Our Beloved Pal Scooter

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they made the decision to enable them to experience good from evil, joy from sorrow and many other things in opposition.  These last few days my heart has gone the gamut from complete and utter joy and bliss to complete and utter sorrow and despair.  I understand those extreme opposites well now.

scooter 1
How can you not love that face? What a sweet sweet dog

Our joy started last Friday when our son Nathan Copier married his UK sweetheart, Savannah Stevenson.  I will leave the details to that for another post.  Our sorrow happened yesterday when we lost our beloved pet and dearest furry friend, Scooter.

We have had several pets over the years and we have loved them all, but there was something so special about this little guy.  He really was the sweetest dog we have known.  He was loving, loyal, playful and eager to please.  He loved to snuggle, give kisses and take care of my ‘wounds’ and sing with you.  My heart is aching right now just knowing he’s not with us anymore.

Our whole family loved him dearly.  Many of them have taken time to write sweet things about him on social media, but the one that got to me the most is what my hubby wrote about him this morning.  Now, you need to understand that Scooter loved my husband more than anyone else in this world.  They truly had a special bond.  And as much as the rest of us loved and adored him, and he loved us in return…. it just wasn’t quite as strong as the bond between these two.  Here is what John said today:

scooter medal
Here he is wearing John’s Gold Medal from the Huntsman World Senior Games

“It’s only a dog
My head says it’s only a dog. My heart says otherwise.
Yesterday we lost our beloved, talented handsome Scooter.
Scooter gave us almost eleven years of companionship, love and entertainment. We really loved that wonderful dog.
He was a faithful trusted and trusting companion. He was always wanting to please. He was always happy to see me, to go anywhere with me.
He will be missed by many people, the folks at Home Depot and Lowes, teammates and spectators at the ball park, certainly family members and neighborhood kids.
I will miss the look on his face when, while walking he would stop, slant his body toward home as if to say “Daddy, I can’t go much farther please can we go back home?”  Then his willingness to try to go a little more. I will miss his head snuggling my neck when I carried him back home after he had given it his best.
I will miss his singing along with family members or with the with MoTabs, his singing “Happy Birthday” or “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.
I can almost hear him singing for Grandpa Don and Grandma Jen right now.
I suppose I will miss most everything about this wonderful friend. Rest in peace. Thanks for all the love you gave.”

My heart broke again as I read those words this morning.  I have learned over time that these precious additions to our family are just that…. family.  Each time we have lost a pet it has been hard.  Tears were shed all around, but this time…. I’ve wept so much harder and so much longer.  Perhaps because Scooter was a house dog, it allowed us to get really close to him.  Literally.  He often slept in bed with us and he liked to be on our laps.  When we lost our other pets, it was usually because of sickness and having them put to sleep, (though we did have one that a neighbor took a b-b gun to) so I wasn’t there to see their passing and their lifeless body.  It’s hard to loose them, no matter how….. but with Scooter, it happened suddenly and sadly without us right by his side, though we were here.

He’s been acting like he wasn’t feeling the best for the last little while.  He developed a wheezing that would set him back for a few minutes at times.  It was concerning to me, but I passed it on to old age.  He would have been 11 years old next month.  In hindsight, I’m kicking myself for not getting him into the vet to see if anything could be done for it.  He’d have spells where he seemed fine and then the wheezing would start again.  Several times over the years he had what I called ‘clingy’ moments.  No matter what you were doing, he’d stand right next to your leg and wouldn’t move unless you did.  He never really seemed sick during these times…. just clingy.  That has been going on off and on for years.  Another sign that should have concerned us was a slowing down in energy, particularly during walks.  Again, we just contributed it to old age.

Last summer, while out walking with my husband, he got a fox tail caught in his paw that became infected.  We had to take him to the vet to have it removed.  The vet expressed concern over some very loose teeth he had and wondered if we would allow him to remove them as long as he was under the knife for the paw surgery.  We also decided to finally have him neutered at that time as well.  Yes…. we should have done it many years earlier, but just didn’t do it for many reasons.  Since that surgery last summer, it seems his health has declined.  He seemed to gain weight, which we couldn’t understand since his diet hadn’t changed, but after doing some research, I found that that can be a side effect of neutering at an older age.  I also did some research on some of the other symptoms he’d been having, some of which I’ve mentioned.  Of course sadly…. much of my research wasn’t done till he was gone.

This is the adorable puppy face we fell in love with
This is the adorable puppy face we fell in love with

Yesterday after we got back from church, we wanted to take a nap since we were still suffering from a little jet lag from our trip to London.  All of the dogs (yes all…. we are tending our sons 2 dogs and our daughters dog lives here now too….) were on the bed with us.  Scooter started panting really heavy and couldn’t seem to get comfortable.  He would try to lay down and then stand or sit back up.  I started to realize that he might be in a little pain.  I was going to see if there were any essential oils that might help relieve some pain, but I stopped to make some dinner first.  I told my hubby and daughter that I didn’t think he was feeling well at all.  They both tended to him for a while.  He sat on John’s lap for a while then disappeared.  A while later (I don’t think it was more than 15 min) I realized he wasn’t in the house panting anymore.  We all went to look for him and I headed outside calling his name.  When I walked to the end of the deck to see if I could see him in the yard, I saw him laying at the bottom of the stairs on the grass.  I screamed and ran to him as quickly as I could.  Unfortunately, he was already gone.  My husband tried a little CPR on him to see if he could get him breathing again, but to no avail.  Then the mourning process began.

Since both of my boys are in London right now, one because he now lives there, the other because he extended his stay after the wedding, it was only my husband and daughter and I that were there.  After a few minutes of sitting and crying and holding him, we sent a text to our boys to let them know he had passed.  More tears and sorrow came from them when they replied by phone to the news.

It’s been a hard day (and night).  My eyes are puffy from crying and my heart is sore.  It truly hurts as much as losing my parents did.  He wasn’t only a dog.  He was our baby.  He was our loyal friend and companion.  He took a big chunk of my heart with him. He will be missed by all.

I know time will heal and it will become a little less painful, but for now, my heart needs to grieve.  We did decide to bury him here at home so I will be able to build a little memorial to him to always remember him by.

I am so grateful for the years we had with that special dog.  What joy he brought into our lives. I’m grateful to know that he is in doggy heaven, running and playing with as much energy as he had as a puppy, and that he is with my Mom and Dad.

He loved the snow and would come in the house with his little beard full of snow
He loved the snow and would come in the house with his little beard full of snow

My only regret is not trying to see if there was something that could be done a while back.  If you have a beloved pet…. please follow your heart and take them to the Vet when you feel like you need to.  I don’t want to live with the guilt that perhaps we could have done better.  Perhaps it was just his time…. but I will never know.  He really was dearly loved.

I shall miss my little fury friend greeting us at the door when we returned home.  His little happy dance to see us and not stopping till he got his proper ‘Hello’.  I will miss his snuggles, he’s cute Ewok face and his friendly and loving personality.  I will miss seeing him perched on the back of the couch watching the world go by outside.  So content he was just to be with us, and how sad he was to be left alone.

Thanks for all the years of love and snuggles, Scooter!  RIP Scooter Bug!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

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It’s All In The Heart

Day 29~

The heart.  Isn’t that where it all starts?  Isn’t that really who we are?

Besides being a vital part of how our bodies function, it really is the center of our emotions.  When someone experiences heart break, there really is a physical sensation that goes with that.  I remember going through that when I was in college and it was truly painful…. but my heart mended and my life lead me to things so much better for me. heart-quotes-131

According to MIND PUBLICATIONS:

Nobody views the heart merely as a blood pumping station, anymore. We know that the heart is an emotional organ and has a relationship with the “emotional brain.” Beside the emotions, could the heart also be an organ of intelligence that works in unison with the brain?

According to folk wisdom, the heart is the seat of intuition, love, creativity, wisdom, gratitude, faith and the like. The finest values and qualities are associated with the heart rather than the mind. How do we know this? We know it in our heart. But, is there a scientific basis for this intuitive knowledge?

The heart physically communicates with the brain and the rest of the body. The communication pathways, which originate in the heart, travel through the emotional memory section of the brain and go all the way to the top of the brain responsible for thinking and reasoning. The heart has a complex nervous system, with the capability to learn and remember.

So science shows that our hearts really are more than a pumping vehicle for our blood!  We really do feel with our hearts.

There are so many quotes regarding our heart being an emotional organ.  Like ‘open your heart’, ‘my heart goes out to you’, she wears her heart on her sleeve’, ‘follow your heart’, ‘love you with all my heart’ and SO many more.  I’m sure you could add to the list.

I’m so grateful for my heart.  Grateful for it’s capacity to let me love, and feel and even think.  For the life blood it gives me to live and breath!  Our heart is truly who we are!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Neck and Shoulders

Days 18 & 19

An unexpected invitation for an activity last night took me away from getting my post done on time again….. so I’m combining two things again today…. and I’m doing it early!  🙂getty_rf_photo_of_child_on_mans_shoulders

The other day I posted about how grateful I am for my head.  Well, if it wasn’t for my neck and shoulders….. my head would have nothing to hold it up!

Besides holding up my head….. my neck can hold little (or big) arms around it for a hug!  Have you heard the statistics about how important hugging is to your mental state?  If not, read my post about that here.  And be sure and pass around the hugs when you do!  Though my neck can hold beautiful jewelry of all kinds too….. hugs are much more valuable!hug around neck

Sometimes we can feel the weight of the world on our shoulders, but often, we can offer our shoulders as a place for someone else to rest their head, to lean on us when they need to.  I know many times I have found comfort from loved ones there, particularly my husband.

Our shoulders are a place our little ones love to ‘ride’ on!  And often, it’s easier to carry them there than in your arms for a long time.  As the song says… “He Ain’t Heavy… He’s My Brother”

I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to carry little ones on my shoulders and get hugs around the neck from both big and little people.  And that I could be a shoulder to lean on as well as have many shoulders to lean on.Never-be-afraid-to-help-others-in-their-time-of-need.-You-never-know-when-you-may-need-that-shoulder-to-lean-on

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just because I mentioned the song…..  I have to share this video.  I adore the Osmond Family and I love this clip from their 50th Anniversary special because it includes the oldest two brothers, Verl and Tom signing the song.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Christmas Without Mom

I’ve been extremely melancholy and tender hearted these last few days.  This will be my first Christmas without my Mom.  When she passed away last March, we were all greatly saddened and yet happy for her to be released from her body that was making her unhappy.  She was ready to go home and be reunited with Dad.

Our first Christmas without Dad was hard too, but for some reason, this year it’s super hard for me with Mom being gone.  She loved Christmas so much.  Perhaps it’s because it’s the first Christmas without at least one of my parents here.

I’ve probably talked about this before, but Christmas has always been a big deal for me…. as far as family goes.  While the hustle and bustle and anticipation have always been fun, the most important thing of all was having family together.  Our family traditions are what made me look forward to the Christmas season.  As I get older, I realize just how important those family times are.

I was raised in a close family.  At least those of us that lived around got together often.  While raising my kids, we spent almost every Sunday evening at my parents home.  We would gather for ‘cheeseies’ (a family tradition of an open faced broiled cheese sandwich) each week, spend time together and the cousins would play.  It meant the world to me and was a priority in my mind.

At Christmas time we would gather each Christmas Eve.  The evening would start with a big dinner; with tables and chairs strung everywhere as the family grew.  Then we would gather in the living room and portray the Nativity with each of the kids acting out the parts.  My daughter, Mandy, being the youngest girl (of only a handful of girls) in the family got the honor of playing Mary for many years.  Our costumes always consisted of sheets, towels, scarfs and tinsel with the manger being a doll cradle and who knows what doll for the baby Jesus, unless there was a newborn in the family…. then they got the honored roll of being the Baby Jesus.

After acting out the Nativity, we would sing songs (sometimes my kids would be the entertainment since they participated in a kids performing group back then) and we would wait in anticipation for Santa’s arrival.  We always tried to keep the kids distracted and occupied while we waited for his arrival.

Once Santa arrived through the front door, it was mayhem and excitement!  He would sing a couple of songs with us and then reach in his big bag and call out the name of each of the kids one at a time.  They would come sit on his lap and get their small gift from him.  It was an opportunity for each child to have their photo taken with Santa by their parents.  It was a joy to watch from year to year, the young kids go from being petrified of him to jumping on his lap.  (And what a hoot to look back at the photos and see the styles we wore!)  He would have us sing a few more songs and end with Jingle Bells as he left to ‘go to the next house’.  What a fun tradition that was.

Then we would exchange gifts amongst cousins and adults (drawing names as the family got bigger).  Then off to our own homes to get the children all snuggled in their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing through their heads.  Christmas Eve.  The best part of Christmas for me growing up.

As my parents aged, they were getting tired of all the clean up…. plus the family growing with many great grand kids made it a tight fit for their home.  We spent several years trying to do it in their church cultural hall.  Then grand kids grew, started marrying people who had their own Christmas Eve traditions and it turned into a party at some local ‘event’ place (like a Roller Skating facility) one a night other than Christmas Eve for the last few years before my Dad passed.

Once Dad passed and Mom had had her stroke, she ended up needing 24 hour care and spent the last 6 years of her life in an Assisted Living facility.  We were always able to reserve one of the rooms there to hold a family party, but it was never on Christmas Eve again.  Too many family members with their own Christmas Eve traditions…. but none the less…. we gathered.

Mom with Daisy on her lap last Christmas Eve at her place.  You can se the joy in her face of having us there.
Mom with Daisy on her lap last Christmas Eve at her place. You can se the joy in her face of having us there.

The last few Christmas Eve’s, my little family has spent the evening with my Mom at her Assisted Living place.  Sometimes we sang for all the patients there…. but last year, we just spent time with her in her room and sang to her.  She loved it.  It meant so much to her.  We always took the time to look through the Christmas album the family and made for my parents several years back with photos of all those great Christmas Eve’s.  I’m feeling sad I don’t have that at my house this year.

I just don’t know what I’m going to do with myself this year without her here to spend Christmas Eve with!  My heart has been so tender these last few days.  I’ve shed many tears missing her and Dad and those sacred traditions.  I want so desperately to carry on some of those traditions in our family.  It’s been hard because my children haven’t been married with kids of their own up to this point, so we haven’t had the little ones around to treasure those moments.  I know it will come.  Jon and Ali got married this year and I have BIG hopes of it all beginning soon.  I just pray that it will become as important to them as it is to me.

Family is everything to me.  I want to spend more time together than we do.  I love them all so much.  We are trying to carry on the larger gathering of the family for a Christmas party.  I promised Mom we would.  Though it won’t be till the first of the year…. we will still gather and enjoy each others company…. laugh at the White Elephant exchange and just be grateful for one another.   As with anything in life, it gets harder and harder to make the schedule work for everyone to be there….. but we will do our best and miss those that can’t make it.  And Mom will be happy we did.

I am SO grateful for parents who started and kept such special traditions in our family.  The thing that amazes me the most is that none of the spouses of us siblings had a spouse with Christmas Eve family traditions.  The party at the Bangerter home was the priority!  And you darn well better be there!  It wasn’t until the grandkids started getting married that we ran into conflicts with other family gatherings.  We were blessed to go so many years without those conflicts.

I’m grateful for my family and want them to treasure this time of year as much as I do.  I know Mom and Dad will be with us all in spirit, but I miss them so terribly much this time of year!

Much love to you all and may you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas with cherished loved ones by your side.  And if they aren’t able to be with you…. may you be able to communicate with them all your love.  MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL…. but especially to you MOM!!  May your first Christmas in Heaven with Daddy be one of your best!  You can SEE and MOVE and SING!  I love that….. it makes me so happy to think about that.  Miss you tons!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Serving in the Temple

I love serving in the temple!  I’ve always known that, but yesterday was really a reminder of just how much.

John and I have found a home we want to buy.  It’s being built so we won’t be able to move into it till the first of the year.  While we are very excited to make the move back into a house, we are saddened that we will be moving out of the Jordan River Temple district and therefore will need to be released as Ordinance Workers there.

John is having his knee replaced today, so yesterday was his last day.  With the Temple closing in a couple of weeks for cleaning and the Holidays coming up, it worked out to be his last day.  Depending on how things go with him, it may have been my last day too.  Knowing that, I was very melancholy as I performed my duties serving the Patrons.

It hit me the most as I was sitting in the front of the room for the Endowment session.  We had several older Sisters in wheel chairs on that session.  When that happens, it’s usually an opportunity for us to serve them even more than we would a healthier Patron because we are often needed to help them put on their Priesthood robes during the session.  I was lucky enough yesterday to have a Sister to help.  I love doing that.  It endears me to them so much.

As I observed those Sisters during the session, I was touched by what many of them are enduring in their old age.  One of the Sisters had Arthritis so bad in her hands its hard for her to hold her hands straight, which makes part of the ceremony a little more difficult.  Another of the Sisters feet are so twisted that taking off her shoes and putting them back on was a little difficult.  She is stuck in a wheel chair for the remainder of her life.  You could see that the muscles in her legs are disappearing as she is unable to use them.  It broke my heart for her, yet it made me so grateful that I had the chance to help her.

Jordan River Temple (photo by Kendall Davenport)
Jordan River Temple
(photo by Kendall Davenport)

I was choking back tears yesterday knowing that it might be my last chance to do that for sometime.  I was also choking back tears regarding everything that has happened to us in the last two weeks (both good and kind of scary)  that makes me very aware that my Heaven Father knows and loves me.  I know that he sent those Sisters to the temple yesterday to be on the session I was helping with, so I could have a reminder of just how much joy I receive doing His work there.  Not going to lie,  I’m not always in tune with the spirit when I work there.  Often I let my mind spin on worldly things and not focus on what I can feel there if I allow myself to do so.  That’s why yesterday was so special to me.  It completely made me focus and realize that it might be the last time for sometime that I will get to help perform those ordinances.  We hope to maybe work in the new Temple district once we get moved and settled, but it may be a while.

Because we work on the early shift on Wednesdays and have to get up so early, often I am tired while I’m there.  And often, I have been known to close my eyes during part of the session and doze off.  I’m not happy to admit that, but it happens more often than not.  Yesterday I was surprised at how I wasn’t tired.  Even though I had forgotten what night it was when I went to bed the night before and didn’t get to bed till 11 pm.  I was surprised at how much energy I had.  Again…. I think it was The Lords way of reminding me what joy I have had serving Him.

I’m so grateful for the blessing of working the The Lord’s House.  I have many sweet memories and have gained some wonderful friendships both with fellow workers and with Patrons who come so often.  What a blessing it is to do His work!  I guess I will have to settle for just being a Patron myself for a while.  I can always attend during the hours that we worked and hopefully be able to say “Hi” to some of those friends while we are there.  Being a Patron is a blessing too.  One I haven’t taken as much advantage of as I should.  Now I will have a chance to finish up those Family File cards a distant relative gave me to do.  And that….. will be a blessing too!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

No Better Day to Say Thanks!

Today, of all days, I suppose that it’s most appropriate for me to take a few minutes and express my gratitude for my country and the men and women who have fought to keep it free.

I sometimes wonder if we are teaching our youth the patriotism we should.  They aren’t allowed to recite the pledge of allegiance in school anymore…. where are they learning love for country?  Maybe I’m just out of the loop because I don’t have kids anymore…. but it’s a concern I have.

I remember patriotism being instilled in me as a child and then again when I reached college.   I was a member of a performing group called SOUNDS OF FREEDOM.  We sang a lot of patriotic songs and also sang other music that represented our country.  I was able to travel through a lot of the USA with them, including a tour back East of many of our country’s historical sites during our country’s Bicentennial in 1976.   It was a wonderful experience and only gave me more love of country.veterans-day-11

I hope that my children have learned a little of that through being a part of a performing group that I co-directed.  We tried to give them a little experience of Patriotism in a few songs.  Probably not enough, but hopefully a little.

And then there’s our Service Men and Women…..  How can we ever thank them for keeping our country safe?  My Dad was in the US Navy and now I have a nephew and his son who both serve in the US Army.  Both have been deployed over seas.  Luckily, both have returned safely.  At least for now.

There are so many who have sadly lost their life for our country.  How can we ever thank them and even their families for their sacrifice?  And for those who are serving now, words can’t really express my gratitude.  Thank you for doing your job willingly and for fighting for all of our freedoms.

God bless you all!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

I love this!  I hope you enjoy it too….  Wouldn’t be awesome if we all learned to recite it this way?  And how sad is it that his foresight at the end has come true!

Love One Another

I woke up the other morning with what I thought was quite a profound thought.

I enjoy reading books on Near Death Experiences (NDE’s).  I have read several of them and I’m in the process of reading one right now.  One of the things that you will find in common when reading about NDE’s is that each one felt an expression of an overwhelming feeling of being loved beyond anything they remember feeling on this earth before.    I love hearing that, but I wonder if I really understand even remotely the feeling they experienced.

I love my family.  I love my husband, I love my children.  I love and enjoy doing many things….. but do I really know what an overwhelming feeling of love is?  I’m sure you can all relate to having those moments when you feel the love for someone so much and so strongly that it kind of consumes you.  You feel a rush of energy coming from you heart and you can’t feel anything but blissfully happy.  Isn’t it an extraordinary feeling?1150416_598568200185881_733462880_n

Now…. I imagine, if we take the most profound feeling of love we have felt for someone and times it by a gazillion…. we might have an inkling of an idea of the kind of overwhelming love that someone talks about when they try to describe what they felt during an NDE.

EVERY book I have read about NDE’s say there are no words in our language as we know it to explain what they experienced.  Things are different over there.  We are in a different ‘realm’ and don’t experience time the same way we do here.

When I woke the other morning I was thinking about what I had read in the book the night before and the scripture in John 13: 34  came to mind:  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  

I think most of us are pretty familiar with that scripture.  In the LDS church, we have a short sweet beloved song based on that scripture, so it’s reiterated in our minds quite frequently.

As I have loved you, Love one another

This new commandment, love one another

By this shall men know, ye are my disciples

If ye have love, one to another

 

If we are commanded to ‘love one another as I have loved you’, and we REALLY don’t understand his infinite love for us….  then I wonder how much more intense our love will be for others when we ‘get it’?  When no longer have to fight the physical body and the natural man and it’s just our spirits communicating…. what will it feel like?  No words to describe it I suppose.

Yet… with all the capacity we can give in our mortal state to love, it’s still really an intense feeling for the here and now.  And it’s the best we can give… for now.

I guess my ‘profound’ thought was, that as much as I feel that intense love for my loved ones… I truly can’t comprehend what my Heavenly Father and Savior feel for me!  It just kind of hit me to think of their love for me being so much more intense than I can even comprehend or feel my my loved ones.

All I can do for now is do my best to love everyone.  It’s a daily job to pay attention to what we are thinking of others.  It’s so easy to criticize and not remember that Heavenly Father and our Savior love them just as much as he loves me!  That’s what we are put here in this life to do.  To learn to love all mankind.   If you read books about NDE’s you will find that that is the message that they all bring back…. we are here to love each other, that’s the most important lesson you can learn in this lifetime.970691_619646021413733_26011956_n

It’s really not so hard to be kind and helpful.  It’s the least we can do.  But it is much easier to do when we begin by loving ourselves.  Then we can pay that love forward to others.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

 

Tender Mercies

It’s been 11 days since we buried Mom.  Though I wasn’t getting out there to see her as much as I wanted to because of my health, it’s still an adjustment without her.  I find myself every once and a while wanting to call and check on her.  I’ve been amazed at all the little tender mercies that have occurred during this whole process of laying her to rest and in the days following.

Sometimes before people die, they make arrangements for things they want at their funeral.  That happened with my Dad.  We were in the process of trying to plan his service and not agreeing on who the speakers should be, etc.  I happened to be glancing through what he referred to as his ‘bible’ (the place where he kept all his important documents and records of things that were important to him), when I came across a small piece of note paper that was in his handwriting.  It just happened to be an exact list of what he wanted done for his funeral service.  Well…. that ended all disagreements and made things much easier from then on out.

We weren’t so lucky with Mom.  The only thing that we were aware of is that she had informed me several years before that the great grand kids were to sing, “In My Grandmother’s Old Fashioned Garden”, which was a song she had taught in Primary years ago.  I remembered most of the melody, but the music was scarce.  She happened to find it one day a long time ago and made me a copy and informed me it was to be sung.  That was several years ago.  Do you think I could find that copy when the time came for needing it?  Of course not!  Thanks Heavens for the internet and social media.

I went on Youtube to see if I could find anyone singing the song we had chosen for the older Grand kids to sing so they could start listening and learning.  Luckily I did find something.  Then I thought, just for the heck of it, I’m going to look for Grandmother’s Old Fashioned Garden.  I was amazed when I found a video of some Primary children in a ward here in the Salt Lake area singing it!  What were the chances of me finding that old song being sung on Youtube?  I think it was one of those tender mercies!  Then I noticed in the comments that the lady who had posted the video mentioned where you could find the music.  It was in an old Primary song book from the 1950’s.  The cover was very familiar to me, but I had no idea what had happened to my Mom’s copy of it.  The lady’s comments also said that if you couldn’t find it, to let her know and she would email it to you.

I didn’t know how fast her response would be, because sometimes people don’t see it when a comment is made on things for quite sometime.  I decided to give it a try and I mentioned that it was urgent that I get a copy.  In the meantime, I went to Facebook to put the troops to work in helping me find the music.  I was amazed at the immediate response I got on Facebook.  Many friends were familiar with the old song or the book it was in and went on a hunt to find their copy.

However, I was even more surprised when I received a phone call from the lady that had put it on Youtube.  I wasn’t able to take the call at the time, but she left me a message saying she would call me later that night.  I never heard from her that night, but I did find a copy of it from her in my email that night!  I also received messages from several friends on Facebook that they had found the song book and were happy to loan it to me.  Again….. tender mercies!  After getting a copy of the music, I was going through some newer Primary songs and played through “I Often Go Walking”.  I started to cry as I was singing through it and knew that we needed to add it to the other song for the great grand kids to sing.  I knew Mom would like that.

Not only were we able to find the music to the one song she had requested, but in the process of discussing who we thought should speak, we had been throwing a few names around of some of the grand kids and a dear neighbor that Mom loved.  My one niece, whose name we had mentioned, had been out of town when my Mom had taken her fall and she hadn’t had a chance to come visit her since the fall.  She finally was able to make it on her way home from her trip on Sunday night.  By that time, Mom was pretty much in a comatose state, so Shellie wasn’t really able to visit with her as much as just know she had come to see her and give her her love.  As we were sitting around talking, I mentioned to Shellie that her name had come up as a possible speaker.  She just kind of smiled and didn’t really say anything.  Her husband, on the other hand, piped right up and said, “You know Grandma told Shellie she was speaking at her funeral about a year ago.”  Shellie didn’t seem too happy with him for sharing that information, because, let’s be honest…. who really wants to speak at someones’ funeral?  Especially someone you love so much.  Well…. as far as I was concerned, that was a sign that we had been inspired when bringing up her name as a possibility to speak.

Then, my sister was at her daughter’s house and mentioned to her that we had been discussing her as a possible speaker too.  Well…  Jenny confessed that Grandma had told her she was to speak also.  But neither of them really wanted to share that info.  But, there you have it!  Proof once again we had been inspired.  The other name was of a nephew that my sister was aware of that my Mom had asked also.  Well…. three speakers was probably a little long, so we assigned my nephew the opportunity of reading the eulogy and had the two nieces speak.  One did her life sketch, and the other talked about memories and the great lady she was.  Tender mercies.

As far as the music goes…..  once we found the one song she had requested, we needed to figure out the other music.  Music was a big part of my Mother’s life.  At one point in time, she had said that was all she wanted for her funeral….. just music.  We informed her that that wasn’t possible to do for an LDS service.  The guidelines stated that you need to have some doctrinal things taught at the service.  Besides…. I think she really knew she would want her grand kids to speak, but we knew she would still want several musical numbers.

I knew Mom would want me to sing.  She used to do solos for funerals all the time when she was younger.  I’ve sung for several funerals before, but it’s very different when it’s your own Mother.  I couldn’t do it for my Dad’s.  I don’t know why… but I just knew I would never make it through a song.  The only reason I agreed to do it for Mom was because I knew she would haunt me if I didn’t.  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  I’ve been performing with a couple of my close friends for a long time.  We used to perform a lot.  The last few years, they only ‘gig’ we’ve had has been coming to my Mom’s rest home and performing for all the people there at Christmas time.  It always meant a lot to Mom when we did that.  So…. I figured I would enlist my friends help to sing with me at her funeral.  I knew she would like that.  Now…. we’ve been singing together for years but mostly fun entertaining stuff.  We have done a few religious programs over the years and there were a couple of songs I was considering that we had sung in those programs before.  I figured that would be the easiest.  However, my mind kept coming to a women’s arrangement of “The Lord Is My Shepherd” that was in our hymn book.  I had sung it before many years ago with some friends in high school and then of course during church meetings as a congregation at women’s meetings, but I had never sung it with these particular friends.  Still… that’s the song that kept coming to me, so that’s what we went with.  Luckily, a friend volunteered her husband to be the pianist for all the music and he is able to ‘flourish’ the music on his own.  That made singing the arrangement in the hymn book a little nicer.

The final song that the older grand kids sang actually came as an inspiration to my sister.  She happened to text me one day and said she thought it would be nice to have it sung at the funeral.  The minute she mentioned the title I felt very good about it.  It was a song I was familiar with and had sung several years before.  Once again, we were able to easily find the music and with the Youtube video for them to listen to, they could learn it on there own and just get together to go over it the night before and the day of the service.  They sounded wonderful on it.  We have some musical talent in the family that has been passed on down from my Mom.  Again…. I felt tender mercies were sent for all the music choices.

The service was beautiful.  It was a very fitting tribute to my Mother.  I know she was happy with it.

This is me and by siblings at the cemetery in behind Mom's casket.  I'm in the middle.  Aren't the flowers beautiful?
This is me and by siblings at the cemetery behind Mom’s casket. I’m in the middle. Aren’t the flowers beautiful?

The most profound tender mercy we received as at the cemetery.  As we gathered around her grave site for the dedicatory prayer, my sisters and I all sat on the front row of seats they had set up under the canopy directly in front of her resting place.  It was a cloudy and chilly day.  It wasn’t freezing, but we all had a coat on to keep us warm.  My brothers we all standing in other places and were not sitting with us on the front row.  The very minute my brother in law started the dedicatory prayer, there was a wave of warmth that overcame us.  I felt it mostly on my legs and wondered if the clouds had broken for a moment and the sun was coming through.  Or I wondered if maybe they had set up heaters under the canopy like they do on occasion when the weather is really cold and that they just had forgotten to turn them on.  Well…. when the prayer ended… so did the warmth and my sisters and I all looked at each other.  Sherrie said, “Did you feel that?”  All three of us agreed that we had felt a surge of warmth, but no clouds had departed, no heaters were in place and the three of us were the only ones who had experienced it.  We all agreed immediately that it was a sign from Mom of her love for us and that she was happy and thrilled with what had gone on at the service.  Perhaps a sign from both Mom and Dad letting us know they were together again and happy.  It was a sweet and tender moment.  One I will not forget.  Thanks, Mom and Dad for sending us that love.

In the time since her service, I have had many dear friends send cards and gifts.  A couple of them have deeply touched me.  One, a figurine given to me by my friends I sing with is of a mother and a daughter hugging.  Maybe you’re familiar with Willow Tree figurines.  This one is called ‘Close to Me’.  It is beautiful and I will think of Mom every time I look at it.

Another gift was brought to me by a dear neighbor and friend.  It is a beautiful picture that she put in a frame of Christ with open arms to a woman coming through the veil.  The most wonderful part of the picture is that the woman on the earthly side of the veil is old and frail using a cane.  The woman that passes through the veil is young and vibrate as she runs toward Christ.  It’s so beautiful and a testimony of what we believe as Latter Day Saints.  Though the picture would only represent what her spirit is like…. young and full of life….  we believe that after the resurrection, we will be restored to our former healthy and whole (and young) bodies. (Alma 40:23)

Another tender mercy that came my way just this week happened at the temple on Wednesday.  Not only have I received comfort while in the temple the last couple of weeks, this one happened while I was waiting outside in the car for my husband.  Since I haven’t been working regularly at the temple the last several months because of my health, my Coordinator had assigned me a fairly easy schedule that actually ended a good hour or more before my husbands assignment would be done.  For some reason, I decided that day that I would go take care of some errands while John finished his assignments instead of waiting in the temple for him like I did the week before.  After going to the bank and the grocery store, I was just sitting in my car in front of the temple waiting for John.  Because of the business that I have, I have my name on the back of my car as well as the name of the product I represent.  For this reason….. a distant cousin (whom I’ve only met once in the temple) stopped to see if it was me.  I had met this cousin while working in the temple many months before.  I had learned that her last name was Bangerter, my maiden name, and so we began talking.  I discovered that she and her husband had been carrying on the genealogy research that his father Neslen and been doing for the Bangerter family for years.  She had many family names that she could give me so that I could do some temple work for them myself.  I was so excited about this prospect!  I love doing work for family members.

I hadn’t heard from her (she had misplaced my name and information) and had completely forgotten about it when she saw my car with my name and had her husband stop.  Once she reminded me who she was, she wanted to know if I wanted some family names to do the work for.  Of course!  I was so thrilled to get family names to do!  That will give me motivation to get to the temple more often than I do so I can be a patron instead of just a worker.  Again…. timing?  Coincidence that I should be there in my car?  Yes…. all of the above, but to me, it was just one more tender mercy from Heavenly Father reaffirming all that I believe in the after life.  And perhaps…. Mom and Dad had a hand in it.

I’m grateful for all the tender mercies that have happened.  I’m grateful too that I am able to recognize them as such.  I’m sure they will continue.  I will miss Mom… it’s hard to imagine life without her.  Thankfully I still have a message from her on my phone so I can hear her voice on occasion asking me how I’m doing.  Another tender mercy?  I think so.

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

Story Day 20 — If Your Missing Jesus, Call 7126

Thanks to my husband looking through some old files I had on my comuputer…. today’s story is perfect to end our story a day series with.  I took the liberty of renaming the story, since it was just titled ‘A Beautiful Story”.  I think you’ll see why I did that.  There is no known Author to my knowledge.  Hopefully, he/she would approve!

Often things that appear to be a mistake are really only there to put you in the right place at the right time.  That’s the way with this story.  Answering the call of need when unexpected.  Again…. a great example of what Christmas is all about!

I hope your Christmas day was filled with family, friends and love and that these stories have brought you a little Christmas cheer this season.

If Your Missing Jesus,  Call 7126 baby jesus hunt 8

About a week before Christmas, Mom bought a new nativity scene. When she unpacked it, she found two figures of the Baby Jesus. “Someone must have packed this wrong,” mother said, counting out the figures. “We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel, and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two.”

“You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it’s freezing cold out there.” The manager of the store copied down mother’s message, and the next time we were in the store, we saw the cardboard sign that read, “If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long we waited for someone to call. Surely, we thought, someone was missing that important figurine.

Each time the phone rang, mother would say, “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus.” But it never was. Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested that she just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. “Put Baby Jesus back in the box?! What a terrible thing to do,” said mother. “Surely someone will call. We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone does.”

When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father “just run down to the store” to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window, over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.” “Run down to the store?” father thundered. “It’s 15 below zero out there!” “Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you!”

We began to put on our coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. We ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Tommy got to the store first and pressed his nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” he shouted. “Every set must be sold. Hooray! The mystery will be solved tonight!”  Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home.

When we got back into the house, we noticed that  mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. “Someone must have called, and she went out to deliver the figurine,” father reasoned, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother’s present.”

Then the phone rang. Father yelled “answer the phone and tell ’em we found a home for Jesus.” But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. “Now what has she gotten us into?” father groaned as we bundled up again. “205 Chestnut. Why that’s across town. Wrap that milk up good in the  blankets, or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can’t we all just  get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this.”

When we got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room, and the moment we set foot on the porch steps, mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here! Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.”

“Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?” father asked. “We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.”

“Never mind all that now,” mother interrupted. “There is no heat in this house, and this young mother is so upset, she doesn’t know what to do. Her husband walked out on her, and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy. My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch.

The children’s mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of  furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down. “I  been doin’ washin’ an ironin’ for people and cleanin’ the five and dime,” she said. “I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept goin’ through my mind….7162, “Said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people, willin’ to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight, and I called your missus. I’m not missin’ Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin’ heat. I have no money to fix that furnace.”

“Okay, okay,” said father. “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s see. You’ve got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn’t be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I’ll look it over, see what it needs.”

Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wideeyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them.

Father finally got the oil burner working but said, “You need more oil. I’ll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place.” Father grinned. On the way home, father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. “Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you’ve got that pickup truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?” By this time the rest of the family was pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after our bedtime when we were wrapping gifts.

The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let us ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn’t a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that’s what He does.

Author Unknown

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Story Day 19 — The Gift of the Magi

Perhaps one of the most well known Christmas stories is the ‘Gift of the Magi’.  A lesson to be learned here is that of sacrificing something very precious all for the benefit of another that you love.  Who could ask for a more difficult thing of another?

If you’ve never read or heard the story, I hope you will enjoy it.  If you have…. perhaps it will be a reminder to you of a true display of love.

Merry Christmas!

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

by O. Henry

giftofmagiOne dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

I am Grateful!  How are You?