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Nov. 19, 2021

Godwinks Podcast: Sonja - Secret Santas

Godwinks Podcast: Sonja - Secret Santas

A Limited Series Godwink Podcast

Episode 5. These were the darkest moments of Sonja's life. She was a dental hygienist barely making ends meet. A series of Godwinks at an office Christmas party impacted her life and......find out what happens on today's Godwink Christmas Stories podcast!

Today's Godwink Christmas Story Podcast is brought to you by Godwink Brands - find out more at https://Godwinks.com. Join our private Facebook group at http://godwinkers.com!



SQuire Rushnell: [00:00:04] Sometimes Sonja allowed herself to feel like Cinderella. She could just imagine how certain items would look on her or in her home. Of course, everything was way beyond her means, but she could fantasize how that bright and bracelet with the matching earrings would look on her, or she would see herself in the kitchen sipping from that adorable Vera Bradley coffee mug.

Announcer: [00:00:34] Welcome to the Godwink Christmas podcast with stories from SQuire Rushnell. This limited series podcast is brought to you by Godwink Brands. Visit Godwink SQuire for more information. Now here's the Godwink guy SQuire Rushnell.

SQuire Rushnell: [00:00:51] These were the darkest moments of Sonja's life. She had hoped desperately that her divorce from an abusive marriage would finally lift her from fear and stress. Yet she never anticipated that the aftermath could be just as bad. The nine years of co-parenting after her divorce had been a constant struggle as her ex-husband attempted to manipulate the children against her. Eventually, there had been a court battle that had racked up legal fees she couldn't afford. Now, with the two oldest kids off on their own. Her husband had mounted a campaign to convince her youngest daughter, a 12 year old, to come live with him. Unfortunately, her daughter's consent to do so. Persuaded the court. Sonja was devastated. The debris lying in the wake of her struggle was emotional and financial. Her heart was so wounded she thought she could never be healed. And with Christmas coming, she had no idea how she was going to buy presents for the kids. Her salary is a dental hygienist was barely enough to make ends meet on top of that, with the court's ruling that her daughter would live with her father. Sonja was now required to pay child support. She decided to take bold measures in order to move closer to her job, thereby reducing the travel costs and the cost of gasoline. She put her house up for rent, located 30 miles south of Beaumont, Texas. She prayed that she could then find a place in the city at a reasonable rent. After months of feeling emotionally pummeled to Godwink gave her a flicker of hope.

SQuire Rushnell: [00:02:53] First, she found the perfect apartment that was rent free for the first month a day or so. Later, one of her dental patients, Melanie Bieber, the owner of the upscale women's boutique Papa Garlow in Beaumont, Texas, offered her a part time job during the Christmas holidays. That was another answered prayer Godwink number two. Wow, maybe things are turning around. She thought Sonja's second job started immediately. She would work two evenings a week after leaving the dentist's office at five p.m. and all day on Saturdays. She loved Papa Garlow. She liked her coworkers, got to know every pretty item in the inventory, jewelry, handbags, clothing and because she was innately a people person. She enjoyed helping customers. Sometimes Sonja allowed herself to feel like Cinderella. She could just imagine how certain items would look on her or in her home. Of course, everything was way beyond her means, but she could fantasize how that bright bracelet with the matching earrings would look on her, or she would see herself in the kitchen sipping from that adorable Vera Bradley coffee mug. Two weeks before Christmas, Melanie Bieber announced she would be holding a Christmas party at her home the following Saturday evening. All of her employees were invited about a dozen people in all four months. Sonja had been carrying so many burdens on her back that she welcomed the festive spirit of a Christmas party. Getting together and having pleasant conversation with other people would be a rare joy. The Papa Gallow office manager, Karen told Sonja that they typically organized a Secret Santa for the annual Christmas party.

SQuire Rushnell: [00:05:00] The way it worked was that everyone's name would be. Placed into a ball, then you draw the identity of the person for whom you'd purchase a small gift, something around $20 in value. Oh, thought Sonya, that's another expense. But she had no choice. She'd have to do it. The next Saturday, the store closed at six 30, and Sonja drove the short distance to Melanie's home, a stylish brick colonial and a lovely nearby neighborhood. After an hour or so of drinks and or d'oeuvres mixing and chatting, Melanie asked everyone to find a seat standing next to the Christmas tree with stacks of brightly wrapped gifts with big red bows behind her. She explained that they were going to play the white elephant game. She explained. Normally, the game is played with gifts provided by the participants. She paused to smile at the gathering of eager faces. In this case, however, every gift came from Papa Gallo. An audible expression of delight rose from the employees and pausing again, every gift is worth at least two hundred dollars. A burst of joy erupted from the delighted recipients. These are the rules of the game, said Melanie, speaking more loudly to quiet the crowd as one of her helpers passed her a bowl containing slips of white paper. Everyone draws a number, and that will be the order in which your turn comes up. The guests drew numbers and then Melanie said, We'll begin with guest number one. That's me, shouted a lady. In a moment, you'll come up and select a gift from under the tree, said Melanie.

SQuire Rushnell: [00:07:02] The lady beamed, looking over and surveying the gifts. After you select your gift, continued Melanie, each person in order will have the option of either stealing a gift from someone else or selecting a gift from under the tree. Directing her comment to the first lady, she said. If someone steals your gift, you get to pick another one from under the tree or steal someone else's. That's how the game progresses. Pick out a new gift or steal someone else's. Waiting for the laughter to subside. She looked around the room. Everybody got that. One more thing a gift can only have three owners. The third owner keeps it. Chatter filled the room as some crack jokes and others giggled. Sonja watched as the game progressed toward her. No. Eight. There was an air of frivolity, and through the babble, it was difficult to keep track of who got what. In fact, from where she was seated, Sonja couldn't even see what some of the presents were. It came time for her to select a gift. She took one from under the tree, opening the package carefully. She saw that it was an elegant ceramic teapot. It was nice, but she didn't own it long. The very next person stole it from her, and that was repeated on her second turn on her third turn. She ended up with a gift that had been twice stolen from someone else. A decorative handbag. A friend who had been seated at the other side of the room walked past just as Sonja was opening her gift.

SQuire Rushnell: [00:08:51] Oh, Sonja, you're so lucky. I was the first person who got that. I really wanted that handbag, but it was stolen from me. Sonja shrugged and said, amiably, I'll trade it with you. You will ask the lady beaming and thanking her profusely. The woman went and grabbed a box by her chair, and they traded. Sonia looked down and lifted the cover of the box. Her mouth fell open. Oh, I don't believe it! She gasped. She was holding the Brighton bracelet and matching earrings that she admired in the shop. She was speechless. She looked at the woman who had just traded with her. You got what you wanted and I got what I wanted. They both laughed, blinking away, the start of tears coming into their eyes. She hadn't even realized that the white elephant game had ended. Karen, the office manager who was now handing out the Secret Santa gifts. Placed another small box into Sonia's lap. She opened it that time she did cry. It was the Vera Bradley coffee mug. Looking back, Sonia said there is no way those events at that Christmas party were coincidence. They were Godwink. As I left Melanie's home that night, she said my heart was full of joy. I knew my Heavenly Father had shown up to give me the desires of my heart. Not so much for the material things, but to show me the love he had for me at the lowest part of my life. It turned out to be one of my most memorable Christmases ever.

Announcer: [00:10:54] Thanks for listening to the Godwink Christmas podcast. Do you have a Godwink story to share? Go to share your Godwink and let us know. Thanks for listening and share this podcast with a friend! The Godwink Christmas podcast is produced by Godwink Brands and is available wherever you find your favorite podcast.