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The Secret Santa Conspiracy
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Story Winner #9: The Secret Santa Conspiracy
The economy has had a tight grip on many families over the last four years. Mine has not been spared. We lost our house two-and-a-half years ago and moved into a rental house. Naturally, we were searching for stability. We had only been homeowners in the past, so renting was foreign to us. A little stability is all we were looking for at that point. Not just looking, but craving. Then we landed in a two-year lease. Whew!
Yet suddenly, our walls crumbled nine months after moving in. The owner came to us with the news that he was either going to let the house foreclose or do a short sale on it. What? We were paying as we should... how could this happen? It was all still so fresh. My heart hurt, even ached. In the end, the house was sold as a short sale – and abruptly, we were given 10 days to move out. It was almost as stressful as losing our own home. At least with losing our house, we knew where we were going, but not this time. Yet, once again, we did what we needed to do and figured it out.
Through all these trials, we pulled together as a family and showed love, commitment, and resiliency. We finally moved into a permanent home earlier in 2012, just about nine months ago. We all felt like we breathed a huge sigh of relief!
Then only four months after being in our home, we were robbed. I felt so violated. Yes, I played that game in my head about how none of us were hurt and that we all have our health, but the bottom line is that it was still painful. Some of the stolen items included many of our sentimental keepsakes, our pictures, and all of our holiday items. We lost so much stuff - irreplaceable stuff. It was purely devastating.
But as we had done before, we held our heads up with grace and put one foot in front of the other. As Christmas approached, I became so overwhelmed when I would think of having to buy all new ornaments, a tree, lights, and decorations. I would often go into a store to buy ornaments, only to walk out empty handed. I was paralyzed by the daunting task before me. I felt emotionally broken, and I wasn't sure how I was going to put the pieces back together.
Then came November 1, 2012 – a day to mark down in the books. A package arrived on our doorstep with a return address simply marked, "Secret Santa." Inside were four beautiful stockings. Some may not think they were beautiful, and maybe I didn't at first glance, but once I realized the gift that they were, they were absolutely beautiful. Golden. And they were from a complete stranger.
The next day, three more packages arrived from various parts of the country, filled with ornaments all marked from Secret Santa. We have continued to receive packages filled with various Christmas decorations. I am so grateful for each one of these things, because the robbery took those mementos from us. I am absolutely astounded by the generosity that keeps coming to us. It's a conspiracy, all right – a conspiracy of kindness.
Packages are arriving daily from all over the United States, even some from outside the country! We have also received beautiful, heartfelt cards with the kindest messages from complete strangers. These cards mean just as much as any gift. I am awed at the true generosity and kindness of the human spirit. I feel blessed in so many ways.
This experience has taught my kids so many lessons about how, despite hardships and tragedies, good can come out of difficult situations. Equally important, it has allowed each of us to heal in our own way. It has allowed me to heal, to put together the broken pieces of my soul. All of our ornaments that were so special to us have been replaced with ones that have their own special meaning. We now have the most incredible Christmas tree decorated with the most unique collection of ornaments! Our tree represents kindness, compassion, generosity, fortitude, resiliency, healing, love, and the true spirit of Christmas! We have been given the gift of each of these things, things which are not tangible but only felt with the heart, with my heart, with my kids' precious hearts.
I am grateful. I am beyond blessed.
- Kelly Conry
Layout by Kelly Conry
Kelly's layout shows her family's ornaments and one of the four Christmas
stockings that they have received just this year from their Secret Santa!
About the Author:
Kelly Conry: I am a momma to two and a wife to one. I have the two coolest kids on the planet... quite possibly the universe. We live in Phoenix, Arizona, and I am a freelance graphic designer, specializing in stationery design. I have been digitally scrapbooking since 2004. I just need 12 more hours every day to get everything done and keep my head on straight!
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December's Scrap Girls Club designed for you by Melissa Renfro
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We have TWO designer freebies for you each day until Christmas Eve!
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Tools - Styles: Wesley's Christmas Super Biggie 8501 are also available.
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High Noon Crop
Wednesday, December 26th - 12 Noon ET
Join April (April Showers) each Wednesday at 12 Noon ET for the High Noon Crop. All coasts and time zones are welcome! These crops are designed to allow you to work on your own photos and themes, simply giving participants a one hour goal and a fun, new challenge each week.
On December 26th your challenge will be to Use Your Stash! We all have those collections, embellishments and templates we couldn't resist, but we just haven't used them yet. Now is the time!
Create your layout and upload it to the special High Noon Crop Gallery. You'll be amazed what you can get done in just one hour, but there is no High Noon Sheriff timing you! Hope to see you in the chat room!
Speed Scrap Crop
Wednesday, December 26th - 8:00 p.m. ET
It's time for some Speed! Join Shannon (tinkerbell11) at 8 pm et for the Speed Scrap Crop! We'll give you 6 tasks, spread out over an hour. You'll then have an hour to get it finished and posted in the gallery!
December's Forum Game: BINGO!
Join us for an exciting game of December BINGO on the Scrap Girls Forum!! Pick 25 words from the list provided and send them in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line that says "BINGO CARD - your Scrap Girls Forum username" by Sunday, December 2nd (Midnight EDT) in order to play in the first round. The first round will begin on Monday, December 3rd. If you miss the first round deadline, you can still play! Just send in your BINGO card at any time during the month, and you'll be eligible to begin playing when the next new round starts.
Each day (Monday through Saturday), a member of the Welcoming Committee will call five random words from the BINGO list. Match just 15 of those words to win a BINGO. You must be first to call "BINGO!" in the game thread to win that round. After a winner is called, the boards will be cleared and a new round will begin the following day.
Each winner will receive a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique! We like to see lots of winners, so please remember that each person can only win one round during the month. Have fun!
For complete details, visit the Monthly Forum Games folder on the Scrap Girls Forum.
December Monthly Layout Contest: December is here and that means Family Time! During the holidays, we spend more time with each of our families... and we'd love for you to share your families with us! Post your layouts in the December Monthly Layout Gallery before Midnight ET on December 31st and you could one of the two people who will win a $10 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique! Please be sure to list your layout's product credits in the description or under the EXIF Properties.
Club Concepts Layout Contest: Post your new layout using the current club selection (either the Scrap Girls Club or the ScrapSimple Club) in our Scrap Girls Club Members Gallery or the ScrapSimple Club Members' Gallery. Be sure to list all of the Scrap Girls products you used. If your layout is chosen, it will be showcased as a Club Concepts layout winner, and you will win a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
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