Gifts that inspire.

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[NOTE: My first post since May. Thanks for your patience, as I pushed through the last few months of the book. See sample chapters via the Amazon link at right.]

I was inspired today by a fabulous friend (thanks, Blossom!) whose FB post shows the impact of a gift. Let me paraphrase:

A young struggling writer once received a gift of a year’s salary from a friend, with a note that read: “You have a year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.”

That young writer was Harper Lee. And of course, she wrote, To Kill a Mocking Bird.

What an incredible gesture! Not only the sheer generosity in gifting someone a year’s salary, but the generosity of spirit to invest in her as a person. The film was recently re-broadcast in the US, with an introduction by President Obama, paying tribute to its cultural value to entertain and educate in equal measure.

Gifts punctuate our lives for myriad reasons… from an amusing gag gift, to thoughtful help when we’re sick. They herald milestones, and soothe us in times of despair. They ease home life with practical help. The gift of a simple but pivotal recommendation can boost our plans, project or dreams.

I’m so grateful for the gift of my husband’s support through my book journey. It took time away from us, but he never wavered in encouraging me to the finish line.

What gift or gesture has left an impression on you?


  1. Holly says

    Hi Alicia, I really enjoyed your post and the sentiments that have flowed through the various comments. Like Megan who commented above, I too was lucky enough to have support from an amazing woman in my life.
    Shortly after giving birth I needed to have an operation. My husband was juggling work, a new baby and a wife in hospital. My wonderful and generous sister dropped everything and came to our rescue! She flew across the world to help out and stayed with us for 1 month. Nothing was too much for her. We can’t thank her (and her husband) enough and our little bambino really bonded with his aunty!
    My partner has also been incredible. I hit my 30s and wanted a career change and he totally supported my decision to quit a well-paid job to forge a new career & return to study. Without his encouragement and support I never would have been able to achieve this.
    And big congrats on your book Alicia! I love it and I have recommended it to all my girlfriends. Good luck.

    • Alicia Young says

      Hello Holly, I’m sure your sister loved the time with you all, and a chance to fuss over your little one. And no doubt you were very eloquent in your appreciation.
      Just the other day, I overheard two ladies talking at a bus-stop. One said “I may not have money for fancy gifts for my grandchildren, but I have time.” That touched me. I’m sure your sister cherished that time with your family, and seeing how much the baby would have changed and grown during her visit.
      Oftentimes, visits like that are a chance to say thank you and to give back for the support that the recipient has given many times over.

  2. Marie Reynolds says

    I’d say I’m lucky enough to be the recipient of many lovely gestures from friends and family. Thoughtful gestures that have touched me and that I am very grateful for. I have a 1 yr old child who rarely sleeps through the night. After a particularly long stretch of sleepless nights, my dear friend took it upon herself to book in a baby-sitting session to give me a few hours to sleep or get things done. Not only was the gift of her time generous, but she also has a 1 year old herself! She helped save my sanity!

    • Alicia Young says

      Hi Marie, you capture beautifully that seemingly small gestures can have a huge impact. Sleep deprivation is often something we joke about, but its effects seep into every aspect of our day. How lovely of your friend to so that, and as you say – with a one-year old of her own!

  3. Terry Ann says

    I recently moved into a new house with a toddler and infant in tow. I was given the greatest gift by a good friend to help us transition into our new abode. She traveled across the country and stayed with us for one full week to help us get out of boxes and settled. She worked her tail off from sun up until way past sun down. She emptied box after box and took the empties to the curb. She organized everything from towels/sheets in the linen closet, clothes/shoes in the closets, toys/diapers in baskets, tools in our garage. She did loads and loads of laundry without complaining. Her endless energy and positive attitude were a blessing everyday. We are so grateful for her in our lives (and our new home). I often wonder, what did I do to deserve a friend so generous and kind with herself and her time? Friendship. Greatest Gift Ever.

    • Alicia Young says

      Hi Terry Ann, thanks for sharing this – and my apologies for the delay (a combination of out-of-state travel and plain old computer challenges).
      I’m guessing you don’t see this pal that often, given the physical distance between you. It reminds me that with good friends, we pick up where we left off,no matter how long it’s been. I’m sure she enjoyed a good catch up, along with the satisfaction of seeing things take shape.
      Happy housewarming!

  4. Megan says

    The greatest gift I ever got was a shoulder to lean on from my very dear friend. This friend flew half way around the world to be by my side after the death of my daughter. She bought cakes, she entertained visitors, helped with all arrangements that you just don’t want to face. I will never ever forget her sacrifice at what was a very busy time for her.

    • Alicia Young says

      Oh Megan, your post touched me very much. Your friend’s actions simply reflect her love for you and how important you are in her life. No doubt your friendship goes way back, so I am certain you have been there for her in her times of darkness, too.
      Thank you,

  5. Debi says

    Firstly Alicia, congratulations on the publication of your book! It’s an incredible achievement and when dipping in over the last few weeks it’s just astonishing how much effort and time has gone into the intricate and relevant words in each of the chapters…. I bet hubby is glad to have you back!

    Recently, my hubby was having a horrid time in his job, bullied by people that were driven by money and targets whilst forgetting their staff and clients. I was speaking to my Mum about the situation and to cut a long story short she offered to give us a ‘few pounds’ if it would help the situation – it did! He quit his job the next day, is having the summer off and is looking forward to the choice of two jobs starting in the Autumn! The gift was not the money (well it was technically!) but the real gift was ‘space’ – space to think and make meaningful decisions that align to our values, not other people’s – space to be reminded about what life is about (people, not things) and now we are both in a better place (it’s awful watching the one you love being sapped of their energy and positivity), we have made lots of other meaningful and positive decisions! Thanks Mum for giving us the gift of ‘space’! xx

    • Alicia Young says

      Hello Debi, thanks so much for your kind words. Glad you’re enjoying it!
      I’m touched by your mother’s gift and generosity of spirit. And as you say, the heart of the gift went even beyond that, to a crucial intangible. Toxic work places are so draining, physically and spiritually.
      Sounds like you’re both on the brink of a new chapter, one much more aligned to who you both are – good on you!

  6. says

    And by the way, congratulations on publishing your first book and winning an award for it too! How talented are you! I am really enjoying reading your book. Well done!

    • Alicia Young says

      I really appreciate that, thanks Charmaine. I’m so glad they initially notified me by email, because I screamed and danced around the rooom – not elegant!:-) And by very happy chance, we were due to be in NYC that week already, so it worked out beautifully. It was such a lovely boost after the final months of book production. Thanks again, Alicia

  7. says

    Hi Alicia
    What a lovely post. One of my most precious gifts, is a hand woven silk shawl worn by my Great Grandmother, it was a special parting gift to my Mother as she was leaving with our family to go to a new life in Australia. I wore it with great pride, to my sister-in-laws wedding, on a hilltop, overlooking Canne in France, and smiled inwardly wondering what my Great Gran would make of it! I bet in her wildest dreams she wouldn’t have imagined her shawl travelling to distant shores and adding more stories to its rich cultural heritage.

    • Alicia Young says

      Charmaine, what a great story! It makes me smile to think that this piece of family history, imbued with memories, has moved through the generations – and as you said, make it to all sorts of exotic locals! Thanks for sharing this, Alicia.

  8. says

    I got two copies of your book as gifts for my nieces, ages 12 and 16, when they arrive for a visit next week. I’m hoping they’ll be inspired by the life lessons you write about. For my nephew I’m getting a Lakers jersey, because he’s not into pink, or books, or pink books.

    • Alicia Young says

      Jason, thanks so much for your support! I’m so touched. Wow – the youngest my readers have been to date is college girls, so this is one for the books! Knowing you, your nieces would be very confident and socially advanced, but humor me as I let you know – for the younger one – there is one drug reference (p47) and one sex reference (would you believe, p69). That said, neither are graphic.

      Thanks again!


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