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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Silly Old Elf

I won't lie, the holidays are hard. The missing is harder than before. Catie is everywhere which is wonderful and so hard all at the same time. There are so many Christmas things and traditions that make us miss her even more.

One of those traditions, some of you may remember us writing about last year... the elf that comes to visit us at Christmas time and usually ends up getting into all kinds of mischief. Last year he covered our kitchen in flour, pulled the garland down from our entry way, pulled clothes out of Catie's sock drawer and made himself comfortable for a night of slumber, and spent one night in the freezer (b/c he was homesick and it reminded him of the North Pole. On the days that the elf was at our house, the first words out of Catie's mouth each morning were, "Mama, where that silly elf at now?" We had soooooo much fun with that "silly elf."

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Here is Catie with "that silly elf" who had played in the flour all night long!

Well, because it is such a fun tradition and because we have so many great memories of it with Catie (and plan on making many more with Izzy), we had decided to pass the tradition on to some friends this Christmas. I have been scouring stores and the internet for cute elves that were at a price I wanted so that we could share the tradition with several families without breaking the bank. Well, the prices I found were reasonable, but I wanted to give out 10 or so... So I tracked down the company that made Catie's and Izzy's elf, Host an Elf, and decided to call to see if they did discounts for bulk orders. I was talking to a friend who knew how hard I had been looking and how much we wanted to do this in the spirit of Christmas and to keep a bit of Catie spreading cheer just before I called. She and her daughter prayed that just the right person would answer the phone when I called.

Well... let me just tell you what happened. I called Host an Elf and the nicest lady answered the phone. I explained about Catie and how much she loved the elf and how we had lost her this year and how we wanted to do this elf thing for some of our friends in the cancer world in honor of her. She immediately said that they could absolutely give us the elves at cost. I was thrilled. It was totally affordable and I could reach the families we wanted to. We talked a little longer and just as I was about to give her the shipping address, she said, "You know what? We're just going to give them to you. We want to donate them." I was astounded! Holy cow!!! I couldn't believe it. I stumbled to thank her and tell her how much it meant to our family... that to honor Catie in this way this first holiday without us meant so much to us. I gave her our address and we hung up, me with a bit of bounce in my step.

Well... it gets better... Four hours later, my phone rang. On the other end was the nice lady from Host an Elf. She told me that she had talked with her partner and they had an idea. "What would you think," she said, "if we started a program in honor of your daughter where people could donate an elf to a child with cancer AND 30 percent of the proceeds go to childhood cancer research?" I was speechless!!!!! Give to kids who are fighting so hard and share such a great tradition... AND, AND give money to fight this wretched disease? I was completely blown away by the generosity of this company.

I can't explain to you how this lifts our hearts a bit. We are definitely missing Catie so much this Season. To have a way to honor her memory by sharing something she loved so much with other families AND giving money to Cure Childhood Cancer all at the same time... that absolutely means the world to us. Words can't even describe it.

So... this is what we need folks to do. Go to Host an Elf , and then click the "Host an Elf" button. If you scroll down on the products section here, you'll see a picture of Catie w/ her elf (covered in flour). You can click "add to cart" to donate an elf (for just $20) to a child with cancer (and in the process you're also making a donation to Cure Childhood Cancer. Even if you don't want to make a donation, I hope you'll support this company b/c of the way they TOTALLY went above and beyond when a mom just called and asked for a discount on a bulk order. I also hope you'll share this info. with folks in your inbox. It is SUCH a fun tradition! One that we will always do in our house. The elves can be quite mischievous and kids wake up each morning eager to see what has gone on while they were sleeping. Without your help, we can't make this successful. But with your help, it could really be a great thing!!

Just one more thing. I called that friend back who had prayed that just the right person would answer the phone. I shared the amazing news of the day with her. She said, "Jenny what you didn't know is that, yes, we prayed for the right person to answer the phone. But we also prayed that somehow this would bring about something that would help you and Tre' through this first ever so tough Christmas without Catie." Once again speechless. WOW!

Thank you God for answering the prayer of my dear friend. Thank you for lifting our hearts yesterday through the generosity of this company... Thank you that even though we miss Catie tremendously each and every day, and even more so this Season, thank you for touching our hearts today and sending us a hug from her and from you through a "silly old elf."

Ok already, go see how cute those elves are!!!


Anonymous said...


What a great idea. I have followed you for years on your website and have found such inspiration from you. Your family's journey has given me such an appreciation for the blessings that are in my life. I truly can not imaginge the pain and grief you and your husband must carry everyday, however the joy you have in your life is far more powerful. My boys have elves and they are a great tradition. What a wonderful idea you had. I plan on purchasing one of Catie's elves. Thank you for being such a blessing to all.

Anonymous said...

I just ordered my elf! I had totally forgotten about Catie's mischievous elf that she had last year. My girlfriend was talking the other day about the one that her boys have and it's a lesson teaching one. It's all coming back to me now! I hope that after I have this baby I'm more hip on these things! I'm so glad that I could help honor Catie during this Christmas season and I hope that my elf puts a smile on a child's face.

Merry Christmas!

Chari Warner

Anonymous said...

How great!! I have followed your family and your story all year from a friend of mine's little girl who has a brain tumor and I just can't tell you how much you inspire me as a mother. I know the Holidays are hard but just know that many people are praying for you and your family. I am ordering an elf for my 14 month old daughter and I will also forward this to everyone I know. God Bless You and Your Family!

Tammy said...

Wow, that is just awesome! I know you and Trey are hurting this holiday season with out your Catie Bug, just wanted to say we are praying for you all over here. I just love that picture of her with her 'silly old elf" to cute! Now I'm off to order my elf! Have a great day! Hugs from Texas!!

Amie and family said...

We just placed our Catie elf order. Your sweet girl has been such an inspiration to us, and I'm so glad you've found a wonderful company to help you honor Catie this season. May the silly old elves bring joy to other kiddos! Much love to you all.

BP said...

This totally gave me chills to read. I am so happy for you that this wonderful company is honoring Catie this Christmas and helping other children with cancer. I am so excited!

Stephanie Deal said...

WOW...God is really awesome isn't he. Glad to hear that God is answering so many prayers to help you all through this Christmas Season. Praying that God continues to hold you in His hand this season.

Rob S. (Macon, GA) said...

Jenny and Tre,

Going through some bookmarks today, I came across the one for Catie's Caring Bridge site. I thought about that sweet angel and she brought a smile to my face. Not five minutes later, one of my coworkers (a friend of John's) sent me your blog about the Silly Elf. I rushed as fast as I could to order one from Catie. I also took the time to watch the videos on your site and marvel at little Izzy. What a CUTIE!! While I don't get to see you guys often, always know that I love you all very much, and I pray that God will help you connect with Catie this Christmas as you celebrate with little Izzy.

John & Kelley said...

Wow, Jenny. I'm in tears of joy and grief all at once. What an amazing story! What a God we serve! How precious that he allows us to touch and be touched by a loved one who has crossed over before us. I'm totally convinced that that's what this is. You can bet I'll pass the word along. Thanks for sharing this huge helping of God's hug with all of us. What an incredible way to remember and honor Catie.

Pam Doughty said...

What a pleasure to be able to support CURE and remember sweet Catie at the same time. God's hand was certainly in the whole transaction; isn't it wonderful to see how faithful He truly is? I am imagining Catie right now, helping in the preparations for Jesus' birthday party; I bet she's having a blast!
I'm praying for God to carry your load during this very hard time; I know you miss that precious girl more than any words could ever say.
Pam Doughty
Powder Springs, GA

Anonymous said...


I loved this story...After reading it I immediately purchased one for my two year old son Michael and one for a cancer patient. You are such an inspiration to all mom's out there. I hope that our elf has as much fun as what Catie's (and now Izzy's) did. I posted your blog on my myspace for all to see. I think that it is such a great idea. I can not wait!

Happy Holidays!

Shiloh Moseley

Cheryl said...


I will copy your elf story to my daughter's carepage. She is on chemo. also and fighting cancer this year. I will be ordering an elf too!!!!

Catherine said...

I've just heard of you today, and at a request of a friend I'm re-posting your story on my own blog - hope you don't mind, but that seems to be the spirit of what you're asking for. What a story! I hope this can be a blessing for you during this beautiful and painful season. I'm happy to "meet" you.


Whitney June said...

Jenny -- Wow! We were just talking about the Christmas elf in my first grade classroom this morning. Having taught in a Christian school for 6 years, I'm still feeling out the whole holidays in public school thing -- but I think I'm just going to go for it and ask for forgiveness rather than permission. I will tell my kids all about Catie and why the elf in our classroom is so special. I pull up Catie's Caringbridge page almost every day to wait for that moment when that picture pops up on my screen -- it still takes my breath away. And I use it as a daily reminder about what matters when it comes to my own kids. Glad a phone call turned into a lovely miracle.

Anonymous said...

I have followed your caringbridge page for several years. I have 4 year old twins that where born a couple months after Catie. I knew having twins was a special gift but after following your family I knew my gift was much more special then I really ever thought. Ever time they are trying to push my buttons I think about you and how hard it must be to not have your child any longer.I have purchased an elf for them as well as one of Caties elves. Thank you for being such a blessing.

Elle said...

YOU are the bomb! I love this- you guys have been on our minds constantly. We see "Catie bugs" all the time, even in the cold winter winds. The sunsets have been amazingly pink lately and I swear it's Catie with a giant paintbrush. We love you all and sending the biggest hugs your way

Elle Rivers

Anonymous said...

Jenny, I remember reading about Catie and her elf last Christmas.....I loved it. When I saw your post today about sharing elfs with other children in honor of Catie, I knew it was something I wanted to do. You are such an inspiration to so many people. Although we have never met, I feel like you, Tre, Catie and Izzy are family. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. Merry Christmas! Love from Minnesota!

Melanie Martini

Pam Earley said...

After wiping the tears from my face, I immediately clicked on the provided links and quickly ordered a "Catie-elf." What an awesome thing this company is doing. And all started by an amazing Catie. I also sent the info to my friends - hopefully there will be such an abundance of Catie-elves out there.

Melissa said...

This is certainly a season of miracles! Even our small gestures can turn into great gifts when wrapped by the loving hands of our God. I've followed Catie's story for quite a while. I can't begin to tell you how her strength and your faith have helped me cope with my mom's cancer journey and it's recent detour to heaven. My mom was just the type of person who would love a mischevious little Christmas elf! Thank you for sharing Catie's elf and giving the rest of us the opportunity to spread her joy to others. I just ordered one and will be sure to share her story and Christmas mischief!

Anonymous said...

I would love to do this w/ my now
7-year-old daughter. Could you give me more ideas as to the mischief he gets into? I am so NOT creative.
Wendy in Winder, Ga.

lucille said...

I am amazed at this....I had just read your elf story in the morning before school around 6 am. My students come to class at 8:00 and would you believe, one of my little girls brings her elf to class and tells me all about the mess he made that night at her house. I just couldn't believe was like a little piece of Catie was right there in my kindergarten class room!!! I've been teaching for 20 years and never heard about these little sneaky elves and then twice in the same morning they're brought to my attention. I think about Catie a lot when I'm at work teaching my students. I always pray that God lets me see them through his eyes and love them with his heart and he always does. If I can feel that love here on earth, imagine how much love Catie feels in heaven!!

Brandon & Ansley's Mom said...

What a wonderful tribute to Catie; and, what joy it will bring all of us to know how many silly elf's will be running around this Christmas season! Don't you know Catie is smiling from ear to ear. I ordered elf's for each of my kids and one of Catie's - I came back to your site to make a comment and realized I could have donated on the two I ordered for my children. I emailed to ask if they could please be sure the donations are made and they emailed me back within minutes and told me they are donating 30% to curechildhoodcancer for all orders that include an "Elf for Catie"! What a wonderful organization...there really is a Santa. Thank you again for sharing, Jenny!

God Bless each of you-
Stephanie Young

Anonymous said...

I just purchased an Elf to be given to a child with cancer. What a wonderful idea. Have followed Catie's story for some time. What a blessing her life was and continues to be. Thoughts and Prayers are with your family.
Donna from Indiana

Liticia said...

Tre' and Jenny,
I passed along the "Host an Elf" information to the chair of the charity basketball event at Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn. They host an annual basketball game to raise money for childhood cancer research and are always looking for other ways to help the cause.
Your testimony is incredible and touches so many!! Peace to you this season and always! You're always in my prayers!
Liticia Walston Weissinger

amandarkick said...

Wow! Jenny, I had no idea that your family lost Catie in January. I remember you from Effingham County when we were in Technology Academy together and you were pregnant with Catie. My name is Amanda Kicklighter and I used to teach at Guyton Elementary with Tina Birthisel. Anyway, I just received a forward about the elves, and checked out your blog. I am praying for you and Trey as you face this Christmas without Catie. I can't imagine how difficult it must be, and am so much in awe of how you continue to use what you have gone through to bless others. As Romans 8:28 says, ALL things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. We have 3 girls, ages 2, 4, and 6. On November 5 we lost our 1st and only son at 16 weeks of pregnancy. We were devastated but know that God sees more than we do. We take comfort in knowing that our son will never suffer pain and is in the presence of Jesus. Your family's trying journey is obviously continuing to glorify God and bless others lives even through your pain. It was so good to see pictures and get an update on your family. Praying for you and thinking of you this Christmas!
Amanda Kicklighter