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Christmas Giving A True Story
The problem was there wasn't enough money. Does anyone ever have enough money?
Our friend had increased his family by four this particular year. He had also been passed over by his big name accounting firm for his guaranteed partnership. He made lots of money. He was an accountant for a firm all of you would know. But one night he quietly share with my husband they were going into debt two hundred dollars a month just feeding the family.
The Cause Of The Problem
The reason this particular family had a money shortage, was the wife's desire to have twelve children. They had two biological children who were pretty young when the opportunity to adopt a sibling group of four. was presented to them. Their family went from four to eight overnight. They moved to California to take this job with a big five accounting firm, with a guarantee of partnership in a year or so.
At that time Sacramento was an affordable place to live. I know, I am still kicking myself for not having purchased a duplex near school for forty thousand dollars.
We didn't know these people too well, but admired them greatly.
The first time we really got to know them was on a all church camping trip. Everyone could find their family because they wore hunter orange sweatshirts.
The back stories on these eight adopted kids were heartbreaking. The love our friends gave them was amazing. This should have given us a clue that our measly one hundred dollar gift was nothing compared to their generous spirit of giving.
Decorations Of Christmas Past
We Were In The Same Boat
As college students ,with a little kid, we couldn't help. The thought never even occurred to us. We really felt badly we couldn't help. It was the first of the month and we got paid once a month. That money had to buy gas to get us home for Christmas, buy presents for our family and feed us for the rest of the month not to mention we had to get back to school. We just couldn't help in any significant way.
The thought that something must be done stayed with me.
They say women are always thinking. When I start thinking about something I worry the thought to death. The next day I got an idea. We should ask some of our friends to help them.
"No", you don't broadcast something told in confidence. Our friend was venting. But I kept thinking.
Then this idea popped into my mind. Give them a hundred dollars. We met this man named Jesus when we were young and I have no doubt the idea came from him. Still it was a ,"You have got to be kidding me", moment. My husband was going to think I was crazy. He knew we didn't have that kind of money. We weren't even done with Christmas shopping. I thought I was crazy.
Sometimes doing the crazy thing results in curiously exciting adventure.
This particular adventure continues even now.
What would you think?
Honey, You are going to think I am crazy, but I have this idea. "What would you think if we gave Ned and his family a Christmas gift"?
"What did you have in mind?"
"How about some money"
"Did you have an amount in mind?" " Why, yes I do."
"How much?" As he was asking these questions I was having an argument in my mind. Would fifty be a better amount, How on earth can we give them a hundred dollars. Yes. fifty would be better.
I finally took a deep breath, and said, 'a hundred dollars?"
"Oh really?, do we have that much?"
We did just get paid.
"Sure, when are you going to give it to them?"
I had entertained giving it to them anonymously, but didn't know how to get that much money safely to them without writing a check. So the check was written and delivered the next night at choir practice.
Niles Christmas Train
In return for the gift this family invited us for lunch on Sunday. How do you have space for three extra mouths when you have a family of twelve? They did it. They wanted to show us what they Our little boy loved the ham, cheese potatoes and playing with the ten kids. We had a wonderful afternoon.
Oh, yes they showed us the ten pairs of shoes they purchased with our gift. An acquaintance worked for Sears; he gave them his discount on shoes that were on sale which, enabled them to purchase the shoes.
I am so glad the hundred dollar argument won. I can't imagine who would have been left out if we had only given fifty dollars.
That day was the best part of my Christmas that year.
We Did Fine Without
We did fine without that hundred dollars. We only had to buy food until we got home. Mom fed us like royalty for two weeks and slipped us money as we left.
We separated from these friends a year or so later. We moved to Livermore and they moved to South Dakota. They calculated they could have 8 kids in college at the same time, so they went back to their Alma Mater to teach. Not all the kids went to four years of college, but all have developed their talents. They are accountants, software developers, cabinet makers, auto repair shop owners, mothers. Mom even manage to get a degree in social work at the same time one of their daughters graduated from college.
Thirty Years Later
Thirty years later I still get to watch my friend stretch food to feed amazing number of kids at summer camp. We meet in the Yukon Delta of Alaska and have a wonderful reunion each summer. She has given me, more than I could have ever imagine about giving to others.
Every summer to help settle the kids at night my friend tells her story of the month she gave all the meat money to a family that needed it, and how her family was provided for with just enough for each day.
Attitude Is The Difference Between Gratitude and Grumpiness
What Will You Give This Christmas
This Christmas the stories of giving are abundant. I love it. The cashier at a Mac Donald's counted 250 cars that payed it forward because the car in front of them said, "Here is money for the car behind me." Merry Christmas!
My husband has so out given me. He generously gave our son a ride to our friends house a good distance from us. Then he took our friend to the cemetery to put wreaths on his parents graves, and several other relatives graves. Then he gave a gift card to a homeless lady he sees every day.
I have made a practice of smiling at grumpy looking people. Absolutely love it when a person notices a smile and broadly smiles back with a twinkle in their eyes.
This year I started to grouse about writing Christmas cards. T hen it occurred to me some of our friends worry if they don't get a card. The letters and cards are on the way.
Hugs and phone calls are amazing gifts to people who don't get many. I challenge you to find someone to gift this year. Please leave your suggestions in the comments.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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