Friday, December 24, 2010

The True Meaning of Christmas ...

Where to begin? First, I want to wish everyone the very happiest of holidays (whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just a very lovely time of the year to spend with family and friends). I wanted to make a card today that reflected my true joy for the season and the gratitude I feel for the blessings with which I am so richly bestowed ...

Stamps: Come to Bethlehem
Paper: Basic Black, Very Vanilla, Brushed Gold
Ink: Gold Encore, Basic Black
Accessories: Top Note Die, Framed Tulips Textured Impressions Folder, Very Vanilla Taffeta Ribbon, Designer Label Punch, Rhinestone Sticker, Pop-Up Glue Dots

I also wanted to share the most wonderful experience I had last weekend with you. My dear friends, Phil and Pam Roundy, started the most amazing organization ten years ago - Spencer's Wishes. Their sweet little boy, Spencer, was diagnosed with cancer at the tender age of 4. After a valiant 6-year battle, he succumbed to the dreaded disease. Shortly after his death, his parents came across a recently-completed school assignment entitled "Christmas Wishes". Spencer had only written down three wishes - and the only thing he wished for himself was that he could have a belly that "wiggled and jiggled like Santa." The other two wishes were (1) that he could help Santa deliver presents to ALL the children, and (2) that he wanted to help Mrs. Claus sew clothing for the elves, Santa and all the children who needed them.

Shortly after that "Spencer's Wishes" was born. Phil and Pam, along with a legion of family and friends who volunteer their time (including the Jazz Bear - the mascot for the Utah Jazz basketball team - who was a close personal friend of Spencer's), talents and love to help raise money so that more children and their families can have a Merry Christmas. After the fundraising has been done and the preparations made, they throw a rip-snortin' all-out party for the kids complete with pizza, a magician, the Jazz Bear, Santa, great music and a 5-bus-long parade through the streets of Price, Utah, led by the Jazz Bear atop a flashing red fire engine. Final destination??? Walmart!! Each child, accompanied by a chaperone volunteer, gets a $100 shopping spree!

Can I just say that this was the most fun I have had for Christmas in a loooonnnggg time?? My new buddy, Jared, was sooo excited!! He brought me to tears a few times with his gratitude and enthusiasm. As we were riding the bus to Walmart he said, "I sure hope this isn't a dream ..." I leaned over, gave him a little pinch on the leg and said, "Did ya feel that? It's real, buddy! You're NOT dreaming!"

The chaperones were challenged to come as close to $100 without going over (a challenge you should NEVER throw at me 'cause I am the QUEEN of Bargain Shoppers!). The winner would receive a little prize. Since we were not taxed, I figured it would be easy-peasy. Once Jared heard about the challenge, he was ALL over it. We were done in less than 10 minutes. He picked out two mega HUGE Lego sets ... one for $40 and one for $60 ... there was NO swaying him once he did the math and realized we were gonna win!! (I honestly tried to encourage him not to worry about the exact price and get what he wanted ... he said he had, he was done, and we WON!) So, there ya have it ... we hit $100 exactly!! I didn't need to employ my shopping skills at ALL!!

Another highlight to the day was the balloon release at the end. One of Spencer's friends, whose favorite color happened to be purple, died a couple of years after they met while they were being treated. After that, Spencer's parents noticed whenever he saw a bunch of balloons he would remove any purple ones and let them go up into the air. When questioned about it, he said, "Well, Suzie's favorite color was purple. I want to thank her for being my friend. I am sure she will find that balloon once it reaches her in Heaven." More tears from me ...

After we were all done shopping and had gone back to where the party had started, everyone went inside and got some balloons (purple, of course!). After Spencer's dad (Phil - aka Santa!) told Spencer's story to everyone assembled, we all went outside and - on the count of 3 - released our balloons to Heaven. "Thank you, Spencer!" filled the air as we let them all go. Truly ... thank you, Spencer Roundy, for being such an inspiration to all of us ol' grown ups - especially your parents and family - and reminding us of the true Spirit of Giving. And thank you Phil and Pam, for listening to the wishes of a tender little boy and paying them forward to make Christmas special for so many others. I love you guys!

Smiley from millan.netHappy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Aubri said...

oh wow! what a great story as well as way to start off Christmas. Just wanted I needed to hear.

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

Oh my goodness gracious. Tears. Sweet. Merry Christmas and thank you so much for sharing.

carolm said...

what beautiful stories. i am crying myself. thank you for the true meaning of christmas. xox

Kim H. said...

Beautiful story. Beautifual...thank you for sharing with us!! Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

I too am shedding tears. Thank you for sharing a beautiful story of the true meaning of Christmas! Merry Christmas Wendy!
Kim Smith

Anonymous said...

oh my ,tears ,what a great story,
now thats chrismas!

Dorothy T said...

What a touching story, Wendy. It is very hard not to cry after reading such a wonderful story, thanks for sharing with us. Merry Christmas, and may God Bless you and your family at this wonderful time of the year.

Shari Nelson said...

Great story Wendy, thanks for sharing it. Very touching!

Judy McMullen said...

Thank you, Wendy, for sharing Spencer's story. My eyes are filled with tears! Sending you this Christmas blessing:
May you be blessed with
the SPIRIT of Christmas which is PEACE
the JOY of Christmas which is HOPE
the HEART of Christmas which is LOVE

Pam said...

Thanks for sharing my precious Spencer's legacy. It was a blessing having you and Amelia there!! Wendy failed to mention the beautiful lesson she taught Jared. He told her that his family was "kinda poor". Wendy told him that he had a family who loves him and a great... "sounds like you're pretty rich to me." He responded that "yes, he guessed he was!" If you want to join us next year, Spencer's Wishes is on facebook....join on and be his friend to keep up with the "happenings". Thanks Wendy, for teaching me to forget about the work, hussle & bustle it takes to put on this big ol' bash and just enjoy the moment!!! xoxo

Pam said...

By the way, Wendy, the card is breath-taking!!! (and the word I left out about Jared is he has a great "friend"...that he wished was there...what a precious boy!)
With the did you sponge the gold in such a perfect oval... spellbinder? You're one amazing woman all balled up in such a TINY body!! LOVE THE CARD!!!!! xoxox

Jan Castle said...

No fair Wendy...can't see thru my tears!!!
Merry Christmas and thanks for the true stories!!!

Traci S. said...

Dear Wendy,

I am so proud to call you my friend! This is the true love of Jesus...a true Christmas.

I wonder if the organization would want any cards made for children by card makers? Do they have someone to take that on? Please let me know. It is a boat load of work...I know. Sadly, I am not physically up to the challenge. I'm sure you understand. Jared sounds like a special child also.

My prayers go our to Spencer's family. That they can find comfort in His everlasting arms, find strength by spending time with Him often, and search for joy in the little things every day.
Thank you for sharing your little boy's legacy.

He IS Able,
Traci S.

Traci S. said...

Hey Wendy--

I left you an email about the blog that you help out with so lovingly.


Terry Molineux said...

OMgosh what a story....I cannot see through my tears and so want to help. Can we donate to Spencer's Foundation? LMK

Wishing you and your family as well as Spencer's a very Happy & Healthy New Year!!!!

Kim P said...

Beautiful card...beautiful words! Thanks for sharing