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Throwback Thursday #6 – Gift Giving & Receiving


Lauren leads the charge this week on Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop as we reflect on giving and receiving gifts. Click on the link to read the rules and join in the fun.

Today’s subject: Gift Giving & Receiving


I could go on and on about this topic but I decided to write a short piece on three categories of gifts: gifts given, gifts received, and gifts from my childhood.

Gifts Given: I am what I would consider an amateur or hobbyist metalsmith. I do love working with metal and turning raw materials into something beautiful. In the early days I did not have a workshop of my own, so everything I made had to be done in a classroom setting. When my daughter and soon to be daughter-in-law asked me to make their engagement rings I agreed but not without trepidation. It would be the first time I worked with gold and really precious stones. They purchased the materials which amped up the stress! I put it off as long as possible until my daughter eventually put a deadline on me. Working under the watchful eye of my instructor and a fellow student who had worked as a jeweler for years, I finally finished. Thankfully they looked beautiful and the engagement went off without a hitch!

A gift given from the heart

Gifts Received: after hubby and I were married, we bought our first house together. The first Christmas, we had 17 people there for Christmas. The following holidays were smaller, but joyous just the same. The second or third Christmas, we had some of our children there on Christmas morning as we opened gifts. Hubby surprised me with two Broadway tickets to see Phantom of the Opera. I had never been to New York to see a show on Broadway and as a huge Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, this was the best gift! I cried like a baby. We took the trip in Februrary and it was cold! I was sick as a dog on the trip, but I loved every minute of the show. We had great seats and the production was so beautiful. When the intro piece featuring the organ started, I got chills all over my body.

Gifts from Childhood: My family did not give big or outrageous gifts for birthdays or holidays. Money was scarce, so we were thrilled with whatever we received. I tried hard to remember any birthday celebrations or gifts and I could not think of any. Of course, birthdays in my generation consisted of a ‘greased’ or ‘blackened’ nose and a homemade cake with candles. If we received presents, I simply do not remember them. But I do remember gifts received for Christmas as a child.

  • My Chatty Cathy doll (I can still recite all her phrases with her exact voice inflections) with Auburn – not red – hair. (Click here to see a pic of the doll I had. Chatty Cathy)
  • My Artley flute which took my parents several years to save for.
  • My pink child-sized table with the removable top. I could finally store all my art supplies neat and tidy, tucked away inside my table.

I have another category of gifts – those that carry negative memories. I decided not to write about those today. Maybe that will be a future post outside of this challenge.

Lauren, thank you for another trip down memory lane!

 

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The Gift of Friendship

Day 56

As I have said many times, my family and I celebrate Christmas. I grew up in a very small town and everyone there was Christian — protestant to be more accurate. That was my norm and I knew nothing about any other religions or beliefs in the world.

I was so fortunate to be loved and to grow up in a community of really good people. I guess my youth still stands as my ‘gold standard’ as an example of what Christian people should be. Kind, caring and truly loving each other.

As I grew up, I learned that people belonged to many different religions. Most of which I had no knowledge of at all. My parents were steadfast in their beliefs and like so many people, believed their beliefs were the ‘right’ belief.

Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to move around and experience the world in a way I never would have, had I never left home. I had the opportunity to meet such good people that were Catholic or Muslim or Jewish and while their beliefs were different than mine, they were in many ways spiritual in the same way I was.

Discovering Goodness

My life has been so enriched by learning more about people who are different than I. As spiritual people, we all share so much. We strive to be good people in a world where we are bombarded by a lot of negativity and hate.

If we all believe that our belief system is the ‘right one’, why do we worry so much about what other people believe? Why do we build walls to protect ourselves from other beliefs if we feel confident in ourselves? What is the threat? Why must there be hate? What are we so afraid of?

Online Friendships

I have been so fortunate in having amazing friendships with people that I met online. I have met many of them in person, but there are many more that I have never met. We are all so different. Different ages. Different occupations. Different beliefs. Different locales. Different ages.

Through these relationships, I have learned a lot about friendship. I have learned we are all more similar than we are different. I have learned we all want the same things — peace, love, happiness, laughter, and connectedness.

Surprises

Yesterday, when we returned home there was a package waiting here. It was addressed to me — yay! I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail so I was thoroughly surprised. Since we do not exchange gifts with our family anymore, I knew it was not from anyone in my family.

After reading the return address, I realized it was from a new friend I met a few months ago in an online writing class. I was overcome thinking that she took time out of her life to send and share something with me.

Inside the box, I found a beautiful handmade card that said ‘Invited’. There were eight lovely gifts inside — one for each day of Hanukkah. I was invited to participate in a few her customs and her rich, rich history. What a touching gesture.

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I cannot tell you how touched I was. I have been following her blog and learning so much about the beauty of her history and her traditions. I have also felt the pain she has felt with the recent rise in anti-semitism. It is a tough time in our country and to stand by your beliefs in the face of violence says a lot about one’s strength.

So, my friend — I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so blessed to count you as one of my dear friends. As with so many of my online friends, I wish we lived closer, but I am so thankful to have you in my life no matter the distance. The journey in my life led me here to this place and this time and I am so grateful.

“Our differences are beautiful, yet sometimes connection requires us to focus on our similarities, like the fact that we are all trying, all struggling, all wanting to be seen and to be loved. Perhaps if we start there, with this basic understanding of what it means to be alive, we will grow in our connection to one another and learn to love the beautiful differences that embody our improbable human reality.” 
Scott Stabile