gifts in times of stress

I try to focus on the little things. The dogwood tree's bright berries and mauve tinted leaves. The big smile on my son's face after a couple of saves in the soccer goal. The cool fresh air during early morning runs... But it is difficult to ignore the stress these days. The markets are crashing and those precious college funds, needed in just a few years, are dwindling. Inleaf sales are meager as well, and lets not get started on the cost of groceries...

In the midst of anxiety and distress my newfound Swedish blogger friend and artist Eva-Lena Rehnmark is promoting a world wide movement called the 29-day giving challenge, in which you pledge to give something every day for 29 days. Eva-Lena will donate an original painting (see above) to a giver who is willing to comment about their giving experience on her blog. The deadline is November 4th, and you don't have to finish the full 29 days to enter. The daily gift can be anything from a kind word to a stranger, a pile of old sweaters to a homeless shelter, a cooked meal to someone in need, or a monetary contribution to a charity. It is the spirit that counts.