Tag Archives: 25 days of giving

25 Days of Giving Days Six and Seven: Get Inked

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I’m a textbook discarder. Anytime my husband brings something into the house, I’m on my way through a different door hauling something out. I’m all about clean lines, order, and lists. Lots and lots of lists.

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The Story of My Life. Literally.

Giving away unnecessary stuff makes me feel good, and a lack of clutter equals a lack of complication in some kind of metaphysical, big life meaning thingy that I haven’t quite figured out.

Ironically though, the only thing I won’t let go of is memories. Not the painful ones that wake you up in the middle of the night with a big, fat “why?” staring down from the ceiling. Those conveniently go out with the trash as soon as I can gather them up. I’m talking about the good ones. The real, sometimes raw, but more often relevant things from the past that have made a big contribution to my present. I have every high school note, my letters from college, cards given back and forth for special events…all of it. It’s a treasure trove of boyfriends, break-ups, and besties that I can’t live without.

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But thanks to the worldwide web and the ghost of Steve Jobs, collecting memories is harder today than it used to be. We email instead of pulling out paper and pen, and thank you notes have almost become a thing of the past because it’s so much easier to text a quick line or two instead. Just like that, some of our best memories are deleted instead of being filed away for a rainy day.

Life is busy, and even though any kind of connection counts, there’s nothing like opening the mailbox expecting bills and finding a letter from a friend. So the task for Days 6 and 7 is to write a letter, because it’s a foolproof way to make someone you care about smile. Even though it takes more time than an email or a text, the reward is well worth the investment. All the way around.

So who are you going to write this weekend? We’re all writing to Aunt Mid, who at 96 has thrown in the towel for her annual holiday trip from Nebraska to Colorado. She’s an amazing woman, and hopefully our letters will help make her Christmas a little more shiny and bright.

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Aunt Mid at the tender age of 94.

I, Gemini Girl, have interrupted my non-existent programming to bring you the 25 Days of Giving Challenge. Please join me in my quest, over the next 25 days, to make people happy. I’ll share stories of giving escapades that will be sure to wow, delight, or at least not annoy anyone who chooses to participate. Each Day of Giving will be conveniently brought to you via email if you follow this blog. And if you’re already a follower? Pass it onto your friends. If we work together we can change the world, or at least dramatically improve my hit ratio.

25 Days of Giving Day Four: Find the Silver Lining

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When I was two years old my parents got divorced. I was lucky in a way, because at the time I was too young to understand that separation, at it’s most basic level, is the physical manifestation of pain being split in two.

By the time I’d turned five Mom had remarried. We left Atlanta, where our entire family was from, and moved to Louisville, where I ultimately grew up. Back then, fathers didn’t have the same parenting rights as today, so with a brand new puppy under one arm and a pack of candy cigarettes in my hand, I waved goodbye to my father as my stepdad’s sleek, silver Thunderbird rolled down the driveway, through Tennessee (“See Rock City!”), and toward a new life.

As time went by, pieces of my old family became seedlings for another, and when my amazing baby brother was born, my new family was complete, but in a different kind of way. There was someone else present who, even though he wasn’t part of this new unit, was still in the mix because he was attached to me.

My father.

I wouldn’t say things were perfect between my mother and father, because even when bad memories fade they leave a scar. But Mom always held the door open for visits, and my father never missed an opportunity to take any time with me that she was willing to share.

As years passed and I became increasingly comfortable with my family dynamics, I began to see myself as lucky, even though it wasn’t always easy. I was a Whitten and everyone else I lived with was a Logan, I felt like a misfit in the world of seemingly perfect families on my block, and I sometimes had to paint a smile on my face when all I wanted to do was cry. But intermingled with the sad was something that no other kid I knew could match. Not only did I have one great dad, I had two, with different but equally important ideas, strengths, influences, opinions, and dreams…and one huge commonality. They both loved me, in a way that only a father can. Times two.

So the challenge, for Day Four, is to find the silver lining in a bad situation or event. In some unfortunate incidents it simply doesn’t exist, which, regrettably, is the true definition of tragedy. But in many cases, good can be salvaged from bad. If you can find happiness in something that at first only brought pain, it’s a gift to yourself that never goes away.

Divorce, like life, is complicated. It’s messy and raw, and carefully drawn colors end up bleeding outside the lines. Sometimes though, if we’re lucky, the things that hurt most end up helping us in the end.

I, Gemini Girl, have interrupted my non-existent programming to bring you the 25 Days of Giving Challenge. Please join me in my quest, over the next 25 days, to make people happy. I’ll share stories of giving escapades that will be sure to wow, impress, or at least not annoy anyone who chooses to participate. Each Day of Giving will be conveniently brought to you via email if you follow this blog. And if you’re already a follower? Pass it onto your friends. If we work together we can change the world, or at least dramatically improve my hit ratio.

25 Days of Giving Day Three: Free Up Some Space

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It never fails that when I’m in line at Costco with a double-wide full of everything I don’t need, some guy is patiently standing behind me with three packages of flan. So I step aside.

My definition of purgatory. Image via homelyplanet.com

I’m always surprised at how appreciative people are when I let them go first, but when I think about it more deeply, I realize that I’m always rushing, pressed for time, often trying to fit way too much into a day that simply can’t stretch beyond the bounds of a ticking clock. And so is everyone else.

When you give up space, you’re literally telling someone that for the moment you consider their needs more important than yours. It’s such a simple connection point and serves as a tangible way to tell somebody, often a stranger, that they matter.

So for Day Three I’m asking you to let someone else go first. Whether it’s a spot in line, a parking space at the mall, or simply pausing to let the person behind you walk through the door ahead of you, give it a try. It’s a kindness that costs next to nothing, and you’ll find that the reward is truly worth the wait.

I, Gemini Girl, have interrupted my non-existent programming to bring you the 25 Days of Giving Challenge. Please join me in my quest, over the next 25 days, to make people happy. I’ll share stories of giving escapades that will be sure to wow, delight, or at least not annoy anyone who chooses to participate. Each Day of Giving will be conveniently brought to you via email if you follow this blog. And if you’re already a follower? Pass it onto your friends. If we work together we can change the world, or at least dramatically improve my hit ratio.