Posted by: smilecoach | December 13, 2007

You know you are married to a wonderful person when –

About three weeks ago I volunteered to do something I had never done before and I thought I would never do.  No, it was nothing extremely daring or illegal.  I volunteered to ring the bell for the Salvation Army.  The Rotary Club, I recently joined, supports the Salvation Army every Christmas season by ringing the bell and collecting money. 


Three weeks ago at the Rotary luncheon, they asked for volunteers and passed around a sign-up sheet. On Saturday and Sunday, December 8th and 9th the Club committed to staffing two locations.  When the sheet came to me I quickly passed it on hoping that no one would ask me why I hadn’t volunteered.  Thank goodness they didn’t.  However, not only am I proficient at spotting fear in others, I am getting pretty good at spotting my own fear-based life-patterns.  For 20 minutes after the sign-up sheet went by, I sat there debating with myself about what the fear was and why shouldn’t I deal with it.  Thinking of ringing the bell brought back memories of all the times in the Midwest when I saw bell-ringing volunteers standing in the freezing snowy or wet weather ringing their hearts out.  I always admired them for standing there in the cold while others rushed about enjoying the holiday.  As I approached them I would alwasy say to myself, “No way would I ever do that.” 


I am not sure what came over me, but before the meeting was over, I found the sheet at another table and signed-up for a two hour bell ringing shift in front of Albertson’s Grocery.  I can’t remember the last time my hands sweat as much as they did while I was signing the sheet. 


That evening during dinner I told my wife, Sheleen, what I had done.  I threw out the idea that maybe she would like to join me for some of the shift, fully expecting her to give me the joy of doing this on my own.  To my surprise, not only did she say yes, she decided to dress up like an elf.  My bell-ringing challenge suddenly wasn’t feeling so bad.  Maybe this could be fun. 


img_1263_2.jpgAs you can see from the smiles on our faces in the picture, we had a ball.  We talked to lots of people, brought smile to kids faces and interacted with a couple of folks who were probably going to be recipients of the Salvation Army’s charity. 


And we collected lots of money. 


You know you are married to a wonderful person when she volunteers to be an elf and ring the Salvation Army bell with you. 


Ho, Ho, Ho!!! Merry Christmas. 



  1. I’ve never rung the bell, but I aspire to do it within the next 1-20 years.

    I seems to me that ringing the bell is something that ‘other prople’ do. I’ve not known any of the other people, until now. By that association, I am now one of those people. So watch the exits and corners for yours truly, ringing the bell.

    The sound of the bell should never end. Therre should not be a time on earth when the Chistmas season does not include that hopeful sound. Our successors should have no place in saying “Remember when those other people wore the santa hats and rang the bell? We need to keep this alive and well. Not so say that it would not be good to eliminate the ‘need’ for the donations, but we go out of our way to greet the bell ringer and donate. Hope and cheer to you.

  2. You reminded me how lucky and blessed I am with Peggy. She would absolutely volunteer with me and not only support the cause but simply enjoy the time with me. Thanks for the reminder Frank!

  3. That story and your good fortune makes me smile. : )

  4. Loren and Mike, whenever you are ready to “ring the bell” let me know. I will be glad to lend you a Santa hat or perhaps an elf suit.

    I am delighted that the “bell ringing” story made you smile Terri. It seems that the joy of those two hours contiues to flow. Hope is a wonderful thing.

  5. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring, heartwarming story, Frank. I am so thrilled that you have such a divine soulmate in Sheleen. You deserve the best!!!! Much love, Theresa

  6. That was truly a “feel good” story. It’s great to hear that you enjoy each other so much, and that you always seem to have a great time while together. Merry Christmas to all…

  7. I smiled as I read your story for several reasons: I have felt the same way about the bell ringers, and yet I know my husband would join in with me if I chose to volunteer; I can keep facing my fears if I keep my sense of humor, and remember my coach acts as he teaches. Thanks for the great reminder that fear is always in us, but facing it changes our energy and our life, putting a smile on our face.
    Also, I love the picture!

  8. Thank you Thersa, Troy and Claudia for taking time to read and then comment on the post. Claudia I would like to suggest a different order to what you wrote – putting a smile on our face, changes our energy and then our lives change. the power is in consciously choosing to do the smile exercise.

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