Thursday, December 15, 2011

A special Christmas Angel

It was over 10 years ago and the Christmas time was an especially tender and memory making one for me. It was almost Christmas and my house was not decorated in its usual lights and brights. The smell of baking didn't fill the air....Piano playing was soft and noise kept to a minimum because...No parties or dinners planned...

Dad was terminally ill and had requested that the hubbub be kept to a minimum.....He knew I could be a bit "too much" at Christmas, with caroling everywhere, baking, singing at Church, too many functions, a minimum of three large trees etc. etc. etc. All he wanted for Christmas as he said was a quiet one... His eyes had a far away look in them as we both spent so much quality time together......The house was decorated only two ways,,,, with a very old bonsai tree I had bought for his gift and a very old and tattered Nativity scene from my days as a child...He was so fascinated with the bonsai tree that was years old and seemed to look at the Nativity scene with memories in his eyes.

Just days before Christmas, after a hospital stay, he was moved into an inpatient residential hospice because his pain could no longer be controlled at my home. He had so outlived his life expectancy by many months. He had been very open with me all along about his wishes and that I was not to allow him to be a burden. As a former Hospice Director years before, I knew I had to let him "go on" and not cling to him. We'd had months of time together and shared thoughts and emotions that were never expressed before.

The inpatient hospice was wondrous, new and inviting with volunteers and family rooms and even a library....But it all seemed a bit surreal as the true reality had sunk in that this was the beginning of the ending of time on this earth for my Dad. He was a firm believer in Heaven and what awaited him....I had no doubt either, but it was harder than I would have anticipated to "let go".....

I especially remember one late Winter afternoon, just as the sun was setting, there were carolers in the outside Hospice courtyard....I heard Silent Night, sung so sweetly and gently as if just wafted in on pieces of soft clouds, not the loud blare of noise found at malls where the sound was bombarding you..Peaking quickly outside to see them, I remember thinking this must be what heaven sounds like - all love and smiles and kindness and in tune..

And later that evening, there was an almost inaudible knock on the door. A young girl with her mother wanted to give me a homemade angel. I walked in the hallway and shut the door ever so quietly....I bent down to look at the angel and than the young child who looked about 7 or so... I listened as she told me that she and her Mother made angels every Christmas and gave them to families to let them know there would be an angel to help the new angels find their way to heaven. Her mother said that she had sat with her own mother for years making angels to give especially at Christmas time...But that she continued the tradition of angels with her daughter in remembrance of her mother....

I thanked both of them and started to go back in the room, as I felt my eyes begin to overflow, this little girl tugged on my sweater every so gently and said that I could keep my angel and it would remind me of my angel in heaven.

My angel from her is now a bit dirty and dusty and a bit tear stained but I never put it away, Sometimes I move it around in the house, I've traveled with it and it's visited many places and even been overseas. It's been in my car.... and sometimes when I just was having a rough time, it's been in a sweater pocket.

I wish I knew this family's name so I could thank them so for this special Christmas Angel I got so many years ago...... For me, it is a symbol of so much, but also of the selfish love of this family as they extended comfort and love to those they never met in such a personal way as they only could give.... So,

No matter what your celebration for Christmas might be, I pray you will have the kind of time that you either receive and/or give a special Christmas Angel.

I write this with much love for my Dad and those who have a way of stepping up to fill a need........It's Christmas time, may it bring you, Hope, Love, Joy and Peace!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A different Season of Christmas this year.....

This shall be a different Season for our household. It has been medically recommended that I avoid close contact with people, crowds so that I don't become a host for any more germs or problems. I have several serious health problems and appear to be a friendly host that invites germs and medical problems to live in my welcoming body....I know that it will be a big no no for church or any gatherings where there's not a lot of space and open air around me. I shall so miss the companionship of family and friends. For those of you whom I usually hug, just remember I cannot right now! Although it's only been a matter of hours that I've been told I need to self impose a basic isolation, I cry a small bit about it, no laying on the bed, whaling out loud, just the little pattering of a few tears.

Although the self imposed quarantine is time limited. I know I will not or rather I say I pray I will not always be this frail, I can only imagine how someone would feel if they were invisible to the rest of the world. I can so empathize with bubble babies who have such serious problems that they never come into direct contact with others.

I miss people,especially at this time of year. I love to sing the Christmas songs, share the festivities and rejoice...I do need to remember that I do have a piano lovingly moved from our other house and music and so this might be a time to play some tunes... I love to sing with choirs, I shall listen to them from tapes and cd's or at a distance. I feel like there's the glass wall between me and the rest of the world. I'm in a prison called "My Frailty" I shall take this time to do things differently - maybe write down memories of Christmas's gone by....Since I'm over 40 smile, I better get busy because there have been quite a few Christmases that I remember. This too shall pass. I cannot believe that God wants me to live like this the rest of my life... But should that be the case, I'm open to hear where He shall lead me.

Well, it's time to go in the kitchen now and look for the ingredients for a simple soup, some homemade sourdough bread and salad. May we all remember to be grateful for our health most of all and treasure these temples God has given us and be more concerned about the state of our physical well being than the state of the clothing or jewelry or shoes which may adorn it....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My man, his dog and the little puppy!

The Garry Farm has a special friend named Ken who runs an organic farm in Tallapoosa. Last year we bought a little puppy from him who was raised by one of Ken's adult females and that little puppy learned how to keep turkey safe from predators.

Well we got the call about 3 months ago that the very same adult female needed to be rehomed as she was digging out and was very bored without enough animals to raise!!! So we got her and was told that there would likely be a baby on the way....She was bred too young (before Ken owned her) and apparently that set our biological clock for a small litter, that she normally had 3 or less litters.

Jacque thought that mother didn't need a welping box. I begged for one and when He found mother and baby cozied in under some weeds, but no trees and no real shelter, he set to work immediately on a large box.....project completed just in time as the rains came in that evening.

This is a beautiful picture of Puppy who is now for adoption. Very Clearly both Mother Dog and Jacque are very proud of the puppy....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A 4 year old Elvis impersonator

Why is it that certain memories never leave us? I was four years old in kindergarten at the Home Park School in Atlanta...It was Monday morning.... (I don't know what date, but certainly still remember this after all the decades).....

My teacher was playing the piano as our little class and the 2 other kindergarten classes were also in assembly in the giant auditorium of Home Park School in Atlanta (It now is the Center for Puppetry Arts, last I visited) She asked, "Are there were any songs that we boys and girls wanted to hear?"

Those of you who know me well, can predict the next even....Well, I shot my hand in the air and jumped up and down with great enthusiasm that day. She asked what I wanted to sing .....I said "ain't nothing but a hound dog"....

Mrs. Peeples, said "well, I don'tknow that song, but if you hum it first, maybe I can play it.....It sounds nice." Well, I hummed loudly.... and then she started playing the piano.....I did a very good impression of the guitar playing of Elvis, the wild singing and facial gestures but the real kickers was when I started doing the Elvis twist.....The piano music stopped. My teacher and all of her very large personage (at least it seemed very large to a 45 pound small child) dragged me to the principals office by my arms while swatting my backside . She also told the class what a very bad girl I was. I remember not even being able to touch the ground at one point. She was a very strong and stern teacher and just terrified me that day ....and the ones that followed.

The principal was equally upset. I was put then in a corner in a chair while I waited for my mother to come and get me. Dad had the car and she walked the long way there. She saw the tears and told the principal that the girls were in bed. But I said I had cracked open the door and gone to see the TV behind them because I liked hounddogs......Well, the principal didn't smile but I could see my ordinarily sedate Mom mouth twitch but I thought she was going to laugh at any minute. (You see I had seen the world famous tv introduction of Elvis on the tv on the Ed Sullivan show!)

I was suspended from school for 3 days..... That was fine with me. I never wanted to go back....That was the day (the second week of my formal school - that my burst of childish enthusiasm for public learning died and the great enthusiasm for being at school. I felt embarrassed, shamed, mistreated and scared, never knowing what next would happen at the school that I saw as a Giant Scary Castle like in the Wizard of Oz....).....My Dad did place a note in the file and told both the Principal and my teacher, that there would be no more corporal punishment by the school - that they as parents would be responsible for that and yes, I still got parental doses as needed. I spent many days the rest of that year trying to avoid school...Those tummy pains I think were quite real...Eventually we moved and I went to a new school where I could "blossom intellectually and creatively" .Don't worry I completed many more years of schooling including college but only because my parents so encouraged it.

Never underestimate the spirit of a small child, how you can encourage it or discourage it or the influence of music to catch our imagination and spirit! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just imagine what is in the mind and spirit of those we don't understand.