The Gift of Giving

Giving rewards the giver, writes Sunni Jeffers; our problems diminish when we help others.

- Posted on Feb 27, 2014

Sunni Jeffers, author of All Sewn Up from Secrets of the Blue Hill Library

Sunni Jeffers is the author of All Sewn Up from Guideposts Books' Secrets of the Blue Hill Library series.

When I was a young girl, my mother let me sew a blanket for my doll on the treadle sewing machine that had belonged to my grandmother.

I remember my mother sitting at that machine, making dresses for me and my sisters. It still works, but now the machine serves as my printer desk. Times have changed.

In Secrets of the Blue Hill Library, Anne Gibson uses her Aunt Edie’s old Singer sewing machine. Edie wouldn’t part with that machine, even though she could afford a new, electronic one. Imagine Anne’s surprise when she discovers that Edie had purchased not just 1, but 24 electronic sewing machines. More perplexing still–they can’t be found anywhere.

All Sewn Up is a mystery, but it’s also a book about giving. Anne’s young daughter, Liddie, gets involved in a coat drive and soon has the entire town participating. As I wrote about her campaign, I remembered my own childhood. My mother had a heart for giving.

We celebrated May Day by making flower bouquets in canning jars. Mom would add homemade cookies, and we would sneak up to old people’s houses, set our gifts on their doorsteps, ring the bell, then run and hide to watch them come to the door and discover their gifts. We always got a smile, though they couldn’t see us, and their pleasure filled my heart with joy. I learned that giving is truly a gift to the giver. Our own problems diminish when we help someone else.

My mother had a servant’s heart. In her late fifties, she and a friend started a hospice Thrift Shop. The store is still in operation some 40 years later. They often had people come in asking for help. They gave out clothing, bedding and household items to many in need.

A homeless man came in one day, looking for work. He was hungry. My mother gave him a broom and asked him to sweep the front sidewalk. While he was working, she went out and purchased a meal for him. He came back to sweep many times, and she would buy food for him. Then one day he disappeared.

Months later, he brought his daughter to the shop to meet my mother. He explained that her kindness made him long for his family. He had returned home and gotten help to overcome an addiction. He thanked my mother for giving him hope and encouragement to change his life. God can turn our gifts into precious gems when we offer what we have.


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