Have you ever?

Dear Darlings,

Christmas this year was different for us than years’ past, as I’m sure it was for all of you. There were no big Christmas parties, no glittering soirees, no caroling, and no dinners out at favorite restaurants, at least not for us. For us, it was small but intimate. And one of my favorite Christmas’ ever.

This is the story I want to tell…

When Zach started college in 2014, we began doing a Secret Santa exchange, capping gifts at $25 so no one felt unduly burdened financially. It worked well for years. “Santa” would fill stockings and get a few extra gifts for everyone. And life was good. This year, everyone decided to go well above and beyond the Secret Santa exchange. It’s been a year of togetherness, and we’ve all learned so much about each other and shared more, causing the spirit of Christmas swept through the house.

Our college students wanted to do than just Secret Santa, even on limited funds, so creativity abounded. Crocheted blankets, handmade puzzles, baskets filled with teas, candles, and lavender, and a unique picture frame with a treasured photo were just some of the thoughtful gifts that were created to delight recipients. Their attention to detail and generosity of spirit was something to behold.


Have you ever been given a gift that brings you to your knees and filled you with love? This year I was given not one but two such gifts.

Zach. The sweet man-child. The one who made me a mom. He gave me the book pictured on the left. It’s a book about our memories, likes, dislikes, and getting to know each other better. Christmas night, we went off to another room and worked through some of it together. There’s still a lot of work to be done and fun to be had doing it. It made my heart overflow, knowing Zach wanted to do this together.

The book on the right is from all of them, with Jo being the creator behind the idea. Zach, Lucas, Claire, Jo, and Tonilee all wrote me a letter and bound it in a book, mirroring my blog. The letters are beyond precious to me. They each detail something about our individual relationships. I had to read them one-by-one. Grateful tears streamed down my cheeks.

These two gifts…they are small but had the most significant impact. I’m so glad to know they love the stories I tell.



PS. My plan is to ask their permission so I can share their letters here. Documenting not only the love for my children but the love of my children…

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