This morning as I was making my daily “tour” through Kearney, dropping kids off at school my phone rang. It was a familiar ringtone that I typically hear daily reserved for a dear friend that is like a daughter to me (Babygirl by Sugarland). We talk almost every day, she grew up next door to us and is now in her last semester of college and married to her high school sweetheart. We chatted as I drove home and she made her way to UNK, chatting about life and how truly blessed we are.

After I got home I started to think about all the special people that come into our lives. We all have friends, neighbors, co-workers…they come and go as we move through our ever-changing lives. Some people are in our lives for a short period and have little effect on us, yet others make a HUGE difference in our lives. Then there are those people who become like family.

I have many special friends that mean the world to me and I think of them as family. Lexi is just one of those friends that have been such a special blessing in my life and the life of my family & I can’t imagine life without her. We have shared laughs and tears and the births of my two youngest children…learning to drive, dating, her first job, accidents, love, getting ready for her first Prom, weddings, birthdays, milestones, marriage, death, finance, fashion, beauty…you name it….we have dealt with it….together and that’s pretty special.

As I have mentioned before, I like to send a card of Gratitude everyday to someone. Some days it might be someone that has done something kind for my family, it might be a customer of mine or my husbands, maybe it is a family member or friend that has been a blessing in my life, on occasion it is even someone I haven’t even met but simply admire them as a leader or role model…but I try to make a point of telling the people who make my life better, that they do!

I knew after I returned home who today’s card would go to…Lexi and I had a bit of a “deep” conversation this morning and I had a prompting when I returned home to reach out and let her know just how very special she is to me! I am not shy about showing love and affection to people…I always warn people that I meet that “I’m a hugger” 😉 I think being kind and affectionate makes people smile and I like to smile! I learned the hard way that we don’t have an unlimited amount of time on this earth and sometimes the people we love are taken from us sooner than we would like.

When I was a little girl, my parents had friends from work that didn’t have children. They desperately wanted them, but were unable to and I never knew why or if they had thought of adoption…I just knew how great they were! My parents would have them over and they were always fun and when I visited my mom at work in the big high rise building in downtown San Diego, I loved sitting at the desk of her friends staring out the window from the 23rd floor and learning all about what they did. From time-to-time I would even get to go to their house or on an outing with them…they would kind of “borrow me” and it was always a wonderful time!

Bruce and Annette loved Disney…as did I. Growing up in Southern California made multiple trips to Disneyland every year very common. They had a playroom full of toys and games that were there for their nieces and nephews to enjoy when visiting, but really Bruce had just as much fun with them as any kid! After Bruce retired from the phone company, he took a part-time job at the Disney Store. I bumped into him there a few times after I was a mom and no longer living in San Diego. It was fun to reconnect and catch up. We exchanged emails and eventually lost touch again.

A few years ago, I called my mom and asked her if she still kept in touch with them and she said no, they had both retired and they just all kind of went in different directions. Well, I told my mom that I wanted to find them and let them know how much I loved them; tell them how special they were to me. My mom gave me their old phone number and address and told me to give them her love too.

I took down the info and went about my busy life. I sat down at my computer and sent an email to their old address that I had in my contacts and received a reply that the address was no longer current. I tried the phone number….nope, no longer in service. Months went by and I let life get in the way of my prompting…

My husband and I were in Grand Island one afternoon after attending the funeral of someone we admired when my phone rang….it was my mom in San Diego. “Hi Boo”, she said. “Sweetie, I am afraid I have some bad news”…”Bruce died last night”. My knees buckled and I started to shake and cry….he was gone and I didn’t make a point of telling him what he had meant to me. I was devastated, I knew I had to make sure his wife Annette knew just how special they were and what a wonderful influence they had been in my life. I had my mom find out where I could send her a special card and I did.

I received a call from the friend that she was staying with after the unexpected death of her soul mate and she assured me that Annette received my card and appreciated the kind words I shared with her. I felt a little better, but I knew at that moment that I couldn’t let that happen again.

So now, I take the time to reach out to others and let them know just how special they are. It isn’t always a profound impact that sparks my prompting to send a card, but even the little blessings deserve our gratitude…don’t they? Sunday after Mass someone came up to me and my family and told me how excited their daughter was that she was going to be in my Religious Ed class again, I had taught her a few years ago. She said her daughter told her that I was her favorite teacher ever….it made me cry; that simple little act of kindness and gratitude. What a special blessing that was to hear. We need to be blessings in the lives of others as often as we can.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

Today I encourage you to take a moment out of your day to tell someone what a blessing they are to you while you still can. Sometimes it has a significant impact on their life, other days it may make an impact on yours!


Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity.