Christmas Gifts and Squiggly Lines

The image you see above was a Christmas gift I received so long ago, that I don’t remember when it was gifted to me. I think I was struggling my way through college at the time, but it may have even been before that. The important thing is I remember who gave it to me, and that was my very sweet and thoughtful Aunt Ellen.

I look up to my Aunt Ellen, and have learned a lot from her, over the years. She’s a strong, Christian woman who has been through some tough storms, but her faith doesn’t waver. Aunt Ellen is fiercely loyal, and loves her family very much but also tough, and is not one to be pushed around. She reminds me of the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Though I don’t have much to prove it. I think my Aunt Ellen might have some super powers of seeing into the future…though, I only have one piece of evidence to support that claim. That evidence is the picture posted above. See, when I first received this Christmas gift years ago, I didn’t have enough life experience to appreciate it. I saw it as a funny little cartoon in an inspirational frame that I would set out somewhere in my room. But then years went by and life happened. I won’t rehash my sob-story again (you can read that in a previous blog post if you’d like haha!) but as I got back on track, this picture grabbed my attention. I realized, I wasn’t failing life, I was just in one of those little squiggles. I joke about my aunt having that super power because she gave me a gift that I didn’t properly appreciate when I received it. I didn’t understand it then, but a decade later the message of the gift clicked, and it’s become one of the things I look to when I need some positivity in my brain.

As I started to focus more on my writing, I moved the picture from its insignificant place to one of prominence on my desk. From the time I started writing Super Penguin to this very day, it’s positioned in a way that when I sit down to write, it’s the very first thing I see. It’s gotten me through many a rough patch. Sometimes, the Bible verse is what gets me through. Sometimes I look at the picture and try to imagine exactly which squiggle I’m on and what to expect next. Today, it’s one of the most precious things I own.

A few weeks ago, I had a moment with this picture. I looked at it, as I do before every writing session, and felt an urge to send Aunt Ellen a “thank you” for a gift that I wasn’t even sure she would have remembered giving to me. Her response was so perfect that I wanted to close this Christmas blog post with it.

Thank You Rob!

In today’s culture of social media where we only see people’s highlight reels and our lives look like a bloopers real ,it’s good to remember that everybody’s life is messy , everybody’s family is complicated,
everybody looks great on the outside ,
on the surface, but everybody is carrying a burden of some kind.
I’m so glad it continues to encourage you.

Sorry for the Mom speech. Now that your are a Dad you could file that away for later.😆

Consider that lesson filed away.

Merry Christmas everyone!


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