I love gift cards! I use them as a budgeting tool for myself and as gifts for our kids (students, single mom, first time home buyer). Not only do I earn special rewards when using one of my four credit cards to buy them but, in essence, my year of expenses is all paid for now.
Donna, thoughts and prayers are with you. You are so right about life's lessons. Often it takes years to get an explanation as to "WHY"