Praying for Pappy

Praying for Pappy

Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net
Photo Credit: George Hodan via publicdomainpictures.net

This is a story that took place in the south and involved a little boy and his mom. It shows us the sad side of war and reactions that a family endured at the loss of their loved one. Get a box of tissues ready as you read this story of a little boys love of this mom and dad.

Tommy’s Maw Maw and Pappy used to take Tommy to church every Sunday before his Pappy left to go to war.

Tommy had learned early in life all about God and how to pray. Every night Tommy would kneel by his bed and pray before going to sleep.

Today is the day the soldiers are to come home. Tommy and his Maw Maw dressed and went and stood at the dock waiting for his Pappy to arrive. They would wait and wait… Until the last boat left the dock but Tommy’s Pappy would not be arriving this day.

When they got home Tommy was too tired to care about eating. He kissed his grand mother goodnight and went straight to his room. He changed into his pajamas and knelt by his bed.

“Lord,
It’s Tommy.
We stood at the dock all day. Every one walked away and we just stood there. Pappy must have missed the boat so we waited for the next one then the next one until all the boats were gone and the tall man in the uniform said all the soldiers had gotten off but he is wrong ’cause Lord, Pappy didn’t get off none of those boats. I hate it when maw maw cries Lord. Please send Pappy home so she will stop crying.
Thank you.”

 

All week long Tommy listened as his Maw Maw cried. He heard her on the phone several times asking about why his Pappy didn’t come home like the rest of the soldiers. On the seventh night he knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

“Lord ,
It’s Tommy .
It has been a long week. Maw Maw just sits and stares out the window when she ain’t cooking and cleaning or on the phone asking where Pappy is and why they didn’t send him home.. She hasn’t hardly spoke in days other than when she is on the phone.
Mrs. Nelly Baker from down the road came by to see if Pappy had come home yet but he hasn’t and Maw Maw began to cry again as Mrs. Nelly Baker talked to her. I heard her say You might have Pappy with you Lord. If you do , could you please tell him it is time to come home ’cause Maw Maw and me miss him and Maw Maw cries at night and calls for him. I’d sure ‘preciate it if you would.”

 

Slowly the days passed by, then weeks. Every day was more of the same. Tommy was worried about his Pappy and his Maw Maw. It had been a little over a month now and Pappy still hadn’t come home. He walked in the living room and there his Maw Maw sat staring out the window until a knock came upon the door. A man in a uniform stood at the door. He backed up and Maw Maw walked outside. His Grand Mother screamed falling to the ground. Then the women in the neighborhood came running.
Tommy was confused. Why was his Maw Maw screaming and crying Pappy was coming home finally. He felt heavy hearted, So he went and knelt by his bed and prayed.

 

“Lord,
It’s Tommy.
It’s been a month and three days since Maw Maw and I went to meet Pappy at the dock. Some man in a uniform just showed up at Maw Maw’s door and made her scream. He ‘pologized for making her scream and cry before he left. Mrs. Nelly Baker and some other women came running . I guess they heard Maw Maw screaming before she fell to the ground.
I don’t understand Lord. Why is she so upset ? The man said Pappy would be coming home tomorrow with something in a pine box. Don’t know why he needs a box. I guess he lost his suitcase. I thank Lord for sending Pappy home.”

 

Tommy didn’t know his Maw Maw stood silently by the door. She listened as the little boy of ten prayed through sobs.

 

“Lord,
It’s Tommy.
I un’ stand now. My Pappy came home today. I know all about the pine box now. I guess I forgot to ask for you to send him back to Maw Maw alive. I hope she will forgive me. I thought You knew what I meant when I asked you to bring my Pappy home. But you did do what I asked. I made a mess of things. Now my Maw Maw will never be happy again. Lord, the next time I ask for something make sure I ask the right way please and tell Pappy I am sorry I got him dead I didn’t mean to. It’s all my fault Maw Maw is sad. I am so sorry.”

 

Tommy opened his tear stained eyes to see his Maw Maw standing in his doorway , tears streaming down her face. ” Dear child, it is not your fault.” She said through sobs and held her arms out to him. ” If it had not been for your prayers, your Pappy may never had come home at all.”

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Source: friendburst.com

The Grateful Whale

photography of whale tail in body of water
Photo by Daniel Ross on Pexels.com

If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, December 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

The fifty-foot whale was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her – a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around – she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate today – to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude!!!

Source: Unknown

The Incredible Power of Music

turned on black samsung smartphone between headphones
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Music. Its power and effect on people are unmistakable. It can soothe and comfort the soul, it can create an air of nostalgia, make that special moment more romantic, make you mad, make you sad, the list goes on an on.

It’s funny how sometimes the small things in life can make such a huge impact on other people’s lives and we don’t even know it.

We all are aware of how our actions can affect an individual’s well being, etc. but what about other things that we may use every day? Music can affect people’s lives in many ways… take watching a movie as an example. Imagine if you were watching a sad movie and the background music was a fast-moving pop song. Or imagine viewing a scary movie and ballet music was playing in the background? The music would not fit into the movie and you wouldn’t enjoy the film…..but used correctly, music has a huge impact on the total movie-watching experience.

Another example of music’s effect is how well music “can soothe the soul” or how athletes sometimes use loud music to get “pumped up” for a game.

Music can be used in many ways and affect every person differently.

In today’s story (it’s actually a video), watch how the power of music totally transformed this old man’s state of wellness. It’s inspiring, beautiful, and heartwarming. The power of music…AMAZING!

Kafka and the Doll

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Death, grief, despair: these scorns of life are devastating. Death is arguably the most sorrowful time an individual can experience in life. Most unfortunate is when people encounter death within a family, a friendship, or an acquaintance. Sometimes, the loss can hurt so bad that it may seem like the pain and suffering will never go away.

Bill, a dear friend of mine, lost his wife to cancer at age 60 and a brother to murder at age 42. He uses faith, philosophy, family, and friends to mitigate his loss.

I would like to share the following story/essay that he wrote a while ago while thinking of these unfortunate events. It is our hope that this story will help ease the pain and sadness of others who may be struggling with the loss of a loved one.

Here is Bill’s story/essay.

As part of the human race, we all suffer loss. Loss is not a one-time occurrence, it happens to us and then it happens again. Loss is always difficult to accept. On the loss of a loved one, we wish to hold open the door into the next world and pull the deceased out. We wish to kiss those vanished lips, to hear that silenced voice; but it doesn’t work that way.

There is an instructive story on grief titled, “Kafka and the Doll.” In the story, Franz Kafka encountered a little girl in the park where he and his friend Dora walked daily. The little girl was disconsolate and weeping as if her heart would break. When Kafka inquired about her tears, the girl said she had lost her doll. Kafka told the girl that he knew for a fact the doll was fine. How he could be so certain, the little girl asked? Why just that morning, Kafka told the girl, he had received a letter from the doll.

Kafka arranged to meet the little girl the next day at the same spot in the park. That night he composed a letter from the doll and read it to the little girl when they met. “Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”

The meetings and the letters from the beloved doll continued. The little girl was comforted. When the meetings came to an end, Kafka presented her with a new doll. The doll obviously looked different from the original doll. An attached letter explained: “Do not be surprised at my appearance, my travels and adventures have changed me.”

Many years later, the now-grown girl found a letter stuffed into a deep fold in the cherished replacement doll. Kafka had written, “Everything you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.”

Grief and loss are ubiquitous and an inescapable part of being human. Holding the perspective of the universality of loss, helps us deal with our loneliness and regret in times of grief, for if grief is omnipresent, we are less alone, less regretful. Holding the conviction that “love will return” is the path towards healing. As with the little girl in the story, following our loss and a period of grief, our job is to recognize love when it returns in its new form.

Those loved ones for whom we mourn would not want us to be in tears and sadness. They want us to remember them with laughter and with smiles, and to find love in all its new forms.

 

*Editor’s Note: Bill is simply a wonderful, charming, and outgoing man. After the loss of his wife, he continued teaching until he retired a few years ago.  Since then, he has traveled across America, hiked great mountains of the world, explored various countries and cultures, and has see and discovered the many beautiful things in this world. His warm personality and sense of humor have brought encouragement and happiness to all that have met him.

“The song may have ended but the melody lingers on.” ~ Irving Berlin

The Things Money Can’t Buy

man holding brown leather bi fold wallet with money in it
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In today’s world, many people spend many, many hours working hard to earn money that they will need. Unfortunately, many people put so much time and effort into their work that they quite often forget about the important things in life, spending quality time with their family and friends. Today’s story gives us a good reminder for all of us…time is precious. Don’t neglect the time that you should spend with your loved ones.

A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door. “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”

“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.

“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

“That’s none of your business. What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.

“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed.

Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you’re being so selfish. I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money. After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep son?” he asked.

“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man.

“It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy” he yelled.
Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man. “Why did you want more money if you already had some? ” the father grumbled.

“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”
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Share $20.00 worth of time with someone you love…just a short reminder to all of us working so hard for our living. However, let us not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some quality time with those who really matter to us.
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Value Your Time.

Value Your Family.

Value Your Friends.

The Golden Slippers

Hilary McHone
Photo credit: Hilary McHone via CC Flickr

There are times in each of our lives when we need a reminder of the importance of having a spirit of giving and generosity towards others. Thus, is the case for the following story that I had posted on an old blog page of mine. While the author of this story is unknown, it is a beautiful story that I am sure will touch your heart and hopefully, remind all of us of the wonderful essence of a caring heart. (warning: tissues may be needed 🙂
It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season hadn’t yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store. Inside the store, it was worse. Shopping carts and last-minute shoppers jammed the aisles. Why did I come today? I wondered. My feet ached almost as much as my head. My list contained names of several people who claimed they wanted nothing, but I knew their feelings would be hurt if I didn’t buy them anything. Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift-buying anything but fun.

Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. I picked the shortest but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20 minute wait. In front of me were two small children — a boy of about 5 and a younger girl. The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands. The girl’s clothing resembled her brother’s. Her head was a matted mass of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers.

As the Christmas music sounded in the store’s stereo system, the girl hummed along, off-key but happily. When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure.

The clerk rang up the bill. “That will be $6.09,” she said.
The boy laid his crumpled dollars on top of the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. “I guess we will have to put them back, ” he bravely said. “We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow.”

With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. “But Jesus would have loved these shoes, “she cried.

“Well, we’ll go home and work some more. Don’t cry. We’ll come back,” he said.

Quickly I handed $3.00 to the cashier. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, “Thank you, lady.”

“What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?” I asked.

The boy answered, “Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus.”
The girl spoke, “My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won’t mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?”

My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear streaked face. “Yes,” I answered, “I am sure she will.”

Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.

Worldwide Traditions of Christmas

brown and red pinecone christmas decoration
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

We as Americans know the customs of Christmas here in the United States…but have you ever wondered what some of the traditions of Christmas are like in other parts of the world? Well, sit back and discover some short, interesting facts, how other people from around the globe celebrate Christmas. 

Belgian

The children there believe it is kindly Saint Nicholas who brings them their presents. They also believe he rides a horse so they leave him hay and carrots and water for the horse just outside the house on December 6.

Canada/U.S.

Christmas trees are decorated and stockings are hung on the fireplace for Santa Claus to fill with gifts. Cards and gifts are exchanged with friends and relatives. Children put on pageants and go caroling.

China

The Christians in China light their homes with beautiful paper lanterns. Santa is called Dun Che Lao Ren. The children hang stockings just as we do.

Czechs

They serve a very large and delicious dinner with many courses. Courses are like a appetizer, followed by soup, then a salad, then maybe the first meat dishes, and so on till the dessert is served. They serve this meal on Christmas Eve and it does not matter how big the family is, there is always a place set at the table that is set for the Christ Child.

Denmark

Santa is known as Julemanden and he arrives in a sleigh pulled by reindeer with a sack full of gifts. Danish children know the elves as Juul Nisse, and believe that they live in the attics of their homes. Instead of cookies and glasses of milk, they leave rice pudding and saucers of milk out for them.

England

From England we have acquired several customs. The first is the use of Christmas trees. This was made popular during the rein of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Prince Albert came from the country of Germany and missed his native practice of bringing in trees to place on the tables in the house, therefore one Christmas the royal couple brought a tree inside the Palace and decorated it with apples and other pretty items.

The second custom is what is known as Boxing Day. It is celebrated the first weekday after Christmas. What this means is that small wrapped boxes with food and sweets, or small gifts, or coins are given to anyone who comes calling that day.

Santa is known as Father Christmas, wearing long red robes and had sprigs of holly in his hair. Instead of mailing out their christmas list, children throw it into the fireplace and Father Christmas reads the smoke. England is also where the tradition of hanging stockings by the chimney began, due to the fact that Father Christmas once accidentally dropped some gold coins on his way down the chimney which got caught in a drying stocking. Another interesting thing is that instead of opening up their gifts as soon as they wake up, English children wait until the afternoon.

France

Santa is known as Pere Noel. He is accompanied by Pre Fouettard who keep track of who has been good or bad for Pere Noel. In some parts of France, Pere Noel brings small gifts in the beginning of December (Dec 6) and comes back to deliver more on Christmas. In France the children get to open their gifts on Christmas, but the parents and other adults have to wait until New Years. In France the children place there shoes by the fire place in hopes that le Pere Noel/Father Christmas of le Petit Jesus/Little Jesus will place gifts for them. They also have dinner at midnight on December 24 this is called Le Reveillon. They have a cake called La Buche de Noel that is served after the dinner.

Tiny clay figures are used in the Christmas Crèches, Mangers. These figures are most unique as they are dressed in what is popular in provincial clothing that year. The figures are Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Wise Men, the Shepherds, and Angels.

Italy

It Italy, the main exchange of gift doesn’t occur until January 6th, the day traditionally believed that the Wise Men reached the baby Jesus. Italy has La Befana who brings gifts to for the good and punishment for the bad. She is the same character as Russia’s Babouschka who refused to give the Wise Men food and shelter. The nativity scene may have first been set up by Saint Francis of Assisi. This first one was set up in a cave outside of a village and the villagers were so impressed by the display that now many of the communities compete for the best nativity.

India

Houses are decorated with strings of mango leaves. Lights are place on the window sills and walls and a star is hung outside. A sweet holiday treat is made called thali and it is brought to neighbors and friends.

Japan

The Japanese decorate their stores and homes with greens. The only part of Christmas that they celebrate is the giving of gifts. HOTEIOSHA the priest is like our Santa Claus, and he brings the children their presents.

Mexico

Mexico calls Christmas Navidad. They celebrate Christmas for nine days with Las Pasdas. It is a time where people dress as Mary and Joseph, traveling from house to house asking if Mary may stay the night. They are told the is full. After which the door opens back up and all are invited in for a party with food, songs, and for the children a Pinata. The Pinata is made of paper mache and filled with all kinds of goodies. The object is to break it open with your eyes blindfolded. After which the children all dive for all the goodies they can pick up. On the ninth night they are told yes there is room for Mary in the stable and all come in for food and after all go to Church to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

The Netherlands

Santa is known as Sinterklaas, and he came to Sweden originally by boat, setting out on December 6th from Spain. He makes his gift deliveries by horseback. The children leave their shoes out, filled with hay and sugar for Sinterklaas’ horse. In the morning they find their shoes filled with candy and nuts. When Sinterklaas appears to the children, he takes the form of their father or a favorite male relative.

North Pole

Santa and his helpers are getting ready to deliver gifts to the children of the world.

Poland

From Christmas to New Years the streets are lined with lovely stalls called, JOSELKI, each one is carefully painted with scenes from the Christmas story. The booths are elaborately decorated in tinsel and lighted candles.

Spain

The children of Spain leave their shoes on the windowsills filled with straw, carrots, and barley for the horses of the Wise Men, who they believe reenact their journey to Bethlehem every year. One of the wise men is called Balthazar, who leaves the children gifts. They call Christmas Eve Nochebuena, and families gather together to rejoice and share a meal around the Nativity scene.

Russia

Russia has someone named Babouschka, who would bring gifts for the children. The tradition says that she failed to give food and shelter to the three wise men and so she now searches the countryside searching for the baby Jesus, visiting all children giving gifts as she goes. Santa was known as Saint Nicholas but today is called Grandfather Frost, wearing a blue outfit instead of red.

The Russians use to celebrate Christmas with great joy and happiness before the Revaluation of 1917. They used to stroll up and down the streets with stars on the end of sticks that they called Stars of Bethlehem. The people went to church services and shared a special meal at home. After the Revaluation the Soviet Government banned Christmas. What the Russians do today is celebrate New Years Day with a special tree decorated like we do ours for Christmas and they have a New Years Day Children’s party. The children join hands and sing songs as they walk around the tree. They wait for DYET MOROZ Grandfather Frost, and his helper SYYEGORACHKA The Snow Maiden to bring them their gifts.

Switzerland

Santa Claus is called CHRISTKIND, the Christ Child coming to bring gifts to the children dressed in all white with a golden crown, He is helped by Saint Nicholas.

Uruguay and Argentina (Added From Blogger Amira)

In Uruguay and Argentina, children wait for January 6 to receive the big gifts that are brought by the 3 wise Magi : Balthazar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India. Children leave their shoes outside and a bucket of water and hay for the camels. One of the 3 Magi usually leaves a handwritten personalized letter sealed with red wax, telling the children about how they behaved during the year. On Christmas Eve a dinner is shared with family and friends, and smaller gifts are left under the tree by Papa Noel. Usually a Nativity set is also placed near the Christmas tree, and the baby Jesus is added to the Nativity set on Christmas day.Special sweets are made for Christmas like “turron” ( a nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake), and “Pan Dulce” or “Sweet bread” which is made with nuts and dry fruits.
Some people go to the midnight mass. There are fireworks at midnight on Christmas Eve as well as in New Year’s eve. Feliz Navidad & Merry Christmas to all! Amira

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What is your favorite Christmas or Holiday tradition? Do you know of a tradition from another country that wasn’t mentioned? Please share your thoughts with us if you would like!

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Have an AWESOME Christmas and Holiday Season!

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Source: portharbor.com

A Story of Christmas Magic

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Photo Credit: Dragon Lady via Flickr

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season, is finding interesting and heartwarming stories that touch your soul and put a smile on your face. Well. today, I was reading some stories on the web page “The Gathering Place” and came across this story. Even though the author is unknown, I felt that it was a sweet little tale to share with you! Please be prepared…a box if tissues may be required.

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Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

“Who is this?” asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”

“Yes, Santa,” he replied. “My sister, Sarah, who is very sick,” he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” the child exclaimed. “She misses you,” he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

“What is it?” Santa asked warmly.

“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ….” the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

“…The girl in the photograph … my granddaughter . well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays,” she said through tear-filled eyes. “Is there any way, Santa . any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.

Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.

“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,” he thought with a sinking heart, “this is the least I can do.”

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.

“Why?” Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.

“C’mon …. I’ll take you there,” Rick said softly.

Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a Chair near the bed ! with weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”

“Santa!” shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes intact.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he ad to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.

“Oh, yes, Santa … I do!” she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you,” he said.

Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still
with eyes closed, he started singing softly,

“Silent Night, Holy Night …. all is calm, all is bright.”

The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.

“Now, Sarah,” he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”

He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he “had” to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.

“Yes, Santa!” Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.

He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.

“My only child is the same age as Sarah,” he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”

They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”

“Of course, I do,” Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a “good” Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the “only” child in the world at that moment.

“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”

Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.
“Sarah!” he exclaimed.

He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.

He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed — and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”

Just One More Breath

adult air beautiful beauty
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

Life. It is so precious. It is the essential thing that allows us to experience the beautiful things in the world around us. Whether it be by smelling a lovely aroma, tasting scrumptious food, listening to soul-moving music, seeing the beauty and grandeur of some scenic location, or simply touching something meaningful to you…all of life should be prized and cherished.

But how many times throughout our lives do we forget the gift of life and all that goes along with it and take it for granted? Enjoying time with your family and friends, having dinners or parties with your loved ones? Traveling to some destination, experiencing good (or bad) times with others, or simply just spending time by yourself relishing and appreciating the world around us. Life is good and worth living.

But it all can be gone in a second.

I recently came across a copy of letter written by a miner to his loved ones that was posted in the “United Mine Workers Journal,” in August 1974. The letter (see the image below) was written in 1902 by Jacob L. Vowell, in Fraterville, Tennessee. In the short letter, he tells his dear wife how much he loves her and the kids. He tells her to take care of the children and actually communicates to her where to bury him. The amazing thing about this letter, was how he kept referring to the important things in his life…the things that really mattered…his family and God.

You see, he only had moments to live…for he was slowly suffocating to death in the 1902 Fraterville, Tennessee mine disaster. The second to the last sentence he wrote really touched my heart and reminds me how precious life really is and how much we should value it each and every day of our lives.

This is a picture of a copy of the letter that Mr. Vowell wrote:

MIne Disaster
Photo Credit: United Mine Journal, 85th Year, No. 17, August 16-31, 1974

 

In case you had problems reading this letter, this is what was stated:

“Ellen, darling, goodbye for us both. Elbert said the Lord has saved him. we are all praying for air to support us, but it is getting so bad without any air.

Ellen, I want you to live right and come to heaven. Raise the children the best you can. Oh how I wish to be with you, goodbye. Bury me and Elbert in the same grave by little Eddy. Goodbye Ellen. Goodbye Lily. Goodbye Jemmie. Goodbye Horace. Is 25 minutes after two. There is few of us alive yet.

                                                                                                    Jake and Elbert

Oh God for one more breath. Ellen remember me as long as you live. Goodbye darling.”


This is quite a sad letter but it a terrific reminder to all of us…to be thankful for the breath of that life we have each day and for the things that really worthwhile.

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – is to be happy – it is all that matters.”              ~ Audrey Hepburn

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A Beautiful Short Story of Love

man wearing blue jacket holding a brown stick towards the heart drawn on sand
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is a short little story of unconditional love that will be certain to make your day!

An elderly man hurried to his 8:00am doctor appointment, he wanted to finish quickly so that he could get to another appointment. The doctor asked what it was, and the old man proudly said that every morning at 9:00am he would go to the hospital and have breakfast with his wife.

The doctor asked what her condition was, and he replied that for the past 5 years his wife has had Alzheimer’s and hasn’t known who he is. The doctor asked the old man why he continued to visit her of she had no idea who he was…and the old man replied…” Because I still know who she is.”

Beautiful words of unconditional love.

I hope this little story made your day and put a smile in your heart!!

Giving Someone A Push

backlit beach clouds dark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have you ever had a want, desire, or dram that you have always wanted to accomplish in your life and just never saw it come to fruition? Or, how many of us have a job or project that we would like to do but just haven’t gotten around to get it done? If you are like most people, all they need is that little motivation or push to get them going…once they get going…they finish well. We need someone to give us that extra push.

Such is the case in a story that I discovered a while ago written by Irene Sax in Newsday which demonstrates this thought in a great way.

Jean Nidetch, a 214-pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Who will be the person or group of people that you will help “push” today?

 

The Lesson of the Penny

JD Hancock
Photo Credit: JD Hancock via CC Flickr

It’s funny how you can learn things from even the smallest things in our life. In today’s story, you’ll find an interesting way to remember where our trust SHOULD be every day.

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Several years ago, a friend of mine and her husband were invited to spend the weekend at the husband’s employer’s home. My friend, Arlene, was nervous about the weekend. The boss was very wealthy, with a fine home on the waterway, and cars costing more than her house.

The first day and evening went well, and Arlene was delighted to have this rare glimpse into how the very wealthy live. The husband’s employer was quite generous as a host and took them to the finest restaurants. Arlene knew she would never have the opportunity to indulge in this kind of extravagance again, so was enjoying herself immensely.

As the three of them were about to enter an exclusive restaurant that evening, the boss was walking slightly ahead of Arlene and her husband.

He stopped suddenly, looking down on the pavement for a long, silent moment. Arlene wondered if she was supposed to pass him. There was nothing on the ground except a single darkened penny that someone had dropped, and a few cigarette butts.

Still silent, the man reached down and picked up the penny. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. How absurd! What need did this man have for a single penny? Why would he even take the time to stop and pick it up? Throughout dinner, the entire scene nagged at her.

Finally, she could stand it no longer. She casually mentioned that her daughter once had a coin collection, and asked if the penny he had found had been of some value.

A smile crept across the man’s face as he reached into his pocket for the penny and held it out for her to see. She had seen many pennies before! What was the point of this?

“Look at it.” He said. “Read what it says.”

 

She read the words “United States of America.”

“No, not that; read further.”

“One cent?”

“No, keep reading.”

“In God we Trust?”

“Yes!”

“And?”

“And if I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him? Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God’s way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!

When I was out shopping today, I found a penny on the sidewalk. I stopped and picked it up, and realized that I had been worrying and fretting in my mind about things I cannot change. I read the words, “In God We Trust,” and had to laugh. Yes, God, I get the message. It seems that I have been finding an inordinate number of pennies in the last few months, but then, pennies are plentiful…and God is patient.

~Author Unknown

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Have an awesome, blessed day!!

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