you, you gave me a reason to live; thank you, you allowed me to
realize my dream,' we make givers aware of their unique and precious
gifts. Sometimes it is only in the eyes of the receivers that givers
discover their gifts."
We're off and running into January 2004. It's a new year, a new
beginning, a time of fresh starts and possibly some changes. We've
come through a season of celebration, as well as gift giving and
receiving. I loved giving gifts and I loved receiving them, but today
I want to focus on the gifts that bring hope and support to others.
In December I was invited to a luncheon for the columnists at the
Daily Pilot, the News-Press' sister paper in Costa Mesa. Our editor,
Tony Dodero, wanted to personally thank us for our contribution to
the newspaper. I appreciated his encouraging words, personal
affirmations and contagious smile.
Obviously everybody had plenty to do during such a busy season,
but it was a wonderful respite with great people and delicious food.
It was a pleasure to meet the columnists, cartoonists, editors and
others whose work I enjoy reading, some of whom I only knew by their
When our oldest daughter Kelly was young, she once said, "I wish I
had a story about my life." She explained that she'd heard teachers
tell stories about their lives, and she'd read about many exciting
lives, and she wanted one too.
"Everybody has a story, sweetheart," I said. "Yours is already
pretty incredible, and you are one amazing little girl."
I thought about that comment from years past after I left our
lunch. I realized I would have loved the opportunity to sit next to
everybody at that table, because everybody there had a story of his
or her own. I was sorry that some people were unable to attend.
In the short time we had together we covered topics such as
schools, sports and surfing. Some of us also discussed church,
children and cooking. I enjoyed hearing about the families and
interests of those I had a chance to speak with, and I wish I'd had
the opportunity to talk with everyone present. We also shared a lot
of chips and guacamole, and as tasty as lunch was, I savored the time
we had to talk. It was a wonderful gift that I almost missed. I
prayed about going and felt that God would want me to focus more on
people, than on presents and projects.
It was refreshing to stop and spend time with old and new friends.
I also appreciated being thanked in such an enjoyable way. As we put
away presents we received and live in this new month and year, let's
think of ways to give thanks and hope to others.
* CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON is a Newport Beach resident who speaks
frequently to parenting groups. She can be reached via e-mail at
email@example.com or by mail at 537 Newport Center Drive, No. 505,
Newport Beach, CA 92660.