Holiday 2007

Dear Friends

Many years ago, I spent several months backpacking around Europe. Through a friend of a friend, I made contact with two young women attending school in Dublin, and I stayed with them for about 2 weeks in their cramped 3rd story, unheated walk-up.

One of these girls was Margaret Fox, from Belfast. She was a rather cynical and hard-to-humor girl. The best way I can describe her is that most of the time she acted like a cranky old lady even though she was only twenty-three. I think she'd had a pretty hard life, even at that young age. But sometimes Margaret would let her hair down and let a vulnerable, child-like side peek through, like when she would compliment me on the ring I wore. The ring was a garnet in a rather ornate gold setting and I'd worn it 24/7 for years -- one of those pieces of jewelry that eventually just becomes part of you. The most effusive I ever saw her was when she was marveling at how beautiful she thought that ring was.

The morning I left Dublin for wherever my next stop was going to be, Margaret and her roommate were still sleeping. I quietly got my things together without waking them (having said our farewells the night before), removed my ring, put it on the bed stand next to Margaret’s pillow, and left that apartment with a heart so light I could have floated on air. It was absolutely my pleasure and my joy to give her that ring.

I never saw Margaret again and have no idea what became of her. But every once in a while I think of her and imagine what it might have been like to see her wake up that morning, stretch, force herself to get out of bed in that freezing cold room -- and see the ring sitting there. It brings a smile to my face, and if cells can smile, every cell of my body smiles, too. This, I think, must be what the ''joy of giving'' is all about.

These moments may not come around too often in a lifetime, but they are to be cherished. Would that all of us -- children and adults, alike -- experience the pure and utter delight of giving from our hearts this season, for this surely is one of the places where joy is born.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

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