Saturday, May 16, 2009

pay it forward

i got this from my old high school friend's blog and couldn't resist (as i am a sucker for both gift-making and gift-giving). please make sure i have a way to contact you if you sign up. thanks!

{The Rules}

1. Be one of the first THREE (3) bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to a handmade item from me - something crafty or yummy, who knows?!

2. Winners must post this challenge on their blog, meaning that they will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift -anything!- for the first 3 bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway!

3. The gift that you send to your 3 friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And remember: It’s the Spirit and the Thought that Counts!

4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love!

If you are not one of the Top 3 Commenters on this post, you can still play along. Go ahead and start your own Pay It Forward chain, and encourage your blogging friends to do the same.

REMEMBER... Pay it forward!

2, 4, 6, 8, who do i appreciate?

with mother's day over, i have been pondering about appreciation, who we appreciate and the large and small ways we show them our appreciation.

who should we appreciate? who is it that helps us, guides us, cares for us? most people think: our family, certainly. our friends and neighbors, sure. teachers and co-workers, probably. strangers and community? maybe. but our enemies? i think not. a higher 'power'? blank stare. i wonder, can we appreciate people we disagree with or maybe even hate?

how should we show appreciation? with words... gestures... gifts... admiration... sacrifices... wait. sacrifices? hmmm. i'll have to think about that. :) no really, how can we show we appreciate something that we despise? or how do we appreciate something that is based on faith and never seen?

how often should we show our appreciation? yearly; monthly; weekly; daily; hourly; every minute? are we even capable of being appreciative on a daily, hourly or minutely basis? does repetition 'water down' the sentiment or get annoying? and if does, should we still do it anyway? how can we be appreciative even when things are going badly?

i don't claim to have all the answers. not even close. this is something that i struggle with - i struggle to show appreciation, especially when i am unhappy. i struggle to be grateful for the different personalities in my family. i struggle to praise God when i don't understand His reasoning. i struggle. a lot.

here is a list of people i want to show my appreciation to on a minutely basis:
my husband
my oldest son
my youngest son
my parents

mother's day is once a year, but mom's never stop being mom's. same with father's day. same with grandparent's day and teacher appreciation day and secretary's day and national friendship day. you get the idea. but does setting aside a day to be thankful adequately show your gratitude? what of the people that you appreciate that don't have a day set aside for them? for example, there is no seperate husband's day, or wife's day. there is no single person's day. there is no sibling day. there is no in-law's day. there is no neighbor's day or stranger's day. is God's day every sunday or on national prayer day or every day?

for me, the grand gestures of appreciation are easy. letters, gifts, time, even a home-cooked meal. it is the smaller gestures, the daily gestures, that i give me the most trouble. hanging on to my temper, obedience, sacrificing (there is that word again!) to make someone else happy. i always thought that small gestures were meant to be easy, it is implied by the name 'small'. *sigh*

in the bible, it says to pray without ceasing. it also gives us a model for our prayers that include gratitude. to be thankful without stopping? for me, that's easy when things are going well or when everyone is getting along. but to be appreciating during the bad times? what does that look like? what is the practical application of that? how can i incorporated that into my life?

i don't know... but i know i want to.

i'd love to hear your thoughts on appreciation. call me or email me or leave a comment.
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