I LOVE the holidays! My family has so many traditions like fonduing on Christmas eve, seeing over 100 people in our family for Minnesota style salads (which always seems to include Jello, cool whip, canned fruit, and marshmallows), and lighting our house (and neighborhood) like the Griswolds. This is NOT an exaggeration. My parents installed more fuse boxes just so we could have MORE Christmas lights!!!

And, the last few holiday seasons were some of my hardest days. What is normally a highlight in my life, the holidays only highlighted the pain I was feeling. I was lonely, isolated, and searching for hope. It is as if the Christmas lights illuminated my darkness.

It started with my former partner’s journey with cancer. He was so sick during the holidays he was eating out of a feeding tube. Having any type of food (which equates to love in my family) around him felt awful (and partially why I lost so much weight as a caregiver). I was so depleted. I barely had the energy to decorate – let alone the spirit to. Yet I knew I had to because it added a little sparkle to our lives in some dark days. (Fortunately he did make it through and my heart breaks for others who have lost the fight with cancer or are going through it now.)

Then COVID hit. I missed my family, who are in Minnesota, dearly because we had been hunkered down in San Diego for the cancer care eight months prior to COVID. Then when I could finally see them again for the holidays – I couldn’t. This crushed me — and I know so many others have had challenging times too.

I made it through though. It was my faith and my loved ones who added a little sparkle to my days. This was unbelievably hard for me. I am used to being the sparkle spreader and now I had to let others shine for me.

Isn’t that what life is all about though? Taking the time to call someone who is grieving this holiday season or dropping off cookies to a neighbor that may not have time because they are a single parent struggling to survive the combat of a 9-year-old every day.

I ask, who can you be the sparkle for today? Where can you shine your light to soften someone else’s darkness?

And, if you are feeling the darkness and need some sparkle, will you let me know? I am here for you.

P.S. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! With your help, I hit the 100 mark on my YouTube channel helping me get my shucking messages out to more people. Click the button below if you’d like to join it too! There will be more and more videos in the new year that include turning the grit in my life to pearls to help you do the same.

If there is anyone you think should be part of our Shucking Family please forward this e-mail on to them. We all need to shine our pearls to make the whole world brighter!!!