Gingersnaps and Hope.

Updating with who has won the Christmas Angel giveaway ….!

Thank you all for entering the giveaway! I hope that we can get The Christmas Angel to come to Canada soon! In the meantime, one sweet family will get to enjoy this lovely little tradition this Christmas. 🙂

Using – the winner is #21 – Mike & Erin K!

Congratulations, Erin! You have won the box collection of The Christmas Angel Book, a lovely storage tin for safe keeping, your own plush little Christmas Angel and a bag of Christmas sparkles! Can you send me a message and we’ll get it all sorted out for you? Thank you all for entering and I hope you have a fabulous Christmas, starting new and refreshing old traditions. xo



And so December begins.

Sugar coated and sparkling, fresh and crisp.

A month of extra-special traditions and love and bubbling joy for our family. My heart was swollen with happiness this morning as I watched four little girls, excited and fighting over who got to crack that one precious farm egg into the cookie dough, prepare love for a neighbour. The first day of their Christmas Angel adventures.

The egg, shell and all, falls into the cookie mixing bowl. My four year old cries, but we show her how to rescue our dough easily.
Sticky molasses pools on the countertop.




Cookies were rolled and dipped in sugar and placed neatly in the warmth of the oven.


15 minutes seemed like an eternity as the girls waited … and waited … and waited. It was encouraging to see how enthusiastic five little girls could be in this simple task … baking cookies for their neighbour, as instructed by their Christmas Angel.

While we waited, I told them the childhood story of my old neighbour, Mr. Murphy.

He lived beside my family when we lived in the City of Barrie, both in little red bungalows built in the 60s. Our yard was separated by a neatly-trimmed green hedge – which I used to quietly hide in and capture slimy snails – but Mr. Murphy was always welcoming to my sister, brother and I. He must have been about 60 years old – yes, ancient compared to my little Grade 3 self. He had wispy white hair around his balding head. His nose always dripped in the winter time. He was very tall. His smiles were always welcoming. And he had two skunks that lived under his back shed – which we named Henry and Henriette.

Our nice neighbourly Mr. Murphy had a milk cupboard on his back porch outside wall.  {You know the kind in old houses where they would deliver milk bottles to?} … it opened up and, I suppose, would keep the milk cool way back when.  Somehow, I’m not sure how it started,  Mr. Murphy used to use the milk cupboard as a mailbox of books for me. I remember opening the cupboard and discovering a pile of new {old vintage} storybooks that he must have had as his role as grandfather to his grandchildren. Opening the milk cupboard and find another stack of books was such a highlight for me.  Skipping home with an armful of stories to read, it was like Christmas!

A few years later, we moved away from the city and our little red bungalow and settled in the country. It was shortly after we moved that Mr. Murphy’s wife died of cancer. I was only a little girl – maybe 10 years old? – but I never forgot what my dad said, while driving our minivan one day, his hands gripping the steering…  Did she know Jesus when she died? Did we ever tell her about God? He said he regretted the fact that he hadn’t  used our time as neighbours to tell Mrs. Murphy that Jesus loved her.

And now, suddenly, I am an adult. A mother. A neighbour. And I wonder – am I, now, showing Jesus’ love in enough ways to those who live right beside me? 

Red construction paper and some sparkly Christmas stickers were soon brought out by my girls as they crafted up two Christmas cards.

The cookies cooled and the cards were made.




My two eldest girls excitedly put on their winter coats and dashed next door to deliver the baked goods. They anxiously watched through the frosty window panes to see when Mr. R. would notice the box of gingersnaps on his doorstep …



Later in the day, amid mugs of hot chocolate, whimpers from our tired toddler and a sleepy baby, our family sat together at the dining room table to start our Advent devotion for the month of December.


This year, we are doing the Jesse Tree. The girls cut out their ornaments and colored them, hung them on the tree and listened as Abby and I took turns reading the devotion and Scripture.
Lacey, being the eldest, lit the first candle in the Advent wreath.

The candle of hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13

We planted tiny, brown seeds in black soil, held in a small clay pot, to represent acts of kindness … {hopefully} the seeds will grow and on Christmas Eve, the grass will be cut and placed at the manger for Jesus.

This is the first day of a very special month. Not because of presents. Not because of holiday parties. Not because of Santa.

But for our family, this is a month of working together to give and love. And learn more about how Jesus’ birth changed our lives forever.




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December 2, 2012 - 4:42 pm

Grandma Gerr Your Mom said it all! // Grandpa and I remember the Murphy’s well! <3
a lovely story to tell!

December 2, 2012 - 3:56 pm

Gillian’s Mom, Brenda Beautiful …. oh how I remember Mr Murphy … he was a fantastic neighbour. That is one thing that I miss about Country Living – having neighbours nearby.
Love the acts of kindness and how you are teaching the girls about the REAL meaning of Christmas!! And love your Advent wreath … it is beautiful 🙂

December 2, 2012 - 3:30 pm

Mike/Erin K Thank you, and to you and all the followers, Merry Christmas O:-)

December 2, 2012 - 3:29 pm

Mike/Erin K Thank you!