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."
-- HENRI NOUWEN, "BREAD
FOR THE JOURNEY"
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. Our editor, Tony Dodero, wanted to personally thank us
for our contribution to the newspaper. I really 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 I enjoy reading, some of whom I only knew by their pictures. I
also met my new editor, Mike Swanson, and look forward to working
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 their
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
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.
And you can quote me on that.
* CINDY TRANE CHRISTESON is a Newport Beach resident who speaks
frequently to parenting groups. She may be reached via e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or through the mail at 537 Newport Center Drive,
Suite 505, Newport Beach, CA 92660.