Sunday, December 24, 2006

Comfort and Joy

Just wanted to write a quick post about how much I am enjoying the holiday this year. For the first time my family exchanged only a few simple gifts and instead focused on getting together to make a donation to Heifer International. This is very exciting to me and something I have wanted us to do for a long time. I remember realizing that small acts can make a profound difference after seeing a segment on 60 Minutes *years* ago about the Grameen Bank, the organization founded by Mohammed Yunus in Bangladesh, which provides small loans to women for their businesses. Previously if women needed capital they would have to go to loan sharks and pay exorbitant interest rates that prevented them from ever making a profit. Now women all over the world, even in the United States, receive this assistance and get out of poverty. (Happily Yunus and the Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year!) Heifer International does similar work, giving families farm animals that provide food and economic opportunities (they can ultimately sell the milk or eggs or the offspring). It is very satisfying to think that soon our little chicks, goats and cows will be making their way to some remote village and providing much needed sustenance.

Of course, one of the great joys of Christmas is getting to see it through a child's eyes. Today ds's cousin presented him with a gift and he just stood there holding it for the longest time babbling away happily. It seemed like he was saying, "This is so great. A gift from you. I just want to savour this moment." Finally the cousin offered to help him open it and inside were the toys his cousins have grown out of - a huge collection of Thomas the Tank Engine trains. Ds was so delighted and played happily for hours, lining them up, connecting them and pushing them around. As much as the material stuff pleased him, he was definitely the happiest when his uncle started horsing around with him. I was actually drawn to the room where they were playing after I heard ds laugh *uproariously* - seriously, I had never heard him laugh that hard and long before. It turns our my 12-years-younger brother was just tumbling around him, rolling on the floor, acting like a goof and ds thought he was the greatest entertainer on the planet.

A recent story really highlights ds's sense of humor I think. After a bath ds took a hat (a Girl Scout cap that once belonged to dh's mom) off of his giant monkey (where we think it looks very stylish) and put it on his head and then crawled into my lap to read me a book with great animation. As you can see, this kid is something else. I hope you are all having a holiday filled with comfort and joy.

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