Confession time. This post was not intended to be a bonus, but the weekend got away from me and I didn't get my *Day 7* post done on time. Day 6, by the way was not really finished either. Oh well — it's a new day and a new week — what do you say we ALL lose the fretting over what we didn't get done and move forward determined to have a happy and productive day?


Here's an easy candy gift that kids will love to give and receive. Purchase a bag or two of M&Ms and little clear bags or boxes. Then pull out your ribbon and punches — and tie up some colorful, happy YUM.

I'm giving them to my cub scouts and Trey and Taft are sharing them with Sunday friends and teachers, with this poem attached:

Red is for Christ's Love and Green Eternal Life. But wait, before you eat … turn each candy to reveal a special treat … the 'M' becomes a 'W' an 'E' and then the number '3.'

These candies tell the Christmas Story — it's very plain to see.

The 'M' is for the Manger, where Baby Jesus slept that night.
The 'E' is for the East, where the star shone so bright.
'W' is the Wonder of Angels and the shepards that came.
And '3' is for the Wisemen bearing gifts to honor His name.

As you eat these candies and share them with your friends, remember the meaning of Christmas and the JOY that never ends.

cute huh? wait, there's more …

Friday I took Chase downtown to see our friend Ashley Potter. Ashley is a licensed speech language pathologist whom I met through Big Picture Scrapbooking and she graciously offered to introduce Chase and me to a very cool thing called Interactive Metronome.  IM, developed in the early 1990s is being used to treat many learning and developmental conditions, including ADHD. We are in the process of starting a home program of IM for Chase.


In any case, while in her office, Ashley shared this gorgeous calendar with me …and was kind enough to say that I had influenced it's creation. I was unsure of what she meant. Here's the story:

Ashley took our 4Experts class with Allison Tyler Jones and developed her passion and skill for photography to the point that she was able to photograph twelve of the children she works with. All of these children fall on the autism spectrum and Ashley has joined forces with The Isaac Foundation to raise money that will provide treatment grants to families in the Spokane area.

Here's what Ashley told me and what she wrote in her dedication:

"When I volunteered to work on this project, I had no idea it would be as rewarding as it has been. I remember leaving my first photo shoot feeling very challenged, yet excited and incredibly inspired. I had shown a few of the images to the mom of the little girl I was photographing, and she had gotten teary-eyed as I scroled through the pictures on my camera's LCD screen. She explained how difficult it was to get good pictures of her daughter, and she was very grateful for what I had captured. Over the next six months of collecting the images for this calendar, I heard the same story over and over again from different families. My hope was to leave each photo shoot having captured a smile, a giggle, or a twinkle in their eye. I had a wonderful experience with each of these children and many of them taught me to be patient, to be present and not to be rushed …"

OK, so my influence was minimal, but as I sat listening to Ashley I was reminded again the ability women have to do great and good things. We are by divine design both creative and nurturing and we have such an astonishing potential to use these gifts in blessing the lives of others. As a professional therapist Ashley knows how to be with and love special-needs children and she has now taken this ability and extended it through photography. I wish you could see these images up close — the light and emotion in these "faces of hope" are beautiful. Ashley is hoping to do more in this niche of photographing special-needs children. You can learn more here.

So, the holidays are upon us. I don't know about you, but I am in a state of constant overwhelm and when I hear stories like this, I take heart. I know that I can't do everything, but I can do some things and those things will be influential in the lives of others and will (whether I know about it or not) have a ripple affect.

Be happy today. Be kind and be generous with your smile — you'll start some ripples.


  1. Jeannette P says:

    Love the story of Christmas with the red & green M&Ms. HUGE thumbs up for that one!!! I love finding cute things like this to do with my kiddos that are meaningful & simple & fairly inexpensive. THanks for the fab idea!
    Ashley’s story is extremely touching. In fact, I’ve got damp cheeks after wiping tears away. I know how frustrating it can be to capture nice photos of my 3 but never thought about how difficult it must be to capture those photos of a special needs child. Ashley sounds like an amazing person & the calendar looks great. The images she’s capture of each child look amazing. Thanks for sharing that too.
    Now I’m off to copy the M&M story so I can make some little mini cards & print them out to attach on some kind of bag.

  2. Yay Ashley!!! So glad you shared about this project, Stacy. Ashley is an amazing photographer (she did a FABULOUS family photo shoot for us in October) as well as a super mom, a fun scrapbooker and a good friend. I’m so happy for her success and it’s so great to see you’re sharing her story here.
    Smooches to you today!

  3. I LOVE the M&M gifts – I was trying to think of something fun & inexpensive for my kids to give to their friends and this is PERFECT. Thank you!!
    And the calendar story is so sweet. She is doing a great thing for these families.

  4. Love this post. The M&M story is great. Where did you find those cute plastic boxes?

  5. BE HAPPY TODAY ~ it’s as simple as that isn’t it?!

  6. Thanks for sharing Ashley’s story. I am an Occupational Therapist who works with special needs children. Love the ideas of grants for therapy for children. I look forward to hearing your experiences and results with IM.
    Thanks for the happy M & M idea. I too am overwhelmed at times with all the stuff to do. I am inspired by your 30 days project just to take time today to find something special about today and do something fun for Christmas.

  7. As the Mom of a daughter recently diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, I was so touched by Ashleys story about photographing these beautiful children~ Thank you too for the adorable idea with the M&Ms, we will definitely be doing that for my daughters friends~

  8. Our son has been doing the home Interactive Metronome program with really great results. Hope it helps Chase, too :)

  9. Our son has been doing the home Interactive Metronome program with really great results! I hope it help Chase, too :)

  10. I just wanted to say that you’ve found a great program when you found Interactive Metronome. I’m an elementary education major and our recent lectures where on IM. I was awful at it but quickly made great progress. Good luck to Chase! I’m sure he’ll have a blast and make great improvements as well!

  11. Deb Jones says:

    I was so moved by Ashley’s story and yes you did have more than a minimal part in it. If you hadn’t started BPS there would have been no class for Ashley to take and to give her the courage to try this.
    Great idea with the M&Ms. I enjoy little things like that.

  12. Thanks so much for posting the information about the calendar, Stacy! And commenter, Deb Jones, was right on! If it wasn’t for you there wouldn’t be BPS, and if it wasn’t for BPS, there wouldn’t be 4 experts, and if it wasn’t for 4 experts, there wouldn’t be Allison Tyler Jones, and if it wasn’t for Allison Tyler Jones, I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue this project!
    The ripple effect!

  13. Stacy – I would love to hear more about how Chase does with IM. I have considered it for my son as well.

  14. I love the M&Ms idea as well. Thanks for sharing that with us, Stacy! I am going to have the kids make those for their classmates at school this year. perfect and simple!
    blessings for a lovely Christmas!

  15. Loved the way your poem weaves The Word into kids lives… through the power of candy!!! I plan to use this idea so thanks.
    And as a follower of Christ blessed to be gifted as an Interactive Metronome coach, I’ve witnessed the lives of so many families changed by this important therapy. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about IM.
    Soli Deo Gloria!

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