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My Personal Christmas Story – That Changed Everything


"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."Helen Keller

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

This is one of the most personal blogs I have ever written. I wrote it several years ago, but what I didn't know was that the pain was the catalyst that changed everything in my life. I hope it will help you, inspire you, and encourage you to never give up, even when things look like they are going in the wrong direction. For this is how you find the miracles that have been waiting for you.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."Martin Luther King, Jr.

2009 was a year for the record books for me. One that is so etched in my soul I shall never forget it. Like many families, we began struggling financially. Things kept going from bad to worse; and as the time passed, it looked like we might lose our home. My father had died the year before and the holidays were marked with pain for my mother and sisters. With my mother in more pain that I had ever seen, and my own family spiraling into unknown territory, I was wondering what would become of our life and home. I was faced with an unbelievable amount of fear. I realized that I needed help. Did I really believe all the things that I said to other people? Did I practice faith or did I just expect it to find me? In despair, I decided to train my mind to not think of the things that were causing me such pain. I tried every day to find something to be thankful and joyful about. To, in essence, practice faith and to hope and trust with every fiber of my being that it would be OK.  At Christmas parties, I decided I would not be the one to talk about how bad our economy was, but rather speak of how things were going to get better. Many times people would berate me a little by saying that they just didn't have as much faith as me. But most of those people had suffered job losses. So I quietly prayed for so many of them, that they would find new jobs. Everyone that I did this for actually got new jobs and their situations turned around.

It took a few weeks and the fear began to leave and it started to be replaced with hope. Although nothing had changed, I began to see messages everywhere. In songs and books, in people's words, and on billboards and movies. It was as if the entire universe was creating this world of hope just for me. The first nugget I got was in the song I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns. (Please listen to the song, it is part of the blog.) When I first heard this song, I swear it sounded like angels to me. I cried so hard I felt as though I would break. Then I read the story of the man who wrote it and I cried harder.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) wrote this song about the tragic death of his wife, Fanny, and the injury of his son. Fanny had dropped candle wax on her dress which engulfed her in flames and she died the next day. Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son, Charles, a lieutenant in the Civil war, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades, taking off portions of several vertebrae. It was Christmas day and Henry was walking to church. In pain and despair, he heard those bells ringing, and a  wave of emotion flooded over him. As those bells rang he knew that he was not alone and that there was hope and peace within him and he penned the song.

As the weeks toward Christmas advanced, I began to feel such incredible joy it was indescribable. It was by far the best Christmas I have ever had, but our circumstances had not changed, only my heart and mind and this felt like a miracle.

It was Christmas Eve, the snow was flying, and our power went out. For lack of anything else to do and with no lights, I picked up a library book  to read to my daughter by candlelight. This is what I read that Christmas Eve night.

The Ominous Dragoon Of Dothdura

  • Tis so good to be a hero or a master, when in these times there are none.
  • Tis so good to be a leader who conquers fear when no one else will.
  • You see you were such a prince in such a place. But it was not a dragon that you conquered, it was the fear that gripped the land.
  • You were one entity who exposed the fear. And all who lived in their peaceful villages truly did live in what is termed "happier ever after."
  • You see dreams - they do come true. You were such an entity and conquered fear you did!
  • You are pleased?
  • Am I not a good spinner of tales? Wondrous entity you will be one who will grow up and become a justly entity.
  • Of all the good you shall deliver to this plane, the greatest good of all, master, is that you live your truth in your life in spite of others' fears and fallacies.
  • And you will not know fear for you will learn to look fear in the eye.
  • For when you look fear in the eye, precious entity, the fear that you feel will disappear.

It was four months later that our life began to turn around. We did not lose our house and my husband's business had the best financial year it ever had. So much that my husband calls it miraculous. But I know that this was all for me. To teach me what I wanted to know. That finding peace and faith is only a thought away. That it all abides within me.

It was because of all of these events that happened that I started my blog in April 2010. This series of events caused me to do things I would never have done - start a blog, publish a cookbook, and begin teaching classes on cultured foods. When I began these things, our lives began to change. Everything that had been going in the wrong direction reversed, and doors began to open that had been formerly closed. A year later, I self published my book and nine months after that I was picked up by a major publishing company, Hay House, and my book became a bestseller. Then I went on to write two more books and from deep within me a strong desire arose to help others, which led to the life I lead now.  I'm so very thankful for the fear that changed me so dramatically, for in all of this process I discovered who I truly was. Stronger than I ever thought possible but knowing that I was being guided and loved. I could hear the bells ringing when things looked horrible, I could hear them ringing hope just for me. I tuned my heart to those bells and hung on. Never, ever give up - and believe in miracles . . . they are waiting for you.

Do you hear the bells? Open up your heart and you'll hear them. They are ringing just for you.

Merry Christmas, my sweet friends.Donna

47 Responses to "My Personal Christmas Story – That Changed Everything"
  1. Donna, thank you for blessing my soul as I read your words this morning. I am 71 and continue my journey to great health. You are reaching others with your life~~ Keep up your beautiful journey and thank you, your truly an inspiration to everyone.

    Warmest thoughts, Micki~~

  2. What a beautiful story! The song is courageous and triumphant. I love it! Thank goodness you faced your fears and rose above. Look at you now! Incredible! Keep inspiring us. Merry Christmas to you and your family. 🙂

    Teresa from Seattle

  3. Donna;
    I am so blessed by your Christmas Bells message. Thank you so very much. I have had a similar story where hope raised up in me. I truly believe that when we believe in our heart and confess from that heart belief, that our Lord gives those words power and strength in out lives, because of our heart has such hope.
    From the Ol’ Grammie from B.C., Lorraine

  4. Sometimes we just need each other and the gems of another life to lift our own. Donna… I so hope to meet one day in person to share my tale, but I just want to say that when I was at the end of my budget with natural and wholesome supplements… finally feeling better after couple years of living misery, I prayed for our gracious God to show me how to sustain my health without destroying our weak budget. (my health had left me without my career and my husband was in transition… we rented out our home and moved in with family. Very very very difficult time.) A random acquaintance told me that she just thought I should look at your site and listen to your video. Cultured milk sounded… well… gross to me. I did go and watch and order grains and cookbook and became site member. Do you know that two weeks with kefir and haven’t needed the $400 worth in supplements since! The Lord used your words and lessons to walk me through a door into a whole world of healing. If only I had known all this great information decades ago, I would still have a colon today. But the Lord gently walked me through and now has shown me what I never understood. THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION and the LESSONS! Can you believe that I am now teaching ladies how to make kefir and cultured veggies?? So blessed by sharing! My little blog is just starting, and it is such a joy to pass on what has transformed my life! Can I mention it here… rethinkwellness.wordpress.com? If not, please strike from post, but know that you have been used in amazing ways to take me to the next vital step in living well. And if you have any chance to take a peek at my blog, it would be a great honor. May 2014 be a year of beauty and blessing in unexpected and lasting ways! I whisper thank you to God for your story. ~Deana

  5. I just had the chance to sit and read through this and so glad I did…. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year!

  6. Thank you for your post today. I am in that place you were and it feels like your post was a message directly to me.
    Thank you

  7. I am so surprised at the short time you have been “out here”. 🙂 I feel blessed to have found your website, and all the things you offer – I have the Trilogy DVD (love it!! and have shared it with others to help them get started in kefir and some of them in kombucha as well) and I was on the waiting list to get your book as soon as it came out – and it is such a beautifully done book! I’ve tried a few of the recipes, and will continue to try more as I get time to do something more than the “maintenance” of my kefir, kombucha and cultured vegetables. I was a Biotic Pro for 3 fabulous months, but then I got laid off from my 10hr/wk part time job… and things have been extremely tough so I could not continue as a biotic pro. But what a wonderful plethora of information and pictures!!! Definitely worth every penny! I do hope to find a way to have income and then join again. It’s like being a part of your family and I love that feeling. Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and soul. You are the genuine article!! Much appreciation for who you are!! In love and light, ~Annette

  8. I pray 2014 is full of beautiful blessings for you and your family. THANK-YOU for having the courage to publish your post- it means a lot and is providentially timed for our family. Like you, we’ve gone through the spiral and the Lord is giving us the tools to go forward to teach others how they can be small, local sustainable farmers that can support the country- one community at a time. Thank-you for your passion & your dedication to improving gut health- I’ve shared you as a resource with my students in “Food, Health & You” (Landry Academy) and look forward to the opportunity to work with you more closely in the future as a part of healing our nation. In Faith,Pam

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. It has truly touched my heart and inspired me to re-evaluate some situations around me and apply what you have taught and shared.

  10. Merry Christmas Donna,
    I love your amazing story of faith and hope. It is stories like this that inspire me to not give up, have faith in my dream and look for all the “messages” around me. Watching your journey has been fun for me. Have a great 2014.

  11. Incredibly inspirational message touching my heart. So very grateful for arrival this year of fermented food into my life. Every meal sees the continued strengthening of body and soul provided by these magical workers waking us to our true potential. Most of all, deeply sense your love and caring.


  12. Peace on earth to you and your family Donna. Love your book. I wish I could afford your kefer grains. I am using powdered and while it works it’s not self-perpetuating. Maybe someday I can afford some.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I know that you shining, positive spirit lifted your family and friends up as well as your own heart. People like you are rare and a real blessing and gem. My boss is very much like you in that way. She is rich with love of God and family and she shares it with her every word. I am blessed to work for her.
    Thank you again for sharing your story- it has helped bolster my faith that everything DOES work out for our benefit and that There is a BIGGER PLAN out there in the universe waiting for us.

  13. For Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11.
    Donna, thank you for your Faith. I read your post with tears in my eyes. This means so much to me this
    Christmas season.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us and inspiring me to always Keep the Faith.

    May God Bless you and your family. You have been a blessing to me…
    Much love, V

  14. I’m so glad that I read your blog today. I was so busy with Christmas but we need to remember these things. Thank-you Donna.

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. there is always hope. your story is amazing and it has blessed my life. a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

  16. This is one of my all time favorite songs. Your story is one of amazing faithfulness that is promised. This story along with the story of your beginning journey with kefir are both testimonies that miracles really do happen.Thank you for reminding us. Thank you for what you have shared in this miracle and in the teaching of fermented foods. All those little bacteria are another miracle working away in our bodies. A very merry Christmas to you, Donna!

  17. Thankyou for sharing this song just for me it seems Donna, I really hear it at this very poignant time in my Life right now for I also have come through so much Loss! Thank you for shining your light so brightly for so many of us to see. A wonderful 2014 to you and your family keep lighting the way:)
    Warmest regards, Susan.

  18. Thank God I found you. Yes mircles happen everyday all we need do is listen within ourselves, especially in times of trouble. Thank you.

  19. Hi Donna:

    Thank you for this beautiful story from your beautiful life and family. I love your work & books. I just purchased the Trilogy DVD. Thanks to a lovely MD, I found the world of cultured foods. I love it and have been spreading the word. Personally I’ve struggled for many years. I am so happy to hear that your situation did turn around. It is an encouraging story that things may turn around in this life through faith and hope. To save one’s soul, even when things do not turn around in this life, is the ultimate reward. I pray that your blessings continue for you, your family and all whom
    you touch with your healing words of wisdom. I wish you a Merry Christmas!

    • I also share these same sentiments of you Donna, God bless you and your family, on this festive season,
      Good health and strength now and through out the year 2014……Blessings and keep the good work going, for persons like myself that follow,
      I would like to write a book, i also have a an interesting story.

  20. Thankyou Donna! My family received lots of sauerkraut and kefir for Christmas this year for the first time..! Hopefully next year they will all be much healthier, wiser, and less interested in sugary junk..! Xxx 🙂

  21. Thank You so much Donna for being so open and sharing your life so intimately!!! The Lord is definitely using the talents he put in you to help others. The battle has already been won, so we need to stand on God’s promises to deliver us from evil. I believe that these probiotic guys are God’s way of showing us that the good always trumps evil. The psalm of David in chapter 23 talks about the shadow of death. How much more we have the promises of God in the New Testament. Evil is no match for the glorious power of Jesus, amen!!

  22. Blessings this Christmas Day!

    Your story of Christmas 2009 and it’s evolution is touching, inspiring. Many of us have been on such journeys–some of recent past, some longer, some shorter, but is is good to be reminded that those seemingly small steps to choose gratefulness, to keep our stories hopeful, to remember to Love, and let Faith bloom in it’s own season…with that we can be surprised by Joy.

    Thank you for this Christmas Gift.

  23. Donna, thank you for this wonderful post. You have such a sweet spirit.

    “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war in the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and brining into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10: 3-5

    Those of you that pray to Jesus as the son of God, please pray for my family. My husband has been out of work for 8 mos and we have the money for only 2 more mortgage payments. None of my friends know. I am glad to have found this secret place today, to reach out for prayer.

    Thank you!
    Peace to all of you!

    • Hi Greenbean,

      I’ll pray for your husband to get a new and better job. I, too, have passed through many difficult trials in this earthly life but have seen our precious Lord come through time and time again. Sometimes things can look really bleak but He is faithful. He’ll come through for you guys too. You’ll soon have a testimonial of His goodness to share with us here and elsewhere. Glory to His Holy Name! He loves you guys more than you can even imagine and is working on behalf right now putting everything in place for your miracle. See Mark 11:23 and 24.


      • “The effectual fervant prayers of the righteous avail much” I am in agreement with Peter as he prays these things. God will show Himself strong on your behalf.

      • Peter, Grace and Receiver,
        Thank you so much, my friends. Indeed, “have faith in God….pray, believe and receive!”
        Your responses have comforted me so much and met me in this, as I mentioned, a rather secret place.
        Another Word that I lean on is “He is able to make all grace abound toward us, so that we, having all sufficiency in all things–can be available for every good work.”
        Peace to all of you!

    • Greenbean, Remember that human hands are God’s hands on earth. Don’t be afraid to ask humans, and God, for help – if you won’t ask people for help, you deny them the opportunity to give, to be God’s hands. I pray that your life will turn around in many ways, within and outside your door, and that 2014 will, indeed, be a Happy NEW Year!

    • In all the wonderful advice you have been given, don’t forget gratitude. I think gratitude plays such an important part in our lives. We actually feel better when we are grateful for what we do have, but I also have realized that when I show gratitude to my Heavenly Father, he opens the windows of heaven and pours down blessings upon me. Also, visualize, visualize, visualize!!! Visualize your husband getting a job, visualize having the money to pay the bills – no doubting. Those doubts creep in so you will have to make a conscious effort to replace those doubts with positive thoughts. Visualize what you want to happen without doubting. It takes a lot of mental exertion, but the blessings will come!

  24. Beautiful
    2009 was the year that turned it all around. I died to myself 4 years ago Christmas via that 6″boning knife plunged and twisted through my heart. PTSD from the Vietnam War was to much to carry any longer. It was OVER FOR ME.
    GOD had me where he wanted me and 4 years later this Christmas Day I am a gifted Angel of Healing. Come one come all…sprout millions of organic seeds. Wheat grass etc. Juicing, Kefir, Kombucha, and the full line of Pickl-It for ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION. Have your book, donna and love what God is doing in your special life as my worldly burdens have ALL been lifted as yours … as my blessings are far too many for me to carry…they flow out of me to grace many. Lives are turning around for the better. Hope and Health replace despair and despondency. Paying it forward is the legacy to leave behind….Who was Donna? Who was Thomas?
    Why they were/ARE Angels of Light, come to spread the miracles of a bountiful healthy life.
    I built a raised bed organic garden in front of the new multi-million dollar Veteran’s Administration Clinic in Santa Rosa California…the very clinic that toxically poisoned me with endless psychotropic antidepressants that drove me to the … Thank God, failed suicide attempt. Never, never , NEVER in my wildest Dreams/hope, could I have imagined the Glory I have been spared to teach.
    KEFIR ON DONNA…world is a much better place with Angels of Light…We increase one anothers GLOW. This is FAR bigger than the two of us. One person can make ALL the positive difference in this world. Jesus told me so…and so it is! Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy NOW. Love, FARMER TOM ” Grow your own health”

    • Thomas, God bless you for what you are doing. Do you have a blog or website? God is so good & merciful!
      You & Donna will continue to spread good news to people in need. I too am trying to do the same. I sell Kombucha, Scobies & Kefir grains at the Farmers’ Mkt. along with cultured veggies & hot sauce. We have a responsibility to share the Truth about God and about His healing through food he created for us.

  25. There is an old saying in the marketing business, “people don’t care how much you know they just want to know how much you care”. It is obvious that you care very much. Thanks for caring and sharing with us. You teach from your heart and we are blessed! 2014 is going to be great!

  26. Donna
    Thank you so much for your blog and for this wonderful blog this Christmas day. You are my angel sent to speak directly to me. I am so very inspired by your story- I am in a very similar situation, at a point where I almost lost hope that anything will ever get better for me. Even though I have given a website, I’m still struggling to get it going but somehow I’m encouraged and NOW after reading your blog have faith that I will make it work come 2014.
    You blessed me first with your teaching on how to overcome candida and get my life back. I’m still struggling with that issue but the more I read and try your advice the better I feel. I have downloaded your free E-Book on Cultured foods and looking forward to getting my health back. Thank you. You have blessed me so much this Christmas.
    I bless you and your family this Christmas and may your blessings continue to grow and bring you and your family much happiness now and in years to come.

    Warmest Regards


  27. Merry Christmas Donna! You are such a way shower of faith, I so appreciate your story. I , too have recently gone through big challenges and have come through them believing in miracles as well. Life is an amazing gift, isn’t it? Love and blessings to you and your family. Val

  28. Thank you Donna for sharing your experience. It is inspiring and I appreciate hearing your story. We all have the freedom to choose what we think and talk about. And it feels so much better to think about what we “Do Want” and how better things are on their way, rather than the other “stuff”. It is our choice individually. Thanks for the great example!!! 🙂

  29. Beautiful lessons learned. Your willingness to look on the positive brought the Lord into the situations you faced, to turn them into Gold! Thank you for sharing some gold with us!

  30. Donna..I know you hear these words a lot lately..but thank you..for being you..even thou we have never met and you may have said..lol another post or question from patricia..I consider you a true friend..a loving person to share what you have learned and have given freely..I have not totally received all of the health benefits yet for what you are teaching ..but it is coming..I value you..the friendship and have learned many wonderful and uplifting things from you..You thank you for being a friend to me..answering my questions and Bless you and your Family..Merry Christmas and may you a havea wonderful 2014 New Year
    luv ya..Patricia

  31. What a beautiful post! It really is amazing what happens when you change the way you think!
    Ian facing a challenging next month so thank you for the reminder to not dwell in/on it!!

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