August 2011-
I am starting a 29-Day Challenge to give one gift each day and see how it affects my life. I have always considered myself a giver, but I feel this challenge will challenge and focus me on giving more. I was inspired by the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving can Change your Life. I ran across it 2 years ago in a bookstore in Springfield, MO, and I titled a piece of paper 29 Gifts. I found that same piece of paper the other day, and I saw it as a sign to start the challenge. You can learn more about the book and challenge at

After 1 month of giving, I have continued this challenge in giving and sharing the stories with others. Hope you enjoy reading about my adventures with giving!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 40: Donation to St. Mary's CYO

Today my gift was donating money to the St. Mary's CYO group of Ellis.  I received the letter below from one of my friend's little sisters.  She and her CYO group were getting ready to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference.  I attended this conference as a CYO member in high school.  It was such a great experience, and it was the first opportunity I had to go to Oklahoma and Texas.  I made many memories on that trip with one of my best friends, and I fell in love with traveling after that trip.  I want to give youth in my home community that same opportunity I had.  That same opportunity to broaden their horizons and meet new people.  Also, I hope these young people had an opportunity to deepen their faith and see the impact that faith can have on their lives.  Each opportunity, journey, or trip we had as youth has helped shape the person we are today.  Give back to those organizations, causes, or experiences that helped mold you into the individual you are today. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 39: Homemade Apple Pie

Today my gift was making my Dad a homemade apple pie for his birthday.  It was Saturday, so I started preparing since it was my 1st attempt at an apple pie. I did a little searching online to find a good recipe, and I made a list.  I thought I would make it this coming week before I went home for the weekend.  I went shopping Tuesday to get all my ingredients.  I picked out the best granny smith and jona-gold apples I could find.  I then purchased some butter, and I had everything else at home.  Then came Wednesday night, I set out my recipe to make the pie crust.  It called for butter, water, and flour.  I added tablespoon by tablespoon of ice water to the flour and butter mixture to finally get a dough product.  I was pumped, it even smelled like real homemade pie crust.  The next evening I got to work on slicing the apples and mixing in all the other ingredients.  Peeling, cutting, and slicing apples was a lot of hard work.  I rolled out the crust, put in the apple mixture, and put the other crust on top.  I used the little knowledge I had about pie making to complete this task.  Thanks to those couple times I helped my Mom I did it.  After 45 minutes in the oven, the apple pie was finally done.  It looked amazing!  I only hoped it would taste as good as it looked.  I carefully wrapped it up to be taken the 2 1/2 hour drive back home.  When I arrived I was so excited to present this masterpiece to my Dad.  He was so surprised that I made it all by myself.  I think this was one of my best birthday gifts I have given.  Giving isn't about finding the next best thing, or about buying some expensive gift.  Giving is about thinking of others and thinking about what will bring them joy and a peaceful feeling.  It is the thought behind gifts that make them meaningful and special.  Give the gift of making another feel special!