signed copy of BEYOND BREATHING
Today is “Macy’s National BELIEVE DAY”
Today Macy’s is granting 55 nationwide “wishes” in conjunction with The Make-A-Wish Foundation
In today’s world we hear so much about the negative; the greed and contempt, the wars and fighting among one another, the struggles and hardships that tear at your heart and soul. How often do we hear of the GOOD that WE are all capable of doing? How often do we hear of what one person’s ACT OF KINDNESS can do for humanity? In my opinion, not nearly enough.
But I believe in the spirit of giving.
I believe that gifts don’t have to cost anything but your time.
I believe we ALL want to do “good” for one another.
I learned this lesson very clearly a few years ago…
Let me explain.
Holidays are always the hardest and Christmas is the pinnacle of pain.
The joys that used to fill this house now just seem sort of vacant.
The tree is up…big deal.
It’s missing all of Eric and Jena’s handmade ornaments hanging off its fake, lighted limbs.
No Christmas dishes are out.
No Christmas cookies are baking in the oven.
No Christmas cards will be written.
No, I’m not a Ba-Humbug kind of person, I just don’t care anymore.
Jena took the magic with her.
If you listen carefully, you can hear her yelling at me right now.
“Mom, get a grip!”
“Where’s the Christmas music?”
“And where’s my glittered pine cone I made in second grade?”
She’d be so angry with me for the way I’m acting. She’d also be bugging me which present was hers under the tree; holding each one up, shaking, guessing…
Yeah, here come the tears….
One morning in December of 2007 I woke up from a “Jena” dream. In my dream, Jena was shaking a wrapped present and said, “I just know this is my favorite gift, ever!” When I asked her what she meant, she smiled and told me I’d figure it out. Then I woke up.
Great…dream riddles… at Christmas… from Jena.
Turns out, I figured it out and I wouldn’t dare let a Christmas go by without a present for my daughter-especially her favorite gift EVER.
What’s inside, you ask?
Jena once told me, “When you see love, you’ll see me.” I believe her. I know for certain that we take our hearts with us when we leave this world and that love transcends.
So, back to the ‘Jena Gift’… since that dream in 2007, my niece and nephew and I wrap an empty box, right before Thanksgiving, and leave a slit at the top. Then between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve our whole family engages in as many random ACTS OF KINDNESS as possible.
Here’s the catch: they can’t tell a soul. It’s a secret!
Then we write down all our random-acts-of-kindness on an index card, like we are addressing it to Jena, and slip each card in the wrapped box.
On Christmas Eve, when we are all gathered around the Christmas tree at my in-laws, we read them out-loud TO Jena, it’s her favorite gift, ever. It’s giving of yourself, it’s giving of your time, it’s giving of your love.
She is forever with us. We want her to know we still go “shopping” for her to find her that perfect Christmas gift.
She loves presents, so feel free to join us in the gift-giving!
Ok, here’s the deal:
1) YOU do something nice, an act of kindness, then tell me about it by midnight on Friday, DECEMBER 23, 2011.
2) Please tell me about it either below in the comment section, or on my Beyond Breathing Facebook page , or if you rather not be public about it, you can: EMAIL ME HERE
3) On Christmas Eve, my family will read your Jena gift with ours and then decide which 3 people I’ll send a SIGNED COPY of ‘BEYOND BREATHING’ to and you too can *meet* Jena.
There’s so much in this world to be thankful about.
There’s so much in the world to share.
There’s so much to BELIEVE in.
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There's not many who can leave me with no words. I think this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard or read. Honestly, I don't know how you do it. Love to you and your whole family, now and always.
Marie Cronin says
I just read your book, Beyond Breathing. There were many times I had to put it down between the chapters, for the tears were stinging my eyes. How beautiful a book you wrote. How beautiful your family is. I feel, because of your book, that I know Jena. What an amazingly courageous, beautiful, strong, young lady. What am amazing strong mother you are! I have a daughter with epilepsy. When she was young, she had a seizure…it was still new to us, as no one in our family has epilepsy…juvenile myoclonic epilepsy….while at the hospital, a nun came up to me and said something I will never forget…"You're mother's heart is showing." Well, Margarete, your mother's heart shined throughout Jena's whole life and beyond. I don't think we ever met personally, as I know Marc from high school. He was friends with my ex-husband, Joe. You are truly a wonderful person. What a legacy Jena has left with you and those who know her now because of YOU! I wish you and your family so much love during the holidays. God bless!!
You have such a beautiful family. My Daughter Savannah also has Cystic Fibrosis. When it came to the point where we made too much money for government help and not enough to make ends meet. With the support of my family I joined the Army at the age of 35!! I was very worried about basic training being with all the young in shape kids. At the end of basic I was one of the top grads. I knew I had to do it for my obligation to my country and for the health of my daughter. After my advanced training (I was a LPN before) I got stationed in the Army's only Burn ICU in San Antonio. I really had found my calling and my child's medical needs were being met. Our world was truly better. Then the injury happened, now I am in a wheelchair and oxygen awaiting my separation from the Army. My daughter Savannah is so caring and never thinks of herself. She has collected blankets, coats, and toys all on her own for our Army families who have less. She has pet sit for injured Soldiers, help them get their newspapers way too many things to mention. So please read her gifts of love from your box. Happy Holidays The Goyette Family
LORRAINE PALERMO says
TODAY IS MY DAD'S FIRST BIRTHDAY IN HEAVEN. YOU CAN IMAGINE WE ARE ALL VERY SAD, AND HURTING SO MUCH.I HAVE 2 SISTERS AND 3 BROTHERS AND ALL YEAR WE HAVE BEEN THERE FOR MOM.TODAY MY 2 SISTERS AND I TOOK OFF FROM WORK TO SPEND WITH MOM. WE TOOK MOM TO MASS,THEN TO HER HOUSE FOR BREAKFAST WITH OUR BROTHER, AND OFF FOR THE DAY TO SHOP ,HAVE LUNCH ,SHARE MEMORIES AND LAUGHTER .OUR DAY STILL DIDN'T END UNTIL WE ADORNED DAD'S GRAVE WITH 2 SMALL PINE TREES WITH ORNAMENTS AND A HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISH.WE ALL FELT BETTER TODAY BEING TOGETHER EVEN THOUGH ITS A SAD DAY .
Amber @ Au Coeur says
You don't have to send me a book, but I wanted to let you all know about my gift to Jena. There is a little boy here on island who has leukemia and an additional incredibly rare disease. Some friends of the family are hosting benefits to raise money for him, one now and the other after Christmas. I wanted to give something, but we don't have a lot of extra cash…then I thought of your Jena project and I realized that I have the potential to make an even bigger impact by donating my time and skills…so I donated two full custom websites to the silent auctions they are doing, which should hopefully raise way more money for his family than we could ever give.
Margarete, please know that we love, love, love all you guys and are keeping you in our thoughts. Talk soon. xoxo
Thank you everyone for your generous hearts and your beautiful random acts of kindness.
I can't help but think of Gandhi's quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
I just love the way you all look at the world 🙂 You are what makes this holiday season truly "magical"
All the best to you and your family this holiday!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
Just wanted to tell you about my friend Paula Miritello. She is always doing random acts of kindess for others. Each year she does a walk in memory of her brother Vinny at FDR Park. Each year she does a coat drive and food drive. Paula was involved in a car accident months ago but she did allow the pain to stop her!!(I always think about Jenna when people fight through the pain) The was article about the coat drive on the Yorktown Patch Website. Paula is truly amazing. She has and continues to always help others in need. Paula is still recovering from the accident but she will give out coats and food to homeless this Christmas as she always has 🙂