I know for certain that we never lost the people we love, even to death.
They continue to participate in every act, thought, and decision we make.
Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.
We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.

Leo Busgalia

Being Thoughtful

Being thoughtful is one of the most underrated gifts and without a doubt, the gift that stole my heart this past Christmas Day. Three specific “thoughtful” gestures and there were more, took my breath away.

  • “Someone left something at the front door,” Rob announced. I grabbed the key and opened the door to see a familiar and very exciting box waiting for me from Farmgirl Flowers. My three children and my sons-in-law/daughter-in-law sent me an arrangement oddly named, “Milli’s Lillies.” The note sharing how they each were thinking of me this first Christmas without my mom, which, of course, is their first Christmas with their grandmother.

  • “Mom,” a text from my older daughter reads, “Check your email, but DO NOT OPEN IT until you have set aside a quiet moment, have a steaming cuppa of English Breakfast tea in-hand, and then…YOU CAN OPEN IT. There is a NO PEEKING cover sheet.” When I did open it, she had recorded in her journal many of my Mom’s (her grandmother’s) “thoughts” during their conversations. She typed them all out for me as a rememberance. As I read the sentences, I could hear my mom and see her expressions. Some of the thoughts were actually about me and revealed some beautiful and interesting insights.

  • At the beginning of a ZOOM CALL, my daughter, Brooke, surprised me, again, with a 15-minute video of my 60th SURPRISE birthday party (October 2019). I was AS SURPRISED as I was on the night of the party. Seeing MY MOM in the video was like having her in the room with us.

I’ve gone back and forth with sharing these special surprises with you because these extremely thoughtful gifts from my children are like pearls of great price. We have to be careful with them. They can “image” that we are a perfect family or “tout” some sense of boasting about my children when in truth, I merely hope to inspire and invite us all to become even more thoughtful in this upcoming year. I’ve also thought that maybe I noticed the thoughtfulness MORE due to the deep season of grief that preceded Christmas.

Experts all agree that in order to experience deep joy, one must experience deep sorrow. As difficult as that is to wrap our mind around, it is very true.


Can Thoughtfulness Make Life Better?

Thoughtful, considerate means taking thought for the comfort and the good of others. Thoughtful implies providing little attentions, offering services, or in some way looking out for the comfort or welfare of others: It was thoughtful of you to send the flowers.”


My “sense of overwhelm” caught me off guard this past Christmas Day. It left me “gobsmacked” as my British friends say. The acts of thoughtfulness bringing a very deep sense of inner healing and hope. I received presents, too, but it was the thoughtfulness behind the gifts that took my breath away and ushered my heart into processing my first Christmas without Mom with greater ease and safety. At one point, my soul reached a deep place and I began to weep…which I really didn’t want to do on a Christmas Day ZOOM call with the children.

“But, Mom, you are in a safe place. It’s okay,” said my daughter.

Maybe that is even the greater gift, here, I thought. I am in a safe place.

A really, really safe place.

being thoughtful
Candace and Jose in Uruguay, Brooke and Aaron in California with Aaron’s family.
being thoughtful
Grant, my son, and Midas, my grandpup, driving in Kansas to pick up Kristen’s grandmother for
Christmas Day.

Wishing You a THOUGHTFUL New Year

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

George Elliot, Middlemarch

To borrow from George Elliot’s brilliant work, Middlemarch, may “the effect of ‘our’ being on those around ‘us,'” be “incalculably diffusive.”

That is my two-fold prayer for YOU in 2021:

  1. That you become more and more thoughtful in the day to day. It is truly those little, random acts of kindness that allow “for the growing good in the world.” Just yesterday, a young man couldn’t find the applesauce in Kroger. He seemed a bit distressed. He asked, “Shouldn’t it be here with all the other fruit cups? Why isn’t it here They can’t be out of applesauce, right?” I listened and assured him it must be somewhere in the store. I left and ran right into a Kroger employee who showed me right where it was. Two aisles over. I went back and shared the good news. He was so thankful. I felt lighter and more joyful. It felt good to relieve someone’s distress, even if it was only applesauce.
  2. That those in your life become more and more thoughtful in the day to day. It might NOT be inside your own home, but peppered along the path of where your day takes you. Maybe a complete stranger in the “canned fruit” aisle of your local grocery store will decrease your distress by helping you solve a problem.


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