When people speak of “charity”, what they are talking about is one-way work – how are other people benefiting from the charity that I am providing? How are their lives being changed by the money that I give?
Transforming lives of people in need is a good thing, an extraordinary thing! Charity is not a bad word.
However, true development is always a two-way street – both sides (benefactor and recipient) need each other to progress, to truly “develop”. The rich and the poor need each other to become whole.
This summer we have three wedding invitations – an oddity since we are mostly past the life space of our peers marrying, but not yet into the time where our friends’ kids begin to marry (and hopefully, not for a while yet!!)
One of our invitations mentioned, “A gift of currency is all we ask, to help us on our life long task.”
How do I feel about it?
Birthday gifts! For any age, receiving gifts is a delight. But, if you’re a working mom and an aunt to seven and a sister (or -in-law) to six and a friend and a daughter… well, you get the picture: it can become overwhelming. Particularly if giving gifts is not how you would naturally express your affections.
In my family, I have two grown siblings: my sister lives in my neighbourhood and has two kids, aged 3 & 6. My brother lives in a different city and has three kids, aged 9, 11, 15. On the other side we’ve got two more: 12 & 14. My kids are 6, 5, & 2.
Like a wave that comes reliably and relentlessly, everyone has a birthday every year!
Over the years, for birthdays & Christmas, we’ve all dabbled in different permutations & combinations:
One Pro Tip to address all of this overwhelm? Become known for one thing. Give the same gift. It is a way to take the stress out of gift-planning, without forgoing gifts altogether. If you think this is a terrible idea and want to be unique every time, that’s great! God bless you. I could use your help.
If I may be on to something, read on...
Last Mother’s Day, my sister gave me a copy of Jenny Rosenstrach’s cookbook/memoir/ode-to-“family dinner” Dinner: A Love Story. Based on her blog of the same name, DALS wrestles through the joys & trials of prioritizing a daily meal together as a family.
The book chronicles Jenny’s journey from the early days of her own family – she & her husband working long hours in NYC publishing, then counter-culturally coming home and still cooking dinner – through the punishing years of toddler pickiness, on to the glory days: what she calls “the years the angels began to sing” (i.e. school aged children). Throughout her tales of working and then baby-ing and, the trickiest, working and baby-ing, there are recipes. Oh, there are recipes!
Ever since receiving it, DALS has been a mainstay of my cooking arsenal. I dole out copies whenever I have occasion to, and sing Jenny’s (or Andy – her husband’s) praises when I sit down to yet another reliably delicious meal.
Dinner: A Love Story is a fabulous gift to give to any mom, any aspiring cook, anyone who likes good writing, anyone who enjoys a good laugh… ANYONE! Pick up a copy at your local bookstore if there is a mom you’d like to treat this week.
Another idea in our meaningful gift guide is to cook your Mom a meal. Here are two recipes from Jenny’s original DALS book that you can make for Mom this weekend.
When I began working on our Meaningful Gift Guide for Moms, I knew that I needed to include a section on books.
She always has a stack of books on her bedside and one or two on the go. Her book club has been meeting for nearly 40 years. And her insistence that a great joy of life is that she will never, ever run out of great books to read – well, it has completely inspired me with a passionate love of reading.
Inspired, we’ve compiled a guide of even more ideas, practical tips, & specific goods, all sparked by the idea of a “meaningful” gift – specifically, with moms in mind (and plenty of time for Mother's Day!).
Simple! Just take it.
No bribes. No emails in exchange. Just free. For everyone.
Since dignify began, I've heard a lot from daughters, moms, sisters, & best friends about how happy they were to find such a “meaningful gift”. As I’ve blogged about shopping “good”, I’ve heard even more on this concept.
There seems to be a real demand in our overstuffed culture for more and less: more of what is thoughtful, meaningful, and lasting; less of what is fleeting, excessive, and wasteful.
Anyhow, more on that fabulous gift guide in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, I am now always on the lookout for products, experiences, and ideas that make for great, meaningful gifts.
Gelato Academy?! Say, wha??!!!??
Now, I may have an unreasonable love for frozen treats (cravings in my 3 pregnancies were primarily popsicles, ice cream, & slurpees, respectively), but as far as experiences go, I feel like this should rank highly on anyone’s wish list: