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I’d like to introduce you to a little fella named Chester who faithfully delivers joy, love, and peace to our home every Christmas.

We first met Chester about 12 years ago when visiting our daughter and son-in-law who lived in Memphis. It was close to Christmas, and my daughter and I decided to take the afternoon and go shopping.

We dropped into a local gift shop where Chester was happily hanging out. The moment I laid eyes on him it was love at first sight! I picked him up immediately. And before anyone else had a chance to claim my new-found treasure, I gladly paid the price they were asking. From that moment on Chester has played a prominent role in the Ruth family’s Christmas. As soon as the tree is trimmed every year, Chester assumes his dedicated post on the right side of the tree for the duration of the season.

The reason Chester is an essential part of our Christmas is because he embodies so many of the qualities found in a person who lives well. Chester personifies love, joy, peace, contentment, and authenticity.

I admit, you have every right to wonder how a 3-foot-tall stuffed snowman could be such an example for living well, because every year I marvel at that same thing myself. So, this year I decided to really think about that. And here’s what I came up with.

Let’s talk about authenticity first. In the end you’ll see that most everything else takes care of itself once that’s in place.

It’s quite clear when you look at Chester that he is who he is. He doesn’t try to be something he’s not. He’s a snowman. (Were Chester human, he’d be fully aware that he’s a snowman.) And he’s good with being a snowman.

The reason I know all this is because it’s evident in his face. His authenticity radiates in his kind eyes and genuine smile. Another reason is because he sells snowballs. If that statement doesn’t make sense, just hold on.

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One of the tricks life plays on us is trying to make us believe we are not good enough as is. And that if I want to be liked… and even loved… by others, I have to work at becoming somebody other than who I really am. Somebody worth loving.

But wasting so much of life trying to be that somebody causes you to completely forget who you are. It causes you to lose authenticity.

Thanks to the licks we take in the process of growing up, by the time we’re old enough to get married and have children most of us have completely lost touch with who we really are. And we don’t even realize it until one morning we wake up and look in the mirror and admit we don’t know the person staring back at us.

Sadly, most people spend their life trying to earn the love and favor of others and miss the point of being alive entirely. The truth is that the one you really want – and need – to feel love from is you.

Life is a journey of becoming who you were born to be… a process of returning to who you really are… learning to love and accept yourself as the unique and wonderful and amazing individual you were born to be!


Remember I said the reason I know Chester has mastered authenticity is because he sells snowballs?

You can’t get more authentic than allowing your work to flow naturally from who you are! When you think about it, doesn’t it make sense that a snowman would sell snowballs?

In addition, Chester is not ashamed of who he is or what he does. I know that because not only does he sell snowballs… he wants everyone to know that he sells snowballs. He is proud of what he does because he is comfortable being who he is.

And the secret to being comfortable with who you are is loving who you are.

Don’t look for the love you crave from someone else. Be your own champion. Love yourself first.

Because if you love yourself for who you are (which means accepting yourself as you are), you will be comfortable being you. You’ll have a sense of real peace and joy and contentment inside, which is attractive. People love being around people who feel comfortable, contented, peaceful and happy.

Besides, you can’t give love and peace and joy to others until you first own these gifts yourself. You can’t give something you don’t have.

That’s why the Master Teacher tells us to “love others as you love yourself.”

You are who you are. No matter how hard you try to be someone else, it never works. You just end up being nobody. Be who you are, love who you are, and be proud to live your life out of who you are. That is the best gift you can give yourself – and everyone else in your world – this Christmas!

Here in the hills of East Tennessee we love our Dolly Parton. Chester embodies a statement Dolly is famous for: “Figure out who you are, and then do it on purpose!”

We wish for you a really merry Christmas this year!

If you’re struggling to accept and love yourself for who you are, let us help you on your own journey to authenticity. You can email us at: [email protected].

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