Sunday, January 4, 2015

Cheerful Givers

Every Friday, Carson slides a $20 bill into his wallet.  He gets an allowance each week and, in return, we expect him to do his chores, work hard in school, and obey all the rules around here.  Some parents might call it bribery.  We like to think of it as a little pocket cash that helps him learn about managing money, saving, and responsibility.   

He'd been careful not to spend any of his money for the last few months because he was saving for a new paintball gun that he's been wanting really badly....that kind of longing that had him reading about it, looking at it online quite a bit, and talking about it to anyone who would listen.  It would be a purchase that would take a good bit of saving.

The Christmas season rolled around and we all got busy with our going and doing and shopping and such.  The tree was decorated and was becoming hemmed in by all the gifts.  The Christmas cards were rolling in, the oven was baking more than usual, and the scissors and tape dispenser were getting quite a workout.  One afternoon in all the bustle, Carson quietly asked his Daddy if he could drive him to the mall.  Before they left, he went back to his room and slid his leather wallet into his back pocket and they crept out of the house.

Davis drove where he was directed.  Stop after stop, Carson knew exactly where he wanted to go and what he needed there.  One twenty dollar bill at a time, his longtime accumulated savings, set aside for something he really wanted, was being spent on buying things for his family.....on things he knew they'd really like. 

Not only were the gifts nice, but they showed quite a bit of thought.  Blair had casually mentioned a couple of months ago that her travel mug was leaking.  He remembered that and bought her the nicest MSU insulated coffee cup that money could buy along with a few other girly gifts from other various stores.

He knows how much I love the soap and hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works, so who got the very biggest gift basket that they sell there?  That would be me.  Davis stood back and observed how he asked the salesperson which fragrance was the best, but then personally sampled all the scents just to be sure he agreed with her opinion.  He also couldn't help but notice his inability to pass up the add-on gifts near the register or the pure joy on his face as he shopped......spending the progress he'd made toward his own want for the benefit of others. 

A week or two later, I helped him with his shopping for Davis at the sporting goods store.  He knew just what he wanted to get.  The pocket knife that was "on the right side of the shelf....with the dark wood handle".  It was the one that he remembered Davis admiring.   He had his list and there was no talking him down from it.  After insisting I drive him to get some of those high dollar wool socks that he knows his Daddy likes to go along with the knife and a thoughtful gift for all of his grandparents, his wallet was as empty as the day he got it.......but I've never seen him happier or more excited.

This year was the first time his Christmas shopping wasn't done with our money and you could see in those ocean blue eyes that he'd discovered joy of sacrificial giving.  The anticipation of giving us those gifts was what he looked forward to the most this Christmas season.  I can honestly say that.     

Late Wednesday afternoon, I was at work and one of our nice, older customers was there getting her prescriptions.  She was in some sort of uniform and had, from all appearances, just finished a long, hard day at work. As she was leaving the store, she stopped and told those of us working in the gift shop that, if we knew anyone who was sick, elderly, or down on their luck, she was available to clean houses free of charge.  She went on to explain that her pastor had been preaching that we should all find something that we're good at and do it to help others.  She noted that she couldn't do a lot of things very well and she didn't have a whole lot to offer, but she was good at cleaning and enjoyed working with her hands.  As she used her hands to talk to us, you could seen the age and the labor on them.  They didn't sparkle with a fresh manicure or any kind of shimmering jewelry......they were just a pair of worn, willing hands that were being offered to anyone who needed them.   

Here was a lady in the kind of work uniform that would indicate that she didn't make a lot of money and that her job probably required a lot from her physically but, after a long day of labor, she was trying to find someone who could benefit from what little she had to offer. 

She was pointed over in the direction of one of our favorite elderly customers, who is 99.   He and his wife still live at home.  He is the healthiest of the two and is trying his best to maintain their independence all by himself.  He was thrilled with her offer, but she was even more thrilled to find him.  She left so excited about having a house to clean....for free.      

It's a new year and I've been thinking about all of that.  What would happen if we all lived sacrificially for each other?   How many of our world's problems would disappear?  What if we all gave up more of our wants and time to make someone else's life better?  What if we all thought less about us and more about "them"?

The new year issues us all a new, blank book.  It has 365 empty pages and we can do with them as we please.  Some days, our pages are written for us......things happen that we can't happens.  But, then there are days when it's all up to us.  We can make the chapter about whatever we choose.  We can fill the pages in with us or we can make our story so much more than that.

I want to have the giving heart of a 14 year old boy who spends his paintball money at Bath and Body Works of all places......and the willingness of a tired, working lady who's eager to go another mile if someone needs her.

I want to make my pages to count. 

Happy Monday!  It's good to be back!








  1. As the mother who has lived through the "MomMomMomMomMom, look at the next airsoft gun I want to get", I can understand what a sacrifice that was for Carson, but isn't is sweet to see that giving heart!! You made me teary this morning!

    1. Oh, Carla.....he loves airsoft too! You are speaking my know! He's a good boy and it's not our's just who he is. :)

  2. what a wonderful story about sacrifice, but the "feel good" kind. Carson's heart reminded me of this verse:

    2 Corinthians 9:7
    "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;…

    He certainly sowed bountifully but out of a loving and giving heart. This is such a life lesson for all of us and shows a maturity in Carson at his tender age that will serve him throughout his lifetime.

    Thank you for sharing Joni! It gives me hope for our young people.

    1. How sweet.....thank you, Judy! He has the most tender heart......and it has nothing to do with our parenting. It's just who he is. :)

  3. I so want my days to be marked for others and I find it so easy to drift into self-centeredness. What a sweet heart your boy demonstrates and what a valuable character trait he has earned. I'm inspired by the woman at your store and the gift she is to us and the couple she will help. Lord, make my heart as available!

    1. Preach it, Missy June! Thanks for that :)

  4. What a word it would be!!!
    A wonderful post of the joy of giving.
    They are stacking up their rewards in heaven. : )

  5. I meant to ask. Did you get Carson his paintball gun for Christmas? : )

    1. We didn't. By that time, we'd already gotten all his presents.......and too many at that! :) We told him if he'd save up half, we'll pay the other half. He should have it before too long.

  6. This is so great, Joni. Really loved hearing about your son's giving, and the lady who wanted to clean for others.

    You are right - we have a fresh new year ahead of us. I want to use it to serve others.


    1. Thank, Deanna. I hope you're off to a great start this new year!!!!