Day 1 of 29 Gifts in 29 Days – August 30th “Sharing a beer”

Today’s gift is a no brainer.  I bring a couple of brews to share with our neighbor who recently lost his wife.  I’m a fair to middling neighbor but not excellent or even, truth be told, very good.  I tried rallying the neighborhood by throwing a party for our cat Sadie just to get us all together.  It bombed.  Rather than going big, perhaps one small step will do more to build my local community.

I pack up two bottles of Stella Artois in our cooler and walk over to our neighbor who is just starting life without his wife of nearly 50 years.  In case he isn’t there I write him a note, Just stopped by with two beers.  I’ll see you soon. Dan.  And it turns out he’s not in so I leave the beers in a smaller cooler for him to find.  But I quickly realize that that doesn’t take anything away from this gift.  This gift is not about me (i.e., feeling good, virtuous, or altruistic about reaching out).  He’ll have a brew when he comes home and know someone is thinking of him.  Though I anticipated some time together, I like this first effort and feel Cami Walker, author of 29 Gifts, would say, Well done Danny boy.  You got off your duff and did something.  Doing beats thinking about doing.  Keep the faith and give tomorrow.

On the way home, with Hannah out for evening, I decide to share the salad that a friend made for me with our son Will.  A modest gift to be sure, but under G for gift in my book.  I don’t want to just give it to him; I want it to be something we share.  Amazing how half a salad tastes just as good as a whole salad.  Maybe better.  Maybe opportunities for gift giving have been under my nose all the time?

Dan Tries Cami Walker’s Advice of Giving 29 gifts in 29 Days

I remain fascinated by the connection of happiness to giving.  Recently, I blogged about a New York Times article that suggested that happiness is greater when spending money on another than oneself (Dan Learns What Hannah Lives, August 18, 2012).  Hannah and I recently watched Pay It Forward (with Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment) again, which shows the exponential power of giving.  Then coincidentally our minister Marlayna mentioned Cami Walker’s book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.

Really?  Change my life?  My life is pretty sweet right now, but I’m game.  Being the organized sort, I know I need a plan to give 29 gifts in 29 days.  Cami (it’s like we’re old buds) goes through her day without planning her daily giving.  Hmmm.  So if I am open, the universe will provide me with opportunities?  Well, hello universe.  Here I come.  Cami’s mentor Mbali says, Give your gifts with an open heart without any expectation that you will receive anything in return.  Mbali believes that the ritual gathers momentum by giving every day.  Translation: Have faith Danny, my boy, have faith.

Doing things on consecutive days does appeal to me. When I was new to teaching writing at Somersworth Middle School (NH), I thought it important that I write myself.  I bought a journal and wrote daily.  Over one stretch I wrote for 2000+ consecutive days (that’s more than five years!) to establish in my own mind that I was a writer.

Earlier today Hannah and I wrote a check to our daughter Robyn for her birthday.  Obviously that’s a gift, but to me that’s not in the spirit of this experience since it’s already a regular part of our lives.  I’m ready to see what new opportunities are out there, especially with gift giving now in my frontal lobe.

For 29 days, I will post three paragraphs on my gift for that day.  Over the next few weeks my blog will be posted daily rather than just on Saturday mornings.  Sunday I’ll report on Day 1, Monday Day 2, and so on.


Dan (Papa) and Hannah (Omi) Welcome Owen to Maine

This week I am channeling our grandson Owen as he visits Maine for the first time.

Owen – While coming to Maine and New Hampshire, we stopped at my great-grandma’s place.  She’s very cool and I’m a lucky boy.

First let me say, it’s good to be in Maine.  It is the way life should be.  I mean I’ve been reading Down East magazine since July and Maine is sweet.  I’ve come north from our two bedroom apartment in Virginia to spend a week with my grandparents.  My Dad’s folks, Poppy and Ya Ya, are the best.  They have two grandsons already and know what it takes to make me happy.  Can you say tractor?

It’s my maternal grandparents that have a few things to learn.  The big guy; he goes by Papa.  I was hoping he’d choose “G-Daddy” or “Papster,” but I can live with Papa.  Suffice it to say, I have him so wrapped around my finger.  He says when he cuddles and rocks me that there is nothing better.  That has got to be worth an I-Phone when the need arises down the road.  I’ve got to give Papa credit that when I start to wail he doesn’t immediately just hand me over to Omi.  Omi is the go to person when fussing is what I am all about.  As a Mom herself, Omi nestles me in her arms and holds me in a hundred positions until I settle down.  She’s batting a thousand with me.

Like all good babies, I have given my Mom and Dad a run for their money.

I’ve seen the pictures of how tired they were during my first month when I decided I was hungry every hour or two.  It’s all part of the Baby Code.  “Establish at the outset who is in charge.”  I just had to be me.  Then in my second month I threw in five hours straight of nighttime sleeping; and they held their breath to see if this was part of a new trend.  Then I did it again, and they relaxed.  They are so easy and pliable.  I’m going to love them.  They beam at each other, nodding how they are figuring me out.  Hah!  Dream on!  Then I throw in being awake every two hours a night to reestablish the balance of power.

Omi and Papa threw an “Owen House” for me when I arrived.  I again played the cute card by sleeping through the entire thing.  When I did open one eye to see what was going on, all I saw were these big faces cooing like babies themselves and telling me how cute I was.  It’s a fact of life that we babies are cute to the max.   

Owen and Papa are buds

My first night in Maine I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.  Clearly my Mom was less excited about my first night in Maine.  Look up the word “fried.”   You’ll see my Mom under the first definition.  I think it only fair that I give her the full baby raising experience.  No short cuts.  She deserves it all.  But here in Maine she can bring me down at 6A to have Papa and Omi cuddle and coo with me while she sleeps til 9A.  I’ve seen Omi and Papa on Skype.  They also came to see me in Virginia for four days last month.  But it’s nothing like being here.  You see I’m the #1 grandchild for Omi and Papa, and I’ll always be.  We number ones have the good news, bad news.  The good news is we get all the attention of our parents and g-parents.  The bad news is we get all the attention of our parents and g-parents.  Bless their hearts but I need my space from time to time.

Future Wildcat (Tip and Papa are alums)

By the way, I wonder a lot of things.  I wonder where people lose their trust and faith.  I have all the faith in the world that my Mom and Dad will take care of me and do right by me.  Omi and Papa, Ya Ya and Poppy, too.  I trust in them and the goodness in their hearts.   When does faith get lost?  Where does it go?  When does the rational mind take over and reign supreme?   Perhaps, I’ll grow up to be a Zen master.


Owen and Dad

Well Mom is up sleeping in her room this Tuesday morning; I will put Omi and Papa to the test.  I poop and pee without announcing it, but Omi senses it and changes me three times within a half hour.  Then I pull out the big guns, I scream bloody murder.  She nestles me in her arms, but I give her no quarter.  I howl and howl.  But it’s funny, these two are relentless.  They are so glad to see me they are not going to run to Molly to feed me at the first sign of trouble.  They know Mom needs some sleep.  Omi settles me on her chest and rocks me softly.  I turn to butter and melt in her arms.  I’ll give them all a good hour of peace now, before I reestablish who’s in charge.

Mom gets a little frustrated when I spit out the pacifier she gives me.  I don’t have anything against pacifiers.  Fact is, I’ve read in Consumer Reports that they help soothe the beast within.  Taking the pacifier would give Mom and Dad some well-deserved peace and quiet.  I’ve not been sleeping my usual five to seven hours at night.  Mom hears my gurgling, my noises in the night and wakes.  At home I sleep in the crib in my room; here at Omi’s and Papa’s, Mom and I are in the same room.   Poor Mom!

And then Tuesday night Mom got determined that I take the pacifier.  Three nights in a row of interrupted sleep have made her quite groggy, dare I say a tad grumpy.  Often parents, I’ve read in Baby’s Home Journal, give the child a pacifier when they screams could curdle blood.  Listen parents, that doesn’t work.  On what planet would it?  Tonight Mom just plays with the pacifier on my lips.  I don’t bite (I’m a pun-ny guy.), but I do play along.  After ten minutes, she hands it to my Uncle Will.  Damn, he’s a good sport.

Owen and his Uncle Will

He begins his shift of holding the pacifier on my lips and putting it in my mouth.  I have a 30 minute rule.  If they keep trying something for 30 minutes, then I give them their way.  And tonight at minute 31 (I have a baby Rolex) I start sucking on the pacifier.  Fact is the sucking is soothing, my eyelids fall, and I’m off to Never Never Land.  They think I don’t hear them, but Papa keeps saying, “We’ve turned a page.”  Maybe we have, maybe we haven’t.  I haven’t decided if this pacifier is for me.


Wednesday night Omi and Papa say they will babysit so Mom and my Uncle Will can go out to dinner.  Nice gesture on the part of these old folks.  This is not an empty or hollow gesture either for I’m not always easy from six to eight in the evening.  I’m looking forward to seeing see just how tough these old-timers are.  I coo in my Baby Bjorn Bouncer, but then I get serious and test their mettle.  I begin with a little crying but wind up in a full blown hurricane in seconds.  Omi takes me and rocks and coos but to no avail.  I’m persistent I want to be.  Since she is on crutches she hands me over to the big dude who seems to relish the opportunity to soothe me.  I see it in his eyes.  He loves the challenge.  “Oh Papa, we’re on.”  

Papa walks and bounces around their house as he cradles me to his chest.  I’m giving him the full banshee (In Irish mythology, a banshee is a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die.)  I just want to see what Papa is made of.  Amazingly he’s cool, calm, and collected.  No sign of  frustration.  He’s dogged.  Good for him.  It’s a characteristic that will serve him well as he ages.  Still it’s one-on-one and I’m not giving up.  I wail with the best of eight week olds. 

After a while I realize he is not giving up; he wins.  And anyway, Mom has been up with me many nights while in Maine and I don’t want her to hear me cry when she comes home from dinner tonight.  I mean I do have a sensitive side.  So I settle in on their bed as Papa gently sways me back and forth.  Mom’s home.  And we all know what that means. 

Mommy Mealtime!

Dan Reports on Hannah’s Fractured Tibia Seven Weeks Later

For two days this week I wrote leads for this posting that described that, despite Hannah’s cheery disposition and positive outlook on life, rehab is tough.  Well, wah, wah, wah.  There’s a news flash.  Rehab is tough; it’s no walk in the park or day at the beach.  Who wants to hear how tedious it is and about all the “takeaways” (i.e., she can’t cut hair, she can’t be active, blah, blah, blah)?  So dear Reader I have spared you four paragraphs of such, well, tedium.   Clearly, no thanks are necessary, but do consider donating to your favorite charity.

It’s been seven weeks since Hannah fractured her tibia water skiing in July.  Since that time, friends have done so much: dinners for us two and the loan of a van so we could drive to Virginia to see our grandson Owen, born the night of her fractured tibia.  (You can never have too many gratuitous pictures of Owen.)

Owen, Mr. Cool

This past week Hannah received some good news.  Her quite amazing and spirit-boosting Dr. Sutherland came into the examination room after viewing her x-rays and says, “I love the x-rays.  You are healing beautifully.”  He commented that things look ideal and the fractured bones are getting tacky.  He flexed her leg to see that she could straighten it out.  It’s now time for physical therapy to strengthen her leg and increase her range of motion.  In four more weeks she can add more and more weight to that foot as she walks.  By week twelve (mid-October) she should be fully weight bearing, which will be just in time to cut a rug, shake a leg, and other euphemisms for dancing at our nephew Jon’s wedding in Maryland.

With his typical good cheer, Doc Sutherland again lifted our spirits by signaling that we are into the next stage of rehab; the end of the tunnel is in sight.  (N.B., note how I use first person plural rather first person singular to describe Hannah’s recovery.  There’s no doubt that her healing is a team thing.)

For weeks, friends have stopped by to keep Hannah company.  Over the last few weeks she has been getting out for lunch and shopping, going to a girls’ night out, and knitting with her Sunday afternoon friends in town.  During the day, Hannah marks time by texting, emailing, making curtains for Molly’s apartment, completing her leg exercises, keeping her foot above her heart for an hour a day.   And now she has a live-in masseuse for her once swollen left leg.

That would be me!  Though a novice, I have had excellent training.  Our friend Corky gave us a thirty minute demonstration on therapeutic massage, which moves the blood and lymph fluids from her toes, past her ankle, and back up her leg to be reintegrated into her body.  Corky then coached (i.e., watched, suggested, and encouraged) me as I began to learn the art of massage.

Taking to the masseuse profession like a fish to water, I begin by liberally spreading and warming baby oil in my hands for smooth even pressure from toes to her shin.  By the way, lotion is a no no; it absorbs into the skin and does not allow for the smooth sliding of my hands.  And anyway, pros use oil.

For 25 minutes twice a day, Hannah lies on our bed with her left foot on four pillows as I do my best to move the fluids from her swollen leg; a leg that she once described as her sausage with sausage toes, now is beginning to have the shape and feel of a normal foot.

Masseuse Man

I begin by cupping her foot and pressing slowly and steadily from her toes to above her ankle ten times.  Then I massage the right, then left sides from toes to just below her incision, including the back of her leg, ten times in long steady motions.   Then it’s placing my thumbs parallel, pressing from toes to shin as I lean in with slow, steady pressure.  I then craddle her ankle with my right hand and with my left press forward on the tarsus under pad of her foot to return some flexibility to her ankle.  Then it’s bending the toes forward, followed by rotating her left ankle from side to side, and finally double thumb pressure rotating on the top of her foot.  I repeat this pattern three times during each massage session.  (It’s really cool.  I had no idea what I had been missing by not being a masseuse to a beautiful woman.)

Massage at its Finest

Hannah’s rehab has begun at York Hospital.  She has come home with exercises that require her attention four times a day.  Rehab is now her part time job.  Now she wears a compression stocking throughout the day to increase circulation in her once swollen left leg.

Compression stocking

As you can well imagine, she is looking good.

The Rehab Road by Hannah B

Wow. I have newborn appreciation for and sensitivity to people with a broken anything. May that be forever knit into my mended bones.   How do people do this on their own—without a loving partner?  How do people do this without loving, attentive, generous friends?

If you have ANY doubt in your mind….get a second opinion. And, if you’re lucky, that second opinion will belong to Dr. William Sutherland. Better yet, see him first.

I’ve met some lovely people in the course of this rehabbing that I might never have.  They, “silver” friends—and the faithful, loving friends of “gold”—remind me: “when bad things happen,” it’s the goodness of people who are the REAL rehab.

I remain in awe of the human body’s ability to protect (shock) and repair itself…and of pain meds to do their job. It’s clearly a team effort, and I’m glad my bod and those drugs were/are my team mates.

Speaking of teammates, if I thought I was in love before (with you-know-who), this has only sealed it…no whining, massage on demand, assuming nearly all household responsibilities, and displays of good-naturedness that his mother knew long before I was ever treated to it.

The first one to five weeks were the toughest…I didn’t want to go to bed because I knew I would wake three to four times a night, and, not sleep well in-between. I didn’t want to get up in the morning, because it hurt to get out of bed, and it took so long to do every little thing…all day long.

Visits and calls and e-mails and texts and cards and garden produce and meals delivered to our door (and sometimes shared with us) were our manna. And, leftovers never tasted so good.  Keep a “guest book.” Have visitors write a little something when they drop by. Start your next day reading what they wrote. It’s even better than orange juice, Anita Bryant.

The cream always rises…these are the times (yes, that try our souls) but more important, these are the times that one finds out what great kindness and generosity our friends—and family– are capable of.  These are the times that Love becomes Flesh.

Wally Lamb: “ Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their Love.”

Hannah/Omi: “There’s no more powerful medicine than a visit with a newborn grandson.”

Check out this G rated massage video. – YouTube on ankle swelling massage.

Dan Retires, Hannah Wonders (15 months later)

With a great deal of well-grounded trepidation in June of 2011, Hannah wondered if Dan really had enough to do to retire.  She like many could easily have thought, He has what must people would think of as a cake job as a tenured professor at the University of New England.  Is now the time to leave such a job?  Does he have enough to do to fill his time?

University of New England, Biddeford, Maine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Being the object of her concern (and affection) I have to say hers are quite reasonable reservations.  I had a 41 year career in education that gave lots of structure to my life.  Wondering myself, I knew I had to be as intentional about my retirement as I was about teaching.   (By the way, at the end of this posting see Hannah’s thoughts on my transition to retirement.)

Until I retired I never realized how much energy I was putting into my job.   Once retired, I had the gift of time; time to linger with friends, time to tend to Hannah after she fractured her tibia (including therapeutic massage to her ailing leg), time to travel to Virginia to see our grandson Owen whenever we want, time during the work week to play golf with our son Will.  Relieved of preparing lessons and responding to student writing, I am living life without squeezing things in.

I’d give myself a B+ for dealing with retirement so far.   There have been a few things that have made retirement work for me.

  1. I joined a gym, Coastal Fitness in Kittery.  Though May to October lend themselves to outside activities like biking and hiking in Maine, the winter months do not.  After 30 years of running, Hannah and I have balky knees that resist any more pounding; let alone we were never fans of skiing, snowshoeing, or other such frost bite winter activities.  Since joining Coastal Fitness in Kittery, I have a purposeful two hour time, three to five days per week, to build my day around.  At the gym, whether it’s riding the recumbent bicycle, rowing, or running on the treadmill, I sweat like I never can make myself do when biking.  Being active is the anchor of my day.

    Coastal Fitness in Kittery, Maine

  2. I write what I want to write.  I played the academic game for twelve years at the university, knowing it truly was publish or perish for me.  I knew the rules of the academy (i.e., university) and played by them because my family and I needed me to have a job.  Now, like some big time or real columnist, I have a weekly Saturday deadline to publish/post my blog.  I write about our lives; our hikes, biking trips, our travels, our daughter Molly’s wedding, our grandson Owen, our cat Sadie, etc.  Knowing that a deadline awaits each Saturday, I think a week or two ahead of what I might write about that reveals something semi-interesting about what Hannah and I’ve done.  I draft and redraft on the average eight to twelve times getting the wording right.  The hardest part for me is getting the first draft down.  But then I love the tinkering and reworking of the text to make it sing.  I now include pictures in my postings and soon videos will follow.  For me this kind of writing is creative and playful and is a go-to activity that helps fill my week with purpose.
  1. I begin each day with a 45 to 60 minute morning ritual.  Stretching to keep me limber for golf, hiking, and life in general while lifting very light weights.  I then write my five gratitudes.  I read my affirmations aloud, which reminds me to live what I believe.  Then it’s a prayer that usually starts “Thank you God for looking after Danny” and goes from there.  I end with ten minutes of meditating where I focus on my breathing and being mindful (i.e., being present not focusing on some to-do list).
  2. I volunteer.  I make my volunteering York-centric.  I engage with our community and make relationships that can be easily reinforced as I go about York.  I’m fortunate York is a small town.  I’ve found a home at York Hospital rounding (going around to patient rooms to find out how we as a hospital are doing taking care of them.  Notice the pronoun we.)  I’ve been made to feel that my role matters at York Hospital.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I tutor an ESL student for York Adult Education once a week.  I’m a participating member of the First Parish Church Mission Committee; I also have my sign ministry on the church message board.

    First Parish Church, York, Maine

    I read two to three times each week to my friend, Vin.

  3. I tend to what I’ve often done in the past.  I seek out friends to go for coffee at the Crumb here in York.   I bike and hike with Hannah; toast each day with a late afternoon glass of wine with her. Daily I play Lexulous (a variation of Scrabble) on the computer.  I play nine holes of golf with Will from May through September.  We travel for a week at a time to the Mountain West or Key West and now especially to Arlington, VA where…
  4. I am now Papa to Owen Daniel.  There’s nothing better than holding him as I rock in a chair.

Tip and Owen

And all of this because I now have the time, or maybe it’s because I make the time.

People ask if I miss teaching.  I don’t.  I taught for most of 41 years.  Teaching at the university was my dream job.  But at 64, I ‘m seeking what’s next, not wanting to repeat what’s been.

Hannah’s comments on Dan’s retirement.

I love my job. I love my work. At times it almost doesn’t seem right that I get paid.

But, yes, I love my pay, too. It helps me feel productive (a huge need of mine, to be sure). It helps me feel like I’m contributing to the family in still another way (I know I do in other ways; something about a paycheck, though…)

But, this is about Dan. His job. His work. And that he has retired from both. Well, he’s retired from his job…but has entered into the real work of his life in a new and “reborn” sort of way. He is a writer. Not that he isn’t also a terrific Dad and husband. And son and brother. And friend.  But this is about his job and lifework as a writer. And, about life with him since his retirement from the official “work force”—complete with employer, boss, consumers (his students), colleagues, etc.

Dan was ready. He may not have known exactly what to expect, but he knew he was ready to leave behind what he’s been doing for more than 40 years. Never mind, he was ready…was I ready? I didn’t know what to expect either. Much as I love spending time together, I know I always enjoyed having time to myself….those days he’d come home late, for example. How would I get that time? (This is about me, right?)

I don’t think I was so worried about whether Dan would find enough to do. He never felt he had time to do all the reading he’d like to do and all the writing he’d like to do—that didn’t pertain to his job. And, he loves to be active—go to the gym, ride his bike—and all that takes time and required energy that he didn’t always have when he was working. He’d also given thought to volunteering that he might do, professional organizations he might join, and perhaps having more time to pursue other interests and church activities he just hadn’t felt he had time or energy for while he was still working. Dan is like his daughter Molly….likes a schedule, some structure, and making meaningful connections with people.

 He goes about things purposefully, methodically, diligently, and with discipline. He will make things work. But, will he leave enough “space,” or down time to help him figure out retirement in its own good time—or does he need to make it happen “right away”? He does like to “make things happen,” not necessarily let them “unfold as they will…”

There were times I was jealous of what seemed like all his free time. Yet, I chose/choose to continue working at a job I profess to love. There were times I felt a (self-imposed?) pressure from him to think about (my) retiring or working much less—so that we could “go and do” without having to worry about getting back by a certain time.

It’s been an adjustment for both of us. The times we actually talked about it (like on the way to Donna and George’s one Friday night) were the most helpful. Not always easy, but helpful, once through the “discussion.”

I feel we’re in a good place…a year+ into this retirement thing. I’m more ready to join him…not completely, but I’m open to working less. Being confined by this broken leg thing has been helpful. In spite of (and because of) its restrictions and pains, it’s forced me to experience what it might be like to be more retired. And, it feels pretty good. Perhaps I’ve come to realize that I can feel productive, still feel like I live a meaningful life, and contribute to the family–and to my world beyond–without a paycheck.  In fact, perhaps I can live just as meaningful and productive and satisfying a life….without (as much?) work to take up time and energy that I could put to good use in other ways. 

To be continued…..  

Dan on Ideas and Experiences on Giving $20 Away (Update 1)

In a recent posting (See August 18, 2012 blog.), I wrote about a New York Times article that claimed that happiness comes from spending money on others rather than oneself.  Since then, I have begun to hear from others about their plans for giving money away.

The first two come from teachers who have ideas who want to add generosity and compassion to their curriculum.

I was also intrigued by your recent post about giving away $20 and loved reading what your family did with the money.  I’m considering how to try this out in my life. Wouldn’t it be interesting to adapt it somehow for a classroom?  I’d love to arm my students with something that they can give away during the week at school or at home and then have them share their stories.  A great way to build community!  I’ll let you know if I figure out how best to do this and what the results are.  Molly H, looping first/second grade teacher

Here is my idea for involving my students in the “Spend Twenty Dollars on Someone Else” experiment.  I would write the name of each student in the class on a ticket and on the last Friday of each month, I would randomly select a ticket.  Then, I would present that student with a twenty dollar bill and explain that he or she has to spend that twenty dollars on someone else and then report back to the class the following Friday.   What a life lesson this could turn out to be.  I am excited about this, Dan, and think it will leave a lasting impression about the kids.  I will encourage them to try it on their own and offer time to share with the class what they did, how it affected the person or persons receiving the money, and how it affected them personally.  Thanks for the wonderful idea!   Teresa, middle school science teacher

So teachers of all ilk, this seems like a creative challenge for you.  Do you even have time  to think of such possibilities?

Another friend Ronnie sent this link that connects to this kind of giving.

Brothers Last Wish to Leave $500 Tip Turns Into Nearly $50,000 Charity

This message was included in the email to me.   Dennis read about this last month and was very touched by the story.  We have been talking about wanting to do something similar – but now before we die.  Haven’t yet, but Dan’s blog posting is inspiring us to follow through! Thank you for being the inspirations you are! Love you!

Lastly, I’m reading a book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker, recommended by our minister Marlayna.  It’s intriguing.

Here’s a 4m 30s video from an interview with Cami Walker by Meredith Viera on the Today Show.

Each month I’ll update my readers with news about giving that changes lives.  Send your stories to me at

Love and peace.   Dan