2016 Porch Fairy Challenge – in honor of Hubby

The second annual Porch Fairy Challenge—Sept 22—is fast approaching. (A Porch Fairy is someone who leaves gifts on front porches so as not to disturb the residents in the house, one of whom might be in a hospital bed in the living room.)

Our Porch Fairy was an overachiever, gifting us with jars of homemade soup, chocolate, pumpkin scones, banana nut bread, mismatched socks, bouquets of flowers, bouquets of colorful fall leaves. And Chai tea. Every morning at 7:30 for several weeks, Chai tea was left on our front porch.



2014 Porch Fairy hit


And after Daughter Summer arrived from New Jersey to keep watch with me as Hubby slipped away, Chai tea and Americano coffee were delivered. Every morning. Even in snow and ice, against our counsel.

I can’t express what that meant to me at a time when my heart was dazed.




Porch Fairy Challenge — September 22:

Think about someone who could use a ‘thank you’ or a bit of encouragement. Leave a small gift on his/her front porch, take a photo of your Porch Fairy drop-off. And then run!

Here’s an important step: Even though you might prefer to remain anonymous, please post your PF photo to my Facebook page: Marlys Mallory Johnson.

Because it will gladden my heart on September 22 — Hubby’s birthday and our anniversary — to read all the ways people loved and encouraged each other. In honor of Gary, husband, dad, grandpa, son, brother, uncle.

Oh, and don’t forget to let that person know to check the front porch.

Last September 22 was the first annual PF Challenge. I am pleased to report that the Porch Fairy was seen as far away as Lijiang, Yunnan Province in China. Imagine!

Consider this thought from Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof in their book, A Path Appears:

Participating in a cause larger than yourself … creates a sense of fulfillment, gets us out of bed in the morning with a bounce in our step, and helps make a difference in the lives of others—even as it affirms a purpose for our own lives on earth.

I think a cause larger than us can be anything that involves giving of ourselves to someone else — no matter how small that gift might seem in our opinion.

For Hubby and me, there were no small gifts. No one ever mailed or hand-delivered a small gift. They were all large, and they spoke eloquently of the love that carried us through that bittersweet time.

P.S. If you know of someone who would enjoy participating in the 2016 Porch Fairy Challenge, please share, tweet or pin!


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How a season of loss can be bountiful


  1. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    Reading inspirational ideas such as these, it’s great for allowing folks to think, “I can do that’ or ‘I’ll give that a go’ or ‘that’s given me an idea’. One thing my great grand daughter Mollie and I have done for the last 2yrs, soon to be 3yrs, each autumn, is to collect all the different kinds/colours of autumn leave, berries, cones etc and set them out and stick them onto an A3 size plain white card. Once dry, Mollie signs it and she takes it to school where each year it has appeared on the classroom wall. Before Mollie takes her ‘autumn creation’, I take some photographs. The photographs are then mounted and made into ‘greetings cards’, I take them along with many other photographed scenes from the places I’ve cycled somewhere in the world, to my talks/story tellings/music gigs and all donations from sales of the ‘greetings cards’ go to our supported children’s cancer/leukaemia causes. There is so much pleasure from seeing Mollie create her ‘autumn scene’, then the card making and the fact that our sharing gives so much pleasure. I’m often asked, ‘Will you make 6 of that card for me, please’ and all because we share and give something of ourselves. Keep doing what you do best, God Bless, Peter Howe B.E.M.

    • Peter, I love your ‘autumn creation’ project with your great-grand Mollie. Thank you for sharing such a lovely idea. I’d love to see photos of some of your creations sometime. Thanks, Peter!

  2. Wendy

    Such a wonderful idea! I have put this on my calendar and will be thinking of someone to bless. I think this is also something I can bring up in DEFEATcancer next week! Thank You!

    • That would be awesome, Wendy. Thank you! (Don’t forget to emphasize taking a photo and posting it to my Facebook page. I know that’s selfish of me, but it would make my day to see how people have blessed others!)

  3. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    I will send a couple of photo’s for you. Out of interest, I took some photo’s plus greetings card material along to our creative coffee morning at church. I set too to make some cards. A new congregation member came over and expressed ‘how she liked what she saw’. I asked, “Were you on the Forest Prayer walk yesterday?” (I knew she had been present with her husband). She replied, “Yes it was awesome”. I then showed her a photo I’d taken some time ago, on such a walk (the photo’ has a shaft of light and some of the walkers are looking up at it…. as if to heaven). I said to her, “Look at it closely and you will see some of the walkers you were with yesterday”. She studied the photo’ and I said, “Please take it, it will remind you of your walk”. I hadn’t planned for her reaction, she was emotionally overcome and said, “I’ll put it in a frame and it will be there for ever”. So, once again that little bit of sharing makes someone happy. Not only that, I’ve been building bikes for those in need for many years and I’d heard her husband needed one (he’s out of work and helps in our church). I told her to tell her husband that I would ‘in time’ find him a bike. A while later He ‘Derrick’ came to me and in talking he said he would like a racing bike. I have a problem!!!!!, I’m not sure he really needs a racing bike!!! AND I do have a good one in my garage. I now have to be sure he can handle such a bike, or whether I can adapt it, put straight handlebars on it… my problem but God will help me decide. ‘Count it all Joy’ James 1 – 2 God Bless, Barbara & Peter.

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