THE OPEN ROAD
It’s with much gratefulness I write this letter, hoping all are having a fun, meaningful Thanksgiving weekend.
A great time of the year indeed.
Personally, I have much to be thankful for.
This year, I decided to take a roadtrip from my current city, Austin, TX, to old stomping grounds, the gulf coast of the Sunshine State. It took a minute, but a sweet minute it was.
Cruising through the countryside while listening to tunes, reflecting on life, & admiring the scenic sites is truly one of my favorite things to do.
The countryside in east Texas, southern Louisiana, Mississippi, & Alabama, and the crystal clear shores of western Florida have a lot to offer the restless soul.
At any rate, arriving in Tampa Bay late Wednesday night, I spent a couple days with my aunt & uncle, enjoying all the traditional festivities: Coffee by the beach, turkey, stuffing (Aunt Nancy’s world famous), mashed potatoes, good convo, football (albeit a heartbreaking Vikings loss), a morning run, and plenty of wine.
Throughout the rest of the weekend, I’ll meet up with some long-lost friends in St. Petersburg & Sarasota, spend time on the Tampa Bay beaches, play some golf, and share some laughs.
MUCH to be grateful for.
The holidays are a time filled with joy & gladness.
Sadly though, not everyone has the opportunity to travel, be with family & friends, enjoy their favorite holiday feast, cheer for (or yell at) their favorite team, play ultimate frisbee in the yard, or help decorate the tree this Christmas.
Some families face extraordinary obstacles that alter the course of not only the holiday season, but of their everyday lives.
I’m reminded of our friends at Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Each day, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas serves hundreds of patients & families who battle life-threatening illnesses. The organization specializes in cancer care, treating blood disorders, cardiology, epilepsy, and trauma care, just to name a few. Serving a 46-county area and beyond, Dell Children’s is the premier health care provider in central Texas for children & families, providing specialized compassion & medical attention to those among us most in need.
Many of these families bear the weight of immense emotional & financial stress.
And the holidays can add to it.
BLACK FRIDAY RETHOUGHT
This Black Friday, it’s estimated that 140 million Americans will be hitting the stores (and each other) to capture the sale of sales and come home a winner on the shopping front. Some $58 billion dollars-worth of goods will be sold, averaging out to about $400 per person. By the time Christmas Eve rolls around, the average American person will spend $830 on Christmas gifts for their loved ones.
That’s a chunk of change :).
Not to say there’s anything wrong with investing in gifts for our loved ones.
But, I believe it’s important to give other kinds of gifts as well.
And maybe even re-prioritize some of our gifting.
As I look toward Christmas and conjure up my gift list, I’m reminded of my mother. Years ago, Mom began a tradition that has made an impact on me, on her, and on her friends in need of some extra help.
For the past decade or so, Mom has traveled to Peru, Haiti, and Africa with her church to reach out and serve the poorest of the poorest of the poor. She’s shared experiences and told stories that awaken my mind, open my eyes, and inspire my heart.
Through her mission work, not only is she able to bring hope to those in extreme poverty; those in extreme poverty are able to bring hope to her.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Her experience gives homage to the old saying: “The more we give, the more we receive.”
AN ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS GIFT
Following one of her trips, Mom asked her sons to rethink Christmas, to think outside of the box and give a gift different from gifts past.
“Guys, this year for Christmas, I’m asking you to set aside the money you would normally spend on a Christmas gift for me, and instead of buying me something, put that money toward the poor families we serve in Chimbote, Peru. Then, they’ll be able to give Christmas gifts to each other.”
A phenomenal idea :).
One that has stuck throughout the years.
And together, for years now, we’ve given – and received – an awesome gift.
This tradition of giving ‘alternative’ Christmas gifts is the inspiration behind our December Mic’d event.
All are invited. We’ve got some WILD musicians coming out, including:
The event takes place at Spider House Ballroom & Café, Friday, December 9, at 9 PM. Admission is $10, and we’ll have opportunities to give meaningful Christmas gifts to family and to the folks at Dell Children’s.
How great an opportunity it is for us to help people in need this holiday season.
For, these challenges can happen to any of us.
These challenges can be our very own.
This Christmas, let’s give some holiday cheers to the children & families being treated by Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Let’s give a gift that matters.
And just maybe, in giving this gift, we’ll receive.
RSVP on our Facebook page: @MicdOfficial.
See you on the 9th…