Around Every Corner

Each day when we wake up and our feet touch the floor, we are guaranteed a brand-new start. It doesn’t matter whether it is sunny or raining, cloudy or foggy, or snowing; it is a promise from above. A new opportunity to make better choices, to help others, to love our family and friends unconditionally,  to forgive those who have hurt us, and ask for forgiveness from those whom we have hurt.

A new day to show compassion, to instill hope in all we meet, to be the best person we can be, and to keep dreaming, dreams near and dear to our hearts.

When I take my walks, I am reminded, of what my mother said more than once while I was growing up. She told me that you never know what’s around a  corner.  Mom was right; just like each day is a new start, loaded with opportunities and adventures, turning a corner can lead to helping others. You never know who you will meet. It might be a senior citizen or a mother pushing a stroller, or someone walking a dog.

Although you might not know the person or persons, it’s what you do when you round the corner that makes the difference.   Making eye contact, saying, “Hello,” and smiling might be the best medicine for someone who is lonely. Make an effort. It is so worth it.

For me, those corners take on special meaning each time I turn them. When I walk, I love to say little prayers. I pray for the shops I pass, those whom I meet, those driving down the street, and the dogs that greet me. Each corner brings new people, and new opportunities to make a difference.

I am very grateful for a new start each morning, and for the many corners, I turn each afternoon.  I am thankful for the people I pass, and the dogs that greet me with a wagging tail. I am grateful for the many opportunities to make a difference in the hearts of those I meet.

 

A Prayer and a Nudge

Today, as I was resting on the sofa covered up with my mother’s afghan, my mind drifted off to the many short stories I have written, the sweet comments and the future stories I would like to develop.  My goal in writing is to make a difference. My stories develop through my faith in God, His faith and love in me, and the heartfelt desire to spread kindness, hope, peace, and love to all.

My grandmother once told me it doesn’t cost anything to smile and to be kind. I live that advice every day. Thanks, Memmy for your pearls of wisdom. Even though I was only twelve when she passed, her smile, being grateful when times were lean and when times were good, love of family and friends, and her sharing and caring ways have taken root in my heart.

My mother’s love of music, telling stories, and loving her family beyond words took over when Memmy died. Thank you, Mom, for always believing in me and encouraging me to follow my dreams.

I need to be honest; a couple of months ago, I thought of giving up on my writing. I can’t explain it. Maybe I was afraid of failing. Perhaps thoughts of bullies during my time in school, taunting, snickering, voicing unkind words – still lurked, pushing my budding confidence down. I don’t have an answer. After several weeks of this gnawing feeling, peppered with self-pity, something incredible happened.

I woke up to a nudge that kept tugging at my heart. The nudge got a little stronger until I sat at my computer and wrote Treasured Thursday. The next day, the same nudge and I wrote another story.  This is my take on what happened after I prayed, asking for guidance.  God listened, then nudged. Each day the nudges tickled my heart and would not let me be. I knew that God had heard me, and the nudge was His answer to keep writing.

Other than taking a break on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the death of my sister, I have written a short story every day, along with an occasional Skyler Letter, and a stand-alone continuing story.

 I believe that God took the nudge a bit farther. He led me to a local newspaper which prints my stories bi-weekly, and to a local electronic magazine where my stories and articles are posted on Facebook.

I now know that writing is a piece of my life. A big part that I am not willing to give up. Writing is the rainbow that completes me. It doesn’t matter how many books or stories I do or do not sell. Fame and fortune mean very little to me.  What does matter is changing hearts, sharing love, writing encouraging words to brighten a day, hoping to bring a smile, and yes maybe bring a tear that meanders down a face?  If I have made a difference, then my heart is happy.  

Keep praying, you never know when your nudge will come!

Many thanks for following my stories!

 

 

 

 

 

Fickled Frisky Feline Friday

This story is very near and dear to my heart. It is a story about a special little girl named Ethel. If you haven’t guessed from the title,  Ethel is my precious Tortoise Shell cat.

I will need to start at the beginning, to create a picture of a cat, who has and is still touching the hearts of those she allows into her circle.

It all started a little over sixteen years ago, a few months after I put my beloved dog, Sammy down. Needless to say; my heart was broken, and I was looking to help it heal.

The art teacher at the school I was teaching at and I would chat about our love of animals. She was there when I lost Sammy.  When I was ready for a new addition to my family, she was the person I went to. I asked her to let me know if she knew of a family that had kittens. A few weeks later, she told me about two little kittens, one orange tiger, and one Tortoise Shell, who were the last two of a litter.  It seems that the young kittens had been abandoned. I knew right there, and then I had to check them out, especially the orange tiger. You see, I only was interested in adopting one kitty.  Little did I know how those two little kittens would touch my heart and change my mind.

I went, met the family, filled my cardboard cat carrier, and headed for home. I was in love. After seeing the two little ones curled up together, I knew that I could not separate them.  Lucy and Ethel came home with me. Now how to explain two kitties instead of one.  It was an easy sell.  I choose to believe on that day, the angel of kittens whispered in my husband’s ear. He welcomed them both.

I must tell you that from the beginning, the kitties hid from any visitors. They only came out to my husband and me.  Now, I could fill up page after page about the antics of kittens, but I would like to set the scene for two extraordinary events that changed my life with the help of two grown cats.

The first event happened about ten years ago. Both cats always enjoyed exploring in the attic and showering me with silk flowers. I would often find them here and there throughout the house. Well, during a tough time in my life, both Lucy and Ethel started bringing me, angels. One day I found one next to my shoe. Then they started showing up everywhere. Even on my pillow.

 In the beginning, I honestly thought my husband was bringing them to me until the night I caught each one of my sweethearts coming down the attic steps with an angel in their mouths. I still have those angels in a special bag to remind me of two loving cats.

Five and one-half years ago, I had to put my orange beauty down. Lucy was diagnosed with liver cancer. Once again, my heart broke.  Little did I know that my heart would hurt even more in the months to come.

My mother was diagnosed with a fast-growing mass. In September of 2013. After some discussion, and the sad news, that she was terminal, Mom came to live with me. With the help of Hospice and my family, we kept our Mother as comfortable as we could. My sweet little Ethel who always ran and hid from visitors, walked bravely down the steps, into the parlor where Mom’s bed was and proceeded to visit with each family member. During the day when it was just Mom and Me, Ethel would sit by Mom for hours. I couldn’t believe it. Then on the night, that my beautiful, loving mother was getting ready to take her journey to heaven, Ethel was there. She never left her side. The morning after Mom passed, this precious cat, climbed the steps, sat on the top-level and cried and cried, like her heart was broken. I choose to believe that the angels filled Ethel with the courage she needed to help all of us during this challenging time.

I am going to end my story here. There is not much more to say, only that animals are a gift from God. I believe that Ethel not only helped my mom in her time of need but indeed helped each one of us.  Thank you, my sweet Ethel, for loving me to this day. You are my little sweetheart. My angel sent from above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LITTLE ANGEL TOLD ME SO

I love sitting on my front porch. Whether it is reading a good book, listening to music, taking in the beautiful summer flowers, or talking to those walking by.

 Since I live in an old Victorian house, my porch reflects the period.   In the corner of my porch, next to my glider with the flowered cushions, sits a small, round table. On top of the table sits a red Cardinal. Next to the red beauty sits a little girl angel gently holding a small butterfly.

My porch is always open to neighbors, friends, family, and strangers who take their evening strolls.  It is a safe haven for children and an occasional wandering dog named Marty. Those welcomed guests to my porch, know that a listening ear is always ready, followed by a hug, and a voice saying,  ” I am here if you need anything.”

However, when I am alone, my porch is a place where I find peace and hope.  Sometimes, when I am missing my loved ones who live in heaven, the little angel reminds me that love never dies and that our loved ones are closer than we think. As I gaze at her face, I am reminded of the neverending love from the Man who is always ready to forgive us. Her gentle face, reassures me that all is well in spite of the anger, and hate in our world. The butterfly sitting on her knee is not afraid, as she holds it lovingly. It reminds me of the scriptures; do not fear, for I am always with you, and be brave and courageous.

 Although my little angel, white like the clouds floating by on a summer day, is not real, the reminders of God’s love and peace are as pure as the day is long.  A peace that carries me through the difficult times; a peace that renews my energy when I feel weak, and a peace of determination to make a difference.

 

 

My Special Angel, Lee Brodt

The following story was one of my favorites to write. It’s a story, that will take you on a journey, opening a window to my early years, as a child, who was loved deeply by her mother. Then, with the twists and turns that life brings, has her dream come true of having her very own Daddy.

 I was born in 1948 to a beautiful young woman named Roberta Lorraine Transue.  My biological father wanted to marry Mom, but it was not meant to be. During that era, having a baby out of wedlock was far from acceptable.  Although Mom knew the road would be hard, she was not afraid.

Mom worked hard very hard, but it was not enough to pay rent, buy food, pay utilities, and take care of my needs, so we lived with relatives.  Mom was one of fifteen children, so it wasn’t hard to find an aunt or uncle to live with.

 I must be honest and say I don’t have a good recollection of some of the aunts and uncles we lived with until we moved to a little village near Nazareth. I was four.

We moved in on a Saturday, unpacked, and settled in.  I loved sharing a room with Mom.  She had long, wavy auburn hair and the most beautiful sparkling blue eyes.  Soon Monday arrived, and Mom had to go to work.  My uncle also left on a job that took him away from home for periods of time.  Mom hugged and kissed me, then walked to the door, turned and blew a kiss.  Little did she know my life was about to change.

After Mom left for work, my aunt fed me breakfast and asked me to go out to the small, little, two-sided porch, and wait for the others to come out. They never did. I remember looking in the window at them having fun and playing games.  Although I knocked several times, they ignored me.  My lunch was brought out to me. I could use the bathroom but had to return to the little porch. My aunt allowed me to come into the house right before mom came home from work.

 As soon as Mom walked through the door, I ran to her with tears streaming down my face.  She honestly thought I was excited to see her, not tears of sadness. Before dinner, I told her everything about my day.  Mom questioned my aunt, but the answer was that I had an overactive imagination.  Mom hugged me and said, Tuesday would be better.

The next four days were repeats; eat breakfast, porch, in before Mom got home.  Each afternoon when Mom returned home, there were tears and begging. Begging to move.

Each night when I cried, I saw Mom looking at my aunt, saying, “This is not like Cindy to cry like this. Something is wrong here!”

 Friday, the day started as the other four had, except it was a damp, rainy day.  Mom hugged me and told me that she would be home soon.  The routine started: breakfast, porch sitting, and a lot of shivering.  Suddenly, I saw a car pull up in front of the house.  It was Mom.  She came home early and found me sitting on the porch.  I don’t know who cried harder that day; me or Mom.  I was saved!

 Mom made a phone call, then, she and I packed.  Soon my aunt Mae and uncle Charlie arrived to take Mom and me to our new home.  I could not wait!  They lived along the river and had a huge screened-in porch.  As soon as the car stopped, I ran into the house and found the bathroom. As I was doing what I had to do, I heard water splashing.  I pulled back the shower curtain, and much to my surprise, four fish were swimming around the tub! I love it!

Eventually, Mom started dating a man from the Philadelphia area named Lee Brodt.  He was smitten with Mom, and I am sure she was with him.  Mom once told me, I refused to call him Mr. Brodt or even Lee.  My name for this tall man was…. Man.  Mom said I would say very little around him, and if I did say anything, it would be, “Hi Man.”

 As the weeks went by, Mom and Man began spending more time together. I missed Mom.  Man was taking her away from me; at least that’s what I thought.  Man was good to me. He would often try to talk to me, but I would become timid; however, he never gave up.

 Soon, I went to Philadelphia to meet his relatives.  Shyness crept in again and I clung to Mom.  Man kept trying, and slowly, I started to look forward to his visits, rides in the car with him and Mom, getting ice cream, and sitting by the river.  However, I continued to call him, Man.

Soon, Mom talked to me about how much she loved Man, and that they were going to be married.  My cousin, Martha, and her husband stood up for them at the Reverend Floyd Shafer’s home in Tatamy.  Mom wore a pink jacket, and skirt and Man wore a light brown suit.  Mom and Man were married on June 26, 1954.

 We moved to North Hills near Philadelphia.  Although our apartment was small, it was cozy.  I even had my own room.  Mom told me it would okay to call Man, Dad, but I was not sure until our first Halloween.

 It was a dark, cold night, and Mom had taken me out to Trick or Treat.  Man stayed home to give out treats to the children.  After we returned with a full bag of treats, I changed, then settled in to watch television. Although Trick or Treating was over, I still heard voices outside.

Suddenly, something hit our front window.  It sounded as if it was going to break.  I called out to Man, but this time, I said, “Daddy, someone is trying to break the window.  I’m afraid!” Just then, Dad walked over to the couch and held me in his arms. Thank you, Dad, for protecting me.

That Halloween night, Dad became my angel for the first time.  I felt safe in his arms.  Thinking back, he became my angel first, when he met Mom, fell in love, and married her.  Because of his love for Mom and me, we became a family.

The next few years, our family grew with the arrival of my sisters, Donna, Emma and finally my brother Lee.  I loved them dearly when they were each born, and I love them even more today.  Dad never treated me any different from his biological children. We had rules to follow, and above all, he expected the four of us to be respectful.  He never called me his step-daughter. I was always his daughter.

As Dad aged, his health deteriorated, and all four of us helped to take care of him.  We would have done anything for him. When Mom became sick, we were all there to help her too. We took care of our parents until they took their last breath.  We would do it a million times over for the two we loved so much.

I want to thank you, Dad, on this Father’s Day, 2017, for loving Mom, which led to loving me.  Thank you for giving me three gifts that I cherish each day; Donna, Emma, and Lee.  Thank you for not treating me any differently than my siblings.  Thank you for teaching me, encouraging me, and always being ready to listen.  Thank you for celebrating with me and crying with me when Lambert died. Thank you for your laugh, and thank you for buying the box lots of books at the auctions you loved so much. Because of those books, I developed a love of reading.  You will never know how much you meant to me and still do.  You may have started as Man, but you quickly became my special angel.

This story has a special place in my heart. I wrote it because this wonderful man really changed my life.  When Mom was so sick, she reminded me how the story started with her and Dad. We talked about the loneliness she felt and the bad experience I endured for five days in a home where we truly were not wanted. She shared how much she loved Dad.  Mom looked at me and said, “Dad always wanted you to be his little girl.  God blessed me with a loving Dad who I miss so much. Until we meet again, Dad, know that I love you and always will.

Since I wrote this story in 2017, one of my precious gifts made her journey to heaven.  Emma Mary Brodt Lowry passed on January 26, 2019. She was my baby sister. I miss her beyond words. Rest in peace, dear sister.

FROM MY HEART FRIDAY

When my children were little, I  enjoyed every minute with them. I loved watching them grow, witnessing their, oh so different personalities, listening to their dreams and wishes, and experiencing their loving hearts.

 They were kind children who grew into even more compassionate adults. They were taught at a young age to be responsible, and each was expected to work at a  part-time job. They also had chores to do around the house.

 Sometimes on a warm summer day, my mind meanders back to a time, when their laughter wafted up to the open kitchen window, making me laugh; just because they were laughing. There was something so beautiful about the different styles of laughter I heard daily.

As they went through the different stages of testing their parents, little squabbles, cuts, bruises, stitches, measles, fevers, earaches, falling out of trees, and tumbling off a mini bike right before the prom, I suspect my four were not much different from any other children.

I know I will always see them as running, jumping, and playing in the little creek near our yard. I will never forget the day; they tried to pass off a crayfish for a lobster. I was hanging wash when all four of them ran up to me, trying to convince me to eat their catch of the day! Those little rascals.

Don’t get me started on the various sports, scouts, flag twirling, and cheerleading they were involved in. Some days were very hectic. I would have never traded those days for all the tea in China.

However, to me, they were a precious gift. Gifts that I cherished and will continue to hold dear to my heart. They are now in their forties and fifties, but to me, they are still young and mischievous.

Grandchildren are a special blessing. I like to think of each one as a little extra gift from God. Each time a grandchild was born, I could almost see a nod floating down from heaven as His stamp of approval. 

My grandchildren are grown now, but the memories of them as babies, children, teens, and adults, are etched forever in my heart. I loved my children, but it is incredible how each grandchild keeps stretching my heart, filling every inch, with an indescribable love.

I want the very best life has to offer them. They have demonstrated the love they have for their families, along with respect, compassion, and acceptance for others. I am proud of the parenting my children did with their children. This Grandma is very impressed!

Great-grandchildren are an extra nod from God. I am truly blessed to have two great-grandsons. Just when I thought my heart could not stretch anymore, these two handsome, loving boys came along and nested in my soul. I love it when they visit. I love it when I visit them. For the last three summers, I have had the privilege of taking my oldest great-grandson for golf lessons. I cherish the time we spend together. The conversations, questions, hugs, and kisses melt me beyond belief. I am his Gigi, and he is my sweetheart. 

His baby brother is ready to walk. He loves to tug at my glasses, throws the ball to me, dances, and mimics me when I sing, you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. I love it! Sometimes I feel as if my heart will burst right out of my chest.

 Families and love go together. Embrace each day, love one another, pray for those who are struggling and never give up on any one of them. They are all precious.  When I think of my growing family, I imagine the many nods that are yet to come, and I am happy.

 

A CAN OF WORMS

 

When I was about nine years old, Dad asked if I wanted to go fishing.  Of course, I said, “Yes!”  I had been to the river, but I had never gone fishing. Dad got an empty can and off we went to dig up icky, really disgusting looking worms.  I watched as Dad dug and filled the can. All I could say was, “Yuk.”

Mom packed a few snacks and off we went on an adventure that I would never forget. I must tell you as a child, I loved to talk and sing, and ask questions; lots of questions.  Poor Dad did not know what he was getting himself into.

We arrived at the river and got out our little canvas seats, our fishing poles, our snacks, a lantern, and the icky can of worms.  Dad put a worm on his hook, as I held my hands over my eyes and prayed he would not ask me to pick up one of those slithering little things.  I had just started my silent prayer, when Dad said, “Put your worm on your hook.”   

I looked at Dad and begged him to put the worm on the hook for me. I remember coming up with all kind of excuses, ” I can’t touch it, it’s icky.  Dad, my fingers will get slimy.  Dad, what if he bites me?” I could tell that Dad was losing his patience, so I held the worm by my fingertips and closed my eyes. Dad said, ” Just give me the worm!”  

After the worm incident, Dad taught me the step by step of how to cast. It wasn’t too difficult. I only got the hook caught in a little bush, around a rock, on a branch, and on the canvas seat. Not too bad for a beginner.

Finally, both poles were in the water. I was quiet for a while until…… ” Dad, what’s that sound?”  Dad replied,  “You know the sound of crickets.” “It’s sounds like a million of them! Where are they hiding?”  Dad just looked at me and said, “Everywhere.” ” Dad, did you hear that?  What is that?”  Dad once again looked at me and said, ” It’s  probably a little animal running through the bushes.”   I replied, ” What kind of animal do you think it is?  It doesn’t sound little to me!”  Dad looked at me and said in a firm but hushed voice, “Be quiet, you’ll scare the fish away.”

 I looked at Dad, ready to ask another question when suddenly my pole started bobbing. He told me to reel it in and I tried, I really tried. My feet kept moving from right to left then left to right. In my excitement, I accidentally knocked over the can of icky worms!  My line was coming closer and closer. I pulled the line up a little bit more and screamed, ” It’s a snake!”

At that moment, I let go of the pole and backed up closer to Dad. I looked up and wondered what he was thinking. I looked out over the river and wondered how the snake, which turned out to be an eel could possibly swim and pull the rod behind him.

As we packed up Dad didn’t say much,  but I could tell what he was thinking.  On the way home, Dad said, ” Cindy, I don’t think fishing is the right thing for you.”  I looked at Dad and said, ” I think you’re right.”  I told him I was sorry, then Dad smiled, and I knew this was one story that would be told over, and over again.

 

 

 

THE SECRET LEAKING ROOF

 It was a rainy night, a windy night—a night, my cousin, LaRue, and I would never forget. But let me start from the beginning…

 A few days before the torrential rain and gusty winds, LaRue and I discovered a tiny little leak in the ceiling right above our bed. When I say small, I mean a drip every ten minutes or so. As we watched the drip, it was decided that since we were teens, surely, we could figure out how to fix the hole without telling my parents.

As I remember, the conversation went something like this; “Do you think we can fix the hole?” asked LaRue. “Maybe we could plug up the hole,” I replied. “I have some gum in my purse,” said LaRue. “It might work!” I exclaimed.

LaRue got out of bed, walked to her purse, took out a piece of fruity gum, and started chewing.  When it was ready, I stood on the bed and pushed the wet, sticky wad up into the tiny hole.  It seemed to do the trick. We turned off the light and went to sleep.

During the night, LaRue woke me up and told me she had a wet foot.  I turned on the light and noticed the gum we thought solved our problem was on top of our blanket, which was getting wet.  We looked at each other and thought for a few minutes.  Finally, LaRue said, “I  have an idea. We could use the plastic bag from the cleaners to stop the leak.”

 LaRue and I folded the bag and then used tacks to attach it to the ceiling.  I took the wet blanket off and put on a dry one, then we both fell back to sleep.

 LaRue woke up about an hour later and poked my shoulder. “Cindy, look up.” I looked up and saw a bubble – not a small bubble but a rather large one, getting bigger by the second. We decided to watch it a little longer before we woke my folks.  Mistake! Like a flash-forward scene from a movie, the tacks flew in every direction, and the nicely folded plastic bag filled with heavy rainwater fell from the ceiling and landed on our bed.  We were soaked!  Picture this – two wet teens jumping out of bed – screaming with pink curlers escaping from their heads, flying here and there, wet pajamas and feet, pointing to the little hole that had mysteriously grown.

 Within a matter of minutes, we heard the sound of our doorknob turning, and the squeaking of the door opening. There stood Mom and Dad with a questioning look on their faces.  They could not believe their eyes. After a lot of explaining, and punishment of washing the blankets, bedding, and mopping the floor, Mom and Dad walked out of our room, and closed the door. I remember hearing muffled laughter then, “Those girls are like two peas in a pod.” I thought to myself, Yes, Mom, two wet peas in a pod!

SALT OF THE EARTH

This is a story about an extraordinary woman who taught me about love and the true meaning of never giving up. Mary Rustine Transue was my grandmother. Some of my memories have faded, but those that have attached themselves to my heart are still bright and clear.

 First, a little background. Mary was born on January 31, 1886. She married Amzi Transue in the year, 1902. Together they had fifteen children. My mother was number 14. Mary loved her family, and even though times were hard, she always found a way to help others. During the Great Depression, Mary always put an extra potato or two in the pot, just in case a family member or stranger needed a hot meal. She baked bread daily, sometimes twice a day for her family. I can only imagine the wonderful aroma wafting throughout her home. To help her family, Mary baked and sold molasses crumb pies. I heard they were delicious. In 1942, Amzi died and left Mary to pick up the reins of her ever-growing family.

Fast forward to 1948, the year I was born. The year that started a unique journey with a woman I called Memmy.

One of the memories that live in my heart happened when I was around four or five. Memmy was staying with her son in Easton. I used to visit with her for an hour or so, but on one day I got to spend the whole day, which included lunch. As we ate our sandwiches, she looked at me and called me her little pigeon. She told me she could have chosen any kind of bird that flew, however, the pigeons were special. Memmy explained that some pigeons were trained to carry messages to people. Sometimes the pigeons would return with answers, and sometimes they stayed where they were. I, her little pigeon, would take her love with me, and when I returned, I would bring my love back to her. Little did she know that her little pigeon still carries that love for her.

We saw a lot of Memmy in the summer. She would come and help my mother can the most delicious fruits and vegetables. Memmey would wear her house dress and carry her apron ready to pitch in. One summer, they put up over 700 jars. I need to mention that she was always prepared to help her family in their time of need or if a new baby was ready to be born. Although Memmy usually wore a housedress, I remember her in a dark navy-blue dress with small white polka dots, a single strand of ivory pearls adorned her neck. She loved costume jewelry and wore a piece or two when visiting. Memmy went without many things raising her family, and seeing her receive unique gifts always made me happy.

One thing that always amazed me was her ability to smile even when her heart was broken. She experienced a lot of loss over the years, and yet she carried on with grace. She never gave up on anyone or herself. Her step was quick, a trait my mother insists that I inherited from her. Lucky for me!

 I am sure that there are a few more memories just dying to float up and make their appearance, but for now, I’ll just say that Memmy was the salt of the earth. I was twelve when she made her journey to heaven. Oh, how my mother cried and cried. When it was my mother’s turn to take her final journey, I believe that Memmy was there with open arms ready to take her daughter to her new home.

Some lessons I learned from my grandmother were to love unconditionally, forgive those who hurt you, and always make a difference. One of her favorite things to say was, ” It doesn’t cost anything to smile!” To this day, I can still hear that beautiful message.

What is your favorite memory of your grandmother?

 

MARY, MANGER AND THE MOON

It was the night before Christmas as I dashed through the rooms, emptying bags, wrapping presents, dipping pretzels, and cleaning up.  The trees are ready, and the stockings were hung waiting for the big day.

As I made a cup of tea, I caught a glimpse of the moon. A beautiful moon high in the sky. I stopped and thought about Mary and Joseph as they traveled throughout the day.  Mary must have been so uncomfortable riding on the donkey for such a long time. Then tired, hungry, and weary, unable to find a room at the inn, they settled for a stable filled with animals, straw, and a makeshift manger.

As I pictured the stable, I felt as if the inside was warm and glowing, with the anticipation of a unique birth; the birth of a baby who would change the world. Sometimes I like to close my eyes and imagine I am there with them, listening to the animal’s warm sounds, practicing like a chorus for the new little precious baby soon to make His appearance.

Then it is silent, and the animals know that it is time. Soon they hear a cry, a beautiful cry, and the cows, sheep, and all the other animals know that a special baby was born.

 Outside, high in the sky, on a night just like this night, a star bigger and brighter than any other sends its rays of brightness to all corners bringing the three Wisemen bearing gifts.  Back at the stable, Mary and Joseph, along with angels and a little shepherd boy, watch with love at the baby who would make a difference. A baby who would grow up and become a carpenter. A baby who someday would be crucified and take away the sins of the world.

I love the Christmas story. It is beautiful and meaningful to all who read it. It is a story that I think about not just at Christmas but often throughout the year. Jesus is always with us. He loves us, He forgives us, and listens to us when we pray. His words give us hope.  And to think that it all started in a lowly stable in Bethlehem so many years ago.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas.