This week it's a Fun Friday, rather than Fun Monday, post because I've been caught up with some dog silliness this past week. If that appeals to you more than holiday giving just scroll down to the previous post "Peggy Flobbins Look Alike". Anyway! Our host for this week's Fun Monday was Sayre . Her assignment asks us to examine our Inner Giver. At the start of the gift-giving season, what are our thoughts on giving? What do we give? Why do we do it? Well, in my mind the perfect gift is one that combines the sharing of our time, talents, and treasures. Most years I don't come up to my own standards, but here's some ways that I've expressed my Inner Giver:
Channeling Martha Stewart--many years ago my small circle of friends decided that we would stop buying each other "stuff". We had all the stuff we needed or, if we wanted something, most of us just went out and bought it. So, over the years we made group contributions to an inner city church soup kitchen where we once volunteered or we contributed to the Kentucky Humane Society. Still, around the holidays I get the urge to make something green and festive. Last year it was evergreen wreaths for everyone. For about two days the kitchen was given over to a wreath making assembly line. Here's an example. This year I'll do the same. Not sure what form it will take yet but it will definitely be fresh greenery and seasonal. Guaranteed to passed Martha Stewart's inspection. :-)
Volunteering with Hospice--this is something that I do all year long. When I retired, I decided to take the training to be a family respite care volunteer with our local hospice organization. I did this for several reasons. The first was rather selfish. I don't have family members that I can count on if I should ever need end of life care myself, so I decided that hospice volunteering would be something I could do now while I'm healthy and able to do it. Kind of a pay forward for the time that I may need the help of this great organization myself. I also thought I could learn more about caregiving since I have that responsibility for my older sister.
The funny thing about this whole experience is that I never had any illusions that I was well-suited for this job. I don't have a lot of tender feelings for people who are ill. Neither am I a "brow wiper." I am, however, practical and patient--and interested in people. So, that's what I do. I work with one family at a time, providing respite care. Right now it's an elderly couple. The wife is in a wheelchair and on oxygen, diagnosed by hospice as "failing to thrive." The husband is full-time caregiver. So, whenever he needs me, I sit with his wife at the kitchen table watching soaps or game shows. We talk about important things like hairstyles, who we like on Dancing with the Stars, dogs--they have one they love--and the frustrations and worries of being totally dependent on someone for everything you need. Meanwhile the husband gets a much needed break away from caregiving to play a few rounds of golf with his buddies or take care of some of his own needs.
Animal Rescue--this is an area of giving that's close to my heart. Last year before I became so tangled up with taking care of my older sister and getting her re-situated, I worked with area rescue groups transporting dogs wherever needed to different rescue organizations. What a great feeling to take a scared, sometimes almost wild puppy or adult dog, from a shelter and get them to the next drop off point--a step toward getting them in a forever home. There were the biting Great Pyrenees pups, Max the red heeler, the puking border collies, Jake the black lab companion animal trainee, and the little old woman grey poodle who was blind and broken toothed but still someone was willing to rescue. In 2010 I plan to get back into more animal rescue. What I'm coming to understand is that once you become a caregiver, it just goes on and on. And it makes no sense to put your own interests and passions on hold while you do the caregiving. You need to do both to maintain some balance in your life.
So Sayre, the areas above pretty much sum up where I am right now as a Giver--take a little bit of time, talent, and treasure; mix well; and then give it out to others. If I haven't made it around to all the Fun Monday posts, will do so today. And, thanks for stopping by to check out my Fun Friday post.
- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.