How I Reinvent Gift-Giving: Stories From The HeartJanuary 7, 2020
Wish Upon a Star
It is the beginning of the New Year, 2020, we are in the California desert where the night air feels fresh against one’s skin.
A few minutes ago my favorite sidekick my Ultimate Concierge and I took America for his late-night walk. As he held onto America’s leash in one hand and mine in the other I found myself stargazing. I noticed a crescent-shaped moon and one lone bright star in the sky. It looked like they were touching. The sight was magnificent. I made my wish upon that star, but truth-be-told, I always make the same wish…I silently hope for the ones I love.
As we continued our walk, I dreamed. You see, I associate the fresh night air with the fresh New Year. I look at the blank sky with only the crescent-shaped moon and one lone star and imagine the blank pages of my journal that ultimately will fill up with individual stories in 2020.
Darlings, I may sound melancholy but I am not. You see, Nature is my true authentic sister. I find Nature a great gift for the human spirit. Nature is our friend. Its shapes, colors, and forms; its aesthetic beauty speaks to our emotions without saying a word. She is authentic.
DEFINING A GRANDWOMAN WITH MOXIE
A GRANDWOMAN with moxie is first and foremost authentic.
Darlings, if you have abandoned your authentic self don’t ignore her, chase her down and begin to dance to “your” drumbeat in 2020.
If you want to travel, travel. Want to cut your hair? Cut it. If you don’t speak your mind, learn too. Are you with the wrong people for the wrong reasons? Drop them. If you want to start a career, start one. Want to go back to college? Sign up for classes.
Nothing will make you feel better about yourself than being your authentic self. Amen.
GIFTS FROM AN AUTHENTIC SISTER
With the idea of a fresh New Year in mind, I decided to write on my patio. I am bundled up sitting at my little black rod iron table with America next to me on the other chair.
My etherial dwarf olive tree reminds me of Israel and God. The purple bougainvillea climbing up my patio walls and spilling overhead on a trellis remind me of joy. As well, the deep green boxwood hedges surrounding the small patio along with bouquets of multi-colored plants popping up their heads seem to say, “good morning!” And I say out loud, “Good morning world!” I smile because I am surrounded by my authentic sister, Nature.
I open my journal to a blank page. Today is the 5th day of the New Year 2020.
My stories are short vignettes pertaining to nature, as they hold a special place in my heart. These stories are about gifts from the sea, the earth and the people who gifted them. As well, the stories are about gifts I have given and the gifts I have gotten. They are all authentic.
One story took place in America on Nantucket Island, while another took place in Ireland and the third vignette in Israel. I call these stories, “Gifts from the Heart.”
A GIFT FROM THE SEA
Several years ago my husband Shelly and I were walking hand-in-hand in the early hours of the morning along the Atlantic shore. The sun had just peaked her head. We were on Nantucket Island, undoubtedly the lone walkers on the beach. As my eyes skirted the vicinity I noticed in the far distance, among very reeds, an extremely tall Woman with white hair. Very clearly I noticed she would disappear and then reappear!
“I would love to meet that woman,” I said to Shelly.
“What woman?” He asked.
“The Woman in the not too far distance,” I replied.
“Why is that important to you?”
“I’m inquisitive,” I explained. “I want to know what she is doing out here alone in the tall reeds. She keeps bending over and then standing up.”
“All right, let’s go,” said Shelly.
We had to push the reeds back as we made our way towards her.
The Woman was almost six-feet-tall, elderly, with silver hair worn in a bun. She had a bronze glow to her skin that showed her life story and beautiful clear blue eyes with strong, large hands. The Woman was dressed in a long blue dress that resembled a pinafore, with an apron tied around her waist. As well, under her pinafore she wore a crisp white shirt, therefore I imagined her to be in her late eighties.
I could tell she was one with The Sea. They were authentic sisters. For my part, I was glad I was pulled toward, The Woman In Blue.
The Women In Blue
She smiled. We smiled.
“Good morning,” we said. “We walked over to see what you are doing.”
“I am shelling. Collecting shells,” she replied.
“I love seashells,” I declared. “I love everything that has to do with, The Sea.”
She then opened her apron and showed me her morning collection of the most amazing seashells I had ever seen.
“What do you do with all these shells?” I inquired.
“I collect shells for the shell shop in town. Today I found the most beautiful shell. Look!”
“Do you know its name?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s called a Moon Shell.”
The Woman noticed I could not take my eyes off this exquisitely patterned medium-sized shell. She said smiling, “I would like to give it to you! Please accept this as my gift from The Sea.”
She continued, “Take it home, wash it in bleach to clean out the animal, and the bleach will bring back its natural color.”
I looked up at her and replied, “Thank you. I will always treasure your gift.”
We said our goodbyes and I carefully wrapped my Moon Shell and carried her back to Chicago. After I arrived home, I followed the instructions from The Woman In Blue. Then, I carefully placed my beautiful white shell into a glass box with a lid to view her every day.
My lovely Moon Shell still sits on my desk fifteen years later! The joy this small gift brings to me cannot be measured in words. Because of this, I wish I could once again thank, The Women In Blue.
TWO DAUGHTERS – TWO HEARTS – TWO VALENTINE’S PRESENTS
This story took place about ten years ago as Shelly and I drove around the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
One of our stops was at a famous lake that grants wishes if you dip your hands in the water–I could not resist, Darlings!
“Let’s walk down to the lake,” I said to Shelly.
The walk down was laden with medium-sized rocks in all shapes and sizes so it was a difficult walk. You could trip or lose your balance because the rocks moved as you walked. Shelly and I had to keep our eyes glued to the ground as we proceeded down to the water’s edge.
As I neared the water, I saw two medium-sized rocks lying side by side. I truly believe that a million people would never have noticed those rocks, but to my eye, they looked like abstract hearts.
I let go of Shelly’s hand and bent down to pick them up.
“What are you doing?” Shelly asked.
“What do these rocks remind you of?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” was the answer.
“They are authentic abstract hearts!” I said. “I am going to take them home, write a loving saying on each rock in red magic marker and give them to the girls for Valentine’s presents!”
Shelly just smiled, squeezed my hand and kissed my cheek.
However, I must admit I did not think these two rocks would have the impact they did on my daughters. Therefore I was overjoyed when I saw the heart’s importance. Overjoyed because my daughters visualized their mother finding them on the shoreline of Ireland and thinking of them–it was wonderful.
What is even more wonderful is that I noticed years ago that both of them placed their Valentine Rock with their Mother’s words of love on their perfume trays in their baths. In fact, this is where they still sit today. These are authentic gifts of love that can never be replaced and are always cherished.
A GRANDSON’S GIFT TO HIS HONEY
My grandson, Robbie, was traveling to Israel on Birth Right, a great trip for young people. He always brings me a present from his travels.
“Honey, what would you like me to bring you from Israel?” Robbie asked.
“Nothing store-bought. A gift from the land would be a treasure,” I replied.
Without a doubt, I was not disappointed in this grandson of mine. Robbie brought me a perfectly shaped round rock that looks like sand and is sturdy and hard like the State of Israel.
It is a treasured gift because it came from my grandson and the Land of Israel. My rock sits on my desk along with my Moon Shell for Nantucket.
TEACH YOUR GRANDCHILDREN EARLY ON THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHENTICITY
I have shown my daughters and my grandchildren the art of authentic gifting by the gifts I give to them–my gifts from the heart. Darlings, these are my eternal words to them:
“Gifts do not have to cost money to bring joy to your family and friends. The joy of a material possession lasts but for the moment. An authentic gift from an authentic heart lasts a lifetime.”