Some Christmas Surprises

Often I’m asked how I do it.  Honestly friends, I’m no super woman.  Let’s be honest, we all have days that are completely overwhelming.  Personally I love, love, love my life.  But no doubt some days are just kinda’ hard.

And in the midst of sometimes feeling overwhelmed, suddenly the Lord shows up with His loving care in ways I never would have dreamed of, reminding me that He is always faithful, He understands our overwhelmed hearts and that we definitely have His blessing.

Like yesterday.

With Christmas drawing near I knew I needed to take the kids Christmas shopping.  But it sounded kinda’ overwhelming.  Birdie isn’t an enormous fan of shopping (I know, I know, we have got to work on that!).  And Ruby’s been having a few rough days lately.  And of course two wheelchairs make things a little tricky as well.

But it needed to be done because each year, usually on Thanksgiving, the kids secretly exchange names with any of their married sibs, sibs-in-love and nieces and nephews who would like to be included.


So with Christmas speeding toward us, I reasoned that Monday would probably be one of the least busy days (this close to Christmas) and with two wheelchairs and my big ol’ pile we needed that “empty mall feeling”!  Besides Emma had mentioned that she wished she could go to her favorite mall in Phoenix to do some shopping.  It’s not anywhere near our home, but why not take the kids and FaceTime with Emma in hopes of making her feel kinda’ like she was there too?

So we ventured off about 9 am – with the goal of finding presents for all!

We prayed and worshipped as we drove toward the mall.  We asked God for His favor on our day.  We prayed for sales and deals and beautiful surprises!  Little did we know what was ahead!!   I am still shaking my head.  He is just so faithful, we will never forget all He did in one day for us!

We found a parking spot easily near the door.  Everyone was full of anticipation!!


Although FaceTiming with Emma didn’t work well, she saw us for a speck (literally a speck) and then the calls kept failing.  *sigh* Well at least we tried.



The mall was relatively light in customers so it was easy going.

We wandered up and down.  The names are kept secret till Christmas morning so it requires the kids to be slick in purchasing their gifts! We managed to get a few people taken care of at the mall!

Vern tended to lag behind, so I was constantly turning around and asking him to get a move on.  I finally had him change the speed to faster.  Of course then he ran over Isaiah, Liberty, and Elijah’s feet and banged into one of the others.  So yeah, we went back to the “lagging” speed…much more our style, besides the sibs kinda’ like their toes.  So I was kinda’ a bobble head with looking all around to keep track of everyone.

All that to say that I had not noticed anyone looking at us, my head was moving in too many directions.  But suddenly an elderly woman, wearing dark sunglasses, appeared right in front of me.  I half-expected her to say that Vern had ran over her feet too!  Haha!  But without saying a word she reached her hand toward mine and gently placed a rolled up bill in my hand. My mouth dropped open.  She never said a word.  I thanked her profusely for her kindness.  She never spoke, didn’t even really smile….she just turned and slowly walked all the way down the mall.   I was completely dumbfounded.  Perhaps she was an angel!! (Not kidding!)  The kids and I were all grateful and right then and there we thanked the Lord for His goodness through this sweet, silent, sunglassed lady! IMG_3043Around lunch time we headed to the car and as we did I received a text.  It was from a Zoyo frozen yogurt shop.  We had been there about a year earlier.   The text read that they were voted #1 in Phoenix and to celebrate they were giving each customer up to 8oz FREE of their yogurt and toppings that very day!!  Can anyone spell Y-I-P-P-I-E  J-E-S-U-S?  I kept the text to myself!  IMG_3041



We had packed a lunch and went out to the car to eat our lunch (leftovers from Sunday’s lunch)….and after eating, I started the car and without telling them, we drove to the ZOYO shop.  The kids were thrilled!!  All ten of us piled out and in we went.  The people were soooo nice to  us and it was such a beautiful, completely unexpected, delicious blessing!!IMG_3053IMG_3050IMG_3054IMG_3051

After indulging in all the yummy goo, we headed toward a Target near our church.  It was our only other stop for the day.  We went in the store and Liberty took some who needed to go to one department, while I took four with me to another department.  We met up after awhile and all walked together through the store.   I completely am enthralled with the Christmas department!!

In the toy department Birdie meets George:

At the back of the store another elderly lady commented on my sweet pile.  She was very kind and although it was very brief it made us all smile.  She clearly thought the kids were precious!

Once at the front near the registers, we separated again so no one would see what anyone had bought, except those who already knew.  After I was finished paying, Liberty hurried to me, “Mom! Remember the lady at the back of the store who spoke to us?  Her daughter that was with her came searching for me.  She said her mom wanted us to have this.  She said she wants us to do something we hadn’t planned on doing.  Like eating supper out or something.”  Liberty pressed a pile of bills into my hand!

Wow. Just wow!  Another completely unexpected love gift from the Lord!!

And if all that wasn’t crazy enough – as we were loading the wheelchairs in the car, another lady stopped and handed Liberty (who was closest to her) a tin of cookies and said, “I saw your family and want you to have this.  Have a very Merry Christmas!”

She drove off and we were left giggling!!  Wow Lord. Just wow!

Once home, I was exhausted – in a good way.  It had been an amazingly beautiful day.  We had been gone 8 hours!  We used the generous gift from the second lady and ordered pizza from our favorite local place, which Liberty ran and picked up.

Many completely unexpected blessings – each reminding me of just how much God loves us and loves to shower us with sweet surprises!!  He had answered our prayers, everyone found what they needed and in the process we were surprised by the Lord so many times – we praise His name!!

From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.

John 1:16

18 thoughts on “Some Christmas Surprises

  1. Such a beautiful picture of what God does when you include Him! You spoke with Him about this and in His awesome gracious way He showed up at every turn. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Your post was inspiring and heartfelt. Bravo God…I am so overwhelmed with the blessing you all are❤️Merry Christmas Saunders Family.

  3. My first chuckle was that people were looking, but you didn’t even notice–I’m the same way, not noticing stares anymore, but when our 25yo joins us, it drives her crazy!
    CHuckle # 2, Birdie and George, ,so sweet!
    Chuckle #3, the fact that things like this happen to us as well. Some of the blessings on our outings have re-built my faith in the goodness of mankind, and helped me become a nicer person as well =)
    So glad you had a wonderful day! Whew! 8 hours out is a big deal with a crew!

  4. I too had a lady come up to me when I was in the mall, sitting at a table with one of my adopted treasures, and place a rolled up bill on the table, spoke a word of blessing and promptly disappeared. I too thought she may have been an angel – until I spied her a few weeks later again in the mall. And our generous church gifted us 3 Christmas hampers last week as they bless our family and our pile of treasures(who don’t number as many as yours!). Blessings this Christmas as we celebrate the saviours birth and thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Dearest Linny, Sending Christmas blessings and love to you. I was reading Renee’s blog about you and decided I needed to pop in and say hello. Colorado misses you dear friend, but I know you are such a blessing in Phoenix.

  6. Could not possibly love this more! Seriously. Brings such joy to my heart to know people are listening to the prompting of the Lord and moving on His behalf…and that your beautiful and amazing pile are the recipients of such blessing. Yippee!! I tell my kiddos every day to be a blessing. I can’t wait to read them this post and watch their faces light up! As always, thank you so much for sharing, sweet lady! Wishing you and yours a very merry and blessed Christmas, with big Texas hugs, too. 😘

  7. What a beautiful day and God smiled down on you in so many ways! And Linny, I love that you recognize these treats as gifts from the Lord and not only stop to say ‘Thank you!! aka YIPPEE JESUS!’, you are also teaching your children to do the same! You are such a blessing to your children and also to those of us who read from afar. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas Season!!

    Now I need to find a tissue as reading your post gave me ‘God bumps’ and tears of joy for you are filling my eyes. God is SO good!!

    Catherine (

  8. LOVE!!!! Thank you for sharing, what a wonderfully sweet reminder that our sweet Jesus is encouraging us to keep on keeping on for Him, even when we are overwhelmed! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  9. I just want to say I love reading your blog and you are so inspiring to my family and I. This year for Christmas instead of spending all our budget on ourselves, my husband who is a bus driver, noticed some passengers (two older bachelors) needing help. So we gave them gift cards to the local supermarket.

    Even though Christmas is over,doesn’t mean we should stop giving. I’m going to start sending gift cards and inspirational notes to my cousin who lives 3 hours away. She’s the only one working. Her husband has cancer and her large, adult son has autism still lives with them. She just works for minimum wage at a local Walmart.

    I plan on doing all this anonymously. So God will get the glory and nobody else.

    Thank you for being an inspiration.

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