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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Additional Traditions

During the 2016 Christmas season, the kids and I worked daily on making beaded icicle ornaments.  These beaded beauties were then delivered to our local hospital where the cafeteria workers would distribute them to the residents via their meals trays on Christmas Day.   

This isn't the first time we've done something like this. 

Back in 2011, Bree and I (and a very tiny Jacob) made 2x4 turkeys for the patients at Rainbow Oncology.

And in 2012, we made and delivered Valentine oven towels:
and floral Easter Eggs to Rainbow Oncology as well.  
Thanks to Pinterest and its plethora of ideas, finding generous ways to give back is very easy.  And thanks to the crafty talent that flows through my veins, I am always eager and willing to do so.  And even greater thanks to the Lord above for the ability to stay at home and have the time and finances to make these donations come to life has truly been a blessing.  Especially when teary-eyed nurses pay compliments like:
"Thank you.  The patients really appreciate things you've dropped off.  It means a lot to them that you take the time to do this."
It fills your cup, it fuels your fire, it drives you to want to do more.  However, little did I know we were missing a big piece of the puzzle. 
At the beginning of this Christmas season, as everyone was busy thinking up and searching for items to put on their lists, I was presented with a Christmas request per my father-in-law.  Instead of a physical gift for himself, he wanted us to use that money to go out and brighten and bless someone else's day, someone who needed that ray of hope more than himself.  
Well, that part was easy.  The kids and I had worked together to make over 120 beaded candy canes that we were going to drop off and donate as we had in the past. 
But this was a Christmas request... a Christmas gift per say.  Simply dropping off a donation would not suffice.  Just as we can't wait to see the pure joy, excitement, and thankfulness on a loved ones face when presented with a handmade gift so should this be an opportunity to truly give of ourselves, to sacrifice our time, to bring joy not just with a present, but with our presences.  
Our presences. 
That's what we have been missing in all our years of donating.  With simple, small changes in traditions, the holidays can be filled with the glory of God in unimaginable, soul filling ways. 
So on Christmas morning, we loaded into the van and headed to Brookview Healthcare Center to hand deliver 78 beaded candy canes to the residents as well as 15 candy canes and lottery tickets to the dedicated nurses and staff.

Jacob (in true boy fashion) delivering a candy cane:
Gabrielle delivering a candy cane:
A few days later, after it was all said and done and sunken into our brains and hearts, I sat down with the kids to talk to them about their experience:
Merry Christmas, Dad Dominique. We hope you enjoyed your present and may it inspire you carry on the Spirit with your presence throughout 2018.

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