Children are a Special Gift

I love children; always have. Even as a child, I enjoyed when a baby cousin accompanied an aunt or uncle visiting our home. I always thought babies had their own uniqueness; soft skin, sparkling eyes, and a sweet, fresh smell all their own. Unless they needed a diaper change!

My love for children continued as I grew up. I loved my two sisters and brother. Still, do; in fact, I cannot imagine my life without them. I love everything about them. No matter how old they get!

I was very blessed to be the mother of four wonderful children. Who will never know or understand the happiness they brought me; along with the many gray hairs, and breathless moments as fear set in; when they were late coming home or drove their cars way too fast.

The love I felt the first time I laid my eyes on them has built throughout the years, and I marvel at the men and women they have become today.

 My love for my grandchildren is like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I cherish every moment I spend with them. Each one of them is unique and wonderful all wrapped up in one. What a blessing they are to me.

My two sweet, cuddly great-grandsons fill me up with so much love,  I often bubble over like  water from the fountain of youth. And, no I am not really old; just a young great grandmother.

About the story………..

 This is definitely  a story about children and a dream that took forty -two years to come true. A story about compassion, love, and hope. A story about change, frustration, being overwhelmed, and sometimes feeling  just plain bone tired. Above all, a story I would not have changed for all the tea in China.

The dream that would not let me be………

As a little girl, I loved playing school. Played it every chance I got. Mom always knew where to find me; in a spare room over the kitchen that held boxes, and odds and ends.  I remember having a little brown desk where as the teacher, I sat looking over my class of  imaginary students.

The dream that festered in my heart stayed with me, all through my school years until my graduation. But as life happens my dream took a side road. I fell in love, got married and as the old story goes my dream went to the back burner, simmering but never boiling until……..

The angel who lit the flame…….

One day as I was working in our produce business, a regular customer ready to check out, struck up a conversation. It went like this, ” I noticed you like talking with the children who shop here. Have you ever thought of working with children?” I looked at her stunned and speechless. She continued,” You have a nice way with children. I think you would be a great teacher.” I could not believe my ears. I remember smiling, and answered, ” Yes, I love children, and I always wanted to be a teacher.”  She replied, ” Well it’s never too late!”

 This sweet lady picked up her bag of apples, smiled and walked out the door.  As I watched her get into her car, the wheels started turning, and my dream started a slow boil.  That night at dinner, I explained to my husband  about the customer who lit the flame. And to my surprise, this dear sweet man encouraged me to give some thought about going to college and making it happen.

Needless to say, sleep was out of the question for me that night. Thoughts and more thoughts invaded my brain. I thought about my children, who really weren’t little anymore. Two were on their own and two were in high school. I thought about our produce business and who would work in my place.

I thought about the nay- sayers and bullies that filled my head growing up. In fact after all those years, I could still hear one voice of the ” I am better than you”  saying, “You will never be anything but a farm girl, who doesn’t have the brains to go to college or to do anything.”  It was elementary, junior high and high school all over again……

My Helper…..

The next morning, the sun was shining and the birds were singing in harmony. As I drank my coffee, I decided I needed help with my decision on whether I should follow  the dream that swirled around my brain or not. My heart was willing, but my thoughts were full of you will never succeed.  At that moment, I bowed my head and gave it all to God.

And help He did………

My day at the market started out like any other day. At nine o’clock the first customer came in and to my surprise, it was the gal from the day before. She formally introduced herself and started the conversation about working with children again. We talked about school, being a teacher and the workload.

Then, right there and then she offered me a job working part-time with the Intermediate Unit 20. She encouraged me to consider going to the community college and talking with an advisor. This sweet woman named, Carol, looked me in the eye and told me to go for it.

A long story short……….

Well, I took Carol’s advice, and with my husband’s approval, interviewed and got a job with the IU20. I also went to our community college talked to an advisor, took a reading and math test, did well and enrolled.

To the nay-sayers…..

This part is for all the nay-sayers who planted seeds of self-doubt in my head; I not only went to community college, and  East Stroudsburg Universty, I graduated with honors. Yes, the work was hard, but my drive was strong. I knew I was on the right path. My dream was within reach. Not bad for a little farm girl!

The best part………..

I graduated with a degree in Special Education. Although I loved all children, those with special needs have always filled my heart. The challenges they faced, their individual needs, the sometimes slow progress they experienced, filled me with a drive to give one hundred percent of whatever they needed, to help them succeed. Some of my students came from dysfunctional homes and needed to know that someone was always there for them and that they were loved.

My students needed encouragement and to learn to believe in themselves. I can honestly say, I enjoyed each and every day, even when behavior issues took up most of my day. It was a privilege to work with these wonderful youngsters who now are either in high school, college or working. All of my students learned in a different way than regular education students, but none the least, they learned. Some of my students have gone on to college and with adaptations did well.  I am so proud of each and every one of them.

Messages from my heart…..

Two and one-half years after I started my teaching career, and two weeks before Christmas, my husband passed away from a massive heart attack. Through his love and encouragement, I was able to fulfill my dream. I retired five years ago from a job that brought me great joy. Along with my aide years and time as a teacher, I was able to contribute 23 years of helping those students who needed someone who genuinely loved them, and was always their cheerleader.

Dream two……..

After retiring, my dream of writing swirled to the top of my heart. It is my goal to make a difference with my written words. Through my stories, I hope to make my readers laugh, cry, and want more. Above all, I hope to open your hearts, dear readers to the dreams that are hiding deep within your heart. Don’t be afraid.

One more thought……..

Fifteen years ago, I married a wonderful man who encourages me to write. How blessed I am to have had a loving husband to help me realize my dream of teaching and a second husband, who lights up when he reads each and every story.

Dream Three…….

My next dream is to become a speaker. I love speaking to anyone who will listen to me; individuals, small groups, large groups.  I plan on speaking about issues that are important to me. I am working on; A Grandmother’s View on Mental Illness and Suicide Awareness.

Remember, dreams can come true, I am living proof!







On the Wings of a Cardinal

 I love birds. All types of birds; red-breasted robins, hummingbirds, purple finches, bluejays, doves, and even pigeons.  However, my favorite bird is the cardinal. I love the brilliant red of the male and the gold, reddish color of the female. I love their heavenly sound as they sing their beautiful songs.

Just a few facts………

Cardinals have a life span of up to fifteen years.

They are monogamous, with the male often feeding his mate, beak to beak.

Both male and female cardinals sing a precious song that is easy to recognize.

The male’s beautiful, brilliant, red color which is very similar to the red vestments worn by the cardinals, of the Catholic church, earned this spectacular bird its name.

 Some believe that our loved ones who live in Heaven send a cardinal to let us know they are thinking of us………

This is where my story starts, a little different than most of my work, a good story, a story from my heart; one that hopefully will fill your heart, with faith, hope, and love.

On the Wings of a Cardinal……

Once upon a time, God created many different types of birds. Large birds, medium birds and tiny birds with long beaks. God in His wisdom painted each group of birds with pretty colors so they would be unique and easy to identify.

He gave each bird their own special song, taught them to sing in harmony, how to make a nest, and how to look for food. Then, God taught them how to spread their wings and fly throughout the sky. After He blessed each bird, they made their way to their destinations to start their new lives.

God was happy with His birds but something was missing. He kept thinking about all the souls that made their  journey to Heaven. He saw their smiles, as they entered their new home and He was happy but knew those left behind had broken hearts.

 God decided to create a new bird that would bring comfort to all those filled with a deep sadness that consumed their very soul.

He thought about all the birds He created and one came to mind; His messenger, a symbol of peace and love- His white dove.  God invited the dove to sit on His shoulder as He started, His new creation.

 First, God made a small plain bird about the size of a robin. Then He picked up His palette and studied each hue.

 He thought about the green like His trees, the blue like His sky, and the yellow like His sun, then His eyes fell upon the brilliant, bright red, and He knew that was the color he wanted.  His special bird would be red, like the love that filled His heart for all of His children.  He gave the redbird a crest on the top of his head and a black mask, then smiled.  He told the dove to fly and spread the news that the redbird was finished.

God stood and admired His handiwork, then held the bird in the palm of His hand. He raised His creation to His mouth and whispered a special message ever so softly.

Then, God held his hand up and the beautiful red bird flapped his wings and flew off to fore fill his assignment.

As the bird flew, he looked for a special tree, an evergreen tree where he would wait for a whisper from above.  A whisper that would lead him to someone whose heart was breaking. Someone who needed a special message……

Some believe that our loved ones who live in Heaven send a cardinal to let us know they are thinking of us……

I believe…….

Two and one-half years ago, Mom passed away. Before her passing, she told me to look for a cardinal. She smiled her precious smile and stopped talking two days later. The day she passed was the saddest day of my life. My brother,  two sisters and I hugged each other as tears poured down our cheeks. We were devastated.

I remember waiting for Hospice to come and remove her bed and equipment. thanking God for His precious gift to our family.

Needless to say, sleep did not find me on that cold winter night.

In the morning, I went to pull back my lace curtains in the room where Mom passed and sitting on the porch railing, was the fattest, reddest cardinal I had ever seen. He sat there for the longest time looking toward the window. I believed he was looking at me.

  A smile; I found myself smiling, because, at that moment, I knew that Mom had found her way home.  Something strange but wonderful happened on that day. I felt peace.

 The cardinals seem to come for a visit when I am overwhelmed, missing Mom, or under the weather.  They have even come on special occasions.  Two swooped right in front of me on my last birthday. Maybe Mom and Dad both came to say hello.

Some might not believe…….

I know that some folks probably do not share my feelings on cardinals or my beliefs and that is okay. Everyone has the right to believe in what they choose. However, after a loss that literay breaks your heart, seeing a cardinal just might put a smile on your face. Even if you do not believe, the beauty of the special bird speaks for itself.

My final thoughts……..

It is my hope that all who read this, will reach out to those who have lost a loved one, those who are going through a difficult time, those who are lost, and those who need a friend.  Reach out to them with love. As the cardinal soars from his evergreen to bring us a message, reach out and bring your own message of love to all.












Sing a little song…….

     In the wee hours of the morning, while we are snuggled in our beds, the robin  prepares for his solo, a beautiful song that beckons all his or her bird friends to wake up and sing a morning song. Sometimes it sounds like each bird is singing to the heavens.  Although many wish our winged friends would sing a little later, I for one love the different sound





My Special Angel, Lee Brodt

 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 ahead would be hard, she was not afraid.

 Mom worked hard every day, 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.

And so it began……….

After Mom left for work, my aunt fed me breakfast and asked me to go out to the small, little, three-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 was allowed to 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. Before dinner, I told her everything about my day. Mom questioned my aunt but the answer was, that I had an active imagination. Mom hugged me and told me that Tuesday would be better.  That I just had to get used to being in a different home.

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.

Mom to the rescue…..

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!

Moving on………

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 I saw a tub of fish swimming around the tub!  I loved it!

As the story goes……..

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 that 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 is what I thought.

Man was good to me too. He would often try to talk to me, but I would become very shy, 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 still continued to call him, Man.

The wedding……..

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, June 26, 1954.  I was six years old.

The move………..

We moved to North Hills near Philadelphia. Although our apartment was small it was very cozy. I even had my own room.  Mom told me it would be 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. Trick or Treat was over but I still heard voices outside.

Suddenly, something hit our front window. It sounded as if the window 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, Daddy, for protecting me.

My special angel over and over again………

That Halloween night, Dad became my angel for the first time. I felt safe in his arms.  Thinking back he actually 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, then Emma and last but not least my brother Lee.  I loved them dearly when they were each born and I love them even more now.  Dad never treated me any different from his biological children. We all 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.

My heartfelt thoughts…..

I want to thank you, Dad, on this Father’s Day 2016, for loving Mom which led to loving me. Thank you for giving me three gifts that I cherish each and every day; Donna, Emma, and Lee. Thank you for not treating me 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 to attend. 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 will always be my special angel named, Dad.

One more thought………

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 very much.  Until we meet again Dad, know that I love you and always will.


A Small Still Voice

This evening, as I took my walk around our local track, something or someone spoke to me. No, it was not my husband’s voice or that of the folks walking laps. It was a small still voice that felt like it came from my heart. It is almost as if, my heart had an idea that meandered up to my brain, then back again. This idea stayed with me until I figured out why and what to do with it.

What’s happening?……………….

Each day when I read the newspaper, or watch the news on the television, my heart breaks. I do not understand why there is so much hatred. I long for the days when we did not lock our doors; when we reached out to others and cared about all people. It is as if there is a short circuit that we desperately need to fix.

My questions are many; how did we get to the point where there is little to no regard for human life?  Why is there so little patience today?  Why is there so much disrespect?  Why is there so much abuse? How sad that the questions are endless.

I understand that not everyone fits into the questions I have asked but it sure does feel like the numbers are growing.

Change has to start somewhere……

I believe that we will not see change until we take a good look at ourselves.  Each one of us is responsible for our own actions. We cannot continue to blame others for our mistakes.

In the beginning……….

When we were created, each one of us was given a heart.  A heart that beats and keeps us alive, a heart that knows fear, sadness, and love.  A heart that knows no boundaries.  God created us to love one another.

When we were created, each one of us was given two eyes. Eyes that see the beauty in everything God created. Eyes to see our loved ones and all those that might not be just like us.  God created eyes to see the best in everyone.

When we were created, each one of us was given two ears. Ears that hear the beautiful sounds of birds chirping, our loved one’s voices, a baby’s cry, beautiful music, choir’s, ocean waves crashing onto the shore, the wind meandering through the trees, and the voice of strangers. God created ears, to listen, really to listen with an open heart and a clear mind.

When we were created, each one of us was given two arms. Arms to hug our family and greet our friends. Arms, that cradle a baby. Arms that gently hold a mother or father who is nearing the end of their life. God created arms as an extension of His love.

When we were created, each one of us was given two legs and two feet. Legs and feet to walk side by side with our loved ones in the good times and the bad times.  God created legs and feet as a form of transportation. Leading us to help all those who need our help, understanding, and unconditional love.

 When we were created, each one of us was given one brain. A brain to think with, to create with, to understand with, to rethink with, and to make good choices with. God created our brains to help us think about the future and the many choices we would need to make as we travel on our daily paths.  Each one of us can choose to love, respect, forgive, and accept.

 My heartfelt thoughts….

So dear readers, it is definitely time for a change; a major change. It is time for folks to be more understanding, forgiving and accepting to all people. It is not our job to judge. There is certainly good and bad in all people and those who commit crimes need to be held accountable. However, we need to accept those dear folks that might not think the way we do or choose to live their lives differently than us.  To make choices belong to each one of us. It is a gift we were given over two thousand years ago by a pretty special person; God.

 A Small Still Voice……..

The small still voice I heard on my walk, stayed with me, returning each morning when I opened my eyes and appeared  in my mind throughout the day.

I know it is hard to explain, but one thing is for sure, the small still voice is real.   Some may call it our conscience, knocking at our hearts. I believe that would be an appropriate definition.

When our conscience knocks, it is time to reflect and make changes.  I have always cared about family, friends and those in need but I believe I need to be doing more.  I need to be more accepting, forgiving  and loving towards everyone I meet.

Question: What is your small still voice trying to tell you?



















Happy Birthday To Our Angel


Mom loved life, in fact, she loved it so much, I never knew what was coming out of her beautiful mouth. This story is about a wonderful woman, who now lives in heaven and is celebrating her 89th birthday on this June 8th.

This is not a sad story. On the contrary, It is a story filled with fun memories of a woman who loved her four children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, family, friends, bingo, lottery tickets, music, going to the casino, singing, telling jokes and making everyone laugh.

A walk down memory lane, 1947……….

Mom was one of fifteen children born to Mary and Amzi Transue.  Her father passed while in his fifties. My grandmother, Mary was ten years younger than her husband, so after a few years, she started seeing a gentleman by the name of Charlie. Mom did not particularly care for this man and decided she had to try to do everything in her power to persuade him to meander on his way. Now, she had help in the shenanigans that followed. In fact, her brother, Lloyd and his future bride, Helen plotted with Mom on how to get him out of the picture.

The three musketeers…….

One summer afternoon, Charlie arrived to pick up my grandmother for a date.  He parked his car in front of the house and went inside to see if his date was ready.

 From the side of the house came Mom, Uncle Lloyd, and his future bride, Helen. Uncle Lloyd and Mom looked around to make sure that Charlie was out of sight.

Then, Uncle Lloyd released the break of Charlie’s car while Aunt Helen jumped in and took over the steering wheel.  The other two musketeers pushed Charlie’s car down the street and parked it behind the ice plant.

All three of the musketeers then walked back to the house and acted real sweet to the man they wanted to get rid of.

After a bit, Charlie got up and went outside to wait for my grandmother. He came running into the house, out of breath and excitedly said in a dutchy accent,” Mary, Mary, someone took the car!”

 Mom with her sparkly blue eyes answered in a serious voice and said, “Charley, maybe some kids were fooling around and moved your car.”

 Charley thought about it then went out to look for his car as Mom, Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Helen stood by the window, covered their mouths to muffle the laughter, and waited to see how long it would take for Charlie to find his car.  They had succeeded, their mom was not going out that night with a fellow they didn’t care for.

A long story short………

The escapades did not end there. One day, Mom pushed a potato up Charley’s exhaust pipe!  When that flew out it made such a noise that Charley thought someone was shooting at him.

Now there was a reason, that Mom, Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Helen did not care for Charley. It seems that he was two-timing on my grandmother. Which led to the last, let’s get Charley out of the picture prank.

 It was a Friday night and Mom saw Charlie pull up to the house. My grandmother did not want to go out with him, so Mom hid her in the hall closet.

Charlie came to the door and Mom told him that her mom was not at home. He did not believe her and stepped inside to see for himself. Since he didn’t see her, he left.

Mom walked out with him, then saw one of her friends. She sat outside for quite a time before she remembered her mom was in the closet.  Although my grandmother was upset, she agreed it was worth it to get rid of a man who really didn’t care about her.

Over the years…….

Mom’s humor continued over the years.  When Dad was living, Mom would have her funny ways of making everyone around her laugh; and it did not matter where she was or what she was doing.  She was great and everyone loved her.

A little sadness…….

Mom had her share of illnesses over the years;  a brain tumor, surgeries, and three strokes but still her humor stayed strong. She worked hard to get her life back each time a mountain surged up.

This beautiful woman, who lost so many of her family to mostly cancer, cried, grieved, then used her humor to climb yet another mountain.

In the fall of 2013, our mother, was diagnosed with a fast-growing mass in her stomach. We, her children, were told that she only had a few months if that to live.  As you, dear reader can imagine, we were devastated.

Since I was retired, Mom came to live with me. In the beginning, it was as if she wasn’t sick at all but as the weeks wore on, the changes were evident that her time with us was quickly coming to an end. Our hearts broke for the woman we loved so dearly.

 Nightly talks………..

Although Mom was so sick, her humor was still there.  Every evening, after everyone left for home, Mom and I would talk.  They were great talks. Talks that kept me going and still do.  She reminded me of things that I had forgotten. We talked about our farm, Christmas, and memories we had all made over the years.  They were precious talks, loving talks sprinkled with laughs and joy.

Mom and the Pastor……..

One day, our Pastor visited Mom and once again, her humor came shining through.

In my parlor, I have two loveseats and a nice chair.  Our pastor sat on one of the loveseats and Mom sat on the other.  I sat on the chair where I could see them both.

The following is a conversation Mom had with the Pastor.

Mom:  “You’re really tall! How tall are you?”

The Pastor:  ” I’m six foot five.”

Sitting watching and listening, I held my breath.  Mom’s  blue eyes were twinkling and I could tell she was thinking.

Mom:  ” How tall is your wife?”

The Pastor:  ” She is five foot two.”

Mom:  ” Really!”

I knew it was coming! She was quiet, real quiet. I was holding my breath! It’s coming, I just knew it.  And then Mom said, ” How’s that working for you in the bedroom?”

Without missing a beat, our pastor said,  “Well, Roberta, I haven’t had any complaints yet!”

They both laughed and laughed! So did I.

My heartfelt thoughts…..

Mom died on December 13, 2013, at 4:30 in the morning. She had a beautiful smile and a glow on her face. I knew in my heart that   she had made it to her new home in heaven.

So, Happy Birthday dear Mom! You taught us well. You loved us, took care of us, taught us right from wrong. The lessons that Donna, Emma, Lee, and I learned are priceless. We thank you for filling our hearts with love for each other. A love that will always be there through thick and thin.

As I sing Happy Birthday to you, I can almost hear your laughter.  Always remember Mom that you are my heart.

Until we meet again……

My last thought…….

How can you honor your mother and father today?










It Starts With Me; It Starts With You


One question I am asked frequently is where my ideas come from for my blogs. I can honestly answer that my ideas come from a variety of experiences. First, most of my stories are memories and lessons from my life, starting from my childhood to the present.

 Secondly, nature and animals play a big part in my stories. Next, people I meet, friends I make, music  I hear, and family are all essential components in developing a storyline.

Last but never least, my faith, trust, hope, and love for God always intertwine in everything I write.

This blog or story, as I like to call it, has a special meaning to me.  My thoughts for this story have grown in my heart since the day, the idea blossomed.

Each day as I read the paper, listen to the news, and feel the pain of those families who have lost loved ones to drugs, suicide, murder, or any other horrible incident, only makes my heart burst with the need to at least try to make a difference; no matter how small.

And so it begins……. It Starts With Me; It Starts With You

A ride in the car……….

On Sunday, May 30th, my husband and I were traveling to Harrisburg to visit my daughter and her family. My grandson, Christian, was on a weekend break from the United States Naval Academy, and we were excited to visit.

 I usually try to catch up on my reading as my husband drives, since I am very familiar with the scenery. As I turned the page of my mystery book, a familiar song came on the radio. It was one of my favorites from Michael Jackson. I couldn’t help but sing along with the music as I attempted to find my place on the page I was reading.

As we continued our drive, I put my book on my lap, took a scrap piece of paper from my purse, and wrote one word; reflections. This was the beginning of many thoughts and feelings…..

With a few miles to go before merging onto another highway, my eyes soaked in the beauty of a long stretch of farms, ponds, and animals. Once again, I took out the scrap piece of paper and wrote; lake.

I was in deep thought when we approached the exit that would lead to my daughter’s home. I found myself thinking about the spoon that I had taken from her home and how shiny it was. I thought about her pool and the shimmering water, and I thought about the three-door mirror in her bathroom where anyone looking would see three of themselves. Again out came the paper and pen as I added three more words to my list; spoon, pool, and mirror.

The Visit……..

Our visit was great! And as usual, went way to fast. Although I enjoyed each and every moment, my mind kept creeping back to the song I heard on the radio and the list of five words I had written.

Three days later, it all comes together…

As I looked at the list of five words, I realized any shiny surface could play an essential part in helping us to learn more about ourselves.

What do you see when you look in a mirror, a pool of water, or even a shiny spoon?

Do you see someone who has a kind heart willing to reach out and make a difference?  How about someone who accepts those who are different?  Are you angry or impatient?

Do you see someone who finds the best in everyone and everything or someone who looks for the worst? Do you see someone who can forgive or someone who holds a grudge? Do you see someone who is hurting others with their habits or someone who is working hard to turn their life around?  The questions you and I could ask ourselves each time we see our reflections are endless.

My heartfelt thoughts………

Dear Readers,

When I started my story, I did not know where it was going to take me. I only knew I had to write it. Each day that passes, I long for the simple life I once knew. A life where most people genuinely cared about their neighbor. A time when a locked door was unheard of. A time when life was happy, not fearful.

 Now that the story is coming to an end, I would like to ask one more question; What can you and I do to make a difference in the lives of others?   For when we make a difference, we might just change reflections.

So now I ask that you look for a shiny surface, whether it be a pond, pool, spoon, or mirror. Take a deep breath and a good hard look at the person looking back at you. Will you smile with love in your heart, or will you see areas that need to change?

With love and forgiveness in our hearts, acceptance for all people, and helping those in need, just might be a start on the path of change.

Remember; It Starts With Me; It Starts With You















Walking with My Shadow

Three weeks ago, my husband and I decided to take a walk after dinner. Since I am recuperating from a bad fall, we decided to take a short walk around a nearby track. The sun was beautiful that evening. It felt warm on my face, as I walked into the sun and warm on my back, as the sun followed me.

My sister was right……..

When I started my walk, my shadow was in front of me. As I took each step, there was something familiar about the black shape. Every step filled my curiosity with questions. Why am I walking like an older person?  Is this how I look to other people?  And, why do I feel as if I know my shadow?

Soon, I rounded the far end of the track, and my shadow was behind me. My mind was racing, trying to figure out who my shadow resembled.  Then in a flash, I remembered my sister, Donna telling me that I walked like Mom. When Donna said that to me, I kind of brushed it off, and hadn’t thought about it after that.   Although I am always being told that I look a lot like Mom,  I never imagine that I walked liked her too.

I continued walking a bit faster until my shadow was once again in front of me. I slowed down and watched each step my shadow took. I gasped as I realized that my sister was right! I really do walk like Mom.

Step by step…..

I could not help but smile, as I thought about my precious Mother with each step I took.

What my shadow taught me……

It is extraordinary how things happen in our daily lives, that remind us of a loved one. A precious loved one who made their journey to Heaven but is always present in our minds and hearts.

My shadow did just that on a warm spring evening, with birds singing, and children playing nearby.

When my shadow was in front of me, I felt Mom leading the way. As I followed her, it was as if I was on a path, a path of memories, a path of learning, and a path of love. The memories came fast that night. I thought about the time, Mom would take us on walks to pick raspberries, always leading the way.  We would pick the berries and put them gently into a bucket, Mom held letting us each eat a few, as we walked to find some more.

Just then, my shadow was gone, but not that far away.  It was behind me. While the sun- warmed my face, my shadow was following me and once again, the memories came flooding back.  This time,  I felt like my shadow was encouraging me, to keep going,  just like Mom always did. She would say, ” You can do it! Don’t give up!”  I felt her smile as her blue eyes twinkled. I felt her love that night not just for me but for all her children. She was proud of us. I believe she smiles down from Heaven when beautiful things happen to each of us and cries when she sees her children, sick or hurting.

As I took my last lap and the sun lowered in the sky, I felt light-hearted. Memories have an excellent way of connecting our hearts to the souls of our loved ones.  I cannot help to think that Mom felt the connection too.

My heartfelt thoughts…….

First, it is a beautiful privilege to look like Mom and walk like her too!  Going to the track that night, filled my heart with gratitude and love for God. Because of Him, I had the Mother that He planned for me. Through His love, he not only blessed Mom and Dad with three more children but gave me two loving sisters and a brother that I cherish.

So dear readers; do you look like your mother? How about her walk?  Or maybe you look like your father or walk like him.  Check out your shadow the next time you take a walk. You never know what memories will fill your heart with everlasting love for those mom’s and dad’s that are still here and those who live in heaven.















L’amour Est La Reponse (Love Is The Answer)

Six months ago, I took a very nasty fall. However, being stubborn,  I thought resting my leg along with icing my knee a few times a day, would solve the problem. Wrong!  In fact, two months after the first fall, I fell again on the same knee. Once again, I tried to heal myself, but this time the pain was too much to bear.

And the doctor shook her head……

After a few x-rays, a decision was made that physical therapy would be the best course of action.  So, with script in hand, I entered the rehabilitation center ready to work hard to get my mobility back.

A ray of sunshine entered the room……

About two weeks ago, I heard a gentleman talking with a beautiful accent.  He was warming up on the stationary bike, out of sight, still  his voice meandered  almost as if it was floating.

Soon, he walked slowly into the main therapy room holding on to his cane. He was an older man with a lovely woman; his wife, by his side. She was tall with brown hair beautifully braided around her head. This lovely woman wore a long brown skirt, and a white blouse with a vest hand sewn with beautiful embroidery on the lapels. Her outfit was completed with white stockings and dark brown ballerina shoes. She smiled at everyone and said hello with the same accent that made my heart skip a beat. It honestly felt like the sun was shining on me, even though it was pouring outside.

What’s that I hear?……….

Although, I was working hard on the balance wedge, I could not help to hear the soothing voice of an angel sitting on a chair next to her husband, counting the seconds in French as he worked on his first exercise. Most of our exercises are ten and ten; ten times, holding for ten seconds. I could see the gentleman  struggling, but responded to his wife’s counting and encouragement.  When he was finished, he looked at his wife, and said I love you in German!  It seems this sweet couple speak six  languages  fluently!

The magic of the afternoon……..

As the afternoon wore on, I listened as the woman continued encouraging, and counting  in French, with her husband counting back to her in Italian, or Spanish. They would both giggle then switch to another language.

It was so sweet to watch the magic between the two of them.  Their love for each other reminded me of a rainbow with its many beautiful colors arched in the sky. Where the pot of gold is two hearts entwined to make one.

Before long, her husband completed his therapy, and headed to the bathroom to change back into his better clothes.  His wife went in to help him dress.  As I put on my last sneaker, I looked up and there they were, standing hand in hand. He in a nifty suit and tie, and she wearing her beautiful smile.  He looked at me, tipped his hat and wished me a good day, then together they walked out the door.

My heart is still soaring……..

Although it has been two weeks, I still think of the beautiful woman with the warm smile and her outgoing husband who filled my heart with the languages of love

My heartfelt wishes…

I never found out the names of the man and woman who touched my heart that day, but they taught me a lesson.  The lesson was love, pure and simple. Dear readers, love can change anything and everything. We all need to keep loving, whether it is our spouses, our children, our family, our friends, our neighbors, those we find difficult to love and those we have yet to meet. When we have love in our hearts, we have hope.  Be a rainbow  for someone; you just might change a life.   Love is the answer!
















The Incredible Ethel

This is a story about a special gal who brings happiness to me everyday. Just the sight of her makes me smile. I have known Ethel, for about twelve years, and consider her one of my dearest friends.

So bear with me dear readers, as I tell you about the incredible Ethel…….

Ethel is very shy.  She doesn’t say much, but yet the two of us have no problem communicating.  I understand when she is happy, and when she is sad. Three years ago, when she lost her brother, her heart broke.  Ethel moped around, and did not have much of an appetite.  She would pace around her home, expecting her brother, to be sitting in his favorite chair, gazing at her, as he often did.  I was always there for her, talking to her, telling her, that everything would be okay. I felt her pain, and told her I would always be her friend. In time, Ethel did feel better, and slowly started enjoying all of her favorite things.

Seven months later, I needed Ethel……

Mom, was diagnosed with a fast growing mass. She was only given a few months, if that, to live.  I wanted to take care of her. It was important to me that Mom would be in a familiar surrounding, with those that loved and cherished her.  So with the help of Hospice, and my sisters and brother, Mom came to live with me. The first day was busy, as all the days to follow would be, but something amazing happened that first night.

Mom, was sitting on my loveseat, when a special visitor appeared.  My dear shy friend, came for a visit.  She walked into the front room and went straight to Mom.  What a smile my sweet, blue eyed Mother had on her face.  Ethel did not visit very long, but the happiness she brought Mom was priceless.

The next evening, my sister and her husband came to visit and once again, Ethel entered the room and greeted Mom first, then the others.  She was really dealing with her shyness!

Each day, brought new challenges for Mom, she went from walking independently, to needing assistance to get up from a chair. Each night, Ethel would visit her and Mom would smile. As the weeks went on, Mom got increasing worse.  At night, after she was in bed, Ethel would sit with me. There was no need for words since I felt her unspoken love and support.

Ethel started coming and spending more time with Mom as the weeks went by. She sat on her air mattress bed one day, and was a little startled when the bed adjusted to her weight! Mom and I both laughed.

That very day, when Mom was sleeping, I heard her crying and went in to kneel by her bed, but somebody had beat me to it; Ethel of course. When I ask Mom why she was crying, she told me that her mother told her, she would be coming for her soon. By that time, I was crying too.

Mom, who was never afraid of anything, asked  me to sit with her at night and to please keep the light on.  Ethel sat with me that night, never leaving my side.

The Monday, before Mom’s passing, my home was bursting with family. Mom had stopped talking and her organs were starting to shut down.  My shy friend, could not handle the number of people, so she sat upstairs where she could be close, but not feel threatened. There was raw emotion that night and tears of sorrow flowed. Then, there was silence ,and I could hear my dear sweet friend crying as she sat at the top of the stairs.

Each day, brought major changes with Mom’s health.  When she  managed to open her eyes, they were not the same.

Mom’s lips looked parched and I gently gave her drops of water from an eyedropper, hoping it would help her, but nothing helped

The days flew like the wind; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…..

When I woke on that  Thursday morning, I thought Mom had mucus in her throat, but soon realized that it was the death rattle. My dear, sweet, Ethel never left her side.

My family came to say their goodbyes. I knew they were struggling. My brother was the last to leave that night. We all knew that it is was almost time for Mom to leave us and join her family in her forever home.

Soon, it was just my husband, Ethel and me…….

Ethel looked at me, then looked at Mom. Then all of a sudden, she looked at the ceiling. I watched her eyes move along the ceiling above my Mother’s bed. Then she did something strange, Ethel got in bed with Mom. She put her head on Mom’s chest and kept one eye on the ceiling.  My wonderful Mother died early the next morning.  She had a loving smile on her face, and her eyes were closed as if she were sleeping.  As family members arrived on that very cold, very early morning, I noticed that Ethel was no where to be found.  She had gone upstairs, to escape the commotion that death brings

I called to Ethel to come down, but she would not. Soon, the funeral director came to take Mom. I heard crying coming from upstairs. A high pitch cry, a sad cry. It was Ethel, she had lost her dear friend.

My heartfelt feelings……..

I believe that family members come to take us home. I also believe in angels. Without a doubt, Ethel saw something that night.  Whether it was my grandmother or one of Mom’s many deceased sisters or brothers, or an angel or two, Ethel saw them. And I know it be true in my heart. The sweet smile, and that little golden glow on Mom’s face said it all.  She had made it home and Ethel saw her soul take that glorious trip to heaven.

My dear, sweet friend…….

I see Ethel everyday, in fact she lives with me. She doesn’t visit with anyone anymore, just Rick and I. She is still my best friend, who is always with me. This is the end of my story about the Incredible Ethel, my sweet, sweet, adorable cat who never came out to visitors but came out to Mom and my family.

If I learned anything during that time, it was to always tell our loved ones just how much they mean to us.  Dear reader, life is precious, it is fragile, live each day loving, and caring for family and friends. Reach out to help those in need and remember a smile can go a long, long way.

















A Piece of My Heart

Dear Readers,

Today’s blog is not about animals, my teapot, or the Amish. It is about a broken heart, tears, love, struggling, and Mom.  It is about a few journal entries written from my heart one month after Mom’s death.  It is my hope that my words will help those  who have lost a loved one, or maybe struggling with a loved one’s illness. It is also my hope that through my words, the sun will begin to shine and you dear readers, will find rays of hope.

January 13, 2014

Mom, one month ago today you passed from this world to a beautiful, loved filled home, named Heaven.  I know you are enjoying your family, and can only imagine the laughter, hugs and kisses going on right now.  The last four weeks have not been easy but  knowing you are with your family and our Lord, makes my heart feel at ease. I keep going back to those last few days  when your health declined rapidly. As I watched you sleep, I thought back to the day you came to stay with me. I was very nervous, and prayed for strength.

I watched you struggle with your feelings. One day, during your nap, I heard you say, “No! No I won’t!”  You were crying when you woke up and I remember kneeling by your bed  and asking you what was wrong. You told me that your mother said she would be coming to take you home when it was your time. Mom had other dreams where her family told her they would be there soon.  She fought those dreams until one evening, after everyone left and she and I were together. Mom had dosed off then opened her eyes and pointed to the ceiling.  I asked her what was wrong. She said, “Don’t you see them?” She then named many of her sisters, brothers, mother, father, and my late husband, Lambert.  Mom changed that day. There was a calmness in her eyes and acceptance in her heart.  I decided to choose a word that expressed my feelings today, I chose; grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to take care of the woman that gave birth to me. Grateful for her love and all the many things she taught me. Grateful for her sparkly blue eyes and sense of humor. Grateful for her love of music and passing that on to her children. Grateful for my brother and sisters, and the love, compassion, and help that they always showed Mom. Grateful for the many years  I had with the woman who encouraged me, loved me, cried with me and sang with me the last Christmas season of her life.

We all prayed for you to be healed. You really believed that with all the prayers, you would be healed. Although, miracles do happen, I believe that God answers prayers in one of three ways; yes, wait, and no, I have something better planned for you. He answered your prayer on December 13, 2013. The day you made your journey to Heaven.

January 14, 2014

I loved making your breakfast and reading parts of the newspaper to you. Your favorite part was the obituary page. Some days you knew one or two who past and some days they were strangers.  In the beginning you could get around with very little help. I think it made you feel good to have a some independence. Donna and I took you to your  apartment building to let you visit with friends and just to sit on your own furniture and eat lunch on your table.  We knew you enjoyed the visit, but could see the sadness when we left. Mom loved to tell silly stories to her nurse, Sara, and we will not even mention the sexy question she asked our pastor.  That was our Mom! We knew something was going to bubble out of her when her blue eyes sparkled and she hesitated to speak. We knew she was thinking, about what, was anyone’s guess. Mom was a hoot and I miss her wit so very much. I was brave Mom. I had to be for Donna, Emma, and Lee. Today’s word is faith. I am trusting my faith to get me through this most difficult time.

January 15, 2015

A very rainy dreary day. I miss you so much today but am more productive. She would have wanted me to get on with my life no matter how hard it was.  I thought about all of the death you saw Mom over the years. I cannot even imagine the tears you shed losing fourteen brothers and sisters, along with your parents. My heart breaks thinking about it. You were a very brave woman. I don’t know if I would have been able to carry on; but you did. You loved watching the old game shows and played along with them. You made me laugh, when the contestants did not know the answer, but you did. My word for today is joy. You filled my life with bubbling over joy. Thank you!

January 16, 2013

When I think back to my journey with Mom, tears often come. I witnessed her walking well to not walking at all. I remember calling my brother, Lee and sisters, Donna and Emma in a panic when Mom started bleeding out  of her mouth and nose. Not just a little blood, but so much that I had to get a little waste basket. They all came to help me. Mom had to go to the Hospice unit for a few days. I will never forget the call late that night from the Hospice doctor telling me that Mom only had a few days to live. We brought her home and stayed with her constantly. Mom died the following Friday. In fact she died on Friday, the 13th. Hospice had prepared me for what I might see at her passing. She might have eyes opened wide, fists clenched and mouth open.

The night before she died, I g0t in bed with her and read her my prayers, and sang Christmas Hymns to this precious woman that I would not be able to save.  When Mom passed she had the sweetest smile on her face and a glow. I knew she had made it home, to Heaven.  My word of the day, is strength. Strength to get up each and every day. Strength to always be there for my sisters and brother, whom I love dearly. Strength to endure the loss for years to come.

The Letter…..

Dear Mom,

I have been wanting to write you since you left but I needed a little time. Today is May 13, 2014. I miss you so much.  Hope you are enjoying your family in Heaven. Please tell them that I miss them dearly. Mom, I really enjoyed taking care of you and our time together will always have a special place in my heart.  I know you protected me the night you died. You knew that my heart would totally break in two if I heard your last breaths. So, somehow you made sure that I went to sleep. A sleep that felt like someone knocked me out. A sleep that only lasted a few minutes, just long enough for you to take your last breath. It  was a labor of love to take care of you. I know that Donna, Emma and Lee feel the same way. How blessed I am knowing that the angels were in my home and took you to meet Jesus.  Thank you for being the most loving, Mother that God could have ever blessed me with. Until we meet again, I promise to dance, sing and remember your sweet smile. Thank you for the beautiful cardinal sitting on the front porch railing the morning after you took your precious journey. Don’t worry about Donna, Emma and Lee. You know me, I will always look after them.

Love Always,

Cynthia Jean

My heartfelt thoughts………

Life is short. Love your family, make a difference and be a ray of sunshine!