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In the spirit of Christmas, we are surrounded by things that shine. From Christmas lights to ornaments to candles, it truly is a season of light.

But there are also people who shine, regardless of the time of year. There are people who shine with love in their heart and shine with giving spirit.

I love this saying by Marianne Williamson — an activist, author and founder of the Peace Alliance — which goes:

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”


And there are many people who shine during hard times, a concept at the core of another of my favorite sayings (this one attributed to author D.H. Sidebottom):

“Stars can’t shine without darkness.”


With those quotes in mind, here are two examples of people who have shined in my life:

Sheri Fricke — December 2014

Prior to my book launch, I had met Sheri at a few Wyandotte City Council meetings — she’s a city councilwoman. My Center for Women’s and Children’s Health was being given a donation, and I was asked to accept it at the City Council meeting.

After my book launch, Sheri came up to me and said she wanted to do something special for me. She wanted to put on a dinner event at which I could talk on Hope and then do a book signing. Sheri wanted to make it so many residents of Wyandotte could attend.

Almost 150 people showed up at a large banquet center that she had arranged. After dinner, Sheri introduced my talk by asking each person in attendance to share something about me and what I had meant to them throughout the years.

While my talk was well-received, and I sold over 100 books, my heart was touched most by what all the people in the audience said about me. I had no idea how so many of them felt about me and was truly honored to hear them speak.

This wonderful experience was all thanks to Sheri Fricke and her desire to do something special for me — while also having people from our community learn about Hope and read my book, “The Gift Is You.”

And the fact that she scheduled it around Christmas even made it more special!

Jane Fijal — October 2016

Jane was a patient of mine for several years. She is deaf, and I was always impressed how well she could read lips and adapted to her disability.

At a Trenton Street Fair in the summer of 2016, I saw her again when she came over to buy one of my books at the booth where I was doing a signing. Jane was so excited to see me, and she had tears in her eyes. During the two days of the fair, she came back and brought friends to meet me, telling them about me and how important I was to her as a physician.

Jane started emailing me and wanted to make sure that I’d let her know when I did another talk because she wanted to attend. Her emails were always so exciting to read!

In October 2016, she attended a talk I gave on Hope at a local book-signing. She brought along a friend who also was deaf; there was also an interpreter in attendance. I frequently looked at Jane when I was talking, and she was smiling and had tears in her eyes. I’ll never forget how she touched my heart each time I saw her, and the look on her face at that event.

I will always be grateful that God put these two wonderful people — and so many other family members, friends, and supporters — to “shine” their light upon my life.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Who are the people who shine in your life? How do you try to shine in theirs? Feel free to share in the Comments below!