Everything is merry and bright…It’s the most wonderful time of the year right? Ummm…not always the case. Christmas for some can be the hardest time of the year. As I sit here this morning with my coffee, fire going, and my lights twinkling, I am feeling blessed that I can be cheerful and at moments..”merry and bright”. I’m not saying my life is perfect and easy right now but I feel so blessed that for the first time in several years, our family and extended family is not dealing with major illness, treatments, cancer, death or painful grieving. I can remember the days when I would rush through the store in a daze trying to find those last minute gifts,half smiling at “joyful people” just trying to get out and back to my car where I would take a deep breath and just want to cry. I want to share the things that did help me during those times. Small tokens of love from others. Friends that helped with meals when my husband was on his crazy iodine free diet. Help with my kids. invites to have a cup of coffee and just chat. little notes or cards. I can go on and on because I am very blessed with a great support system. I remember when my husband had surgery two years ago, every one of my close friends showed up at the hospital in the waiting room along with my mother and mother-in-law. They brought food and magazines and most importantly they took almost a whole day from their own busy schedule to be with me while I waited and they prayed for my husband and my family. I never forget an act of kindness and I always feel that tug at my heart to pay it forward. Sometimes people think they can’t help enough so they don’t help at all. You don’t have to build someone a house or dig a water well, not everybody can do those things, but just reach out to one person. When you see someone is in need, take a few minutes to listen to them. Offer to help with a meal or run an errand for them. Even help those who have a hard time accepting your help, I promise, they need it most! Not to mention, helping others, helps you take your mind off of your own issues. No matter what you are going through, somebody always has it worse. I have friends and acquaintances going through some of these things I mentioned above and other things I have not mentioned. My heart goes out to them and I hope and pray they can find joy this Christmas season even with the difficulties, financial burdens and sadness. I challenge all of you to find at least one person to reach out to this month. Deliver a tree, make a meal, send a card, give a hug. “Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded”. Merry Christmas and God Bless!