Giving – Christmas JOY 2012


Christmas Joy

A time where we do what we can, where we are with what we have for some awesome ladies and their children.

We’ve hosted a Christmas Bash for the ladies and children of a local Women’s shelter for several years now and love it each time.  Watching these kids grow up has been a huge blessing to my heart and seeing them a few times a year reminds me that all the work, the emails, the asking for donations is completely worth it.

Putting together this event is hard work, but it’s always done with great love.  I’m thankful for the many many people that worked hard to make it possible and for the amazing financial donations that came through to bring Christmas to these kids.

We don’t get to select the toys, the food and drinks as we simply graciously receive what is given to us and turn right around, dress it up and pass it on with some fun and encouragement.  This year was no different!

There were over 170 total people in attendance this year.  The biggest we’ve ever had.

Everyone received a delicious meal from Olive Garden as well as the option of enjoying hot dogs, sloppy Joe’s, a wide variety of desserts, including gourmet cupcakes from Gigi’s of South Park and drinks.  There was no shortage of food and everyone ate to their heart’s content.

We split the parents and children so that the shopping could begin.  The excitement was high and soon the wrapping, laughter and fun would continue!

The kids shopped for 30 different candies! They were allowed to go through the shop twice and even received “extra” of some other candies! Their bags were HUGE when they finished!  They heard the Christmas Story, about how Jesus came as a baby; the shepherds visited and worshiped Him.  I love being able to share this with them as children can understand but also so that they can see that no matter what, children CAN make a difference and regardless of what kind of job you have, you matter.  The shepherds were the lowliest but on that night; they were the first to see the miracle of Christmas.

We then treated the children to a board breaking demonstration.  My son is a black belt in tae kwon do and connected the breaking with the fact that we have to trust God.  We don’t know what is going to happen when we “try” but trusting God will get us through.  The wood is pretty thick and he did three separate breaks.  1st break was with 1 piece of wood, 2nd was with 2 and then 3rd, using his elbow, was with 3 pieces of wood.  The kids were thrilled and many of them have a reminder of this because Todd signed each piece of wood for them putting his life’s verse on there for them to be reminded that God already KNOWS what we need.

WHILE all of this was going on, the ladies were hearing some encouragement of their own, shopping, wrapping, laughing and hearing a few stories of my youth from my cousin.

We talked about what we are becoming and how we can’t always see it or realize it but we ARE becoming so much more than we ever realized.

After all of this was done and the presents were wrapped and securely bagged away, we allowed the kids to walk through and pick out a toy or 2.  I love that they can have a small gift to take home with them.  None of the children complained about what kind of toys we had and so many were bubbling over with joy and happiness and were giddy with delight.  One little girl ran up to me and hugged me, exclaiming “Merry Christmas Ms. Marie!” I just hugged her and smile, fighting the tears, I whispered Merry Christmas!

Before allowing them to leave, I showed the mom’s the type of wood that was broken by banging it on the side of a pew.  They have requested a board breaking demonstration for THEM next year!  I hugged every single person as they were leaving, giving each child a pack of Reese’s Cups of their very own.  They are always soooo thrilled to get these and I will always be delighted to give it to them.

We were also able to give each family a bag of food to take home with them too, which was very much needed as well as a gift bag for the mom’s.

I can’t thank everyone enough for the help that was given, the financial contributions that are made by our Monthly Donors as well as those that faithfully give for each even that we host. 

Those that collected toys – you have no clue the impact on these hearts! Thank you!

Those that gave a financial gift – thank you for being a huge part of what we do and for continuing to support us!

Pastor Taylor and the members of New Grace – Thank you for helping, supporting us and for allowing us the use of your facility.  Your prayers and support are a huge blessing.

Thank you Olive Garden for the amazing meal that you provided for us and to the others that donated food for this event!

For those that gave their time and used their voice, thank you!

Thank you for Spreading Joy and for how you care!

Please watch the video below and see the smiles that you gave! I pray your heart is flooded with great joy knowing that you are the reason these kids are having a better Christmas then they normally would have. 




Thank you! 







Magical Weekend

Marie and Magician Maxwell Blade

Marie and Magician Maxwell Blade

My mommie gave me a wonderful gift for my birthday. A trip to see my son who was in Arkansas in college.  Though the trip was long and the time spent with Todd would be short, the weekend would turn out to be quite magical, indeed.

I always try and focus on the positive. There’s usually  a lot of negativity swirling all around to cover up the happy, so finding the joy in things can be difficult, but – always remember, the joy and happiness is there! Look for it!

The weekend was full of laughter, singing, coffee and getting turned around, spilt drinks, my mommie’s broken Air Conditioner and my unexpected financial expenses that could have taken the joy out of the trip.  But – choosing to focus on seeing my son, HIS birthday – I decide that we are going to have fun, no matter how tight the funds were. There had to be plenty of free things to see, do and enjoy.  I was determined his 19th birthday would be amazing.

Todd was completely surprised to see us. No small feat, given the fact that he is always facebookin, texting, talking and the like.  I actually thought my heart would burst as we pulled into the mall parking lot.  We hug, cry and say a huge thanks to his wonderful boss and we leave for our weekend.  I have no idea yet what we will do, but it will be great fun simply being with Todd for his birthday.

The Glorious Majestic Hotel

I love the historical feel of downtown Hot Springs Arkansas.  The old buildings, and especially the Majestic Hotel. We walk around that evening and spend time looking at it, even though we are NOT supposed to be trespassing. I would love to sneak a peak inside. I can imagine the parties, the rooms, the dinners and the laughter.  We see a guard, stop and speak for a bit. I’m secretly wishing he would invite me to see a few of the rooms.  I love old buildings like that.  He doesn’t, I’m jealous, so we bid him a good night and head down the road.

(Seriously, if YOU have connections, I’d looove to see the inside, even though it’s abandoned!)

We talk about going to the lake, but have no clue where the public lake access is.

A very nice gentleman over hears us and starts telling me where to go to access the lake.  I’m getting excited as I can picture the lake and its beauty.  He tells me that he’ll write it down for me and asks if we are going to attend the magic show that night as he points to the entrance of Maxwell Blade’s Magic Show. Woow!! I LOVE magic shows!  I look at the entrance and back at the gentleman and realize that I’m speaking to the magician HIMSELF!! Oh my gosh! How cool is that?

A Magical Weekend With Maxwell Blade

He’s traveled doing magic shows all over the world and has now settled into Hot Springs AR, where he is on vacation all the time.  The show was spectacular! We settle in our seats, Todd treats me to a diet coke and we watch with awe and joy as the magic begins.  The card tricks were awesome, especially the invisible cards! He pulls children from the audiance and has a blast with them! We laugh, we oooohh and aaahhhh.  Bottles of wine come from empty containers that I can see through. Not just a few of them, no. An entire table full by the time the trick is complete.

This magician is not only gifted with the ability to WOW us with his magic, but also has a huge heart for others.  He is a giving individual and has a goal of making a difference by doing 3 acts of joy a day.  If you are trying to make sure you do one thing for others a day, that can be difficult, but 3 – that is simply wonderful.  He even stayed around afterwards to speak to everyone of us, even though he had a long trip to make that night for an event the next day – one of “giving back”.

If you are in Hot Springs Arkansas, I encourage you to stop by and check out the show.  I’ll be returning there several times and will be paying it forward, making a difference and giving away a couple of tickets to this show.

Thank you, Maxwell Blade, for a magical weekend. For your heart for others, for the smiles, laughter and joy you bring into the hearts of all who visit your show.

Please visit

You can contact Maxwell Blade by calling  501-623-6200  501-623-6200
Mailing Address: 121 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 71901

Adult tickets cost $15.00.
Tickets for seniors 55 and up cost $13.00.
Tickets for children 12 and under cost $10.00.

Oh…..another thing! When I asked for his card, he promptly wrote his email on a playing card and handed it to me! *grinning* now THAT is very cool! I love those neat little things!

Make it magical today! No matter the problems, worries or other little aggravating things that poke their way into your day! Look for and find the joy in the journey!

Tell me about a magical time you’ve had – even though the problems were swirling around you.

{{{HUGS}}} Yall