It Was More Than Just a Pen

Hello everyone! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I hope that you all had a most wonderful Christmas

and amazing New Year filled with the joy of family, friends and making beautiful memories.

I took a blog break to spend time with my family

 which included a trip to surprise my mom.

During the Holidays, I, like many of you, have wonderful memories

 of Christmases past.

While searching for a pen to write down an address, 

memories came flooding back of a Christmas day many, many years ago.

A memory of a kind heart.  A memory of . . .  it was more than just a pen.

Tulip Arrangement-Housepitality Designs-10

When the memory of “the pen” came rushing back into my mind,

I was also thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

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Truth be told, I am not really into New Year’s Resolutions.

However, I wanted to set a goal . . . a realistic one.

Tulip Arrangement-Housepitality Designs

My goal this year and every year to come

for that matter is to  make someone smile every day.

Whether it be a compliment, a comment to someone’s boss of a job well done,

taking the time to listen, making someone feel good when you know

they are in an uncomfortable, awkward, or sad situation and

letting someone know how much they mean/meant to you . . .

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So what does “it was more than a pen” have to do with

New Year’s resolutions and a Tulip arrangement of Christmas colors?

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Well as for the flowers, they do make you smile . . . don’t they?

Great!  I hopefully made you smile!

Now,  here is the story of the pen:

Long ago, my dad said that Christmas gifts that year were not

 going to be abundant, because in a month, our family of 6 will be a family of 7.

That meant the remainder of the hospital and doctor bills will be due soon.

Tulip Arrangement-Housepitality Designs-3

My dad asked us if we only wished for one thing, what would it be?

All I wanted was this special pen. It was state of the art.

You could use an ink cartridge or fill it with ink from the bottle.

Now to me that was amazing. 

Tulip Arrangement-Housepitality Designs

Under the tree that Christmas morning was my pen. I was a happy camper.

That day, I ran over to my friend’s house to see what Santa had brought her.

She always got the prettiest things.

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When I arrived, as always, there were many boxes of pretties.

My friend asked what I received for Christmas. I proudly pulled out the pen 

from my jacket pocket and showed it to her with such excitement.

I guess it wasn’t very exciting to her as she thought that a pen was a silly gift.

My smile of excitement quickly deflated.

Tulip Arrangement-Housepitality Designs-4

Her dad had been observing the conversation and

quickly came over and wanted to see the pen.

What a great pen he said! He said it was a fine gift and would love one for himself.

Yes, he took the time to make someone feel good in an awkward situation

and I never forgot that.

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You see, it was not just a pen. It was a symbol of so many things.

It was a gift from the heart from my mom and dad and I received a “gift” of compassion

from someone who made a little girl feel good about the Christmas gift she received.

I often think about the people who made a difference in my life.

People who truly brought me joy.

This past Fall I traveled to the West Coast of Florida to accompany my hubby to a

Baseball tournament. I knew that we would be a couple hours away from someone who

had been a great mentor in my life . . . we had worked together for over 20 years.

It was my opportunity to visit her and tell her again, how much she meant to me.


Me and Barbara

I was so glad that I took the time to visit her. It truly made my heart happy!

So this year, let’s all take that extra mile, literally and figuratively,

to make someone happy as it can only make you happy too!

Have a most beautiful day making someone happy!!   Happy New Year!!!!

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  1. Thanks for sharing this sweet story and you already make people smile. Happy New Year!!
    Kim’s recent post…Party Ideas, Winter Decorating and MoreMy Profile

  2. You truly have a heart of gold. Reading your blog inspires me to be a better person. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful message today. Wishing you many blessings in the year ahead.

  3. Betsy Crittenden says

    I love this story! Thanks for sharing it. Happy New Year!

  4. Thanks for the positive message! Happy New Year.

  5. What a beautiful message! Thank you for inspiring me to do the same! I hope you have a wonderful, very happy and healthy New Year!

  6. You are such a kind soul, Shirley. I love your story of the Christmas pen gift.
    Rita C at Panoply’s recent post…Panoply 2017: It’s a Wrap!My Profile

  7. Great resolution Shirley! Years ago when I was working in a very unhappy work environment, I decided that I would try to make everyone who came to my counter smile or laugh. Every day I worked at it and my days became so much happier. Several months after I began my campaign, a grouchy old man came in and I could not get a response from him. I didn’t think any of my co-workers were paying much attention to me, but after the man left one of them said – you couldn’t make that one smile. I was amazed that any of them had noticed what I was doing and little by little things turned around for me at that work place. All it takes to make a difference is one small step in the right direction. Happy New Year my friend! xox
    Anne’s recent post…4 Tips for Organizing Your Front EntryMy Profile

  8. What a beautiful post, Shirley. Moments such as yours make such special memories. And, if each of us would do one small act of kindness daily – we could truly make our world a kinder and sweeter place.
    Have a beautiful week and a Happy New Year!
    Sandra at Maison De Jardin’s recent post…“Grace Notes”My Profile

  9. Have a beautiful day, Shirley!

  10. Dear Shirley ….loved this story! Sometimes the simplest gifts are the best as they come from the heart. You are amazing and I look forward to your posts. Oh and I had one of those pens and they were so cool!!!

  11. I loved your pen story. Very touching. Happy New Year!

  12. Great story Shirley…and a great reminder for all of us. May 2018 bring you many, many smiles! 😉

  13. Such a beautiful story, thank you for sharing it. I like your goal of making someone smile every day. Sometimes a small gesture can mean so much. More people should adopt this attitude. Think of what a difference it would make!

  14. Shirley, you are such a sweet and thoughtful person. It shows in the writing of your blog. I will never forget when I first started my blog how kind you were to me. You took time out of your day to offer me guidance. It meant more to me than you will ever know. I hope that you have a most wonderful New Year filled with much joy and lots of blessings!
    Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors’s recent post…Christmas Decorations in the Breakfast RoomMy Profile

  15. ahh, i love this post Shirley. what a wonderful reminder to do what really matters. express our hearts in a loving and kind manner. I am so happy to have the gift of your friendship. happy new year to one of the sweetest people out there!

  16. Shirley, you always make everyone around you feel better! You have the gift of encouragement, and a way with words that always warms my heart. I’m blessed to call you friend, and this post is just a tiny glimpse of your heart of gold. Happy New Year!!

  17. Shirley, you truly have a kind heart and you are a gift to all who know you! Your story of the pen is a beautiful reminder of a heart of love and compassion and how that transfers to others! Blessings~
    Pam Richardson’s recent post…Best Of Tablescape Tuesday 2017My Profile

  18. What a beautiful story. I’m so glad her father stepped in and helped you continue to enjoy your gift (and your friend must of learned something from it too). Great reminder to all of us and a beautiful thought to start the New Year with!
    Liz @ Home and Gardening With Liz’s recent post…Happy New Year and Snow!My Profile

  19. thank you so much for sharing that memory with us. sometimes it’s easy to forget the great importance of small things. sending a big hug and blessings for this new year!

  20. SHERRY MYERS says

    Happy New Year, Shirley. Thank you for this beautiful inspirational post. What a precious story! Thank you for the challenge. When I see Housepitality Designs in my inbox, it always brings a smile to my face, because it is like a little gift whenever it arrives. Thank you for making the choice to be a “light” in the blog world.

  21. I’m trying to write this as the tears are flowing. Your heart is more precious than gold! I have never met you which I would love to but you are a special blogger! For now you are a true blogging friend! Thanks for sharing your heart with us! Kindness is what we need more of in this weary world. Wishing you and your family The Best New Year every!

  22. Well, you made me smile with the flowers and the beautiful story! I made a very similiar resolution. Each day is a gift and if we share our joy of that with others it multiplies. Glad you are home and so glad you got to visit your mentor!
    Pinky’s recent post…Christmas Living Room and StairwayMy Profile

  23. What a beautiful post Shirley. And seeing your pretty tulips did make me smile! Happy New Year.

  24. What lovely rememberances and thoughts, Shirley. Happy 2018!

  25. In our surroundings today most people don’t trust each other, try smiling at people and you know what they’ ll smile right back.
    Great goal for 2018. Happy New Year! Love your blog.

  26. Happy New Year Shirley! I loved the pen story. Some of my most precious belongings have no monetary value but hold special memories. I’m also so happy you got to visit your friend. I recall a Christmas I didn’t go home because 9/11 had just happened and my family was concerned about me flying. Sadly, they both passed away shortly after that just three days apart. I will always regret not going home that Christmas so am happy you got to visit with your friend. Hugs, Pat
    Patricia Shipley’s recent post…Welcome WinterMy Profile

  27. Norma Rolader says

    Thank you for sharing a special memory and the photo of you and your mom Beautiful ladies

  28. What a wonderful story. Happy New Year!
    Janette @ the 2 Seasons’s recent post…Art That Isn’t Art – RevisitedMy Profile

  29. Bobbi Duncan says

    Shirley, I love your story. Our words can do so much–either to bring down or lift up a life. I always feel happy reading your posts because you are such a sweetie. Thank you for always bringing smiles. Hugs!

  30. A beautiful story about the pen as well as your visit to a mentor of yours. Kindness and thoughtfulness are always good. Encouragement is your gift, Shirley. You do it all the time.
    Thanks for sharing these stories. You have given us much to ponder and appreciate.
    bonnie morgan’s recent post…Girlfriend Brunch at Eddie’s BarnMy Profile

  31. That is the best goal to have and so easy to reach out in some small way to make someone smile. Happy New Year.

  32. What a great story that really wanna my heart. Thanks for sharing it and giving me another goal of being a better person.

  33. What a wonderful story! And I’d say you’re well on your way to keeping your resolution in the most beautiful way. You are a truly wonderful woman. You make the world a better place, Shirley. Bless you!

  34. Shirley, That is one of the best New Year’s resolutions I have ever heard! Thank you for sharing your story.

  35. Happy New Year Shirley! You have such a sweet and generous heart. Wishing you the best in 2018. ♥
    Mary’s recent post…Good Luck New Year Appetizer: Black-Eyed Pea HummusMy Profile

  36. What a beautiful story from a beautiful friend. Wishing you all the best in the new year!!
    Design Chic’s recent post…In Good Taste: Tracy Hardenburg DesignMy Profile

  37. What can I say that hasn’t been said? Your blog not only touches our homes but our hearts! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring story! Wishing my special friend a New Year full of smiles and happiness!

  38. You are such an inspiration to me! I love your decorating style. But what I truly love even more is you sweet, tender heart. I am always uplifted after reading your blog.

  39. Just a beautiful post Shirley. I love that you are choosing to gift to someone each day your heart so they can smile and feel special for that moment in time. Such a beautiful way to start out the new year. Happy New Year to you and Tom. Wishing you a great new year filled with happiness, finding smiles and good health.
    Kris @ Junk Chic Cottage’s recent post…Starting Out The New YearMy Profile

  40. Shirley you are the best! Hope your 2018 is filled with happiesness
    Kelly elko’s recent post…Happy New Year and a Few of My Favorite After Christmas BargainsMy Profile

  41. Martha Wilton says

    Dear Shirley, Happy Birthday! I hope all your wishes come true!
    Thank you for the story of the pen. What a kind man your friend’s father was! I read it to my teenage granddaughter and my husband-so your thoughts are traveling far and wide. Your blog is my favorite, and it is because you seem to be such a kind, generous, thoughtful and NICE person! Wishing you a wonderful 2018! From your Birthday Twin, Martha (in cold, cold Michigan)

  42. You are such a beautiful person, and I feel blessed to have met you and have your friendship. You do have that special gift of making everyone you come in contact feel special. Wishing you many birthday blessings!

  43. What a lovely story, it put a huge smile on my face! Too bad we can’t go back to the days when Christmas was more simple, and possibly more meaningful. Getting one very special present that means something is so much better that the piles of presents that we feel required to buy each year. Thank you for the story and for bringing back memories of Christmas as a kid.

  44. Katie Mansfield says

    What a beautiful story, Shirley. A great way to live.

  45. Shirley, I love this post!♥

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