Yesterday started out just as any normal day… then one by one things started to remind me of how blessed I am, and what a truly beautiful time of year this is.
First off – I went Christmas shopping (5 days before Christmas… don’t even ask! I’ve never done this before & hope to never have to do it again… eek)! It probably wouldn’t have been so terrible if I had been dropped off and walked from store to store. But instead I attempted driving around North & Clybourn Avenues in Chicago to hit up all the shops – which was… interesting… to say the least. I eventually parked in a (much too expensive) parking ramp and walked from store to store because I couldn’t take it anymore.
By the end of all the shopping I was suuuuper hungry (which any of you that know me well, know this is not a pretty sight), and I was ready to be home & done with shopping. It was right at this point that I was attempting to pay for my parking at the little automated station in a hallway of the parking ramp when the machine rejected all 6 credit/debit cards I tried to pay with. It became clear it was not about my cards, but about the machine. I was ready to strangle that machine! I didn’t have cash to pay, and the machine had sucked my parking pass in – so I was stuck.
Little did I realize, however, that an older man had walked up and noticed my last few cards get rejected. I joked to him, “I thought the 10th card would do the trick!” ha ha haaaaa….
Then he said, “Here, let me help you out,” and in one fell swoop, he put in enough cash to cover my parking. I couldn’t believe it. I attempted to give him the $2 I had in my wallet (which didn’t nearly cover it) – but he insisted I keep it. “Tis the season!!” he said cheerily. I seriously was in a little bit of shock. I rarely see people (especially in Chicago) help out another person like that. I thanked him over and over, as he shook his head and told me it was no big deal.
I drove home with a full heart…. smiling all the way about what had just occurred.
Then I arrived home to find two packages for me! What a day!
The first was a total surprise – from the lovely Elissa of Elissa R Photography in Austin, TX, who I became close (online) friends with way back when we were both readers of A Practical Wedding (we’re now both sponsors). She wrote the sweetest note and included this book – which I can’t wait to read in my off season now that I have time! Yay! Thank you E! 🙂 Totally unexpected and amazing.
The second gift I was expecting, but not sure when. I’m a part of a gift exchange (also from girls I met via APW… obviously!) who all congregate on Twitter, read each other’s blogs, and chat about life. (It’s pretty awesome, actually.) Anyway – we formed a group called #nosyb*tches and did a holiday gift exchange! Nobody knew who anybody else had – and all we had to go on was what we knew of them from Facebook, Twitter, their blog, etc… since most of us had never met in ‘real’ life.
Well, apparently the lovely Mariela had me – and for someone who has never met me in person – she seriously did an AMAZING job!!! She got me this super sweet yellow giraffe print, which will clearly fit in my office perfectly – especially because I plan to make a gallery wall of art/photos/frames/etc this winter! YES!
And …. AND…. she made me homemade handwarmers! I know. Seriously. The craziest part is that I’m not sure if she is even aware that I have Raynaud’s Syndrome and constantly battle with icy cold hands year-round (especially in the winter). So during the day – when I’m editing/working away and my hands start to ache from the cold? Pop a few of these bad boys in the microwave and I’m feeling better in no time! Amazing. (I should note that she made one of the pairs out of yellow & gray fabric. I’m clearly in love with them. And not to be confused, the center photo is what the handwarmers came wrapped in. Adorable!)
I hope you guys are feeling the love this holiday season too… and even more importantly – that you’re spreading the love whenever possible! I know I’ve been doing my best to pay it forward and will continue to do so even when the decorations are gone and trees down.