How the Porch Fairy broke PF rules

You remember the Porch Fairy who—when my husband, Gary, was dying in the hospital bed in our living room—left Chai tea for me and Americano coffee for my daughter on our front porch? Daily. For weeks. Even in snow and ice.


Photo: Marlys

It breaks my heart to say that the Porch Fairy has now joined the Widow’s Club when her beloved unexpectedly and recently left this earth for his heavenly home.

I was out of town at the time, and I’m headed out of town again today. But there were a dozen days in between all the coming and going, and my first thought was that maybe I could reciprocate in a small way.

And so, I began my abbreviated version of her very large and kind and overwhelmingly generous gift to me.

Turns out, the Porch Fairy is breaking PF rules. When I delivered Chai tea on one of those mornings, there was a package and a note on the front porch. For me.

And so I texted her later with a rather stern message: “The recipient of Porch Fairy-ness is not allowed to leave gifts on her front porch for the one making deliveries. This is against PF rules.” 

And then—because she’s a retired school teacher—I threatened her with after-school detention.

Well, the Porch Fairy had the audacity to sass text back: “Such deviations of the code are allowed under the augmentation of the Fairy’s plan to leave the country, soon, and for an extended period of time. See Legality of Chai-ness, #5 …”

I hadn’t planned to blog about this because my friend’s loss is her story, and I didn’t need to bring attention to my small part in it.

But I learned 2 things in the process:

1. Sometimes joy doesn’t come until after we step out in love.

I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t looking forward to scraping ice off my windshield in the dark and frozen morning hours and driving slowly, slidingly across town to make deliveries.

But that dread turned to anticipation. I was awake early every morning, and there was joy in the anticipation of scraping ice, and joy in the peaceful drive across town while I prayed for my friend, and joy in placing a blessing on her front porch.

Here’s the thing: If we listen to our hearts — and to God — in doing good, in fighting for love, in going to whatever hard place goodness and love may lead us, then joy shows up.

But usually not until we take those first, tentative steps.

2. One cannot “out-Porch-Fairy” the original Porch Fairy. (But I think I already knew that.)


Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

And so …

It’s been four years since Gary left this earth for his cancer-free, pain-free, eternal home with Jesus.

My heart is fine. The grief is long gone. My life is sweet, and brimming, and boisterous, and freckled, and wildly gleeful, and untangled, and tranquil, and … (you get the idea).

But I remember those last bittersweet weeks of Gary’s life on earth—as my heart was being battered—and how the Porch Fairy’s thoughtfulness extended far beyond delivering hot beverages and other assorted gifts to our front porch on wintry autumn mornings.

It was a loud and resounding message that said: I understand cancer is ramping up and it pains my heart to know you’re facing the death of your husband, and if this offering can convey that I’m thinking of you and praying for you and belligerently loving you, well then … 

Yes, the Chai tea said all that. 

Is there someone in your life similar to my Porch Fairy? If so, I’d love to hear about it.


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  1. Rosanne Croft

    What a beautiful article, Marlys–about a beautiful friend. And I love love love the idea of a Porch Fairy! Rosanne

    • You can imagine, Roseanne, what her offerings of Chai tea, and homemade soup in Mason jars, and floral arrangements, and scones, and banana nut bread, and socks, and … (the list goes on) meant to me at the time cancer was stealing Gary away from me.

  2. David Brownlee

    It is good to have visiting angels, or kindly neighbors that leave us treats on the porch. It is coming up on six years of the homicide of my mom apparently by my sister. Police detectives only have suspicion and circumstantial evidence and my sister apparently does not want to discuss or share anything. Zip, ziltch, nadda, nothing! It is very sad and breaks my heart.

    I will slightly change the subject from porch fairy to life aide fairy. And this would foremost go to God the Father (not sure and do not mean to minimize God to a fairy), but to participate in this story line and to share. Second would be my wife for all her love, care, and support. Thirdly, some very close friends and our small group. They were tangible fairy rocks that the Lord provided for me and my wife during this time. Grieving, there is still some, an emotional roller.

    GRACE Marlys, (God’s Righteousness and Christ’s Embrace)

    David Brownlee

  3. Lisa ackerman

    May we all be comforted and humbled by such generosity of spirit. God bless the Porch Fairies of this world.

  4. Bre

    Beautifully written!! ?

  5. Anne Peters-Eden

    I love reading your posts Marlys. They are always uplifting, encouraging and loving. God’s love shines through you. It would be awesome if you had a podcast.

  6. sally slick

    Marlys – what a wonderful story you share with us! You are a marvel, my friend!

    • The PF is the marvel. I haven’t been the only recipient of Porch Fairy kindness. We all would be amazed at how many people’s lives she’s touched by her thoughtful attention to showing love to people going through challenging times. Thank you, friend!

  7. Lovely. Your words brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad your grief is over. My husband passed 6 years ago and I am very happily remarried. The grief, however, persists. It is certainly not as deep as at first, but even now as I type this, there are fresh tears on my cheeks. Thank you for your precious words. ❤️

  8. Lovely, Marlys. Thanks for sharing this. So glad I met you a few years back.

  9. Gary Wirth

    Marlys what a great why to tell people about how the porch fairy made you feel after your loss, and now doing it to someone else you care for in there loss. It is a great thing.

  10. Grace Lawson

    I totally agree with what the wonderful people have written about you !!!

  11. Sarah C

    Beautifully written, as always, Marlys! I’m sorry to read of the Porch Fairy’s loss – but know she’s finding comfort in your actions and prayers. (And the friendship you both so obviously nurture and treasure!) Hugs to both of you.

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