‘Tis the Season….For Giving!

 

linda-sig.jpgDuring the holiday season more than any other it seems we’re besieged with pleas to help. Any amount will do. I don’t know about you, but my mailbox overflows with requests. So many in fact, I don’t know where to donate my money, time and energy.

 

christmas-card-vintage-tree-momFrom Biblical times to the present people have always given of themselves to the poor and downtrodden. When we think of present day philanthropists, the names Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mother Teresa, Oprah, and a whole lot of others spring to mind. But they’re not all. The stories that touch my heart are the ones where a person in line at the grocery store tells the clerk he wants to pay for the next five or ten customers’ food bill. Or the man in a restaurant who picks up the tab for the next table. Or the person in line at the fast food place who pays for the next car’s bill. Or the child who donates all her birthday presents to the less fortunate. Generosity is everywhere and income plays little part. It’s big and small, rich or poor.

 

Settlers on the frontier never failed to give alms to the poor no matter that they had very little themselves. They had a generous spirit and a desire to pay forward what others had done for them.

 

I think of the old Texas ranchers…Dan Waggoner, Burk Burkburnett, Daniel Webster (80 John) Wallace who made sure to spread their good fortune to others. They helped their neighbors and took good care of their ranch hands and their families.

 

Molly b'DamAnd a prostitute/brothel madam, Martha Hall aka Molly b’Dam, who lived in Murray, Idaho. During a blizzard she took off her heavy fur coat and gave it to a mother and child because they had none then bought them a cabin in which to live. She nursed sick gold miners and gave to the poor. When smallpox swept through the town in 1886, she cleared out the hotels and filled them with the sick. Then she rolled up her sleeves, working tirelessly until she could no longer stand. She barely ate, not even stopping to change clothes. A year later she came down with consumption (Tuberculous), a death sentence at that time. The women of Murray kept a 24 hour vigil by her bedside. When she died on January 1888 at the age of 35, miners left their diggings and sluice boxes became silent. Thousands of people came from all over to pay tribute to the bold, beautiful woman with a generous heart. A Presbyterian minister delivered the eulogy and not a dry eye could be found.

 

Every August the folks of Murray hold a two-day celebration in honor of the woman who showed exactly what true benevolence looked like.

 

Jane AddamsThen I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Jane Addams of Chicago, Illinois. She along with Ellen Gates Starr founded a settlement house in 1889. Hull House became world famous for helping countless immigrants who needed someone to show them how to live and thrive in the U.S. It became a safe haven for those immigrants who were taught English and given all the skills to become vital, contributing citizens in their new country. They closed it in 2012 and it’s now a museum that celebrates the life of these two pioneer social workers. They were truly women of vision.

 

These people are only a drop in the bucket. There were thousands of others in the 1800’s who gave generously of their time and money no matter their social status or wealth. Everyone of them was important.

 

So as you prepare for this holiday season I hope you have giving of some kind in your heart…a smile, a laugh or a moment of your time for a lonely man or woman.

 

Wishing you all peace on earth, good will to men now and always!

May each of you find a full heart that comes from the warmth of giving.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!
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22 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season….For Giving!”

  1. Linda, Thank you for a very interesting post. We should all remember how blessed we are and do what we can for those who are less fortunate.

  2. Wonderful post, Linda! You always find the best historical characters to share about. I love the story of madam Molly. Such a generous spirit. Just goes to show it’s the heart that truly matters, not the surface.

  3. This is beautiful Linda! It reminds us all that the holiday spirit comes from the heart and not the shopping cart. One year I was besieged with requests for charity. I remember being called five times on one single day for various charities. I hated to say no, so I made up my mind to send $10 to each one, instead of selecting a few and giving their suggested amounts. It was fair and I felt better about giving than ever before.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thanks for always giving us a beautiful blog!!

  4. I love this post! Thank you for the reminder that not just during this season but all year we need to be reaching out to one another and always have a giving spirit. My family live in a great town but for some reason there are a lot of homeless. What touches my heart every time is my four year old in the back seat. Anytime he sees a homeless person he ask, “Mommy we have to pray for them because they don’t have a home”. Even a four year old can see the need of people.

  5. Hi Karen Witemeyer……..You’re exactly right. Warm giving hearts can be found everywhere, no matter the profession or outward appearance. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. This is a subject that’s near and dear to me not only at Christmas but all through the year. I love to give. That warm feeling I get is priceless.

    Wishing you a wonderful joyous Christmas!

  6. Linda, this is a wonderful post! I think it tends to slip people’s minds throughout the rest of the year, because the reminders go away, the turkey dinners for the needy disappear, etc. One project that has taken a front seat here in Oklahoma is feeding hungry school children. Yes, that’s right–in our country of plenty there are children who must take backpacks of food home over the weekends with them from school or they will have nothing to eat. Isn’t that sad?

    If we can all pitch in and help different organizations, as Char mentioned, everyone gets a piece of the pie. Thanks again for this great post!

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

  7. Hi Charlene………I hope you’re staying warm. I heard California got hit with the cold weather as well. Glad you enjoyed my blog. What a neat idea you had so that all the charities got something! Most are very grateful for any donation.

    Wishing you the merriest and happiest Christmas!!

  8. Hi Cori………Thank you for your comment. It brought tears to my eyes. What a sweet, caring boy you have! You’ve taught him well. May he always know the plight of the unfortunate.

    God be with you during this wonderful holiday season!

    Merry Christmas!

  9. Hi Cheryl P………..You’re exactly right. For three years I mentored a middle school child here in Texas. I saw how very needy they are. Most of them didn’t have food and sometimes no place to live. The school did their best to help but they fell far short. It’s a very sad thing when children are hungry and so awfully sad. It does something to the human spirit to know that we live in the land of plenty and yet have so many without the basics for survival.

    In the old west there were no homeless. The pioneers made sure of that. They opened their door to anyone who knocked and gave them hot food and a bed. I wish we lived in a time when we could go back to that.

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas!

  10. Hi Susan P……..Thanks for stopping by. It means a lot seeing how frantic people are these days to complete Christmas things. You have a warm, safe and happy Christmas!

  11. Lovely post, Linda, and a great reminder what the true meaning of this time of year is, to reach out to those less fortunate and lend a hand. Then extend this season throughout the rest of the year.

    A few years ago my Dad and I came up with the idea that our family would no longer exchange gifts. I’ve been slacker and not given my parents grandchildren, and my brother is the same kind of slacker. So, now we use the money we would have spent on gifts and use it for gifts for children who really need or want something from Santa. My parents and I give gifts to the children of wounded warriors at Walter Reed through an organization I used to volunteer with.

  12. Hi Miss Linda, Great blog! Certainly a reminder about what the season is all about. I remember being told growing up that talents in the Bible didn’t mean just money, it meant using your heart and hands to help others. One Thanksgiving I made arrangements with Faith City Mission (a women’s shelter) to take all of the grandchildren down to help serve dinner for the disadvantaged. I think it’s something they’ll never forget. We also have a huge coat drive and I always watch for sales on children’s coats and buy one for each of my grands to give to the drive. There’s just so many ways to give of yourself. And, yes, I sure understand about the solicitation drives. I’m like you, the more I contribute the more requests I get the following year! Hugs and stay warm, P

  13. Hi Kirsten……..That’s an excellent idea. Christmas is really for children anyway. It breaks my heart to think about a child waking up on Christmas morning and not having a gift, a kind word or anything to eat. We have so many going without in this country. Just a huge problem. And the children of wounded veterans sometimes fall through the cracks.

    God bless your big heart! Stay warm up there in Wyoming!

  14. Hi Phyliss……….I’m glad you enjoyed my blog. You’re right. There are so many ways to help others out that doesn’t cost anything. Even just sitting with someone sick or wrapping their gifts for them. It all counts. What a neat thing for you to do for your grandchildren! That’s such a valuable lesson for them.

    Stay warm out in California! I miss you horribly and can’t wait until you come home.

  15. That was a wonderful blog! We grew up poor, but honestly I didn’t know it until I was grown. I remember the brown paper bags we used to get at Christmas from the church and there would always be an apple, orange, some nuts (still in the shell) and ribbon candy. We thought we’d hit the jackpot! Daddy loved to shell the nuts and sometimes, he’d give us one he’d shelled out. Those are good memories. We never need to forget the wonderful gift of giving!!

  16. Hi Sylvia! So glad you came by and glad you enjoyed my blog. To me, examples are the best teacher. I know it with me anyway. I loved when I ran across the story of Molly b’Dam. Such an amazing woman. People still talk of her generosity. She certainly left a lasting mark on the world.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, dear friend!!

  17. Hi Jan! Wow, this is great. I know how very busy you are, sister. Yes, I remember those brown paper bags the church gave out at Christmas to the children. We were so excited to get one. A simple thing but it meant so much to us. Made us feel special. And yes, I still picture Daddy shelling the nuts. He loved it and we didn’t want any part of that. Liked to eat them though after he got ’em shelled. Wonderful memories.

    Wishing you a very wonderful Christmas!! Love you!

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