Category Archives: Your Kids

The Gift of Giving and Receiving

Christmas Present Wrapped in Gold and Silver 2000

The following article, published in our January 2012 edition, received great feedback so here it is again.  With the holiday season quickly approaching, here is some food for thought.

by Karen Pfeffer

As the holidays drew to a close, I started to think a little bit about giving and receiving. The tradition of giving during that time of year is so ingrained in our culture that it’s become part of our language: “as happy as a kid on Christmas morning.”

But what about the rest of the year? And what about giving our energy – our time and our talents – instead of merely strolling into a store and buying a present? And – so often overlooked – what about giving the gift of allowing people to give to us? Because often the greatest joy we can give is allowing someone else to give back.

Pompano Today magazine The Gift of Giving and Receiving

Pompano Today magazine The Gift of Giving and Receiving

Giving and receiving necessarily constitute a flow of energies – the yin and the yang. We can’t have one without the other. But all too frequently, those who give without a second thought have great difficulty receiving. And if you can give, but you can’t graciously or easily receive, you are blocking that energy as surely as if you take, take, take… but never give. Similarly, if you are accustomed to receiving but do not give easily, whom can you call upon in time of need? The energies are too far out of balance; who will be there for you, if you are seldom there for them?

Back in the 1990s, I encountered a health crisis. My pattern had always been to give more than I received. I was a bona fide giver. But I was less able to receive. So when I had my crisis, I was unable to allow anyone to help me. I felt it would be a burden to those who cared for me and loved me, so I was determined to handle it myself.

What a huge lesson and turning point for me! I remember lying in the hospital bed, listening to Judge Judy on TV. (Judge Judy was not my favorite, but my roommate’s. And as usual, I was unable to assert my wishes above hers.) I was surrounded by beautiful floral arrangements and gifts from my friends. I was amazed how many people genuinely cared and were there for me. And then, I had an “aha!” moment – I was out of balance! I would feel horrible if people would not let me be there for them, yet that’s exactly what I was doing!

So what is your pattern? Are you balanced in your giving and receiving? Did you give to yourself and others? Did you receive joyfully, giving thanks for what is being “gifted” to you? Now is the time for truthful and authentic reflection. Are you genuinely giving and receiving, filling your heart and hearts of others? Just notice! Where are you as a result of your choices? Are you taking responsibility for your experiences?

My experiences have taught me I must take care of myself first, so that I have the energy and ability to care for others. I’ve learned to take time to connect… connect with Spirit, connect with nature and connect with those I love. By doing so, I flow with the delicate balance of energies every day.

I challenge you to take inventory, and give yourself the greatest gift of all in 2012 … awareness! Because once you are aware of that flow in your life, you can choose to direct it instead of just living it.

© 2011 Fire Power Seminars

Karen E. Pfeffer


Fire Power Seminars

Experiential Transformation



About Karen E. Pfeffer

Born in Venezuela to a father from Kansas and a mother from Puerto Rico, Karen has a unique cultural mix that has inspired her to challenge stereotypes and “push the envelope” at every opportunity. She is a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and PSYCH-K®. She is also a certified fire walk instructor, facilitator, keynote presenter, and does one-on-one coaching for those who want to change limiting beliefs and unproductive patterns.

M.U.S.I.C.: Making More Miracles in Pompano Beach


Just about a year ago, we introduced you to M.U.S.I.C., which held its inaugural summer camp recital on August 7, 2012.  To our delight, we were invited back to this summer’s recital, and we were once again astonished and humbled by the performances.

Mostly, though, we are astonished and humbled by the never-ending energy of Ethel Robinson-Burns, president, CEO and general driving force behind this terrific program (that’s her, center, in this image).

M.U.S.I.C. stands for “Motivated Unified Sound Impacting Communities.”  Conceived by Mrs. Burns, who retired from Broward County Schools in 2008 and found that she still had a desire to give back to her community, she founded the organization in 2010 “to give youth between the ages of 8 and 18 an alternative to drugs and crime; continue to learn and develop their love for music, develop everyday skills that will enhance their personal lives and also, to give them non-violence and anti-bullying skills.”

With all due respect to our Christian readers, we wouldn’t be surprised if “walk on water” were added to the above skills that Mrs. Burns aims to impart to these students.  It is not possible to describe the feeling of being in the audience during one of these recitals.  Hope. Joy. Awe. And, in general, the belief that we really can change the world, one musical note, drumstick, or tambourine, or keyboard at a time.

These children lift their voices in song, and their love and appreciation for Mrs. Burns are evident.  Adolescents are smiling as their parents whoop and holler, or gently tease, at the end of each performance.  Adolescents! Smiling! Who said modern day miracles don’t happen?

This is all even more impressive when you realize that this group is primarily funded by sheer force of will.  OK, it’s funded by contributions, and bake sales, and fundraising, of course. But still.  Last summer, we were most impressed by what Mrs. Burns had taught these youngsters in six short weeks of summer, and by the campers’ ability to make joyful music on the shoestring collection of instruments the camp had acquired.  This summer, we remained equally if not more impressed by the talent, and were thrilled to see that some important new pieces of musical equipment have been added.

M.U.S.I.C. also runs an afterschool program during the school year.  We highly recommend learning more, at,

And mark your calendars now for early next August, when we hope to see the third annual summer recital.  We can’t think of a more inspiring way to spend an evening!

Be sure to catch two great performances on our YouTube channel (rousing drummers and an American classic) and – our favorite – the campers performing the song that they wrote during summer camp! What an incredible group of kids.  We recorded the drum performance and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”; the video of the campers’ original, “I Give God All I Can,” comes to us courtesy Michael Chinnery.  Thank you!