Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Story - Christmas Magic

Emily sat on the floor with her legs tucked under her staring at the corner where they always placed the Christmas tree for as long as she could remember.

But this year, the corner sat empty. There was no tree. At only 9 years old, Emily didn't understand why they had not put up their traditional tree and where were the Christmas presents?

You see, earlier that year Emily's father and older brother Rowan had gone out to one of Rowan's hockey games, but they never came home. Her mother said they had gone to live with baby Jesus. But then Emily didn't really understand why then they couldn't go to visit them if they lived somewhere else.

After that night Emily's mother changed. She cried a lot, she didn't talk much to Emily and she stayed in her room to sleep much more than just at night.

It didn't even seem like Christmas this year except of course for the beautiful blanket of snow outside and the silver icicles that hung outside the windows glittering in the sunlight.

Every year at Christmas, Emily and her mother would go into the city to the big stores to do their Christmas shopping, they would spend the day shopping and looking at the windows on the street which were full of toys and beautiful Christmas decorations. After their day, they would have dinner at a nice restaurant where the tables had white tablecloths and napkins to match. Mommy showed her how to lay the napkin across her lap. The man who brought their food wore a black suit with shoes so shiny Emily could almost see her face in them. Mommy told her to be polite and say thank you when he brought her food, but when he put her food in front of her he bowed and then clicked his heels. Unable to help herself, Emily asked him if he had seen The Wizard of Oz (her very favouritist movie), because his heel clicks reminded her of Dorothy. The man smiled kindly at Emily and said that of course, that was his favourite movie. He always clicked his heels at Christmas because his family lived far away and he, like Dorothy wanted to be home with them, especially at Christmas time.

Then, when they finished their dinner they would put on their skates and go to skate on the frozen canal which ran through the centre of town. After skating they would go the hotel where they would stay overnight, change into their pyjamas and sip hot chocolate which a very nice lady brought to their room. In the morning another very nice lady would bring a delicious breakfast of pancakes, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and maple syrup. After breakfast with their shopping complete and their adventure over, they would head back home to everything that Emily loved, her daddy, her big brother Rowan, her dog Ellie.

Of course, while Emily and her mother were gone, Rowan and daddy would hang the Christmas lights and decorate the outside of the house in preparation for Christmas.

Once the presents were wrapped, they would bundle up in warm clothes and go out into the woods just behind their house to find a perfect tree for that corner.

Mommy would get out all the ornaments and they would spend the afternoon decorating the tree and drinking hot chocolate with little marsh mellows in it.

Emily hugged her knees up tight against her chest remembering all these lovely things that made her feel warm inside. But then she looked at the corner again and remembered that this Christmas something was very different.

Her dad and brother were gone, her mom was different, she never laughed any more. Even grandma and grandpa couldn't get mommy to feel Christmassy this year.

As Emily sat there remembering her Christmases past, a small tear escaped from her eye and slid down her cheek dropping onto her knee. Her dog, Ellie who had been lying beside her on the floor, suddenly looked up at Emily and sensed her sadness. She sat up and leaned against Emily licking her cheek where the tear had been. Emily put her arms around Ellie, snuggling in close to her neck and whispering, "We have to make Christmas special this year for Mommy."

Jumping up, she grabbed her warm winter clothes and ran outside to play in the snow.

Ellie bounded out the door after her, running through the snow with her nose down. The snow sprayed in every direction as Ellie pushed through it. When she finally stopped and looked up, Emily laughed to see all the snow on Ellie's face. She had a white snow beard with white snow hair on top of her head.

While Emily played outside, Mr. Whitcombe, their next door neighbour watched her from the window. He felt so sad for Emily and her mother. He knew the pain of loss to, as his wife; Bessie had died only just 1 year ago and left him alone. As he watched Emily and Ellie playing in the snow, he wondered what he could do to help this family?

Mr. Whitcombe put on his coat and boots, tied a scarf around his neck and headed outside to say hello to Emily.

"Hello Emily", he called over as he started walking towards her. "Are you and Ellie enjoying this new snow?"

"Hello Mr. Whitcombe, we're having lots of fun, Ellie ran through the snow with her nose and got so much snow on her head she had a white snow beard and white snow hair. I'm going to build a snowman, do you want to help?"

So, together they started to roll the snowballs to make their snowman. As the afternoon wore on, they ended up making a snow family, a daddy with a top hat that Mr. Whitcombe found in his attic, a mommy with a shawl that he also brought out and a little girl and boy who each wore a knitted hat and scarf.

Throughout their snow family making, they talked about how sad Emily's mommy was; about
how there was no Christmas tree, no presents and no laughter at their home any more. Mr. Whitcombe pretended to blow his nose, but he was really wiping away the tears of sadness that he felt for this sweet little child.

So, he said to Emily, "Let's you and I see what we can do to help make Christmas better for you and your mommy."

It was getting late, so Emily said goodbye to Mr. Whitcombe and went inside.

Her mom was sitting wrapped in a blanket on the chair in the front of the fireplace.

"Mommy, come to the window and see the snow family that Mr. Whitcombe and I made this afternoon." Emily took her mother's hand and pulled her to the window, telling her how nice Mr. Whitcombe was. "He is just like Santa, with his big white beard and his fat tummy."

As her mother looked out the window at the snow family, Emily thought she saw a very small smile, but then a few tears also glistened on her cheeks.

Emily and her mother spent the day quietly, watching a couple of movies and having a small dinner, then heading to bed. It just was not like Christmas Eve in the past. The stockings were not hung, there was no milk and cookies and carrots laid out for Santa and his reindeer. Would Santa even come to their home this year Emily wondered?

In the morning, Emily woke to the sunshine coming through her window and noticed the icicles glittering like diamonds in the sunlight.

She ran downstairs, hoping to see that overnight Christmas had somehow magically arrived and there would be a tree and presents just like before. But there was no tree and no presents. Emily sat down, crying. Why did all these bad things happen to their family? And why didn't Santa come last night? Did he forget that she, Emily still lived here and had sent her Christmas list to him?

While Emily sat there feeling just a little bit sorry for herself, she heard her mom coming down the stairs.

"Emily, I am so sorry that Christmas is not fun this year, it has been hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit without your daddy and brother, but next year I will try harder to make it better for you."

Emily ran into her mother's arms, as they sat there together on the floor feeling the sadness at their aloneness this Christmas.

As they sat there, they heard a rustling noise outside and then suddenly there were bells ringing out a Christmas carol.

They jumped up and ran to the window to see what the commotion was all about. They both had to rub their eyes because they could not believe what they saw.

There on their front lawn was a big red sleigh and nine reindeer. Now you do remember all the reindeer's names don't you? Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen and of course Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Santa was standing in his sleigh waving to them and on their front porch was a tall, beautiful, decorated Christmas tree with flashing lights and a beautiful star shining on the top of the tree.

How could this be? And how did Santa know that they did not have a tree like usual?

Emily pulled on her boots, grabbed her coat and ran outside. Rudolph turned to nuzzle Emily's neck as she rushed towards the sleigh to see if this was real. Santa reach down and grabbed Emily pulling her up and into the sleigh with him. She sat on his lap leaning against his long, soft white beard.

"Santa, how did you know that we did not celebrate Christmas this year? And how did you know that we didn't have a tree? And, it's Christmas Day; shouldn't you be home at the North Pole now?" Emily had so many questions, she was practically breathless trying to ask them all.

Santa replied, "Emily, a very special friend told me about your daddy and brother and how sad your mommy is, so I thought that a special trip was in order to bring Christmas to you and your mommy."

As he explained everything to Emily, the beautiful Christmas tree disappeared as a gust of wind blew open the door and then suddenly there it stood in their home in its usual corner, but this time it was surrounded by parcels wrapped in silver and gold and tied up with big red bows.

"Emily, remember Christmas is not just a day but a feeling that is always in your heart. It is not just Christmas trees, presents and a big turkey dinner, but a feeling of love, forgiveness, family and remembering others who are not as fortunate as we are.

That's why I came on a special trip today, because you and your mother are having a difficult Christmas this year without your daddy and brother. I though you both needed extra love and attention."

Emily sat with Santa for a while enjoying his stories and attention. I think she might of even dropped off to sleep for a wee bit while she was snuggled in his arms.

And all the while, a kindly old gentleman stood at his window watching ........ and smiling.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Olympic Torch

What an exciting moment this was!!

On Thursday, the Olympic Torch came through our area carried for 300 metres by John Stanton, a gentlemen from Edmonton, Alberta, who founded "The Running Room" located throughout North America.

Don and I went out the see him run and pass the flame to the next torch bearer. It was an exciting and much more emotional moment that I had anticipated.

Afterwards, Don had to go back to work and he dropped me off at home. At the last minute I decided to pop back into The Running Room to pick up his book and see if he was still there to autograph it for me.

Lucky for me, he was there and the manager suggested I have my picture taken with John. As I stood beside John, he put his arm around me and then at the last moment pushed the torch into my hand to hold.

This was quite an honour to actually hold the Olympic Torch and to meet John, who gave me quite a few tips on my walking program.


Well, I continue to work towards a state of good health.

I continue my walking program that I started in the summer and I`m proud to say that last Sunday, I walked my first 5k. I registered for this walk in Whitby, Ontario, but unfortunately at the last minute, it was cancelled due to icy walkways & trails. With this cancellation came a problem - I had sent out an email to friends and family asking for donations to Toy Mountain (a charity run by the Salvation Army to provide toys to underprivileged children at Christmas), and had my own little Toy Mountain at my home to donate.

I was so disappointed that the walk was cancelled, but having all these toys, I didn`t feel right not going on my walk. So down I went on my treadmill and did my walk - 5.6K to be exact.

At the halfway mark, the phone rang and it was one of Don`s brothers who with his family had gone out to cheer me on at my race. Also one other brother and his family came along too. They showed up at our place just as I completed my walk and as they came in the door, Rebecca, their oldest held up a big sign covered with Christmas tinsel which read `Go Auntie Barb Go``. This beautiful sign is now proudly hanging on my basement wall - my trophy for my first walk.

An emotional moment for me upon completion with this very wonderful display of support.

So now with my first 5K walk completed, I have registered for another in April and continue to walk on my own 2 times a week - about 3-4Km each time and as well riding my recumbant bike 5Km once a week.

The weight is very slow to come off, but to date I have lost 17 pounds and don`t plan on stopping. I do not have a weight loss goal, my first and foremost goal is good health and the weight loss is secondary (a little extra bonus), so wherever it stops is where I`ll be content.

Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for the new decade ahead.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Many Lives ~ Many Masters

Recently, I completed this book by Dr. Brian Weiss, MD.

Thanks so much to my sister Fran who suggested this book to me ~ I'm so glad she did. I will be digging up this author's other books to read as well. Simply fascinating!

There is very little I can say except "WOW" ~ and if you haven't read it, you should.

I was raised in a very religious home with no room for an open mind outside of Biblical teachings.

But let me tell after reading this book, I'm not so sure any more.

This is a recalling of the many sessions between the prominent psychiatrist, Dr. Brian Weiss, MD and his patient Catherine, who through the vehicle of hypnosis recalled close to 100 past lives. And I might add recalled them with vivid detail even down to the clothing she was wearing at the time.

It is not a long book ~ 218 pages ~ but what a page turner. I was fascinated at every turn but most of all, this book opened my mind to the possibilities of what awaits us when our journey has come to an end on earth.


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