Our little angel, Skyler, would have celebrated his first earthly birthday on July 1, 2017. Sixteen days later, Skyler wrote and sent a letter in response to his great- grandmother’s letter. I think you will enjoy a child’s view of his first birthday celebration in Heaven. Skyler’s letters are written from the heart. The message that Gigi writes and little Skyler’s response is meant to touch the heart of each person who reads them.
I loved your letter! I miss you, and love you very much. My birthday was a special day. When the sun was high in the sky, Gabriel blew his horn, and we all went to the Story Hill.
Jesus, all the Angels, Noah, all my animal friends, and all the children who had a July 1st birthday were there. Jesus told us a beautiful story about His Father, you know Him, Gigi. His name is God. Jesus told us that God knew us before we were born. Did you know that He knew you before you were born? It’s true Gigi. He loved us when He created us and never stopped. He loves all of you on earth, and He loves all of us in Heaven. Do you remember when I told you that Jesus wanted us to experience everything in Heaven, like the boys and girls experienced on earth? Well, you will not believe what happened next!
The Angels told us to turn around and look down the path. There were red, green, yellow, orange, purple, pink, white, and blue balloons floating in the air. At least it looked that way! As the balloons got closer, I saw people carrying them. Soon, a group of people headed my way. They were each carrying a balloon.
Then, they got into a line, and one at a time came up to me and said, ” Happy Birthday, Skyler!” My great-grandfather, Lambert was the first one to kiss my cheek. He and I tied a pretty green balloon on a branch of my favorite tree. He told me he picked that color because green is your favorite color. Then, Nanny Brodt and Memmy Snyder brought me a red and yellow balloon. Together, we tied it to my tree. Pappy Snyder and Pappy Brodt tied their orange and blue balloons too. Gigi, every member of my family who lives in Heaven was there! It was great! You should see my tree; it is beautiful! It looks like a wavy rainbow.
After all the balloons were hung, the Angels brought out the birthday cakes. My cake was chocolate. It was decorated with little icing puppies and kittens. Jesus told me that he chose the decorations because I love to go to the Rainbow Bridge and help the animals cross over. Then everyone sang, ” Happy Birthday.” I was so happy! Even the dogs howled, and the cats meowed. It sounded heavenly to me. Gigi, I had a beautiful day! As I sat on my great – grandfather’s lap, he told me how much he missed you and loved you. He knows that you are doing well, and he knows that you are happy, and that makes him happy.
Gigi, you know that love is the answer; right? I have told you before, and I will tell you again: Jesus is pure love. Plain and simple. He wants us to love others as He has and will always love us. Tell everyone, Gigi. It is important! I love you! Hope you like the picture I painted for you. My first painting from Heaven!
This is a story about a teapot. It is not a teapot to boil water for a nice cup of hot tea; or a decorative; sit on the shelf teapot. It is a beautiful pink teapot, not a bright pink, or a fuchsia, but more of a dusty rose. My teapot has a timeworn fashion look with little round openings below a flower design, that circles the neck of the pot. This unique teapot is electric, with a small bulb, that warms the little dish, holding a square-shaped piece of wax. As the wax melts, it fills the air with the most delicious scent that tantalizes you into thinking about sugar cookies.
I light the teapot every night. The glow from the openings gives off a light that shines in many directions. It warms my heart to see the little tiny rays circling around the pot, bringing light where there was darkness.
I am not judging……..
Each day, as I read my newspaper, watch the news on the television and listen to the radio, I am reminded, how different people are today. Although there are kind and loving people, there seems to be just as many, who appear to be lost. I am baffled at the hate some folks have in their hearts.
I just do not understand……..
I struggle with the lack of respect and empathy towards anyone different. It breaks my heart when children and adults are bullied to the point, where the individual debates suicide. Elder abuse is increasing. How sad for those older men and women made to endure pain and humiliation. Tears flow from my eyes when I think of the cruelty towards animals, that happens each, and every day. I could go on and on with the sorrow that so many folks feel daily, but I think I will end, allowing you to ponder what tugs at your heart.
When I close my eyes, I envision the teapot symbolizing each one of us. The light from inside, filters outside the little holes, lighting up an area surrounding the teapot. I believe the light represents our heart. The warmth of the lamp resembles love. A love we can share with all we meet daily. This love continues to cultivate our consciousness, which hopefully leads to knowing right from wrong. The light stays with us throughout our lives, enabling us to form friendships, fall in love, marry and have children, work, play, grow old, and pass on with a sense, that we somehow made a difference. I am not saying that life is always easy, in fact, at times it can be downright tough! But if your light is intense, it will help to weather whatever comes your way. Your light is like a beacon, always loving even, when you don’t feel like loving, always ready to help those you may or may not feel like helping but help anyway. The warmth of love instills selflessness. Sometimes, we may struggle with making choices, but love usually leads us to do what is right.
Those who are lost…….
Before I turn on the teapot, the holes are dark. The darkness represents those folks who have lost their way for many reasons: family, drugs, gangs, whatever, the circumstance. Maybe at some point, the light radiated from them, and perhaps it did not. Maybe along the way, the hurt was too much to bear. And the darkness filled the space where the light shone. The darkness becomes their beacon, and love struggles to get through. Where light shines with hope, the darkness grows with discontent, hate, selfishness, and greed. Through the darkness, the lost folks see no light, even though it is always present. Some feel powerful in the darkness, some build walls, allowing very few people in. Most who are lost are lonely, and deep in my heart, a part of me believes they want to be loved. When you see someone who is lost, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
The definition of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a sure thing to happen. I believe that everyone has the light in them, some more than others, some with just a hint, some still searching. I desire that those lost folks will find hope someday. That they will shine, like the illuminating light from my teapot. Those that break the law hurt someone, or take a life need to face the consequences for the choices they have made, however, I will always pray that they will find the light that just might start a change. Those that are lost because of mental illness need our support, love, and encouragement to help find the light.
My heartfelt wishes…….
There will always be people who allow their light to shine, through loving, helping, encouraging, and caring for whomever they meet. I hope that you will continue to shine, making a difference wherever you go. Maybe, if more and more people reach out to help others in need, smile a little more, and welcome those we do not know, the light might just spread a bit farther. We can only try and hope.
I need to start at the beginning, creating a picture of a cat 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.
A little over six 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.
I wrote this story for all those who have a pet that brings them joy. Animals are a gift from above. They are to be taken care of and loved unconditionally. Although Ethel is not as spry as she once was, the love in her eyes fills my heart with hope and love.
Last summer, I took a spoon from my daughter’s kitchen. Yes, I am a spoon thief. The spoon was not a plastic spoon or a measuring spoon, but a lovely stainless-steel spoon with a fully designed handle. I know that you, dear reader, must be thinking, “Big deal, it’s only a spoon!” But I hope that you might change your mind after reading the whole story. First, I must give you a little background, which will help you understand why I did what I did.
My daughter, Laurie and her husband, Lew, are very busy. Laurie has her own business and Lew is a wonderful principal in an elementary school. They have two sons that they adore. My oldest grandson was commissioned from the Naval Academy in May and is now stationed in Pensacola, Florida. He is in flight school. Their youngest son is a Plebe at the Academy where he is also on the Men’s Gymnastics Team. ( just grandma bragging)
Before both boys entered the military, they were involved in sports; not only one sport but several. Although Laurie and her family live about eighty-five miles from my home, it has been challenging planning visits on both sides. They have full plates during the week and travel most weekends to the Academy. I am so proud of them and their dedication to their sons. However, I missed them all dearly; especially my daughter.
It is June of 2015; Christian is graduating from high school. My husband and I drive out to Harrisburg. We are late due to traffic. We gobble pizza; then head out to the graduation ceremony. Before we leave, I walk through the rooms not touching anything, just checking out things; getting ideas. When we returned, I stood in the kitchen and watched my daughter putting things away and bingo, like the light bulb that goes on. I knew what I would take.
It is Graduation Party day! My husband drives, and I plot. Am I sure this is the item I want? How will I take it? What will I do if someone sees me? The questions played over and over, like one of my favorite Ricky Nelson songs. Since I have never taken anything before, a little guilt was starting to set in. I had to be brave. I could do it!
We arrive at my daughter’s house. Since we are a little early, Laurie makes me a cup of delicious tea. Here it comes; the mug with the hot steaming tea, sugar, milk, and the spoon. It was right in front of me! I had to play it cool. I didn’t want anyone to know how badly I wanted the spoon. So, I drank my tea slowly in hopes that my daughter would go outside to welcome her guests. Within ten minutes, Laurie went out. I was alone. I quickly got up, hurried to the sink, rinsed the spoon, wiped it dry, and put it in my purse. Mission accomplished!
I must say, I felt a little guilty that day. I had raised my children not to take things that did not belong to them. But I needed the spoon; really needed it.
The meaning of the spoon…
The spoon has a new home. It has a special place in my silverware drawer where I can quickly get to it. Each morning when I pour my coffee and add the milk and sugar, I smile at the anticipation of getting the spoon and stirring my breakfast drink. Sweet memories fill my head with so many beautiful things that I have shared, over the years with Laurie. When I dip the spoon into my cereal bowl, I can almost hear a little girl giggling with her brothers, and baby sister, and my heart soars. The spoon is my connection with Laurie and her family. They use their spoons every day, probably around the same time I use mine. Although I would love to see my daughter every week, I know that she needs to do what she does best, and that is to be the best wife and mother, she can be. Laurie and I try to talk at least once a week, and each morning, I receive a ” Good Morning Mom” text from her. I love those little messages. Just the sight of it makes me feel that I am sitting at her kitchen table looking in her eyes and listening to her tell me what is new. It is priceless.
I am grateful for my family. I love and thank God every day for their excellent health and accomplishments.
I should not have taken that spoon, but I don’t regret it!
Since I wrote this story, one of Laurie’s forks has a new home; right next to the spoon. Oh no. Now I’m a fork thief too! My grandson was commissioned from the Naval Academy in May of this year. I am very proud of his hard work.
What connects you to your family?
It was early Monday morning when I got the call. A frantic call. A call that would change and break my heart. The caller, my brother-in-law, short words; she is in the ambulance, they can’t revive her. That was all. “They can’t revive her.” Stunned, what was happening? My youngest sister? No, it can’t be!
Got up, wandered around in a fog, washed up, sipped coffee, got dressed, then stopped. What? I don’t understand. Husband heated up the car, got in, seatbelt on, stunned, looked out the window, prayed, begged, felt queasy, be strong, tears meandering, getting closer, texted brother, second floor, dropped off at the door, rushed to the elevator, door opened, pushed button, door closed-door opened, turned corner and there they were, tears streaming, hugs of comfort, and hearts breaking.
Then the news, massive heart attack, two arteries fixed, two damaged beyond repair, tears, sugar number off the chart, hugs and more tears, her life would change, then the wait, be strong for them, more hugs, when can we see her?
A nurse walks out, she is in her room, we walk back through the wide-open door, turn right then left, wait for a minute, there she is, machines, machines, machines, a breathing tube down, cords, beeps, nurse, checking, attaching, blankets, icing, cooling her down, silent tears, shaking, praying, and begging again.
Touched her arm, it’s me, love you, dear God, heal her, make her whole. I love you, holding back the tears, then stepping out to cry my eyes out. Back to the waiting room, spot Donna through the window, hurry to the elevator, push the button, the door opens, the door closes, the door opens, double-time to the revolving door, there she is, need to prepare her, tears start streaming. It’s not good, hugs, then to the elevator, push the button, hurry, the door opened, the door closes, up we go, the door opens, turn, then in the midst; hugs and tears again.
Brother, two sisters, hugging, tears streaming, go through the wide doors, turn right, turn left, walk the short distance, enter, hold on to my sister, sobs softly. How did this happen? Life is so fragile.
Then the Chaplin enters, gather around, anointed her head, prayed for her healing, prayed for our strength. Dear Lord, hear our prayer.
Long day, swollen eyes, broken heart, holding on to hope, head for home, exhausted. Dear Lord, hear my prayer.
Then today, the same as yesterday. Start with a prayer, then a quick breakfast, shower, head off to my sister, hoping for a change. Arrive, head to the elevator, push the button, the door opens, the door closes, up I go, the door opens, turn left and there they are just a few. Then I head back through the wide doors, turn right, then left, at the door, no change.
In a while, I go back alone, wanting to talk to my baby sister. It was a good talk, a do you remember, talk, funny parts, I love you, you are beautiful, be brave, be strong, come back to us, you are important to me, I need you, we all need you, I am so proud to be your sister. Then I prayed and pleaded with God to show his mercy. I asked for a miracle for a woman who loved her family and grandchildren. A woman who loved to read, laugh, and football. A woman who made a difference in many lives, especially mine.
I repeated my prayer for the next five days. On the morning of the sixth day, my sister made her journey to heaven; I miss her beyond words.
I wrote this story hoping that it would help those who are grieving a loss. I want you to know that love never dies. Our loved ones are not far away when we keep them in our hearts. To my dear sister, six months ago, you took a journey that changed our lives but made you whole. Until we meet again. I love you.
One of my favorite places to volunteer and collect needed items is Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor is a local homeless shelter near my home. Although I do not know the men and women who reside there, I consider them my neighbor. We all go through rough patches in our lives, and it is because of those times, I find helping those in need very fulfilling.
I am not writing this story to reflect on anything I am doing, but to bring light to the generous, compassionate hearts who put bags of coats, shoes, and everything under the sun on my porch. This summer, my husband and I have taken several carloads down to those who are so appreciative. In fact, on Tuesday, we will be heading down once again.
Writing this story has been on my heart for a bit now, but today’s sermon at church made me realize that the time had come. The message was about the Good Samaritan and loving your neighbor. It really hit home when the visiting pastor, spoke on helping others without expecting anything in return. I thought about all those who just stop by and generously donate bags and bags of filled purses, almost brand new clothes, new socks, shoes of all shapes and sizes, along with personal items. When the seasons change, the donations change with the appropriate gear. Each one of these loving hearts who give so much is a Good Samaritan. I love them all.
I will continue to do what I can for Safe Harbor, for I believe it is the right thing to do. And, because they are making a difference in all who walk through their doors.
And to my army of angels, “Thank you” for helping those in need. I believe that when we help others, we help ourselves.
Today was beautiful and tonight even better. I enjoy sitting on my front porch as the sun starts to descend; inching down, shadows, and shades of evening changing into the night. I think it is God’s way of easing us into the darkness.
Then, suddenly, the thick inked sky comes to life with millions of shimmering stars. Although I have a street lamp near my home, if I walk to the back of my house, and look up at the sky, I can see a multitude of small flickering stars. Thinking back to my childhood, I recite a childhood poem, the one with star light, star bright in it.
As I stand there gazing up to the heavens, I say a little prayer for my loved ones who have journeyed to their forever home. My heart wants to believe that God assigns a special star to each person who resides in heaven. Stars that hold the unique personality, and the love, and memories each heavenly heart holds. When I gaze at the stars, I feel a strong connection to my heavenly family. One night as I searched the sky, I found three stars close together. It made me smile, for, at that moment, an overwhelming surge of love filled my heart. I would like to think those three stars represented the hearts of Mom, Dad, and Emma.
You might be thinking, whoa, she has a vivid imagination. Maybe I do, or maybe my love of our Creator fills my heart with, “anything is possible.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each star was filled with love? And, wouldn’t it be even better if the stars could shower love down to earth? I can only imagine the beautiful changes in people’s hearts.
As evening turns into night, look up at the heavens and admire the beautiful stars. Think about your loved ones, for they are thinking of you.
Today was an absolutely beautiful day! The temperature was perfect for me. And this evening was even better; just right for porch sitting and enjoying a good book.
I always seem to learn a lesson when I sit on my porch, and tonight was no different. First, the birds serenaded me with their beautiful songs. One Cardinal actually sounded like he was trying out for a choir. He hung on to the beginning of his song for quite a long time. It was beautiful. When I sit on my porch, I love to think that the birds are singing just to me. I get lost in their songs. Sometimes, I believe that those songs are little messages from heaven.
Then there was the breeze that floated softly through and around the bushes, trees, and from one end of my porch to the other. Sometimes, I like to believe my loved ones in heaven are surrounding me each time the breeze touched my cheeks.
I love the colors of summer, especially hydrangeas, leaves on a tree, a rainbow with its arc of many hues, and the yellow blinking tail of a firefly. I believe that God created specials colors for each season to help us appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
I love the sounds of summer; children laughing, people talking, music booming loud and clear through opened windows, fireworks celebrating, footsteps walking past my house, screen doors slamming, and hot dogs sizzling on a grill. These sounds remind me how blessed I am to be able to hear the beauty that fills my ears and heart.
My porch is my special place where I can read, think, pray, and remember those I love with my heart. It is a place like no other; where love floats into every nook and cranny. Where a cup of tea and my thoughts conjure up trips down memory lane. And for that, I am grateful.
Today was a feel-good Friday, filled with peace.
It was a beautiful Wednesday evening. The bright sun was slowly, starting its descent with its warming rays touching everything in its path. A soft breeze floated through the one tree in our yard, as my husband and I waited for my son. It was a special night, a belated Mother’s Day present. My son was taking us to DeSales University to see a play. I love the theater; always have. When we arrived, my son treated us to a lovely picnic-style dinner. As we dined, two young men dressed in Shakespearean costumes entertained us with period music. At eight o’clock, the lights dimmed, and the play began. The Mystery of Irma Vep had me right from the get-go! Although it was a mystery, it was full of humor. Mainly since two men played all the characters!
I was amazed at how quickly they changed their costumes for each scene. I have to tell you, I loved it. On the ride home, (by the way, it was a late night) and all day today, I thought about the gifts and talents those two actors had. Their ability to learn their lines, and perform in front of a crowd amazed me. The joy, and pleasure those two multi-talented men displayed touched my heart. They were following their dreams. Being a good storyteller takes patience, hard work, a love of the craft, and believing in the ability to make a difference. I appreciated their talent and never giving up on what they loved. It is not easy being an actor. Their enthusiastic energy has inspired me to keep following my dreams of making a difference with my words. It’s funny how God brings people into our lives just when we need them. I needed to see that play and spend time with my son. And for that, I am thankful!
Today, was overcast, humid, with a possible shower forecasted.
My day started out like any other day; however, my afternoon was sort of a washout. Picture this, nicely dressed in white capris, with a black and white summer top, and black sandals adorning my feet. I headed out to the gas station then continued on a few errands. My last stop was the grocery store. With my decorative bags in one hand and my list in the other, I grabbed a small shopping cart and got started. My list only had a few items, but like most of us, I veered off the list and filled my cart. Now it wasn’t raining, or thundering when I entered the store, but as I was heading out the doors that automatically open, I heard it. Now mind you, it wasn’t raining, well maybe a few drops.
I should mention that an elderly gentleman was standing watching the drops of rain fall oh so gently on the macadam. I looked at him, and said, ” It doesn’t look like it’s going to amount to anything. I think I will go for it.” As I started walking out, I heard him say, ” I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” As I kept walking, I heard another clap of thunder and felt a few more drops. I thought to myself, I got this.
As I got to the row, I was parked in, I hit the unlock button on my set of keys. Nothing happened. I hit the button again, nothing. I couldn’t imagine what was going on. Then, I accidentally hit the panic button, and I heard my alarm. It wasn’t coming from the car I was trying to unlock. In fact, it was not even in that row. My car was in the next row. As I hurried back to my car, every cloud in the sky broke loose. I picked up the speed. Within a few seconds, my hair was soaked and dripping, my sandals were squeaking, and water ran off my nose. I quickly opened the door, got the alarm off, then realized that my shopping cart had drifted down, the row. As I took off, I think I heard that gentleman who had warned me not to go, laughing. I finally got my cart back and threw the bags, in the back seat. Thank goodness, I didn’t buy any eggs.
I was still dripping as I pulled in my driveway. Then I heard the garage door open, and there stood my husband. As I got out of the car, with hair plastered to my head, and sandals playing a song as I walked, he looked at me, and said, ” Your wet!” I smiled and said, ” Very funny.” I could hear him laughing as he carried the soggy bags into the house.
Lesson learned: When you hear thunder, then see big drops of rain, you can either wait it out or be adventurous and try to outrun it. However, you must make sure you have the right car. It makes all the difference.