Mean 

Mean 

Fridays are usually my kids favorite days. No homework means straight up fun all afternoon. After the first full week of school I thought my kids would be stoked that Friday afternoon had finally arrived.
All seemed good in the car. Of course my momdar (mom + radar) should have gone off when my daughter asked, “Do you like my outfit?” five minutes into our car ride home.

By the time we arrived home and kids piled out of the car, tears were streaming down her face. “What happened?” I asked; still not putting two and two together.

After a long hug and a few sobs she tells me that a girl said to her, “What are you wearing? Seriously, if you had just changed the bottom of that outfit maybe it would have been okay.” 

Fury. White-hot anger. Pain. Hurt. All this washes over me for her. As that simmers to a calm, I try to clean away this comment that will forever leave a stain. Nothing I say can completely erode the hurt from her heart. I know from experience. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was a full-fledged dreamer and a stone cold liar.

We talk about responses for next time because apparently this girl thinks everyone needs to hear her opinion no matter what it is. My girl is finally calm and she decides to change her clothes. And even though we move past that hurtful moment, it sits with me still when my eyes pop open at 6 AM Saturday morning.

Kids say hurtful things. Adults say hurtful things. 

I feel that I am doing my part for humanity to teach my children that if something isn’t helpful, kind, or necessary that maybe that little piece of information is better left unsaid. We talk about the Golden Rule at least 10 times a day. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – or in our speak – treat others how you want to be treated.

But…will mean ever never stop?

Hurt people; hurt people. People who feel low and little feel the path to rise up is through stealing someone else’s power. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This quote is embroidered into my soul. 

Children learn to speak by listening to those around them. I hear the words I say spill from my children’s lips.

I have heard people say that parents cannot be blamed for how their children behave. I have heard moms excuse away mean behavior with “kid will be kids”.

If we don’t teach them, if we don’t take responsibility for who they become then who will? What will ever change?

I know what occurred Friday isn’t the first or last time that something like this will happen. Heck, I am an adult and I still face these challenges and comments from other adults! What hurts my heart more deeply is that this happens to all of us. That our world still has people in it that find excuses for hate – they hide behind religion, race, history or whatever excuse they can find to eradicate the simple fact that each of us alone is responsible for what we bring to the table. It comes down to the individual and if you can hurl a hate-filled slur at another human it has nothing to do with anything but your own bad behavior. There is no excuse you can hide behind. Your poor choices and actions stand alone. No circumstance, no religion, no difference, nothing defends that action. You hurt another human. That is all. 

We need to teach our children that simple fact. We are the same. Despite our exterior and cultural differences, we are the same. We all have a heart. We all want love. We all need the human basics – water, food, etc. Treat one another with respect. Do not hurt another person. It should just be that simple. 

Until next time,

Michelle

Prelude to Holiday Cheer

Prelude to Holiday Cheer

Each year I do a fundraiser and then deliver gifts to 25 people (1 each day in December) to people who need a little extra cheer. These people usually have touched, inspired, or changed someone’s life in our community (or far away – we have delivered to Denver, Utah, and well all over actually) and they are nominated to receive one of the gifts.

I recently received an email about one of our recipients from last year. I didn’t write about her last December because tragedy struck her family just after she was nominated. I waited. I wanted her to have some space to heal and even now I am going to call her Kate to protect her identity.

Kate and her husband, like many couples, had to do extra work to become parents. They have miscarried several times and decided to take one final attempt last year. Kate and her husband were thrilled because she was expecting twins. She was put on bed rest in the second trimester. At the beginning of December tragedy struck when she lost her babies; twin girls.

The person that nominated her still wanted to deliver something, but the basket that had been prepared for an expectant mother on bed rest would no longer do at all. So I found a small business on Etsy where the woman creates angel necklaces for women who have miscarried. The name of the shop is Blue Room Gems (you can check it out by clicking here). Creating a necklace for her seemed perfect. So a new basket was crafted with this handmade jewelry and a hand-made throw. My dear friend ensured that this was delivered at just the right time to Kate.

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Necklace from Blue Room Gems.

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Well, Kate was so touched by the basket and the gift that she took our idea and continued it. She began to turn her grief into energy to help others, as grieving mothers tend to do.

She began creating and delivering baskets of her own to women in hospitals who were on journeys similar to her own. She wanted to gift them hope and love; just as she felt she had been gifted.

The blessings continued and Kate’s story evolved and grew and the hope she felt led her to try again for a baby. Kate is expecting and everything is going smoothly as of now. Continue to pray for her and her family and I promise to keep you updated.

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A display at “Kate’s” house with the framed phrase we included with her gift.

Kate inspired me to keep Holiday Cheer going and this year I want to help as many people as we can. I am shooting for 31 nominations so that we can gift a nominee every day in December. I know we can make it a success this year, too. This is such a wonderful way to give back; because like Kate so many of the recipients pay it forward. This sparks so many to keep giving and hope continues to grow. Our world needs hope and so here we go again with our  3rd annual fundraiser – 31 Days of Holiday Cheer!

It is easy – YOU dear readers, nominate a person you think is worthy and YOU my dear readers can donate, make, or just share this with others so that we can make this the most successful Holiday Cheer EVER!

So how does this work:

To nominate someone: It can be anyone, adult or child, male or female. The person nominated just needs to be someone who could use some cheer or just needs some hope breathed into their life. To nominate someone is easy – just email me a short paragraph about the person, with their name and why you think they should be a recipient. Then include something you think they might need this holiday season. Email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com.

To donate: I will have several “parties” that will allow you to purchase gifts for the holidays or just for yourself or you can purchase for one of our nominees. Then I use the proceeds of these parties to purchase gifts for our nominees. There will be an online Stella  and Dot party and a Thirty-one party online. I will host a LulaRoe pop-up for those close by. And last but not least the things that worked best last year anyone can donate gift cards, cash, or even sponsor a recipient by purchasing something directly for them. Again, email me at mlmurnin@yahoo.com to arrange for donations to be collected and Like my facebook page for details about the parties.

Get others involved: Share this post with your friends, family, friends of friends, and community. I know if we have enough involvement we can raise more donations and help people even more than we did last year.

What do we need to beat? Last year we collected over $2000 in cash and gift card donations. Last year we purchased nearly $2000 in gifts and other goods. All together with hand made donations and other purchased items we topped over $5000 in gifts for the recipients.

Can we go bigger this year? Can we do 31 days of Holiday Cheer? YES WE CAN! 

I can’t wait to see what happens this year,

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Day 17: Meet Vanessa

Day 17: Meet Vanessa

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” – Desmond Tutu

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Okay so today I am going to get up on my soapbox a little bit for this one. Pediatric cancer is a cause that is near and dear to my family. I know too many lives that have been forever altered by this disease. Did you know that 3 new medicines have been created for pediatric cancer in the last 20 years and that 23 new medicines were created for adults in 2012 alone? And as you saw from the stats above there is little funding that goes toward pediatric cancer from the government or other existing cancer organizations. Unravel, which I have spoken about before is an organization that specifically raises money for pediatric cancer. We need to start paying attention to these stats and to the faces of pediatric cancer and start saving their lives.

Today’s recipient is fighting cancer and if you noticed we had an earlier recipient that is fighting pediatric cancer and we have another one I haven’t yet written to you about. Bottom line there are too many children that are fighting this disease to have only 3 types of medicine to fight it and very little funding to back new research.

And now as I step down from my soap box that brings me to Vanessa. Readers meet Vanessa.

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Vanessa  recently had her leg amputated as part of her battle with this disease. Shaleen nominated Vanessa and had this to say about her, “I have seen some of her journey on FB and it is truly amazing to see her bright smile in every single picture whether she is out and about in her wheel chair or in the hospital bed. Her huge family has been right by her side through this all. To see the love they have for Vanessa and the strength they all have is amazing!”

 

When Shaleen told Vanessa’s aunt that she had been nominated and was chosen to receive a gift she was so touched.  She wrote in to say, “[T]hank you so much. It’s definitely been tough, but she’s still here with us and despite what she’s gone and going through she’s in good spirits. She’s a tough cookie !” She also let us know that she really wanted an American Girl doll. What happened next brought Shaleen and I to tears.

I posted on my FB group page that we needed an American Girl doll for a recipient that was battling cancer. I had two donations within 10 minutes. The sense of joy and gratefulness that encapsulated my heart was indescribable. You have already seen that Elayna received one of the dolls (click here to read about it in case you haven’t read that post yet) and Vanessa was given a doll as well. Then what was even more special is my friend Rebecca heard about who the recipients were and she told her mom who then made scarves and hats for all the girls and tons of doll clothes! You elves are one amazing bunch that is for sure!

 

It gets better…Katie who donated the doll, movie, and one of the outfits took her girls with her so they could share in the Holiday Cheer and learn about doing something good for others. Check it out…

Then this transpired on Facebook after the delivery of the gift and I just had to share because this is what holiday cheer is all about!

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Speechless yet…yeah I was, too.

I know I speak for all of us when I say we are sending prayers and thoughts of supreme strength to Vanessa and her family. She is a brave soul who is definitely one tough cookie. We hope that the gift brought her some joy and let her know that there are so many people rooting for her, so many people whose lives she has touched.

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Until there is a cure,

Shaleen, Katie, Rebecca, Michelle and the holiday cheer elves

P.S. to learn more about Unravel click here.

 

Day 16: The Artist

Life is its own protection from death – Aliza Hubbs

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Aliza, the artist, is today’s recipient. Aliza is a warrior, a true survivor. But more importantly she is a wife, friend, sister, daughter, mother.

I met Aliza in junior high. She was always kind, generous, and lived with such an open heart.

She and I had mutual friends and this year at holiday cheer time our friend Shaleen mentioned to me what Aliza had been through the past year. She had 6 surgeries all while fighting breast cancer, all while being a mom to a young child. I knew she was a perfect candidate for holiday cheer.

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Aliza is an amazing, caring, compassionate, beautiful soul. I am in awe of her strength and courage as she chronicled some of her journey on her Facebook page. She was raw, honest and authentic as she shared her trials, pain, and gratefulness for life.

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I wanted to share Aliza’s thank you card with all of you so that you could see that you do make a difference. Thank you to those that contributed to Holiday Cheer and helping spread goodness this holiday season.

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Sincerely,

Michelle

Day 15: Mom is the word

Moms are all pretty amazing really. How they manage all that is on their plate, how they find a way to smile through the chaos, how their hearts do not explode because of the amount of love that resides in it, and how they keep their sanity through raising children.

IMG_3352Today’s recipient is a mom. Her kids are grown, but being a mom never ends. She has had a difficult year and her daughter wanted to let her know that despite the obstacles she had faced this year she did it with grace and strength. Her daughter was so proud of her mom and all that she had overcome.

We hope that the holiday cheer found this mom and brought her a smile. We hope it reminded her of all the goodness that resides within her.

Happy Holiday Cheer,

Jacinda and the Holiday Cheer Elves

Day 14: She is the perfect combination of Princess and Warrior

 

I am so excited to introduce you all to Elayna. She is absolutely radiant! I first came into contact with Elayna and her mom, Lucy while our family was fluttering in September for Unravel. (If you haven’t heard about Unravel yet is an organization that was founded to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research and you can learn more here). Elayna is a cancer survivor and she wanted to be a part of the Unravel Fluttering Campaign to help children like her. Her mom shared pictures and videos via a group on FB and well…we all just got to know her so well. Her vibrant, energetic passion and love of life was contagious to say the least. I mean just look at this kid!

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At 6 she has already beat kidney cancer and was 9 months into remission when I “met” her via the Unravel Fluttering Facebook Group. What happened next was heartbreaking. This princess warrior was diagnosed with lung cancer. Elayna and her family are once again fighting a battle against cancer.

There are two fundraising pages for Elayna in case you are interested in helping her and her family since I know many of you have asked how you can help more:

Her new gofundme page is at: https://www.gofundme.com/Elayna

Her original youcaring page (which is still set up and working!) is at:https://www.youcaring.com/medi…/let-s-go-team-elayna-/171690

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What was amazing was that a pair of donors came forward that wanted to get Elayna an American Girl doll. Not only did they get her a doll they also purchased matching pjs for her and the doll, the movie, book and accessories for the doll. I was in awe of their generosity. We also had someone hand make a scarf and matching hat for Elayna.

Elayna’s mom Lucy had this to say about the gift once it was delivered,

“This girl is so loved. Thank you so much for caring enough about her fight and her path to want to send her some joy like this. I looooove the frame picture. And the hat and scarf are sure to be favorites right away. 💕 Elayna has never had a “real” doll before and it was hilarious to see that she didn’t know what you did with one at first when she unwrapped Kit. When I explained all the things you could do with her (and that she came with a story and all) she said ‘Can you even put pjs on them?’ And I said, ‘I’m sure we can get pjs someday for her.’ Then she couldn’t stop smiling and giggling when she opened the pajamas next. Ha! Please thank everyone who was involved in Elayna’s gifts. We are so touched by the generous spirit.”

Thank you so much, Holiday Cheer Elves: Bella, Kim and Rebecca for bringing a smile to Elayna’s face.
All of the Holiday Cheer Elves are praying and cheering for Team Elayna.
Sincerely,
The Holiday Cheer Elves

Day 13: The difference a teacher can make

IMG_3317I know it is way past Christmas and I am just writing Day 13 and I hope our recipient will forgive me and the recipients after for that matter for the tardiness of these posts.

Day 13 belongs to a person who does what she does each and every day to the best of her ability without want or need for a thank you. She is a teacher. She teaches third grade at a local elementary school.

Mrs. Gamm is quiet, reserved and hard working. She truly hopes to impart knowledge and knowledge finding skills to her students, but what I find most impressive is that she still believes that the classroom is a place where you teach citizenship, kindness, manners and compassion. She believes that it is part of the curriculum to teach her students life skills.

While she is a stickler for grammar, neatness and a good work ethic from her students she also assigns a Random Act of Kindness as a homework assignment weekly. This can be something small or big; it is up to the student, but they are required to find ways to be helpful at home and in the community because that is what good citizens do.

She always has time to talk or work with students after school and makes sure to include families in all of the class events. Her work is her passion.

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Handmade card by DeAnna.

When I met Mrs. Gamm three years ago, I was quickly put at ease by her down to earth manner and authenticity. She is such a true and genuine soul. It was such an honor to be able to deliver her gift.

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Scarf, lotions, Starbucks and Barnes and Noble gift cards.

She was so surprised that she was nominated. She could not believe that she was a recipient. I told her that is what Holiday Cheer is about. It is about taking time to make sure that people who are just being themselves, doing what they do every day, know that they make an extraordinary difference in the lives of others. That they truly are spectacular just being who they are.

Thank you, Mrs. Gamm for the difference you make each year for so many. Our world is a better place because of what you do each and every day.

Sincerely,

The Holiday Cheer Elves

 

Day 12: Helping Single Mamas is our Game

Day 12: Helping Single Mamas is our Game

Good morning sweet readers,

I am sure you know it is Christmas Eve and that I am only writing Day 12. Well let’s just say that the spirit of Christmas will get to live on in this blog until after it passes. I will write about each and every delivery, I assure you.

Right now let’s turn our focus to day 12’s recipient. She was nominated by Jacinda. Stacy is a special needs teacher for Gilroy Unified School District who also happens to be a single mom. She has been working hard to help her children and herself have a stable life. The last few years have not been easy to say the least.

But they had great news this month and were finally able to move into a home on December 15th. We wanted to add to that good cheer by bringing them some extra goodies for their family.

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Because of all of you we were able to deliver toys, gift cards, and a beautiful handmade sign. This wouldn’t be possible without all of you.

Stacy is the good in the world and so are you. Bringing you all together to spread kindness and cheer is really what this season is all about. I wish you a very Merry Christmas today and thank you from the bottom of my heart that you were able to deliver this holiday cheer to Stacy and her family.

Happy Holidays,

The Holiday Cheer Elves

 

Day 11: Sweet little family

Day 11: Sweet little family

Day 11 belongs to a sweet little family of one mama doing everything all on her own and two sweet boys. This single mama is beyond amazing and has the strength of a warrior, but then again all single mamas do. But, this single mama is also helping one of her sons battle Leukemia. It has become difficult for her to work as she is busy taking her son to all of his treatments. So this year her friend, Lindsay, wrote to me to see if we could send something to her to let her know that there are people praying for her and her sweet little family.

You all really delivered for our families in need in this year. For Michelle and her boys we were able to supply Minecraft Legos and shirts for both boys. They also received two books each. With your donations we were able to send Michelle Vons gift cards to help with groceries, a gas gift card, a Spa Finder gift card, and a Target gift card. Hopefully our donations were able to make the month of December a tad bit easier and joyful for her and her family.

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Michelle, our warrior mama, we send you prayers and strength to help you as you battle for your son. You are an everyday hero and we hope that our little gift made your December just a tad bit cheerier.

Sincerely,

The Holiday Cheer Elves

Holiday Cheer Day 6: A guest post from Tiff

Holiday Cheer Day 6: A guest post from Tiff

YouAreLoved_Black_8x10_HappyHippoArts (1)For today’s nominee I would like to share the nomination letter that was submitted by Tiff about Stephanie. Tiff relays why Stephanie needed Holiday Cheer:

“This recipient is an extraordinary lady. She is an amazing mom, daughter, friend, wife, sister and all around phenomenally loving spirit. She manages to keep this incredible beaming kinetic energy, and awesome sense of humor, and joy for life even during the rockiest of times. She has dealt with an exceptionally tough year, with some financial and medical issues that would have knocked anyone of the Avengers to their knees, but she has weathered it with an open and loving heart. For this reason , I was very excited to be able to nominate her.

She is one of those people that spend her time making sure that she has taken care of all the people around her that she loves. She is always taking care of everyone else, sometimes to the exclusion of herself. Her kids are such great, bright, centered little guys, and it is because she gives them balance and strength, and a soft, safe place to land when times get rough. She is the kind of mom who lets them be themselves , and reminds them that they don’t need to let anyone else define them.

She has also directed that same sense of light and love toward her other family members and friends. She is that mom who you would go to for shelter, for help, or just if you needed to whine about something. My gratitude for this woman is huge. My respect for how she lives her life as a go-er, a do-er and a mama-bear extraordinaire is unending. She has talked me off many anxiety ledges and has been such a comfort; a true friend when I was feeling isolated and alone. 

Her effect on all the other people around her is deep and profound. I don’t think she realizes how much she truly does impact so many of us. I think this was a way to let her know how very much she is loved and appreciated. She has this gift of turning her burden into blessings on a daily basis and in doing so she is teaching her boys and all the rest of us an invaluable lesson: Cherish what you have right now…the rest of the story will play out in its own good time. Thanks for the lesson, my friend.”

Not only does this beautiful letter describe our recipient perfectly, more magic happened with this nomination when a local hair stylist, Patty Ann came forward asking to help out a whole family. She wanted to donate to a family because she had known hardship herself and had received kindness. She took this as an opportunity to pay it forward. Patty Ann (shown below) collected a grocery gift card, and herself bought a tree, Vans gift cards for the boys, a cut and color for Stephanie, and dinner and movie out. Patty Ann is also an extraordinary person and that these two selfless women were connected through Holiday Cheer is so very touching to me.

So cherish what you have,

Tiff & Patty Ann

 

Holiday Cheer Day 5:Selfless

IMG_3242 (1)Our nominee for day five is Karin. Karin has recently become the primary caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She has selflessly opened up her home to both her mother and father while her mother battles this disease.

Despite what Karin is going through on a personal level, she always remains positive and upbeat. If you didn’t know about her personal life and were just meeting her, you would never know what she was going through. She never complains and is always ready to listen to others and help where she can.

Karin, also opens up her home to other members of her family as they need it. This past summer her niece was living with her. It is just second nature to Karin to help others when they are in need.

Our Holiday Cheer Elves were able to get her a little de-stress gift basket with relaxing lotions, beauty supplies, candles, a spa gift card, wine and a homemade scarf. We hope that she can take a little time to herself and know that she is an everyday hero.

Sincerely.

Michelle and the Holiday Cheer Elves

Day 4: Holiday Blessings

Day 4: Holiday Blessings

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Today is the first day I cried tears of joy for what you were all able to accomplish. A single father of two, who coaches multiple sports and works multiple jobs to make ends meet was our recipient.

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I will never forget the first time I met Rick. Our sons happened to be in the same class together. I was attending Back to School Night and as we were walking out of the classroom his son held the door open for me and waited for me to exit the classroom. I was in awe of the eight-year-old gentleman that held the door open for me. It was Rick’s son. When I complimented Rick on his son he was incredibly humble.

Being a dad is what makes Rick the most proud and he puts everything he has into being a good father and provider for his family. His kids are truly an example of what a great father he is. They are hard workers, dedicated athletes, and bright scholars.

This past year has been a bit tougher and two of his friends wanted to help ease the stress for him. They were able to do that tonight when they delivered our goodies; donations you helped provide. When I talked to one of them after the delivery tonight and heard how touched Rick was I teared up. Knowing that our gift made such a big difference for someone and will make their holiday easier is such a blessing.

Rick, you are a man of value. Everything you do, you do with the best intentions and honor. We wish you and your family a very, happy holiday.

Peace and Love,

Michelle and the Holiday Cheer Elves

Holiday Cheer Day 3:Best Friends to Infinity and Beyond

Holiday Cheer Day 3:Best Friends to Infinity and Beyond

IMG_3250Do you remember the day you met your best friend? Which friend of yours has been through your life the whole way through? Now could you imagine that after only knowing them for a few short years you would have to go through losing them. Now take even another moment to think about what it would be like to bear that loss at 6 years old.

Our recipient for day 3 doesn’t have to think about that she lives it. Jaeda lost her BFF when she was 6 years old. For the last two years she has had to learn what life is like here while her BFF is in heaven.

Her mom. Amy, has shared her thoughts via FB and I thought I would share them here as well:

Jaeda“We love and miss her so much. Lately Jaeda has been noticing that the songs they used to dance to are now old songs. She wonders if they’d still be having dance parties to the new songs. Jaeda will forever miss this friendship, a young friendship that taught them how to be a friend.”

 

jlk & Jaeda“One of my favorite pictures of these sweet girls! …These girls had so many first things together. First sleep over, first concerts (gilroy gardens concerts were so fun with these dancers), first time riding in cars together, sharing clothes, sharing exciting news (Jaeda told Jennifer on the phone when she found out about Ava ), swimming together, learning how to bribe moms for dinner dates and the talent of a princess show! This year without her friendship, her spunk and sparkle has been so very hard. I’m thankful for all the time we shared with this amazing princess…but so very angry that she is forever 6.”

jaeda unravelJaeda is one of the most mature and well mannered young ladies I have ever met. Whether she is Fluttering or manning a bake sale, she is incredibly involved with raising awareness and funds for Unravel, an organization that raising money for pediatric cancer research and treatment. She is committed to putting an end to the disease that robbed her of her best friend. Beyond her passion to put an end to pediatric cancer, Jaeda has been recognized both at church and school for her character.

IMG_3252Delivering Jaeda’s gift was such a wonderful experience. She was so excited. The homemade pillowcases she loved because she loves pillowcases and has one from a recent sleepover where all her friends signed it, which she excitedly showed me.

She was excited about the Descendants DVD, but flipped out when she saw the Justice and Claire’s gift cards. She couldn’t believe we guessed her favorite stores.

jlk & jaeda 2At 8, Jaeda is poised, polite, and carries a compassion that is greater than people four times her age. Thank you all for making this sweet girl’s day a little brighter and helping to let her know we are all supporting her.

Peace and love,

Michelle and the Holiday Cheer Elves

 

Cheer Day 30

Cheer Day 30

Cheer Day 30

On November 2nd I received a note from Leighan. Leighan knows my aunt and our daughter’s have danced together over the past four years.

She wrote to me that she would like to nominate her mom, Linda, for Holiday Cheer this year. She wrote to tell me that her mother is “a selfless and amazing woman.” I couldn’t agree more.

Cheer Day 30 gift

Linda is the embodiment of kindness. When I met her at dance a few years back and realized she was Leighan’s mom, I told her how much I loved her family and she answered, “Me, too.” I instantly like her. She then immediately opened up and shared how proud she was of her daughter and grandkids. Linda is just a pure pleasure to be around.

When you meet Linda you would have no idea the kind of battles she has fought behind the scenes. She is always upbeat and optimistic. Her smile and kind heart are what you always notice first. However, 10 years ago she cared for her husband as he suffered and then passed away from cancer. Amazingly she found love again.

But over the last few years she has cared for her second husband who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Seven days after Leighan nominated Linda, hospice was called in to help Linda care for her second husband.

On November 16th, just 14 days after I received Leighan’s note, heaven welcomed Linda’s second husband with a glorious sunrise.

Leighan Sunrise

Linda, we know your world has forever changed. While our holiday cheer is small, we hope that it brings some comfort in knowing that there is a circle of people who care and are praying for your continued strength as your navigate your new normal. You are most loved.

Love,

The Cheer Squad

Cheer Day 29

Cheer Day 29

Cheer Day 29

On the 29th of December, Tiffany was able to deliver a gift of cheer to Melissa. Tiffany nominated Melissa because she knew Melissa could use a little extra cheer. Melissa had been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in 2014 and was finishing up her last rounds of chemo in December.

Melissa is a mother of four and married to a police officer. When I first moved to Gilroy, Melissa was the first person to say hi. We instantly bonded over both being moms of four and would often share a sigh or smile over just making it to school on time in the morning with our younger kids in tow.

Melissa’s smile is the first thing you notice about her. It is the biggest, brightest ray of light. Over the last months of 2014 I never saw that smile fade, even when she was fighting this horrid disease. Her courage and strength inspire us all.

Melissa is actively involved in her children’s school. She volunteers in classrooms, for events, and is there daily to offer a helping hand. She also is actively involved in her children’s activities. Melissa continued to be involved throughout her treatment as much as she could be. The campaign around town in support of her fight was Melissa Strong and that is exactly what and who Melissa is, STRONG.

Cheer Day 29 Gift

Melissa you are an amazing mother and wife, a true friend, and a hero to all those that know you.

Love,

The Cheer Squad