The Dandelion Jar

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It seemed like every time we went on a walk, the kids would run up to me with shining faces and dandelions in their hands. They'd thrust them in my face, puffed up with pride that they had just given me the perfect gift. Then when we would get home, the kids would rush to get a jar of water to try to keep the flower alive. Their little hearts sure the water would revive the struggling flower and be as bright and sunny as they were when growing in the neighbor's lawn. It was always a huge heartbreak when the little weed would wilt into nothing.

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When this kept happening, to keep the tears at bay, I'd hold on to them for awhile and then "accidentally" let the wind blow them away or sneak them in my pocket to be thrown away when the children weren't looking. Well, that's the thing about children. They're ALWAYS looking. Always watching to see what our actions are going to be that speak louder than any words we can say. By disregarding their gifts, I was teaching them what they had to offer wasn't good enough. I wanted my children to grow up to have big, huge, open hearts, and also to be gracious gift receivers.

Then one day, when there were quite a lot of wild flowers that had been gathered, we decided to put them into a special vase (without water). This way I could turn it into a collection and honor the treasures they were giving me. The vase started out small, but through the years has grown in size and in variety of contents. I even found myself gathering small items for our jar. Special times like when we went to San Francisco to lay my grandparents' ashes to rest in the bay, I grabbed some colorful rocks from the beach. Or when vacationing in Florida, we brought home some shells we'd scavenged. It's gone from something that started a little silly and scrawny, to something I think is beautiful and wonderful.

Ok, now we've got the natural items figured out. Now what do we do with the paper love??!! HELP!!