Giving. Receiving. Charity and Love.

This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Once a month, Tiffany documents a single day in her life. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness. I’m also hoping the posts will help readers recognize that we all have hopes, dreams, challenges and mountains to climb regardless of our mental health status. If you’d like to read the posts I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the guest posts she’s shared on this blog, check out the mental health page. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

kids

I started to feel the Christmas spirit a few weeks ago. Sometimes the world tries to knock it out of you, but I still believe. Personally, I feel that whether a believer or not, the spirit is in us all. All the hustle and bustle over Christmas comes down to Jesus who was born on Christmas day.

I started to hear the Christmas tunes playing around Christmas. I felt something spiritual while listening to that music. Now, just days before Christmas, I turn the radio up super loud and just listen. This season shall pass, but the spirit should remain.

Giving and receiving during the holidays has been important to me the last several years. We exchanged names for Christmas this year. My dad got my name, so I had fun telling him what I wanted from the outlet shops in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I’m getting a bunch of Nike stuff. My dad was in South Carolina for his health. He hopes to be put on the lung transplant list. The process is long, and he must continue to take care of himself in all ways. Having him pick out my gifts this year was extra special and added to the spirit in my heart. I have my mom this year for the gift exchange. She does more than enough to help each and every day. I attempted to put heart and soul into the gifts I selected for her. I hope she likes them! Giving is just as important as receiving!

I signed up for the toy drive through the Salvation Army, a truly amazing program for kids whose families need a little extra help. My mental health worker usually comes with me to pick up the gifts. Bags lined the room when we walked in. I recognized other people from the area. Raegan got a scooter two years in a row, a three-wheel scooter last year and a two-wheel scooter this year. I asked my mental health worker who the toy drive is targeted at. Should I be doing this? My kids get enough, right? She told me the toy drive is for families like mine whose parents don’t have a very high income, for people who want to do a little bit extra for their kids.

Santa1

Santa2
Another way our family celebrated the holidays was attending a Christmas dance show that my daughter, Raegan, participated in. For the past few years, I volunteered during the shows, but this year I stayed in the audience with my mom. The show was great, Raegan was great, and I felt the holiday spirit.
dance
Another way we celebrated Christmas was by making a gingerbread house at Raegan’s school. Parents were invited. I had been feeling fairly depressed during this holiday season and wasn’t feeling the best that day, so I brought my son, Xander, to daycare for the afternoon. I may not have helped Raegan as much as I should have, but I made it there. The smile on her face when I walked into the room brightened my day for sure!
gingerbread
To get into the Christmas spirit I always used to listen to Amy Grant’s Christmas CD. This year, my siblings and I bought my parents tickets to an Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith concert. My dad couldn’t go because he was in South Carolina, so I went with my mom. The day consisted of dinner and Christmas lights with my brother and his girlfriend. Then the show! I got to spend some quality time with my mom and much needed time in a bigger city. The talent of some people is amazing. I focused on the lovers and pretty people all over. I tend to compare myself to others too often, but I need to realize that we are all on our own unique path. After the concert, I spent a few minutes on the streets. I got to practice my love of street photography. The night was a cherished holiday event and memories that will last forever.
concert
AmyGrant

Even if I don’t feel much emotion all the time, I know what love is from experiencing it from family, friends and strangers. I look back on this holiday season and consider it a success. If you’re feeling lonely during this time, know you’re always in someone’s heart.

Our family looks forward to celebrating Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. The month long preparations and concerts we’ve been participating in has my family excited about celebrating with family and friends. Merry Christmas!

Tiffany
  1. Doreen Auger says:

    Well “spoken”! Sending wishes of Christmas Blessings to you and your family!!!!!!

  2. Sandi Bishop says:

    Thank you for sharing from your heart Tiffany. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.

  3. David Carol Cave says:

    Merry Christmas Tiffany…..beautiful blog!!!!

  4. Angela Hanlon says:

    Tiffany, this is so beautiful and well-written. I know, from working with your mom, how proud she is of you and how much she enjoys spending quality time with you. The pictures of your little girl are so cute, and make me think if what you looked like when you were that little. You and your family are in my prayers. I hope you have good, good days during the holidays, and can truly enjoy your family! 🙂

  5. Nicole Marie Newfield says:

    So beautifully written. The first two paragraphs just drew me in. You have a talent for writing! My sister and I also used to listen to the Amy Grant Christmas CD and she also plays it on the piano still. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

  6. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Nice Post Tiffany! Merry Christmas!

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