Simple Gifts


photo credit

I still remember a song I learned when I was…who knows how old I was?  I’ve known it for as long as I can remember.  The song, “Simple Gifts,” is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.  Would you like to hear Jewel’s rendition? (It’s the only one I could find on YouTube, so it will have to suffice.)  Here you go:  Simple Gifts

We have each been given gifts…gifts of life, gifts to give and receive love, gifts of faith in God or fellowmen (or both), gifts of writing, gifts of goodness, gifts to share and gifts to develop.  Gifts can be moments of peace and tranquility.  Gifts can also be found in packages of adversity, where we learn more about ourselves and our abilities to carry on and to triumph.  Whatever your gifts are, I hope that you will recognize that you are amazing!

In this post, I invited you to join my family as we have sought to recognize and develop the gifts we have been given.  Did you take me up on that?  We’ve had almost two weeks since that post, and I’m wondering what you have discovered.  I have been working on developing my gifts to cook and bake, to sing, and to continue writing and editing the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo…and I am working to connect with you through blogging while reading and commenting on your blogs.  I applaud your efforts.  🙂

While searching for our own gifts, let’s also look for the gifts of those within our sphere of influence.  Maybe someone did something kind for you.  (Yesterday, after a lengthy visit (with a somewhat fussy preschooler) at a store, I purchased said fussy preschooler a drink.  As we were shuffling items around a shopping cart, the two of us managed to dump said drink all over the floor.  And the drink was sticky.  And the floor was soaked with a big mess.

A fellow customer went to grab an employee, who quickly flagged the slippery, sticky area and mopped the spill.  I was so grateful for both of those people.  They took initiative and helped a tired mom with a fussy little person.  Sure, someone could argue that the employee was just “doing his job,” but to me his work meant so much more.  He was helping me rectify a mistake I made.  And I was grateful for him.)

Two Mondays ago, on our weekly family evening, we passed around papers where each person in our family wrote one item which we recognized as a gift in another person.  My page looked something like this:

MOM
You are good at playing the piano.  Mom is good at cooking.  Mom is very patient and forgiving of us.  You are so nice and you help me with everything! I wouldn’t have lived without you…literally! 🙂  You are very caring!

Now, while I wouldn’t own all of those kind thoughts from my sweet family (especially the piano one), some of the people who know me best have helped me see some of my gifts.  And, I think that since they were looking for positive attributes in other members of our home, they have each been more positive since the night we did that activity together.

So, in the busyness of this holiday season, I challenge you to take a moment to think of the gifts you possess that you cannot purchase from a store…as those may be the simplest (and most profound) gifts of all!

gifts…and happy weekend wishes to you!

One morning recently, during our daily reading and study as a family, we talked to our children about recognizing and realizing the gifts they have been given.  Not the physical gifts, mind you…we were asking them to figure out what gifts they have been given naturally or that need to be recognized and developed to come to greater fruition to help them and others throughout this journey we call life.

Now that I’m blogging, I am reminded of a book entitled The Twelve Gifts of Birth, which my mother found when I was a teenager and read to me then.  I haven’t read it often to my children, but I would like for them to realize the concept.

I find that when I am looking to recognize my gifts that I also work to recognize the gifts in others…which produces positivity and happiness within me and love for those around me as I see them in a new light.  I see within them the potential for greatness.

What gifts have you been given?  And what are you doing to develop those gifts more fully?

I’ve given my children the assignment to ponder over the coming days with the goal to reconvene to discuss our findings…and my husband and I are working on the challenge with them.  Will you join us?  We can adopt each other as family for the week and think of what talents, gifts, and light we have been given…and seek inspiration on what we can do to magnify these gifts in our lives.  🙂  I’m interested to see what we discover about ourselves and others in the process!