Letter to Santa…

Dear Santa, 

It’s me again.  Of course, you remember me!  We’ve shared many Christmas letters over the years.  I’m not saying how many years, because you already know how long it’s been.  I’ve tried not to be too naughty this year.   I think I’ve done pretty well on the nice part, too, so if those are the qualifiers with you, I should find all of my wish list items under my tree, right!  That is the way it’s supposed to work.  At least that’s how your marketing department promotes it. I heard on a TV commercial for Macy’s, I just have to “believe” and my wishes would be granted.

My list is a little different this year.  I actually think you’re going to have to do the “Miracle on 34th St.” thing to make this all happen, but from what I’ve heard, that’s not a problem for you, right?  Here goes.

1.  Someone I love is trapped in the prison of addiction.  I need him to be free, free for good and you don’t have to wait until Christmas for this!  You know who it is, because you’ve been watching, right?

2.  Someone else I love is in jail and may be sentenced to prison again.  It’s alcoholism that keeps getting him in trouble.   I’m not sure what to ask for him, but I need whatever is best for him to happen.  You know who this is, too.

3.  There is another who has to do everything on her own, I mean taking care of her child on her own and trying to make life work, without a spouse.  She needs help with so many of the issues that come as a result of being a single parent.  I need you to send her all of the help that she needs.  You know who she is and you know how much I love her, too.

4.  Then there is the one who needs to know which way his life is supposed to take him.  There are so many options and so many obstacles that may look too big to overcome.  Can you give him a road map for his life, or at least point him in the right direction?  You know how much I love this one, too.

5.  And then there are the many that I love that need help in their finances.  The bills just keep coming for them and the pay check doesn’t stretch that far.  Maybe you can help them win the lottery or something.  I really care about them.  You know who I’m talking about, right!

6.  I can’t forget the ones who are close to me that are dealing with serious health issues.  They need to be healthy and whole again.  You can do this if I just believe, right?

7.  I have a whole group of people that I love and care about that lost people they have loved this past year.  This is their first Christmas without them.  Moms who lost children, kids who lost parents, those who lost a spouse…  The grief is excruciatingly painful for them right now.  They need more than a giant hug from you.  I’m really trying hard to believe you can give them what they need here…

8.  Wow, so many situations come to mind.  There are the ones who are lonely, the ones overwhelmed with life pressure, dangling at the end of their rope, those whose hope has run out…

Santa, I deeply care for the people who are trying to live with all of this really hard stuff.  Please Santa, can you make these wishes come true for Christmas this year???

Santa, I need to make a confession here.  We both know that there have been many times I had things on my Christmas list that never made an appearance under my tree.  I was really good those years, too!  And in the early years, I did believe, but honestly, I can’t trust you with these things anymore.  You are a really swell guy and you’ve been fun and all, but I’m afraid this will have to be my last letter to you.  You see, the things that are really important to me are the people I love.  You just don’t have the kind of power needed to do what I’ve asked for this year.  It’s time for you to face the fact that even you need a far greater power than yourself to tackle the serious issues life throws at us these days.

Seriously, Santa, you might as well know now, I have my trust in another love.  He’s a far greater power than you, and really, the only hope for any of these wish list items getting done.  I can hope you bring me everything I want, but I’m old enough to know, hope without God, means no hope for my wish list.  I know this for fact from my years of experience.  God has already made, like a million wishes come true for me.  I know you might be sad to have to hear this, but it’s really good news for you, because, surely Santa, you must have some pretty hefty wish list items of your own.

Just know Santa, I will still have fun with you every Christmas.  That will never change.  But when it comes to my serious wish list items, I won’t be putting a letter in the Macy’s mailbox for you anymore.  I’ve learned that anything Santa can’t do, God can do, and He does it much better!

Merry Christmas, Santa!

Your Friend for life,



The Dark Room, Continued… Part 2

The night was long, cold and eerie.  The Princess struggled to find a comfortable position on the small porch of the cottage as she drifted in and out consciousness.  She forced herself to keep her eyes closed so as not to observe the shadowy figures moving about the clearing.  Whether they were real or imagined, she did not want to know.  Thankfully, the restless moments of wakening were quickly overtaken by her exhaustion.  As dawn approached, the Princess became keenly aware of her own hunger and thirst.  She needed to get back to the castle, but the door to this room seemed to have a magnetic attraction on something deep within her soul.  She dozed briefly until daylight came.

The little clearing was so peaceful.  The sun light pierced through the forest trees as the sounds of singing birds filled the air.  How could there be something so dreadful in this beautiful place?  The Princess just had to see what was in that room.  What was drawing her here?  Why was so much emotion and fear attached to this place?

As the Princess got up and approached the door, apprehension once again attempted to overtake her.  Somehow, she mustered the strength to face whatever it was that was causing the fear.  Her shaky hand gripping the knob, this time she was able to push the old, creaky door open.  She stood in the doorway for a moment and peered into the dimly lit room.  Yes, this was familiar.  This had been her playhouse as a little girl.  As her eyes skimmed the objects in the room, she recognized each item as having once been a part of her life.  Some items made her feel warm and safe.  There was the little table and chairs with the tiny china tea set still set for a tea party.  Over in the corner was the little doll bed that her father had made with his own hands.  Her favorite doll was still swaddled and appeared to be soundly sleeping.  Next to the doll bed was her little rocking chair where she used to sing as she pretended to rock her baby doll to sleep.  The Princess remembered daydreams of one day being a real mommy and how wonderful she imagined that would be.  From that little rocking chair, she dreamed of someday being the best wife and mommy in the world.

Why had she been afraid to enter this room?  Why had it been so many years since she revisited this wonderful place?  Why had it been suddenly abandoned?

As the Princess felt more relaxed now, she allowed her mind to wander farther into her childhood memories.  She was surprised that she was actually enjoying her little journey.  Suddenly her gaze fell on an object on the floor beside the little kitchen set where she had once pretended to cook wonderful meals.  She moved closer to see it.  As she bent down to reach into the shadows, terror once again swept over her.  With her shaky hand, she grasped the soft furry paw of her favorite, most valuable, childhood treasure.  The Princess brushed the dust off of her old tattered teddy bear.  It had been given to her as a very special gift.  It wasn’t just an ordinary teddy bear.  This teddy bear was considered to be a valuable collector’s item, something to be taken care of, held onto and cherished.  And that she had done.  Tears began to trickle down her cheeks as the ugly memories associated with her teddy bear emerged into her conscious mind.  The waves of emotion once again consumed her as she clutched the teddy bear to her chest.  She now knew why she had not come back to this place, why this place had become a room of terror.  She had a choice to make now.  Once again, she could run as fast as she could far away from this place, never to return, or she could face this thing that terrified her and allow this past part of her history to become part of her story.  The Princess knew that she had to come back here.  She had to face what she feared, possibly reclaim a part of her that had been lost.  She laid the teddy bear back on the dirty floor where she had found it, the same place it had landed years ago when innocence was stolen.  She vowed to herself to come back to this placed.  It would just have to wait for another day.

To be continued…

Do you think bad memories should be buried and left for dead or brought to light and faced head on?  Any of your own stories that you would care to share?

It’s a Good Day to Shine…

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, there lived a princess.  Actually, the whole land was filled with many princesses, queens and assorted royalty figures.  This princess in particular, did not live the life that you would expect a princess to live.  She did not live in a luxurious castle.  She did not have satiny flowing gowns or glass slippers to flaunt at the local castle country club.  She was not chauffeured around town a in a beautiful carriage with handsome, buff footmen.  She did not have attendants doe ting over her and making sure that her every whim was met before even the thought escaped her mind.

In reality, this princess lived in the small castle of a commoner.  She worked long hours doing the exhaustive physical labor that other royal figures in the land preferred not to do.    She cleaned toilets, scrubbed floors, washed windows and made the castles in the land sparkle.  Because she did and even enjoyed doing this, she was thought of as more of a peasant, rather than a princess.  People would often give their demands without even giving her the time of day.  Instead of being appreciated and esteemed, she was overlooked and pushed aside when it came to being included as a valuable part of the lives of those that she served.

This princess was also a mother to four little royalty figures and the wife of a prince, each of whom came with a list of assorted duties to be completed each day.  Life in the castle of the princess was very difficult.  Circumstances behind the castle walls were such, that the members of this royal family often felt overwhelming stress.  The princess would relish in the brief moments of solitude that she would find in the early morning hours of each new day.  She would shed her tears and try to find the strength needed to face the day once again.  The reality was that there were no fast solutions or really much hope that life would get easier anytime soon.

One day in particular, the princess was having a very difficult time holding back the stream of moisture that attempted to spill over onto her cheeks.  Overwhelming feelings of fear, helplessness and hopelessness were more than she could bear this day.  She was not able to put on her normal happy face.  Instead of warm smiles and cheerful greetings, those she encountered received a sad, silent glance, which was so unlike the princess.

The sky was particularly cloudy and dark on this day, not typical to this enchanted land.  The princess directed her chariot towards the castles of those she would serve.  As she rounded a curve in the road, a bright beam of sunlight suddenly broke through the gray clouds blinding her for a brief instant.  She had a very special unforgettable, life changing moment that gloomy morning, right there in her chariot.  The sun instantly bathed her in warmth like a hug.  A peaceful presence seemed to fill her chariot.  She felt refreshing strength bubble up from within her as she heard these words.  “Remember who you are.  I made you to shine.  Just as the sun is still shining behind the clouds on the gloomiest day and in the darkest storm, so should you still shine.”

Yes, the princess was still a princess, even though she was not living in one of those fancy castles, even though she did not live the luxurious life of a princess, even though she labored long and hard each day, even though the circumstances in her royal family were difficult.  It did not change the fact that she was indeed a princess.  She was made to shine.

That day, the princess determined to do what she was made to do, no matter what.  Not that she never again felt discouraged or that she could not be sad when circumstances dictated for her to be sad.  She just needed to remember who she was made to be.  Regardless of her place in life and whatever was going on around her, she would be who she really was.

How does this story relate to you?  She was not the only princess in the land.  There was nothing special about this princess.  There were many princes and princesses.  The whole land was filled with royalty!  They were all made to be royal people, all with value and purpose, all with their own unique circumstances.  No matter what the place or position – they were made to shine.  That includes you, too!  Remember who you are.  Be who you were made to be.  Choose to let it be a good day to shine.

Shine on…

Tequila Makes You Crawl – A Fairytale About Falling Down

Once upon a time in a land far away, a young handsome prince set out on a journey.  The royal prince dreamed of a getaway by the sea, one of complete relaxation in a beautiful destination, also very far away.  Leaving behind a multitude of cares, the prince traveled for many days before he arrived at the castle that would be his brief place of solitude and escape.

After such a long journey, his tummy was craving a savory morsel of the sweet food and refreshing drink that this enchanted land was known for.  The first stop after approving the accommodations for his stay was the castle lounge.  Number one on the list of “must haves,” was the sweet nectar of the agave plant mixed with lime and a hint of salt, on the rocks, of course.  Second on the list for the prince was an appetizing treat consisting of the hot, spicy peppers, red, succulent tomatoes and zesty avocados, served with warm, crispy chips.  The anticipation had been building from the moment his journey had started many days before.  His mouth watered as he waited to be served.  He was settling in for seven days of bliss, observing the splendor of his surroundings and grateful for the opportunity to be in such a magnificent place.  In not such a great haste, after all, that’s the way of this land, his desires were met and tummy indulged. “Awe…”  love the feel the Agave gives…  His holiday had officially begun!

Each day, the prince experienced the luxurious surroundings of his oasis where the desert meets the sea.  Lazy days were spent by the many beautiful pools, listening to the soothing sounds of nearby waterfalls and thundering waves. Early morning and evening walks were had along the oceans soft, sandy beaches.  The prince gazed at beautiful sunrises and sunsets.   The warm ocean breezes gently caressed his body as the cool ocean spray misted his cheeks.  Life was good for the prince.., but he wanted more of all that is good.  More of that sweet Agave nectar called to him and seemed to seal each day with a kiss.

One wonderful morning in particular, the prince learned there was a holiday celebration in the land.  He too, desired to celebrate with the people of the land, and, of course, in the same fashion as the people in the land.  When it was understood that the celebrating would include more of the sweet agave nectar and more of the spicy succulent fruits of the land, he was ecstatic!

There was a very famous place in land, well known for its production of a great variety of exotic drinks that featured the sweet agave nectar.  The prince made haste to visit this place as early in the day as was reasonable, without appearing over zealous.  The prince was very pleased with his experience.  He was so pleased that not long after he had departed, he heard himself saying, “I want to go back!” and that is just what he did.  Truth be told, he went back not just once or twice, but three times that day he indulged his passion.

The sweet agave nectar was now pulsating through his veins and overtaking his senses.  He was feeling the sense of freedom that the agave brings.  He was laughing lavishly as he strolled along the narrow streets and stumbled over the crooked sidewalks of the city. He was not considering that he may have become impaired. He was being overtaken by his passions; he allowed himself to be drawn to the dark side of his soul.

The prince found himself in a place that he really did not want to be, face down in the mire of a dark street.  His fine garments were now soiled.  The jewels that once glistened in the sun were now covered in soot.  Is this the place where royalty and beauty lies?  Is this the place you would expect to find a prince?

The Prince’s story is not what is so important here.  Important are the questions that arise from this story, the reasoning that takes place in your own mind.  What do you do when you find yourself in this place?  Do you stay with your face buried in the mire? Do end your journey by choosing to stay on the ground?  Maybe you should stay there for a little while, agonizing in your defeat and disappointment of yourself.  Maybe you deserve to stay there.  You don’t deserve to get up and walk on.   You deserve punishment of some kind.   Shouldn’t there be a period of mourning before you allow yourself to get up and go put on clean royal clothing, some kind of penance paid?

Isn’t that how we are in this life, in our culture, maybe?  When we, ourselves or someone we know screws up, should they be allowed to just go on with their life?  Don’t we expect something from those who for cause us disappointment?  We look for signs of remorse and certain attitudes or actions to see if they are truly deserving of our approval, before they can go on with life?

Consider the fallen politician or minister.  What about the alcoholic or addict who relapses for yet another time?  Of course, we can’t forget the sports figure who allows his inappropriate passions to rule over good judgment, or even the co-worker who fails to produce what is expected.  What about the spouse who never gets anything right or has just become boring and not enough anymore?  What about the parent who was abusive or neglectful, or just not good enough?  Don’t they owe us something before they are allowed to gain access to our good graces once again?

We make it hard enough for people who have fallen to get back up again, but consider your own struggle when you are that person.  It takes an internal war to muster enough strength to lift your own face out of the mire to see sunlight again.  When you finally raise yourself up on your knees and begin to crawl, should others let you or do they push you back down again?  Have you paid your own debt to yourself?

What about grace? Mercy?  Forgiveness?  Love?  When is it OK for us to allow these to come into play, or should they just always be expressed, unrestrained?

What happened to the prince from our tale?  He got up.  He got up as fast as he could?  Despite the internal battle that told them he did not deserve to put on clean royal clothing again, he did it anyway.  He chose to walk on to a new day, vowing to not allow himself to be found on the ground again.  What would good would it do to stay face down in the mire?  What good would it do for him to wait for the people of the land to approve the timing for his return to his position of royalty? After all, he was born as royalty and he would die as royalty.

The moral of this story: When you fall down, be quick to get back up.  When your friends, family or leaders fall down, be quick to help them get back up.

Who is in your life that is keeping you down?  Who is helping you get up?

Who in your life doesn’t deserve to get up?  Who can you help get up?