Kmart Christmas, Paid in Full, Holiday Tradition, Random Act of Kindness Pay It Forward

Christmas – Paid in Full

17

“Lord, give me strength.” She pulled up to the house in the dark of night, cut off the engine, and leaned her head back against the seat. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. And so began her nightly ritual as she arrived home from her second job each night. She reached across the seat and grabbed the small bag containing toilet paper, toothpaste, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread before exiting the car. She prayed it was enough to hold them over until Friday when she would once again stretch her small paycheck like a magician pulling colored scarves out of a hat.

She quietly entered the old house, treading lightly across the creaky old floorboards so as not to wake anyone. After placing the milk in the fridge, she willed her tired muscles to carry her up the stairs, knowing once she reached the top her exhaustion would be forgotten as she stopped in for a glimpse of her sleeping angels. Her life wasn’t always that of a single mother with three children, but life doesn’t always turn out the way we once dreamed. She was living proof of that. And yet, she wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world if it meant erasing the three greatest blessings in her life. As usual, she found the twins cuddled up together in one twin bed as though reverting to the comforting days of the peace they experienced in the womb. She covered them with a second blanket, kissed their foreheads, and made her way down the hall. She passed Jacob’s room, knowing she would find her ten-year old son asleep in her bed once again. She no longer moved him back to his own bed, taking as much comfort from sleeping with him as he did with her.

As she did every night, no matter how late she arrived, she filled the tub and soaked for a bit. Surely, it made more sense to take a quick shower and jump in bed, but she needed these baths. It always felt like a cleansing of sorts as she imagined washing away all her troubles before laying her head on her pillow. Otherwise, she knew her worries would circle her mind and sleep would elude her when she needed it most. Thank goodness she still had her mother with her to stay at home with the kids while she worked. She wouldn’t know what to do without her help, but she also knew she was getting older and that wouldn’t always be the case.

This time of year was always the hardest and loneliest for her. It was when she seemed to feel the full brunt of being a single mother the most. She wanted a magical Christmas for her children, but she had stopped believing in magic long ago. How do you continue to help your children believe when the world has stripped you of your hope, your dreams, your faith? As she lay beside him, she watched her son sleep and realized the tranquil look he once possessed was beginning to fade even in his dreams. “Lord, please give me strength.”

She woke before the sun. Gathering the envelope labeled “Savings” in her nightstand before heading out once more. She hoped to make it back before the kids woke up. As she pulled into the Kmart parking lot, she ran the numbers in her head and knew she would have to choose only one item on the list for each of her children. She didn’t have enough for the rest of the items she had placed on Layaway, but Christmas was just days away and she had to have at least one gift under the old Charlie Brown tree in the living room.

She asked the Layaway attendant to please pull up her list so she could select the items she could afford. The list wasn’t long, although she had surprised herself that day by allowing herself to dream for a bit, imagining she actually had the means to give her children the items they asked for this year.

The young girl hit a few keys and said, “Paid in Full.”

Kmart Christmas, Paid in Full, Holiday Tradition, Random Act of Kindness Pay It Forward

“There must be some mistake,” the woman said and repeated her name. The young girl gave her the biggest smile she had ever seen. “I was working the evening shift last night, when a couple came in with their two young children. I heard them explaining to their kids the meaning of putting something on layaway and how blessed they were to be in a position where they had never had to do that. They then asked me to pull up a layaway list that included children’s items and paid it in full. When I asked them if they wanted me to contact the person, they said no. Just tell them we said, Merry Christmas and God Bless.

The young lady then proceeded to hand the items over to the woman who stood motionless, tears streaming down her face. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” The young lady handed over the final item and said, “Don’t thank me, that family gave me faith that magic still exists. Merry Christmas to you and your children.”

This is our yearly tradition with our children, and all of us have come to look forward to it more than any other aspect of our holiday season. The story above is just one of the versions I’ve imagined in my heart throughout the years. Do you have a family tradition during the holidays?

Santa Loves My Blog!

16

Merry Christmas to all my friends, family, followers, and neighbors in the Bloggerhood! I hope you’re enjoying a lovely morning surrounded by your loved ones and a nice stash of goodies. Apparently, Santa (and my hubby) think I should keep blogging, since I found these kick ass shirts under the tree this morning. I also received an early Christmas present last week in the form of a contract with a publisher! All this encouragement may cause me to finally start calling myself “a writer” without stuttering. ;-) Merry Christmas to me! Keep calm and blog on my friends!

How Much Stuff Do We Really Need?

19

Every year we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, a day when we stuff the turkey, stuff ourselves and give thanks for all the people and stuff in our lives. We’ve barely had time to digest the Turkey before we’re out the door to be the first ones in line to get more stuff to place under the Christmas tree for our family and friends, more stuff to ensure we are the most decorated house on the block, more stuff to find a place for, more stuff to dust, and more stuff to ultimately ignore. When is it enough? When is it too much?

In this video, Father Scott J. Brown references a family in Ethiopia who seems content with twenty-eight possessions in a 360 square foot hut, a very different picture from the average 2500 square foot American household. At what point do we have enough stuff in our lives?

Sarah Book Publishing

Sarah Book Publishing

Scott J. Brown is also a children’s author. His latest book, a must read, tells the story of three kings who face the dilemma of (gasp) having to come up with a personal gift fit for a king when the shops were already closed for the day. Purchase The Gift of You here and share the story with your children this season.

Holiday Sharing Blogger Challenge

26

Challenge: Write a post that mentions other bloggers while also mentioning some of your own posts as well. The trick is to incorporate it into your post in a meaningful way. It can be in the form of a story, a letter, a conversation…get creative! Then post a link to your post in the comments below. Don’t forget to link to the bloggers and posts you reference so everyone can reap the benefits of just a few of your favorite things. Give the gift of sharing and share this challenge with other bloggers!

A Blogger By Any Other Name…

Photo credit: just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com

Photo credit: just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com

I’ve only been blogging since September 11 of this year. I had been jotting down some random thoughts and sharing them with a few folks, but that day I was compelled to share my thoughts with a wider audience in a formal way. Maybe it was the significance of the date since my first post here was about the meaning behind the red circles on our calendars. Maybe I just wanted to be around more people like myself, who have thoughts or a moment of joy we need to share in order to de-clutter our brains for more stuff. Regardless, I started blogging and never looked back becoming so familiar with other bloggers that I refer to them by “name” even when conversing with friends and family.

For example, I love to share my Milk Duds story with other people and always mention that Chatter Master had an equally sweet story about Milk Duds which is how she found me. Speaking of treats,when I told my girlfriend that Keeping it Real Mom’s son knocked over and shattered a wine glass while reaching for a Halloween sweet, she audibly gasped. The sweetest part was his apology and her beautiful display of patience to the incident. I would have pulled out my Emergency Contact list because I’m a control freak like that. Although, I have exhibited some patience of my own as I waited for Coastal Mom to rejoin us while she worked on her book. It’s okay I was still eating, still praying, still loving while Sass and Balderdash was still looking for a job, Ad- libb3d was still writing jokes, and Creative Liar was well still lying but in a creative way that would make us all proud.

This arena of ours provides a courage by keyboard that encourages our right to share, our right to learn and even our right to bitch because let’s face it parenting is funny, motherhood is an art, and we brave, smart, bold people have every right to help the world see things from our mom’s eye view or whatever your perspective may be. I’ve got a story and you’ve got a story or fat lies and fairy tales or an organized chaos of thoughts that should be heard. No matter what we are sharing, we are touching people, making them smile, making them laugh, making them angry and leading them to that special point when crazy meets exhaustion and you feel like your shoes are on the wrong feetall while watching a clown on fire like a train wreck of thoughts on the run you can’t peel your eyes from.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t know what to call most of you other than your blog names, and to me they roll off the tongue like the name of an old trusted friend. Funny how that works. I’m sure most of you refer to me as little miss wordy when you spend countless hours enlightening/boring folks to tears with my musings much like I share Charlotte’s musings too. Strange how you can feel like you know someone when you’ve only seen glimpses of their lives float across your screen, and you don’t even know them by name. Well, except for Danny Breslin and Cristian Mihai who are the king of states but also the opposite of Madonna, and went the route of embracing their real names. If those are some form of stage name guys, I’m not gonna be happy. I’ll have to explain to everyone that I now have no clue where all those sticky notes and quotes I shared with them promising a new free life came from. They’re going to tell me to piss off and there goes the celebration. No daddy drinks or shanpagne all around! I’ll be the sadder but wiser girl. It’s okay…I’ll take it like a grown up.