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Black (bag) Friday


I have shopped only once on the day after Thanksgiving – at nine in the morning I ventured out and bought my husband an electric razor, a nice, expensive, razor. He loved it and I vowed “never again” to the shopping day. Instead, I wander around the house with a big, black garbage bag and gather things that can be donated and sometimes (in another black bag) thrown away. I did shop today, though, in my pajamas at the computer. I like to give gifts that benefit the recipient as well as the organization that is the source of the gift. That plan doesn’t always work, but I continue to enjoy this match-making challenge.

I love the saying: “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on another part of the world.” This quote inspired by Mary Anne Rademacher is on ornaments. The profits from the sales benefit a group that supports international adoption. And since our son arrived in our family through that magical path, I buy their ornaments as gifts for friends.

The women’s bean project in Denver sells packages of beans – just add water and a few other ingredients like canned tomatoes and presto! Soup. The profits support women seeking to climb out of poverty, as they learn skills and claim their place in the entrepreneurial world. Mom will receive beans this year.

Some Catholic monks in Oregon make yummy treats to support their monastic community. I think a dose of fudge makes life sweeter and supports a religious community who seeks peace through prayer and simplicity. Their secret is better than Victoria’s.

Today, in many retail locations others were seeking “peace,” too: a piece of a bargain at major stores that opened in the dark, but limited sweet deals. People trampled and punched and screamed and bit and a man in Massachusetts left his car-seated child in the parking lot at 1:30 he could buy a television. He will have lots of time to watch the television now that his child is in protective custody.

Many children have no idea about television and simply seek to survive. One of my favorite organizations is Heifer International. I once gave the gift of a goat to a child...not a child I knew but to a child in a developing country so that a family could sustain itself. And the person in whose honor I gave the gift was delighted.

 Making a difference in people’s lives through opportunities means bringing light into darkness. No discounted touch screen gadget offers us a better deal. Happy holy-days.

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.