'm selling them, like the flower pens I made for our attempted adoption a few years ago, or jewelry from the Apparent Project fundraisers I've done. She's so funny- she loves blessing people with gifts, and she tries to find really unique stuff to give, too. It's so sweet. BUT because she's so excited about giving presents, she usually can't wait for the intended occasion to give the gift. :) When I started working at my new branch, she got me this super cool Erin Condren life planner, to keep my new schedule all organized and stuff. It's so fancy and lots of fun, and it's very helpful. But probably most importantly, it made me feel welcome. And I was so touched!
And when I started my new job, my friend Helen (who has worked with my mom for many years now) sent me a sweet card and a color-changing Hello Kitty pen from her recent visit to Disney World. HK is dressed up in a kimono on the pen because it came from the Japan pavilion at EPCOT (which I love.) I have a few authentic Japanese Hello Kitty items because Helen's daughter Amanda lives in Japan and works as a missionary, teaching English there. Amanda always sends me some cute Hello Kitty thing for my birthday, and when she comes home for furloughs (and she sent a gift when I had my surgery, too!) I even have Hello Kitty chopsticks and some other kitchen utensils!
All the people in my life who bless me with tangible tokens of our friendship mean a lot to me, and I don't forget the stories behind the gifts they've given; from the Haitian ornament Ashley sent when her son A. was brought home, to the pretty necklace Zach sent from Connecticut, to the Bolivian doll from Hannah that's sitting on the bookshelf in my future children's room, to the little Newfoundland magnet another Hannah mailed to add to my collection- I think every gift is special, and I treasure them all, but I especially appreciate the relationships they came out of!
Take some time this week to think about a gift you've been given that means a lot to you, and maybe drop the gift giver a line reminding them about how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness. I guarantee it will put a smile on their face!