The gift of giving is trait my sister, and brother and I inherited from our mom and dad. Our parents taught us through example to be giving, to be generous, and to show our gratitude to important people in our lives. Every year around Thanksgiving, my mom would make her yummy pumpkin bread. Usually on a weekend, she’d bake the loaves in the gas oven downstairs because it cooked evenly and helped warm the basement where our bedrooms were.
We’d help mom frost the loaves, after they had cooled, with green or red icing, and sometimes sprinkles. She’d wrap-up the loaves and we’d take them to our teachers to show them our gratitude for their efforts. I remember giving those loaves with feelings of joy and pride. There was rarely a year when the teacher didn’t come back with raves of how delicious the bread was and how much their families enjoyed it.
Last night we had dinner at my sister’s house. “Auntie Joni Who Loves You”, has recently moved to Bigfork with her family. They’ve only been here a few months but already our lives have been blessed over and over by having them near, the dinner is just one example.
We all wondered how it would go, living in a small town and being so close to each other again. But having my sister live near me again is better than I could have even imagined.
Her daughter, Kaylynn arrived in our Sadie’s life just when she needed her most. High School can be a challenge and having a cousin, who is a great friend, to hang-out with has been the greatest gift of all. The girls enjoy each other so much and Kaylynn has been grateful to have Sadie’s friendship while she experiences being the new girl at school.
Hadley and Kaylynn were both using their sketchbooks last night, creating beautiful works of art. It’s fun for both of them to have another artist in the family, a kindred spirit to share ideas and their masterpieces.
As a parent, it is a wonderful moment when you watch with love and pride as your daughter shows her generosity. To see them delight in giving and be gracious in receiving renews my hope for their future.
I remember one time standing in a subway station in New York. My dad and I were taking the train to Brooklyn for dinner with friends. They had a young son that I was excited to see. I couldn’t stand still I was so excited to give him the large, colorful, stuffed fish in my bag. Dad watched me and smiled, and I’ll never forget this, he said “You’re like me, you find more joy in giving than in getting.”
There are times in our lives when the only things we have to give are our words and our hugs, but the gift is always enough if you give with a generous and grateful heart. Being grateful, enjoying the act of giving as well as receiving, makes us happier, more abundant people.
This morning we’re having Joni’s Quiche for breakfast. I’ll be making Mom’s Pumpkin Bread and working on Christmas Calendars. We’ll meet up with Joni and family at the health club later, and I’ll give them a few loaves of pumpkin bread. This week, Joni will join us on a road trip to Oregon to see our dad and Janet. We’ll probably bring them some pumpkin bread too.
Pumpkin Bread for Eating and Giving
4 eggs 3 cups flour dash ginger & nutmeg
2 cups sugar ½ tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin ½ tsp baking powder Pre-heat oven to 350°
1 cup oil 1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup water 2 tsp baking soda
Beat eggs lightly; mix in sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil. Add dry ingredients alternately with water. Spray bread pans with oil. Pour batter into pans between ½ and ¾ full. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Check at 50 minutes. For small loaves check at 40 minutes.
Check for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out with batter it’s not done. If it comes out clean, loaves are done. Also watch the edges for brown.