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Crossroads in Life

This is the post excerpt.

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I never dreamed that when a teacher for the visually impaired entered my fifth-grade classroom, that I would fall in love with the braille code, thus launching a career as a Brailliest which would span thirty-one years.  The same thing happened when in my forties I took a basic English class where the teacher encouraged writing.  His open forum allowed my fellow classmates to read their works.  Out of thirty-some students, the teacher invited myself and another to read what we had written.  Not once but twice!  Encouraged, at home one evening while sitting at my computer Jordan was born.    A woman who saw into the future through dreams.  Seven books later, she is still trying to live a normal life despite her unusual ability.   Still needing some polish, I hope to start releasing these books soon.  In the meantime, other characters are out there for enjoyment.  You can meet Mira and Damien in Through Similar Eyes;  Alexis and Baron in Edith’s Inn;  Amelia and Marty in  Where the Heart Leads and soon Sam (Samantha) and Jason in Playing Games.  All these e-books available for purchase through Smashwords, iTunes and Barnes & Noble.   Now that I’m retired, I wonder where the next crossroad will lead me.

Family Ties

Do you ever wonder what goes on in the lives of people when money exchanges hands?  Follow along and see where a special dollar bill lands.

Grabbing up her backpack from her last class for the day, Macy prepared to head home.  Thankfully Carol had a car and was willing to give her a lift to and from school.  Because of her grades, she was one of the few seniors who was given a parking permit for the small school’s student parking lot.  In gratitude, Macy chipped in for gas.  With a bit of envy, Macy thought of her friend’s family, for Carol was an only child.

When Carol pulled into her driveway, Macy thanked her for the ride.  “See you tomorrow.”

Inside Macy found her mother in the kitchen.  It was taco night, and there was hamburger browning on the stove.  After greeting her mother, Macy headed for the room she shared with her two sisters.   Each day, Lucy and Tilly followed her down the hallway.  Like she did each day, Macy closed the door to her brothers’ room for it smelled like a gym locker.

The room she shared with the girls was a bit crowded with a set of bunk beds on one side and her single on the other.  A long time ago she’d learned to keep anything of importance up on a higher shelf, for her two younger sibs were only six and four and very curious for their age.   To accommodate her need for privacy, Macy’s parents had hung a curtain to divide the room, but Lucy and Tilly ignored it by walking around or crawling under the divider to be with their sister.  In the end, Macy gave up and left it pulled back.

Digging the change from lunch out of her pocket, Macy set the money on her dresser.  That’s when she spotted the writing.  Unfolding the bill, she saw the words: Smile, someone special loves you,  Leaving the one dollar sitting on of her dresser, Macy felt a slight surge of annoyance as Lucy chatted at her about this and that and Tilly tugged at her backpack.  Tossing it on the bed, Macy picked Tilly up and began to talk to Lucy as she headed out to help their mother with dinner.

It wasn’t until Wednesday she began to put some thought into her English paper.  To simplify meals, they had a planned menu each night except for this day of the week when a different family member got to decide the meal.  Last week it had been her turn to pick what the family would eat the following week.  Since Macy liked cooking, she’d gone for Chinese.   Fixing a large stir-fry, loaded with vegetables, she watched her mother check the rice that was cooking in the rice pot on the counter.

“Mom,” Macy said, “Where do you think you’ll be in ten years.”

Pausing, Maggie considered.  Patting her belly, she answered.  “I guess I’ll still be raising kids.”

During her English class, they had been discussing what the future held for them.  The class sweethearts had been fighting about having the six children Nicky wanted, and Bryon didn’t.  Nicky had no idea what it was like living in a big family?   “Is raising a large family all you ever wanted to do?” Macy asked her mother.

Turning to face her daughter, Maggie heard an edge of temper in Macy’s voice.  A little confused, she answered.  “Yes.  Even when I was in high school, I knew I wanted a big family.”

“What would you do if something happened to dad?” Macy asked, thinking of how Nicky expected Bryon to take care of everything.

“Figure it out,” her mother responded without hesitation, for despite having many children, Maggie was a realist.  “Your father and I’ve talked about just that.  How we would handle life if something did happen to the other.”

In the silence of the room, both remembered the past.  Macy knew her mother’s father had been killed in the line of duty when she had been less than a year old.  Though her grandmother had never remarried, she’d raised her only child with love and courage.

“Are you worried about the future?” Maggie asked.

Giving the pan of vegetables a stir, Macy told her mother of the paper she had to write.  Smiling, her mother considered.  “Ten years is a long time.    My mom never worried about the future, but she wasn’t a fool either.  I asked her once why she didn’t worry and here’s what she told me.  ‘The past is the past.  You can’t change a minute of it.  The future needs to be planned, but one must be flexible.  You never know when something might come along and change the direction you were heading.  Life is better lived when we stay in the present.’

“You asked where I’ll be in the future.  I can’t say.  But your father and I have planned ahead, and choose to concentrate on the here and now.  That way we can enjoy moments like this.”

The hug her mother gave her helped Macy realized the truth.  The new baby was going to come whether she liked it or not.  Her sour mood was robbing her of the joy of her big family.   Later that night, when she sat on her bed writing her English paper, Tilly came to her.  Crawling up on her big sister’s bed, she smiled.  “Read to me,” Tilly demanded.  Before she knew it, Lucy wanted to join them.  Inviting Lucy up, Macy enjoyed a story with them.

On Monday morning Macy grabbed up the special bill on her dresser.  Yes, someone special did love her.  In fact, a whole bunch of someones did.  Deciding to pass the bill on, Macy stuck it with her share of gas money she gave Carol each week.  Accepting the cash, Carol spotted the bill and laughed.

 

Roxie’s Storyi

PP-1There you are.  I’ve been waiting for you.  I see you already have a furry friend, but can I join you, please.  I’m cold, hungry, dirty and have no collar.   I think I’ll follow you and your friend.  Oh no, she tells me to go home.  She doesn’t realize I don’t have one.   They walk down the street.  I think I’ll follow and maybe she’ll care enough to take me in.  Hey, there’s a man over there.  What’s he doing?  Now she calls to me as I start across the street.  Yes, I see the car.  Okay, I’ll come and stay on your side of the street you’re walking on.  As we keep moving, she asks where’s my home.  Can’t you understand I’m alone, and hoping I could be with you.   Hey, there’s more people.  I run to greet them.  She’s calling me again.  They look funny at her.  “He’s not my dog,” she said, not knowing I’m a little girl.  Finally, we get to the big house where she lives.  She opens the gate, and I’m allowed to come inside the inner yard.

She puts a pan of water out for me.  I’m so thirsty.  While I drink, she goes inside the house with her furry friend.   I run to the door and bark, but she leaves me outside.  I see her through a big glass door, talking to an older lady.  Finally they let me inside.  It’s warm, and they give me a little food.  I’m so hungry, I gobble it up.   The older dog sniffs me.  I think he’s not sure of me.

Later a man, woman, and a baby come.  They pet me.  I get more food.  Then the man helps give me a bath.  The water is scary, but warm.  Gentle hands wash me and make the flees stop biting me.  While they rub me dry, I lick the hands in thanks because they are so gentle to me.

Later that night it is just the lady.  I am so happy I can stay.  Warm, dry and safe.  Then it’s time to go to bed.  She puts me in the room where I got the bath.  There is a big towel on the floor, but I am not happy.  Don’t you understand, I want to be with you.  I bark, please don’t leave me.  She opens the door and laughs.  Again, gentle hands stroke me.  She picks me up, and I’m set on a big bed.  The other dog growls, but she talks gently to him, and he accepts me.  We settle down.  In gratitude, I lick her face.

The next day we go to see a vet.  Again, gentle hands stroke and sooth.  I hear them talk.  She is thinking of keeping me if no one claims me, but knows she must do everything possible to find my owner first.  She calls places to list me as a found stray dog and walks with me on a leash through the neighborhood to talk with people.  She learns I’ve been hanging here and there for at least ten days.  Some try to catch me, but I was quick, and got away, for I was looking for just the right forever home.

 

PP-1Note: Not all dogs are as lucky like our little Roxie.  Sometimes in life, things are meant to be.  On my walk, she did follow us the entire way.  As we traveled, I fell in love with her.  Whoever pet she was, whether abandoned or lost, she is a treasure to me and my mom

It’s important to make sure your dog has a collar with contact information.  Chipping your pet is another way to protect your furry friends.  If you have a pet you don’t want, do the humane thing and give them to a shelter.  More and more dogs are being fostered out until they can find their forever home.  If you haven’t spayed or neutered your pet, do the responsible thing.    No animals should be abandoned or euthanized because they were not wanted.   God made dogs to be our furry friends, so let’s do our part by seeing ever one has a loving home.

Where Will You Be in Ten Years?

Do you ever wonder what goes on in the lives of people when money exchanges hands?  Follow along and see where a special dollar bill lands.

Setting her belongs on her desk, Rachelle suddenly realized she hadn’t packed a lunch for the day.  Being off for two weeks during the school’s annual winter break had spoiled her.  Opening her wallet, she spotted the dollar bill with the words Smile, someone special loves you, written in red across the front of it.  Yes, someone did, and her deceased husband was in his own way encouraging her to live life to the fullest.

By this time in her life Rachelle had planned to be retired from teaching, but three years ago her beloved Charlie had dropped dead from a massive heart attack.   Continuing to work at the time seemed a better choice.  Now she wasn’t so sure.  Recently she had taken a chance and opened the door to dating again. Glancing at the classroom clock, Rachelle realized that she’d have to brave the food in the cafeteria if she planned to eat today.  Now it was time to prepare for her students.

tWhen they started to shuffle in for the first-period class, Rachelle began to check names off her attendance sheet.  Two girls were first to take their seats.  Rachelle had learned from their papers they were best friends.  Will they stay close or drift apart after graduations?  Rachelle wondered.  Carol was heading for major university, while Macy hadn’t made any decision beyond getting her high school diploma.  Next came the couple who were stuck to each other like glue and turned in very few assignments.  Immediately they settled in the back row, while more students piled in.  As soon as the bell rang, signaling the start of class, Rachelle went to the whiteboard to write: Where will you be in ten years?  

Teaching twelfth grade English was a challenge.  Even though it was a graduation requirement, she did her best to make the class interesting.  To pass, all a student had to do was show up and he or she would earn a D, which was a passing grade, but Rachelle offered more to those who choose to participate.  Since writing was one of her passions, she gave them a weekly short assignment to explore theirs and other lives, as well as the world around them.

Walking to stand in front of her students, she called out.  “For those who did the assignment over winter break, pass your papers forward.  For those who still want a grade, I’ll accept this assignment no later than Friday, minus half a grade.”  In response, papers were passed forward.  Taking the stacks, Rachelle set them on her desk.  “Who would like to answer the question on the board.”

Immediately the class clown jumped up.  “My fellow Americans,” he said doing his best to imitate past president Richard Nixon.  It got a good laugh out of the class, and several people clapped.

“Do you plan to rule the nation ten years from now Steve?”

The young man took a bow.  “Nope.  But I do like making people laugh. I hope to be in showbiz doing standup comedy.”

This time a young woman raised her hand.  “I’m going to enter nursing school after I get my associates degree,” Sally stated.  “I’d be the fourth generation to enter the profession in my family.  I’d like to be working in emergency medicine at a major hospital in ten years.”

Rachelle nodded, then pointed to another student.  “For me, it’s the Peace Core.   My folks did that and got to see some interesting places in the world.  I plan to be stomping around in some third world country.”  Others added in their choices as to where they hoped to end up.   As for the couple in the back, they were too busy making love eyes at each other.  Hopefully they were using protection, Rachelle prayed before calling on another student.  Lindsay rarely raised her hand.  “My mom always said, she didn’t care if we were a ditch digger or brain surgeon as long as we ended up happy and productive.  I’m still trying to figure out what career I want to follow, but I plan to follow her advice.”

“I like that one,” Rachelle responded.

“I’m going to have a half dozen babies,” Nicky said, then blew Bryon a kiss.

Now the young man choked.  “Six!”

Decided this was a teaching moment, Rachelle stepped in.  “And who is going to support you and all those kids.”

Turning to face the teacher, Nicky gave her a blank stare.  “Why Bryon will of course.”

“What if he can’t.  What if he gets sick, or loses his job and can’t find work?”

“That’s not going to happen!” Nicky demanded.  “Why are you raining on my parade?”

“She’s not.”  This comment came from Hal.  Very active in school affairs, he was also invested in his church.  “Your saying life sometimes doesn’t turn out the way we planned.  What about you?  Where do you plan to be ten years from now?”

Thinking of her husband, Rachelle put into words her thoughts without getting too personal.   “I can’t say.  Life shifted for me three years ago when I lost my husband.  His death has forced me to rethink my future.”

“Bummer man,” one of her students chimed in.

“Yes, it was.  But I’ve learned life will go on with or without me.  So I chose to live.  In ten years. I plan to be retired, but for now I’m still trying to figure out what that will mean for me.”  Glancing at the clock, she decided to change their next writing assignment.  “For your next paper, I’d like you to find an adult that is at least ten years older than you.  Ask them to share with you what they think the next ten years will hold for them.”  As if on cue, the bell rang signaling the change of class.  As the lovebirds walked by, Rachelle heard Bryon say to Nicky, “We’re not having six kids!”  The girl’s angry retort was swallowed up by the crowd.

By lunchtime, Rachelle was ready to eat.  Choosing a prefixed salad, she handed over money.   In among the bills was the special one-dollar bill.  As the cafeteria worker stuffed the bill in her drawer, another came over.  “Need change,” her co-worker said, and the two made the exchange.  Returning to her impatient students, the cafeteria worker sold the requested items.  Macy bought a cup of yogurt.  Shoving her change into her pocket, she didn’t see the writing on the bill.   Setting at a table, she poked with little interest at the container of food.   At the moment she had other things on her mind than what life would be in the future.

“Hey,” she heard and looked up to see a Carol dumping her stuff on the table.  “How’s your mom.  You didn’t say this morning if she had the flu or something else?”

“Something else.  She’s pregnant,” Macy muttered.  “And excited about it.”

“Pregnant!” Carol said in shock.  “What will that make in your family?”

“When this baby’s born, I’ll have six sibs.”    Taking a bit of her yogurt, Macy gave a snort of disgust about the future.

Taking Different Paths

dollar-currency-money-us-dollar-47344.jpeg
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you ever wonder what goes on in the lives of people when money exchanges hands?  Follow along and see where a special dollar bill lands.

Hurrying into the store, Tracy purchased a few things she needed for tonight’s party.  Guests would be arriving at eight for her annual New Year’s Eve gathering.  Widowed for five years, she had reached out to others so like her they wouldn’t be alone as the old year ended and a new one began.    Accepting change the clerk handed her, one of the dollar bills caught Tracy’s attention.  Written in red on a one-dollar bill were the words: Smile, someone special loves you.  Chuckling, she tucked the cash in her purse and hurried home.

Back in her kitchen, she began to blanch the spinach for the dip on tonight’s menu.  About twenty people, which included her best friend Rachelle were on the guest list.   The two women had known each other since high school, marrying the same year and had seen each other through thick and thin.  Like Tracy, Rachelle now had been widowed for about three years.  Much more of a social person, recently her friend had been venturing out to meet new people.

By eight Tracy’s house was filled with friends.  Conversations were light and spirits high.  The only price for admission was a dish, making food plentiful.  As Tracy filled a plate, she noticed Rachelle talking with Bob.   If memory served, he had lost his wife about the same time as Rachelle’s Charlie had passed away.  Despite the man’s loss, Bob had a fun-loving nature and enjoyed being around people.  A good match, Tracy thought, keeping the opinion to herself.

At midnight when the clock struck twelve, everyone cheered, hugged, or exchanged a quick kiss.  Then a toast was made for a bright new year.

The following morning when Rachelle arrived to help with the cleanup, Tracy notice how quiet her friend was.  “Is something the matter?” she asked

“Bob asked me out for a date?” Rachelle remarked.

“And what did you say?”  At the question, Rachelle looked away.  “You told me you wanted to meet new people,” Tracy interjected.  “That you didn’t want to spend the rest of your life alone.”

“When Bob asked, I immediately thought of Charlie.  Is that right or wrong?”

“That depends,” Tracy replied.  “Are you comparing Bob to Charlie, or was it just a reflex.”  Contemplating her next comment, she continued.  “We both still miss our guys and probably always will, but they wanted us to live on and be happy.  I think it only natural to think of Charlie.  He was after all a part of your life for a long time.  What’s more important is if you develop a relationship with Bob, you make sure to see Bob for who he is.”

“Can I ask why aren’t you out there dating?” Rachelle inquired with concern, for in her opinion Tracy spent too much time alone.

Considering, Tracy answered.  “I have no need to.  I’m very content to be on my own and have always enjoyed a sedentary lifestyle.  For you it’s different.   I admire your guts to go out there and be open enough to build a new relationship as long as it’s for the right reason.   So, what’s the verdict on Bob?”

A slow smile creased Rachelle’s face.  “I’ll give him a call when I get home.”  Reaching for her wallet, Rachelle pulled out a five.  “By the way, I didn’t forget the four dollars I owe you.”

An idea struck Tracy.  Going to her purse, she pulled the bill she gotten from the store.   Handing it to her friend, Tracy waited for Rachelle’s reaction.

For a minute Rachelle just stared.  Grinning, she once more thought of her husband.  Up in heaven Charlie was smiling down at her and wishing her the best life had to offer.

 

Holiday Traditions:  A New Year’s Resolution

Have you ever wondered where that tradition came from?  It is a custom that goes back to the Babylonians some 4000 years ago.  The Romans also are noted for making promises to their god Junas, who was a two-headed deity.  This way the god could look back on the pass and to the future at the same time.  Later Christian took up the practice as a way of atonement for the mistakes they made during the past year and promises were made for improvement in the coming new year.  This was done through prayer and spiritual reflections.

Today the tradition is less activity.  In a pole, it is considered that only forty percent of Americans make them and out of that only eight percent actually keep or reach the goal they have set for themselves.

Many of the resolutions made are personal ones to improve our own wellbeing.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but what if we each person make one that would make our world a better place to live in?  If each we could day pick up one piece of garbage and deposit it in the nearest trash bend.  Or strive to have a little bit more of patience with our fellow man.   Another could be to take the time to say a short prayer for a friend, or an enemy.   Often when we take these little steps, our inner self begins to glow with a deeper sense of peace.

I wish all my readers a happy and healthy new year in 2109.

photo of fireworks near sea
Photo by ViTalko on Pexels.com

 

 

Holiday Traditions:  The Blessed Nativity

Each year in thousands of places across the United States and around the world the story of the Nativity is played out.  What we see is a beautifully condensed version of the birth of Jesus Christ.   Children and adults take on the role of Mary, Joseph, the Wisemen, shepherds, and angles.  And let us not forget the little drummer boy.

If you study the Bible, only Matthew mentions the arrival of the Wisemen.  Reading on you will find in the Gospel of Luke, the shepherds who came to pay their respects to the Baby Jesus, but neither Gospels mentions the two groups arriving at the same time.  It is estimated that Jesus may have been serval months old before the Wisemen found him.  The Little Drummer Boy was introduced to the cast of charters through a song written in 1941 by  Katherine Kennicott Davis.

So when did the first Nativity actually appear?  In 1223 Francis of Assisi received permission from Pope Honorius III to create the live scene of the manger with an ox and ass in the town of Grecio, Italy.  It is not confirmed when Mary and Joseph became part of the portrayal of the birth of Christ.  As the scene grew in popularity, other charters were added in the telling.

In Napa California, for many years one family put up a life-size scene of the Nativity.  In some areas, a village might be created, with people acting out what life might have been like around the time of Jesus’s birth.   In the church I attended for many years, we put on the Christmas Story, with the children from our religious program filling the role of the characters in the story from each grade.   As a child moved up through the religious program, one year they might be an angle, another a shepherd with the older children playing the main parts like Mary and Joseph.  Parents, grandparents, other family members, and friends came to see and hear this beautiful story retold.

Today we find the Nativity scene on Christmas cards or as figurines to decorate our homes.   Though I put out a special set during the holiday, I have a few smaller versions scattered through my home to remember me that Jesus is active in my life not just on Christmas Day but throughout the year.

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References: Smart New and Wikipiedia

Holiday Traditions: Christmas Legends

What is a legend?   They are stories that are past down from one generation to the next that may not have any authenticity.  Some of them are what shape our holiday traditions.

spiderThe Christmas Spider on one such story.  People who dislike spiders are saying yuck.  But according to Eastern European folktales, a mother had sent the day cleaning her house before decorating the tree.  Pleased, she retired for the evening.  During the night a spider saw the tree.  Curious, the small creature visited each branch.  As it scurried over the tree, it left a trail of web in its travels.  When a Christmas angel appeared, she knew the mother would be sad to see her beautifully decorated tree in such a disarray, so she turned the christmas-treewed to tinsel.

Have you ever wondered about the Christmas tree?   According to several sources, pagans were the first to decorate trees around their winter festivals.  There are many stories surrounding as to when it was converted to Christian customs of decorating the tree.  One of these tales was a simply woodman and his family.  They didn’t have much, and one evening when he returned home empty-handed from hunting, he found a child in the snow.  Realized the boy was cold and hungry, he invited him inside to share their meager meal and spend the night.  When the family awoke the next morning, the child was gone, but in the corner of their small cabin was a beautifully decorated tree.  It was then the family realized the child they had welcomed into their home had been, Jesus.  In honor of his visit, the family decorated a tree each year thereafter.

Santa-1Santa Claus is one of the most precious of legends.  The man does have a basis in reality, as he was a saint from the fourth century.  Though there are many variations to his appearance, old St. Nick is noted most for his giving nature.  Hundreds of stories have created about him over the centuries.  My favor story is called Santa and the Christ Child, written in 1986 by Nicholas Bakewell.    In this story, Santa is visited by a child.  When Santa is injured in an accident, the child takes over the preparation for Christmas.  After all presents were delivered, the child invites Santa to come see where he was born.  As you have guessed, the child is Jesus and has invited St Nick to the stable in Bethlehem.    For children, it is a beautiful way to remind them why we celebrate Christmas.

The three legends I have shared with you are not of my creation, but are put in my own words to for your enjoyment.