Gifts that Give

Since this is the time of year when many people are in the gift-giving spirit, I’d like to give a gift to my blog readers. Well, sort of. Following the lead of the Clinton Foundation, I’m participating in the Gifts that Give idea. This is such a cool idea because it’s something that is sustainable throughout the year. So, although I donated items to stuff a stocking for an underprivileged child this month, there is so much more I can do for months to come (and on a limited budget). Some of the ideas listed on the site are part of what I strive to do in my professional work (i.e., gifts of health and inspiration). Instead, what I’ve chosen to focus on and share with you is the Gift of Optimism. This gift is all about sharing positive stories about things happening in the world. I must admit, this is somewhat of a selfish choice, as I was drawn to it in part because I often find myself in need of a funny or uplifting story. I most recently found myself in serious need of some good news after watching the CNN documentary Blackfish and then shortly after hearing a particularly heartbreaking story from a client. This combination left me wondering if there was any human decency left, as we clearly are destroying the world. Luckily, life has a way of righting itself, and I found a few glimmers of hope for the future. For example, I was caught in a “pay it forward” chain at Starbucks (where each person pays for the order of the car in line behind). I later heard that chain went on for 72 cars. Then there are the stories of hope on the Good News Network (such as the man who used his lottery winnings to fund cancer research in honor of his late wife or the major reduction in homelessness in Utah via a rehousing program). And of course there are the Buzzfeed lists with various romantic or faith-restoring photos. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a little tear of happiness. With all the painful and tragic stories that plague the news, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that it’s not all bad. So, if anyone would like to give a gift, please feel free to share any stories of optimism, inspiration, joy, sustainability, service, hope, life, etc. Maybe we can start another pay-it-forward trend?

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