Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pay it Forward

I know Christmas is the season of miracles, but today I got one that floored me. I've been fretting about how I was going to pay for groceries this week after shelling out our last $400 for a propane tank and propane. With the kids all coming home for Christmas, as well as my two young grandsons, I knew we had to have heat and hot water for showers. The dh and I can get along fine without the heat, but not the kids. They aren't used to living with the cold. But the youngest comes home today and she requires a special diet due to stomach troubles, so I needed to be able to buy things she can eat.

I've prayed and prayed the last few days. Stress made my stomach burn. Still, when I went to bed last night nothing had changed. It looked like I would be picking the youngest up at the airport and not able to buy her anything to eat on the way home.

I woke up this morning to an email from a friend, with a link to Paypal. There she had sent a Christmas gift, one that will let me buy food for the youngest plus enough to get the grownups through Christmas. And I know something else will come up by then to get us through, a concrete job or a house remodel or something.

And when we get back to having money coming in, I'll pay it forward by helping out someone else who's running short.

Thanks, friend. You know who you are. You'll always have a special place in my heart and prayers.

For everyone else, if you've been blessed this year, pay it forward and help someone else. Look at your own family, first. Do you have a brother or sister, nieces or nephews, who are struggling? What about your parents? Your kids? Even a $20 bill could buy them a tank of gas or a turkey or something to put in their kids' stockings. What about that struggling older couple down the street? Could they use a bag of groceries or a stack of firewood?

If you don't know anyone who needs help, check with your local nursing home. There are always old people or mentally handicapped people there who don't have visitors and might not get anything for Christmas. Take a bag of gifts and drop them off with a nurse for her to hand out. Pick an Angel from the Angel tree and go shopping. Read the ads on Craigslist in your area to see who is begging for toys for their kids and help them out.

There are so many ways to be a blessing. Just look around. While I haven't had much money this season, I have dug my change out to put in the buckets for Toys for Tots and Salvation Army. I've also been Freecycling like crazy--cleaning out no longer used clothing and things and passing them along--free--to whoever can make use of them. I've called people I haven't heard from in a while to check on them. I've been extra nice to the harried clerks in the stores, offering them a smile to help make their day a little brighter.

And you know what? I feel better every time I pay it forward just a little bit.

Merry Christmas!!

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