2013 Christmas Challenge: Day #14…The Giving Plate

This plate shall have no owner…

for its journey never ends.

It travels in a circle of our family and friends.

The reason I write this blog is simple–I hope by sharing my ideas of kindness, that someone else will be inspired to complete an act of kindness as well.

In fact, some of my acts of kindness are from ideas that I hear from others.  Like this one…

A few months ago I was searching on Pintrest and came across something I loved called “The Giving Plate”.  I had never heard of it before, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one.

Sounded simple..and everyone knows if it’s up on Pintrest, then it must be easy, right?

The Giving Plate--you fill it with food and give it to someone...then they pass on the love by doing the same thing and giving it to someone else.

The Giving Plate–you fill it with food and give it to someone…then they pass on the love by doing the same thing and giving it to someone else.

I found a pottery store and explained what I wanted to make.  The worker was laughing at how serious I was when I was painting my plate.  I couldn’t help it…I kept having visions of the Easter egg painting I created the last time I embraced my artistic side!

Now today it was time to fill my plate and start its journey.

As a warning, equal to my artistic awesomeness is my baking awesomeness.

After three separate trips to the grocery store to get all the ingredients and countless hours in the kitchen, I glanced over at my husband in the other room–he has a crooked smile across his face…he’s amused watching me.

Love is at the center of the Giving Plate

Love is at the center of the Giving Plate

Between my husband and pottery store worker, it’s clear that I’m well out of my comfort zone.

But by the end of the afternoon, cookies and brownies had taken over my kitchen.

The results?  Let’s just say that I will never be mistaken for Mrs. Fields, but I tried my best.

I filled up my “Giving Plate” and walked over to a neighbor’s house with my daughter.

Quick side note…As soon as I saw the Giving Plate, not only did I know I wanted to make one, but I also knew exactly who I wanted to give it to.

I live in an incredible neighborhood.  On summer holidays, the entire neighborhood will meet–there will be face painting and water balloon games for the kids, outdoor movies playing, hayrides through the streets, and tons of food.  There are elaborate holiday parties, impromptu get togethers at the pool, and regular card games for the guys.  I didn’t know neighborhoods like this existed–and I feel so lucky to raise my kids here.

And even more than the socializing, the neighborhood is filled with people who sincerely care about each other.

And there’s one woman in particular who has proved to have a heart made of pure gold.

When a neighbor is sick–she’s the first to raise her hand and organize a way to help them.  If a kid in the neighborhood is in the hospital, she will be the one to stop and ask to say a little prayer.  She is constantly on the lookout for ways to help.  She works, goes to school, and is raising a family.  She already has a “full plate”, but she always makes time for others.

Well tonight it was time to return the kindness.

Homemade inspiration.

Homemade inspiration.

We rang the doorbell–she looked surprised.  (I love surprises!)

She invited us in and I handed her the plate with a short note about how much I appreciate her.

She was familiar with the concept of the plate and asked if she needed to pass the plate on within a certain time limit.  No–I explained the last thing I wanted to do was to give her another item to add to her already long to-do list.  She should keep the plate as long as she liked–and when the right time comes, she’d know who to pass it on to.

And then something cool happened.

She explained how I had impeccable timing.  With busy schedules and a health issue in her family, she needed a little extra love today of all days.  And it warmed my heart to think that I was the person to give it to her.

I learned a few important lessons today:

  • Next time I want to bake cookies, I should really stick with Betty Crocker.
  • But more importantly, you shouldn’t wait to do something kind for someone.  Honestly, there was a part of me that was slightly embarrassed by my baking results.  I thought about just keeping the dozens of sweets at my house (my kids will eat anything with sugar) and trying to make her something else some other time.  But for some reason, I didn’t…and I took the cookies over…and turns out it was just the right time.  Don’t wait for kindness.
  • And that more than anything else, just showing someone that you care is truly the greatest kindness you can ever give.  I’m quite confident that my visit and note meant more to her than the cookies.

The Giving Plate: I love thinking about all the homes my little plate will find.  Who will it it next?  How many other people will it surprise?  My neighbor explained that she already had a plan for it.  My hope is that it will find the people who need it the most–and just like tonight, it will have perfect timing to warm their hearts too.

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