Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Passion for Presents

I love presents. It's no secret. I just love them. I love the wrappings, the trappings, the loving thoughts behind them, the big gestures, and the small. I love giving gifts and receiving them. I'm the kind of girl who gets excited over a post-it note that says, "I love you." I'm the mom who wears a two foot long plastic purple beaded necklace to work because my daughter thinks its her most beautiful possession, and she gave it to me. How could I not wear it?

I'm the kind of girl who keeps scissors and curling ribbon in her glove compartment; blank cards in her purse. You never know when you might have a little gift to pass along. And. Everything looks better in curling ribbon. I just love occasions.

But, do you know what I love more than occasions? Just because presents. You know the kind. The drawing a child shyly hands you. Slightly crumpled from being clutched in a sweaty little hand. The fresh strawberries brought home just because you love them. The chores that were finished and you never had to ask. The card out of the blue that says I'm thinking of you. The CD sent to your daughter because your friend knew she would love it. Just because. For love. No birthday. No occasion. Just because.

Announcing my first ever give away - and it's just because. I thought I would have a 100th post give away. Oops. That one came and went unnoticed. Hmmm... OK. I'll have a give away for my birthday. Oops again. Oh well. Christmas? Not quite. OK. I'll do it for my blogiversary. Oops again. There are a million reasons why I want to give something back. I'm telling you, if I had showers of blessings before, the past few weeks (OK, it's months now.) have been a flood. To those of you who have been so generous and full of love, let me just say again. Thank you. You make my life richer, happier, more full of joy.

To say thanks, to end my month of passions with a bang, and because I have a passion for presents, I'd like to give away one or two gifts. Just because. I guess I just want to share the love. If you would like to participate, please leave me a comment. To make it more interesting, won't you tell me the story of the best gift you ever gave. I'll draw the names in one week. I can't wait to hear your stories.

You may be wondering what presents I'll be sending. I'm not telling. Surprises are better, yes? Of course, anyone who knows me at all knows of my passion for books. You have one guess as to one item in the gift package.


Char said...

I love giving gifts too - did you see the one I offered at the secret place? *grin*

the best gift I ever gave...wow. the one that made me feel the best is the trip my sister, my mom, our friend Kathy, and I made to Savannah in July before my mom passed in November. It was her great wish to go to Paula's.... and we did.

there is nothing better to me than finding the perfect gift that brings a smile to someone's face and that sense of complete joy.

Anonymous said...

The best present I ever gave was to my mom, many years ago when I spent a semester in London.

My mother is a sculptor and her idol was Henry Moore. I knew she and my father were coming to visit at the end of the semester, and for Mother's Day I decided to try setting up a meeting with Mr. Moore. I wrote him a letter explaining the situation, and when my parents arrived, I presented my mother with his (unopened) reply. I will never forget the look on her face while opening the letter, nor the astonishment while reading it, followed by the both of us screaming and hopping excitedly around room as we read his invitation to tea.

As luck would have it, the date did not work for my mother, who had an appointment in Paris that same day. I think I was more disappointed than she was, although she did speak to him on the phone when she called to try and reschedule. I literally screamed into the mattress! But it wasn't to be, despite my intense begging.

We still talk about that gift, and how she said it might be the only thing she has ever regretted not doing.

Maithri said...

I really should be packing...but i couldnt help myself...had to come over and sit by your fire awhile ;)...

The gifts I love to give are to patients in hospital...

When I know one has had bad news, a devestating diagnosis, a new complication from an illness, I sit down with one of the personal service assistants on the wards, take some money from my wallet and say "Try and find the biggest, most beautiful bunch of flowers in the gift shop," and we give it to the patient with a little note attached.... wishing them healing and peace from all the staff on the ward...

Love is healing.

Thanks for the reminder my beautiful friend,


moonshin said...

well...i don't know if this could count as a gift...but i wrote something in my blog as a reply to one of your comments. the post says "Relyn's Request". if you have the time, please check it out. more important so, i want to know what you think.

have a nice day =)

p.s to Johanna, what a beautiful story..

Laura said...

Giving presents is so much fun!!!! Love your post and I totally agree! My best gift was to my friend when we were freshman in high school. She had mono and had to be out of school for several weeks. I brought over a silly, old, funny greeting card (you know, the kind that you would get from your Grandma's stash?) every day on my way to school.

Derrick said...

Hello Relyn,

The best gift I gave? After becoming acquainted with Scotland, many moons ago, I arranged to bring my parents on a visit. I got my sisters to help them pack a suitcase but my parents didn't know where they were going! We drove up from our home and, eventually, they realised where we must be headed.

I was able to introduce them to the new friends I had made, who were all very generous. One, who couldn't be there, arranged for beautiful flower arrangements to be placed in our hotel rooms. All this, plus the delights of Edinburgh made them realise why I had come to like Scotland so much.

That was some twenty years ago!

Joanne said...

Love this post. One of the best gifts I ever gave was identical star earrings to both my daughters, and I had a pair as well. When we need good wishes, or a connection, all three of us wear our stars on the same day.

beth said...

how fun to be part of your give-away !!!
and I too love to give gifts and have a shelf filled with "just in case" gifts....things I love that I know someone else will also love.

the best I ever gave....years ago my mother let me have an old family album filled with picutres of all us kids {because I asked for it} WELL, my older sister had a fit, so for christmas I bought a beautiful album and scanned all the photos from the original album and filled the new album for her and gave it to her at christmas....she cried !! AND actually those are the best gifts...anytime I can make someone cry....now that's pure heaven to me in the world of gift giving !!

Lubna said...

The best gift I received from friends last year while my Mum was fighting a major illness was their time. They had time to call, they found the time to be helpful in so many little ways. Yes, time is the most precious gift which one can receive and which one can give.

I'll be there for you, should not just be words, but should be translated into action - this is what true friends are for.

Melinda Rice said...

MY Grandma is a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) Danielle Steele fan! She has read every single one of her books, many several times. For her 80th birthday, I found Danielle Steele's website and emailed her, telling her of my grandma's love for her and her books. A couple weeks later, Danielle Steele (I choose to believe it was HER, and not an assistant) sent my grandma the greatest, sweetest, most personal letter. It thanked her for her loyalty, wished her a happy birthday, and most importantly acknowledged her as a wonderful person and grandmother. My grandmother has it framed on her wall in her nursing home bedroom. Although I didn't send the letter myself, I count it as the best gift I ever gave my grandmother, with Danielle Steele's help!

smith kaich jones said...

I am so happy to see you write this! I almost wrote about my passion for celebrations, big & small, for cards that say Happy Monday, for Easter baskets to everyone (I will miss making one for Mary this year), for parties thrown when your very favorite flower blooms, for all the just becauses there are. Love, love, love this! If we lived next door to each other, you would find a bouquet on your car windshield every so often. Just because you are you.

:) Debi

Marilyn Miller said...

The best gift I have given is a few months after my daughter graduated from college. When she graduated she wasn't handed her diploma because she still owed them money. My husband and I finally paid off her debt and had the diploma sent to us. We framed it and I was able to hand deliver it to her. What a thrill.
I love giving gifts. Loved your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Moonshin!

Patti said...

I love giving presents too- especially "just because" ones for no reason- love that! One of my favorite to give were the bears I had made from my mom's things. I gave those to Molly, my sister and her girls this past Christmas. Thanks for this post and all you always do!

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Relyn :) I've actually come here to give you a gift. I'm giving you an award at my blog. You may pick it up if you like :) You deserve it sooooo much!

My best gift, hmmmmmmm, there are so many. I'm truly blessed in so many ways I wouldn't know where to begin.
Have a Happy Day!

Jeanne said...

I am gifted by your PRESENCE in my life. I thank you
I love you dearly.
Love Jeanne ^j^

paris parfait said...

I LOVE giving presents, "just because." I do this a lot, because it makes me happy to see people's delight. And it is always a delight to visit you, dear Relyn!

ELK said...

wonderful idea my friend I love reading all of these!

we adopted our golden retriever SAM from the rescue at 6 years old after being given up by his owners and rejected by a another family...so I guess the gift of a family was for him but oh it came back 100 fold to us ~ elk

dutchbaby said...

I had a friend, named Flora, who was newly diagnosed with cancer. Because the cancer was too large and near many vital organs, it was considered inoperable. Her only chance of surviving was to somehow shrink the tumor. Her chemo and radiation therapy absolutely had to work or her prognosis would have been grave. I was completely despondent and felt completely helpless. If there was only a way for her to be able to visualize this tumor shrinking down to nothing, life would be back to the way things were before her diagnosis.

I decided to make her a flip book of watercolor blobs that started out exactly the size of her tumor when I gave it to her and each succeeding page was a tiny bit smaller until it vanished into a tiny dot and then it was gone. Then I added many blank pages, just for good measure.

When I gave it to her I told her she could flip the pages from page one to the end and visualize her tumor shrinking until it was nothing. She loved the book and told me that she flipped the pages many many times. Every time she went to the doctor to re-measure the tumor, she would call me and tell me “I’m starting on page three now” or “Don’t need the first ten pages”. Anyway, her tumor shrank, she had the surgery and she became cancer-free.

I have no delusions in thinking that I helped shrink her tumor, the book was as much for me as it was for her – it was a way to address the helplessness of it all, but I like to think I helped her during those bad and scary days.

Anonymous said...

Dutchbaby, as a cancer survivor, I can tell you that your gift was priceless. What an extraordinary gesture.

Kirsten said...

Relyn~ What a lovely idea! I've been trying to think of new ways to be more giving and I love your idea.

My best gift was also after a friend's recent cancer diagnosis. She wasn't getting the support she needed from her mother and was feeling so sad and disappointed on top of all the terror of a life threatening disease, surgery, radiation, etc. So I wrote her a letter saying all the things I thought she might want to hear from her mother. Years earlier she had given me her baby shoes and I slid the letter in the little booty, signed her mom's name to the letter and sent them to her. She knew it came from me and that I had written it but said for one brief moment she actually thought her mother had written it and it was exactly what she needed. Sometimes even the things we need most can be made up.

SE'LAH... said...

What a hard question...

I think the most recent "best gift I ever gave" was to my godson. Since his birth 2 years ago, I have waited to buy him his first Thomas train set. My daughter and I gave it to him for Christmas and watching him entralled for hours on end was beautiful. He even went to bed with his trains.

spread your wings said...

you, Relyn are such a beautiful person. i love this post and don't find it surprising at all that you would be the type of person who gives, and gives just because. You say we've made your life richer? - just knowing you here in a virtual world has made our lives richer. I can't imagine what a joy it would be to know you in person.
I'm still trying to think of the BEST gift I ever gave.

Suvarna said...

I love gifts too. Especially giving and receiving the unexpected ones. My husband says the best gift I ever gave him was our son. I agree, he's the best gift we ever gave each other. He came wrapped in sweetness with a generous topping of thoughtful and a touch of silly. Small wonder we named him Jan which means- God's gracious gift.

Southern Drawl said...

Dutchbaby, awesome! I'm gonna have to think on this one. Love your site, Relyn! Borrowed the idea of the plug in player. My blog is 1 month old, definitely a work in progress, but cheaper than therapy! Thanks:)

Christina said...

My kiddos!
I prayed so hard, to have children. I let my prayers go into the wind and surrendered. Eight years ago from that day, God blessed me with a baby boy and 17 months later, guess what... a baby girl! I want to cry thinking of it all over again. They are a gift to us. To be cherished. I learn from both of them. They are so incredibly generous.


Wendy said...

I'm not sure this is the best present I ever gave, but it's the one that got the biggest reaction...

Once my husband and I gave his parents really awesome tickets to a live stage show that we figured they would enjoy. We knew it was "them" and that it would be used, not regifted, etc.

However, what we WERE NOT EXPECTING is for them to open it on Christmas morning and his mom to burst into tears! It was a wonderful and horrifying experience at the same time.

Colleen said...

I love gifts too. Especially ones that I receive as a complete surprise, out of the blue, for no special for specific reason - just because. I haven't received many of those, but the few that I have; well, they stand out above the rest.

The best gift I ever gave was a poem that I wrote for my mother many, many years ago. I was living with a guy that was wrong for me in so many ways and our relationship was like a horrible rollercoaster ride. My mother was so wonderful to me throughout this relationship and was always supportive of my decisions. She never once told me what to do. She never interferred. When I needed to run away from this guy and come home for a time to rest she always welcomed me in and when I would go back to him after my rest she always let me go without saying a word. It must have broken her heart every time, but she never let on. One of those times (towards the end of the relationship) I wrote her this poem. She still has it tucked away safely in her jewelry box. She is a special woman.

veronica said...

i so totally agree with you - the gifts just because are certainly the best ones. a corner of my apartment is designated as the gift holding area, where i store items i buy for people until just the right time to send them. and i love reading about all the great gifts others have given!

the best gift i ever gave was a part of a big project my dear college friends and i dreamed up. we all met through a christian fellowship on campus and just the women were hanging out one night and thinking about how far we had come since our freshmen year when we first met. we reflected on the amazing potential in all the men we had come to know and love and decided that we would embark on a yearlong secret project for them.

we handmade journals and bought a tall pillar candle for each of the 30 or so men. there was a rotating schedule so that each woman kept one journal and one candle for a week at a time before passing it on. as time went on, the journals became filled with quotes and verses, prayers and memories, photos and drawings. we always lit the candles while we prayed and the tall pillars shrunk with every passing week. at the annual end-of-the-year banquet, we sang a song we wrote for our guys, then explained the project, and gave them the remains of the candles and journals.

Jaime said...

Wow...I have so much of you to catch up on! Your month of passions is sounding so intriguing to me..I am so sorry I wasn't here as the days of March came and went.
I must keep reading and feel the passion.....

Jeanie said...

Well, I'm probably too late for your drawing, but that's OK -- I wanted to tell you this is a lovely post!

My story -- it's hard to have only one, sometimes, isn't it? But the one that stands out at this moment is the first poetry book I gave Rick -- it was our second Christmas together, I think. No, it was the first! And I've given him one ever since -- poetry that recapped our year, our relationship, all in a book that varies from scrap book style to pop up to one with original watercolors. The books have improved over time as my art skills have grown, but the first remains a favorite -- perhaps because it was first and unexpected, a tradition waiting to be born. Who could imagine there would be so many? Perhaps it was the explosive power of the poetry of just-discovered love. Perhaps for Rick it was that I made it -- just for him, about him, about us. I don't know -- but it was a winner!

Miko's Girl said...

Your request has stumped me - what is the best gift that I have given? Life to my children, love to my husband, understanding to my in-laws...This question has stumped me but I thought I will dig deep and give it a shot.

Quilting is another one of those past-times that is supposed to be inherent to my nature. Many women in my family tree have turned old clothing scraps into things of beauty. As I made a brief return to the working world, I was inspired by an employee to learn to quilt.

The easiest project it seemed to start quilting were baby quilts. The first baby quilt I made as a gift was for my husband's best friend, M.

My husband and his two best friends from the time he was five got married all within a twelve month period. It was a time of weddings for us. Two weeks prior to C.'s wedding, his fiance told him that she did not want kids. This was hard news for M. as he always envisioned children in his future but he loved this girl awful fierce so he went forward with his plans.

Two years, near to the day, after we were married our daughter, G., arrived and twenty months after that C. arrived. Within a year or so after C.'s birth we learned that M's wife was pregnant. We were all overjoyed with the news.

So, I made M's baby quilt my first quilting adventure. As baby's are supposed to notice first the colors red, black, and white, those were the colors of my quilt. The pattern was split rail fence. As I cut out each piece with the rotary wheel, I prayed. I prayed for the baby's health, for the momma's health. I praised God for changing the wife's mind to allow the thought of a baby to enter her head. I praised God for M's happiness. I prayed for patience, and for an easy delivery. As I completed the quilt top, I sent it to an embroiderer to add the baby's name to the quilt. I completed the quilt in time for the baby shower that was held to the hum of a generator as Hurricane Isabel had knocked out the power.

This is one of the best gifts that I have given - baby A's prayer quilt.

Gabrielle Kai Photography said...

Every Mother's Day, I make it a point to give my mother something home-made. I don't know what sparked this, but I do know that when she opens my gifts, she cries.

The very first time I did this, I took pictures of everyone in her life - family, friends, co-workers - and I bound them in a book with well wishes and funny sayings. She loved it!

spread your wings said...

I don't know if it's THE best gift and it's not as sentimental as many have written about but it was a surprise gift and those are always fun.
When T graduated from 8th grade I was so proud of her for having made straight As all the way through (she went to a private Christian school) that I thought she deserved something extra special and something she would not expect at all. I bought her an ibook and had it set up with a slide show of photos through the years of her elementary years at school. It was just sitting at the breakfast table at my parents and my brother was home for the occasion. She looked at it and watched the slide show and laughed at the old photos, but didn't really say anything - we couldn't understand why. She just thought it was my brothers computer. When I told her it was hers she was thrilled with excitement - she just couldn't believe it was really hers. She is still using that computer.
I have really enjoyed reading this post and about all the creative gifts women have given - given with such incredible passion.

Cam@Journey Wildly said...


it is a breath of fresh air to meet someone like you! This is a wonderful idea.

I am not sure about the best gift that I have ever given, I guess I will find out the answer to that when all is said and done on my journey here. I cannot weigh it because I can't truly know how any gift has been received. A smile may have been worth its weight in gold to someone.

If I had to choose one out of a Top Five, When my son was in Kindergarten, I bought a box of Christmas cards and asked his teacher to let the students sign three each with their brand new little signatures in crayon, and I took them to the local nursing home. Maybe that brightened someone's day.

dulcy said...

Oh Boy! I love a giveaway! I think I'll give you something whether I get something or not! Let's see...what should I give you? You better check your mailbox daily, and I better get back to work!


Gillian said...

Someone said, giveaway???

Gifts are best given. You know what I mean? I love giving them. Feels soooo good.

Oldies, but Goodies