Got Milk?

cookies and milkThis Christmas was very special because my grandkids spent the night Christmas Eve and Santa paid a visit to Grams and Pop’s house.

The grandkids know that Santa is St. Nicholas.  They celebrated St. Nic’s feast day earlier in the month and  received a few goodies then.  They were really looking forward to the Big Visit on the eve of Jesus’ birth.

It was a fun evening as all of our children were gathered.  We opened some presents and had a great time looking at old photographs while reliving memories of Christmas Past.

The little ones put on their pajamas and were in the process of kissing everyone goodnight when my granddaughter suddenly reminded me that we had not left the cookies and milk for Santa.

“No problem”, I told the granddaughter; Pop has a ton of milk.  (My husband is a big milk drinker!)  We walked over to the refrigerator.  I pulled open the door.  The fridge was stocked with a few cartons of Lactaid (which Pop drinks) and one carton of whole milk that Grams had used for making sweets.

My granddaughter looked into the refrigerator and surveyed the displayed cartons.  She then turned to me with a most worried look on her face.

“Grams, does Santa drink Lactaid or regular milk?”, she exclaimed.  I was dumbfounded.  I stood there with the refrigerator door opened, looking and smiling at my lovely granddaughter.  “Regular Milk!”, shouted Pop!  Whew!  I grabbed the regular milk and filled the Christmas mug.  We piled cookies on a plate and left the goodies and milk for the man in the red suit.

I was awakened by oohs and ahhs the next morning.  We evidently left the right kind of milk…

C’est Bon






Jesus’ Angel

Luke 1:26 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph who was  a descendant of King David. The girl’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”.”

Before God created man, He created the heavens and all things visible and “invisible”.  The angels were in existence long before man walked the earth.  Throughout the Bible the angels are seen as messengers and protectors.  They adore, glorify and praise the Creator.  These angels play a vital role in the journey of mankind.  As Catholics, we believe people are given a guardian angel from the moment of conception.  An angel to help protect and guide us on our journey back home to our Lord.

When the Word became flesh and Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother, Mary, I can only believe that He would have had a very special Guardian Angel.  For that matter, I believe His mother would also have had a very special Angel to guard and protect her due to her special calling in life.

We know that Mary was approached by the Archangel Gabriel with the message that she was chosen to carry the Messiah.  I would love to believe that Mary’s special Guardian Angel was the Angel Gabriel.  One of only four Archangels, Gabriel was close to our Lord and would have stayed close by the Word made flesh.

I believe that Jesus had a very special Guardian Archangel as well.  The Archangel, Michael, is known to be the leader of God’s angels.  St. Michael is normally depicted in armor, fighting off Satan and his demons.  Never has there been such a temptation of man by the devil as when Jesus and His followers were tempted.  God would never have sent His Son to this earth to be lower than the angels for a time, without the proper protector.  This protector must have been St. Michael.

I believe Jesus, in His divinity, could see the angels.  He must have had a close relationship with both His mother’s angel, Gabriel and His own, Michael.  As revealed in the painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, these angels not only watched over mother and Son, they prepared them for what was to come.

The nativity story is full of angels.  From the announcement to Mary to the announcement to the shepherds; mankind relies on these heavenly beings to steer us in the right direction and lead us to our Savior.

Luke 2:13 “Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom He is pleased!”.”

This Christmas we thank God for the gift of His Son.  We also should thank Him for the gift of our angel and all angels who watch over us and protect us.

C’est Bon






On Larson’s Porch

larsonIt was a simple green front porch. It sat in front of Mrs. Anita Larson’s house on Johnson Street.  On that porch sat six simple wooden rocking chairs painted thick with years of coats of white paint.  There was also a mixture of potted plants, including the largest ferns I had ever seen.  There was nothing spectacular about the house or the porch.

Mrs. Anita Larson became my neighbor when my parents bought the house that belonged to my mother’s parents after they passed away.  I was seven years old.  I found Mrs. Larson to be a bit scary at first.  She was an elderly lady who lived alone, wore her silvery-white hair in two long braids, and spoke and laughed loudly.  I was an introverted child and very much an observer. I said little while taking in volumes.  She accepted my quiet ways and we became friends.

I was soon to learn about the magic of Larson’s front porch.  Mrs. Larson sat on her front porch in the rocking chair nearest her front door every morning after watering her plants and flowers.  Anyone in the neighborhood was invited to sit on a rocker and visit with “Larson”.  She had stories to tell and compliments to give.  It was always a lovely visit.  When morning was slipping away, Larson would retire into her home to eat her lunch and take her midday nap.  She would return in the late afternoon once again to that glorious front porch and visit with the neighborhood until evening.  No matter how hot or humid the day was, Larson’s porch was comfortable and cool.  It was like stepping onto an island, far away from the world and it’s problems.

I sat on that porch hundreds of times.  We talked about her family, her husband who had passed away years before our visits began, and stories from her childhood.  We talked about the times, happenings in the news, family problems, accomplishments and failures.  We talked about life, about death, and about God.  She was always cheerful, positive, and uplifting.  She only gave compliments; she was never critical. She was food for my soul.

As a child, I would take a break from playing every now and then to sit on Larson’s porch and chat about school.   She was always so proud of any accomplishments her neighborhood children made.  As a teenager, I would seek Larson’s approval on a new hairstyle or fashion.  If I were feeling down in the dumps, a trip to Larson’s front porch was just what the doctor ordered.

I shared Larson and her front porch with my three sisters and the rest of the neighborhood.  Mrs. Larson was ageless.  She could visit with anyone, no matter his or her age.  She called me and my sisters her “adopted grandchildren”.  She had only one son and one grandson; both of whom lived far away.  It must have given her great comfort to share in our lives and experiences.

Through the years we kids grew up and our lives and the neighborhood changed.  Mrs. Larson had to chain her rocking chairs and ferns to her porch railings when someone stole one of her magnificent plants.  She no longer wore her hair long and braided, but styled short.  Only one thing remained constant, the security and comfort of those front porch visits.

When I became engaged, I walked my future husband over to Larson’s front porch for them to meet.  After leaving home, I would return to the familiar porch with my children and sit in the rockers and visit with Larson.  It was like coming home.  My children were just as taken with that porch and with Larson as I had been.

Mrs. Anita Larson eventually passed away.  The magical, mystical porch became empty.

It was hard to drive by the house and see the rockers and plants gone.  It was simply a green, front porch.  It belonged to another owner, someone who did not know the magic it held and the conversations it heard.

For years I longed for that front porch.  I just wanted one more chance to sit in one of those oversized rocking chairs and smile at Larson and visit.  It took a very long time for me to realize that those people we hold dear are always with us.  I have only to close my eyes and I am sitting on Larson’s front porch….

It’s a hot summer day, but the porch and is cool and green.  Larson is sitting next to me fanning herself with a large cardboard fan and she is smiling….

As I open my eyes, I find I am smiling too.

The magic is not gone; it lives inside me.  She is still food for my soul!

C’est Bon,



From the Heart

114For the past two years, I have helped with a local event, “Songs from the Heart”.  Arc’s Aktion Club and Fountainbleau Families Foundation have put on this fundraising event which helps support individuals with disabilities – physical and mental.  The highlight of the event is the Karaoke contest.  It is so heartwarming to see these special people so excited to sing their hearts out! Some of them cannot speak, they can only hum into the microphone.  It is probably the only karaoke contest which started with the song “Silent Night” and ended with “Let’s Get It On”! I’ve seen a woman struggling to get the words out and a group of her friends gather around her and start singing with her and for her…

One cannot help but fall in love with these men and women.  They are all smiles and hugs.  Life has dealt them a huge challenge, and they have embraced their life and challenges.

Down Syndrome has been a hot topic recently.  Down syndrome babies are born with an extra chromosome.  It is not hereditary and there is no known cause.  Statistics show that 1 in every 690 babies in the US are born with Down Syndrome.  These babies can be diagnosed prenatally today at about 10 to 12 weeks.  Sadly, 90% of mothers receiving the diagnosis choose to abort their baby.

These babies were chosen by God to walk a special journey.  The journey of their life affects so many people in a positive way.  Talking to family members of individuals with disabilities one learns that it is the family who feel blessed and inspired in the care for these persons.  By denying these babies the life God gave them, we are depriving the world of so many smiles, hugs and songs from the heart!

We all have a special journey we will face in our lives.  We all have challenges and heartaches.  We have to trust in our Lord and follow those paths and face those challenges.

003This is Beau. He is battling a muscle disease and has already lived past his life projection.  He loves singing and spends his free time entering Karaoke contests.  He feels that he has a very blessed life.  He loves his family, friends, and passion of singing.  His attitude and songs are an inspiration to many people.

If you or anyone you know is pregnant with a child with a disability, I encourage you to get educated about the disability and spend time with people with disabilities.  Don’t give a child a death sentence because the of the journey God has given them.  It is a journey you will want to share in – a journey God has chosen for you as well.

And this Christmas, sing “Silent Night”….loudly and from the heart!

C’est Bon