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Gift It Forward

gifts_2 It’s the day after Christmas. Here in the United States, that means the customer service lines are long as people return their gifts. In other parts of the world – Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand – it’s Boxing Day.

If you’re not familiar with it, you might suspect that there’s fist-a-cuffs over gift exchanges! But Boxing Day is a tradition of giving gifts to people who are less fortunate.

We don’t want to leave the impression that we think us Yanks are Scrooges. A lot of people here are very generous throughout the holiday season. But we think Boxing Day is an interesting tradition, truly in tune with the spirit of this time of the year.

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The son who learned to give

We found a great story about a mom who taught her son about the value of giving. We’ll hit the highlights here. It’s written from the son’s point-of-view.

The first Christmas that he remembers, he was thoroughly excited about all of his gifts. His mom soon squashed his enthusiasm; she told him he had to choose one present to give away to a little kid who wasn’t as lucky as he was. It was a hard decision, but he finally chose a present to give away.

Another Christmas, he really had trouble deciding between his gifts before finally settling on his new checker set. His mom left the room, only to return a short time later with a piece of cardboard, crayons, and his bottle cap collection. They proceeded to make a checker set by hand.

The author remembers one year, when his mom had been laid off, that he didn’t get many gifts. She told him that he didn’t have to give any presents away that year. But he decided he still wanted to observe the tradition. That year, he gave away his new football. Six months later, he asked his mom what she wanted for her birthday. Being a wonderful mom, she requested a football!

The son continued this tradition of giving away one of his presents every year, even as an adult. He ended up passing it on to his own son.

A reserve to give

This boy’s mom made it clear to him that they gave something every year to what she called “poor people.” He says that, years later, he realized they were poor themselves. Isn’t it interesting – to some extent, poor is a state of mind. If we have enough in reserve that we can afford to give something away, we must not be poor.

Give away the good stuff

Picture yourself as a kid. Do you remember being excited by just about every single gift? What if your mom would have told you that you had to give one of them away? That would have been pretty hard, huh?

We often give what we don’t want any longer or we buy something new just for the purpose of giving it away. We don’t have an attachment to it. It seems to us that giving away something you just received would really pack a punch – even for an adult, but especially for a kid. 

The gift of time

Then there’s the checker set. After much debate, he decided to give that away, but his mom gave him a different option. He learned that material possessions are valuable, but the gift of our time is even more valuable. The checker set he gave away was one-of-a-kind and probably worth more than the mass-produced one he kept.

Giving when it hurts

We thought it was touching that, in the bad year when his mom said he didn’t have to give anything away, he still chose to give up his football. It showed how much he had learned from his mom.

She taught him another lesson when she asked for a football for her birthday. Sometimes when you give, it comes back to you, even when it’s unexpected.

Pass it on

He passed on this tradition of passing on gifts to his own son. Of all the Christmas traditions we could pass on to our kids, what could be better than establishing a tradition of giving?

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(Image in today's post by zerobug)

Unwrapping Special Gifts

gifts The other night we saw an episode of According to Jim. Jim (played by Jim Belushi) was stressing because he had not had a good year – money was tight and it was Christmas time. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to buy his kids the gifts they wanted.

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His wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) pointed out to him that the kids had barely looked at the presents they got the year before. In fact, one was still in its original package – it had been unwrapped but never opened and played with!

Maybe that kid was just a collector at heart!

But this show made us think … sometimes we get caught up on getting something new and not reflecting on the gifts we already have. So today we want to unwrap some of our most special gifts.

If you want to listen to us open these gifts, just click the “play” button above. Otherwise, picture each package being opened …

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george
Why don’t you kick it off, Mary-Lynn?

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marylynnThis one is a real, real special one. It’s the gift of my Dad. He had a bit of a health scare going into the holidays. He’s fine – clean bill of health. So thank you, God. I love my gift this year! Alright George, it’s your turn.

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georgeMy gift is memories of Mom and Dad. Mom’s been gone a couple of years now so it’s still somewhat fresh, I guess. I think about the things I learned from them, the things that helped make me who I am, for better or worse – I can blame them! I had a very special Mom and Dad and I’m very thankful for that. Now, you’re up Mary-Lynn.

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marylynnOh, yes … we’ve had a cold winter here in Illinois. There have been nights when you just hear that wind outside howling and I am inside and toasty warm! So the gift of a nice warm house is something I’m very, very grateful for this year.

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georgeWe often don’t stop to think about the basics and how many people there are who don’t even have something as simple as that.

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marylynn
Exactly. Alright, George, tear into the next one.

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georgeOne of the features of our car is remote unlock. Man, as we’ve been out shopping in the cold, it’s really nice to be able to find your car quickly because it winks at us. And of course, to be able to get right in once you’re to it.

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marylynnThat’s a good one. Okay, I’ll open the next one. Ah, the gifts of our kitty cats – Fifi and Fraidy. We have original cat names, don’t we? Boy, they just give us gifts all year long … loving and purring.

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george
Yeah, and sometimes they leave us a little something on the floor!

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marylynn
We don’t like those gifts at all!

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georgeOkay, let’s open the next one. It’s for both of us, Mary-Lynn. Let’s see what it is … ah, it’s our families. You have a great family, Mary-Lynn. Love your dad and your sister.

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marylynnYou have a great family, too. Your sisters are all so fun – listening to all of the siblings laughing together. It’s just so nice!

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georgeYes, and the in-laws aren’t so bad either. A cool group of nephews and now, one little niece. And Mary-Lynn, while we’re on family, I have to say that I’m also very thankful for you.

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marylynn
Ah, that’s so sweet. I’m thankful for you too. You’re a special man!

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georgeIt brings up the point, though. I think sometimes those closest to us are the people we most take for granted. We often don’t show them the appreciation we should.

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marylynn
Yeah, I forget about you all the time, George.

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george
I know you do!

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marylynn
George, I’ve got to tell you … I think we scored this Christmas.

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georgeI’m with you on that – but Mary-Lynn, I just noticed something … over there in the corner, it looks like there’s another bigg present for us.

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marylynn
Alright, let’s open it up … ah yes, of course. This is something we’re really grateful for.

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georgeWe’re grateful for you! The fact that you spend time with us like you do – you share your insights, you listen to our show, you read our blog posts. However you spend time with us, we’re just so thankful.

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marylynnYou are the reason that we get to do what we love to do! That is such an amazing gift and we thank you so much.

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So to you we say, whatever your chosen holiday at this time of year, we wish you and yours the very best. For us, it’s Christmas … so Merry Christmas!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00294-122508.mp3

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(Image in today's post by orangeNess)

Where Are You If You Ain’t Where You Are

Today’s blog is inspired from a quote we heard on a rerun of M*A*S*H. Colonel Sherman Potter, played by the great Harry Morgan, said,

“If you ain’t where you are, you’re no place.”

Isn’t that a profound statement? We loved it so much that we mashed up 6 tips on how to live in the moment.

#1 – Get past the past.
You can’t change it, but you can change the here and now. You’ve learned from the past – now get over it.

This applies to the good as well as the bad. You can’t rest on past successes, either. As the old saying goes, “Failure waits for all who stay with some success made yesterday.” It’s yesterday’s news – move on.

#2 – Stop fretting about the future.
“Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow,” we’re told. You should plan for your future, because that sets your direction. But once you have your plan, you have to focus entirely on the present.

Treat what’s going on now as a stepping stone. You’re working on your future by taking care of business today.

#3 – Stop wishing your life away.
A number of people spend their whole lives wishing it away.

Wishing they were smarter. Or prettier.

Wishing they had more money. Or a bigger house.

They’re so concerned about what they DON’T have that they completely fail to appreciate what they DO have.

#4 – Count your blessings.
Closely related to the last tip, learn to appreciate what you have and who you are. You’re a pretty special person. In fact, you’re the greatest miracle in the world!

So count your blessings. You’ll see that you have a lot for which to be thankful.

#5 – Pay attention to the little things in your everyday life.
Use all your senses. Look around … really LOOK. See all the color, the textures.

Breathe the air. Breathe deep … unless you’re stuck in traffic in Los Angeles! Even then, you can feel the warmth of the sun.

The point – enjoy the beauty that is all around you.

#6 – Get in touch with your child-like nature.
Kids are, without a doubt, our best teacher when it comes to living in the moment. They don’t think about yesterday; they don’t worry about tomorrow.

They only worry about what the other kid is playing with … just like us adults! Some things never change!

To a kid, each day is a new day full of wonder. So give yourself some time to play. Be inquisitive again – ask questions.

Our bigg quote today is by author Louise L. Hay.

    “The point of power is always in the present moment.”

Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow never comes. So put all your energy into here … now.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to find your fortune through promiscuity. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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