Are You a Giver or a Taker? 27


Lynn and Carole Jean

Lynn and Carole Jean


The joy is in the giving. The true giver beams as she bestows her gift upon the receiver. I witnessed this the other day. My friend, Lynn, bought me a present; a new sundress for our “girls’ ” trip to Nosara. She bought one for every girl in the group, including my mother. 

I happened to be visiting about a week before the trip. I heard her riffling through bags; here in Costa Rica, well all over the world really, everybody gives you bags – little bags, big bags, teeny weeny bags. The thing is they all crinkle. The noise has a Pavlov’s Dog effect; in fact, even the dogs come running when they hear the combination of the refrigerator door opening and the crinkling. It could mean a snack for them since the butcher packs the yummy chicharrones in a crinkly bag, and if they stay in the fridge (the meat, not the dogs) long enough they turn into doggie snacks.

Square pink boxes with flaps have a similar effect on me. They scream: “Bakery!” Last week, I attended the Atenas (Costa Rica) Wednesday Women’s group which meets weekly at Kay’s Gringo Postres. I started salivating when I spotted the pink box at the end of the table. Immediately, I envisioned Italian cookies, eclairs, or cannolis fresh from Moretti’s in Canarsie. When the hand reached in and came out with a plastic name tag, I breathed out and slumped in my chair; no pastries for me.

So standing  outside Lynn’s bedroom, hearing; “crinkle, crinkle, crinkle, pause, crinkle, crinkle, crinkle”, I could no longer resist. I burst through the door:  “What’s in the bags?”  She looked up, surprised: “Oh! Do you want your present now or later?”

“Present?” I purred. “For meeee? Now, please!”

She dumped all the bags out and from the array of colorful, slinky fabrics she plucked a multi-colored halter-dress with sparkles embedded in the playful design. “Try it on, try it on!” she chirped. She had picked out dresses to match the personalities of the ladies she bought them for. I’m not sure which of us was more excited!

Lynn has a habit of giving. I have watched her, along with her husband, Lucas, through two Christmases playing “Santa Claus” to their domestic help and their entire families. I was with her when she bought the dresses, shoes and a whole pile of useful gifts for the grateful families. I was at the party where the elegant holiday dinner was served not only to the household help, but Jose, their taxi driver and his family, Grevin and his family, and a few others who were honored to be there, including myself.

Carmen, Frances, Lynn, Evelin

Carmen, Frances, Lynn, Evelin


The point is, the joy was in the giving. Nobody kept score. That’s a key point in being a giver; they truly do NOT keep score. However, unlike the over-giver, they enjoy receiving, as well.

It is with “little-girl” eagerness that the happy giver watches the receiver open a gift bag; especially when most of the bag is filled with colored tissue paper and there is just a “little something” on the bottom. The giver watches and waits. That moment when the knitted brows of the receiver turn to arches and the face beams mega-watts, that the moment of joy hits home. Mission accomplished!

There are no words.

It is just nice.

There will be hugs. Sometimes, if it’s two “sister-friends” there may be some jumping up and down accompanied by squealing.

Be nice to somebody today. Give someone an “unbirthday” present. Bake a cake and drop it off at the fire department, or pick some herbs from your garden and bring them to your neighbor. It feels good.

I am blessed to have Lynn in my life … and so many other dear people who have given me gifts – and better still, allowed me to give to them!

Thank you.







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27 thoughts on “Are You a Giver or a Taker?

  • Anne Ryan


    I as everyone here who knows you in our little enclave in Capitola/Santa Cruz wait for your next ‘posting’ and then it is always our ‘jolt’ for the day, in the nicest of ways…… are playful and serious at the same time and your latest was spot on. You honestly just get better and better, and you STARTED at the top………….We love you.


    Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 14:57:29 +0000 To:

  • Nita Lundin

    Great day .. Reminds me of when you were rich in realestate sales and bought us matching dresses so long ago.. Pink and yours purple /blue flowers .. Great memory;)!

    Sent from my iPhone


  • pathanson

    Ah yes, the goodness of keeping things in circulation … the giving/receiving mobius strip. And just recently someone named ‘Anonymous’ sent me a Harry and David gift of divine pears, mixed nuts, assorted truffles and to ‘live’ for sugar & chocolate coated popcorn. It came just after my mother’s passing on Valentines Day and just before my 69th (how’d that happen?) birthday. Let’s here it for silent gifts too … I’m still clueless but look at everyone with a smile of gratitude just for them being there.

    • CaroleJean'

      Wonderful story, Pat! Yes, such a warm gesture from Anonymous. That’s soooo much fun! Keep it moving. I can still hear Rev Deb at Inner Light. She made a big impact on me. Miss you all. Condolences for your mom. Happy birthday to YOU! Yeah, how DID that happen???

  • lynda

    Carol, I have to say with whole heartiness , you really should consider writing a book! Perhaps on women in Costa Rica, or marriage, or something or someone that you’ve experienced. I for one, and believe me, am not a avid reader, however I would be first to buy and read your publication. Your style of transforming script into emotional thought is felt by everyone. Thank-you for your gift.

    • CaroleJean'

      Lynda! YOU are so kind. Kind, generous, positive, loving and I am grateful we re-connected!! Yes! I am working on the first book, “It’s the Parsley” for Tyler’s wedding. It is MORE than a family cookbook and it will be a springboard for more to come. Hoping to have a small airline book by reunion in Oct. Hugs!

  • Diane Farquhar

    Beautiful article, Carol….Lynn is indeed, one of the most “giveinest” people I know, and she is an inspiration to all of us who are fortunate enough to know her! I know that extends to her second family at work where she gives her time, energy, talent and, did I say time?! Both of you are strong, courageous and wonderful ladies…I love you both!!!

  • Bernanette

    This one is my favorite, Carole! Maybe cuz you were always the gift giver! I miss you! Lovies, bernie

    Sent from my iPhone


  • Geni Thomas

    This blog had a moral…give to someone maybe who would not expect a gift. I once dropped off cookies to the State Police who sent guys out when my alarm went off and we lived in the country. They were so shocked that I got a letter from them, saying they only get negative feedback, never a gift or a thank you. So thanks for the reminder Carole to give for the sake of giving. It does come back somehow, some way…

    • CaroleJean'

      Geni, what a great story! YOU have been one of the most thoughtful, giving friends I have ever known. There were so many times I saw you give when you didn’t have for yourself. But, then, YES! It came back ten-fold. You gotta give to get. Thanks for commenting and noticing th e”message”. Raising consciousness!

  • Neal Brown

    More titis. I thought I had keyboarded “Morettis”, and look what came up. But upon a second look at the picture, I concluded that I have a pretty smart IPad, albeit with a dirty mind. Oh, and by the way, I am a taker. Makes me feel great. Got any chocolate cake?

    P.S. Judy says Don has gone into the boat business, without the help of any charitable contributions. Don’t you love his good old American entrepreneurial spirit?

    Sent from my iPad


  • Barbara Storr Aira

    Carole, your blogs are always so entertaining; full of nostalgia, and with bright hope for tomorrow! How well I remember sharing Christmas 2012 at Lynn & Lucas’ with so many Tico friends & families. I’d told Lynn how I’d shared the previous Christmas at my home with Greivin’s family and what joy it had provided for everyone. Lynn, Lucas & I now shared the same gardener, housekeeper, taxi driver & beautician, so Lynn, in her delightful, gregarious way, said, “Let’s have a big party!” And did we ever! So much fun in rushing in & out of stores, picking out gifts, sharing in the fun of finding things we thought each person would like. Watching and enjoying as gifts were opened. The “ooh’s & aah’s” of happy children. The little secret envelopes given out by Lynn. Lucas’s tireless cooking. The food! The gifts! The Love & Laughter! The Spirit of Christmas! It was wonderful! Thank you, Lynn! Thank you, Carole for sharing this story with us, your readers.