We learned in church of a family whose entire house had just burned down just before Christmas.  read more →

As a family, we have made it a bit of a tradition that at Christmas time we do a secret Santa with a little bit of a twist.

Often it will be that we have heard of someone in the community that is going through a rough patch or hard time. Maybe they are currently unemployed, or they are going through some sort of sickness in the family or the loss of a loved one. read more →

My husband and I took a giant leap of faith January 2014 and moved ourselves and our two boys from our hometown and everyone we knew (in Georgia) clear across the country to Utah.

Within our year stay, (we recently returned home) we developed amazing friendships. Around Christmas time, we were struck with several unexpected bills and ended up needing several hundred dollars worth in repairs done to our vehicle. No one knew our circumstances, but we were struggling like never before. A new friend asked why I was walking myself (expecting at the time) and our two boys back and forth to church and to the grocery store. I explained we needed some repairs done but needed to wait a few more weeks to have enough to cover the costs. With no details and no hesitations, our new friends offered to get our car taken care of with a family friend. We were reluctant but after many conversations of them urging us to accept the help, we couldn’t say no. read more →

Joanne and I had been childhood friends, went through school together and hung out with each other when ever possible. My family was full of drama and chaos. My dad was a alcoholic and there were many fights in our home when he came home drunk and broke. So I stayed away for as long as I could and as often as I could.

I was always at Joanne’s house, her mom and dad took me in like one of their own. So much laughter and sharing and just a fun loving, caring environment.

Her mom got sick when we were in high school and died before she could see Joanne graduate. After the funeral her warmhearted, caring dad seemed to change. He didn’t want anyone around and never went out.

I always thought he really wanted everyone there, but his hurt, anger and loneliness was changing him. Eventually everyone did drift away. The kids never visited or phoned. read more →

Things you do for others live on.
Last year, I started a tradition of GIVING – through acts of service or giving gifts of love to others on my birthday.

I was inspired by a 30 year old memory of my late grand uncle (he was my mother’s uncle) who had taught me an important lesson about giving when I was 6 years old.

It was my brother’s birthday and my grand uncle had attended his party. When he arrived, grand uncle handed me a nicely wrapped present. I was confused and  thought he had mistaken my brother’s birthday for mine, so I told politely declined. read more →

Dogs make our lives whole.
This morning, I was once again reminded that everything happens for a reason. For Christmas, my daughter gave me one of the Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul books. I have been reading it slowly, enjoying it immensely. It has made me laugh and cry. It is a book that I could see myself going back to and reading again. But, that isn’t going to happen. read more →

Missing someone.
One precious Mother’s Day my beautiful niece, Louise Elizabeth wished me Happy Mother’s Day – she’d kept her Christmas cracker gift, a pink plastic heart.

Louise tied a pink string around it and tied it around my neck….

I explained to Louise that because I didn’t have children I don’t get wished or given Happy Mother’s Day’s gifts – Louise wrapped her darling little arms around me and squeezed me really tight and said that I was like her second mum and she loved me with All her Heart. read more →

Acknowledge kindness.
I was working a corporate job I hated but the money was decent. It was about three days before Christmas.

I’d headed to the supermarket for groceries and in the ice cream section I found a woman weeping. I asked her what was wrong and she explained that her husband had cleared out the house and taken all his belonging plus the furniture etc when she was picking their four children up from school and daycare (apparently it was an hour round trip due to where they all attended school and daycare). read more →

Transform a hardened heart.
Years ago I began a tradition of giving back for each holiday we celebrated. One Christmas during a particularly prosperous time in our country, I was shocked to find that there was a “shortage” of in need families. I began to think about who else needed help around the holiday. We always think of kids at this time of year and it came to me that there are many lonely adults as well. I was able to get the name of some individuals needing some Christmas cheer of one kind or another.

One for a “gentleman” named John. John was a particularly vile individual, who lived in what amounted to two rooms of his rather large house. read more →

When we give.
Last Christmas eve, my daughter and I were at Walmart buying a Christmas dinner feast for a family we’d heard was in need.

While we were there, we saw a young couple approach a family that looked like they were struggling financially. The couple chatted with the family a little and then gave them a Walmart gift card. read more →

Judging by appearance

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Being a single parent is hard, but losing my job at Christmas made it harder.

I had put a few things on layaway before losing my job one year. I went to cancel part of the items and pay for what I could afford. I began to cry and explain my situation to the clerk.

While tears flowed, a person gently put $20 on the counter, then a 2nd person did the same. read more →

Superpower.
Today I took my two boys ages 5 & 7 to my workplace to give my colleagues some Christmas Cheer.

The boys handed out chocolates and lollies, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Towards the end of our morning Casey (the 5 year old) says to me “it’s nice being kind to people, isn’t it Mum?” I was quite overwhelmed as this was a big part of why we were doing this exercise and that at just 5, he’d used the word kind! read more →