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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Be Joyful

We arrived home from the 2:30 Christmas Eve service and I caught a glimpse of something near the front door as we turned into the driveway.  With a low blood sugar looming and three hungry girls, we hustled inside through the garage, needing to get everyone changed out of their Christmas dresses and ready for dinner.  I had to work at 6, and we had been gone longer than anticipated.

At some point, Tiara opened the front door.  

And then closed it.

And then opened it again.

And then announced that Santa had already visited our house.

There, before our eyes, sat a huge red bag tied closed with a golden rope, propped against a tall green gift.

We were speechless.  Stunned, to say the least.  After a moment of quiet shock, the girls began squealing.  I grabbed my camera, because I knew it was a moment I didn't ever want to forget.  Jason brought the bag inside, set it next to the tree, and we began going around and round - whispering to each other about who could have possibly left it there.  All the while, the girls were running in and out, bringing friends to see Santa's bag.  As a family, we agreed that it's contents wouldn't be revealed until the next morning.

Brand spanking new coordinated outfits (this was a special touch, because pretty much everything the girls wear is second hand), princess shoes, a treasure chest of dress up, art supplies, and cards for coffee and movies...even Ivy found a gourmet bone and bag of dog treats.  

It was incredibly special.  Honestly, I couldn't have selected a better suited bunch of gifts myself!

We didn't have many gifts planned for Christmas.  In fact, what we did have wouldn't have been possible without a friend who sold us a used Wii...Jason's sister who happily sent some Barbies and accessories that her daughter was finished with...and a local D Mama who took the time to sort through her playroom and then passed along several bags of toys.  Of course there were also packages of love that had been sent from our parents, and we knew those would, no doubt, add a smile to their faces.

Without the Santa bag, we felt Christmas morning would be just fine.  

With it, Christmas Morning 2010 became magical.

But I have to tell you....

It's really not the gifts that touched this Candy Heart the deepest.

It's the red bag that I searched inside and out for signs of being store bought, but couldn't find.  I believe that someone actually sewed it together, specifically intended to fill with gifts for our family.

It's the wrapping paper. This time of year is crazy for everyone.  Yet someone, amidst their own hectic life -- who, no doubt, had their own gifts to wrap -- took the time to wrap each one knowing how excited our girls would be to rip into them.

It's the fact that it showed up on Christmas Eve.  Oh, GEEZ!  Church, dinner, possible company...and yet...SOMEONE carved out the time to leave this gift on our doorstep.  

It's the financial see...if you live in the Phoenix area, then you're living in an incredibly difficult economy.  Whomever did this, has been affected as well.  I know this because EVERYONE has been affected.   

I have no idea if our Secret Santa will ever read this.  Even still, there's a few things I need to say before I go...

Dear Rose Santa, 

I want you to know that I've folded that red bag and placed it somewhere special.  One year, on Christmas Eve, Jason and I will fill it with the same love you've shown us and then leave it on a doorstep for another family.  We will pay it forward.  

I have to admit that I have struggled a bit, feeling as though I simply didn't deserve such an overwhelming act of generosity.  You see, I'm a flawed person.  I mess up way too often, say things I shouldn't, and have a hard time taming my anger -- particularly when I'm exhausted from varying degrees of deprivation AND when the issue I'm upset about involves the well being of my children.  I walk around from one day to the next feeling a constant need to apologize to everyone around me for being such a wreck all the time.  I have a really hard time forgiving MYSELF whenever I stumble over life's bumpy roads. Despite these things, however, I really want you to know that, while I believe I may not have deserved such an amazing act of kindness, I genuinely appreciate that, somehow, you thought I did.

We will never forget this Christmas.

Thank you.

From My Candy Heart to Yours,
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  1. How awesome is that! Sooo glad you had a great Christmas!

  2. Omg!!! Thats amazing! God bless whoever did that and Wendy youre sooo deserving of it girl. You support and hold up so many of us! GOD BLESS AND SO HAPPY YOUR XMAS WAS AMAZING!

  3. Wow Wendy! You and your family are so deserving. You already pay it forward in so many ways. AND...yes...your secret Santa ROCKS!!! God Bless them! God Bless YOU! (((HUGS)))

  4. How truly wonderful, what a blessing this was! You deserve it and arevworthy my friend! Sending you love and hugs and abheart full of thankfulness for YOU!

  5. Wow! That is amazing. I don't even know what to say other than you DO deserve it. Your girls deserve it and Jason deserves it. You guys work hard and are entitled to "bumps".

    Your secret Santa is pretty dang awesome.

  6. This really is what the spirit of the season is all about!

  7. Wow. I am speechless.

    You definitely deserve something like this Wendy. you are such an inspiration to so many others out there and are always doing things for your community, even if you don't always have the means.

    This is just Awesome.

  8. How incredibly wonderful! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful surprise waiting for you! After all- giving is a part of what makes this holiday so special!

  9. What a beautiful gift for a beautiful family!

  10. This story is just as awesome as you set it up to be. How magnificently wonderful! I love it. And I love your pay it forward plans. :)

  11. WOW!!! What a wonderful Christmas blessing!!! You and your family deserve every present that was left at your doorstep and I look forwawrd to hearing about your pay it forward plans for next year :)

    The ripple effect of generosity is a beautiful thing.


    Thanks for sharing the story with us :)

  12. A Christmas blessing, to be sure! I really have no words, just tears of graditude for your very special secret santa.... who couldnt have picked a more deserving family than yours!

  13. OMG, tears fill my eyes at the generosity of those kind people who did that for you. There couldn't be a more deserving family out there.

    You are so blessed. ((hugs))

  14. I'm so glad you guys had an awesome Christmas! You deserve it! I loved your Christmas card! it was awesome!!!! :)

  15. The Lord works in wonderous ways!!! He is good indeed!

  16. That made me cry...HAPPY HAPPY tears. What a gift. Enjoy knowing you are so loved.
    Have a happy New Year, too!

  17. Oh Wendy! The slideshow was the PERFECT way to share the story with us. Truly Joyful.

    Ack. I just love heartwarming stories like this. And, even better when it involves a family like yours!!!

    Tucking the handmade bag away to fill up with gifts in the future holiday is an abdolutely wonderful way to share the joy. You know how much I love paying it forward!!!!!

  18. Oh Wendy! I love it!!

    I am so happy for you family. What an amazing moment for you. Your kiddos will never forget this!

    And what a generous, thoughtful and loving person to bless you in such a way.

    Isn't it amazing that God moved someone's heart and then that person obeyed. I need to be quick to obey when God tells me to do something. (I'm usually running like Jonah!)

    I am so happy for you! You deserve this blessing.

  19. Such a beautiful thing- for a beautiful family. Thank You for sharing Wendy. You already do pay it forward in so many ways-you have been a great encouragement to me and won't it be SO FUN when you & Jason & the girls get to pay it forward and be Santa for someone else! -Allison

  20. Oh Wendy!! That is an amazing story. Could not have been for a more deserving person and family.

    Dear Rose Santa, Thank you for doing such an amazing thing for my friend. Despite what she says, SHE IS MORE THAN DESERVING! But I guess you already know that!

  21. Love this story, and I love that it happened to your family. And I love even more that you're going to pay it forward. Thanks for sharing!


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