Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Deed

Never underestimate the power of a good deed, especially during the holidays. You never know whose life you’ll change forever. My life was forever changed thanks to a good deed back in Christmastime of 1988.

never underestimate the power of a good deed

It was Christmas time and I was a 21-year-old expectant mother of my first child. It should have been an exciting time. I should have been full of wonderment and joy. I was full of fear, and I was alone. My then (sorry I ever met him except for the fact that he gave me my first two true loves) husband got locked up for a DUI, again. I had just started a new job. I really didn’t know anyone there and I surely didn’t share my insane personal life with them.

My mom had called, after hearing of the news. I was at work, at my new job. I did my best to be quiet. No, mom, I don’t need anything. I’ll be fine. He’ll be out in a few days. I’m fine. I’m totally fine. Yes, I know it’s Christmas, but I’ve got this! No one heard, it was cool; I was fine. But apparently, someone heard and someone heard me cry in the bathroom after that phone call. Someone knew that I didn’t even have a tree. Someone KNEW that my heart needed to enjoy my favorite time of the year, despite my circumstances. Someone, her name was Julie, changed my life that year, in 1988, and I’ve dedicated my life ever since to paying it forward.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Deed

I walked into my office that next morning, sat down at my desk, and there was an envelope just staring at me, with my name on it. I opened it. I read words that warmed me like maybe no other words ever have. I cried.

$50. A cool $50 and a simple note. Doesn’t seem like much, right? Change in your pocket. So wrong.

So, so wrong.

Those words…everyone deserves a Merry Christmas…forever changed my life. And it’s changed the lives of many others since.

You see, that Christmas, that year, I was ready to throw in the towel. I didn’t want to bring a child into a cruel world that didn’t understand how much I loved this season…how much I loved humanity. I thought bad things, alone and pregnant in my little apartment that week. I wasn’t sure if I could go on…or not. I wasn’t sure if that baby girl had a future with a mom like me. That note, that kind and thoughtful note, changed my entire life and the life of my unborn baby girl.

I went out that very night and bought a tree, a fake one that didn’t make me sneeze, and blue ribbon with pink bows because at the time, I didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. I decorated my tree. I cried, I laughed, I rejoiced in life, and in the season. I was excited for the first time in a long time. Julie, little did she know, changed (possibly saved?) our lives.

still believe in the magic of christmas

With a kind note, $50, and love in her heart, she saved our lives and made me love Christmas again. Thank you, Julie, wherever you are. I still have your note. I still read your note. That note meant so much more than the money you tossed my way, so much more than that blue and pink Christmas tree that year, so much more than you’ll ever know.

NEVER underestimate the power of a good deed. Someone, somewhere, might still be fueling their Christmas spirit, their entire life in fact, off of that one good deed nearly 30 years later.

I often think of Julie. I often hope that her life turned out as good as mine. I’m pretty sure it did. Today, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about how I’ll afford a tree; how I’ll provide for my children. I’m in a better place. I thank the Julies in my life for putting me here and I’m determined to constantly pay it forward because I learned in 1988 that a simple kind deed can change someone’s life.

My life is better now, Julie, thank you. I hope you’re living the good life too; you earned it many years ago, whether you know it or not!

PS – Julie, I never told a soul back then, but I’m telling everyone now because they really need to know. Everyone needs to know. Your “simple” gesture way back then is too powerful to conceal anymore!

My Story…It’s Not Always Sparkly #DayOfLight

depression

Depression isn’t always obvious, y’all! It’s such a silent condition sometimes. Still we think to ourselves, these crazy people can’t control their emotions. They’re idiots. Depression is for losers who whine all of the time. We hate all of those whiners. That’s all they ever do. Whine. They never seem happy. Life is against them. They tell us often. Or do they? Did you ever stop to consider that the happiest people you know may suffer in silence? They don’t whine at all. They sparkle. They shine. Their life is the life that you want. But is it?

My friend, Brandi from Mama Knows It All, challenges us all every year to share our depression stories as part of her annual #DayOfLight. I usually ignore her. I mean, for real, no one wants to hear that shit. I’m not depressed. I’m happy. I sparkle, dammit. That’s what you need to hear, that’s what I need to tell you. I’m happy. I’m always effing happy. Always.

Sort of.

I allude to my depression I guess when I tell you of my marital or parenting woes. But  I never tell you about the deep issues. I should tell you about the deep issues. I should be honest with you. I’ve been dealing with depression for years. YEARS. It sucks. I suck, I guess, because I hide it.

Let’s go back. I was a happy child. I’ve had a good life. My parents provided, they were happy-ish. Life was good-ish. I’ll never blame them for what ails me, I’m my own worst enemy. When I grew up, life got real, y’all. Life got tough. I didn’t do well at life at first.

I had baby #1. I was a young mom with a baby that I adored, but she had a really bad dad and I had a really bad husband. He beat me. He beat me hard. He beat me a lot. I mean, I needed to be kept in my place. I got it. But we were a beautiful family…to the outside world. It was great. I had a second baby, she was goreous too, life was good…until he pushed me down the stairs while I was holding her.

I left. I’m glad I left. I was never happy then, never happy with him. Never. But here I was a young, single mom of 2 girls and I really wasn’t sure what to do. I knew we’d make it, but I was losing control of my emotions and fears. I didn’t like it.

I went to my doctor. He was awesome. Seriously, an awesome and understanding doctor. You couldn’t ask for more. I asked him why I had been crying so much. Why had I been so non-productive? Why couldn’t I wrap my head around anything anymore? I’d taken control. I’d left the cancer. WHY wasn’t I OK? Then the question came.

Have you ever thought of hurting yourself or your girls?

Pause. Such a long pause. Like 30 minutes in my head. He said it was only 30 seconds.

NO, I’ve never thought of hurting my girls. Ever. NO!!!

Yourself?

Pause. Looong pause. Actually my pause would have been indefinite if he hadn’t have spoken up. He had to break the silence. He was uncomfortable with my silence. I guess I was too so I’m thankful he spoke so that I didn’t have to.

He prescribed heavy mediation. Super heavy medication. He said that pause scared him. I agreed then that I had a problem, I got on the medication, and went into counseling.

I’m not on medication anymore. I guess the insurance ran out. I guess I felt like I didn’t need it anymore. I guess I’m an idiot. There are days when I don’t know how I function. There are days when I don’t know what to do. There are days when I feel that my family would probably be better off without me because I suck that much. Then I give myself a reality check, I realize that I am good enough, and I move right along. They need me. I’ll be OK.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t “fake” sparkle. I don’t “fake” being happy. For the most part, I am happy. I have a good life, I have a wonderful husband despite our problems (we’re married, y’all, we fight, it’s normal), I have lovely children even when they’re driving me nuts, and I have a job that challenges me that I truly love. But, sometimes, more often than I let on, that beast inside of me, the one that constantly nags at me and tells me I’m just not good enough, gets the best of me. When someone makes me feel like I’m not enough, it completely takes over and I slip into my own little world, the one where the beast rules and I’m not good enough. That’s the dark place that I hide, the place that hurts me, the place that hurts my family and my relationships.

There are days when I know I’m broken and need to be on medication again. And there are days that I feel great and I know I’m just fine and in my happy place. It’s weird. That’s how this works for a lot of people.

We all struggle. We all fight. Some of us hide in the darkness, alone with our desperate thoughts. Some of us shine as an example for others, sometimes just shining to please others. I hide alone. I shine in public. I’m scared of the dark. I’m scared of what others will think of me if they realize that I don’t sparkle all of the time.

I’m just always scared that one day that place will completely take over. Scared and alone, yet hopeful and shining surrounded by loved ones all at the same time. It’s weird. It’s contradictory, but that’s my story.

Every Day’s a Vacation with Old Factory Natural Soy Wax Candles

For the record, I received a set of 3 Old Factory Natural Soy Wax Candles in exchange for this post, but as always, all opinions, ideas, and photos are entirely my own.

Christmas gifts, Old Factory Candles, soy wax candles, natural candles, clean burning candles

Holiday gift giving. I struggle with it every year. I mean, I know what to buy the littles, but what about the adults in my life? I struggle. It’s cold outside and I’m not a fan of the cold. I love my island and 90% of the year, it’s warm and smells like vacation. So why not vacation 100% of the year and share that smell, that feeling of warmth, with all of the people I love for the holidays? Thankfully, Old Factory Natural Soy Wax Candles makes that easy for me. I can order a set of 3 clean burning candles in the scents of Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, and Awapuhi for just $25 to send to those I love this holiday season. Don’t like the smells of the island (what is wrong with you?), they have a variety of scents available including a Christmas collection and each candle burns cleanly for a total of 20 hours.

christmas gifts, soy candles, long burning candles

The best part? By ordering through Amazon, they’ll do the gift wrapping for you. I don’t know about you, but I’m a busy person. I’m a wife, a mother, and I work way more than full time. I don’t have time to shop outside of the home and I sure as heck don’t have time to gift wrap or mail anything. Ordering on Amazon means I can have my items gift wrapped and add a personal message with the click of a button. Cool, right? The package shows up right at their doorstep just like I did all of the work. But, I didn’t. I paid a nominal fee for someone else to do it for me. I feel like I’m winning at life with this service!

soy candles, christmas gifts, amazon shopping, free gift wrap

Like I said, I’m opting to give the gift of a vacation aroma this year, but if that’s not your thing, Old Factory offers a variety of scents that your recipients will enjoy including holiday scents. These candles offer a mild, clean burning scent that everyone will enjoy. They’re perfect for gift giving or to enjoy in your own home. Plus the ease of ordering is a win for everyone. Holiday shopping just got a little bit easier and I’m loving the smell of victory!