In Giving, We Receive

posted in: Just Write, Life 98 comments

I am a lot of not-awesome things – I have a temper, I am impatient, I swear at idiot drivers, I am bossy, I am not a great cook, I buy too much crap for the kids, I feed them crap sometimes, I get lazy sometimes and take the easy way out, I say the F word more than I should, and once, I screamed at a stranger.

I do have one virtue. I like giving. Giving of my time, of resources where possible, of love, of friendship, of kindness. I try, every day, to give one thing. Mostly, it is to give to my children – patience, the grace of allowing them to be their age (no matter what), smiles and hugs all day, I love yous. 

That is the easy kind of giving. They are of our hearts and souls, it’s a no-brainer.

It’s the other kind of giving that is a little challenging.

Light our own way quote


Patience on the road by not cutting someone off, or staying your hand on the horn when someone isn’t moving fast enough for your liking.

The grace of giving people the benefit of the doubt, especially on social media, because you just don’t know the whole story. And refrain from rolling your eyes, stomping your feet, and angrily tap-tapping on your keyboard, calling them out. Why not just walk away and move onto better, more heart-worthy efforts on the Internet?

It’s the giving of your time when someone has a cause close to their hearts, and need help from every quarter.

It’s the giving of hard-earned money to someone else who needs it more. That new <whatever it is you really, really want for Christmas> can wait. Because we really have so much already, and what is money when it cannot be spent on good useful things, that not only fill bellies, but hearts as well?

It’s a kind word, a helping hand, a pat on the back, a virtual hug, an email, a thinking-of-you text message.

It’s the sharing of knowledge, and extending a hand in kindness and friendship, even when we feel depleted inside.

It’s putting other people’s needs above your wants.  

And although it sounds like a lot to give, it is always in giving that we receive. Tenfold. 

You will receive what cannot be measured by dollars or cents. Friendship, love, kindness, all of it. 

So yes, I love the giving. I am a lot of not-so-awesome things, but I am giving. It’s the least I can do, for all the receiving I get. 

Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends.

In the spirit of the season, The SITS Girls is kicking off a Gratitude Challenge, and I wrote all about it there. Check it out? 

In other news, my dear friend Alma is holding a special one-day sale on Saturday, November 30, of her gorgeous crochet and wood items. Check out her etsy shop now!


Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the worldโ€™s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Womenโ€™s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesnโ€™t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • November 26, 2013 Keely

    You are an awesome person- and I’m oh-so thankful for you.
    Keely recently wrote…November Date: Riveting Theatre And Tasty Frites.My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Aw, thank you. I think you’re pretty awesome yourself, and thank you for being my friend. xo

  • November 26, 2013 Alma

    Thank you for giving to me and helping me Alison. Yes, you are resourceful but honestly you are a great friend and that I value most. Thank you for sponsoring me today and motivating me to write again.
    Alma recently wrote…Shop Small Business SaturdayMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank YOU for supporting my blog and being my friend, Alma! Hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving, and good luck with your sale this weekend!

  • November 26, 2013 Christine

    I feel like we’re similar in many ways. I share many of the not-so-awesome traits but I do believe that I’m a giver and a helper. Thank you for all that you give.
    Christine recently wrote…New York City Travel GuideMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Yes! Yes you are. Your heart is always in the right place, and I love that about you. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  • November 26, 2013 Michelle

    We can always do more, can’t we? Sometimes I wonder if I do enough. Am I giving enough? I guess if I have to think about it, the answer is I can do more. Thank you Alison, this is a good reminder.
    Michelle recently wrote…Hey Coach: Give the Kid a Chance! {Guest Post from Eli at Coach Daddy}My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I think many of us can always do more. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  • November 26, 2013 Amy

    That’s a pretty fabulous trait. The world needs more givers. Thanks for the great reminder.
    Amy recently wrote…Tuesday morning pj shootMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Yes we do! Hope you had a great Thanksgivign!

  • November 26, 2013 Nicole

    You are oh-so-awesome in so many ways! Love this! You are teaching your boys one of the greatest life lessons by being generous with your time, money, and, most importantly, heart!
    Nicole recently wrote…Marathon Aftermath and RecoveryMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I hope so, Nicole, I really do. And thank you! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  • November 26, 2013 Andrea

    Giving is a wonderful thing to be! It is your gift, and it is valued highly by so many lives you touch. xoxo
    Andrea recently wrote…Good Morning, BrainMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, my friend! xo

  • November 26, 2013 Ilene

    I think you and I are soul sisters. I curse way more than I should and have been known to have a wicked temper – but at the end of the day, giving rules. Always.

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I like that idea of us being soul sisters. xo

  • November 26, 2013 Alexandra

    Believe it or not, as old as I am, I have to remind myself every day, several times in the day, to be grateful. It happens throughout my day, life, stress, too much to do, pettiness, misunderstandings… not enough time! and then we forger just how fortunate we are. I am so very fortunate. xo

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are, my friend. And you’re one of the most generous people I have the privilege of knowing. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. xo

  • November 26, 2013 Kim

    You are very giving of your time and your expertise and your friendship, Alison. And I am so grateful for all three.
    This is a lovely reminder to appreciate all we have and think more of what we can give to others. We all have something to offer someone, don’t we? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kim recently wrote…Through His EyesMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Yes, we do! And thank you, Kim.

  • November 26, 2013 Susanna Leonard Hill
    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Susanna. Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.

  • November 26, 2013 Kerstin

    You are so many more awesome things than just giving, my friend!
    (I totally think that giving trumps temper ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
    Kerstin recently wrote…Random InsanityMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Aw, thanks Kerstin!

  • November 26, 2013 Amanda

    This was a beautiful reminder. Thank you so much.
    Amanda recently wrote…Fitting the piecesMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Amanda. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  • November 26, 2013 Anna Urquhart

    Beautiful and timely words. And it seems we have a lot of not-awesome things in common . . .
    Anna Urquhart recently wrote…Finding The OasisMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Anna!

  • November 26, 2013 Jennifer

    I love this. I’m not always as giving as I would like to be. This is a good reminder to do better. Thanks!
    Jennifer recently wrote…What’s The Worst That Could HappenMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are one of the kindest people I know, Jennifer, I think you give more than you think. xo

  • November 27, 2013 Allie

    I love giving too, especially gifts. I love to see the faces of my friends and family when they open something I know they’ll love.
    Allie recently wrote…Guest Post: Style Daily with Kathy BochonkoMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Yes! That’s the best part – seeing their reaction. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • November 27, 2013 Jenni Chiu

    I am a lot of those same not-awesome things…
    and you should know, Alison, that when someone in the blogosphere mentions your name, “giving” is the exact adjective I think of.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Jenni Chiu recently wrote…Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn – Bring Your Suspension of DisbeliefMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Jenni, that’s such a wonderful thing to hear, especially from you. xo

  • November 27, 2013 Tamara

    What an awesome thing to be. I love giving too, such a Leo I am. I used to be sleepless on Christmas Eve because of what I was giving to my family and friends, all wrapped up sloppily. I’m a not-awesome gift wrapper. These days money is tight so I can’t shower them all the way I used to, but I still love what I can do for them and for strangers through charity.
    Tamara recently wrote…It’s Because You Care.My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I’m a Leo, and I’m not a great gift-wrapper either!
      I understand when money is tight and one can’t give – but many still do give in other ways. That’s so lovely.

  • November 27, 2013 Alexa

    I feel exactly the same way! I may have a lot of faults-pretty much the same ones you listed, but I do love to give back. In any way I can. And you are right… sometimes the greatest gift is as simple as support. Heading over to read your SITS post!
    Alexa recently wrote…Are your children hungry? { Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week }My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are amazing, Alexa! Thank you for supporting my post at SITS.

  • This…this is why you are awesome and why you deserve all the good you get.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…Did you knowโ€ฆMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Aw, thank you, Tinne.

  • November 27, 2013 Amber Day Hicks

    You are simply awesome!!! XOXO, my friend!
    Amber Day Hicks recently wrote…Kensieโ€™s FAVE pinterest recipeMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Amber! I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving.

  • November 27, 2013 Crystal Collier

    Awesome. We all have our weaknesses, but even those weaknesses can become strengths. I love how you focused on your strength. I think too often we forget to focus on the good and let the rest go. =)

    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Crystal Collier recently wrote…Do You Like Where You Live?My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I do try ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you Crystal, hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  • November 27, 2013 Janice / GatheringGraces

    Happy Thanksgiving, Alison!
    Beautiful post. That first paragraph had me nodding in unison with you. Ah. My inadequacies, indeed….
    But the rest of the post had me nodding too. So very true. All the giving…everyone ought to give like that. It would make a very happy world, don’t you think?
    Janice / GatheringGraces recently wrote…Colors of AutumnMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      It most certainly would, Janice!

  • November 27, 2013 sarah reinhart

    Yep, I’m better at the little daily giving of myself than I am anything else. But I’ve been feeling like I’d like to do more. Needing to get out of my own head these days. Lovely post friend.

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are one of the kindest people I know, Sarah. It’s okay to get into your own head occasionally. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

  • November 27, 2013 Sarah

    What a very good thing to be good at! Thank you for the Thanksgiving greetings. I am thankful for wonderful bloggers like you that I’ve gotten to know through this crazy internet of ours.
    Sarah recently wrote…Sam at four monthsMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Just as I am, Sarah, I love this community!

  • November 27, 2013 melissa

    No worries..We all have our crazy moments. I have a feeling you have more then one virtue!
    melissa recently wrote…DisconnectMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I hope I do ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 27, 2013 Allie

    This is one of my favorite posts from you! Mostly because I can relate to the first paragraph so much. Geez we have a lot of the same personality traits right down to yelling F-bombs at strangers. Oops!
    I also like to think I am very generous – with my time, money (when I can) and heart. When I love, I love big and when I share I go big there too. Thanks for this and for reminding me that although I’m not perfect, this is a good season to show some of my better traits!
    Allie recently wrote…Thankful For What I’m NotMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I think you’re wonderful, Allie – yes, yelling F-bombs and all ๐Ÿ™‚ Go forth and give! xo

  • November 27, 2013 julie gardner

    I try to be this, too – this giving. Patient. Generous – with my heart, not just my wallet.
    I don’t always succeed (does anyone, ever?) but I hope, on balance, my scales tilt on the side of generosity.

    I can’t understand those who are intolerant or close-fisted or close-minded toward others who are in need or struggling or simply different.

    I hope I never do.

    And YOU, my friend, are one of the most giving people I’ve ever *known*.
    Believe it.

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are amazing, Julie. Your generosity with me has never been forgotten, and always appreciated. xo

  • November 27, 2013 tracy

    You are amazing. Love you. xo
    tracy recently wrote…Costa Rica Vacation – Playa Guiones – Transitioning HomeMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I love you too! xoxo

  • November 27, 2013 Julia

    Very well put, all those things are in the spirit of giving and yet most of them don’t cost much at all.
    Julia recently wrote…Wine in Mom Toy Guide – 2013My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Yes, exactly. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  • November 27, 2013 Katie

    I am a total giver. Where I lack in extrovertedness and hanging out with people I make up for in trying to give everyone all the things. My biggest sadness are time and money constraints. I truly would buy the world a coke if I could.
    Katie recently wrote…Project 365 {week 47}My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I know you would – that’s one of the things I love about you. xo

  • November 27, 2013 Maureen

    You are truly awesome in my eyes! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Maureen recently wrote…Uncooking 101 – Raw Food Made EasyMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Aw, thank you Maureen, you are too!

  • November 27, 2013 Kimberlyl

    Oooo…I think that people forget that when others are having a bad day, or need to get somewhere urgent, we think that they’re being total d-bags…but…but…they could just be d-bags and we shouldn’t let them ruin our day, moment, etc.
    You’re right in that giving the little things, like opening the door for an elderly person, will mean the world to them and to you. xo
    Kimberlyl recently wrote…In The Sharing SpiritMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      That’s my hope. Little things. xo

  • November 28, 2013 Lady Jennie

    It’s great to be here – I’ve missed your words. This is a good reminder – it warms the heart.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…How to Make RiceMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I’ve missed you here too! And thank you. xo

  • November 28, 2013 Kir

    Giving is my favorite thing to do, to see the eyes light up, hear the catch in a breath, know that I made a smile…or a day or a moment easier, better, less stressful for someone else.

    thank you for always giving of yourself to me, I appreciate it and YOU more than you could know.
    Your goose loves ya.
    Kir recently wrote…Little LuxuriesMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are one of the best givers, my friend. Love you. xo

  • November 28, 2013 MomWithaDot

    It is great to see you write about the true values of Christmas. Gifts,, Decorations & Food occupy an unnecessarily large percentage of the deal. Fact is, it is about giving n caring. Thank you for a much needed post. you are a wonderful lady!!
    MomWithaDot recently wrote…Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy The Feast!!My Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for your kind words!

  • November 28, 2013 Natalie

    Preach on my friend, preach on. Giving is definitely better than receiving! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Natalie recently wrote…A Fulfilling WeekendMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      I think so! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 28, 2013 Nina

    I think all those wonderful traits more than make up for the non-awesome parts of you ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving; enjoy the long weekend!
    Nina recently wrote…How to create holiday traditions your kids will loveMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thanks very much, Nina! (I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, as I’m in Malaysia, but I did take some time off line!)

  • November 28, 2013 My Inner Chick

    And this, my dear, is the reason you are loved, appreciated, and cherished. Xxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…You’re An Effing Super StarMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You always make me feel special, Kim! xoxo

  • November 28, 2013 KalleyC

    Thank you for giving. Your words are truly inspiring, and in many cases, it is the thought that does count.
    KalleyC recently wrote…Sweet Cornbread RecipeMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Kalley!

  • November 28, 2013 Charlotte

    So very beautiful, Alison.

    I’m trying so very hard to meet challenges with a positive outlook and practice mindfulness and patience. It’s not as easy as it sounds to someone who is incredibly stubborn and set in her ways ๐Ÿ™‚ But you know, I believe in the good of people and I enjoy the giving. And I take comfort and joy in the little things. Every now and then I have to remind myself to slow down.

    Every day presents a new opportunity to be our best selves. Thank you for this. XOXO
    Charlotte recently wrote…Help. I’m slowly turning into my motherMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Yes! Every day does present a new opportunity to be our best selves, absolutely. Thank YOU. xo

  • November 29, 2013 anymommy

    It’s so hard to remember that everyone has a story, but when I do, I am a better person for it. Thanks for all you do to make blogging a community of people with stories for me!! xoxoxo.
    anymommy recently wrote…This season of thankfulnessMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      You are such a giving soul, Stacey! I am so blessed to have met you. xo

  • November 29, 2013 Jenn

    You have a big heart, Alison. I witnessed I first hand when you replied to my email last year asking for writing advice. I think you are right – giving is the key to receiving. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being such a great giver.
    Jenn recently wrote…The Thanksgiving ClockMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jennifer!
      I have loved watching you grow as a writer, blogger and mental health advocate. And look at you now! I’m so proud of you, and happy for you.

  • November 29, 2013 Alison Hector

    Yes, yes, and even more yes. Here nodding at each sentence, Alison. Giving. Gotta love it!
    Alison Hector recently wrote…Ten Things of ThankfulMy Profile

    • November 29, 2013 Alison

      Thank you so much, Alison!

  • November 30, 2013 AwesomelyOZ

    Sweet, just signed up for the gratitude challenge, looking forward to it! We have A LOT in common: impatience, temper, swearing, bossy.. I am a decent cook so I will give myself a bit of credit in that regard but still we’re very much alike. I spoil my son as well and I love to bring joy in other respects, that’s how I give: joy and laughter! Or at least I’d like to think so ๐Ÿ˜› Hope you had a great Thanksgiving with you and yours! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Happy Thanksgiving: 7 Cross-Cultural Variations of Giving ThanksMy Profile

    • November 30, 2013 Alison

      I’m not a terrible cook, I just have a very limited repertoire ๐Ÿ™‚

      Joy and laughter – those are amazing things to bring to the world! Glad you signed up for the challenge. Have fun!

  • December 1, 2013 Eli

    I just checked with Jesus. He said it’s OK to use the F bomb because you’re really gracious and giving. So, we’re strait. That goes for the rest of you people who, like me, like to be nice, but are prone to the occasional F-bomb.
    Eli recently wrote…Go Ask Daddy About Captain Americaโ€™s Shield, a Vegetarianโ€™s Yield and Paint at the end of the FieldMy Profile

    • December 2, 2013 Alison

      Hah! Thanks for checking with Jesus. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • December 1, 2013 Tracie

    This is beautiful. As is your heart. As are you.
    Tracie recently wrote…From The NaBloPoMo Finish LineMy Profile

    • December 2, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, sweet Tracie. xo

  • December 2, 2013 Barbara

    I think that’s a pretty amazing trait to have. I’ve missed your writing.
    Barbara recently wrote…Oh my….My Profile

    • December 2, 2013 Alison

      Barbara! Funnily, I was just thinking about you over the weekend! (as my husband and I are planning a trip to France in January)

  • December 4, 2013 Stevie

    I am grateful for you, friend, for all the giving, sharing, and positive energy you have given to me and to others. You may or may not be surprised to know that I occasionally say bad words too. Okay maybe a lot.
    Stevie recently wrote…Ask Away Friday with Michelle of A Dish of Daily LifeMy Profile

    • December 4, 2013 Alison

      Hah! I’m a little surprised, you’re so zen and all that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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