Before we usher in the new year and I start talking to you about my "One Little Word" I've chosen for 2015, (see my One Little Word for 2014), and some of my expectations for my life personally, with regards to this blog as well as my business…I have to take a minute…on this very last day of 2014 to share something special with you.
I experienced something incredibly different this holiday season…
a moment in my life I won't soon forget…
and something that touched my heart in a way it's honestly never been touched before.
Here's my Christmas Story…
Christmas morning this year unfolded as it does every year with my kids; it is usually pretty simple but with a few fun surprises.
I'm big on traditions so the way things usually work around my house is the girls are given one present to unwrap on Christmas Eve. Of course, the present is always the same…a new set of pj's. The last few years, J has decided I need to be included on the the new pj's tradition too so he'll surprise me with a pair of my own.
Once the magic reindeer food has been sprinkled onto the lawn, Santa's cookies + milk have been left out, the last good-byes have been given to Stuart, our Elf on the Shelf, and the last of the presents have been wrapped, everyone heads to bed.
We all awake on Christmas morning to the sound of excitement and jubilation as one of the kids discovers the bounty of new presents Santa left behind while we slept, as well as stockings now plump with treasures. This year…of course…it was six year old Ella who awakened the household.
We sit as a family, wiping sleep from our eyes, our hair disheveled, opening gifts in our new pj's with the sounds of ooo's and ahhh's filling the air - and the occasional shrieks of joy from Ella.
Once our gifts are unwrapped we piddle around for a little while at home with our new toys. There's also the whole ritual of installing 1,000's of batteries into every new electronic gadget, the collecting of all the trash from the aftermath of our gift fest and nibbling on any leftover baked Christmas goodies we can find in the kitchen to hold us over until breakfast. (maybe that last part just applies to me)? *blushing*
Actually, there is no breakfast to eat or prepare on Christmas morning because my mom and step-dad are always anxiously awaiting our arrival at their house for our annual Christmas Brunch + gift exchange. So, our grumbling bellies pull us away from our fixation on the gifts we've just opened at home and we shower, dress and load up the unwrapped Christmas presents left under the tree to head out to see Grandma and Grandpa.
Once we arrive, hugs + kisses are exchanged, food preparations are finished and we enjoy casual conversation around the table as we eat together.
Once our bellies are full it's present time…again.
Grandma and Grandpa have the grandkids start opening gifts first and then they'll finally concede to opening the gifts we've brought for them.
The process is usually short and sweet because there are just a few presents to unwrap and then we sit back for awhile to enjoy Christmas morning together before my family and I head back home for the afternoon.
That's how it happens every year.
Until THIS year.
Right after we all had opened our gifts at my mom's, I noticed J and my stepdad quickly disappeared from the room. I immediately sensed they were up to something and almost as fast as they had left the room they reappeared carrying an extremely large and oversized wrapped gift…FOR ME!! My mind was going in a million directions trying to figure out what this was all about and then I was even more confused and dumbfounded when I read the gift tag: "For: Jessica Love: Chuck, Robyn, Mom, Rick and J"
What? Why would my aunt and uncle be part of giving me a gift? This was a very unusual scenario.
In a state of bewilderment I began unwrapping the surprise gift with slow intention. I was looking for clues as more of the original packaging was exposed and I was also attempting to buy myself more time to solve the mystery before I received anymore clues. The room was quiet and all eyes were on me and I felt strangely nervous. With the wrapping completely removed there was no indication on the bare brown box as to what was inside. My stepdad brought over a knife to help remove the packing tape from the top and within minutes I was staring at a brand new iMac computer. What? Why? I couldn't believe it. I was frozen for a moment as I frantically tried to wrap my mind about what had just happened!
I think I remember looking up and although I don't really remember what I said exactly, I just remember feeling an enormous amount of confusion. I could not process why my aunt and uncle had anything to do with such a large purchase.
As my mom conveyed the story of how things came about…it turns out my aunt and uncle, Holly's mom and dad, approached my mom with the idea of surprising me with either a new camera or new computer after having read a recent blog post of mine - in which I mentioned, to Santa, how much I needed both of those things. *blushing*
I couldn't believe it.
I was overcome with emotion as the play-by-play spilled from my mom's lips.
I just cried…and then realized my stepdad was recording everything. Ugh!!!
But the tears and the emotion were NOT about receiving an amazing present.
The tears were from the realization that two people, two family members, think highly enough of me…and what I do…and what I'm passionate about…to take time to secretly scheme with my mom and J to come together to do something so incredibly sincere and heartfelt…for ME!!??
Knowing that my aunt and uncle put aside their pain and heartache for just a moment, from having recently lost their daughter, Holly, to focus on me? Well…needless to say I was and I am completely humbled. These two people chose to do something above and beyond for someone else despite the pain the holiday season was inevitably ushering in for them.
The gift was not about what was in the box.
The gift was about two people who live across the country…
People who actually READ my blog.
People who LOVE what I do and what I stand for.
People who BELIEVE in me and what I'm about…and what this blog is all about.
People who took time essentially to recognize, appreciate and validate what I'm trying to do here on this blog.
Well…THAT is the very best gift I could've ever received.
The heartfelt emotion was gratitude for the true Spirit of Christmas that poured over me when I finally understood what was going on, how it came about and the love behind it all.
Thank you Chuck and Robyn…
There are no words to adequately describe my appreciation for your kindness and thoughtfulness.
I love you both!
And thank you Mom, Rick and J for helping the secret plan to be executed beautifully.
This was the very best Christmas ever.
Not because of what you gave…but rather because of the pure love behind it!
Happy New Year to you all!
Be safe as you are out there celebrating tonight!
I'll be back tomorrow to share with you my One Little Word for 2015!!
The adorable note cards you see in this post are from my favorite inspirational products company: Compendium Incorporated! See the full line of Compedium Boxed Note Card Sets on the Live Inspired Website or go directly to the "May You Live a Life You Love" Boxed Note Card Set - which are the ones I photographed for this post.
KEEPiNG iT REAL
I begged my stepdad not to post the video to Facebook of me walking around in disbelief and fighting back tears and hiding my face as I unwrapped the present. So far…so good. *wink*
I also have to give props to J for not spoiling the surprise.
Two days before Christmas I was having a serious conversation with him about how I would need to be replacing my old iMac computer after the holidays. He never eluded to anything. Mr. Sneaky!!
On a much lighter note...
Ella insisted we all gather around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve night to say a prayer for Stuart to travel safely back to the North Pole. We also had to blow him kisses too.
Ella also decided we needed to leave only ONE cookie for Santa and include an apple…she wanted to make sure he'd be eating something sweet AND healthy this year. I just love her!