*Special thanks to Debra Dickey-Liang for serving as today’s guest contributor!*

My Mom and Dad were always two of the hardest working people that I have ever known, and they taught their children those same work ethics. They also taught us honesty, integrity, strength of character, and what it means to be part of a family. They passed on their many gifts to us as their children. Yes, I was very lucky!

I recently came across this aphorism:  “The purpose of life is to discover your gift.  The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”  Wow!  That particular truth is mind-boggling.  Hey!  My parents did a great job!

ImageBecause our livelihood was farming, we didn’t take vacations.  But one summer when we were teenagers, my Dad surprisingly bought a boat and water skis!  Now, you would have to know my Dad to understand how completely out of character that was for him, (not to mention the expense) but let me tell you, we packed up the back of the truck many times with camping gear and cooking supplies, drove to the lake, and had a BLAST.  Only years later did I learn from my Mom that my Dad had just decided that that would be a great way for us as a family to do something fun together. Isn’t that amazing?  Gifts. 

As the oldest in a large enough brood, I helped look after, take care of, and was counted on for almost every aspect of our family life.  So whether by nature or nurture, my “gift” turned out to be caretaker.  (Look that up in your thesaurus sometime – the definitions are boundless!)  So yaaay!  I know what my gift is!  But wait!  I have only discovered half of the lesson . . . .

Hmm….a caretaker.  These are just a few of the interesting synonyms that my thesaurus mentions:  a person who maintains something, an interim, a guardian, an observer, a watch-keeper, a guide, a good listener (I just threw that one in there because it should be on the list).  Yes, those all fit nicely into what my life has been all about!  I like it.  But how do I, or have I, gone about giving my gift away?

Turns out, it was simple!  I became a Mom.  Yep, that’s all it took!  Not that my own children are the only beneficiaries of my gift, because I was already a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, an employee, and a responsible person, so interestingly enough, you will very often see me with a little buddy, seemingly drawn to me by some sort of predestined magnetism which I have learned to value and appreciate.  Mine truly is a gift, my gift, a gift that I wish to use wisely, remembering to cherish its meaningfulness and its worth from The Giver of All Gifts who saw fit to bestow it and grant me the opportunity of Service within it. 

*I’m grateful for my friend Debra for sharing her gifts with me as her friend–and thanks, Debra, for sharing your gift of writing with us.*

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