Monday, October 21, 2013

Giving Thanks For Giving!

Happy Fall my friends!  The leaves are changing, the weather is changing, we might even be putting on some extra fluff to keep us warm this winter, but I have a contest, that will keep you hearts warm, in thanksgiving and gratitude. 

I have once again teamed up with Cookingplanit and a number of fabulous bloggers to bring you the opportunity to give back, to someone who has done something beautiful for you, your community, or your family.  I saw this quote once that said, "Thanksgiving, not what we say about our blessings, but how we USE them that is the true measure of our Thanksgiving".  I don't know about you, but I know so many unsung hero's.  Some will never be publicly thanked, and the reality is, they probably don't want to be.  I was blessed enough to grow up with one.  My dad.  Can I tell you a quick story about my most unforgettable memory of him and his giving? 

We grew up with little money.  With 10 children and a wife, my dad sometimes held 5 or 6 jobs at a time to HOPEFULLY make ends meet.  My dad was notorious for never having a winter coat.  His "babies" as he always called us, needed the coats and shoes, not him.  One Christmas when I was about 5 or 6, all of the big kids put their money together and we bought my dad his first winter coat.  He opened it on Christmas Eve, just before midnight mass, and he wore it to church. It was red, and he looked so handsome in it, I remember thinking that people might think he was rich because he had a winter coat.  We woke up on Christmas morning, to the gifts Santa had brought and shortly after my dad was going to be leaving to take photos for an insurance policy.  It was a town about 20 miles away.  I often went with him to take photos.  I loved spending time with my dad and admittedly I would get a small glass bottle of coke from the old "filling station", Van's, on the edge of town when he got gas.  As we were preparing to leave, my mom told my dad the car had no gas, or was very low.  I recall her telling him she had 10.00 and it had to last the entire week.  So we bundled up, dad in his brand new red coat, and me in my first pair of "Velcro sneakers" and headed to take photos.  My dad stopped and used 5.00 for gas in the car, keeping the other 5.00 for whatever else, gas, milk, bread, we may need that week.  Halfway to our destination, we came upon fire trucks, ambulances, and a freezing family, wrapped in blankets, watching their home, burn to the ground.  My dad pulled over, and got out of the car, telling me stay inside and keep warm.  Without hearing a single thing, I saw my dad take a husband and wife in his arms, speak to them both, and take the mans blanket off of him.  He wrapped that blanket around the small children, and took off his brand new red coat, putting on the man.  He took out that 5.00 bill, and put it in the coat pocket, shook hands, and came back to the car.  In my child brain, I thought, "OH NO!  What is he DOING?  What if mom finds out he gave away his last 5.00 and what will my brothers and sisters say when he comes home without his BRAND NEW COAT"?  He got in the car, and said, "No matter how little, we think we have, someone else has less.  It is our job, to take care of each other, and treat others the way we want to be treated".  Off we went, to finish business.  When we got home, I remember him telling my mom and siblings what he did.  I recall, him hugging us, and nobody being angry, because THIS, is what my dad is all about.  This is how we were raised.  THIS is why he sat us all in the backseat of a car, every chance he got, while he delivered food from the food pantry to those who were in need, so he could be the example, we weren't just told to live this way, we were shown it.  Meanwhile, we probably didn't have much food on our own table.  This to me, is the epitome of giving, never expecting anything in return.  My dad didn't know the name of the people, and they didn't know him, but what does that matter?  They were a blessing to each other, and 35 years later, it is as vivid in my mind as it it happened an hour ago. 

Thank you for letting me share my story with you!  Now we want to hear YOUR stories.  The stories of someone who helped you in a very special way.  Giving thanks by sharing your story and giving them the chance to win something very cool for their good works.  Here is how this will work!

In 300 words or less
-Recognize an individual who is making a difference in the lives of others or your community.
-Share how they are donating their time, energy or love on helping others without necessarily thinking of themselves.
-Give details on how they are working to improve lives of others.

If your inspiring person wins, they will win a $250 gift card to help them celebrate Thanksgiving.  And you will win $100 as our way of saying, "Thank You"!

So warm up your pens, and warm up the hearts of all of us this Thanksgiving!

You may enter on Facebook by clicking the "Giving Thanks" tab, or on Cookinplanit's blog.  5 winners will win gift cards and one lucky winner will get to have $1,000 donated to a charity of their choice!

Enter between Oct 18-November 1, 2013!  Hurry, do not hesitate to share your story of  thanksgiving!





  1. Chris...That is one of the most incredible stories I have ever read. Your Dad is a Man among Men. I have obviously never met him, but that won't deter me from having the utmost respect for him.

    He is a hero - a hero to that poor family, but more importantly a hero to his children.

    And a hero to me.

    Dear Old Dad is a shining example of selflessness, caring and being Christ-like.

    God bless him.

    Please tell him I said so.

  2. Chris that was simply beautiful. No wonder your such an amazing person, and the example that your parents had on you shows.

  3. Chris, i so enjoyed your story of your papa; i'm so so grateful to my mama/papa (who are in Heaven) and knowing they did so much for me and my family throughout the years, always buying the kids coats, shoes, etc (Dad was always buying shoes for all) and they never let us go hungry, ever. I definitely learned from them to give and never stop giving.