shining light

I was feeling a little uncomfortable about the post I had planned for today. I couldn’t quite figure out how to move into Monday after Friday.

I emailed the sponsor, Blue Q, asking for ideas and direction; to ask Sara how she, her family and her coworkers are doing. We had a lovely, loving exchange — me and this woman whose voice and face I do not know but who I’ve ‘talked’ with many times. She is struggling as you and I are and as we typed and hit send a few times from across the country, I felt tearful in an achingly good way. There is so much connection and hope and compassion spinning around the world right now. I can FEEL it. Can you?

It is uncomfortable: that space where honoring and grieving meets moving on into life. In writing back and forth with Sara I realized they coexist. I felt the fusion of sadness and joy when I sat next to Andy for Margot’s school birthday circle this morning. I felt it when I saw Ruby’s tiny snowy footprints on the steps.

So here we are, a devastated nation. And here we walk, together, shining light.

I am proud to work with businesses like Blue Q. I am proud to welcome them back as a sponsor of this space.

Sara from Blue Q wrote:

We love to make people laugh, that I know. There is sadness and pain and grief in the world every day. Our job here is to encourage everyone to enjoy what’s good in this world.

And, this is so true. This family-run company contributes so much humor and happiness to our world. The simples sweetness of gum, the awesome power of a good joke. And what if you combine gum and a joke?! They are so fun — the company, their products and their respectable business standards. It all feels good. Fun. Blue Q is one of those companies that the more you dig, the more you want to support them. They give back, they care, they make amazing stuff and exude positivity.

A few of our family’s favorites: butterfly lantern, Me-Om body wash, overnighter bag, Baby’s Head Smell lavatory mist, lip balm.

Also want to say: I am really impressed with their scents! Natural and not overpowering. This means a lot coming from a girl who only approves of unscented candles.

And, of course, the bags! We get asked all the time about our bags. We literally use them for everything from groceries, to ski and river gear to art supplies to travel.

Shop now and get free shipping!

And, because Blue Q is amazingly generous and sent me an awesome pile of loot that I will stick in stockings (and keep a few for myself…) I want to share some with you! Leave a comment for a chance to win* this rad selection. Maybe I’ll even throw some of my plum jam in there. Yes.

Ending with a photo of that has nothing to do with Blue Q (but totally reminds me of them) and the words of Blue Q. This is what they wrote to their customers this morning:

Ever have one of those days where you know you want to say something…but you just can’t? You know you want to lighten the load, get a smile cracked, do a little tickle and get a laugh… But it’s hard today.

I just want to spread love. Spread a virtual hug. The time is coming that we wait all year for. So let’s give. Give of ourselves and let it all in.

Whatever you do.

Whoever you are.

I bet you can touch someone’s heart right now. Give it a shot. xxoo

Hey, how about for you comment to win the giveaway, tell us what you did to touch someone’s heart?

Thanks, Blue Q.

Comments closed. Winner:

Screen shot 2013-01-08 at 2.16.26 PM


*TERMS: Winner randomly selected on the morning of Friday, December 21 and announced HERE in this very post, at the bottom. Winners will also be emailed. If the winner doesn’t claim their prize within two weeks, I’ll randomly select another.

69 Responses to shining light

  1. Allison PB says:

    I made sure everything was straightened up and looking good for my husband to come home to, he appreciates the house in order.

  2. Jennie says:

    Another great post from digthischick. And that BlueQ stuff looks amazing!

    • Jennie says:

      Whoops, I hit “post” too soon! To touch my fiancee’s heart, I made him an extra big and delicious lunch today, to enjoy on this rainy, slushy, not-very-Decemberish Ontario afternoon. :-)

  3. Elena says:

    I called my mom. Just to say I love her, nothing more.

  4. Mary Kehl says:

    I love reading your blog each week. I look forward to column in Mamalode every Monday morning too! Also, I just took up canning and learned a lot from you. I’d love to try your plum jam, as I wish I knew how to can when our plum tree went crazy this past summer. I ended up freezing most of them, but would have loved to have canned some of it. :)

  5. This weekend with a list a mile long, I stopped and welcomed guests to our house for dinner and conversation. Including homemade soup for my mother-inlaw, who is two weeks out recovering from major surgery.

  6. TracieO says:

    My baby girl (who is 20) is coming home tomorrow after spending the last 4 months in England going to school. I scrubbed the bathroom, put fresh sheets on her bed and dusted all of the dust away readying the space for her return. I can hardly wait to be able to physically take her in my arms, tell her how much I have missed her and how very much i love her. And I am so thankful that I get to do this…my heart is broken for the mama’s that will never get to again

  7. Barbara says:

    I bake cupcakes for people.. it always pulls the heart strings.. I love to share food its amazing the emotion they bring.

  8. My husband and I threw an impromptu party on Saturday evening- very casual with good friends, good food, good music (an acoustic guitar and vocal musician) and a chance to be together among the bittersweetness of life.

  9. Jeanna says:

    I love your blog so much. You touch so many hearts without ever saying a word actually. Your pictures along communicate so much love, happiness, and zest for life. One of my highlights is seeing a new post of yours. :) Thank you SO MUCH for all that you inspire in me to do!!

  10. Jen says:

    My daughter and I just got done making homemade peppermint body scrubs for her teachers and babysitter. I want to say thank you a million ways to them for keeping her safe every day and this small gesture is the least I can do.

  11. Stacey says:

    Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do to touch someone’s heart in sorrowful times. Today, I was on the receiving end of a meal (we have a newborn and our church friends are bringing meals, meals, and more meals!). I learned of another family who just had a baby too and arranged to take them dinner. Food is at the heart of healing and care, don’t you think?! I’m excited about the Blue Q products – thank you for the generous giveaway… and I’d be over the moon to try your plum jam! :)

  12. Melissa says:

    I am hoping to touch the hearts of all my close family and friends this Christmas. I have done my best to slow down and appreciate my time with them all. This year I choose to make gifts that I thought each of these people would really enjoy, and they would know that I made them with thoughts of them and of course lots of love.

  13. Jayne Barnes says:

    We just donated Christmas presents for a family with 6 kids that receives food from our church food pantry. When I talked to the mom, she said what the kids really needed was new socks and underwear. We made sure they got that, plus some really fun toys, winter coats, etc. Of course the intrinsic reward in this is my own gratification of helping, but hopefully the family will enjoy the gifts as much as I enjoyed choosing and wrapping them!

  14. Val D. says:

    Nici, I find your blog delightful. I’m a 50 something new (step) grandmother in Central Illinois who didn’t marry until my 30’s. I haven’t raised children, and have always worked outside the home. On the surface one wouldn’t think we’d have much in common. But we do! I may new sew or can (I did all that growing up though) but I’d like to think if I had raised children I’d have had your common sense, compassion and sense of humor. What lucky little girls you have. And, by the way, I love Blue ! I just ordered co-worker gifts and they sent me an assortment of “freebies”. How awesome is that? I’m happy for the connection I have with both of you – from here in central Illinois. Take care.

  15. Jen H says:

    Nici, you know how I adore you and your family. Blue q is a favourite in my house too, and is a gentle way to bring smiles back to everyone who is feeling so sad about Friday.

    Today idecided to make some homemade gifts for those who need it most. Warm, natural heating pads that will accompany the packages of goodies collected at work and dropped off to a homeless shelter here. Just in time for the holidays!

    Xo jen

  16. Jillian22 says:

    I took the day off of work to meet my father and stepmom halfway between our homes, just so we could see each other for several short but beautiful hours, which equaled into much-needed time together, hugs, and laughs. My dad was so thankful that we had “squeezed” them into our schedule… but family time doesn’t need to be squeezed in at all. Nothing was more important than a day together.

  17. Deborah says:

    Today I went with my son on a field trip to a chuch hosting a toy drive for the less fortunate. We helped people pick out new and gently used toys for their children’s Christmas presents. I also finished making blankets for all my nieces. My husband is making wooden toys for all the nephews this year. Only handmade things this year. I am also super excited that I received my order from Earlywood today in the mail. I can’t wait to go use them!! Merry Christmas

  18. Sarah says:

    Wow…what awesome stuff! I just went over to Blue Q to make an order for my family…. thanks for sharing…

  19. christy says:

    Wow, you have a great way with words. Look forward to reading more. For my entry: My son’s classmate’s mother is having minor surgery on Dec. 20. Ethan will be coming home with us after school and when we bring him home that evening we also will be bringing dinner.

  20. Mistene says:

    I called my Mom…. Just to tell her I love her. Just to feel closer.

  21. Christal says:

    I cleaned up where the dog had diarrhea 3 times so my husband would not have to bend over and go back and forth cleaning it up. He just had major surgery Monday the 10th & has a catheter. No one should have to face diarrhea early in the morning, let alone someone who’s miserable already.

    I was late for work on my first day back after being off for 11 days for the surgery because I stopped to clean it up. I saw it as I was heading out and decided being late was worth it to make his day better.

  22. Kaydeegee says:

    I’m a teacher at a middle school. I always hug kids. I think a great number of kids miss out on love in their families. It’s important to make that connection.

  23. Lia says:

    I’m a NICU nurse and i gave my patient a little extra love and attention since her family hasnt been in in awhile. Love my little babies!

  24. Tonja Lee says:

    I wrote out my feelings about this weekends tragedy. I can only hope that it touches someone’s heart who reads it!

  25. Nicole says:

    I love your words. They speak to my heart in such a way that I always end up nodding along in agreement.

    We have just received the sad news that our elderly neighbour has passed, after a long and painful battle with cancer, leaving a gorgeous woman who is trying hard to be strong for her children. Today, I have baked for her. I have bought fresh fruit & vegetables. I have watered her garden and brought her bins in. Anything to save her going to the shops with these crazy Christmas crowds. She is such a strong, caring person so I hope I have helped her just a little by doing these simple tasks for her.

    Nicole xo

  26. Lauren Troup says:

    I made cookies. I feel like it is something I would do with my kids so I did it and it made my heart smile and it will make my sisters smile when they appear in their mailboxes later this week

  27. Kendra says:

    I listened and made promises I can keep to the dear friend I rarely get to see anymore.

  28. jenni says:

    I sent hearts to trying to send love and peace of heart out in the world.

  29. Yesterday, I went to my friend’s house so she could vent. She’s having a really tough time now, she has 2 kids and one on the way. I picked up Starbucks… Chai tea latte for her and hot cocoa for her kids. I’m no therapist, but I’m a great listener. I think I’ll buy someone’s coffee at my local cafe next time I pop in.

    It has been a rough weekend for this country, hasn’t it? Little acts of random kindness can make this world such a better place.

  30. Lori says:

    What a lovely sentiment from Blue Q, to touch a heart, or two, I always make sure to smile at strangers walking towards me on the sidewalk, I tell my husband and other family that I love them-constantly and I say thank you.

  31. I painted with my daughter today. I was sick and grumpy but I know how much she loves to paint. It made ME feel better. I am such a lucky mama.

  32. Lauren says:

    Today I skyped with a friend who is about to begin her journey with IVF. Sometimes people just need someone to listen!

  33. Flora says:

    After picking my daughter up from school on Friday, I had her call her daddy to tell him she loves him. He and I split up when she was very young. He’s a great dad and I knew he would really be missing her that day.

  34. jen says:

    I’ve been sending little holiday gifts to mamas I’ve never met in real life, mamas who I met in a children’s clothing swap group on Facebook. It’s such a rush to seal them up and mail them. Then today I got a beautiful bunch of gifts in return from one of the mamas. So sweet and unexpected.

    Also, I’ve been squeezing my almost 2 year old so much these few days. And she must sense that something in the air as well because she let me. Love…

  35. Louise says:

    I thanked the security guard outside my sons elementary school who was a new and welcome sight this morning. He smiled and nodded, but in that simple exchange I could see he was emotional, as was I.

  36. Anna Ransdell says:

    I delivered 5 donated bikes to deserving kids today! A special Christmas delivery for the community cycle program that I volunteer with.

  37. Caroline says:

    I emailed my son’s first grade teacher last night to let her know how grateful I am for her work, how thankful I am for the way she loves my son and the rest of her class, and how confident I am in the decisions that she makes during the day.

  38. Raecale says:

    I took care of a puking 2 year old, today. Poor baby.

  39. Tammy says:

    Thanks for putting into words, so eloquently, the confusion of thoughts and feelings running through so many of our minds. As a stay-at-home-mom, I had to think…’okay, what did I do today that might have touched someone’s heart?’. Most of our days are filled with the ‘little things’…but I’m hoping when my kids are grown, they can look back and appreciate that those little things did indeed touch their hearts. Today we made and decorated sugar cookies. And tomorrow I will try to remember this sentiment while I’m out in the hustle and bustle that is late December.

  40. Lisa says:

    Today I went to my daughters Xmas show at school, so sweet and touching all those little voices singing together . So grateful and such a full heart watching my little girl. Tonight I will download and sort the pictures to send to her grandparents.

  41. kate says:

    those are perfect stocking stuffers!

  42. kate says:

    I helped my friend who is going through a hard time with her husband, hopefully some encouraging words will help her make the right decision.

  43. lemontreelane says:

    the kids and i made candy cane chocolate stir sticks to go with the hot chocolate packs …gotta love easy, appreciated small teacher gifts!

  44. Lindsay says:

    A co-worker and I just shared coffee and a good long chat. My stepfather is recovering from an organ transplant he had Thursday, my co-worker’s brother died 10 years ago waiting for one.

    Sharing pain, and hope and comfort!

  45. Theresa says:

    I couldn’t see what the pile of stuff is (the pictures on your blog are stretching all funny and really really long here on my computer) but I think sometimes funny is what we need.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  46. Maggie Stewart Best says:

    My hope is that the families suffering directly from the massacre will be able to experience small glimpses of joy and laughter like this that will remind them (in the achingly good way you speak of) of their babies, their loves. I hope they are surprised by joy and able to be reminded of how their kids are and always will be.

  47. Barbie F. says:

    i helped my friend with some writing that she needed for a class. just to help her begin. and she did! and i think she still may pass her class. it felt oh so very good.

    barb f.

  48. Lucy says:

    What a lovely company and post. I know not how to deal with this tragedy, yet I know how to pray. When I want to do something nice for someone, with no special occasion, I usually give them a tin of my tea :) Find Serenity is particularly useful during times like these.

  49. Oh Nici, I haven’t been able to blog recently, my heart is just so heavy and it seems unfair to share my happiness when the whole world is grieving. It really grounds people, tragedy like that, reminding us to hold near and dear to the ones we love most. This holiday, I’ve given the most to my kids. Instead of advent calendars and junky presents, i’m focused on giving them me. My time, my love, my energy. Spending time with them is much more meaningful than any material possesion, and it’s making us all feel good. Sending you and yours love and hugs this holiday. Thank you for having the courage to blog during this difficult time, maybe i’ll give it a try today too. xo

  50. Meaghan says:

    I am attending a funeral today of my neighbor, who was like my grandpa. I miss him already and also am feeling so happy to have known him.


  51. Julie says:

    What’s fun assortment, thanks for sharing and for reminding us of the beautiful but delicate balance of the season!

  52. Love Blue Q. I just got a package from them yesterday. How fun, and I’m not ashamed to say it was all just a gift to myself. I have many blue q bags, pouches and now a cute little tin too. Love them all and yes they go everywhere with us… The HUGE overnight bag is awesome, that was a gift to myself last year :0) Love the blog as always. Thoughtful and beautiful… Warm wishes for the holiday from the chilly North!

  53. Jackie says:

    I’m doing my normal holiday baking, but I am giving it away to friends and neighbors. Most of it is freezable, so hopefully they can pull out cinnamon rolls far off in February and heat them up and think of our family, and remember our visits over the holidays.

  54. Jess says:

    Haha! ‘I blogged your mama’. Love the chance to laugh at the light hearted. This mama’s heart needed lifted.

  55. Jody says:

    Made my first “secret” pact with my 13 year old daughter. We promised to keep each others secrets (when specified). To trust each other. To tell no one, even if that means Dad. She opened herself up to me and confided in me about teenage girl stuff. A first for us and I hope the trust is there for many more secrets to be shared. I know she touched my heart and I hope I touched hers.

  56. Today, I randomly texted my cousin , who is 6 years younger that me and impresses me constantly with her bravery, wisedome, humor, light heart, unselfishness and drive to say “Alice, you are my dear. I think about you every. single. day.” In these busy, harried weeks, where everyone’s got a heavy heart, you’ve got to remind your people how much they’re loved. I love the looks of this Blue Q prize, especially with the possibility of some homemade plum jam too! Yum.

  57. Melina says:

    oooh goodies!! Here’s what I did. Because all the little kids in my family are teenagers now, or practically, and I have no little littles to shop for at xmas, I remembered my old friend Sarah, who has a little girl named Charlie and a few years ago escaped from an abusive relationship. she is nothing but lightness, sweetness and strength. I texted sarah, who i haven’t seen in three years and knew only briefly but powerfully, and asked what charlie wanted for christmas. i got a few of those things at the general store in woodstock, wrapped them up with all the love i’d wrap them for my own daughter i’d like to have, and sent them on their way.
    hmmm….maybe in hindsight this was all for the purposes of my own heart.

    i guess that’s how it works.


  58. Trbholt says:

    I CANNOT go by a red Salvation Army pot without donating, been doing this for years,….This year I have also gone in the store where the volunteer is and bought them water and a treat!

  59. Jenn M says:

    First of all, I LOVE your blog and pictures!! We took some cookies to my son’s after school teacher to let her know how much we appreciate all she does:)

  60. Lindsey says:

    LOVE Blue Q! Just ordered a special delivery tin for special things. :)

  61. Jamie Lee C says:

    I sent a funny picture of my 2 year old to my mom and thanked her for teaching me through her example to be a good mother. She let us kids get messy from time to time just for the fun of it – mud fights, messy painting, etc. The pic I sent her was of my son at the kitchen table with paint all over him and the table with a big goofy grin on his face.

  62. Diana says:

    I’m baking dog cookies to give to all my friends and neighbors doggies. They are in the shape of squirrels, bones and biscuits. I’m also putting flannel sheets on the bed for my husband even though I prefer plain cotton sheets and today I got up early and shoveled our walks and our neighbors sidewalks.

  63. megan says:

    you are seriously an inspiration to me. today… i let my son walk as slow as he wanted while we shopped for christmas presents. every bench we passed he wanted to “take a rest” so we did. normally, i make it some sort of game to go as fast as we can… but he’s a child & that shouldn’t be rushed. i’m sorry it takes a major tragedy to remind of these things sometimes.

    those products look awesome!

    • dig dig says:

      It’s not that it takes a tragedy to remind you, really. It’s just that a tragedy is an exclamation point behind everything we really want. Tragedies evaporate everything we don’t really care about. We all hurry, even when we don’t need to. Or, I do anyway. Isn’t it lovely to not hurry? Oh man, I love it every time.

      • Tammie says:

        This made me think of this quote that I love, not just because I am a grandparent!! HA..Walking with Grandma

        I like to walk with Grandma,
        Her steps are short like mine,
        She doesn’t say, Now Hurry Up
        She always takes her time.
        I like to walk with Grandma,
        Her eyes see things like mine do…
        Wee pebbles bright, a funny cloud,
        Half hidden drops of dew.
        Most people have to hurry,
        They do not stop and see.
        I’m glad that God made Grandma
        Unrushed and young like me.
        (I did not write thie quote)

  64. Tammie says:

    Oh My, I do not even know where to start, I love that you write your daughters saying, they are so easily forgotten. I have scrolled these pictures about 4 times, they are perfect in everyway. I love the perfect little finger, the tongue out while in deep thought, the perfect handwritting, the delivery of that perfect gift all wrapped and signed, like I said where do I start but more so where do I stop? They are so cute, sweet and it is so obvious thoughtful and inquisitive. Everything a child should be. Have a Blessed Holiday Season and New Year to come. One last thing Thank you for allowing me as a blogger to ENJOY your family through your blog. I enjoy every post and am always left looking for the next!

  65. Tammie says:

    I have to be truthful, I sat for a few minutes before writing this down because my thought was,”what have I done that I would say was worth passing on”? I believe that this should be done without thinking that it should win a contest but this is what came to mind, I was in Walmart yesterday and this eldery gentlemen was in a wheel chair looking very distant and upset. I started to go down the aisle when he said “Mam, could you tell me where the sandwich bags are? (No, I do not work there) he went on to say that he not only had gone through many aisles looking for them but couldn’t reach a good share of the things he needed from his wheel chair. I said that I would find them and asked him exactly what he wanted and that he could just hand tight right there and I would return with them and anything else he needed. He was so appreciative and kept thanking me over and over. It is very hard to reach things on shelves when you are just short but when you are in a wheel chair (as I was for a year) it makes it very hard to do your own shopping. I hope to someday come up with a solution for that problem. Sorry I commented for the above post in the wrong spot, but I have had trouble wit your spot to comment in. Sorry