Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 361, December 31

Here it is New Year's Eve day.  And I'm still trying to figure things out.  I gave up making New Year's goals a long time ago, as I kept failing at them. 

Instead, I make promises.  I occasionally break them as well, but I find that a promise made carries more weight (at least for me) than a formal goal.   One of the promises I've made for myself for the new year is to find greater joy in small things.  (Another one of those cliches.) 

When I can do this, when I can feel and recognize joy in listening to songs by Primary children, in the softness of my cat's face against mine, in the appearance of the sun after a gray day, then I know I am on the right track.

This I know for sure:  finding joy is more about recgonizing it than in searching for it.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 360, December 30

The year is drawing to a close, as is this blog.  I promised myself that by this time I would know what or if to write for the new year.  But I'm still struggling.

To those who have followed this blog, I thank you.  I appreciate your comments, both on the blog and in other ways.  I appreciate your encouragement.  I appreciate you.

Blogging every day is not easy.  But blogging about what you believe makes it easier.

This I know for sure:  this year has been a journey of awakening for me.  I hope you found a bit of awakening for yourself as well.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 359, December 29

I had another blog prepared for today but a recent experience demanded that I pre-empt it and write about something different.

Three days ago, I heard the sound of scraping coming from outside. I peered out the window and saw a young girl from our ward shoveling the snow from our sidewalks and driveway. She had come of her own accord.   When I told her that I must pay her for her work, she adamantly efused. Finally, she accepted a few candies as a token of my thanks.. Her selfless act is evidence of the Savior at work in her life ... and mine ... and the righteous example her parents set for her and her brothers and sisters.

I've written before about this remarkable family of seven children and their loving parents.  They quietly serve others and the Lord with no thought of recompense or reward.    I sometimes wonder why the media does not feature such families.  Would not this be a welcome replacement to the mayhem and violence on which too often they focus?

This I know for sure:  I am blessed to have this sweet family in my life.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 358, December 28

Yesterday I wrote about Michael McLean's Forgotten Carols.  Each song is a testimony to the Savior.  Each song is a testimony to hope.

Too frequently we (the world) misunderstand the concept of hope.  We say, "I hope to be a better person."  Or, "I have hope that the world can be kinder in the new year."  Or some such thing.

It's fine to hope for these things.  But real hope, true hope, lies in the Savior.  For, without Him, hope is as futile as my trying to change myself.  I am powerless to do that.  I am powerless in even wanting to do that if I insist upon doing it on my own.

This I know for sure:  real hope comes when we forsake our arrogance and accept our own powerlessness.  Real hope will always lie in the Savior.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 357, December 27

At our ward's  (congregation) Christmas party, several talented members sang songs from Michael McLean's Forgotten Carols collection.  One song in particular moved me to tears.  The song, written from Joseph's, Christ's earthly father, point-of-view answers a question posed to him by a woman as she asks, "Are you the father of the man who was crucified?"

Joseph replied, "I was not His Father; He was mine."   Joseph goes on to ask how a man so flawed could raise the Son of God.    The words "a man (woman) so flawed ..."  were a poignant reminder of my own fallen state.   So I will change the words slightly:  How can a woman so flawed hope to follow the Son of God?

The short answer is, "I can't."

The longer answer is that I can't, but that the Savior can change me to make me to WANT to follow Him.  And that is the key:  that the Savior can change me, in my sinful, fallen state to want to follow Him.  He does all this and more through the Atonement.

This I know for sure:  I can't.  The Savior can.  Always.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 356, December 26

The day after Christmas can be a let-down.  But I am filled with renewed optimism for the remaining days of this year and for the new year.  Finding my voice in this blog has awakened my love of writing.  My writing for publication has had a rocky road this past year. 
A hip replacement, numerous rejections, and other disappointments sometimes derailed me, but this blog, with a few days' exception, was a constant. 

More than the writing, though, is an awareness of what I know, what I feel, what I believe.  Even after (many) decades of living, I frequently wonder what my purpose here on earth is.  What is it I'm supposed to be doing?  What is it I'm supposed to be learning?  Writing about what I know is true is confirmation that I do have a purpose, even when I sometimes get lost along the way.

This I know for sure:  each of us has a purpose.  Each of us must fulfill our measure of creation.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 355, December 25 - Christmas Day

"The real Christmas come to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force.  The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master ... "  Howard W. Hunter

When I searched for a quote for this most holy of days, I came upon this by Prophet and President of the Church Howard W. Hunter.  President Hunter himself was a quiet man,  with quiet words spoken in a powerful manner.  Never was he more powerful than when speaking of the Savior.

And does that not describe Christ?  Quiet words spoken with power.  Chirst gave the earth the greatest of all gifts--that of the Atonement.  Nothing that has ever happened before, nothing that will ever happen since will come close to that extraordinary act, atoning for all of the sins ever committed, atoning for all the tears ever shed, atoning for all the cries ever uttered.

This I know for sure:  the world has yet to recognize the significance of the Atonement.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 354, December 24

A week ago in church, a lady spoke of Mary, mother of Jesus.  Mary is one of my favorite persons in the scriptures.  What courage it must have taken for that young girl to declare herself "the handmaiden of the Lord," to submit to His will, when carrying a baby out of wedlock could result in death by stoning.

Once again, she demonstrated her courage when she and Joseph fled to a strange country--Egypt--to protect her Son.  And yet again, Mary revealed her courage when she was present at the crucifixion of her Son.  Her grace, her strength, her faith marked her every action, her every word.

This I know for sure:  Mary was truly one of the noble and great ones.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 353, December 23

"Some people despise the little things in life.  It is their mistake, for they thus prevent themselves from getting God' greatness out of these little things."--Meister Eckhart

It's not always easy to find joy in the little things in life.  However, when we do that, we increase our abundance and our happiness a hundred, even a thousand, fold.

I have a friend who delights in the songbirds that gather at the front of her home.  She sets out birdfeed to attract these small blessings.  Dorothy, a dear friend who passed away four years ago, took pleasure in reading and re-reading cards sent to her.  She loved to read the sentiments from her friends, to laugh at the silliness of some cards, to shed a tear or two at others.

Small things?  Yes.  But profound.  And isn't that the way of life?  The small things make up the large part of our  lives.  If we ignore them, eschew them, then we are also ignoring and eschewing God Himself.

This I know for sure:  out of small things, large things arise.  And in small things, if we are looking, we will see the hand of God.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 352, December 22

Finding joy in what and who I am is a talent that continues to elude me.  Why am I so hard on myself when I am willing to cut others some slack?   I'm still trying to figure that out.

One explanation might be that I am the older child in my family constellation (oldest children being more likely to be over-achievers and therefore harder on themselves).  Another explanation might be that I suffer from depression, which occasionally makes me view myself in a negative light.  Yet another explanation might consist of a combination of these and other factors.

This I know for sure:  when I love myself, I am more likely to love others.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 351, December 21

Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."  Luke 12:15

Not for the first time I have pondered on the order of the Ten Commandments.  "Thou shalt not covet" comes at the end, seemingly as an after-thought.  However, I have often thought that if I can refrain from coveting, the other commandments will take care of themselves. 

If I do not covet another's possessions, I will not be tempted to take what does not belong to me.  If I do not covet another's repurtation, I will not be tempted to speak ill of him or to bear false witness against him.  And so it goes.

This I know for sure: when I shun the sin of coveting, I keep the other commandments.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 350, December 20

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  Phillipians 4:8

Does this seem an odd scripture to quote at Christmas?  Perhaps.  But when I think of Christ, I think of the true, the honorable, the just, the lovely, the gracious, the excellent, the praiseworthy.   These qualities are the hallmark of the Savior. 

This I know for sure:  if we measure our words, our actions, our thoughts by this standard (that of the Lord), we will not go wrong.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 349, December 19

"To plow is to pray--to plant is to prophesy and the harvest answers and fulfills."--R.G. Ingersoll

I have never thought of plowing, planting, and harvesting in this way until I came upon these beautiful words.  I will probably never plow a field; the only thing I plant is the occasional flower.  But I can harvest the bounty of other works.

 I can rejoice in a card from a friend, knowing that I have sowed the seeds of friendship.  I can find joy in the "I love you, Grandma" over the phone from a grandchild, knowing I have worked to stay close to him even though thousands of miles separate us.

This I know for sure:  the law of the harvest is everywhere, in everything.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 348, December 18

"Celebrate what you an do and be patient with what you can't do.  Trust that all will work out and even the delays may be part of the plan.  You don't have to do everything at once.  Take baby steps, not giant leaps.  And let your heart lead the way."  Candy Paull

Don't you love the author's use of the verb "celebrate" in the above?  How often do I bemoan that I can't do something?  Whether due to a lack of time or a lack of skills or a lack of energy, I berate myself for not being able to do everything that my friends and others around me.

When I was a young mother, I learned to pace myself.  I could not do the community service I longed to do but I could help in my children's schools.  I could not spend hours upon hours with my writing, but I could snatch stolen moments here and there to write a short story.  I could not hold a full time job and bring a second income into our home, but I could practice thrift and therefore save our family money.

This I know for sure:  when we celebrate what we can do, we show our gratitude to the Father.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 347, December 17

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke

Knowing that I love good quotes, a sweet friend sent this to me.  The words resonated within me as I tend to not want to do things when I know I do them badly.  I don't particularly like that trait in myself, but there it is.  How much happiness do I deny myself because I fear failing?  A lot, I'm afraid.

I've never excelled at sports and avoid them at all costs.  But could I find a bit of pleasure in joining a softball game and trying to hit a ball?  Couldn't I laugh at myself and my ineptness?  Likewise, I've never been skilled at sewing and other needlecrafts, but if I practiced enough, maybe I could fashion something useful, if not lovely. 

This I know for sure:  much of life's joy come from trying something new and discovering that I like it.  (Like broccoli!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 346, December 16

"When we keep the Spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ."--President Thomas S Monson, Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

What is the Spirit of Christmas?   Is it the giving of presents?  That is part of it.  Is it performing acts of service?  Yet another part.  Is it finding joy in the Christmas hymns?  Still another part.  None of these, however, embrace the true Spirit that we, sometimes, try to feverishly capture.

Christ's birth occurred in humble circumstances.  It was not heralded with the sounding of trumpets but with the voice of an angel announcing it to the shepherds.  Christ came into the world with a quietness that is at odds with the noise and confusion of our present culture.  There was no fancy layette with which to receive him, no costly banquets with which to celebrate this most holy event the world has ever known.

And, perhaps, this is how we should pattern our Christmas celebrations.  Quietly.  Softly.  Reverently.  One of my sweetest Christmas memories occurred many years ago when our family was struggling financially.  Someone left a box of food on our doorstep.  Inside were a turkey, the fixings for stuffing, fresh fruit, homebaked bread and jellies, and pie.  There was no note, no indication of our benefactor.  I started to look at our friends and neighbors with new eyes, wondering who had put together such a thoughtful and much-needed gift.

That anonymous act brought the Spirit of Christmas into our home ... and into my heart. 

This I know for sure:  the Spirit of Christmas should not belong to one month but should be kept throughout the year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 345, December 15

"Abundance is ... knitting needles and a ball of yarn."--Candy Paull

I love this view on abundance.  It reminds me of some special people in my life.  My mother-in-law was a multi-talentend woman,  who was able to sew, crochet, and knit beautifully.  Many of her creations went to her grandchildren, who loved the handmade things with which she gifted them. 

As well as treating her grandchildren to these lovely fashions, she also made things for our church's Humanitarian projects.  She knitted anything that could be knit and donated them with a loving heart.  One of the things she did which most touched me was to knit bandages for individuals suffering from leprosy.  These she made with a very fine needle and yarn, the delicacy of the bandages a testament of the care she took with every stitch.  When she passed away, her daughters and a son-in-law finished many of her projects and donated them tot the Humanitarian Services in her name.  What a tremendous legacy.

I have a dear friend who not only pens wonderful, heart-felt novels but also dresses dolls which she donates at Christmas time for children who live in shelters.  These dolls closely resemble American Girl dolls, with handmade clothes, including tiny handknit sweaters.  Each doll is unique, a quiet expression of my friend's love for these children who have so little.

This I know for sure:  when we give of ourselves, we give everything.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 344, December 14

   The following year, Dorothy was again expecting her out-of-

town relatives for the holidays.  She wanted to be able to

entertain them with a few treats but bemoaned her lack of funds.

     Again, I shelved my pride.  Again, I emailed and called

friends.  Again, Dorothy's friends responded with generosity,

despite a downturn in the economy.

     With the $300 we received, we bought a gift certificate to

the grocery store, slipped it in a card, and presented it to her

a week before her relatives were due to arrive.

     Tears gathered in her eyes.  "It's too much.  It's too


     "It's exactly right," I said.  "Exactly right for a special


     We took Dorothy shopping and encouraged her to splurge on a

few delicacies as well as the essentials for Christmas dinner.

Chocolates and cherries.  Crabcakes and pasta salad.  Sparkling

apple juice and eggnog.  All found their way into her shopping


     She laughed delightedly over every extravagance, pressed my

hand, then laughed again.

     After the holidays, she called and regaled me with stories

of her family's pleasure in the unexpected feast.

     Sadly, Dorothy passed away six months later.  At the funeral

service held in our church, her brother spoke and thanked members

of the congregation for caring so tenderly for his sister.  Among

other things, he recounted the Christmas gifts.

     I looked around at the faces of those attending and saw the

same individuals and families who had contributed so freely to

gifts for our dear friend.

     Dorothy's spirit lives on, and I imagine her in heaven

laughing at a joke and reminding me not to "drive like an old


     I say a prayer, grit my teeth, and race down the street,

hoping Dorothy is proud of me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 343, December 13

     Dorothy walked with a pronounced slump, due to several

operations on her back and hips.  Occasionally she used a cane,

but she normally depended upon a walker to help her get around.

     That December morning, while I waited in line with her at

the store pharmacy for her prescriptions, she looked wistfully at

a lightweight walker.  "I wish I had the money for that.  It's

the Cadillac of walkers." 

     No child wishing for a shiny red bike had ever gazed at

"wheels" with such longing.  She gave a rueful glance at her old

walker that had to be lifted with every step.  Like many seniors,

Dorothy lived on a meager social security check that left little

for "extras."

     Discreetly, I checked the price of the walker and winced

when I read it.  It was far more than our anemic checking account


     My husband and I took Dorothy back to her apartment, helped

her inside with her sack of groceries, and promised to visit the

following day, Christmas Eve.

     We returned home.  An idea niggled at the back of my mind.

Could we pull it off?

     Tentatively, I voiced it aloud to my husband.  Could we buy

the walker for Dorothy?  Alone, we couldn't afford it, but with

the help of friends, we could.

     Only one problem remained:  overcoming my embarrassment at

admitting that we didn't have the necessary funds on our own.  My

pride took a backseat to helping a friend.

     I began emailing and calling Dorothy's friends, both in the

community and in our church, explaining the situation, stressing

that any amount would help. 

     The money began arriving.  Five dollars here.  Ten dollars

there.  Twenty and twenty-five.

     Elated, I counted the money.  With what my husband and I

could contribute, we had sufficient for the walker.

     We hurried back to the store and purchased it.  I bought a

card and took it to her friends to sign.

     Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday.  Following church services,

we drove the short distance to Dorothy's home and found her with

her brother, his wife, and two grown sons. 

     My husband carried in a large box topped with a bright green

bow.  "Merry Christmas," he said.

     Dorothy looked perplexed.  "You're already given me a

present," she protested.

     "This is from all your friends."  I gave her the card

containing more than a dozen signatures.

     She repeated every name, still not understanding.

     In the meantime, Larry opened the box and put the walker

together.  The surprise and pleasure on Dorothy's face shone

brighter than the Christmas star.

     I looked more closely and saw that what I took for pleasure

was, in reality, joy.

     "You did this for me?" she asked in an awed voice.

     "We did it," I said, gesturing to the card.

     Dorothy used the walked constantly, becoming very adept at

maneuvering it through grocery store aisles, at church, at doctor

     That wasn't the end of the story, though

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 342, December 12

Dear friends,
I'm doing another story in installments.  This time, the story is true.  I hope you'll enjoy it.
                   DOROTOHY AND THE WALKER


     Early Saturday morning, December 23rd, the phone shrilled.

     "Jane, can you and Larry take me to the store?" my eighty-

two-year-old friend, Dorothy, asked. "I want to pick up a few

things before my company arrives."

     "We'll be there in fifteen minutes," I promised.   

     Though she suffered from many physical ailments, Dorothy

maintained a spirit of laughter and fun that infected everyone

fortunate enough to call her friend. 

     Despite the nearly thirty years that separated us, we had

become fast friends. I chauffeured her to doctor appointments,

to the store, to lunch at a small diner where she insisted upon

treating me.  All the while, she encouraged me not to "drive like

an old lady." 

     "I like to move," she said.  With a prayer on my lips and

Dorothy's hand on my elbow, urging me to go yet faster, we

careened through intersections, earning, I am certain, a few

choice words and gestures from other drivers.

     One of Dorothy's favorite activities during the Christmas

season was to go to a novelty store where we pushed the buttons

of all the holiday characters, sending them into frenzied song

and dance.  No plush Santa, stuffed snowman, or gaily dressed elf

was safe from our mischievous fingers.

     Clerks and shoppers gave us indulgent looks. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 341, December 11

I love Christmas.  I love the word, a remembrance of our Savior.  I love ths sound of the word.  In fact, I love everything about Christmas.

Like many others, I am distressed when I come upon words such as "Happy Holidays" or "Holiday Party" or "Holiday Celebration" at this time of year.  This is the season of Christmas.  This is the season of Christ.  (As should all seasons be.)  When we, in some clumsy attempt to be politically correct, substitute "Holiday" or other words for Christmas,  I cringe. 

A small thing?  Perhaps.  But from small things grow big things.  How tragic it would be if we take Christmas right out of the season.  As I said, I love Christmas.  I love the secrets that people share when they try to surprise a loved one.  I love the special acts of kindness and generosity that we extend to others.  I love the carols.  Most of all, I love remembering that this season, this most holy one of the year, is when we celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Yes, presents and eggnog and tinsel are not of Christ.  But the spirit of giving, of service, of finding joy are of Christ.    When we take Christmas from  the season, I fear that we will someday take Christ from the season as well.

This I know for sure:  Christmas begins with Christ.  And, if we're very lucky, it will never end.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 340, December 10

"Our task is to become our best selves.  One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure need ever be final."--Thomas S. Monson, Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In this season, when our thoughts so frequently (too frequently) turn to  material gifts, how lovely it is to think of God's gifts.  And what greater gift can He give us is the knowledge that we can try again?   And again.  And again. 

When I reflect on how many times I've wanted to give up on myself, on my efforts in a hundred different areas, I remember that Heavenly Father hasn't given up on me.   So what gives me the right to give up on myself?

This I know for sure:  Heavenly Father and His Son are infinite in Their patience, infinite in Their love, infinite in Their glory.  I only fail if I fail to acknowledge Their gifts to me.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 339, December 9

Yesterday our son Hyrum attended the temple for the first time, where he made convenants with the Lord.  As family and friends gathered in that holy place, my heart was filled with joy, joy that Hyrum chose to make these covenants, joy that he would soon be sealed in the Denver Temple with the young woman with whom he will spend time and all eternity.

Choosing to go to the temple is not a decision to be made lightly.  The covenants one makes there are both sacred and binding.  For those of you who are not LDS (Mormon), you may not know that one covenant is that of sacrifice.  One of the components of sacrifice is to pay a full tithing and offerings to the Lord.  In a world where materialism reigns, this is not an insignificant thing.  How grateful I am that Hyrum has already made this a way of life.

This I know for sure:  making covenants with the Lord brings both privilege and responsibility.  It is our job to honor those covenants; we need never fear that the Lord will not honor His.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 338, December 8

Sorrow is how we learn to love. Your heart isn't breaking. It hurts because it's getting larger. The larger it gets, the more love it holds.

Rita Mae Brown

I have never thought of sorrow in positive terms.  Sorrow means hurting.  It means weeping.  It means aching, often because someone you love is hurting, weeping, aching.

But Ms. Brown's words gave me a new perspective.  Sorrow is what the Savior felt when He took upon the sins of the world.  Sorrow is what He feels still when He sees me, or any of us, committing sin.

So maybe there is a lesson in sorrow.  If, in my sorrow, I can find more compassion, more empathy, more understanding for another's needs, then that sorrow is not wasted.

This I know for sure:  sorrow is an inevitable part of life.  What I learn from it and how I use it largely determines what kind of person I am.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 337, December 7


     "You look exhausted," Sara said when Greg arrived the following night. 

     They planned to take Danny to see the Christmas lights at the state capitol, spend some time together as a family, but a grueling day at the office had zapped his energy and left him drained.  

     "Give me a few minutes.  I'll be fine."

     "We're still going, aren't we, Dad?" Danny asked, hopping from one foot to the other.

     The weariness slipped away as Greg saw the excitement in his son's eyes.  "You bet," he said, swinging Danny up to his shoulder. 

     The next hours were the happiest he could remember.  They returned home exhausted but happy.  

     Reluctantly, he left Sara and Danny to return to his empty apartment.  The silence mocked the laughter he'd shared with his wife and son only hours earlier.  His footsteps echoed across the carpet as he sank down on the bed, not bothering to undress.  The future rolled out before him, a depressing picture of loneliness.

     For the first time since he'd been a child, he knelt by his bed.  The words felt awkward upon his lips as he poured out his heart to God.

     "Please, Father, let Sara and me and Danny find our way back together.  I don't want to be alone."


     "Do you hear?" Prudie asked, unable to hide her excitement.  "He's praying.  He believes."

     Sister Endurance looked at Prudie with compassion.  "Does he, dear?"

     "Of course he does.  Don't you hear him?"

     "His words come from fear of loneliness.  They must come from the heart if they are to reach heaven."  Endurance took herself off, leaving Prudie alone with her thoughts.

     Prudie paused, listening again.  Endurance was right.  Greg's prayer was one of fear.  How could she turn it into one of love?


     Greg jerked up from his knees.  He'd heard something.  Music?  No, it'd been a voice.  "Who's there?"

     The voice came again.  "Tell Sara you love her."

     "Who's there?" he demanded more loudly, squinting into the darkness.

     "A friend."

     He flipped on the lights.  "If this is some kind of joke ..."

     "It's no joke, Greg.  Sara and Danny need you.  You need them."

     He was going crazy.  That was it.  Too much work.  Worry over Danny.  He waited, but the voice didn't return.

     By the following morning, he'd managed to convince himself he'd imagined the voice from last night.  Almost.

     It wasn't until the elevator ride to his office on the twenty-third floor that he heard the voice again.  "You don't belong here, Greg.  You're not happy."

     He looked around, wondering why the elevator's other occupants hadn't reacted to the voice. 

     "Did you hear that?" he asked the woman standing next to him.

     "No," she said, inching away from him.  "Not a thing."

     "Leave this place," the voice said.  "Go home to Sara and Danny."

     "Sara doesn't love me anymore," he said, not caring that people were staring at him.

     "How do you know unless you ask her?"  The voice was tart with impatience.

     Greg reached his office, smiled at his secretary, and told her to take the day off. 

     She gave him a puzzled look, murmured a thank-you, and gathered up her belongings.

     The resignation took less time than five minutes to type.

He looked around his office.  With the exception of a family picture, there was nothing he wanted to take with him.  Suddenly, he couldn't wait to escape the rarefied atmosphere of Harper and Cameron.

     On the way to the house, he rehearsed what he'd say.  He'd been given another chance.  He didn't intend to blow it.        He pushed on the doorbell.  When Sara opened the door, his carefully planned words fled.  "I quit my job."

     "You what?"

     "Quit.  Resigned.  Left."

     She looked at him in concern.  "Are you all right?"

     "I'm great," he said.  "For the first time in a long time.  I'm going to open up my own office again, practice the kind of law I was meant to." 

     "I'm happy for you, Greg."

     He caught her face between his hands and kissed her.  "I love you.  I never stopped."

     "If it's because of Danny--"

     "I love Danny.  But that's not why I'm here.  I'm here because of you.  And me.  I want us to be a family again.  If you'll have me."

     "Oh, Greg, if you really mean that ..."

     "More than I've ever meant anything in my life."


     Prudie wiped a tear from her cheek, not caring if her wing rusted. 

     "You did a good job, Probationer Prudence.  We will overlook that little indiscretion with the voices," Brother Michael said, the twinkle in his eyes belying the stern note in his voice.

     Prudie assumed her most innocent expression.  "Voices?"

     He stretched forth a wing, and the veil separating heaven and earth lifted.  "Look."

     Prudie watched as the scene unfolded to reveal Danny kneeling beside his bed.

     "Thank you for bringing Dad back," Danny prayed in an earnest voice.  "He says we're going to be a family again.  Him and Mom and me.  Mom started crying when they told me, but I didn't mind 'cause they're happy tears.  Thanks again."  He paused.  "Oh, and thank you for the baby rabbit.  I'm naming him Rudolph.  Amen."

           "Amen," Prudie echoed.
Well, there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed "Prudie and the Christmas Wish."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 336, December 6

     Prudie clapped her wings together.  Everything was going just as planned.  The seed had been planted.  Now all she had to do was let nature take its course, nature in the guise of a pair of amorous rabbits and two people who had never stopped loving each other. 


     "Why did you do it, Danny?" Greg asked.

     Danny studied the toes of his sneakers.  "I wanted the mommy and daddy rabbits to be together  Families should be together at Christmas."  He said the last defiantly.

     Greg slanted a glance at Sara as he slipped an arm around his son's shoulders.  "You know your mom and I both love you, right?"

     "How come we can't still be a family?"  The plaintive note in his son's voice tore at Greg's heart.

     He saw the pain in Sara's eyes, a pain he knew that was reflected in his own.  "Just because your mom and I decided we couldn't live together anymore doesn't mean we don't love you."

     "But I love you both."

     "I know."  Greg swatted Danny on the bottom.  "Now scoot.  Your mom and I need to talk.

     "I'll try to spend more time with him," Greg said once Danny was out of the room.  "He's getting older.  He needs a man around more."  Immediately, he knew he'd said the wrong thing for Sara bristled.  "I didn't mean that you're not great with him.  You're the best mother a kid could have."

     She must have sensed his sincerity for she smiled faintly.  "Thanks.  I have to admit to feeling pretty inadequate lately."

     "Hey, it's not your fault.  Kids act up sometimes."  Something he didn't care to define happened as he closed his hand around hers.  A jolt of pleasure.  A sense of rightness.  "Uh ... would you like to have dinner together tonight?  We could get a sitter and talk about this some more."

     She hesitated.

     "Please," he added.

     "All right."

     Dinner the following night was all that he'd hoped for.  Sara had him laughing as she described her latest problem with her characters who refused to go along with her plot. 

     "They won't cooperate when I tell them what to do," she said with a roll of her eyes.

     "Sort of like kids, huh?"

     She grinned.  "Yeah.  Sort of like kids."

     It was almost like old times.  For a moment, he forgot the separation, forgot Danny's problems, forgot his dissatisfaction with work.  All he could think of was Sara and how beautiful she looked as the candlelight bathed her face in its soft glow.

     She'd been barely eighteen when they met at Denver University, she a freshman determined to write the Great American Novel, he a law student, determined to rid the world of its wrongs. 

     Idealism and youth, a heady combination, had lead to love.  It hadn't mattered that they'd had little else.  Love had been enough.  Love and the arrogance of youth that believed nothing else mattered. 

     Where had they gone wrong?

     He knew where to place the blame.  Squarely on his own shoulders.  Too much work, too little sharing of his thoughts and feelings had driven Sara from him.

     Outside the house, the house they'd once shared, he brushed his lips against hers.  Sara melted against him before jerking away, eyes wide with unasked questions as she stared up at him. 

     "Sorry," he muttered.  "I didn't mean--"

     "It's all right," she whispered.  "We both got pretty carried away."

     "Yeah."  He stepped back, needing to put some distance between them.  "I'll call you tomorrow."

     "I'd like that."

     Back in his apartment, he yanked off his tie and undid the buttons on his shirt.  Being with Sara tonight had awakened a host of memories.  Deliberately, he recalled    the divorce papers folded neatly in his drawer. 

     Nothing in them gave him the right to kiss her.  Nothing in them gave him the right to touch her.  Nothing in them gave him the right to care about her.  Nothing in them gave him any rights at all, except the one that they couldn't take away--the right to love her. 


     Fat tears rolled down Prudie's cheeks.  She'd been so certain that when Greg kissed Sara, they'd know they belonged together.

     Sister Endurance wrapped a wing around Prudie.  "Don't cry, my dear.  You'll tarnish your wings."

     Prudie looked at the tip of her right wing.  It did look slightly rusty.  "I thought ..." she gulped back a sob  "... that they would see how much they need each other, how much Danny needs them to be together."

     "In heaven all things are clear," Sister Endurance said.  "Earth clouds the vision.  You must help them find their way through the fog."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 335, December 5

     "... reached an acceptable compromise."

     Greg Dawson knew something was wrong when he flinched at the word.  It was nothing, a meaningless phrase, used countless times, in equally meaningless discussions.  So, why should it cause him to recoil?  He didn't have to search very far for an answer. 


     Disliking the implications, he used it now deliberately.  "A compromise, yes."

     He tested his reactions and found, to his relief, that there were none.  Well, practically none.  Why should it matter? 

     Intrigued, he pondered over the answer, delegating one part of his brain to deal with the conversation going on around him while the other tussled with the problem. 


     Sara had never known how to compromise.  What would she think of the deal-making going on now?

     He didn't have to wonder.  Sara would have walked out.  Sara would have told them what she thought of their game-playing in no uncertain terms.  Sara would have ...

     He scowled at the direction his thoughts were taking.  It didn't matter what Sara would have done.  She wasn't part of his life.  Not any longer.

     "Greg, what're your feelings about the subject?" the senior partner, Alister Harper, asked.

     "Uh ... I agree.  Compromise is the only answer."

     The others smiled.  He'd made the correct noises at the correct time with the correct amount of deference in his tone.  He hadn't even had to think about it.  So why was he thinking about not thinking about it?      The absurdity of the question would have amused him at any other time.  But not today. 

     Again, he wondered why today should be different. 

     "... glad we could get together and get this hammered out." The other partner, Cyril Cameron, stood.

     Everyone else stood, and after a beat of silence, Greg stood as well, realizing the meeting must have ended. 

     He controlled the urge to ask what had been "hammered out."  It must have been all right, for his boss was smiling widely.  Greg smiled too, knowing it was expected of him.

     He couldn't shake the mood later that evening.  He'd turned down a party with friends, pleading tiredness.  That wasn't exactly a lie, he decided.  He was tired.  Weary was more like it, weary of pretending that what he did made a difference.   

     When had trial work ceased to be challenging and become simply a trial of endurance?  When had he stopped caring about his job?  When had he stopped caring about everything? 

     The answer wasn't hard to find:  he'd stopped caring a year ago, the same day the divorce papers had arrived.

     Greg avoided the carolers who strolled the streets, singing of Christmas joy and good will toward men.

     He let himself in to the rented apartment.  As he had every evening for the last month, except those he spent with his son, Danny, he switched on the television and flopped onto the sofa.  He stared unseeingly at the screen.

     When the phone shrilled, he was tempted to ignore it.  Habit had him reaching for it.

     "Greg, it's me.  Sara."

     "What's wrong?"  Sara never called unless something was wrong with Danny.

     He listened, not sure he'd heard correctly.  "He what?" 

     "Danny put the female rabbit inside the cage with the male at school."

     Greg suppressed a chuckle.  "What does the school want us to do?  Adopt some rabbits?"

     "Greg, this is serious.  Lately, Danny's been in one scrape after another.  It isn't like him.  His teacher said he could be suspended if we don't do something."

     His grin faded at the worry in Sara's voice.  Sara wasn't the kind of woman to overreact.  "I'll be there in an hour."