be free

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow
by Carriage House Samplings

The Golden Gift

The story goes that some time ago a man punished his five-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became even more upset when the child then used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."

The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty. He spoke to her in a harsh manner, "Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package?"

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was full."

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his little girl, and he begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

* * * * *

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of that same little girl.

It is told that the father kept that gold-wrapped box by his bed for all the years of his life. And whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open this special box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us as human beings have been given a golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our family, our children, our friends and God.

There is no more precious possession that anyone could hold.

Poinsettia House

by Little House Needleworks

I received this heart warming story via email a couple years back. Gifts of the heart are not always seen, but felt. Some of lifes greatest gifts are not tangible, but are more valuable as you cannot put a price on love, friendship or a helping hand. This is what I chose to post about today as we near the Holiday season.

Can you believe how fast this year has gone? I can't believe it will soon be time to turn our clocks back for day light savings time. I guess one way to look at it is that I can stay in bed for an extra hour longer in the morning....yeah!!!! But I dread the icy roads, fog, and the freezing temperatures that come with it. But on the other hand, it brings with it that wonderful time of year where we can spend time with family and friends, sharing joy and laughter and giving and sharing.

Remember the classic story by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”? When Ebenezer Scrooge learned, in a rather terrifying series of events, the true spirit of Christmas, which is giving. It's an occasion to remember the people who are special to you and give back the love and care they unselfishly bestowed on you the whole year. It matters neither the grandeur nor the price tag of what you give for it’s the thought that counts, that matters.

With this in mind, for the "grand finale" of the October Party Giveaway, I would love for you to tell of either the best gift you have been given or the best gift you have received. I know that the greatest gifts I have received cannot be bought on credit or with cash, and the beauty of a Christmas gift shouldn't be seen at all. The loveliness of giving is a feeling, grand and tall. It's the genuine offer of love, the yearning to make a connection, a show of honest gratitude, a display of sincere affection.

I have chosen a few "material" gifts for the occasion for which I know you will appreciate from the heart. Once again, there will be four prizes for this final round, they can be seen throughout this post. Each winner will randomly be sent a package so they will be surprised when they receive it. Some of the patterns will come with threads and others won't, everything will be a surprise this round. Ok, ok, ok, I will tell you that Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow does come with all the threads needed for this pattern. You may post your "best gift" comments now through Noveber 4th, midnight. I will post the winning names on the 5th of November.
I hope that you have all enjoyed participating in a full month's worth of giveaways. I wish I had prizes for you all, that would be so great! But you know me, there is always more to follow in the months ahead. May the love of family and friends be yours this holiday season and warm blessings abound!

Now for the list of winners for round #3. My sweetheart of a son drew the following four names:





Surprise! Surprise! Congrats to all four of you. Please email me at and let me know where you would like me to send you your winnings. Please let me know when you receive your packages so I know they made it to you safely.

Joyeux Noel

by Blackbird Designs

Parting thoughts:

T'was The Night Before Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas
and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
was anywhere to be found.
The people were all busy
with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking,
and shopping in stores.
No one sang "Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa
dressed-up in bright red.
Mama watched Martha Stewart,
Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour upon hour
the presents they'd wrap
When what from the TV
did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad.. which told
of a big sale at Sears.
So away to the mall
they all flew like a flash
Buying things on credit
and others with cash!
And, as they made their way home
From their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh, no... not at all.
Their lives were so busy
with their Christmas time things
No time to remember
Christ Jesus, the King.
There were presents to wrap
and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember
who died for their sake?
To pray to the Savior
they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time
to "Shop til they dropped!
"On Wal-mart! On K-mart!
On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!
A quick lunch at Denny's
From the big stores downtown
to the stores at the mall
They would dash away,
dash away,and visit them all!
And up on the roof,
there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung icicle lights
up on his brand new step ladder.
He hung lights that would flash.
He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed to Jesus...
Light of the World.
Christ's eyes... how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit... how merry!
Christ's love... how enormous!
All our burdens... He'll carry!
So instead of being busy,
overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in
Christmas and enjoy
some good nights!
Merry Christmas, my friends!


Margaret said...

Oh Jolene! What a lovely story about the father and the gold wrapped box from his child. It made me cry! And what a special person you are, so generous to your readers to have such a wonderful giveaway! Thank you so much -- and thanks for the prize I won too!

I have to say that the most special present I've ever had was the Christmas before this past Christmas. My son had to have surgery to remove a lump in his neck -- and we didn't know what the outcome would be. My best present was the word from the doctor that all was well and my son was healthy. My son got a present too -- a large scar to show off to all his friends. lol!

Kellie said...

Hi Jolene,
Wow! What a generous giveaway.

The best gift I have ever received is the Christmas when I was either eight or nine. It started as a miserable Christmas because my mom, my brother, and I all had the flu. My dad stayed well, and cared for the three of us the best he could. We always went to my grandmother's house for Christmas Day (about an hour away), but that Christmas we were just too sick and disappointed. That afternoon there was a knock at the door. In came my grandmother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins. They had all gathered at my grandmother's as usual that morning, but quickly decided that it didn't feel right without us there, so they packed up the gifts and Christmas dinner and came to us. My grandmother and aunt set to work taking care of all of us for the day. And it was wonderful. Unfortunately my grandmother and my two uncles are no longer with us. I recall this special memory every Christmas Day and put decorations in my house in my grandmother's honor each year. Like you said, it was not a monetary/material gift that stands was the love, time and intention that my family showed us that Christmas day long ago.

Have a good weekend!

Cole said...

What a beautiful story *sniff* Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Makes you remember not to stress over the little things.

One of the best gifts our family ever received for the holidays was my niece, she was born on Christmas Day :)

Anonymous said...

What an amazing story, everyone's special memories made me tear up. I think my favorite memory was last year. My nephew for the first time ever, had made some money to buy Christmas presents. Hi mother took him to a second hand shop and he picked out a book for me for Christmas, to think a teenage boy was aware enough to realize a series that I liked to read was unbelievable. It is even more unbelievable was that just to months later in february, his mother went in to wake him up and found out he had died in his sleep. So now this batter mystery is now one of my most favorite possesions

Deb said...

Oh Joelene - That is a wonderful story. And you are just too generous with your giveaways! I guess the best gift I ever received was the news that I was pregnant with my son. There wasn't much hope for me getting pregnant and two weeks before Christmas I found out that I was going to have him. It was the best present that I could ever receive. Almost lost him too during the pregnancy, but someone upstairs was definitely looking out for me.

Catherine G. said...

What a wonderful story! Thanks for reminding all of us of the important things in life. I consider many things in my life to be great gifts - most recently was the recovery of my mother from an illness that she should not have survived. She definitely had a guardian angel or two or even three with her during that terrible time.

Diana said...

This is actually about what I thought was the best gift my husband received this past week for his birthday. One of our daughters didn't call or send a card to him on his birthday this year. When our grandaughter (her daughter) was told her mother had forgotten to call grandpa on his birthday, she insisted on calling him. When grandpa picked up the phone the next day,she was on the phone wishing him a happy birthday! She also said she would be making him a belated birthday card to send to him. We both agreed she's a special little girl.(she's 8) This I think is probably the most special gift he could get.
This is my entry for your giveaway.

MoonBeam said...

Your blog is beautiful. I have a link to it on my pathetic little beginning blog that no one reads yet! Love the story of the little girl and the gold wrap...a tear jerker. Also the different version of T'was the night before Christmas. And all of the poetry you share on here. Wonderful.
Bobbi - Ohio

Tracey said...

What a neat post, and what generous gifts!! My best gifts are my kids, and the gift of life. Twice so far in my fairly short lifetime I have been spared- once in a car accident in high school and once almost 2 years ago when I was robbed at gunpoint at work. Also my mom being breast cancer free for several years now! They found a small cancerous lump and thankfully removed all of it, and she has been cancer free ever since. :)

MoonBeam said...

Well, I see that I was supposed to post something about my best Christmas gift. One I remember from my youth at home was when I was in 7th grade my mom and dad picked us up from school on the last day before Christmas break, which was very unusual...especially for my dad to be home during the day. It was the start of a very festive mood. When we got home we found out that one of our Christmas presents was a stereo, which was all set up and ready to play. I laugh all these years later because that was the start of my father having to listen to "Hound Dog" hundreds of times...I'm sure he probably regretted that purchase!
Bobbi - Ohio

Myra said...

Jolene, you are such a generous heart. I loved reading the story and the poem. Reminds us of the reason for the upcoming season. My best gift wasn't given on an occasion - it was the gift of my twin sons. I had a miscarriage early in my marriage and I have always thought the good lord gave me two at once to make up for the one I lost.

FayeRaye said...

Oh Jolene, What a most generous giveaway you are offering! All of us see how freely you share and give in support of our passion for cross stitch..Thank you so much. I am blessed to have received so many gifts in my life. My wonderful husband, two great grown sons and all of us being healthy. But, I have been touched this year when a little 6 year boy was put in my first grade classroom who needed someone in his life. Just a little fellow who has the biggest smile both on his face and in his heart. He is like a sponge each and every day with me...All I heard was that he "needed" some attention...none was being given to him at home..that kind of, he and I have truly bonded and HE has really been a gift to ME... Faye

Branlaadee said...

What a sweet story!

Growing up, I never believed in Santa, the Tooth Fairy or anything else. My parents just werent into that kind of tom foolery. My grandmother was always dismayed by this. One year, when I was 7 or 8, my grandma kept talking about Santa and had us write letters to him. I asked for some Barbie clothes for me and a matchbox car for my little brother. I didnt want "Santa" to spend a lot of money on us since I knew things were tight. Sure enough, Christmas came and went and no matchbox or Barbie clothes...cause there is no Santa, right? On Jan. 6 while helping my grandma pull down all the decorations, I found some small presents stuck in the limbs of her tree. Grandma seemed truely surprised and denied knowing about them as did everyone else in the house. We decided to open them and there were the Barbie clothes and matchbox I had asked for. I figured maybe there was a Santa, cause no one in my family could keep a secret for that long! For Christmas that year, I got a bit of childhood faith and wonder.

TAK said...

My favorite Christmas memories are when my children were little. The excitement waiting for Santa was so fun. They are older now. We are waiting for little grandchildren to put the Santa spark back into Christmas in our home.


Silverlotus said...

What a lovely story. I have to admit that it brought a tear to my eye. But that's just the way I am.

And your generosty is also wonderful. It is so nice of you to share so much with all of us.

As for the best gift I've recieved, I have to be cliche and say my son. We expected to have a difficult time getting pregnant, but it turned out to happen very quickly. The pregancy and delivery were difficult, but my son is the sweetest little boy I've ever known. He is a lifelong gift.

Teresa S. said...

What a wonderful month of giveaways! Thanks for your example of generosity of spirit! My favorite gift was for my 50th birthday. That was a tough one for me! My 3 daughters pitched in together and took me to Leavenworth, WA for the weekend. It was a beautiful time of shopping, eating German food and just enjoying each others company! (Leavenworth is a Bavarian-type touristy town in the Cascade Mtns.) They are all grown and married-so it takes a special effort to get us all together for a meal, but a whole weekend, Woo Hoo! I will never forget it!

Cindy's Stitching said...

What a great story. The best gift and there are so many, are the three children that god blessed me with and of course, his son jesus dying for me on the cross. Salvation is the greatest gift of all.

Blyn said...

What a great idea I love all of the posts and I have to agree with all of the are such a special person. Your generosity is above and beyond. Thank you for your wonderful gift of encouragement and Christmas Spirit. My favorite Christmas memory is that of my Mom and Dad. There was not alot of money and with 4 children it was tight one Christmas. So my Dad built us closets for our new barbies and my mom hand sewed a complete closet full of clothes for each of us. Not sure what my little brother got...being the only boy.. She worked while we slept and we never discovered it until Christmas morning. My mom and dad have inspired my creativity and for that I am truly grateful. Thank you again for reminding me to look back and appreciate! I am really blessed. Blyn

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

Jolene, I enjoyed that story so much, thank you! It's good to be reminded of what matters. and to use the good paper!

Gosh, I'd have to say the best gift I was ever given was a "stunt" my hubby pulled, the year he survived a heart attack 2 weeks before Christmas! The kids and I had been on pins and needles around him and we'd been out together running holiday errands one day, he'd stayed home....
we came home, walked in and saw him sitting on the couch,just reading the paper, la-d-da like, and he had on a Santa hat and a big fluffy beard he'd fashioned out of some polyfil stuff I had in my stash closet. It was the funniest thing you ever saw and just the thing we all needed that said, it's all going to be OK. We're OK. As long as I live, I'll never forget that image or the laughter and they come again!!

Girl, you have a way of making us all count our blessings! Thanks for that!

Congrats to all of your winners! We're all so blessed by your generosity!

Ellen said...

I love your blog. Thank you for sharing the story, it's so touching! What a wonderful month of giveaways, you are very generous.

My best gifts are my children with the youngest borned in the month of December - the 8th.


Loraine said...

Jolene! I'm screaming happy right now!!!! I can't believe I am going to be the lucky recipient of one of your wonderful gifts. Can it be true? You are just a kindred friend, and you have made me one excited girl!
I feel guilty entering for your next round, but I will tell you about my favorite Christmas ever. My Dad made me a Barbie doll house with furniture for every room. My Mom and Aunt made a whole box of doll clothes. I was the happiest child ever on Christmas day! I still have the house, furniture and doll clothes, and my daughter plays with them now.
I'll shoot you an e-mail. Thanks again! You are the best.

Loraine said...

Oh, BTW, I love the all of the wonderful stories, and music. You have such a lovely blog. I love the story about the wrapping paper. A tear jerker for sure!

kathy n said...

My son makes me things. They're goofy and weird and I don't necessarily really understand them, but he made them for me.

Theresa said...

This is such a touching story!!! You are such a generous and thoughtful person, all your posts made me think about the things that are most important around me, and I also shared them with my hubby. Thank you, for giving us such chance to reflect on ourselves.
To me, it's not about the gift that I've received, but the moment I shared with my family and friends when opening the gifts. The excitement and memory is what I cherish most, and I miss those Christmas mornings in my childhood when we all gather to open gifts.
Thank you again, for such a reminder!!

Kathy P - NY said...

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story!

The best gift I received was 19 years ago this Christmas. We were expecting our first child the following January but that little guy had other plans and decided to come 10 weeks early, so he was born the middle of November. Being born so early, he had to be in the neonatal unit and we were told early on to expect him to have to stay there until his original due date in January. He must have been worried that Santa wouldn't find him in the hospital because he did really well and 3 days before Christmas, the doctors discharged him so we were able to bring him home with us! He has made me many wonderful gifts over the years but that first year, having him home with us was the best gift anyone could give me.

valerie said...

Congratulations to this round of winners! I love the stories and poems you include in your posts...esp. the Twas' the Night Before Christmas. I think my greatest gift was when I was younger. My parents were strapped for cash and I wasn't really sure what to expect from Santa. Christmas morning found a huge sack filled with goodies. As I grew older, I learned that my sister (15 years older than me) was my Santa. Now, she's my confidant. Please include me in your drawing. You are so generous...

Suzanne said...

What a sad but wonderful story. I have found that with my little girls, what you may not think is much to then can be the most important thing ever to them.

My best gift at Christmas time is not a physical gift, but the joy on the face of my daughter when she sees the Christmas lights and the tree and the gifts. To me there is no greater gift than seeing my children happy and excited.

CindyMae said...

I have read this story before and it had me in tears then and it just did it again! It is a wonderful story.

The best gifts I receive are those that my children make me. Whether it is something from school or something they come up with on their own . . . they are the most treasured gifts I receive!!

Nina said...

Dear Jolene,

What a lovely story was this! Thank you for share it with us!

Your giveaways are wonderful and amazing like you are. Thank you! I can't believe I won :)
I'd like to have another chance for this finally one, the prizes are still fabulous! Than kyou for giving us so many love and kindness!

My best gift was a puppy when I was 9. I have no sisters or brothers so I always wanted to have a friend. And my dream came true. This was the best gift I have ever got because it was a dream for a little girl. :)

SilkLover said...

Thanks for sharing the story of the father, the golden wrapping paper and the little girl. It was very sweet.

The best gift that I have received lately is the news of my impending first grandchild. My mother had just had a stroke and we thought we were going to lose her when my son told me his wife was pregnant. It was a good reminder that life continues far beyond any one of us.

I would like to say thank you for your very generous gifts this month. I do believe that what you put out there - without the thought of getting it back, but out of genuine sincerity - does come back to you many times over. I do hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Marilyn said...

I love reading your blog with your poems and stories.
This might seem small in comparison to some but, when my mother passed away, we were at the funeral, and my niece who was then 16 years old, turned to me and asked me if I was ok.
She was the only one who took the time and care to see if I was ok. I thought that was very thoughtful of her seeing that it was her Grandmother.
Thanks for your most generous offer.

Chris said...

Dear Jolene,
Such a lovely story and what a wonderful givaway.. my best gift ever was from my 4 year old grand daughter. It was a little letter she had written to me, big writing and her own spellings but it said I miss you Grand ma. It came when I was under tremedous pressure in my job and I felt I couldn't face another day and that letter arrived in the post before I went to work that day. I drove along on cloud '9' and had a wonderful day! I still have that little letter in my memory chest and my Grand daughter was 15 last summer.
God bless Grand children
Chris x

Nic said...

The best Christmas gift I had- no contest...

Eight years ago, my partner came over to the UK from Canada for Christmas but was due to fly back at the beginning of January and we were pretty resigned to going through the miles of paperwork to get him into this country permanently, as although he was of British descent, the paperwork we needed had got lost over the years and replacements weren't available due to being lost in a civil war in Sri Lanka.

We got a text message from my BiL which said 'Wired something to Western Union, go and collect!' - so off we go to the office. Yes, the money he sent was very nice, but the best bit was the message 'Found wedding certificate.'

Less than six weeks later, partner had his British passport and was living here!

Bronny said...

Thank you for this chance. What lovely touching stories, on your post and through the comments.
My stories are my gifts given this year. I made a 'memory bag' for a bereaved workmate earlier this year - with little tags to select from the bag to jog her memory of good thoughts of her father. She gave me such a warm hug in return. I also stitched and gave a comfort cushion to another workmate who was dying of cancer. I've been told that she loved it and it brought a smile to her face. The family treasure it now in her memory. Another workmate's great aunt was the recipient of another cuddle cushion a month or so ago. I've stitched all these and given them with love over the past 6 months. I have a few other projects on the go - this year has been a giving year for me. It leaves you with the 'warm fuzzies' - the bestest feeling.
thanks again... bronny

Sharlotte said...

Oh wow! This post is filled with so many wonderful thoughts.I think the story of the father and daughter shows us that we should be patient for the best is yet to come. As far as the best give I have ever recieved for Christmas is having my mom here for Christmas when she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She is in remission today and cancer free. A walking miracle. It would be nice to be a winner again of your lovely prizes. But even if I don't win a prize, I have have still won because of the friend I found in you.You have touched so many lives and we've all won really.

Alice said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post Jolene. Christmas is such a magic time of the year. There is so much anticipation, but often, on Christmas day, I am sad. I cannot explain that feeling. My biggest Christmas present ever was the birth of my son. He was delivered by cesarean on 15 December 1990, but he was supposed to have been a Christmas baby. Cesareans are done 10 days before the due date. I was not happy with the pregnancy. I fell pregnant with my son when my daughter was just 9 months old. My husband had a vasectomy and after the operation we discovered that I was already three months pregnant. I was devastated. I prayed that if I could have a son, it would make everything right. My husband were married before and had only daughters, and we also had a daughter before our son was born. DH NEVER thought he would have a son, so it was incredible. In the last five years my son and I have literally been at war. It is the saddest time of my life, because there are oceans between us. We cannot overcome our differences, my problem with him being his disrespect, selfishness, ungratefulness and his unkindness to us as a family. Your topic has opened up a big wound in me, as I have so often thought WHY did I receive this child, and just now I realised that I prayed to have him. He was meant to be born, even though he was not planned. Right now its something I must keep remembering while words of hate are spoken between us.

Carin said...

The most beautifull gifts I recieved the last few weeks are from (beside family)my stitching friends from all over the world. They sent me good wishes for my birthday on november 2th and they know that I must go to hospital that day for checkout before my big surgery. They know I'm hoping good news on my birthday from my cardiology doctor. But all the cards and emails I have recieved from my stitching friends are so warm hearted, I can't think anything better to recieved. What a love is still in this world !!!!

Anonymous said...

The year was 1983. I was a stay at home mom and we lived on a very tight budget. About a week before Christmas, my husband and I visited a beautiful Amish shop in Jacksonville, FL. My eyes were quickly drawn to the quilts - all hand pieced and hand quilted. Oh my, they were so lovely! I looked through the entire display and they were each well beyond our budget. On Christmas morning, my husband presented me with a beautifully wrapped package and inside was a lone star quilt - the one I liked the most! I was speechless - speechless for days! It still brings tears to my eyes to think of his gift. It also causes me to think of the Savior who came to earth to live among us and give His perfect life that I may have eternal life. He traded His life for mine and I am in awe of One who loves me this much. kelley secrest

Anonymous said...

Your post is just lovely. The true meaning of Christmas.
My best Christmas present was 4 years ago. My grandson was born a few days before Christmas. My daughter who has had several miscarriages gave birth to a beautiful baby boy!! The miracle of life, you can just feel God's presence.
Thanks for this great contest. Pat Matejcek

Anonymous said...

My most special gift is my daughter. She was born with a physical difference (cleft lip and palate)and I remember telling my mom that I hope she has such a wonderful personality that no one will focus on her physical appearance. She is now almost 18 and she's so funny and witty. She received the honor of "best attitude" at school........I can't ask for more than that!
Thank you for your giveaways. I haven't entered any yet, so this will be my first one. I hope I'm a winner of these goodies!

Marjorie said...

Jolene, your blog has been such a joy to read, especially these last few weeks, and your giveaways are so generous. Thank you for that story, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life one tends to forget what is truly important. I love all these charts! As for the best gifts I have received, I would say they are the handmade gifts I have received from sweet and talented kids over the years. I have all of them displayed in my bedroom.

Melody said...

Jolene, What a thought inspiring post! I enjoyed the story about Christmas. It's so true, we get too involved with all the Christmas shopping and associated duties, and forget about it's true meaning.

What a generous giveaway you are having again!
Please enter me in your drawing.

Thank you.

Mel said...

What a lovely set of stories Jolene, thank you so much for sharing.
You are indeed generous to give away the items you have been over the last month.

The best gift I have received... there have been many great gifts from people over the years of stitching things, clothing and other items that had lots of thought put into them. but I think the best gift I was ever given was the ability to wake up in my own house last Christmas, I had been very sick for months and as I lived alone I thought I had to move either to a care facility or home to my parents...but instead my B/F moved in with me and spent months, as well as Christmas at my house so I could stay in my own space and he took care of me. Christmas morning we woke up and had places to go to see family. But first we exchanged gifts, he gave me some lovely gifts, but the best was when he turned to me and told me that he loved me and wanted to look for our own space together in the new year!
We are now happily living in our own place since February and I'm so glad that he chose that as my ultimate gift on Christmas to give me. A showing of long-term support and love.

Carolyn NC said...

I sit here with tears in my eyes at this story of the little gold box and poem and all of these beautiful comments. How moving!
Not to seem quick to answer, I have to say the greatest gift I ever received was the gift of Jesus when I asked him to be my Savior.
Tangibly, there have been so many wonderful surprises, but one I cherish is when my DH and I were early in our married years. We didn't have any extra money for Christmas, so we decided we couldn't afford to have any Christmas gifts for each other. Right before Christmas, he went out and stained a huge breadbox we had, so it would be pretty in the kitchen, unbeknownst to me. There, the next day was this sweet box, all wrapped up for me. Proudly displayed in our kitchen for years to come....
Please don't include me in the drawing. I already have two of these four charts and I don't need to take away from someone else. :)
Thanks for the lovely post!

Kim B said...


What can I say? You've reduced me to tears!!! What a beautiful story. I needed to read something like this really bad today. My husband's grandfather is in the hospital right now. He is expected to pass today. It's just very emotional. This man is the patriarch of this family. It's a very sad loss for us all. But he is surrounded by more family than you can imagine. That hospital room is overflowing with love, just like that box in your story. The ICU nurse said last night that she had never seen so many people crammed into a hospital room before! I mean, wow! I think everyone is filling Grandpa's box. And he has certainly filled ours!!!

Sorry if I unloaded all that on you. I'm very emotional right now! I just wanted you to know that that story was exactly what I needed this morning!


And your generosity is amazing!

Jan said...

Thank you, Jolene for such a heartwarming story, that indeed brought tears to my eyes. Love the poem too, and going to print it off. Know I have seen it, but I would like it handy for when I need it to share with others.

You have such a heart, Girl!! Such fabulous giveaways you have gifted so many with! I am still overcome by my previous win, so really hesitate to try and win another. So just take this post as a regular comment, versus an entry.

I have had many blessings and gifts over the years,at Christmas and others. I know this year, holds one of the most special gifts I could ever ask for. Alexandra Catherine was born this year, and the most loved granddaughter ever! I know the joy from her birth will carry me through the holidays, and for many years to come! Praise the Lord for His sweet, sweet blessings!

Anonymous said...

Although my children have brought me so much joy, my little grandson is the best gift I have ever received.

Mary in Tennessee

Kielrain said...

What a sweet story. That is one I will have to share.

The best gift I have ever had would have to be my son. I never thought I'd have kids. My pregnancy was very difficult and I had pre-term labor (very very early), and was there after put on bedrest. Once he was born however, all was prefect and I think he is the greatest thing ever, even at 11 years old. :)

Kathy said...

Jolene, your story gave me chills.

As for my favorite gift. I have been thinking of that for a while now and there are a few. I have a hard time choosing just one. The most recent would be the gift of my new puppy, Rory. (Lots of pics and comments on my blog about him. LOL) He is my last Christmas, birthday, next Christmas gift from my baby brother. (Love you Greg) The other gift that still chokes me up was from my Mom last year. She had been very ill and was home from her third hospital visit of the year when it was my birthday, June 1, she was upset because she hadn't gotten me anything and I told her that the best gift would be her trying to walk from her bedroom to the living room. She did! And it was the last time. Two days later she had another attack of congestive heart failure and never took more that half a dozen steps at a time after that. She passed in December and her last gift to me is one of the best she ever gave. (okay, pass me the tissues.)
There are other sweet gifts and blessed gifts but these two mean so much to me.
Please enter me in your giveaway. I adore all the patterns you are giving.
Thank you so much.

5 Foot Runt said...

What a wonderful story about the little girl. I remember when my oldest boy was six. It was a tense time between family memebers and my mom decided she didn't want to see me anymore. On my son's birthday, she threw everything I ever gave her and my son's present in a bagand literally tossed unto our door step. I had lost my dad was I was 13 so this was very painful for me . We had just started to go to church so, I cried to Jesus and told him I couldn't believe how she could just throw me ,us, away, I was an orphan. I made sure to hide my tears and saddnesss from my six year. I pulled my self up and kept going for him. The day was ending and husband left for work and my six year old came up to me with a paper. It said "I am God and you are my child". I still have that piece if paper to this day. Never will I get rid of that paper. Worth more than you'll ever know. Thanks for letting me share Lee the Runt

Shari said...

beautiful! I have heard this story numerous times & each time it touches me. I so appreciate your blog! Wow! I have never been here before but I will be back!
I received the BEST gift a women could receive this summer. My son & his wife presented us with TRIPLET grandsons! Truly a precious gift from God!

Kim said...

I am so thankful that all my children and grandchildren can spend the holidays with my husband and I each Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Thanks for the great giveaways!

Karen said...

That was such a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. My best gift was from my husband for our anniversary. Money was tight so he made up a scavenger hunt throughout the house and bought little trinkets to hide that would remind us of memories we had share as well as things we hoped to accomplish. Needless to say, I was crying by the end and found that the sweetest thing considering the time it took him to get it together.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday too.

Carol R said...

I treasure each and every gift ever given to me from the expensive jewellery to the children's hand-made gifts as all are given with the best gift of all - love!

Gabi said...

This is a wonderful story Jolene. It reminds me that Christmas shouldn't be all about gifts and material things.
Some of these comments make me really feel humble. And I realize that I'm a blessed woman to live a life without much worries, a good man at my side, two healthy daughters. The laughter in our house, a happy family life in general, is probably more worth then any money could buy.
You are a very good and generous woman Jolene :)

ohiofarmgirl said...

You must be a very kind and generous person!!
My best Christmas daughter (now 21) made a wreath of hand prints and green paint on a piece of muslin when she was in preschool...I took it and had it framed and to this day it hangs year around in my kitchen. I just can not put it away and is a constant reminder of my children!! Blessings to you and yours, Dianntha

Cari said...

Jolene, your generosity never ceases to amaze me. What a wonderful, heartfelt story. I stopped to read each comment and am touched by each. God has blessed me tremendously over the years. I have to say that gift of friendship has been so important to me this past year. I am blessed with a close knit group of girlfriends who are so loving and supportive.

Thank you for this delightful giveaway

Jade said...

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for sharing that lovely story. My daughter is five years old now, and this is exactly the kind of thing she would do. I still have tears on my face.

doris said...

My goodness, I've been missing lots of fabulous prizes and comments here. When life gets busy, blogs take a backseat.

My favorite gift wasn't given or received by me. When my son was in first grade, he made an ornament at school. I had assumed that he'd give it to me, so I was kind of excited to see what it was. On Christmas morning, we were visiting my mom and dad, and we all got busy opening presents. Instead of handing me the gift, my son handed it to his grandma. She was thrilled, he was thrilled, I was thrilled ... it was perfect. We see the ornament every year on her tree.

Siobhan said...

Jolene, what a beautiful story. I love the poem about the material side of Christmas. My dad was always stressed remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season, and we've tried to do the same with our kids.

Please don't enter me in the giveaways... I am lucky enough to have all the designs shown! ;) But thanks for the chance, anyway. You are so generous.

My favorite gift was received as a kid--a boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I'd read "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe", and fell in love with them. One day I went out to the mailbox and found a note telling me to look in the garage for a special package. It was before Christmas, so I was surprised. I went into the garage and there waiting for me was a wrapped set of the Narnia books. I was elated. I still have the books. :)

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

Jolene, You ask the best questions! There aren't too many tangible gifts that I've ever gotten that blew me away but special events, blessing bestowed and unexpected kindnesses always leave me breathless. But the year my dad came home from Viet Nam on Christmas Eve was the very best of all those things rolled into one. I'll never forget it. My mom had gone out for dinner with a friend (we thought). My brother, sister and I were with a babysitter and we were all sitting on the floor, around the T.V. watching Batman when in walked my mom with my dad on her arm! I can remember it like it was yesterday. The Nananananananananana.... Batmaaaaan song was playing and if 10 year olds could have a heart attack, I'm sure we all three would have. We had no idea he was coming home that night and it was the best surprise EVER. we had two other Christmas celebrations without him home (other VietNam tours) so this was really sweet. He brought us presents but I couldn't tell you what they were - he was the best gift. I've always had a close relationship with my dad and I missed him so when he was gone.

I really enjoyed everyone's post - they're all very touching and special!

Susan said...

My most loved gift was from my husband. I am a quilter and a cross stitcher. I love hand applique quilts and they are something that I make always. While visiting friends in Lima OH we visited an antique mall where I saw a lovely red and green applique quilt. I showed it to him and gave it no more thought. While I was sewing in the mountains in TN with girlfriends he made numerous long distance calls to our friends re: the quilt at the mall. He surprised me with it on Christmas day. I had it researched and discovered it was from the Civil War ear. He was so happy to have finally surprised me after 30 years of marriage! He proudly shows off my needlework to all!Now in our 38th year!

PurpleTX said...

I am so glad to have been sent a link to your blog. This was the best story I have seen in a while.
The best gifts I have been given......
Tangible: a birthstone ring from my parents when I was 12. It was presented in a large florists box & a LOT of tissue paper, with a tiny ring box in it someplace. As much fun to unwrap as to wear for years afterwards until the band snapped to many times.
InTangible: (tied)
At 13th birthday (july), after cancer diagnosis & starting chemo, my stepdad arrived home to the party totally bald. He kept it shaved until my hair started to come back after chemo stopped.
That Christmas I was told by the doctors that the drugs had done as expected and I got to stop treatment a round earlier. The last round would have been right at Christmas, so the lack of fear that holiday was the best thing.
Amanda Kay

Cari said...

Jolene, you are such a generous friend. I always love reading your's so thoughtful. One of my most memorable Christmas gifts was the 'Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow' necklace from my Mom and Dad. It was the last Christmas gift my Mom gave me before she passed away. I still miss her... Have a great week... Hugs

Pumpkin said...

OMG Jolene! With all these prizes and great posts, you're giving me the sniffles ;) gift given to me - my DH hands down. I could never have met a better friend or husband. We truly are soul mates :)

The best gift I have given someone else (I think) - I brought in a little lamb for a dying woman to hold. Her family used to raise them when she was little and I wanted her to hold one, one last time.

Robin said...

I'm all choked up from reading the story about the gift of kisses, reading all the comments, and thinking about all the wonderful holiday memories I have of and with my family.

The best gift I received was for Christmas when I was nine. On that Christmas morning, as I tiptoed into the living room a tiny movement on the sofa arm caught my eye. It was a tiny Siamese kitten peeking back at me. It was love at first sight. I named her Simone and she stayed with me for 14 years before she went to the Rainbow Bridge to wait for me. I'm looking forward to seeing her again someday.

Missy Ann said...

I've been thinking about this one for a couple of days now.

It always seems that the gifts I'm given are "off". I ask for sweaters to wear to school, I got sweats instead. I come home from having to bury my father two days before Christmas & spend my birthday two days after, cleaning out his apartment and find it was too much trouble for someone to wrap my presents. Sometimes it seems every year I have to force a smile, say thank you and pretend that there was thought put into the gift.

Two gifts stand out, age 7 - Christmas morning the Barbie Dream House was there waiting for me. It has never been topped at Christmas. And Valentine's Day one year my dh not only bought me a book I wanted he stood in line for 2 hours to have it signed. The inscription reads (by the author, dh told him this was my V-Day present) "pretty romantic huh?" And you know what? It was. Because he LISTENED and he made an EFFORT.

Terry said...

This was a no brainer for me lol. For the past couple of years, we've been lucky enough to be able to donate to the local Toys-for-Tots program. We take a box or two full of toys each year. This is better than getting my most treasured gift as far as I'm concerned. Knowing that you are giving these kids, who don't get much throughout the year, a little something at Christmas is priceless.

Nita said...

My greatest Christmas memory? Hands down, 1962, when I awoke to find Little Miss Echo under the tree. Turning the knob on her chest to the left - I heard Santa say, "Merry Christmas, Nita. Ho, Ho, Ho!"
For that moment, and the wonder it inspired, I'll be forever grateful.
Today, I love seeing my grandkids as they anticipate gifts from Santa, but now the best part is that I get to give them memories.

Peg said...

My favorite Christmas memory is when my children were little and my Mother was able to sneak a present under my treen for me from them. It was Chrstmas morning and my son had passed out all of the gifts and said there is one left for you momma. It was the best present I ever received. I have done the same thing for my grandsons to give their Mother too.

blackcat said...

Christmas is a special period in the year, but it's always a period of mixed feelings too. It's bitter because we still miss our firstborns who died so many years ago. But then, when we see the magic in the eyes of our other children, we are thankful. Sharing good moments with them is our biggest present.

Ineke Platvoet said...

Hi Jolene,
wonderful but also sad story. Read it with tears in my eyes.
The best gift I received is that my mother got well again after a "medicin-poisening"from a new medicin that was described to her by a cardiologist and from which she got really sick.
After ten days she could leave the hospital again - so I was very glad to have her still.

Sofei said...

I appreciate you sharing about the story of the little girl. It helped to remind me of all the gifts that I have received in this life.

One of the best gifts that I received was when I had to go to the hospital. My husband and I needed to choose a doctor for my operation so we prayed for wisdom in choosing the right one. We had 3 choices, one with a strong reputation in this field, another with many years of experience and a third who was a fairly young doctor with a little less experience. Though we ended up having the 3rd choice as our doctor, we later realized that we ended up with the BEST doctor for me. He was knowedgeable, personable, kind, and very generous with his time. He was a true blessing from God.

Carol said...

Jolene--What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing--it certainly makes you think...

I think my best gift, although a physical one, represents much more. You see, my dear old grandmother used to make a batch of her Christmas Caramels every year for me and my siblings. She never made a big production of presenting them to us...Just slipped the box of them under the pile of presents beneath our Christmas tree in her own unassuming manner. Each year, when we stumbled upon them, there would be whoops of joy and watering mouths as we unwrapped each sweet treasure and bit into it. This memory of my grandmother's simple gift, presented without fanfare, but with plain old love always brings tears to my eyes. I still make these caramels for my family (not as tasty as hers), but they are greeted with the same reaction and I'm immediately transported back to my childhood Christmas morning...

Have a blessed holiday season!

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss Jolene I'm James (Dad). I'm so glad you liked the needle case it's made from Paduk wood not cherry the wood is a exotic wood from South America, it will darken and look more like cherry as it age's. When its first turned it is a orange color I wish you could have seen it when it was first made but by the time I got it to Kellie and she got it mailed to you several days had passed and it darkens rather quickly. So glad you like it.