Gratitude and giving –Two wonderful gifts

by Mary Ann on January 11, 2012


Two gifts  which go hand in hand:

I had a transformation happen this Holiday season. It was inspired by the two lovely girls in my life with special needs —my unofficially adopted daughter, and my granddaughter, both whom have severe cerebral palsy.


One of the things I have always prided myself on is my independence, my ingenuity, my ability to do whatever needs to be done. I have always felt confident in “doing it myself.”

For my daughter, Michelle, time and her condition have taken their toll. She is in a wheel chair, has lost many of her former abilities and lives in a nursing home. Maggie, my granddaughter, is five and a half. She lacks nothing in her mental capacity but is unable to use her arms and legs, cannot feed herself, and does not speak. Needless to say, my special needs girls can do virtually nothing on their own.

This holiday season I had the privilege of spending a full day with Michelle helping her make all of her Christmas presents.

At the nursing home Michelle frosted and decorated the cookies and cupcakes. I would hold the item and turn it slowly while she did the frosting. Then I would hold the item and turn it while she sprinkled on the decorations, then bagged the items.

Michelle did her best to roll out the pie dough. Pressure was an issue. So I helped her press down while she rolled. Then I assisted her to grab hold of the circle of dough and plop it into the pan. I cut off the excess and Michelle crimped the edges.

She painted pictures for two sisters. I got water, handed her brushes, turned the paper for the correct angle periodically.

When she gave out her presents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day she was so pleased. She commented to everyone that she had made them all by herself and she was proud of herself.

I’ve observed these same feelings while working many times with Maggie. It doesn’t seem to matter how much help she needs, when it is done it belongs to her. She takes complete pride and ownership in a job well done.

 little girl with cerebral palsy proud of her own creation

Maggie loves doing it "all by herself"

I’ve found myself judging this behavior to some degree,  all the while massaging my own pride in my many accomplishments and my ability to be so independent.

I have been thinking about these two examples and a scripture has come to my mind. “Are we not all beggars”? Do we not all need a great deal of help every day to both receive and give out good gifts to those around us; giving and gratitude – two gifts that go hand in hand. Are we not all beggars?

Are we not all beggars scene from bible

Are we not all beggars?

At this New Year it is well to stop and contemplate and give thanks for all the help that we get in order to live good lives and to raise wonderful families. We have parents, friends, neighbors and sometimes even strangers who lift and teach and help. We have God who provides inspiration to solve problems and find joy.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa January 11, 2012 at 8:00 am

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this, Mary Ann!


Emily Clawson January 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

Thanks for such a great reminder, Mary Ann! Happy New Year!


Shiniga January 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

They are adorable. So are you… I feel inspired after reading the blog.


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