Sunday, December 8, 2013

Life's Blessings

“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

Dr. Steve Maraboli,
Behavioral Scientist

Christmas is always a time when I think of the way God has richly blessed my life.  Things could have been so very different for me had I been born in poverty in a multitude of other countries.  But I was blessed to be born in Canada and to have opportunities that I would not have had in many other countries because I was a girl child.

So Christmas is always an important time of year for me. A time to consider my blessed life and to see what I can do for others beyond my family or immediate circle of good friends.

There are many ways to be a blessing to others.  If we look around in our circle of friends and acquaintances and review their circumstances we can probably think of a number of people who could use a kind gesture, a helping hand, a small blessing or material helps of some kind.

Beautiful flowers remind me of God's blessings.

This week I had a special blessing and I was also able to bless them in return.

It has been very cold here in my city with lots of cold air blowing through the vents in my home.  A serviceman came to check on the ventilation in the building and concluded that my vents are not attached to the building vents.  He concluded that he couldn't help me.

But it turned out that he is also a certified gas technician.  He asked about my fire place and I told him I haven't been able to use it for a few years.  A part needs replacing and I just never got around to dealing with it.

The nice young man offered to try and start it and after a few minutes, it started working!  I was so excited.  I blessed him by insisting he take a small tip.  That way he could buy himself something that he likes. He didn't want to take it but I told him how much he had helped me and that I appreciated it very much. He was also a great blessing to me because he saved me a few hundred dollars.  At this time of year that is a huge help.

A hut in a Kenyan village. It belongs to my friend's Grandmother.

Another friend from a far away land didn't know where to purchase buttons for a blazer she bought in a thrift store.  She has a couple of children and it is difficult for her to go shopping and arrange to be home on time for her eldest child's return from school.

I had the bright idea of putting together a small sewing kit for her.  It included:  a variety of buttons in different neutral colours, sewing thread, sewing needles, pins, a pin cushion, a small scissors, measuring tape and a tin can to hold it all. She was so happy with this small gift because though she has been in Canada for a year, she has not had the time to put a basic sewing kit together. I also put together separate, small gifts for her two children and her husband. I want them to feel that someone is thinking of them though they are far from their homeland.  She had shared with me about two weeks ago that her son misses Christmas because last year (their first year in Canada), the only person that invited them to share Christmas with them was me! In their homeland they are used to family, extended family and friends being together at Christmas.  That story touched me and showed me that our small gestures do not go unnoticed even by children.

Another friend was complaining of how he was so cold this week while working outside as he is employed in construction.  He is from West Africa so you can imagine how very different the weather is here for him.  He said he was so cold on Friday that he was almost crying. I know how cold it has been because the wind has ripped through me like an icy shard several days this week when I had to run errands.  When I went out the other day I saw some hand warmers that can last for 12 hours or more. I bought some for him and will add it to another small gift I've purchased for him.  I'm not sure he knows about the hand warmers so if I give him some samples, he can try them.  At least they will warm up his hands for those few very cold days that we will get this winter.

There are so many other ways to bless people but these are just three small examples of lifting a person's spirit at this time of year.  Sometimes people can feel low in spirit because they are far from family, don't have friends or family, or have family and friends from whom they are currently estranged. Let's look for ways to be a small blessing to someone this season.

Two Kenyan women and their children. They were desperate for some help.

I also want to continue to be a blessing and encourage others to be a blessing to Elvis in Kenya. Elvis is in his final year of medical studies in Kisumu, Kenya.

If you want to be a blessing to Elvis,  Pay Pal donations can be sent to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com
If you want to send Elvis or his mother (who is a single parent) a special word of encouragement, you can send them to the same email address. Thank you to those who respond :-)

I hope to share Elvis' graduation photos when he has finished his studies.

If you'd like to share your blessing stories, I'd love to hear them in the comments section.

Have a wonderful week!


Terra said...

Thank you for your kind heart and for reminding me to look for ways to bless people. How good you asked that child's family to celebrate Christmas that first year they were in Canada so they weren't so lonely. I offered to do something for a gal at church recently and she said "you are an answer to prayer". That was good to hear :)

Joyful said...

Hello Terra, your story is a beautiful reminder of how we can be someone's answer to prayer. I love that! May you have a blessed and joyous season. Hugs. xx

Jo said...

Penny, the Holy Spirit certainly speaks through you at this time every month. When I read this [type of] post on your blog, I slap my forehead and remember what I've forgotten! Sorry, I've been so involved with the foster cats' relocation, that this went out of my head. (Thanks for your beautiful comment on that post this morning, you are a discerning lady and understand exactly what all the care of two extra cats and their final move entailed.) What a blessing that serviceman was to you; I remember you saying how long your gas fire has been out of order. And he saved you dollars and then you blessed your friend in Canada who obviously hails from Kenya? You are a darling and I honor your kindness and generosity. Blessings Jo

Joyful said...

Dear Jo, I'm so glad that the Holy Spirit speaks through me. I know how very busy many people can get over this season and so it takes a person who has ears to hear to hear the voice of the Spirit speaking. I do understand about the cat situation and your caring heart has really helped your friend Rina through this difficult time of separation. May God continue to bless her through your good works. My friend in Canada is actually from Tanzania. God bless and big hugs. xx

jabbott said...

There is more happiness in giving than receiving, so true and you are pure example of this x

Joyful said...

Hello JAbbott, it is nice to be able to give, and nice to when someone can receive. It always warms my heart to be able to give and meet someone's need. I like Terra's story (above) of a girl letting her know that she was an answer to prayer. xx

Hannapat said...

This is such a beautiful and moving post. Yes we have so much to be grateful for and it is so wonderful to give and you have shown so many beautiful examples of it here. I love the fact that you made a little sewing kit, how very thoughtful. I am pleased to hear that the kind man fixed your fire and that you are now feeling a great deal warmer, how very generous of him. I do hope that you are not feeling too cold. Take care of yourself. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Every Monday I put a new quote on a blackboard at work and next Monday I will put the quote from the beginning of this post as I like it very much. It certainly is the little acts that mean the most. This is a beautiful post x

Pat said...

I loved your stories of blessing--from you to someone and from someone to you. I do always feel blessed myself when I am able to help someone.

Cynthia said...

There is so much need in the world, it is overwhelming to think about. I was listening to a BBC program this morning about Syria and the Syrians who are so hungry, and wishing I were a millionaire so I could help. I like your stories about the small ways we can all help right where we are. Thanks for the reminder.

Joyful said...

Thank you Hannapat. It always feels good to help someone even in small ways and to know also that you've met some needs. It has warmed up a lot in my corner of the world. Beleieve it or not, some nights I am too hot.

Joyful said...

Hi BettyandAnnie, I'm so glad you liked the quote and I hope others did at your work place too :-)

Joyful said...

Hi Pat, thank you for dropping by. I love the reciprocal blessings too for somehow I always feel that is how it is meant to be ;-) I just heard on television the other day that giving actually increased endorphins and happiness.

Joyful said...

Hi Cynthia, yes there is so much need in the world. It is so sad. It can be overwhelming at times. But we can help in small ways all around us to alleviate the suffering of others. We can even do our small parts to alleviate the suffering of those far away by giving the little bit we can to those we want to help. I wish you a wonderful Christmas.

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