A meaningful message from Thailand and other thoughts on giving …

My friend Susan Baldwin Mayfield posted this on Facebook. If you have not already watched this brief video, please do. The message is strong, touching and a good reminder to each one of us.

Really, how much effort does it take for us to be kind to each other, no matter what the circumstances?

My friend, Amber West, talented author of The Ruth Valley Missing, started a #GoWithout Movement on her blog some time ago. This video reminded me it was time to get involved again.

Last weekend, The Adorables (our youngest grandchildren ages 4 and 5) were here for a sleepover with Nana. (My husband was away.) First they unpacked and set up part of my Santa collection. It was so much fun watching them be in charge and listening to their comments and questions.


Then we took two gifts down to the tree in the lobby of our condo building, where gifts are collected each year for needy families. The Adorables wondered why the gifts were going under that tree and not theirs. A very lovely conversation with them ensued. Young children can be such a source of hope for the future! Their innocent thoughtfulness washes away the skepticism we adults often harbour about the world around us.

photo1989When we went back up to our condo, we looked through the Save The Children gift catalogue and they chose to send chicks to a family and a goat to another. They have piggy banks that have a special section to save money for “giving” and they will put their savings toward these gifts. I told them I would give up my Starbucks visits for a month. That will more than cover it and, come to think about it, why do I need to go there so often … okay, I’m addicted to skinny mochas! A month without them will do me good.

19This year our family decided not to exchange big gifts at our family party this weekend. Instead we all (with seven kids plus partners that can add up!) donated a certain amount to send one cheque to New Circles , a wonderful Toronto organization that provides clothing and opportunities to families in need. We received more joy from doing that for a change than exchanging amongst ourselves! We’ve attempted, in the past, to volunteer to serve Christmas dinners at shelters but the volunteer list always fills up quickly. How good is that? Obviously many people are way more organized than we are.

There are so many opportunities to give back to our own communities and those globally. I know many of you are involved in numerous ways. Share your ideas and let’s kick Amber’s #GoWithout Movement into high gear for 2014.

Christmas Day is just one week away. I know we will meet here again before then but in case I miss you, please know I am sending my warmest wishes for a peaceful and joyful Christmas. May 2014 bring us all the best of health and happiness and the opportunity to help provide the same good fortune to others.


Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website www.patriciasandsauthor.com She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

7 thoughts on “A meaningful message from Thailand and other thoughts on giving …

  1. How wonderful to teach the little ones about giving to those less fortunate. There are so many ways we can make a difference. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. There are some great projects around to help us all to give a little – and not necessarily money: time and thought, and things we can do without that may help others. Thanks for pointing this out in such a generous way. Have a wonderful time with those Adorables, who clearly hlive up to their name! Happy Christmas to you and your family.

      1. Neither! My daughter lives and works in Barcelona, so we’ll have a white Christmas in half-way-house Andorra. Looking forward to it, as I hope you are to your celebrations.

  3. Such an awesome post. So many great programs and charities to get involved with. It really doesn’t take that much effort to help a bit and be nice to each other. Especially during Christmas time.

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