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A Necklace and the Intimacy of God

A Necklace and the Intimacy of GodIt was December when I received this text: “Hey, Bonnie: Did you happen to get any mail from me this week?”

Oh, wow, mail. I hadn’t gone to my mailbox in days. I usually love Christmas cards, but I had just lost my father, and I knew the mailbox was either filled with Christmas cheer or sympathy cards. I treasured both, but some days I simply couldn’t read any.

I sent my daughter to the mailbox, and she brought back a few advertisements, some bills, five cards, and a small package.

Great. Mission accomplished. I tossed everything else in a pile on the floor and eagerly opened the package.

Oh my goodness!

Inside was a necklace with four charms: The Lord’s Prayer, a heart, a cross, and an angel.

The note read something along the lines of: “I thought you could wear it to remember your Dad.”

My heart caught in my throat. I had not told my sweet cousin about my wish, my regret. I had not shared with her that just that week I had told my husband to get our daughter some jewelry because I wished my father had bought me just one piece that I could wear to remember him by. It just wasn’t Dad’s thing. And yet, my heart ached to Read the rest of this entry »

 

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When Thankful Changes the Atmosphere

When Thankful Changes the AtmosphereShe had just put a huge meal on for tourists and was about to reload the table for her family of 9. It was almost 8 PM, and they were coming in from the harvest. The corn had to be collected before the rains came. Her youngest child, a boy of 7, had helped late into the evening the night before, but they still had some work to do. She had a twinkle in her eye, but there was a shot of weary and concern as well as she turned her bonneted head toward me and chirped happily in her heavy accent:

“I have so much to be thankful for. God has given me many blessings.”

Her words grew feet and scurried right into the center of my heart.

It was the Amish way, and yet, as tired mothers: one the “worldly English” and one with the “plain life,” the only thing separating us in our common mama sighs was our lifestyles. Otherwise, the weightiness of our hearts beat to the same sound. We shared the same God. We each wanted to express love into the other’s world, if only for a few hours, without making her world become fully ours.

And yet those penetrating words. Despite the fact setting the table for her six-course meal was on its second round, she was grateful.

Counting blessings—

—with another sinkload of dishes in the almost-dark.

I grew up not far from this community. We regularly came “up the country” to Lancaster County from Chester County, Pennsylvania. Horses and buggies were part of my childhood tapestry. But now, with my parents living amidst the Amish community in surrounding farms, I have come to pay greater attention to my Christian brothers and sisters in solid, dark colors.

And as I left her house that day, this 39 year old mother of 7, with worn hands from many years of caring for her family, gave me a gift I can never exercise enough. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Dancing With Leprechauns and a Father Who Loves to Bestow Good Gifts

The other day I was in a local grocery store with my daughter. It was a few days before Saint Patrick’s Day, and the entire store was decked out in clovers and green décor. You could pick up clover cookies or a sparkly green cake from the bakery. Personally, I was hoping there was a pot of gold to be found. (After the energy bill this winter, I may as well throw my entire wallet to National Grid and be done with it!)

leprechaun-22We Bostonians are admittedly a bit obsessed with this holiday. I had a hard time talking with my son’s elementary school teacher the other day because she had this cute headband-Irish-hat-thingy on her head, and it bounced while she nodded. I could not thereafter form one coherent thought while looking at her. Not one. But we Irish (and partly Irish) peeps have to represent, after all!

As we turned the corner of the second-to-last aisle of the store, there he was. He was on the shorter side, sporting a red wig, leprechaun hat, green suit, belt, and shoes.

And I had to talk to him. Really, when you find a leprechaun roughly 2 feet away from you, how can you not greet him? (My tween offspring may beg to differ.)

But I didn’t just chat. Nope. Didn’t stop there.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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