A letter from Christmas

Shhhh.  You’ll have to be quiet.  It’s Christmas morning and I’m the only one up.

It’s funny and fascinating that the first few idle minutes I get, I turn to the blog and all of you.  I haven’t even put the coffee on yet!  The {grow} community really has become a big part of my life.  I woke up today thinking about some of you — the ones I haven’t heard from in some time. Don’t make me worry about you, now! It’s very still and cold here.  The weather forecasters called for a white Christmas, which is a very big deal here in the Southeastern United States. I think it has been more than 20 years since we had snow on December 25. Looking out the window, it;s not so much a White Christmas as a powder sugar dusting on a cupcake Christmas, but hey — it’s the thought that counts.

I’m taking some time off from the business side of things for the next week but have been focusing on writing.  This has been such a joy because I can rarely devote long uninterrupted stretches to anything these days. Really looking forward to pretending to be an author for a few days!

Any way, I am quite excited about this morning. I am going to blow my wife away today with an unexpected gift that fulfills one of her dreams. I have been on pins and needles for weeks waiting to give it to her so today is going to be a very great day.

Well, thanks for indulging me. Just wanted to let you know you were on my mind today … even if I don’t know you yet.  I do very much appreciate the friendship and support you have shown me in so very many ways this year. It’s overwhelming really.

My fondest wishes that you find peace in your heart wherever you are this cold, quiet morning,


A Very Lite Brite Christmas

At this time of year I’m not thinking too much about marketing and business so I just thought I would tell you a Christmas Story.

This is the tale of the only Christmas present that ever made me cry.

When I was a little boy, all I ever wanted for Christmas was a Lite Brite set.  Lite Brite was the Photo Shop of the 1960s.  You could create beautiful picture light shows by manipulating tiny colored pegs on a black paper screen.   This was right up there with 8-track tapes and Seas Monkeys as the technology marvel of my generation.

But I was the eldest of six kids and we didn’t have a lot of extra money for Christmas presents.  Actually asking for something as glorious and exotic as a Lite Brite seemed impossibly greedy.  So I kept my little secret between me and Santa Claus.  Every Christmas morning I would open my presents and find socks and shirts and maybe a baseball, but no Lite Brite.  Yuletide after Yuletide passed, never brightened by the phantasmagoria of Lite Brite masterpieces that lived so vividly in my mind.

Eventually I grew out of my Lite Brite phase but never really stopped wondering what it would be like to feel that little peg break through the crisp black paper to unleash its beauty.

Fast forward 30 years.  I received a mysterious Federal Express package.  No return address and it said “Don’t open until Christmas!”  Being just a little spooked in an era of terrorist bombings and anthrax letters, I opened it right away.  It was a Lite Brite set with this enclosed message:

Dear Mark,

You will never guess what happened. I was cleaning out my sleigh and found this Lite Brite set for you!  It must have dropped from my sack many years ago.  You were a good little boy and deserved this present.  Sorry I goofed.  Have fun!

Love,  Santa

A grown man had tears in his eyes as he finally opened up his Lite Brite set, a gift from a sister who had paid attention, kept a secret, and had a loving heart.

May your Christmas, and every day, be filled with the joy and wonder of a child painting with little colored pegs!  — Mark

reprised from December 2009

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