Category Archives: Generosity

The Saturday “Not So” Blizzard

Olivia Marie and her favorite doll

Olivia Marie and her favorite doll

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Coco Chanel

The day started off pretty simple. I had signed up for a cupcake class from my friend Brandi. She’s a Wilton instructor and the owner of her own cake business, Event Cakes PGH. During the winter, it pays to look for something creative to do and one of Brandi’s classes was just the ticket.

This was too much fun!

This was too much fun!

My daughter Michelene was due to meet me right after class. We were headed to our cousin Nick and (his wife) Kristen’s house. Kristen had offered Michelene some professional clothes, as Michelene has a special work conference coming up in April.

I had checked the weather that morning. I knew there was some snow predicted but ultimately, I left it up to Michelene to decide. She said let’s go.

The ride to Nick and Kristen’s was smooth. No problems. A snowflake here or there but overall a pleasant drive. We arrived and Olivia Marie (their three year old daughter) was there to greet us in her Valentine’s Day red dress and silver tights.

I hung out with Olivia while Michelene and Kristen looked over the clothes. Kristen’s house was warm and pretty, with fresh tulips and roses on the counter. Nick arrived soon after, with more flowers, and we settled in for a nice catch up conversation.

Around 1pm I looked at Michelene and said we should go. She agreed, so we said our good byes and headed out. All was fine until we went off of 70 West, onto 79 North. It was like suddenly crossing an imaginary line. The weather went from nothing to a big something. Snow came down so hard I could barely see to drive.

The view from my windshield

The view from my windshield

So I did something I don’t believe I’ve ever done before. I pulled over. I said to Michelene, we’re going to wait this out just a bit. I went onto the berm of the road and put my flashers on. Soon, a few others did the same and we were like a mini line of flashing red cars.

Michelene checked the weather map on her phone and then apologized for getting us in the middle of the storm. I wasn’t worried. I knew the original forecast was for one to three and already one inch had fallen before we even left that morning. I told her not to worry.

And sure enough, about fifteen minutes later, the visibility improved. The scraping road truck went by and we pulled out shortly afterwards. We took our time and probably didn’t go above thirty miles an hour (like every one else) until we got off the interstate. The roads were better then and the snow had stopped.

When I told my mom this story, she asked me if I was scared. I said No. I knew what the forecast was and that the snow was predicted to be intermittent. I felt confident that we were not in danger. It was not so much a blizzard as a bit of a blizzard.

And I’ll tell you, it was worth it all to spend some quality time with Olivia Marie. She is the sweetest little girl and we had a good time together drawing on the artist board she got for Christmas. And I am thankful for Kristen, who was so giving of herself to share her beautiful clothes with Michelene.

Just too sweet

She’s the best Valentine

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Living Generously

Mom and her delicious Finikia!

Mom and her delicious Finikia!

“Give , and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

I would have to say that my mother has set the best example for me of living generously.

She does not have all that much but what she has she will share with you unselfishly. Preferring not to spend money on herself, she will lavishly offer to spring for lunch or try to give me money when I buy her something that is really a gift.

Case in point, my sister Mary is coming to town in a couple of weeks and my mom already has the itinerary pretty much finished (this is why I am an event planner!). One day’s activities involves going to our church’s mini food festival and mom has already told me she is paying for dinners- lamb, pastichio, stuffed grape leaves, etc.

Over my objections (it does no good) she has told me she will take care of the food bill that night.

I used to think my mom financially cut herself a bit too close at times but as I get older, and closer to God, I think honestly she has the right idea. Everything she needs has been provided to her. She is well taken care of and in good health now (thank you!). Happy to be with her simple things, she is content to have just enough.

I firmly believe the old wives saying of “you can’t take it with you”. I love how wealthy people are giving their money away in clever and creative ways, not leaving it all for their children but making them earn it themselves.

I found this link recently to an article about wealthy people who have decided not to leave their fortunes to their kids. Warren Buffet for instance has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth either during his life or before he dies. He has already pledged 83% of it to the Gates Foundation.

What about simple folk like me? I am still finding creative ways to be generous, despite my limited income these days. Giving of my time (without expecting payment) to good causes is my favorite generous act of late. I also like to treat to things that are only a few dollars- coffee or dessert for a friend, a nice book from the used book store. I love these forms of generosity; they keep my feet firmly planted where they need to be, in service to others.

If I am tempted to be selfish with my time or money, I remind myself how generosity will come back to me multiplied.

Blessings to you today! What is your favorite act of generosity?

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