A letter of love & gratitiude-My Christmas gift to mom

by Mary Ann on January 1, 2011

A Peaceful Christmas Part 3 – Keeping it simple brings peace (Part 1).

Christmas Love Joy picture

Christmas Peace, Love, Joy

Over the last few days I have been sharing our Christmas of Peace experience with you. Here is the final installment of the story.

grandmother picture

My mom NaVon

I really worried about what to do for my mom,I wanted to give her a very special gift. She is 80 years old and lives in a small home. She has everything she needs as far as worldly possessions. Here is what she doesn’t have, the sure knowledge that she has done a good job as a parent. It ought to be obvious to her. But mothers do this, they worry about what they didn’t do and undervalue what they did do.

So I really pondered the problem of what to give her. One day I had a thought which I believe was from the Divine. I was to write her a letter and I was even counseled what to write about. It was a topic I could really get into, the many amazing gifts of love that she had given over the years despite hard financial times. So I sat down and wrote a nice little letter. When I prepared to copy and mail it I felt, “No, it isn’t done.” Gee I had a ton of other things to get on to!

But I STOPPED and thought about it. Then I spent the next five hours crafting the letter. (It took a lot longer than I had anticipated.) I dug through my old papers and found her original poems that came with each gift, which were always my children’s favorite. I ended the letter with this:

“All the years of my growing up you demonstrated to me how to live gracefully and abundantly no matter what was happening. I think this has been an amazing gift and has made it possible for me to do the same.

All I can give to you this year mom is my love and gratitude for a mother that lived fully despite lots of kids, no money, no car and being alone a lot of the time. It has made all the difference in my life.

I love you so much. Merry Christmas.”

Here is one example of what my mom would send each year. They didn’t have a lot of money and she had eight living children and a few dozen grandchildren. This particular year she and grandpa sent a big box of candied pop corn.

A Kernel of Love

popcorn candy picture

A Kernel of Love

Sometimes all you can do is not very much

For reasons hard to define.

Yet you’d like to do “oh so many things”

To make everything “just fine”.

This package is all I have to offer

To show how much we care.

But every kernel is a bit of love

And the sweet is the love we share.

May you remember the things we’ve done,

With fondness, with each tasty bite.

And maybe somehow we can join our souls,

And everything “Will Be Alright”!

My children LOVED that gift. It was one of their favorites!

My mom loved the letter I wrote. It was just what she needed.

Here is one final experience from our Christmas of Peace experiment.  My father was an educator. He developed a testing device to

grandparents picture

NaVon and Verl, my dad

find learning disabilities in children and spent many years working with them. However, in his heart of hearts he was a restaurateur. We always had a drive-in, or restaurant of some kind.

He was also a preparer, preparing for what might happen in life. He loved storing food, blankets, water, you name it. When he passed away we had a basement of ‘stuff’ to sift through. One of the things that we found was a box of bagged nutmeg. We are talking pounds of nutmeg! After my five sisters took what they wanted I came home with about 40 pounds of the spice.

As we contemplated what we could do to show our friends and church members our appreciation for their friendship over the years we had a thought. We bagged the nutmeg into ¼ pound bags and tied them with red ribbon to four delicious and delightful nutmeg cookie recipes.

As my daughter and I bagged I felt that my father was with us and was happy; happy that we hadn’t thrown it away, happy that we were putting it to good use. When we had made over 100 gift bags to share I had about 6 pounds left. Then I had this distinct impression: Save the rest. You can barter it. Good grief, that is so my dad and I am taking that advice. : )

I know that it has taken me a bit of time to share all this with you but I had an important purpose. I really do believe that keeping things simple brings peace whether we are talking about family schedules, the content of our Spark Station or the gifts we give at Christmas. It is important to remember what is really important. Rule of engagement 4 (under effective home school teaching strategies), “Keep it Simple“, is vital to peace of mind, to doing what is really needed and to making way for good things to come into our lives.

I wrote a blog yesterday about the wonderful article,Rachel DeMille wrote on this very subject (personal/family retreat ideas) . In case you missed it take the time to read it. I myself am going to take the time to reevaluate for the coming new year.

I also read a wonderful article by Michael McLean written for Meridian Magazine. He talked about getting and giving what is really needed.

What I am not saying  is that we shouldn’t shop, buy gifts, attend parties or cook for a week, if that is what we want to do. What I am saying is that it is important to avoid unrealistic expectations from ourselves and others. It is important to avoid needless busyness. It is important to determine what is most needful and let the rest go.

This Christmas because we heeded rule 4, keep it simple, Don and I really did get what we needed and were able to give to our family what they really needed. It was a remarkable season. The sense of peace and joy came from doing less and not from doing it all without losing it!

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