Monday, December 19, 2011

Sprinkling HOPE this Christmas

Spreading JOY, making a difference and doing what we can, where we are with what we have.  That’s all that any of us can do.

When several hundred of us get together, it simply amazes me as to what can be accomplished.  I wish that I had the time and space to list what each one of you mean to Spreading Joy!  You should know because you cared, gave, worked and used your voice that there was hope sprinkled in the hearts of Mom’s and Children this Christmas.

The tears of joy, laughter and hugs were unbelievable as everyone enjoyed an afternoon of carefree fun.

Children held up “PaSketti” as long as their arms while trying to slurp it up. My friend and I were soaking up the moment as we watched one boy completely enjoying his “PaSketti,” he had a huge smile as he was navigating the food in the right direction and the Pasketti face was priceless!  Others enjoyed the hotdogs and scrumptious macaroni and cheese.  All enjoyed the delicious desserts that the ladies of New Grace Baptist Church provided for us.

We were able to reach out to these amazing women and kids because you reached out with your huge heart, time, talents and gifts.  Thank you! By partnering with us we were able to bring Christmas Joy their way.  Here is a look at what happened:

  • We feed approx. 120 Moms and kids and volunteers spaghetti, salad, bread, mac-n-cheese, hotdogs and dessert

  • There was an awesome selection of drinks for everyone to choose from

  • The Moms were taken next door for some encouragement and shopping for toys.  They were encouraged to Boldly Walk into 2012.

  • We were able to give each Mom a gift bag with the following – Chicken Soup for the Soul book, a second encouraging book, beaded bookmark, Oriental Carpet Creation purse, Nativity book/cd combo, body wash and/or hand sanitizer, coffee & condiment pack.  Do you realize how HUGE this gift is?  These Mothers didn’t come for anything for themselves.  They only wanted gifts for their kids!

  • Each Mom was allowed to Shop for Free for 5 toys for their child to open on Christmas morning

  • After the shopping was completed, they moved into our Wrapping Rooms and wrapped, tagged and secured each present for travel home. You should have been here to hear the laughter and giggles of delight!

While all of this was going on, the kids were having a grand time of their own!

  • They heard the story of the Birth of Christ and how the Angels proclaimed this wonderful gift!

  • We allowed them to row by row shop at our Candy Store.  There were about 30 different candies and treats for them to choose from.  YOU should have been there to hear their giggles and laughter at this! Such a sweet treat!

  • We brought the children over to the gift rooms and allowed them to choose 2 gifts each to take home THAT day.  (The others were from their mom to be placed under the tree)

  • Before each child left, I personally gave each one of them a hug and a Reese’s Cup.  As I hugged them, I told them just how very special they were and that people from all over the world cared about them and wanted them to have a very Merry Christmas.  Their smiles will forever warm my heart!


As exciting as this day was, there is no way it could have been possible without the help of so many wonderful people.

Huge thanks and a deep appreciation goes out to:

  • Todd, from Mooresville NC - For donating all of the spaghetti, macaroni and cheese and hotdogs.  A HUGE thank you to Murdock, my friend for being my knight in shining armor in this! Both of you guys saved the day!

  • Olive Garden for donating the Salad

  • Those that collected toys for us: Clark Nexsen Architecture, Sport Clips Denver, Lake Norman Oral and Facial Surgery, Iron Mountain & Sugar Creek Garden Center

  • Those that sponsored the Christmas Joy Event – Jeff & Kathy Broom, Teen Challenge Women’s Center, Hope Circle of Linden ARP Church, Sock Grams and LifeBridge Christian Center

  • Thank you Jackie and Bob for using your voices by adding our Christmas Joy Event to your web site and spreading the word as much as possible.

  • Thank you Michael and Angie for helping with emailing and rounding up places to collect toys and make donations.

  • Thank you to The Book Rack in Charlotte for Donating books and the beaded bookmarks and to Lincolnton Book Stop in Lincolnton for donating books.

  • Thank you to those that have Facebooked our event, recommending us for those seeking for places to give funding too.

  • The precious friends I’ve come to know and love on Twitter that help us make a difference! My twitterverse is an amazing place of love and I’m forever grateful for each one of you.  You’ll never know the extent of my gratitude for you! You encourage me more than you can possibly imagine!

  • Thank you to Patterson Pope – my full time employer, for the paid 16 hours of Community Service time to take care of the “STUFF” that is near and dear to my heart.

  • Thank you to Pastor Jerry Taylor and the wonderful family of New Grace Baptist Church! Thank you for your monthly support, the use of your facilities, vehicles and for how you always step up and volunteer to help when we do these various events!

  • My friends and family that always have time to help, volunteer and look for/round up what was missing, needed and offered an arm of support, smile of inspiration and heart of love. I love you and wouldn’t know what to do without you.


A special thanks to my Mom for helping me load and unload the majority of these gifts bright and early Thursday morning and last minute sorting on Saturday morning.  I hope that when I’m 70, I’ll still be going as strong as you are.  I love you dearly.

A very special thank you to Steve….my wonderful husband.  For listening to the endless chatter about the new ideas, the Candy Store and how excited I am to be spreading joy.  Christmas has always excited me, but making a difference in this fashion, kicks up the excitement factor…a LOT.  Thank you honey!! I love you.

I hope that you’ll watch the videos, see the pictures and that as you do, you’ll sit back, smile and say…

There’s no Joy like Spreading JOY!


Thank you! The hope you've sprinkled this Christmas will carry in the hearts of many for years to come!

[whispering] if I've forgotten anyone, PLEASE tell me so that I can fix it...and do so quickly!

Also - if you were THERE on this amazing day, please take a moment to comment and share YOUR story! I know you have one!  If you don't, share how your heart soared in helping to sprinkle HOPE this Christmas!

Here is an audio recording of the encouragement I gave to the ladies:

Boldly Walk into the New Year!

A Video for your Viewing Pleasure! Thank you for how you are Spreading JOY and Making a Difference!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Remember

I remember the excitement of Christmas and thinking it would never get here (Wait..that was JUST last week *grins*)

I remember Thanksgiving trips to the mountains to see my Grandmother and other family members

I remember the many, many games of kill the man with the ball

I remember playing dodgeball in our street till way past we were supposed to

I remember walking to school and enjoying it

I remember my favorite doll being my Baby-That-Away and I carried her everywhere, until my Dad sat on her accidentially

I remember playing freeze tag

I remember always being the pitcher for the softball games and my brothers aiming at me when they were at bat

I remember a bus that came by on Sundays to take us to Church

I remember getting up and making Mom's coffee early for her for a while

I remember sleeping with the window open as we had no air conditioning

I remember walking in the snow, always

I remember walking down the railroad tracks with Mom & Angie - but when we got to the bridge, I'd go down the hill, across the road and back up again.

I remember riding our bikes everywhere, even 4 to 8 miles away to the grocery store

I remember only having enough for "today" and being the happiest ever

I remember walking home in the rain from the grocery store and stomping through the puddles

I remember thumping Mom in the head and her chasing me down, sitting on me, thumping me back and NOT getting up when the cable dude came in to install our new "gift"

I remember getting up in the mornings and running to the heater to get ready as only one room had heat

I remember my first kiss, and then later.... I remember wishing I had not wasted it on someone who truly didn't care

I remember burning up our toaster oven and feeling horrible as a teen because we had nothing else to cook with....nothing

I remember playing card games with Mom until 2 or 3 am and singing most of the time. The torture she endured while we had fun

I remember going to sleep anticipating Christmas and dreaming of wrapped presents all around me

I remember not having much by way of "things" but always feeling more loved than I could describe

I remember the few wonderful trips to the beach, Dad taking me WAY out, but I wasn't afraid as he was a giant in my eyes. I remember him lifting me high above the water and giggling with delight

I remember the crab that got out of the coffee pot at the beach house and chased me out of the bathroom

I remember popping HUGE bags of popcorn and the popcorn fights

I remember chasing down the boys that picked on the girl that lived behind us

I remember being afraid of the "monster" under the bed, but not the bully down the road

I remember loving to sit in the library at school and reading, holding a rag doll that was always in the rocking chair

I remember never being picked for any team in school until last

I remember loving the balance beam

I remember keeping to myself in school with one or two close friends, and I often wonder where one from elementary school is

I remember loving each of my elementary teachers dearly - even the 4th grade teachers assistant that was always so mean to me and wouldn't help me OR allow me to call her MOM in class. She totally made me work for those A's

I remember being a safety patrol in school and loving helping the smaller kids

I remember watching scary movies with my mom till the wee hours of the morning

I remember hardly ever spending the night away from home

I remember wishing I could give my mom everything she needed...not realizing that loving her unconditionally was enough

I remember going to the Christmas Tree lot and picking the biggest tree they had. I remember Daddy always saying yes, even though it had to be cut way down

I remember so many things!

Some good, some bad and some worse - but more than anything, I remember always being matter what.

All these things, good and bad, have shaped my heart into what it is today.

and for THAT - I'm truly thankful.

What are some of the things you remember?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Courageous Living

I hesitated as I saw the book title sitting in my email.

Courageous Living: Dare To Take A Stand; A book that is a call for men to stand up, fight back for their faith and get involved with their families written by Michael Catt, Pastor of Sherwood Baptist in Albany Georgia.

I’m a lady that stands up for her faith and I am and will always be involved with my family in that my greatest desire is that my children serve the Lord faithfully while my husband and I follow the path set before us.

I admit that I half-heartedly downloaded the book from I’m truly glad that I did!

Not only is this book a call for men to “man up” courageously, but ladies, much of it applies to us too.

This book reminds us that we need men to boldly lead the way, following Christ and husbands/dads to hold their family accountable in their actions, owning their mistakes. We need men to courageously stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone.

The book is filled with example after example of courageous men and women doing what God has called them to do with modern day applications that will encourage the timid, motivate the discouraged and inspire all who read to courageously do more.

Ladies, we are not off the hook here. Much of what is in this book applies to us too. We want men to lead the way, but we resist following them. We use the fact that our husbands don’t go to church to simply stay home because “what’s the use anyway.” We let our children do whatever they want to because it’s such a bother to keep up with them and we wonder why they don’t choose to serve the Lord when they move out. Enough of the excuses…..time to “man up” ladies.

Being a Christian isn’t easy, never has been, but when in your life time have you heard of a stoning in the USA? Sure it’s often not a life of convenience, but neither is anything that is worth having.

Courageous Living is a call to action for each and every one of us.

It’s our choice to boldly stand and choose right courageously. It’s our choice to own up to our responsibilities and make a difference for the Lord. It’s our choice to get involved and be faithful to our local church.

If you don’t like the study groups that are going on, suggest a new one – LEAD a new one, but don’t just be passive about it. DO SOMETHING. Go, be faithful and get involved!

Be courageous….and watch how others around you will gather courage as well.

Will you answer the call? Will you dare to stand?

This book was filled with many lines that I could quote for days.

Get the book and enJOY.

(Ladies, anytime you see the word man or husband – simply replace with woman/wife. WE need this too.)

  • We need a new generation of men that don’t look to the corporate as a measure of their success; rather they look into the lives of wives and children.

  • We desperately need men who find their significance in faith, family and hard work.

  • Greatness is determined by God not by man.

  • Life should not be about stuff, it should be about the Savior.

  • A life of courage will see what others can’t see and believe what others can’t believe.

  • Courage demands a decision.

  • The Church can’t resurrect what the family puts to death.

  • If fear is contagious then courage is also contagious.

  • Fear focuses on obstacles, courage focuses on opportunity. Fear sees with eyes of the flesh, Courage sees with eyes of faith.

  • Following Christ should not be multiple choice in your home.

  • The faith that once cost people their lives, doesn’t even motivate us to stay faithful to the local church.

  • You aren't a man until you take responsibility and live in accountability.

This audio book is read by Maurice England and is extremely easy to listen to as he reads with passion.

I've not seen it as of yet, but I'm sure the movie will be just as good. Watch a trailer of Courageous the Movie here.

Thank you to christianaudio for a complimentary copy of this book via the Reviewers program. I am not required to give a positive review of this book.

Christianaudio has a free audiobook for your downloading pleasure each and every month, as well as gift certificates for the audio book enthusiast in your world.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Taming The Madness

This is the time of year that we set aside specific time to reflect on all the wonderful blessings we have. We focus on the huge things like our family, home, job, car and friends as well as the gobs of little things like coffee, Diet Coke, Reese’s Cups and warm cozy sweaters. We could never truly list all of the things that we are and should be grateful for. So, why are we a grumpy sort of people sometimes?

We sometimes get grumpy during this season of Thanksgiving & Christmas because there is so much to do and so much to get for this time of the year.

How do we tame the madness?

I’m going to give you the best kept secret ever! You are going to thank me for years to come for revealing this to you. Shoot…..maybe you’ll even throw a party in my honor, who knows. Here it is…..

Plan ahead!

You heard me. A little planning is all it takes!

Here are some easy ways to do so:

  1. Between now and Christmas, start purchasing the pantry staples you’ll need for your gatherings. Add a little into your weekly shopping trip and the cost won’t kill you either.

  2. Take advantage of Christmas items already being displayed and toss in a roll of wrapping paper to your buggy.

  3. Plan easy family meals for the day/night just prior to your larger events. Your family will enjoy the change and you’ll have less to worry about.

  4. Make your Christmas List right NOW. (I’ll wait) Divide it up and start purchasing some items so that the finances are not stressed the week before Christmas. If you get your shopping done ahead of time, you can simply enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

  5. Are you baking gifts for others this year? Gather up all of your supplies with each shopping trip. Plan who is getting what and jot down the items you need.

  6. CANDY – Candy is on sale – especially right after Halloween. Purchase some bags of it and DO NOT eat it. Gosh…trust me when I say that I know how hard that is, but put it away for stockings and make up a few bags for those last minute gifts that you can pop into a nice container and present JOYfully.

  7. Plan a simple yet delicious Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and the presentation can be amazing, especially for you artsy types. Turkeys go on sale, so do all the other items. You could easily pull off a huge meal for less than 40 bucks. Less than going out to eat at many places these days.

  8. Slowly decorate your home. Don’t rush through the evenings like a mad person, barking out orders, shoving things out of the way – instead, turn on some soothing Christmas Music and enlist the help of your family. Have fun, sing LOUD and make a wonderful memory.

  9. Start a Gratitude List and display on your refrigerator. Include a column for each of your family members names. Add to it daily to keep your heart in the true spirit of thankfulness.

  10. Tell others what they mean to you. Such a small thing when you think about it as it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, BUT when you are the one hearing it….it’s priceless.

  11. Start writing out Christmas Cards now! Do this as you are watching TV in the evenings. As you are writing you'll be thinking of the amazing people that fill your world with great JOY and gratitude will flood your heart!

  12. Schedule YOURSELF some down time! You are planning for everything, leaving nothing out.....well, sortof. Make sure you plan some time to simply relax and be joyful.

There are so many more that I could include here, but I want to hear some of YOUR tips for taming the busiest season of the year!

I also want to see some of the things you are thankful for – big and LITTLE…so use the comment box below and share with us!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Birth

The Birth is a stunning drama that literally has one simple focus…. The Birth of Christ.

I had the privilege of a sneak preview via the Producer Nathan Rouse and found it nothing short of amazing.

With obvious love for what they do and the message they are presenting, the cast pours their heart into each of their roles as they focus on the one thing that is so often overlooked during the Christmas Season, The Birth.

As you listen to the actors, hear the music and see the performance, your mind will resonate with the characters as you consider their words. Me, personally – I was struck by the Inn Keeper. He saw them from a distance and knew what they wanted and the MILLION things he had going on instantly told him he didn’t have time for them. I wonder how many of us get so busy during the Christmas Season that we are just like the Inn Keeper and don’t have room for the very One we are celebrating.

This production is a refreshing reminder to focus on The Birth of Christ. It is done in a fashion that anyone, even those that are not active in a church, can enjoy.

If you are available to see The Birth, I hope that you will. Go with a group or with a special someone, regardless, you are in for a treat!

If you look at the materials on the website and decided you’d like to have the crew do a performance in your Church, please Contact them, you’ll be glad you did.

Thank you Nathan for inviting me! It was an honor and pleasure to meet you! I'm excited to see where The Birth will be headed in years to come!

To Purchase your Tickets - Click Here


  • Starving Artist Productions’ SIXTH YEAR staging The Birth.

  • Performing eight shows (or more if needed) over 7 days at the Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square in uptown Charlotte.

  • Shows run December 12 – 19, 2011

  • Show times, tickets and more information can be found at

  • Show has been twice-nominated (2009 & 2010) for Creative Loafing’s “Theatre Event of the Year”

  • “The Birth” is available for a limited number of private engagements for the holiday season

  • The Birth will host its annual Celebration Event with show and concert on Saturday, 12/17.

  • Check out previous reviews and stories about “The Birth” from Creative Loafing and the Charlotte Observer at

  • The show features both original and traditional holiday music and is based on the writings of Pulitzer Prize nominated author and theologian, Frederick Buechner.

  • Source material for the monologues is from The Magnificent Defeat by Buechner.

Here's a video of the Cast performing Shepherd's Song

Shepherd Song - The Birth - from Starving Artist Productions on Vimeo.

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