Looking for answers to life's questions


This prompt had me think about my contribution to society and family. I obviously made choices in my life that failed to leave buckets of money that can be spread far and wide to benefit the world. It forced me to look at contribution in a different light.

We all matter or we wouldn’t be here

I think everyone makes a contribution in some way. There are those that teach others, those that take care of others, some contribute by making art, food, music or interesting literature. My quilt group and I made quilts for several organizations in need. It helped us all.

A fun way to give. Saw this somewhere on the internet.

Children contribute by showing us what joy looks like. There are those that contribute by showing us what we don’t want in our life. Contrast is essential for our growth, like it or not. It makes us work harder to find out how we want to be expressing in the world.

Borrowed this from somewhere. It made me smile too.

I’ve always thought I fell a little short in the area of contribution for many years. I wanted to do more and give more. Most of my life we were lucky to have our very basic needs met though there were plenty in my world who had less. Those are the people that give us the opportunity to contribute a helping hand, a listening ear, or just pay for their lunch when you can see they can’t. Small, simple things are valued by some as much as the bigger things.

I personally, like to make things and give them away. It’s my way of letting people know they are thought of with a caring heart. I’ve donated to animal shelters, given away fabric, books, clothing and household goods that were in good condition for someone else to use. I have enough of everything now and need less.

I’ve also come to believe that the more you give, the more good comes your way. Not necessarily in the same form but often in surprising ways. It took a few years of careful observation to come to that conclusion but I eventually had enough evidence to make that a fact. Give freely without expectation and it just boomerangs back in such subtle ways.

Are your views on contribution similar or vastly different? How do you feel you contribute in the world?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "Contribution" (35)

  1. As I read your words, I smiled noticing my coffee cup resting on the mug rug you so generously sent to me. I’ve always believed it’s the little things we do for others that matter the most. Wonderful thoughts today, Marlene. xo

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I give often, in various ways. And it definitely does make me feel good.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Last week I read a Martin Luther King quote that said, “if I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” For me, this is how I want to live. Small things add up, and you never know what a smile can do for someone. Thanks for sharing, my friend. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for joining in, Missy. That’s kind of how I live as well. I took a lot of new shoes to the donation center this week. I don’t dress up anymore and rarely wore them to start with. Even the bottoms were still new so it was time to move them on to someone who needs them. I think many of do lots of small things that add up. MLK was a brilliant and wonderful man who is sorely missed.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. On the principle of paying it forward, I have received great good and therefore I must keep things in balance by doing great good. So far, I’m not sure about the ‘great’ part, but I hope I’m definitely doing *some* good!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are doing GREAT good, Kate. In a way very few of us can but strive toward. Paying it forward is how it works. I watch for those random opportunities that pop up and act on them. You have done some marvelous work and you are always there to help anyone who needs it. We all come to you for all kinds of help and you are generous with it. You have an incredibly giving heart and I strive to be more like you. That’s what I meant when I said we feel like we come up short when in reality, you do more than most. You give without expectation. Counts twice.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Hi Marlene, I think that you and I have discussed giving the things we create before. We love the appreciation, but I think we love better the joy the quilts, spoons, and other things give to the people who receive them. And I agree with you, in the long run, it comes back to us; maybe not the same way, but in some way. My wife’s grandmother and mother made some incredible afghans for our children and our house. They are used daily and are a wonderful reminder of the love we have within our family. You are making a major impact on the world – you are doing exactly what you should be doing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Lou. We all contribute in different ways. I just heard this week that a quilt I made for my son’s former father-in-law about 5 years ago is still be used everyday as he sits in his easy chair. He’ll be 80 in March. I think it was for his 75th birthday and all flannel with wolves at the center. His favorite. It did my heart so much good to hear that after all these years. Sending your work out into the world probably has similar mixed feelings until you know it’s valued. I’ve kept so much of what my mother made and unfortunately, had to send much on. I made many afghans years ago and finally decided it was one hobby too many. My kids still have theirs but the rest have been given new homes or donated. We can do small things with great love. ;)) Thanks for joining the conversation, Lou.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this uplifting post and the wonderful comments it generated. I’m still repaying a forty-year-old debt of gratitude to the instructors who gave me such a good education. The only way I could possibly repay them for everything they gave me was to teach and advise nontraditional students myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are another one of those super givers who pays it forward in such a special way. Like I said to Jennie, teachers are people I hold in the highest of esteem over anyone! Especially those that teach with love more than for money, though the money is necessary to keep doing what you do. I’ve run into a few that should find other work like the one that used a paddle on me because I couldn’t see the board. The fact that you have gratitude for your gift says volumes. Thank you so much for joining these conversations, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. When I was downsizing a number of years ago, I sold a few things on – but then I found that the effort of that was too much, so gifted it to fundraising type businesses. People said “but you need the sales…” I actually didn’t because for nearly a whole year, I saved more than normal $. As it turned out it cost very little to movers because I didn’t move very far.

    But I couldn’t see the point, the effort of taking photos, making a price, accepting an offer, either mail it or have it picked up…just wasn’t making me feel it was worth it. And of course, sales would fall through – people turned up wrong time and so on.

    I now gift, but right now with c/19 issues – lots of those stores, will not take anything. Possibly because during the time when we were in lockdown, people sorted up their stuff and then when these same stores reopened they were bombarded with stuff. I do have stuff to go to such places but it’s not taking up any room…

    In 2019, I studied the “beggars” in the city where I was regularly going once a week. Selected a guy – based on he always looked tidy, he never truly yelled at anyone, sat on his bag – almost blending into the wall. I soon realised he had a speech impediment but he always said thank you – and then once a week gave him a $5 note. I couldn’t see much point in some coins. Up until our first lockdown last March – but now I rarely go to the city and I never seem to have that cash in my purse. The reason I did this – wasn’t because I could totally afford it – but because I could be one drop in the ocean…

    And yes repayment back is often well over the amount that I gave – be it the $ or the goods.


  8. Marlene, this is just wonderful. You are the greatest giver, and your post gives me a lump in my throat. If everyone had a little ‘Marlene’ in them, the world would be a much much better, because they would be givers, too. Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Jennie. The point is so many have that quality in them. More than don’t. You give everyday with your love of reading to children. There is no greater gift in the world. I am not exaggerating this. As a teacher with so much love for your students and reading, you are at the top of the giving tree.You change lives! You are a giver extraordinaire. There are many like you who have no idea of how much of a contribution you make. It may seem small but it’s in the overall picture, quite large. Bless you as well. You have my undying gratitude for what you bring to the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww…thank you so much, Marlene! Your words are a treasure to read and deeply appreciated. Like you, I think many people have a giving quality. They just need to see it, or find it. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! Marlene, what a wonderful celebration of giving, contribution!! You are such a caring and warm person and people find joy through your posts here and through all you do and give to others. It is through giving we receive the most! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve never thought “giving money” is a huge contribution. Weird, huh? But many wealthy “give” money for their own tax purposes. And then, does the money really go where it’s most needed? And how about those who contribute bunches to a political organization? I never consider that a great contribution. In my mind, making cookies for a sick neighbor, sending snail mail cards, knitting a baby sweater(s) for those in need, visiting the elderly, calling a lonely friend, those are GREAT contributions. Also, just being yourself, sharing your atoms and energy with others – that’s a beautiful contribution. And yes, from those types of “giving,” I think we receive so much in return. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are 100% on the same page, Pam. I’ve never trusted that monetary donations go where they should for obvious reasons. I’ve been offered receipts for my donations at charity houses but always say no thanks, I don’t make enough to deduct anything. I think we both feel the same way about giving of ourselves, time and talents whatever they may be. You write great, fun stories along with lots of other things. Cards do cheer people up and I am hoping to get to that again soon. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation, Pam.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That Mickey tote is adorable.
    I agree about contributions. Everyone contributes differently. Some people inspire by their sweet natures, for instance, although otherwise maybe there isn’t something that particularly comes to mind. I know that I contribute and have contributed in many different ways, and I try not to dwell on the ones who contribute so much more because that is a demoralizing way to look at things. What i mean is: for the animals there are people who devote almost everything in their lives to the animals at the shelters. But I only devote part of my time that way. Otherwise I would write or spend time on my kids and my mom and other people, you know? I kind of spread things around. That said, it is good to challenge myself to do a little more in every area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing, Luanne. Little gifts with great love are more than equal to big gifts which require little from us. I have also learned not to compare my little bits to those that can do more. Raising children that are good and honorable is a big deal. Giving to our family has lost some of the value it should still have. Those are gifts many can’t give. You also are such a good cat mom with the care you give your little fuzzies. I can give little compared to so many but it’s given with great love. That’s what matters. Hope you are doing well.


  12. Marlene, this made me smile so much! The pandemic definitely gave me many opportunities to bless those who have helped me in my journey. It has been a difficult time, for sure, but it was an honor to know that some of my contributions that I have made to those I love, have made a meaningful difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s how it works, Bethany. Sometimes, often even, those that have the least, give the most. We understand what that feels like. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting topic Marlene. I tend to think, contributing to your community or neighbourhood in a positive way is as easy as a friendly smile, a conversation as you go by. pulling weeds from a garden when you know they can’t. Shoveling a walk as a nice surprise. Sweeping off a vehicle covered in snow in the grocery mart parking lot after you do yours, saying hello to a homeless person….I’m mean it’s really a million opportunities isn’t there.
    Because we’re fortunate and can, we support a number of local charities too. I realize, not everyone can or wants to, so we are generous in that way.
    But honestly, to be generous in spirit is just as important I think. xK

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are 100% right, Kelly. It doesn’t take much and the little things are as important to some as the big things are to others. You have always had a good heart without exception. Your creations lift up so many spirits just by seeing them. These are all prompts to help me remember things from life so I can write about them more fully. I have to write things in more depth for my children while I can. Thanks for joining the conversation. Thinking of you always.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. OMG! That Mickey tote is adorable! I know you made someone very happy with it. 😀 There’s no day that I don’t smile when I look up from my desk and see your mug rug hanging from its place of honour. 😉
    I always think that I’m not contributing enough, maybe because I’m not wealthy enough to donate money to charity. I’d love to do that! So the only thing I feel I can try to do is creating (beautiful?) things that hopefully make people smile or that distract them from whatever it is that pulls them down. Mainly because I always feel lifted by these kind of things, as much as by nature. I also give away books I’ve read and know I won’t read again, putting them outside the house, knowing that when I come back some stranger picked it up and felt happy because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for visiting, Sarah. I’m glad you liked the Micky tote. I’ve had the material for at least 3 years afraid to try it. It was far from perfect with wrangling the plastic canvas under the machine but I finished it and the former DIL liked it. It’s hard to find things for her anymore.
      You are on the right track with your contributions. A smile is HUGE! In this world almost rare and much needed. When I was younger, I had little to give other than a smile as well. I rarely donate money and mostly to the Humane Society to take care of unwanted dogs and cats. I pass on things and like you, make what I can to bring a little light in the world. I’m always reward more than what I gifted. I take my used books to the Friends of the Library. They sell them for very little to make money to buy more library books. I can buy books there too which helps as well. We’d all like to be rich and help with money but I think the way we are doing it actually means as much. Keep it up. Hugs.


  15. “I’ve also come to believe that the more you give, the more good comes your way.” This is absolutely true, and it’s a lesson that is not intuitive, so it’s hard to learn. In 2008 I was the poorest I’d ever been as an adult. My home was about to be foreclosed on, my boyfriend was out of work, and I was supporting us and my child on a pitiful salary. I had daily anxiety about how to keep the electricity on, and how to feed us, and I wouldn’t even allow myself the horror of thinking about what would happen if we lost our home. My boyfriend was very active in his AA group and there was a group of brand new younger guys that he was worried about. He created a fellowship group just for them, and decided it would begin with dinner at our house. I panicked. I asked him not to do it. I told him it was irresponsible and that those men – much as they needed our help – were going to take food out of my baby’s mouth. But he stood firm and I supported him, and made a great big stew and homemade bread and prepared to feed about eight 20-year-old men. As they arrived that evening, they showed up carrying food. One brought a sausage. One brought half a roast. One brought corn on the cob. One brought a half-empty jug of cranberry juice. One brought a bag of peanuts. It was little things they had around the house that were leftover, that they could spare. When they left, my freezer was full and the fridge had more stuff. We had not asked them for food. We had only asked them to come and eat dinner with us. Boy did I learn my lesson.

    What is my contribution? Is that the prompt? I just think about how often a kind word would have helped me. Even if it was forced. Even if it was from a stranger. So I contribute by trying to be the one who says something nice to the people around me. I break the wall and speak out loud in the grocery store and on the sidewalk. I followed a truck home one day, because it was flying the rainbow flag in my tiny town and I wanted to say how much I appreciated their bravery. As the woman got out of her truck, I approached and said my thanks, and she almost started crying. She said she had a really bad week and my words were just what she needed. It’s people like you in my life, Marlene, who help me find ways to focus on love and put joy into the world.



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