Paying it Forward? Karma? Law of Attraction?

Whether you believe in doing good deeds, the power of karma, the laws of attraction, or have any other beliefs that explain how the world works, you’ll enjoy this little story.

For the past several years, we have worked with the United Way to “adopt” a family for Christmas. They identify families in need through their various outreach centers in the local community, such as shelters, soup kitchens and heath centers.

Each of those families fills out a “wish list” – there are spaces to give the age and gender of each family member, clothing sizes, needs (coat, shoes, toiletries, blankets, school supplies) and wants (toys, books, slippers, household items). 

I always feel compelled to get everything on the list, but we’re told that it’s a “wish list” and not a “shopping list”.

“Do whatever you can,” the volunteer at the community center once said to me.

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do a lot, given how sick I’ve been, and that we had a lot of unexpected things pop up this year.

So when I received the list from “a family of one” – a very young adult on her own – I knew that I would be able to help.

I talked to my husband about our budget, and then started searching for bargains. I figured that the more money I can save, the more I can give. So I got my list and jumped online. I have to say – the early bird does get the worm – there are amazing sales going on right now. I don’t have much use for “going shopping” anymore – I don’t need work clothes or a closet full of formal dresses. I don’t “shop for fun,” nor do I really need anything. I am very lucky to have exactly what I need to live my life as 40-something  retired person with chronic illness. I do not have unmet material needs.


I went through the list and picked out the most important stuff first – a warm winter coat to battle these cold, wet New England winters, gloves and scarves, pajamas and thermal wear, and some other stuff she had written down. Things like toothpaste, a toothbrush, and shampoo were items she ask for, for Christmas. I remembered back to a time in my young childhood when we’d receive socks under the tree as part of our gifts. To a 2-year old, it’s something “else” to unwrap. To a young adult, it’s a necessity for basic hygiene.

I had the itch to get everything on the list, but financially could not do so. As I said, it is a “wish list”. So I entered my credit card info and hit PURCHASE.

When my hubby came home that night, I told him how much I had spent, and how much I had saved off the retail price. I’m a bargain hunter – I hunt down sales, promo codes, take advantage of BOGO (buy one, get one), and will take a little extra time if it means I can save money. In this case, we want to stretch every penny budgeted.

And then something amazing happened.

I sometimes receive solicitations from companies and organizations to take surveys about Cystic Fibrosis, health care, medications, etc. I probably do one every 3-4 months, and they usually offer $10-25 for my time. A few times, they’ve offered $75 or more. In my email that night, I received an offer to take a survey that – if I qualified through their pre-screening questions – would give me EXACTLY the amount of money that I had spent on our Adopted family.

The thought that came to mind was “God always provides”.


Essentially “getting back” this money allows us to “pay it forward” to someone who we wanted to help at Thanksgiving, and add a few more things to our adopted family’s box.

My heart is so full. Miracles like this happen every day, and we often look past them as coincidences. This was NO coincidence. Thank you for letting me share the joy I feel right now!


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