This time of year thereís an awful lot of hustle and bustle going on: cooking, baking and getting Christmas presents bought, wrapped and shipped or placed under the tree. And that tree didnít decorate itself, nor did those beautiful Christmas lights outside your house put themselves up and plug themselves in.

Thatís just the outer layer, though, the most visible one. Down deeper, in the center of all that for most of us, thereís the Christmas spirit. Thatís where the values of gratitude for all that we have, and love and caring for our families, friends and neighbors come to the surface. Soup kitchens, volunteer help for the elderly or hospital-bound, clothing and toy drives and all kinds of things Christmas is supposed to be about spring up.

Just such a heart-warming story is in the making in Morgan Mill, where artist Debbie Lincoln has a very special gift, for a very special girl - if only she can find her.

ďI donít consider myself a portrait painter," Lincoln said. "I do Western and horse-themed paintings mostly and sell my work on the Internet. Not much of a market for portraits there.

ďBut about five or six years ago, I really canít be sure of the year, we were having a Good Friday candlelight service at the Morgan Mill United Methodist Church. It was lovely and very moving as the children walked down the aisle holding candles that illuminated their beautiful faces.Ē

Lincoln says she always carries a camera with her and snapped a few shots that night.

"Iím not sure why I settled on this little girl to paint, but I picked her out of the photos and did a painting of her," she said. "Unfortunately, I didnít get her name and no one has been able to tell me who she is. Iíd love to give the painting to her and her family as a Christmas present, but I have no way of finding out her name on my own.

ďWe get people from out of town who come just for one service at Christmas and Easter and I imagine thatís what happened here. It would be so great to get this painting to that family because Iím sure it would mean something to them.Ē

So there you go Erath County Christmas elves. Will you put your detective hats on and see if we can locate this girl and her family? And remember, that photo was taken five or six years ago; sheís probably a teenager now.

If you can help Lincoln in her search, email her at or call 254-965-5324.