It seems for the last two weeks I've been bombarded with requests for support: the autism walk, the Humane Society, the missions at church, the United Way, the Boy Scouts, the Fraternal Order of Police, jeans day at work.... the list goes on and on and on. You know what they say about overexposure. You become calloused over time. Immune. You glance at the return address and toss the envelope without opening it. Just another solicitation for a donation. And then, someone gave me this book:
The original title was 29 Gifts by Cami Walker, but I changed it Eloise style to 33 Gifts, because I thought 33 was a better number. It is a book about the power of giving. The premise behind the book isn't new. I've read many a book similar in the last decade. It is about the the effect giving can have on a person and the world around you for the positive. What most held my attention with this book is the personal story of the author. Ms. Walker was stricken with MS just months after she was first married while only in her 30's. It is one of those stories of life taking one on a detour.
I read a lot about MS (multiple sclerosis) while I was researching autism. It came up often in that umbrella definition of neurological disorders that autism is found under. I found that those with type B blood are more likely to get it. Even though I am not a type B, nor does anyone in my family have MS, I found the reading interesting. It is a nasty disease and if you know anyone who is living with it, I urge you to read this book to better understand some of the pain and frustration a person suffering with this must go through.
Cami Walker found ease in pain and gain in mobility by following the advice of a spiritual leader. Ms. Walker was to consciously "give" something to someone for 29 straight days. The book is a chronicle of her giving experiences and how it all changed her for the better.
The book is written largely from the point of view of a liberally religious person. Cami Walker is a Californian and belonged to the Church of Scientology. I must admit I don't know much about the theology behind the Scientologists, nor have I spent time researching it. Although I agree with some of her thinking, I am a devout Christian in my beliefs, I do not hold true with all of her points in the book. However, the basic premise of giving is what Jesus has taught us to do. That is the main message that is carried throughout, and I tried to focus on the similarities of our beliefs rather than our differences.
Luke 6: 38 Give, and it will be given to you. ....... For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
According to Cami Walker's spiritual leader, the giving cycle needs to last 29 days, based on an African tradition that really wasn't clear in the book, nor did I take the time to research further. Something or other about building energy. My powerhouse here at the Lamp Post generates energy fine enough.
Cami Walker began her giving experiences when she was bedridden from the disease and addicted to painkillers. The future looked bleak for this once vibrant, newly married, 30something. When Walker writes about giving, her gifts were not all about money. She also gave the intangible gifts of time and encouragement--the best gifts of all.
She writes of an experience of bringing a homeless man a warm cup of coffee, and also of giving someone a letter of gratitude. You can find out more about her experiences by logging on to her website www.29gifts.org. You can record your own acts of giving blog style on her website or just keep track of what you do for someone or something on a calendar. She insists that it is important not to break the chain of giving, and if you do miss a day, you should start the 29 day cycle from the start. Something Californian about "energy flow."
Cami Walker encourages everyone to start today, with or without purchasing her book. I started five days ago, so this blog is my fifth gift in my 33 day cycle. Number 5. My gift to you. If you buck up the additional four days in your giving cycle, Jesus will be happy because I did it for him. It was 33 years that he walked the earth. There are also 33 vertebrae in the human spine, which was God designed so that was no accident. The sum of the numbers of the word AMEN when written in alphabet code (A=1, B=2, Z=26) equals 33. (Don't believe me? Try it. Go get your pencil. ....I'll wait.......See. I told you so). And if those things aren't enough, it is also the secret number on my Rolling Rock bottles. Divine indeed.
This blog is my gift to my readers, who were always just intended to be my family and friends. My cousins from Cleveland to Coudersport. My uncle out in Oregon and my friends from Philly to Fort Mill. I now have far surpassed my original expectations with over 20,000 hits on the Lamp Post to date. I never want to appear proud, haughty, or know it all-ish. I'm just a jerk like all the rest of us, looking for ways to walk the straight and narrow path. I am merely a teacher using my gift of story telling to tell you of lessons I learned in my own experiences.
This weekend, Eloise will share her gift of storytelling through writing with you today. I got a Sam story. He lost his first tooth--in a hotel pool, nonetheless.
If you recall, Sam is afraid of lots of things; fireworks, coyotes, thunderstorms, the dark, and MOTHS. Yes, moths. Don't ask me why, but he screams like Little Miss Muffet every time he sees one. It must the be the stealth element of surprise those little suckers have on him. Sam was not happy when he made the connection that a mothlike woman would be visiting him to put a coin under his pillow in exchange for his tooth.
After some convincing, Sam eventually did go to sleep that night with his wrestling action figures poised and at the ready at the head of his cot. He awoke a happy boy to find a dollar bill under his pillow because the coin was too heavy to fly two hours away from home. No, Sam did not receive all those dollars in the photo below from the tooth fairy. Just one. If the tooth fairy carried that much cash I'd be using the blade of my ice skate to knock my own tooth out like Tom Hanks did in the movie Cast Away.
The hotel was our Easter Retreat. A one day get away by suggestion from my fellow blogger-classmate-runner-friend Heather. Thank you, Heather. Sam was especially happy because there were kids in the hotel to play with. He found some friends and didn't leave their side during our short time together Easter weekend. Known only to us as Fred and Adida from Somewhere, PA; they were MY gifts that weekend. They kept Sam busy. See below.
Playing IN the pool.
Happy sisters because Sam had someone else other than them to bother.
So not only will Eloise give you the gift of a story today, but also a recipe. It's a good one. The recipe I am about to give you is called Skinny Water. Here is how you make it:
- Fill a pitcher of water
- Float about a dozen or so mint leaves on top
- Cut two lemons into round slices and put them in
- Cut half a cucumber into nice neat circles and have them take a dip
- Add a splash of Type O hemoglobin for an extra kick
Yes, I did it again. Cut my same finger in the exact same place, making the exact same recipe I was making when I cut it the first time two weeks ago. Live and learn, you say? Obviously not. Don't you all know that teachers are often the worst students?
The drop of blood added to my drink that is supposed to "flush the toxins from my system" reminded that me we all bleed red. No matter the color of our skin, the country we live in, or the type of religion we practice, we all bleed red. Although we are different types: I'm O positive, Ellen is A, someone out there may be B (and need to research its connection to MS); there is a sameness in all of us. We all bleed red.
We all need help at one time or another because we are all human. And if your human nation can band together to be the helpers when called upon, as well as the grateful recipients when we are too weak to help ourselves, this world would be a better place.
To summarize in my teacher way (the key point is always bolded): give what you can, whenever you can, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver.
Those aren't my words. I borrowed them from Paul and Timothy. They put them in the second letter of Corinthians, chapter 9, verse 7 if you want to check it out for yourself.
Enjoy gift Number Five,