Two weeks ago I was in Lil C's room cleaning up the books she had pulled off of her bookshelf. One of the books was a collection of Christmas stories that a student had given me my first year of teaching. It was called Whispers From Heaven for the Christmas Spirit. At the time I was given this gift, I assumed it was a collection of children's stories and shelved it for my future children. Picking it up off of the floor of Lil C's room, I took the book in my hand and thought that it might be a wonderful thing to share with Z this holiday season. I opened it to the middle and read one of the short stories and began to cry. I quickly realized that this was not a children's book after all but a collection of beautiful stories to remind us of the true spirit and magic of Christmas. The story that I turned to spoke to me so clearly and I felt that this book had been waiting for me, waiting until I needed it.....
Since that day I have spent some time each day reading a few of the beautiful stories. Some stories are sad, some filled with miracles, some make you laugh and others make you think....it is a wonderful collection and it has made me truly appreciate all that I have been blessed with.
This book has been a true gift to me and thus I have decided to spend this holiday season giving back. My shopping is done, cards have been mailed, house is decorated and so now it is my time to spend time each day counting my blessings and giving to those in need in anyway I can. Money is tight for us but I plan to give through baking, cooking, volunteering, donating and my new special project, "Advent Letters".
"Advent Letters" is a project that I dreamed up as a way to reflect upon my life and those special people in it. My mission as we count down to Christmas is to write one letter per day (24 in all) to someone important to me, I hope these letters will show the people in my life how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate them. It is a gift for me to write them and I hope it will be a gift for them to receive them as well. Each day this month I will share on this blog the recipient of the days letter as well as the experience that Z and C will open in their Advent Calendar. So please think of others as you go into this crazy time of year and find away to give back.
My very first letter of "Advent Letters" went to my brother in-law, Uncle B. Uncle B lost his wife this year, our dear Kiki, and I felt he was the perfect person to start this project with. He is an amazing person with a giant heart and I know how badly it is aching right now. I am so lucky to have him as my brother in-law and will miss him terribly this holiday season (he will be visiting his family over seas). I hope he enjoys the first letter and I hope he knows how much we love him.
Z and Lil C's Advent Calendar of Experiences
Z and C opened their first door of their Advent Calendar today and found a note letting them know that tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. Our dear family friends celebrate Hanukkah and every holiday season we celebrate along with them. Tonight we will read our Hanukkah books, play a game of dreidel and I will attempt to make latkes for the first time (I hope they are 1/2 as good as B's :)). It might seem odd to some but we are spending our first day of Advent, learning about and celebrating Hanukkah.
Click here to learn more about a fundraising effort my husband has organized for the Make a Wish foundation :)