Book Reveiw-29 Gifts

OK, despite being an avid reader (I devour books!) I have never felt strongly enough to do a book review; that was until I read this book- ’29 Gifts’ by Cami Walker.

This is a book about 33 year Cami Walker who was diagnosed with MS a few months after she got married. Her life is about to change forever just as she starts married life with her beloved husband. She really has given up the will to live as she realizes that so many of her dreams will never now come to fruition. Then Cami receives an uncommon prescription from a friend, an African medicine woman named Mbali Creazzo: Give 29 gifts in 29 days. The very skeptical Cami was told “you will be focusing on what you have to offer others, inviting more abundance into your life”. After much reluctance and internal battles, Cami decided to give it a go. She astounded with what unfolded in her life just through the simple act of giving.

29 Gifts is a poignant and unforgettable story of embracing the natural process of giving and receiving-showing just how simple, daily practises of altruism can dramatically alter your outlook on life. It’s not about giving huge amounts of money and expensive gifts. It’s about “giving” a friend a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, “giving” something you’ve made, “giving” a gorgeous shell you found on the beach.........the list is endless.

What Cami found was that she had a fundamental shift in her mindset that resulted in a greater sense of freedom and joy. She actually was able to engage in life instead of just tolerating it; showing up in the world in a different way.

I have found personally that giving does other things for the "giver" also:
i)when you give with an open heart, you receive the profound gift of humility
ii) gratitude keeps your heart open
iii) giving opens space for me to receive. The Universe hates a vacuum and it will do it's utmost to fill it.
iv) when you give from a place of service, honesty and fullness you feel revitalised
v) when I practise making mindful connections with others, my life feels meaningful-therefore it is
vi) I rarely move back into a place of scarcity when I remember to give mindfully each day

Cami has a fab website where thousands have now joined the challenge to give for 29 days (why 29 days? You have to read to find out why). She also has a Facebook page where she posts her daily gifts.

I’ve decided to "officially" become part of her worldwide goodwill movement; a collective mission to create a grassroots revival of the giving spirit in the world. As of writing her book nearly 5,000 people in 38 countries have committed themselves to the challenge by signing up on her website. I started my challenge on 1 Feb 2011 and will keep you posted here; why not join me?

Finally, what’s your view about giving? Should it be something that is done anonymously. Is secret giving more powerful? Or do you believe that it’s not necessary for a gift to be kept secret for it to be transformational.
I would love to hear you views.


  1. Vanessa,

    You are already so giving!

    I think this will be interesting and I want to hear about what and how you give so I'm biased toward not keeping it secret.

    I have been trying to be more giving of late. I want to give blood again, since I haven't done it since college and I donate $ to our local foodbank. But the random giving is the most daring and the most fun.

    Keep us posted!


  2. Hi Adrienne
    Thank you so much for you sweet comments. I started the challenge on the 1 Feb and thought it would be really easy, but it's really not; to give consciously every day is really quite difficult. Today in fact, I was stuck. I just couldn't find the opportunity to give anything. So I rang a friend who I have been avoiding ringing for some time. I "gave" her the enjoyment of speaking about all her problems for 1 hour! It's the best I could do today. Hubby did better, he paid for an old man's few items in the supermarket. It's really quite a challenge ;-)

  3. Vanessa - Thank you for this wonderful post, and yes, I shall join you! I do believe when one gives in secret it is the best one can do. However, I will be the first to trumpet the endeavors of a dear friend and how wonderful the world is because of them!

    I am going to share this with my Faith Formation class of 9th graders - what a wonderful journey to take together.

    Thank you for being you!

  4. Dear Beth
    Thank you SO,SO much for your lovely words. As I am trying to walk-the-talk, I would like to "gift" you my copy of the book. If you would like it, do drop me an e.mail and I will pop it in the post to you.

  5. What a lovely post Vanessa! Seems like a wonderful book. I definitely try to be as giving as possible in my life and I don't expect to receive a lot of praise or credit in return. The best part of giving is seeing the pleasure or the help that it gives the receiver.

    Hope you have a wonderful day, sweetie!

  6. I just left a comment but wasn't sure it published, so at the risk of sending two, I'll repeat myself! ;) All I know is that anytime I've done something or given something to someone else unexpected (and I think that's the key word) it has made me feel wonderful. It's not the same feeling you get when giving someone a Christmas or birthday present. And it doesn't have to be a gift. Simply giving of my time is the same. It is truly amazing. xoxo

  7. So glad I came over today. I need a new book and this one looks amazing!

    xo Marcie

  8. Dear friends, thank you so much for all your lovely words. It seems I am in wonderful company when it comes to giving to others; how refreshing to know.

    @Marcia- I would have sent you my copy of the book, but I offered mine to Beth a few days ago; sorry! Do try and get this book, it is available from Amazon and is really quite cheap in comparison to how much I think you will get from it :-)

  9. Hi Vanessa,
    Finally had a minute to check out your blog and love!
    Giving... a subject that seems to be popping up a lot in my life lately. And what I'm realizing… giving can always be improved upon – I can do it better.
    My awareness of this began in October when I read Andrea Olson's post, ‘Day 30 -Cultivate Conscious Giving’. Then in November I read Katrina Kenison’s post called ‘Blessings. Here is the link if you want to take a look: In it she shares about the loss of her friend Diane. Diane was a 'giant' in character and a seasoned ‘giver'. She had a beautiful life mantra - go forth, give everything, cherish everyone, be grateful.
    Diane's mantra is now posted in my office and in my mind. They're powerful and challenging words. They remind me that in order to 'give' well I must first be purposeful with intent to give – ‘go forth’ and then I must follow giving with outside action – ‘cherish’ others and inside action -‘be grateful’.
    So my view on giving is that it requires much to ‘give’ well but you get much in return when you ’give’ well.
    Thanks for this great post. – Janeen


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