An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scofted. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Christmas Shoes

I read a lot. I love to read!  For the most part I try to read positive or inspiring books. Every so often I’ll get pulled in by James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club books or a book on Navy Seals. I have a bit of an obsession with the SEALs.

Anyway, Friday night my hubby was having a guys night so I decided to throw my “to do” list out the window and take a little time for myself.  I first stopped in at Edible Arrangements to pick up a fruit bouquet for a friend who had been spending the better half of the last month at hospice with a family member who unfortunately passed away yesterday.  I’m so glad I listened to that nagging feeling that kept telling me I needed to do something for her, something to bring a little sunshine in the dark.

After dropping off the fruit bouquet I pulled into the Walgreen’s parking lot.  I had an appointment with a coaching client and wanted to give her my full attention. I didn’t need to be driving and talking anyways.  Not very safe! After catching up with my client I headed to Target. Oh I love not to be rushed in Target.  I had a short list of things I needed to pick up, but I also enjoyed looking at shoes, office supplies and kitchen gadgets. I impressed myself that I didn’t buy anything that wasn’t on my list.  I’m really trying to stick to buying needs over wants this year.  It’s a work in progress but I have to start somewhere and getting out of Target with no extra items was a little miracle in and of itself.
I considered going home, but Barnes and Noble was calling my name.  Okay, so I peaked inside Pier 1 and after picking up a few things, I put them back. Again, things I wanted but didn’t need.  My husband would have been impressed. I spent zero dollars at Pier 1.  Get the Guinness Book of World Records to Valparaiso, Indiana because that has never happened!

Finally, I entered into the world of my true weaknesses…Barnes and Noble. I think I literally smiled and took a deep breath as I pull open those large, heavy wooden doors and entered.  It’s like the land of adventure for adults.  I had no particular book in mind. I just love to browse. I picked up many books.  I read the inside covers then put most books back down. Some I made a mental note to pick up at the library and others I don’t think are worth my time.  Then, as I always do, I stumbled upon the clearance books.  They had an entire table of $2 books.  SCORE! I was ecstatic to find three that peaked my interest and that I would purchase.  Think Like a Winner, Lost December by one of my favorite authors, Richard Paul Evans and The Christmas Shoes.  I had read the Christmas Secret by the same author and loved it. I also remember my mother mentioning this book. 
I finished The Christmas Shoes, by Donna VanLiere, this morning. I must be honest I cried through the last forty pages. My husband even walked in and said, “Really, a book is making you cry that much?”  Well I’m emotional and yes, it’s a sad book!

Besides The Christmas Shoes having sad moments it also had the underlying lessons of what this giving journey has taught me and what I’m on a mission to share with others.  The mission and message is simple.   It’s this. It is that things don’t make you happy.  That being rich with money and having nice things or going into debt to have nice things will never make you happy.  Thinking that children will be happy with rooms full of toys and stuff. That we have to spend lots of money and give tons of time to make a difference in the lives of others.  None of that is true.  My gift giving journey hasn’t been about big gifts and giving people things, though it may happen once it in awhile. It’s about the small things that may impact people in ways we will never know. It’s the small simple things that literally may change the course of someone’s life.  It may change the course of your life, like it has mine.  It’s holding a door, giving a smile, a hug, or a compliment.  It’s making a meal for someone in need, praying when there is no other way to help, sending a card to a stranger, and the list goes on and on as there are always simple opportunities to give.

I encourage you to read The Christmas Shoes. It may change your life and it may not.  I hope the author, doesn’t mind, but I’ll leave you with the Afterword (some of this won’t make sense if you haven’t read the book, but you’ll get the point):

“If we’re open to it, God can use even the smallest thing to change our lives…to change us.  It might be a laughing child, car brakes that need fixing, a sale on pot roast, a cloudless sky, a trip to the woods to cut down a Christmas tree, a schoolteacher, a Dunhill Billard pipe…or even a pair of shoes.
Some people will never believe. They may feel that such things are too trivial, too simple, or too insignificant to forever change a life.  But I believe. 

And I always will.
Blessings, Stephanie

P.S. I would like to send my copy of The Christmas Shoes to someone that wants to read it and will pass it along.  If you get this far in the blog and are the first to respond, I’ll send you my copy of The Christmas Shoes.  Once you read it, if there are others that want the book, I ask that you send it along to them. Email me at if you are interested. 


  1. Sometimes it feels good to cry, especially over a great book.


    1. Yes it does! I also recently read The Book Thief. I almost made it to the end without crying, but I didn't. Excellent book!