Monday, April 20, 2015

Lessons I've Learned Along the Way #12 (cancer/tangible gifts)

Lessons I've learned along the way #12
Every gift, act of service, card, text, call, and/or visit is appreciated. Every. Single. One.
But if I am in a position to bless someone in need in the future, here is my top 10 list (in random order) for tangible gifts based on what I've observed at my parent's house.
1) Meals
Meals have been SUCH a blessing to my family. When my brother and his family of 6 visited from Thailand, people stepped up so much that we didn't have to make one single meal. Over 10 days! But the meals didn't stop there. They're still coming! Since there are allergies in the house, it's always nice to find out what a family can and cannot eat, but with so many visitors, nothing has gone wasted at my parent's house. I'll also throw in (at the risk of seeming self serving!) that meals for extended family who are traveling or helping a lot is also something I'll try to keep in mind, in the future. Thankfully, we are in a routine now and I have my intern Mary to help out a lot, so we are good to go. But I'll admit that the first two weeks were challenging at my own house. (We live about 3 hours from my parents, and I left in a hurry.)
*Note- bringing meals in throw away containers is appreciated. Otherwise casserole dishes breed in the corners.  wink emoticon
2) Coffee, tea + their accessories
Nearly every time I call to ask what my mom needs, the answer has been "Green Mountain Organic Coffee- whole bean!" haha Needless to say, with all of the visitors dropping by they've been going through a lot of hot beverages.
3) Easy to serve, long lasting snacks
-Cheese, crackers, and the like
-Fruit, but not too much at a time
-tortilla chips and salsa
-milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint chocolate... chocolate.
4) Desserts that can be individually portioned and frozen
Both the desserts and the easy to serve snacks have been great for guests (and family, of course!) It's so nice to have easy options to serve visitors!
5) Granola
While my dad was in the hospital, one of my friends brought us healthy snack bags (Thanks, Jen!). Since my mom's appetite wasn't so great she literally lived on the granola and whatnot in her bag. Granola and granola bars are awesome in times like these. Long lasting and nutritious.
6) Monetary gifts & gift cards
No matter how much a person has planned or saved, cancer puts a huge dent in the pocket. By giving money or practical gift cards, some of the budget stresses can be alleviated. 
7) Toilet paper & paper products
Yes! Yes! This is one I hadn't considered before, but one of my parent's friends contributed paper products and it was so useful, given all of the people coming into the house!
8) Gas cards
When my dad was receiving chemo & radiation, as well as when he was in the hospital, it was about a 45 minute drive from their house, one way. Gas cards were such a blessing! 
9) Phone cards
Also, extra special for the hospital times, as cell phone usage increases quite a bit.
10) Hand sanitizer and/or soap
You know why...  wink emoticon
What tangible gifts have you found to be extra helpful in times of need?

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