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A More Meaningful Valentine

By: Jennifer A. Kelly

Blog Post

This particular holiday can conjure up so many emotions in different people. The forlorn, downcast, and unlucky-in-love seek to simply survive the barrage of pink and red candy hearts on every aisle of every store. The newly-attached enthusiastically draw on their creative juices to exhibit their significant feelings for their significant other. Personally, my favorite part of Valentine’s Day is seeing my daughters wake up to treats waiting for them at the breakfast table. We rarely eat breakfast together anymore, and definitely not all at the same time (they all leave the house at different times now). But when they were little, this was the tradition and it has stuck. So I buy the candy and plush toys, or something cute like socks with hearts on them. And can I be honest? I usually feel like I’m wasting my money. I’m buying things that will be consumed rapidly, or get tossed in a corner, or eaten by the dryer- most likely within the month. There’s nothing I give them that they can’t find on their own any day of the week or already have.

I spend money on these things to show my daughters how much I love them. But don’t I do that in other- more significant- ways every day? I love them when I cook them dinner, when I drive them to and from school, when I hug them at the end of a long day, and when I listen to the drama of teenage life. But the gifts are tokens and reminders of how much I love them- they are not the love themselves. The true love I have for my children is so much deeper than toys or chocolate. It’s the kind of love that protects at all costs, that would do anything to help them be successful, peaceful and confident as they go through life.

So this year, for Valentine’s Day, in addition to the trinkets that will be lost or eaten very soon, I am also making sure we are all registered with TIFF. If something happens to me or them, we all would want to know immediately- not hours later. It takes less than 2 minutes to register each of us, I can register all of my children since they’re over 5 years old, and it’s completely free. Why wouldn’t I give them a gift of love that goes deeper and lasts longer than anything I could buy for them? If you’d like to make sure you and the precious people in your life have the same peace of mind my family will, register today!

Why I Love Being Stuck In Traffic

By: Jennifer A. Kelly

Posted on February 6, 2018
Blog Post

While most of the country is complaining about driving in dismal winter conditions, here in sunny Florida we encounter a totally different issue with winter driving: snowbirds. From October through April, the number of cars on the road increases by 20-30% due to the influx of winter residents- those individuals who migrate south for the winter to avoid the cold. Restaurants and local businesses love the extra business, but regular year-long residents find “season” to be nothing short of annoying. Getting a table for dinner or waiting in line at the grocery store can be next to impossible; extra travel time and long waits at traffic lights are a given. However, there are many great ways to use the extra traffic time wisely. Sitting in endless hours of stand-still traffic can actually have benefits that may not be immediately obvious. Here are some of my favorite:

  1. Conversations. Some of the best discussions I’ve had with my children have happened while driving across town. At home, we all get busy with our own agendas, but in the car, we can have focused attention on whatever they need to talk about.
  2. Music. For my family, time in the car often means time sharing our favorite music with each other. Sharing our favorite tunes with each other gives us a little glimpse into each other’s lives. It sparks conversations and reveals tastes.
  3. Solitude. As a busy mother of three, my life is not quiet. But occasionally, I may have to run an errand solo. And I just might get stuck at a long traffic light… Behind a lot of cars… turning left. And in those moments, rather than making calls, returning texts, or checking my email, I just unplug and enjoy the few moments of peace that are all mine.
  4. Thankfulness. Regardless of where I’m going, what I’m listening to, or who’s with me in the car, I’ve found the best way to combat the frustrations of extra traffic in the busy season is to think of all the things I’m thankful for: my noisy family, the time to listen to music, or sit quietly, the fact that I have a car that gets me where I’m going, and that I have the peace of mind knowing if something happened to me, my family would be alerted immediately.

Being injured in a traffic accident- which is far more likely in these winter months, because of weather or higher volume of cars on the road- is not something anyone wants to think about. But if that were to occur, I know my family would be informed of my whereabouts and condition immediately. They would be able to help me, and possibly even save my life. In the event of an emergency, will your family know where you are immediately? Sign up for TIFF’s Initiative today. It’s quick, it’s free, and it matters.