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What's the takeaway? It's a common question asked when leaving a meeting, hearing a lecture, participating in a dialogue. What was the main thing you "got" out of the experience?

On a recent pilgrimage to Chartres cathedral in France, Norma learned that their emphasis on the "takeaway" is the word "receive." Every Friday, they remove the chairs that cover the 13th-century labyrinth that is built into the floor of the cathedral. The public is invited to walk and receive whatever gift this experience has to give.

There's a spirit of generosity and graciousness in "giving and receiving," compared with "give and take."

Kathy has invited her family and friends at holidays and birthdays to exchange gifts of experiences and values instead of or along with traditional gifts. She has received some marvelous donations in her name - such as to the Women's Cancer Resource Center in honor of her mother, who died from cancer, and to womenwinning, an organization whose mission is to elect more women to public office, a passion of Kathy's. She has received gifts of biking adventures with her son, interactive toys to create experiences with her grandkids and an afternoon pedicure with her daughter. She's given and received memories, learnings and appreciation of others.

Kathy writes in her ActNow column on page 38 about an unexpected gift that she received - $80 cash in the mail - and the story behind it.

We asked our readers to send us their thoughts about unwanted gifts they had received and what they had learned from them. For one reader, the unwanted gift of the death of a daughter gave way to a deeper relationship with her grandchildren. For another, an unwanted old blue truck turned into the perfect gift to be shared with others.

Giving can be such an intentional act. What if we gave up the need to be the center of attention or the need to be right? And what about giving all that unsolicited advice? What happens when you give up your power? What would it be like if we only gave promises we kept? Is it always a bad thing to give up? What if we gave up and gave in more - or less?

And receiving is not always as easy as it may appear to be.

Can we receive compliments more graciously, with a simple "thank you" - no disclaimers, minimizers or "justs"?

Strong, long-standing relationships are said to be grounded in give and take, with deposits and withdrawals made by each person. But what happens when you give too much? Or what if you don't give as much as you take? What happens to the dynamic when people take on too much? When someone teases, do you just give it back? And what about giving credit where credit is due? How much do you give the benefit of the doubt?

Welcome to our November giving and receiving-themed magazine and the month of Thanksgiving. Could we have a holiday for Thanksreceiving, too?

Coming up:
December, 2013, is our annual Changemakers issue. What would you like to see changed for women or girls? Tell us about it.
Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Nov. 10, 2013

December, 2013, advertising sections:
• Holiday Guide
• Spirituality Guide
• GoSeeDo Guide
Deadline: Nov. 10, 2013

"New views" is our focus in January, 2014. When did seeing another side of something surprise you? Tell us about it.
Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Dec. 10, 2013

January, 2014, advertising sections:
• Camp & Activity Guide
• Education & Lifelong Learning Guide
• Girlfriends' Guide to the New Year
• GoSeeDo Guide
Deadline: Dec. 10, 2013


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