The Act of Giving

The Act of Giving

The act of giving is a gift in and of itself

With Christmas rapidly approaching the gift giving season breaths down my neck. As a 17 year old with a somewhat part time job I'm not exactly "making bank". Yet I still find a way to spoil my friends and family with gifts during the holiday season. I spend the little money that I have on them; some might say I'm burning a whole in my pocket, not saving my money for something else, but honestly, what do I care what they think? Yes, there is some validity in that statement, but repaying my friends and family for all they do for me is important. I really think that the act of giving is more exciting than getting something. Thus begins the age old debate: which is better? For me, the gift wrapping process, although stressful, is where the anticipation builds. As I slave over the presentation of gifts I can't help but think about the recipient's reaction. I get nervous, what if they don't like it, what if they have to pretend to be surprised? But then I think about the gift receipt, worst comes to worst, they return it and get something they actually want. At least I'm still apart of the process of making them happy.

Just the other day, I came across my mom's favorite perfume of ALL TIME. And I mean favorite. The excitement that rushed through my body when I saw it was unlike any other, I knew I had to get it for her, it's the least I can do. Plus, it's a win-win situation, she absolutely loves the perfume, and so do I. It's her signature scent, and in the least creepy way possible, I couldn't imagine her smelling differently. The perfume reminds me of her. It reminds me of all the long hugs we've shared with each other, all the times she would tuck me in at night and stay with me until I fell asleep. Her perfume is like a security blanket for me, quite literally too. When I was younger I used to sneak into her room and steal the perfume to douse my blankets and stuffed animals in. I was probably the biggest offender when it came to wasting her precious perfume. But back to present day, when I saw the perfume I didn't hesitate to add it to my online shopping cart. I immediately bought it, and now I anxiously await for its arrival. On christmas morning, I think it will be a toss up between my mom and I to see who was actually more excited for her gift.

The perfume is probably more important to me than it will be to my mom because it is more than just a perfume to me. The perfume embodies her, it reminds me of all that she has done for me. It reminds me of all the times she has been there for me, been right by my side, to encourage me, to support me, and to comfort me. The perfume isn't just a scent, it is a constant reminder of how important my mom is to me. It is the least I can give her to try to show her how much she means to me; it will never be enough, simply because my appreciation for my mom can't be summed up into a 1oz bottle of perfume.

Gift giving has easily become one of my favorite things to do. I'm not entirely sure what it is that gets me though. Maybe it's the simple act of showing my appreciation for my friends and family whom I love so much. Or maybe it's the look on their faces when they weren't expecting the gift, the validation that I am able to give them, the act of giving which shows them that they matter to me, that they're important, and that their happiness is my priority. The act of giving shows my loved ones just how much I appreciate them, and I couldn't think of a better way to show them just how much they mean to me.

Cover Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Summer = Rest?

Sometimes it feels as if we need a vacation... from our vacation.


Ah summer: Popsicles and sun burns, mixed with fresh-squeezed lemonade that local kids are pandering to make enough money for Roman candles and Black Cats. The crack of the bat can be heard among the simmering charcoal grills and Troy-bilts humming through the ever-lasting sun. School is out and children are wild. It's a paradise.

Or is it?

But after countless sports camps and tournaments, other camps, vacations, school (?) events, traveling teams, VBS, summer seems to have been sucked fun-free.

Maybe it's Hollywood and Harper Lee's fault for giving us this utopian view of what summer should look and feel like (I'm looking at you Sandlot). But how can we really rest this summer? Because everyone needs some actual rest, even adults.

First thing is do NOT pack your summer full. Say no to some things. Coaches and Families can expect too much and it's okay to say no to them. You have to. There is no time for kids to be kids anymore.

Work can take a backseat. Vacations need to be taken. Families need to reconnect.

And for all my super-scheduled people out there, please PLEASE don't schedule out your vacation. Just enjoy it.

Another bit of advice would be to put away the technology and spend some time outside. When was the last time you tried to catch lightning bugs? Or went for a swim? Or listened to birds on your front porch?

I may sound like I have an old soul, but I really feel like we have lost this connection to the outside world. Summer is all about getting a farmer's tan and getting stung once or twice. I can guarantee you that's some of the best therapy in the world.

Maybe this sounds all over the place. Maybe this sounds like me ranting. And it probably is.

But I'm telling you that this stuff matters. Don't let summer whiz by and you arrive in August more drained that you were in May. Enjoy this time with family and friends.

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