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, November 8, 2011

Day 38: Cards to Friends

Today my gift was sending two of my best friends cards.  One was getting a root canal, and I thought a Get well card would be perfect.  So I crafted up a card with a tooth fairy and big tooth looking happy on it.  If anything, it would make her laugh.  My other friend was just trying to recover from the flu along with taking care of her sick husband and son.  Sometimes we can't physically be there for our friends and family members, but we can send them kinds words and wishes through phone calls and cards.  We each have the power to make another person's journey a little more joyful and bareable.  Do something kind for someone that needs it, whether it's a stranger in the grocery store, or someone you've known all your life.

"Everyone has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases." 
-Jeremy Collier

Day 37: Making a Sandwich

Today my gift was making a lady a sandwich just the way she wanted it.  I volunteered at Second Helping again, which is a program through the 1st Congregational Church in Manhattan, KS that serves meals each Sunday to those in need.  We had a great turnout of volunteers and even had two teenagers come to help.  Each week a home-cooked meal is made and sack lunches are put together for those that come.  This week I helped make the sandwiches and set up the tables.  As I was setting up the tables, a lady asked me, if we had any more sandwiches because she didn't get one.  I ran back to the kitchen and grabbed one of the extra sandwiches to give to the her.  As I presented it to the her, she looked at it closely.  She asked if she could have a sandwich with just cheese on it with no meat or lettuce.  I said, "Sure, no problem" and walked quickly back to the kitchen to solve this problem.  I took the meat and lettuce off and put it on another sandwich, so it would not go to waste.  I was so happy, I was going to make this lady's day by giving her a sandwich with just cheese.  As I presented the second sandwich to her, she looked at it closely again.  She replied she wanted white bread and would not eat wheat bread.  I walked back to the kitchen a little more slowly to solve this dilemma.  I took out another sandwich with white bread and thought I could just switch the white bread for the wheat bread.  And that's what I did.  I walked back over to the lady to present to her the third sandwich I had made for her.  Immediately, she looked at it, and she said she wanted American cheese not Swiss cheese.  I asked her if she was sure, and she said she was.  I walked back to the kitchen yet again to make her sandwich  for the fourth time.  I was determined to give her the sandwich that she wanted.  Other volunteers warned me that she was always making demands, but I wanted to make her happy and make her the sandwich she wanted.  So I pulled off the Swiss cheese, and I put a new slice of American cheese on the two slices of white bread.  I walked energetically over to the lady to present plain American cheese sandwich made with white bread to her.  This was the one, I just knew it!  She looked closely at the sandwich, which made me nervous.  She opened her mouth to speak, and I winced.  The lady said, "Oh, you are such a sweetheart!"  She was so overjoyed that she had finally gotten the sandwich she wanted.  I was overjoyed too that I had finally gotten it right.  The lady introduced herself to me as Diana and even introduced me to her son.  I told her I was happy I could make her sandwich right, and I told her it was nice to meet her.  As I left that day from volunteering, I thought back to my experience.  Diana was a "regular" at the Second Helping meal.  She probably did not have the opportunity to go out to eat at a restaurant or even enough food to get her through the week.  Sometimes in life, we have no control over our situations.  In those situations, I think we all react similarly to how Diana did.  We take comfort in rituals and in those things we still have control over.  I'm glad I met Diana because she reminds me that we are all going through something.  I believe with a little patience, a little kindness, and  a little determination, we can all make each other's journeys through life a little more joyful.

Our tables set up for the meal.

Sign outside advertising for the Free meal

Busy chopping onions for the Breakfast Casserole

Packing up the sack lunches