Tag Archives: Christmas

Letter to My Husband: Thank You for Not Believing in Me

“Christmas is not only a season of rejoicing, but of reflection.”
– Winston Churchill

I have what might sound like an odd present to give my husband this year for Christmas.

I want to thank him for not believing in me.

Sure, I know that sounds silly. A little rude, even. But if you were married to a person like me, I think you’d probably understand.

So, without further adieu, a missive of gratitude to my husband:

Dear Richard,

We’ve had a rough year. We’ve had some revelations brought to light; we’ve had some financial struggles; we’ve had a newly empty nest to contend with. This fourth year of our blended family marriage has been a tough one – the toughest one yet. Yet here we are. Still standing. Still loving one another. And a big part of the reason for that is something you’ve done that deserves recognition.

I want to thank you for not believing in me.

Throughout this tough year, I’ve said a lot of things I didn’t mean. I may have thought I meant them at the time, but in the long run, I didn’t. And you, knowing me as well as you do, didn’t believe me.

When I said we’d never make it when the kids were out of the house. When I said that having at least one of the kids here 24/7 was the only thing that kept us – a talker and a loner – from killing one another and that we might as well just hang it up because we weren’t going to last. 

You didn’t believe me.

When I said we were too mismatched and that getting married had been a mistake. When I said you’d be better off with someone who didn’t talk so much – didn’t think so much – didn’t complain so much.  

You quietly refused to believe me.

When I said that counseling wasn’t going to help us through the marriage-shattering news you gave me earlier this year. When I said that it was all your fault and nothing could be done to salvage us. You patiently heard me out. But you went to counseling anyway.

And you watched me go too.

You watched me learn that I had a role in this too. And yet you accepted all of the blame I threw at you until I slowly realized you didn’t quite deserve it all. 

You wouldn’t believe in me – no matter how much I screamed that it was true. 

And then. The worst of all.

When I said our marriage was over. When I said I was leaving. Yes, it hurt. It hurt us both. But somehow, deep down, you wouldn’t let yourself believe me. Would I have done the same in your shoes?  Would I have been strong enough to stand my ground, watch my wife hurt, let her rage, and yet still know that what we had was strong enough to weather the storm?  I honestly don’t know.

But I’m glad you were. 

You didn’t believe in me. 

I am human.  More human than most. I’m loud. I’m emotional. I’m impulsive. Unlike you, I don’t think through what I’m saying before I say it. And yet, somehow, you’ve learned to live with that. You, with your calm, steady way and a patience like none I’ve ever seen before, are the rock that holds this relationship – this family – together.  And it’s all because you’ve learned who I am. You’ve learned that I have faults and one of them (probably the biggest one) is my impulsive mouth. I wish it weren’t true, but it just is. You have your faults too, of course.  But that’s the thing – that’s marriage. We’ve learned those faults and we’ve learned to overlook them.

We’ve learned that sometimes the greatest gift we can give another person is just not to believe in them.

So, on this Christmas day of our fourth year, I just want to thank you, my dear husband. Thank you for being the reason we’re still here. Thank you for being the reason that our whole family will be sitting around the table in a few hours eating, laughing, and loving. Thank you for holding on when I was trying so hard to let go.

Thank you for not believing in me – but for believing in us.

Merry Christmas, my love.

Your wife,



“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.”
– Dale Evans





Christmas Poem

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Lay teenagers sleeping
A snoring husband and one grouch.

The election was over
(The whole country lost)
And my heart’s temperature
Could rival Jack Frost’s.

Recent politics and worry
Were still stuck in my head.
Sleep wouldn’t come
So I tossed in my bed.

So far I’d not heard
One jingle bell ring.
Where was the joy
This season should bring?

When suddenly a noise
Cut into my doom and gloom
A crash, some clatters
A few bangs and one boom!

Could it be? Was it really?
Could Santa be here?
Had he arrived just in time
To bring me Christmas cheer?

As usual, my cohabitants
Kept snoring away
I peeked out the window
For a glimpse of the sleigh.

No reindeer in sight,
I wrapped up in my gown,
Headed for the stairs
And then made my way down.

Anticipation mounting,
The living room drew near,
I softened my footsteps,
Stayed silent to hear.

Would old Saint Nick
Finally be caught in the act?
Would forgotten childhood magic
Come flooding back?

My excitement was palpable
I was giddy with glee.
I still couldn’t believe
Santa was here to see me!

I got my camera ready.
(I’d do whatever it took
To get of a photo of Santa
To post on Facebook.)

Unable to contain
My impatience much more,
My iPhone and I,
We burst through the door!

And what did my wonder-filled
Eyes get to see?…
The cats had knocked over
The damn Christmas tree.

No Santa, no sleigh bells,
No presents galore.
Just tinsel and ornaments
Scattered all on the floor.

As has been the mother’s duty
From the dawning of time,
I stooped down to clean
A mess that wasn’t mine.

This story could end here.
A sad tale, yet true.
But this is not
What a poet must do.

A poet finds lessons
In all that abounds,
A poet must turn
This sad story around.

While sweeping up tinsel
I found in its wake
Homemade childhood ornaments
With nary a break,

Presents still wrapped with
A mother’s loving care
For children, nearly grown,
Still sleeping upstairs.

I swept up the mess
In my warm, cozy home,
Sat down on the couch
In the silence, alone.

Realized this ole world
Would keep turning around
Even as politics and Christmas trees
Come crashing down.

The life that still mattered
Surrounded me in this place,
My family and I?
We’d still show loving grace.

We’d treat strangers with kindness
We’d put others at ease
We’d help others up
When brought to their knees.

The spirit of Christmas
(Acceptance and love)
Was still in our hearts,
Still what we were made of.

No President, no politics
Would be changing that.
Our family, each other,
That’s where it’s at.

Looking around at the tidy
Living room once more,
I rose from the cushions,
Put my feet on the floor.

Enough of this sadness
Enough of this gloom
I’d put myself back together
Just as I’d done this room.

Tomorrow was Christmas
A good time to begin
To move back towards the person
I was once again.

Nothing would put me
Back into that slump,
Not even the thought of
Old President Trump.

I went back to my husband
And turned out the lights.
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night.



“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
– Charles Dickens


“Greed is not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue.”
– Andy Stanley

Christmastime is here, ya’ll! The time of love and friendship and family and happiness and….greed. Wait, did she just say greed?

Why, yes. Yes, she did.


[Now, bear with me here, folks.. This isn’t going to be a Debbie Downer post. I promise. There’s a method to my madness. Sometimes.]

As much as I’d love to think that life is all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes…well, sometimes it’s just not. And there’s something about Christmastime that brings out that horrid green-eyed monster of greed. (Yes, I know “green-eyed monster” is supposed to refer to jealousy, but I couldn’t think of a better analogy so I stole that one. I mean, green = money, right? I think it works better here anyway. So there.)

Think about it: it’s all about spending, spending, spending this time of year. And while, yes, you may be spending money on others, look at what it takes to do it. Black Friday – the notorious day of doom. Trampled customers, fist fights over a food processor or a $99 TV or whatever, miserable store employees getting yelled at by miserable customers. And on, and on, and on.

And aside from the shopping, you see greed in family life as well. Divorced families arguing over where the kids are during which times. Different sides competing over the prime Christmastime slots with the young’uns. Oh yeah, the monster definitely comes out in divorced families with kids during the holidays. Heck, I’ve even recently seen a very financially well-off ex-wife decide that Christmas is a good time to decide to spring a custody/child support suit on the not-so-well-off, devoted father of her children. That’ll teach him, right? Revenge. Greed.


I’m telling you, people, it’s enough to make your skin crawl.

I was standing in a gas station the other day during my lunch break from work contemplating which fountain soda I wanted to pollute my body with this time, and which size cup of pollution I was going to spring for, when the concept of greed presented itself to me in full force. After choosing the biggest cup I could find, I put just a bit of ice in the cup (hey, can’t take up room in the cup with ice…sheesh…) and proceeded to fill the cup up to the tippy top rim so I could acquire the absolute biggest bang for my buck. Then, after a cat-and-mouse game of finally finding the right lid for said cup, I sat the cup down on the counter and went to snap the lid down. And…..guess what happened?  The cup was too full (of my greed) and the lid caused the syrupy, toxic liquid to spill out over the top. All over my hands, my shirt, the counter, the floor…you name it, Coke was on it.

Dang it.

(And you can bet that lazy, green-eyed monster didn’t stick around to help me clean that crap up either.)

Because of my wanting just absolutely as much as I could get, my greed spilled over onto me and caused a huge mess that I was left to clean up alone. And something tells me that concept is not only going to apply to fountain drinks…you catch my drift?

So, there I was back at work after my lunch break, covered in sticky Coke remnants,  when I logged onto Facebook to see if anyone else was having as crappy a day as I was.  (Misery loves company, ya know.)  And that’s when I saw the post that stopped me right in my tracks. It was a “group post,” meaning that I didn’t know the person from Adam but it showed up in my newsfeed since I was part of the group, and it said simply this: “I am afraid I can’t buy my four kids anything at Christmas.”


She went on to explain that she had thought she was going to be able to cover it, but with Christmas just around the corner, it was looking like she wasn’t going to be able to pull it together. Four kids, a single mom, and no money.

My greedy Coke spill quickly because a distant memory as my thoughts immediately went to this woman and Christmastime. What was she going to do? I empathized with her situation. I too know that feeling…I’ve been there many times myself. But somehow, with the help of family and friends, Christmas always managed to be a success for my own kids in the end.  We have been very lucky.  Very blessed.  But I know too well that “momma” feeling of worry and stress over your kids at Christmas. And what if this woman didn’t have family to pitch in to help like I always did? What if she really truly was alone and had no way of providing a Christmas for those four eager, expecting kids?

I just had to do something. I just HAD to.

That’s when the emails started. Emails between myself and this mother (finding out clothes sizes, Christmas list wishes, etc) and emails reaching out to people in the community for help. I posted on Facebook, made some phone calls to local organizations, got some help from the women’s group at the church I attend, and….within hours (HOURS, people)…I had an army of people ready to help this mom.


Now, this was only four days ago, mind you. Four short days ago. And as of this moment, Richard and I are going to have to take his truck to be able to fit everything to deliver to this woman tomorrow. For a few days out of this Christmas season, greed was completely forgotten. All around the county (and even surrounding counties thanks to some of my non-local friends), people dropped what they were doing and went out and Christmas shopped for children they had never met in their lives and, frankly, that they probably never would.

In a communication yesterday with this mom, she made this statement, “I just can’t believe this is real.” And you know what? I have to say I agree. That hardhearted, pessimistic woman who stood at that drink fountain cleaning up Coke and thinking about all the greed surrounding her this time of year (including her own) was no more. Now, here she is…not believing that this is actually real. Not believing that a plea for help from one slightly jaded, disgruntled, Coke-covered grinch has managed to turn itself into a crusade. A mission. A swelling of love and generosity that will be soon be turning into a beautiful, happy Christmas in one little mountain home in North Carolina, filled with four smiling faces and one very, very grateful and relieved mom.

Wow.  (Have I said, “Wow” yet?)

So, am I changed by this? Oh, you can bet I am. Like you wouldn’t believe. Does greed still exist in this world? Well, of course it does. But from now on, I am going to do my very best to practice a different kind of greed in my own life. From now on I am going to be greedy for things that aren’t things. I am going to start being greedy for human kindness. Greedy for compassion. Greedy for love. I’m going to soak up as much of it as I can.  And then do you know what I’m going to do?

I’m going to come back here and I’m going to tell you about it.  And I want you to do the same. Let’s start sharing the good stories, shall we?

Get out there and be greedy, my friends.

Merry Christmas.






“We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power.  We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.”
Calvin Coolidge

So, as most of you know, one of my stories was just published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book.  Now, once you’ve been published for the first time, this strange thing happens.  It sparks this urge inside of you to do more…to write more, to submit more.  In other words, I’m addicted.  Yep, I admit it.  Addicted.  So, with this being the case, I have been unashamedly scouring the Chicken Soup website keeping an eye on their “upcoming topics” list to see if I have anything new to submit in whatever particular category pops up.

Well, one such category that has been sitting there for a while has been the one called “My Guardian Angel.”  Each time I come to that one, I quickly scroll past it looking for something else…anything else.  Why?  Well, this one deals with spiritualism.  Mysticism.  All of that stuff that makes me…well…uncomfortable.  Let me write about the everyday, realistic events and I’m a happy camper.  But tell me to write about anything that delves into the unexplainable?  Nope.  You lost me.  Can’t do it.

angelsAnd yet….

Yet, this story just kept popping into my mind.  This memory of an unexplained event from when I was 18-years-old.  Each time I scrolled across that “Angel” category, this memory nagged at me.  Should I write about it?   *sigh*  How could I write about something that even I didn’t understand?  Something that very well could have been just a coincidence.  Ya know, just one of those things.

But finally, I figured it had gnawed at me long enough.  I was going to do it.  I was going to sit down, start typing, and just see where it went.  And before I knew it, the story had told itself.  I really didn’t have much of a say in how it came out – that’s kind of how this writing thing works for me.  Somewhere down in there I already know what I think and what I feel.  I just don’t realize it until I see the finished product on the page before me.  And this was one of those times.

So, with the Christmas season upon us, I have decided to share what I submitted.  Hey, who knows?  Maybe some of my fellow skeptics could use a story like this once in a while.  Maybe you’re like me and a little dose of spiritualism could be just what the doctor ordered  to get you out of this real world funk right about now.

And so, without further adieu, here’s my story about Mike.


Stop worrying, Dad!  The car is FINE.  I’m going!”

These are those ‘famous last words’ that you’ve heard tell of.  They were being uttered by the stubborn 18-year-old version of myself as I was flying out the door to head to my first college party.  The year was 1996 and I was just finishing up my first semester of community college.  Being the frugal person that I was, I had opted to get the first two years of general education classes under my belt at the more affordable community college before transferring to a university in my junior year.  The closest community college was thirty minutes away, so I lived at home with my dad and commuted.  Thus, since a commute was going to be involved, I had to have a car.  After a few months of borrowing my dad’s vehicle, we had finally – much to my delight and glee – decided it was time for me to own my very first car.

Now, again, I was frugal (and so was my family) so we headed straight to the used car section.  I found what I thought was a great deal on a cute little car, but my dad had his doubts from the start.  He wanted to get it thoroughly checked out before we agreed to purchase it, but not me.  I was in a hurry.

“Daaaad.  We can’t give every car the third degree.  Let’s just pick one already.  I want THIS one…”

So, he gave in.  Yes!   The cute little car was mine!

And pretty much no sooner than we had driven off the lot – the problems started.  First, the constant overheating.  Next, the ‘knocking’ sound coming from the engine.  But oh no – I was not to be deterred.   Not Miss Fancy Pants College Girl.  I had my own car!  So, the needle went to the “H” every now then?  Big deal!  I just wouldn’t look at it.  So, there was a pesky little sound coming from the engine?  Hey – I could just turn up the radio.  Problem solved!

So, here I was, smack in the middle of this multitude of warning signs screaming for my attention, preparing to head out the door to a Friday night party in my college town.  I had been looking forward to it for weeks and had been shocked that my dad was going to allow me to go without much whining and cajoling from my end.  But as the night arrived, along with an unexpected winter snow storm to boot, my dad started having hesitations.  The snowy roads combined with the problems that were plaguing my car were enough to make him speak up.  But I was not listening.  I was an ADULT, thank you very much.  I was not about to miss that party.

So, off I went.

I swung by and picked up my friend Carrie and the two of us started on our thirty-minute drive in the snow.  Just as we hit a long stretch of somewhat deserted highway, the evitable finally happened.  My precious little cute car spit and sputtered its final breath…and died.  Luckily, I had just enough time to allow it to coast to the side of the highway, just barely over the line onto the shoulder, before it came to a complete stop.  And there we were.  Two 18-year-old girls stranded on the side of the road on a snowy dark night.  Now, remember, this was 1996 – this was before the time of cell phones.  There was no whipping out the cell and calling my dad for help.  No, we were stuck.  Really, really stuck.

We started looking around to see if we could tell if there were any houses nearby.  Of course it was too dark to see anyway, but having driven this stretch of road so many times in the past few months, we knew that we had managed to break down in the least inhabited portion of the drive.  (Murphy’s Law, of course.)  Walking to get help was evidently not going to be an option. So, we decided to do the only thing we knew to do.  We got out of the car and started trying to wave down passing cars.

snowyhwy2As the snow grew heavier, the cars on the interstate starting becoming few and further between.  The few cars that we did see pass either didn’t see us, or were too worried about their own safety to try to stop on snowy roads to pick up two strangers.  After having no luck whatsoever, and starting to freeze in the frigid temperatures, we piled back into the car.  We hadn’t sat there long before – oddly – a truck pulled over to the side of the road in front of us.  Looking back, it never occurred to me how strange it was that he knew to stop.  We were no longer standing outside of the car and there were obviously no lights on inside in the car since everything had stopped working, so how did he even know there were people in the car needing help?  Regardless, there he was.  And boy, were we grateful.

Of course, we were hesitant at first to climb into a stranger’s truck.  At this point, however, we were cold and desperate.  The warmth of the truck was too inviting to pass up.  As we climbed inside, the first thing we noticed was a picture of what we assumed to be his beautiful wife and two smiling kids taped to his dashboard.  He introduced himself as “Mike” and asked where we were headed.  We explained our situation and where we were headed and, as luck would have it, he was heading that very way and would be glad to drop us off.  We felt an immediate ease with Mike.  He had a jolly laugh and had us giggling along with his family stories by the time we arrived at our destination.  As we piled out of the car, we asked Mike if there was anything we could do to repay him.  His only answer?  “Just be careful, girls.  Listen to your dad next time.”  And with a wink, he drove away.

Had I told him that my dad had told me not to drive that night?  I couldn’t remember.  I didn’t think I had…but surely I must’ve.  How else would he have known?  I shook off the thought, and headed in to the party.  I made the dreaded call to my father to explain the situation.  Since it was so late and travel was so treacherous, we made the decision to stay at the party host’s house for the night and allow my dad to come pick us up in the morning when the weather had cleared.  In the meantime, he would call the tow truck and have the car removed from the highway.

The next morning, my dad arrived to pick us up and told us where the tow truck had taken the vehicle.  We made a pit stop on the way home to drop by where the car was stored so that Carrie and I could pick up some personal belongings we had left behind in the car.  As we pulled into the snow-covered lot and rounded a curve, my jaw dropped open.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  There, under a thin layer of new snow, sat my car.


I was floored.  What?!  What had happened?  My father gave me ‘the look,’ to which I immediately responded, “I didn’t do that, daddy!  It didn’t look like that when I left it, I promise!”  Of course, I was wasting my breath telling him that.  Obviously, anyone could plainly see that I hadn’t been in the car.  Why is that?  Well, for one thing, the driver’s side was smashed in.  You couldn’t even see the steering wheel anymore – it was hidden beneath a mangled pile of metal that used to be my precious little cute car.

After a few phone calls and info from the tow truck driver, we soon discovered that after Mike picked us up off of the side of the road, a driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck, veered off the road, and smashed into my car, totaling it.  The U-Haul driver, seeing that no one was in the car and realizing that his own vehicle was still in good driving condition, drove on and stopped later down the road to call in the incident.  And here’s the kicker.  After a review of the police report and the U-Haul driver’s statement, the estimated time of impact was able to be determined.  The time?  Approximately two minutes after Mike had picked us up off the highway.

Two minutes.

A mere two minutes later and my friend and I would have been sitting huddled in that car trying to keep warm as the U-Haul plowed into us.  There is no doubt in my mind that we would have not survived the impact.

After discovering what happened, Carrie and I asked around to try to find Mike.  We described his vehicle to everyone we knew.  We even paid for a small ad to be placed in the newspaper asking him to come forward so that we could give him our proper thanks.  No one ever turned up.  No one had ever heard of Mike.

Was Mike an angel?

I sit here eighteen years later reflecting on that night and I wonder.  Yes, maybe he was just a mortal man who somehow sensed that someone needed help inside a dark car on the side of the interstate in a winter storm.  Maybe that’s just all there was to it.  But somehow, somewhere deep inside me, I just don’t think that is the whole story.  Yes, I’m eighteen years older now.  I’m a rational, practical adult who no longer has her head in the clouds.

Yet still.  Still, down there deep inside of me, lies the part of me that still believes.  That still believes in things that are unseen.  Things that are unexplainable, mystical, spiritual.  Things that are beyond the capabilities of my tiny human mind to comprehend.  Somewhere down deep inside, maybe I do believe in angels.

And Mike?  Well, I’m certain he was one of them.


“Believers, look up – take courage.  The angels are nearer than you think.”
– Billy Graham


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
– William Arthur Ward

Ok, I’m going to take a break from talking about running for a second.  (Don’t get comfortable with that or anything.  I just started my 21-week training plan for my first full marathon in April, so you can bet your sweet dimpled booty that I’ll be talking that thing to DEATH soon enough…)  But, for now, I have something else I want to tell you about.

My grandma.

Now, in some of my previous blogs, I have told you about my sweet MawMaw, my mother’s mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.  But the one I want to tell you about now is my father’s mother.  I have something to show you about her that I think you might like.  (I know I do.)

Well.  Here she is.

grandmablog1That’s my little grandma in a picture that was taken in July of this year on her 83rd birthday.  Now, don’t forget that number: 83.  Because that’s the part that is going to be important to the story I’m going to tell you.  But first, let me tell me you a little bit about this woman.

If anyone were to ever ask me to describe my grandma using only one word, the first word that would come to mind is: “feisty.”  Whew, let me tell ya.  There is NO stopping her.  She will tell you what she thinks and that’s just all there is to it.  For instance, a conversation I had with her yesterday:

Her: Your hair doesn’t look good straight.  It doesn’t suit you.
Me: You’re the only one who says that, Grandma.  Everyone else says it looks better straight.
Her: People lie.
Me:  Grandma….
Her:  They were just trying to be nice to you.  I’m not.


(Incidentally, you’ll notice my hair is curly in the picture above, as it usually is when I go visit her because I know her thoughts on the subject.  Yesterday, however, I was feeling unusually brave.  Bad idea.)

Oh, and how about this for an example?  My grandma has been having some snake issues around her house.  Little does she know, I’m sure even the snakes have passed the word amongst themselves not to mess with her…but nevertheless, she holds tight to her steadfast fear of the slithery little boogers.  So, while we were all gathered at her house after church yesterday, my dad found a live snake in her yard.  He picked it up (he’s weird about stuff like that – not scared of them at all), and proceeded to somewhat terrorize us with it for a while.  (Well, everyone except my daughter Kelly, who managed to fall in love with the stupid thing.)  Well, Grandma hears tell of what’s going on and comes flying out of the house wielding her hoe that she keeps handy for just this very purpose.  Yes, you read that right.  All 110-pounds soaking wet of my granny came flying out of the house with her handy hoe held high over her head…ordering my dad to drop the snake immediately.  He protested (though not for long – he’s known her even longer than I have and knows better than to try to argue) and finally, defeated, dropped his little buddy on the ground to meet his fate.  Here’s a little math for ya.  Grandma + Hoe = Bye Bye Snake.  She hoed (is that a verb?) the little guy until his grandpa felt it.  (And then had to make amends to little Kelly who just lost her new ‘pet’ at the hands of Granny.  Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it amends, per se….”If you had to live here, you’d be taking a hoe to the nasty little thing too, young lady…”  That’s an apology, right?)

Whew.  And those were just examples from yesterday alone.  Catch my drift?

But let me tell you about something else about yesterday.  And about my grandma.  Remember how I told you to remember that number – 83?  Well, I’m going to tell you why.

grandmablog3Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse?  To put it simply, this organization encourages people to put together a shoebox filled with gifts for children.  They then send these shoeboxes to children in over 130 other countries who might not receive anything at Christmas time.  This is a Christian-based organization that provides not only the gifts, but also pamphlets about Christ.  Now, I am fully aware that there are people of many different beliefs that read my blog, but regardless of where you stand on that kind of thing, you have to admit this is a pretty cool thing to do, right?  Anything that benefits a kid is A-OK in my book.  And as for my grandma?  Well, it’s pretty ok in her book too.  In fact, it’s so ok, that she participates every single year.  And by participates, I mean, PARTICIPATES.  This little spitfire of a woman decided years ago that each Christmas she was going to prepare a box per year of her age.  So, this year?  You guessed it.  She prepared 83 boxes to ship off to Samaritan’s Purse.

Eighty-three.  Wow.  Just…wow.

grandmablog4She starts working on them at the beginning of the year and has them ready for pickup in mid-November.  My dad and I helped her bag them up this year to haul out to the front porch to await the church member who would be dropping by later in the week to load them up.  After much begging and coaxing from me, I finally convinced her to let me take a picture of her surrounded by her 10 full large black bags filled to the brim with toys for children that she will never even see open them.  I told her that I wanted to tell the story about her on my blog – to show people what she does every year and give her some credit for it.  She responded, “I don’t do it for credit.  Don’t show my picture to people, it might look like I’m bragging, and that’s not what I do this for.”

Well, Grandma, I know that.  (And, most importantly, those kids know that.)  But no one said that I couldn’t brag on you, now did they?

grandmablog2Inside that feisty, tough exterior lies a heart of gold.  I am so proud to say that this woman has shaped much of who I am and what I believe.  Now, granted, we don’t always see eye to eye on things (and that is probably the understatement of the year…), but it sure is nice to know that someone with this kind of generous, strong-willed heart had a lot to do with making me who I am today.  If I’m even half the woman she is, I’ll be very proud of the life I’ve lived.  As I hope she is.

And, just for the record, I did finally get her permission to write this.  (Well, sort of.  I mean, she didn’t come after me with the hoe when I insisted that I was going to do it anyway, so I guess that’s “permission,” right?)  Like I told her, it’s not bragging if: 1) someone else is doing it, and 2) it inspires others.  And that #2 one is the kicker.  Think about the warm feeling it gives you when you hear about other people doing something nice for each other.  It gives you a little boost – makes you believe in the kindness of our fellow man again and, possibly even inspires you to do the same.  If her intention was to help someone – then I think writing this blog about her will do just that…and then some.  Watching what she has done has helped me, I know that.  And maybe reading this might just help you, too.  Hey, you just never know.

So, how about it?  Does something come to mind that you can do to help someone?  Even if it’s just a small little thing that you think won’t even matter?   Well, guess what.  It will matter.  Go do it.  And if you want to keep it a secret, that’s fine.  Noble even.  But if it happens that someone wants to show you off, let them.  Only good will come of it.  I promise.  You may not have a loud-mouth granddaughter with a public blog, mind you.  I get that.  But I’m sure there’s someone out there that is going to be inspired by what you’ve done, and is going to want to show you off.  And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Let’s keep taking care of each other, ok?


“For it is in giving that we receive.”
Francis of Assisi