Breast Cancer Resource Center Savannah, GA USA

Miracles and Snowflakes

SNOWFLAKES: A New Family Tradition: Christmas 2019

The Beginning:

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2017 and had a grueling battle with the disease in the ten months that followed.  It was taxing on my body and mind in more ways than one. (I’m human).  Although I truly believe that we can sculpt goodness from our shadows, in the thick of my personal storm, I found myself emotionally run down and weary.  I was falling – breaking; and in a world that seemed like I had very little control, I’d been reminded: “…to let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can.”  What on earth did that mean?

I was emotionally raw – sad and afraid.  I put my hands together and prayed real hard for God to help me, to guide me, to be there with me, and to show me a flicker of hope.  You know, it’s funny how God answers prayers.  Sometimes a song will play at just the right time, or a friend will call, or a thought will pop into your head.  God brings people into our lives at seemingly the perfect time, and in many ways these are the answers to our prayers.  We just need to listen.  He is there.

            On this particular chilly December day back in 2017, when I was overcome with turmoil and put my hands together to pray, within seconds, I heard Randy Travis’s song, Three Wooden Crosses, play on the radio.  I was afraid of dying, of not being there for my children…of being ripped away from this world sooner than I wanted.  I didn’t have much control over when my time would come (none of us do).   So, as I listened to the song, I really let the lines, “I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go”…I let them sink in.  I was terrified of dying, and it bugged me immensely that I didn’t have control over that.  But then it hit me, I could control HOW I lived while I was here; and I started to wonder: what do I want to leave behind?

That’s when a metaphor, a quote that I love so much, first came to my mind.  “If acts of kindness were like snowflakes, unique in their own beauty, then when we’d increase these acts, we’d see snow.”  That’s it!!  I wanted to leave behind metaphorical ‘snow.’ 

I might not be able to control when my time comes, but each and every day that I am here, I can work on making another snowflake.  I can be kind.  I can show up for people.  Compassion and love are key.

With a new found nugget of hope…of strength… (thanks God for answering my prayer)…I went into Walmart for some Christmas shopping.  I smiled when I realized that God had just sent me yet another shoulder tap.

I’d always said that I wanted to change the world – to help make it better in some way, but I didn’t know how that looked. (My first year teaching I’d even made an entire lesson on it – explaining to my students that it was the small things that added up to greatness.) 

Then, while standing in the aisles of Walmart in December of 2017, a gentle reminder of that beautiful sentiment came to me when I glanced up and saw (of all things) a teacher’s ornament.  It was a chalkboard with the words, “Change the World,” on it.  Yes!  Yes, God, I hear you!  Thank you!  I am not alone! Change happens with the collection of those small acts.

Although there was much still left out of my control and I was still frightened by the vast unknown, I was reunited with that starry-eyed dreamer of my youth.  I COULD control what I’d one day leave behind.  I wanted that to be snow, and that started with snowflakes.

Two years later, as the Holidays roll in once again, I’m still in love with snow.  This is a season of love, and where there is love, there is God.  It’s about showing up and being there for another.  It’s about giving – and that takes many different forms: time, compassion, support, unconditional love, and so-on.

This year, I’m excited to start a new tradition in our family.  It’s inspired by the ‘White Envelope’ story that’s been circulating around Facebook.

            This year, as a family, one of our Christmas gifts will simply be a snowflake.  We’ll do something kind for someone else – someone who isn’t expecting it, who may not even know us, but who could still appreciate and love the genuine act of kindness.  We’ll write about it and keep it tucked inside our family journal so that one day, in years to come, our children (and theirs) can be reminded of the snow and how it all starts with snowflakes.

This Year: Christmas 2019 Snowflake

A few months back, Leona and Sage were swirling one another on the desk chair upstairs.  I was cooking dinner in the kitchen and heard a loud thud.  It was the sound that makes a mother’s heart stop.  It’s the sound that has you flying up three sets of stairs all in one single stride while hollering, “Are you okay,” and holding your breath and praying that you’ll hear, “yes.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the word “yes.”  Sage was not okay.  She’d fallen and busted her head open.  She was crying – scared – and yes, there was lots of blood.  I put a compress on it while dialing 911.  Within minutes, four police officers and an ambulance were out front. 

We were blessed enough to have Officer K be one of the first responders.  Sage took a liking to her and began to calm down.  Leona was quite the helper too.  She’d gotten me compresses when I needed them, watched for the paramedics to arrive, and went to get her sister her special doll – one who always comforted her. 

About this same time, Officer K had given Sage a brand new stuffed dog to take care of.  ‘Max’ instantly became part of the family, and she’s clung to that stuffed animal ever since.  ‘Max’ was a hero that day and even traveled with Sage in the ambulance and kept her company when they put staples in her head.  This one stuffed animal helped our little girl get through something scary.

            So, this year we’ll pay it forward by donating eight new stuffed animals to our local police department.  Leona and Sage did chores around the house to help pay for purchasing the animals to donate.  The girls, knowing how special ‘Max’ was, wanted other kids to feel that same level of comfort in their own scary moments – whatever they may be. 

Challenge: Make your own Christmas snowflake, and together – let’s let it snow!