Dec 23, 2010

And God Bless Us Everyone.

A door hanger. A simple craft. The meaning of Christmas started here for me.This is Michael with my friend's cute kids who brought him a balloon last year on his birthday. The place is Raintree Convalescent Home. I visited all last year making a simple craft once a month with the patients there. Then I had Tessa and took some time off - for almost a year. I went back this last week to make some Christmas door hangers with the patients.
Michael was gone.Michael was one of our favorites. He had a wry sense of humor and was a huge Giants fan.
I asked where he was when I didn't see him. I also didn't see Virgil. Virgil had amazing faith in God and was a favorite of Hunter's as Virgil loved to joke with him. I had looked into Virgil's room going by on the way in and didn't see him either. I had asked Carolyn, the activities director, where they were. She told me they had passed away this last year. My heart hurt all day. I missed them. She said that she really appreciated the crafts I do with them because they may not have a much longer by the time they get to the convalescent home. They try to keep them happy and busy with the time they have. Crafts and birthday balloons mean so much to them when we bring them. She said they tie the balloon to their wheelchair until it finally meets it's demise about a week later. It's a pretty big deal I guess. Some of the ladies were having so much fun doing crafts they wanted to do about 4 or 5 different door hangers.
In contrast:
This is my house:

Yeah, this is what I have.
They get a little door hanger I made with them.
I regret my year off visiting. I wonder if Michael got to see the Giants win the world series this year?
The birthday balloons and crafts are usually bought at the Dollar Store or Oriental Trading Company. For pennies, we brighten someone's day who has ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. The rooms are pretty stark and bare. Some don't have families to visit. We have this under our tree today. It kinda looks like an obscene amount of gifts doesn't it?
The patients there don't have much in the way of material possessions. Some have lost much of their physical capabilities as well. They really can't do more than a simple preschool craft. This is isn't one of those fancy smanshy convalescent homes with the glossy brochure explaining what they can offer the elderly. This is a run-down, small, hospital type of home with caring people who run it with little resources.

I on the other hand, have been rockin' the Christmas spirit trying to jam in as many Christmas traditions and activities as I can for my kids. Our home is filled with laughter, love, and togetherness. There is such a stark difference.
My kids sat alongside the patients and made their own door hangers too. The one up above? That's Hunter's and he's darn proud of it. Young, old, privileged, rich, poor, and needy. We all are God's children and are loved by Him. There are some beautiful precious souls in that home. I enjoy spending a morning with them once a month. I don't go because it's another check on my to-do list. Ya know. My good deed for the month? I really love the patients. They are delightful and funny and some are just so sweet. Precious souls who deserve to be loved.

You don't have to go far to find people who need you. I only have to drive 2 minutes to this little home.

The door hanger? It's the meaning of Christmas to me.


  1. Oh Jenny...tears again. THANKS!! lol. I think Raymond getting drug down the hall in Carmen's wheelchair will be forever ingrained in his memories. Those patients have been a blessing to my family as well. They eat just doesn't get any better than that. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

  2. If only we'd stop and really look into people's lives and spend a few moments pouring in a bit of love. I love how you show this to us through Raintree. It may not seem very important to many people, but for the few who live there it is very important. Their days same 'ol...same 'ol, empty and lonely. What a bright light a simple door hanger (and those who take time to visit them) can be!

  3. What a sweet post. My parents took us once a month too. We went to the retirement home near church and played bingo. I always remember having a grand time!

    Love your mantle and tree. You can find the mini cake domes here:

    They've been marked down to $24.99!