Winlock, Washington —
I received a Christmas jar this year for Christmas. I am a widow of 12 years and mother to 8 children. In 2010 my family was in a auto crash in Gelena Illiinois that took the life of my husband and hurt my two youngest children. I was 7 half months pregnant and lost the baby in the crash. You could say past 12 years has been a struggle in healing emotionally, physically, mentally for my whole family. I struggled and struggled not able to work anymore due to physical impairments. I withdrew into depression and deep sadness grieving my husband. Still to this day not a day goes by I do not miss him.
I lost my house in 2020 and relocated to a small little town that has a good special education system for my youngest son. We do not own a car just cannot seem to gather the funds for one, always something comes up it seems. Thankfully 7 of my children are adults now and just living life, some are struggling and some are slowly getting adulthood. Lots of challenges.
Winlock is the small town I came to and when I came here something occurred, I finally began meeting new people and trying to get on with life. Life tends to swallow us up from time to time and I think I was stuck for so long just trying to keep above water best I could. I began seeing people and their plights all around me in local cities and it deeply touched me the homeless and the less fortunate. I began feeling thankful for having the blessings I have received all these years that seemed to get me by. We do not own much but we are happy and loved. I began painting kindness rocks and leaving them by hospitals, mental health centers, drug rehabilitation centers, churches. etc. Words of encouragement to help others keep going. Things I would paint or write were words that I told myself to encourage me to simply keep going. I became extremely grateful to God and began seeing my blessings even if they were tiny here and there. I was fortunate to least have a roof over my head all these years, food, clothing.
I got baptized in the LDS church and began bonding with many people in the area. Soon I found so many wanting to help give me rides to doctors, appointments and really help me move past a painful past. I began seeing my children flourish and my worries were becoming lighter. The people inside my church never judged me for being broke or needing a little help here or there. I would often not even ask for help because I felt I am already blessed inside my heart with good friends and family.
I struggle with some health issues but I always try hard to encourage others best I can. My youngest son will most likely remain with me long term due to his disability that he got when he was 4 in the 2010 crash, always seems our weeks are full of doctors appointments for him non stop. Some weeks it is hard to even find time to catch a breath.
This year my landlord raised my rent 3 times as the inflation grew higher and higher. I could hardly buy food and things I needed with all the increases. My dreams of getting a car or truck was now diminished. I live in the middle of woods and it is quite isolated here. But due to times right now I had no choice to use the money I saved towards rental costs and household items.
On Christmas day I had several people from the church one by one come to the house dropping off cookies, or small gifts for my son and I, tiny little gifts. Before I knew it I had about 9 ppl come and go. That night as I locked my front door for the night I looked down and noticed a green bag I did not see all day tucked behind my indoor table. I reached down and looked inside and received a Christmas Jar and the book Christmas Jar.
A wave of emotions over came me and touched me so deeply. I am in hopes to pay it forward one day.