The Code

The Code

We don’t do Elf on a Shelf at our house, but we do watch a lot of Elf on television.  The popularity of this Christmas film may be even more ginormous than the toilets in New York City.  It’s mildly embarrassing that I may have seen this movie about 100 times since it was released in 2003…but that’s still not as many times as my husband has watched the first Die Hard.  So, if I measure myself using that scale, I’m still good!  One of my favorite scenes in Elf is when Buddy the Elf is trying to muster up the courage to ask a beautiful retail worker, Jovie, out on a date.  Buddy is a human, but he was raised by elves, so his dating game isn’t what the kids call ‘on point’.  Leave it to his 12-year-old half-brother, Michael, to show him the dating ropes.  The conversation goes like this:

Alas, Jovie agrees to ‘eat food’ and Buddy realizes just how nice it is to meet another human being that shares his affinity for elf culture.

It’s funny to me how ‘eat food’ was what a 12-year-old thought was ‘the code’ for going out on a date.  But, the more I thought about it, eating food truly is a symbol of giving and sharing something together.  Our family realized how important such an act of generosity is just before Christmas when my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly.

Here it is the week before Christmas, stores are hustling and bustling, wrapping paper and ribbons are being taped and tied, and holiday dinner menus are being planned and prepared; yet, so many loved ones halted their regularly scheduled programming to deliver food to our family so we could get through the week.

In such an emotional time when you don’t even know what to do yourself, but such an outpouring of love was both comforting and appreciated.  And, I realized that maybe food really is ‘the code’—not for dating, but for showing someone you care.

It seems odd to write about food the first week of the New Year when so many people are starting diets and trying not to think about some of the amazing food that we enjoyed the past few weeks.  After all, resolutions are hard to keep, aren’t they?  The ‘word nerd’ I am, had me dissecting the word resolution this week.

So, a resolution is simply solving a problem you have again…you were once there, but may have faltered along the way.  You know the right path, you just need a reason to begin again and January 1st is just as good of a reason as any.  But, I’m here to tell you that there’s never a bad time to start anew…you don’t have to wait on a date or a person or an event…you can just begin!

Seth Godin was writing about kindness this week and asked this question: “Does every need have to be filled, every emotion in place before we’re capable of being kind?”  In other words, do you have to have it all together yourself to be kind or generous to someone else?  Of course not!  I feel quite certain those that helped us through the loss of our loved one didn’t have everything on their Christmas list checked twice.  As Godin says, “Kindess is the foundation for the rest.”  It’s never too late to begin or to begin again.  The Foundation has many funds which benefit those a lot less fortunate than we are and no donation is too big or too small.  It all adds up to helping others when we can…that’s the real code.  Happy New Year, friends!

  • Bonnie webb
    Posted at 14:48h, 09 January Reply


  • Steve DeNeff
    Posted at 15:59h, 09 January Reply

    Great article, Dawn. May God help us all to live into “the code.”

    • Tempadmin
      Posted at 14:33h, 03 May Reply

      Hope you’re still following along with my blog! We’re making some good progress on Thriving Families, Thriving Grant County. We’ll have to get together and chat about it sometime soon!

  • Carol Hsmilton
    Posted at 20:16h, 09 January Reply

    Another beautiful and well written article with a great message ! Well done, Dawn 😊

    • Tempadmin
      Posted at 14:34h, 03 May Reply

      You are just the sweetest lady! Thanks so much for all you do for Grant County, Carol!

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