At my desk I have a lot of things that are important to me – an apple sculpture from when I was awarded Teacher of the Year, a birdhouse my sister made me when she was 4 (I use it as a pen holder), a clock my husband made for me last Christmas, business cards for my hopeful writing career (I write paranormal and urban fantasy fiction in my other life), quotes tacked up to the wall that remind me to keep pursuing my goals (even when my spirit of procrastination takes over), a candle that was blessed by the local CUUPS (Unitarian Pagan group), and looking over all of it, a witch Barbie doll that my best friend gave me.

Almost everything on my desk (other than the tools, like the computer) is a gift from someone else that has blessed my life in some way – even the business cards were printed for free – and they remind me how much the gifts we give and receive support and encourage us in our daily lives. Of how interconnected we are to each other, how the energy around us weaves and builds our character day to day.

Sometimes we have no idea what we give others when we present them with something. I know my little sister had no idea her birdhouse would become a permanent fixture in my life, moving from my childhood nightstand to my college desk to my adult workstation. Fifteen years, and every time I grab a pen, I think of Laura, the amazing child she was, and how fortunate I am to have the even more amazing woman in my life.

Sometimes we do know what we give, and these gifts become a treasured reminder of some pivotal point in history.The Barbie was gifted after I came out of the broom closet. I love Barbie; she was my favorite toy as a child, and my friend who gave it shares my affection. But this particular gift – an affection we share dressed in a black pointed hat – felt like my friend’s way of saying she accepted my choice. Barbie hovers over my workstation watching me write; I see her and know that I am loved for who I am, even when my friends and family don’t agree with my choices.

The clock is my husband’s addition. He is an engineer by day, but an artist at heart, crafting wood creations that amaze me. He swears (and I believe him) that maple talks to him, mahogany tells him what it wants to become, and the antique planes he crafts with sculpt their history into his work. I’m proud to have a piece of his art on my desk ticking away the minutes until I get to see him again, and the sight of it makes me smile every time I glance at the time.

As a pagan, I don’t feel bad saying that I am attached to my worldly things, but not because of their dollar value. I cherish the gifts I am given because they are a solid representation of something more: the dreams I pursue and the life I share with the people I care about.

What gifts do you keep close?