Coming from a childhood that was financially challenged, I learned early on how important hard work was. I have been a career minded for thirty years now, and always managed to blend that well into being a mom, a wife, and a step mom. Three years ago I left a company that I had ownership in to pursue an offer in management of a new location for a local firm. I was able to design my office and bring any agents I deemed acceptable. In a down economy our office was doing remarkably well. My team of agents were some of the greatest out there, as human beings, as well as successful business minds. It was my second family, and one that I spent a tremendous amount of time with – coaching, assisting and motivating, to be the best that we could be. Unfortunately, as good as we were, the other offices not doing so well, by November to my dismay, I was let go. This was an all time low for me, as I had never before been “fired” and didn’t know the first thing about unemployment or where to start. Not only did this come at one of the hardest points in my life, as I had a dad fighting cancer and a mom with other serious health issues, but I had just bought a house to take my mom with me so that I could care for her.

My husband and I have 7 children between us and their needs grow by the day. Here I was with a new home and no job, a sick dad and an ill mom, and the holidays were right around the corner. I was facing so many struggles that I felt like a ton of bricks were placed on my back. Here I was this superwoman, or so I always thought, not feeling like myself at all.  I was dealing with not only a financial burden, but health issues and a sense of mourning for my agents that I grew so close to.

I allowed myself some time to heal, but the healing wasn’t coming as fast as I had hoped.  It was a force to get myself up and dressed. In fact, I had worked for so long that I barely owned any clothes not meant for work. I had one pair of jeans and a few sweaters that could suffice for my sad unemployed self, and surely there was no money for an unemployment wardrobe.

Thanksgiving Day was our turn without our children because it was their other parents turn, and that had me sinking lower. The next day was Black Friday, and even the best of sales couldn’t have pulled me out of the house, no money equals no shopping. So I decided to get out of my slump and try to decorate for Christmas. I went to the basement for the stockings and realized they had been damaged in the move. I went to the couch and sat to sob one more time and feel sorry for myself when suddenly there was a loud knock at the door.

My husband and son went to the door but saw someone run. He turned the light on and there sat a round gift box. The gift box read “Bless Our Home” and a little note attached said “To Laura from Santa’s Elf”. My husband brought the box inside, as my son had tried but he couldn’t lift it.  He called. I lifted the cover and inside there was a note that read:

I hope this helps a little to make Christmas better for the children. 


Santa’s Elf.

As I uncovered the tissue paper you could see the box was full, to the very top, with coins. Someone had saved every quarter, dime, nickel and penny for a very, very long time.

Suddenly, this overwhelming feeling came over me. Of course, I cried.. but these tears were different. They were tears of love, of hope, of promise. I don’t know how much is in there yet, as I haven’t been able to bring myself to do anything but look at it.  It was more than just coins in that box, it was the ability to see clearly that angels are around us, that people truly do care, and that there are some who have it so much worse.  It was my inspiration to crawl out of my sorrow and get back in the game. I took my license and joined a new firm. I was a power Broker, and I will be again. I’m also a great mom, a good wife, and a loyal and true person, and somewhere along the way those qualities are still held in high regard. It gave my family the realization that doing for others is sometimes better than anything you can ever do for yourself. It wasn’t just coins, it was closure. It was as if someone far greater than I came and held my hand and pulled me up to where I needed to be. We decided as a family  to put that money towards our Christmas Tree and holiday family dinner, and with some of it we will pay it forward and give a gift to someone when they least expect it. And even if I never find out who my elf is, I know this person knows that I am good, in fact better than ever, and it is because of them. Thank you for my “Pennies from Heaven.”


Laura is the proud mom of 7 children who writes with humor and reality in her blog called When she is not writing she is also a Licensed Real Estate Broker, Mom, Housekeeper and Wife, all positions in which she loves dearly.  Writing and creating is her passion. Laura is a contributing editor of Stepmom Magazine on line and has had her writings published in Newsday on occasion. Writing lets a person share with the world, what is often living on the inside of their heart.

Get more info, ‘how to’s’ and ‘what if’s’ about Lois’ Tales2Inspire project

We welcome your review of this story in the Comment box below. Your name and credentials will be included with any review we post on Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s highly respected Book Review Blog under the TALES2INSPIRE banner.

Beauty Within

                  Beauty Without . . .

                                  What’s Your Passion?

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty

Click to Explore the Many Dimensions of Beauty 


About loiswstern

I was in education for just over 20 years when I unexpectedly pursued another passion and entered the world of authors and journalists. I have since published two non-fiction, full length books on different aspects of beauty, but also avidly endorse the confluence of Inner and Outer beauty. I have written feature articles for Long Island Beauty Guide and LI Woman, and have served as Editor-at-large for, the largest Internet site for plastic surgery and beauty needs. I enjoy researching what's new in the world of aesthetics & anti-aging and devote one of my blogs: to sharing cutting edge, hype-free information. I devote my second blog to my other passion: writing, collecting and sharing stories to warm the spirit and inspire the soul. To this end, I have created an 'Authors Helping Authors' project/contest, to create books for inspiration, the first of which is titled: Tales 2 Inspire ~ Beyond Coincidence. It is a jewel of a book, filled with inspiring stories and full color original photos and/or drawings. If you're a talented writer with one inspiring story to share, visit to learn how to participate. FREE to enter. All you need is the talent and perseverance to do so. Lots of positive platform building opportunities for the winners. Learn more at:

Posted on February 18, 2012, in Tales2Inspire, TALES2INSPIRE WRTERS CONTEST, The Power of Your Words, Words to Inspire and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The generosity of others defines our humanity. Your tale defines your understanding of the goodness in the world at the worst of times. I hope we will find each other in other ways online as we’re both present there. Sending my best, Mary

  2. Sometimes all we require is a jumpstart to put us back on track. It is also important to watch for an opportunity to spark someone else who is down. Excellent story! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Dear Mary and Lily,
    As creator of the tales2inspire “Authors Helping Authors” project, it is most gratifying to me to see how deeply the experiences of one person can touch the heart and soul of others. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on how this story inspired you.

    Hope you’ll visit me at:
    to see more postings of both inner beauty (inspiring tales) and outer beauty (cutting edge physical tips and news),

    Very best,
    Lois W. Stern

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