The Veterinarian’s AssistantBy Karen Baker

When a cat chooses to be friendly, it’s a big deal, because a cat is picky.~Mike Dupree

Our daughter, Melissa, first spotted the kitten suckling on its dead mother as we drove by the barn. “Stop,” she said. “Maybe I can catch it.”She jumped out of the pickup and Snuck over to the orphan. The kitten struggled as she pulled it from its mother’s stilled body but calmed as soon as she cradled it between her palms. Glenn, my husband and a veterinarian, told her, “It can’t be more than that three and a half or four weeks old. Let’s take her back to the house. She needs a bellyful of milk.”Later that afternoon, after a couple of feedings, the young kitten gained enough strength to go outside with us. She crawled at our feet as we sat on the grass in the sun until Glenn accidentally stepped on her tail with the tip of his cowboy boot. Screeching, she ran off beneath dense shrubbery, hiding there beyond the reach of our arms.Melissa knelt down, calling, “Come back, little kitten. Come back, Little Grey,” but to no avail. Glenn felt worse than terrible. Melissa was bereft. “If she doesn’t come out, the coyotes will get her.”Her dad comforted her. “If we’re quiet, she may come out on her own.”Within a short time, the kitten crawled out and, to our amazement, clambered up Glenn’s pant leg, up his chest, and all the way to his chin. Tapping her paw against his jaw, she looked him directly in the eyes, and squeaked a mew as if saying, “I know you didn’t mean to step on me.”Stroking her, he told her, “You, little one, have a warm heart. I can tell you forgive me.”That’s the day that Little Grey endeared herself to our family. It wasn’t long before she grew into a shiny-eyed kitten that frolicked through our home. When friends visited, she’d rub against their ankles, purring affectionate hellos until they marveled, “This is the most people-loving kitten we’ve ever seen.” Amongst the other pets in our household, however, our newcomer strode with her head high, her whiskers twitching with attitude as if she alone had regal status.On Saturdays, our daughter helped at my husband’s clinic. She wouldn’t go without Little Grey, so the kitten always rode in the car with us cuddled up on Melissa’s lap. At the clinic, “our princess” lay atop a tall counter greeting clients as they entered the waiting room with their pets to see Dr. Glenn. As she matured into an adult, most acknowledged our official greeter by name, saying, “Hey, Little Grey, how’s it going this morning?” She’d either mew softly or reach out with a gentle paw and tap them on the arm. Our people-loving cat added a warm touch to the clinic.In contrast to Little Grey’s love for people, she was a choosy greeter when it came to the steady stream of animal patients. If a rambunctious Lab or a fussing lap dog spotted her and barked or yapped, our princess looked down on them from the safety of the counter, her gold eyes glowering in an unblinking stare. If the dog stepped closer, she growled, flattening her ears and flicking her pencil-thin tail, her way to remind all dogs to keep their distance. One evening after Melissa left home for college, Glenn walked through the door of our home with a basket containing a red-and-white Jack Russell terrier named Mitchell. The owner had seen Mitchell in the fields with a rat hanging from his mouth, probably one dying from the effects of rodent control. Apparently Mitchell had ingested it and the poison ravaged his body: his stiffened limbs jerked, eyes twitched and body quivered. To control convulsions, Glenn hooked him up to IV fluids and administered sedation.Little Grey must have heard the dog’s whimpers because she stalked into the room, one hesitant step at a time, her angular face peeking from behind chair legs, her nose sniffing, as she approached the blanket-lined basket. Then her ears flattened. A dog! She hissed, snubbing our ill patient, and left the room grumbling, her dark grey nose in the air as she headed for the living room to curl up on the couch.After monitoring Mitchell well into the night, Glenn finally climbed into bed, setting the alarm to awaken him every hour to assess the little dog’s progress. After the three o’clockcheck, he lamented, “I’m not sure the little guy’s going make it. I can’t keep him warm enough.”At four, he called me downstairs. I feared the worst as I walked into the room, yet Glenn smiled, and said, “The vet’s helper is here.” I thought he was referring to me. But when I looked in the box, I found Little Grey, who had once been on the cusp of death herself, snuggled up close to the terrier, her front and back legs encircling him. Purring compassionately, she glanced up at us.I looked at my husband, “Can you believe this?”He smiled. “Wait until we tell Melissa about our new assistant.”As we dimmed the light, Little Grey laid her head on Mitchell’s wire-haired back and we returned to bed knowing that we had another healer on our veterinary team.

Tired Dog

One afternoon, a woman was in her back yard hanging laundry when a tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. The woman could tell from the dog’s collar and well-fed belly that he had a home. But when she walked into the house, the dog followed her, sauntered down the hall and fell asleep in a corner. An hour later, he went to the door, and the woman let him out.

The next day the dog was back. He resumed his position in the hallway and slept for an hour. This continued for several weeks. Curious, the woman finally pinned a note to his collar: “Every afternoon, your dog comes to my house for a nap.”

The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: “We have six children. He’s trying to catch up on his sleep.”

Take The Time

This was written by an 83 year old women to her friend.

I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting in the yard and Admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time Working. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of Experiences to savor, not to endure. I’m trying to recognize These moments now and cherish them.I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good China and crystal For every special event such as losing a pound, getting the Sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom. I wear my good Blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can Shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I’m not Saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it For clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my Vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want To see and hear and do it now.I’m not sure what others would’ve done had they known that They wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow that we all take for Granted. I think they would have called family members and a Few close friends. They might have called a few former friends To apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think They would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, or for whatever Their favorite food was. I’m guessing; I’ll never know.It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry If I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn’t written Certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and parents often Enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to Put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and Luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, Tell myself that it is special.If you received this it is because someone cares for you. If You’re too busy to take the few minutes that it takes right now Forward this, would it be the first time you didn’t do the little Thing that would make a difference in your relationships? I can Tell you it certainly won’t be the last. Take a few minutes to Send this to a few people you care about, just to let them know That you’re thinking of them. “People say true friends must Always hold hands, but true friends don’t need to hold hands Because they know the other hand will always be there.”

The Garden Show

Two little old ladies were sitting on a park bench outside the localTown hall where a flower show was in progress.The thin one leaned over and said,’Life is so boring. We never have any fun any more.For $10.00 I’d take my clothes off and streak through that stupid,Boring flower show!”You’re on!’ said the other old lady, holding up a $10 bill.The first little old lady slowly fumbled her way out of her clothesAnd, completely naked, streaked (as fast as an old lady can) throughThe front door of the flower show.Waiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hallFollowed by loud applause and shrill whistling.Finally, the smiling and naked old lady came through the exit doorSurrounded by a cheering, clapping crowd.’What happened?’ asked her waiting friend.’I won $1000 as 1st prize for “Best Dried Arrangement….!!! “

Heavenly Voice Mail

Most of us have now learned to live with voice mail as a necessary part of our lives. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if God decided to install voice mail? Imagine praying and hearing the following: Thank you for calling heaven. For English press 1For Spanish press 2For all other languages, press 3 Please select one of the following options:Press 1 for requestPress 2 for thanksgivingPress 3 for complaintsPress 4 for all others I am sorry, all our Angels and Saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line. If you would like to speak to: God, press 1Jesus, press 2Holy spirit, press 3 To find a loved one that has been assigned to heaven press 5, then enter his social security # followed by the pound sign. (If you receive a negative response, please hang up and dial area code 666) For reservations to heaven, please enter JOHN followed by the numbers, 3 16. For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, life and other planets, please wait until you arrive in heaven for the specifics. Our computers show that you have already been prayed for today, please hang up and call again tomorrow. The office is now closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday. If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance, please contact your local pastor. Thank you and have a heavenly day.


When I was a teenager, I used to take long walks in the woods behind our home. I found it a great way to clear my head, a good way to calm my spirit, and a wonderful way to connect to something greater than myself. I cherished the peace it gave me.As I was walking back to our house one day, I heard something that gave me even more peace than my stroll through the forest. A window of our home was open, and I could hear music playing from our old record player. Carried along on that stream of music was something I hardly ever heard: the lovely sound of my Mother singing.My Mom rarely sang unless she was alone. I guess she was shy about having others hear her. She would quietly join in on the hymns at church, but I could never make out her voice among all the others. This time, though, I heard her, singing sweetly and softly. I didn’t want her to stop, so I Snuck softy up to the side of the house and sat under the open window. It was so beautiful. Her loving spirit seemed to flow through every word. I felt like I was a baby boy again, listening to her lullabies and feeling safe, warm and loved. I sat there for a long while with a smiling face and a happy heart.As I think back on that day, I am reminded of the story of a boy who was weeping inconsolably because his pet canary, who had sang so beautifully and brought joy to the entire family, had died. His tears only stopped when a wise lady reminded him that “There are other worlds to sing in.”I know that one day, in the world to come, I will see Mom again and hear her sweet voice sing once more. Until then I will do my best to sing my own song here in this world and do my best to share the love and music God gave me. May you do the same.Make your entire life a song of love, sweet to hear and joyful to sing.


,When the Good Lord was creating mothers He was into His 6th day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”And the Lord said, “Have you read the specification on this order?””She has to be completely washable but not plastic””Have 180 movable parts . . . All replaceable””Run on black coffee and leftovers””Have a lap the disappears when she stands up””A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair””And 6 pairs of hands” The angel shook her head slowly and said, “6 pairs of hands….no way.””It’s not the hands that are causing me the problems,” said the Lord, “It’s the three pairs of eyes that Mothers have to have.””That’s in the standard model?” asked the angel.The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front so that she can look at a child when he goofs and say, ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.””Lord,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “come to bed. Tomorrow . . . “”I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one that heals herself when she is sick . . . Can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger . . . And can get a 9 yr. Old to stand under a shower.”The angel circled the model of a Mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.”But tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this Mother can do or endure.””Can it think?””Not only think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.Finally, the angel bent over and ran a finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You You were trying to put too much into this model.””It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.””What’s it for?””It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.””You are a genius,” said the angel.The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there”

A Mother on the Path of Life

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is this the long way?” she asked. And the guide said: “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, “Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.”Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, “Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.”And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children,” A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, “Mother, we would not have done it without you.”And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I have given them strength.”And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: “Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.”And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.” And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: “We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence.”Your Mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street; she’s the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks; she’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well. Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she’s crystallized in every teardrop. She’s the place you came from, your first home; and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you–not time, not space…not even death!

Moms Really Are Special

Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, “I’m tired, and it’s
getting late. I think I’ll go to bed.”

She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day’s
lunches, rinsed out the popcorn bowls, took meat out of the freezer
for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels,
filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and
started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning.

She then put some wet clothes into the dryer, put a load of clothes
into the wash, ironed a shirt and secured a loose button. She picked
up the newspapers strewn on the floor, picked up the game pieces left
on the table and put the telephone book back into the drawer. She
watered the plants, emptied a wastebasket and hung up a towel to dry.

She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom.

She stopped by the desk and wrote a note to the teacher, counted out
some cash for the field trip, and pulled a textbook out from hiding
under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed
and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick note for the grocery
store. She put both near her purse.

Mom then creamed her face, put on moisturizer, brushed and flossed
her teeth and trimmed her nails.

Hubby called, “I thought you were going to bed.”

“I’m on my way,” she said.

She put some water into the dog’s dish and put the cat outside, then
made sure the doors were locked.

She looked in on each of the kids and turned out a bedside lamp, hung
up a shirt, threw some dirty socks in the hamper, and had a brief
conversation with the one up still doing homework.

In her own room, she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next
day, straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her
list of things to do for tomorrow.

About that time, the hubby turned off the TV and announced to no one
in particular “I’m going to bed,” and he did.

The Hot-Lunch Table

Anne Cavanaugh Sawan

How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!

~George Elliston

I grew up in a large family of twelve siblings. We weren’t poor by most standards, but things were definitely stretched for us. My parents never shared their financial worries, choosing instead to let us have a carefree childhood. But despite their discretion, I knew, as children often do, that there were times they went without and that certain things my friends had wouldn’t be available to me.

Back in those days, hot lunch was a luxury for the wealthier kids, and hot-lunch buyers sat separately from the students who brought cold lunch. My siblings and I brought lunch from home every day: thick slices of homemade bread hiding one scant slice of bologna, three oatmeal cookies, and a small apple. We would look on longingly as the rich kids proudly sat down with their steaming plates of fried chicken or fish sticks and potato puffs, cartons of cold milk, chilled peaches and a slice of cake.

I never said anything, but my first grade teacher, Mrs. Caruso, must have seen the yearning in my eyes. One day she quietly pressed a note into my hand and whispered, “Give this to your mother.”

I skipped home and gave my mom the note. She read it and smiled. “Well, Mrs. Caruso said because of all your hard work, she wants to buy your lunch tomorrow.” The next day, I proudly carried my tray of chicken fricassee across the cafeteria and took my seat at the hot-lunch table. Honestly, the food wasn’t as great as I had imagined, but I was pleased to be there and felt honored to be a part of the group.

One rainy day, Mrs. Caruso asked me to stay after school. My stomach instantly dropped to the floor. Surely, I must be in trouble! Did she know I hadn’t finished my math sheet? Did she see me teasing Billy on the playground?

After the other students had left, Mrs. Caruso said she was going to finish her work and then drive me home. It was raining, and she knew I had a long walk. We pulled up to my house and she got out, depositing a few bags on the porch. “Tell your mom I had a few extra things she might want,” she said. Then she drove away. Inside the bags were clothes, toys, and books.

That summer, Mrs. Caruso invited us all to her home. She gave us lemonade and sugar cookies, and we marveled at the fancy koi pond in her back yard.

I don’t know why Mrs. Caruso took a shine to my family. Maybe she also grew up in a family that struggled. Maybe she knew what it was like to feel just a little less than everyone else. Somehow, even with her quiet charity, she never made me feel ashamed. She just made me feel loved and important. Thanks to her, I learned that I had just as much right as anyone to sit at the hot-lunch table.

I don’t remember what Mrs. Caruso looked like anymore, but I sure do remember how she made me feel. I’ve never lost that feeling — of being important to someone and being protected by her. After all these years, I’m still grateful to that wonderful teacher.


He bought it at the Sav-On Drugstore for $4.97. It was an unassuming wool blanket — red tartan plaid with fringe onEach end. When new, it was starchy and its colors vivid; but after nearlyTwenty years of service, the colors were faded and so threadbare in placesYou could see right through it. I thought the blanket itchy and hot, butDad stubbornly defended its merits. “This is no ordinary blanket,” he would say. Commonly known as a stadium blanket, we called it our “car blanket”Because that’s where it resided between outings and vacations. It layFolded neatly in the back of our ’68 Chevy station wagon, ready and waitingTo be called into service. Most of its use came as a picnic blanket, aGroundcover over the rocks, sand, and pine needles of my childhood. My father’s blanket began its distinguished career shortly after heAnd my mother were married. They were driving along a wooded highway whenThey noticed smoke rising in the distance. What my parents assumed was aHarmless campfire turned out to be a smoldering brush fire threatening aNearby trailer home. With no one around and no time to spare, they foughtThe small fire – just Dad, Mom, and the car blanket. After that, it was aLittle worse for the wear, but Dad just said the discolorations gave theBlanket “character.” A few years later, Dad passed a blue sedan parked along the side of aCity street. A few seconds down the road he got the notion that somethingWasn’t quite right with the scene, and he turned around to have a closerLook. There, in the dim light of evening and within sight of the speedingCars, a woman was having a baby. Dad lent a helping hand, the use of hisBlanket, and a ride to the hospital. The couple was deeply grateful forThe unsolicited help of a stranger. For a while the blanket returned to its familiar role. We watchedFireworks on it, and drive-in movies. It protected my father’s backsideDuring an unexpected roadside tire-change. Once, when a spring trip to theBeach turned unseasonably chilly, I recall huddling beneath its protectionWith my sisters, grateful for Dad and his scratchy old blanket. Several years later, my father was the first one at the scene of aSerious accident. Instinctively, he stopped and approached the mangled carWhere a young woman was inside, trembling and bloody. He thought of hisOwn five daughters as he wrapped the blanket around her and comforted her.The warmth of the wool helped prevent shock from setting in and kept herCalm until the ambulance arrived. The car blanket ended its remarkable sojourn with our family one briskDecember morning. A homeless man, a “regular” outside Dad’s officeBuilding, asked him for some spare change. Almost as an afterthought, myFather went back to his car, got the blanket from its resting place, andPresented it to the man. The last time my father saw the red plaid blanketWas around his shoulders. My mom bought a new car blanket soon after that, but it just wasn’tThe same. It was blue and soft; it had no stickers or threadbare patches,No grease stains or singed edges. The old wool blanket had earned its place in our family mythology. ItWas, after all, no ordinary blanket.

Keep Your Fork

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had Been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in Order,” she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to Discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures She would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the Young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. “There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly. “What’s that?” came the Pastor’s’ reply. “This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be Buried with a fork in my right hand.” The pastor stood looking at the Woman, not knowing quite what to say. That surprises you, doesn’t it?” The young woman asked. “Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the pastor. The woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story,and from There on out, I have always done so. I have also, always tried to pass Along its message to those I love and those who are in need of Encouragement. In all my years of attending church socials and potluck Dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were Being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your Fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was Coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something Wonderful,and with substance!’ So, I just want people to see me there in That casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder! “What’s With the fork?”. Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork … The Best is yet to come.” The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman Good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her Before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of Heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like Than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and Knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming. At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw The pretty dress she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he Had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the Fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how He could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they Probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever so Gently, that the best is yet to come.

Chocolate coconut balls

Recipe details

  • Yield32 balls
  • Time spentPrep time: 5 MinutesCook time: 0 MinutesTotal time: 5 Minutes


  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups (240g) shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (180g) your favorite chocolate (chips or chopped, melted) – I recommend semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 32 almonds


In a medium bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, coconut, and powdered sugar until well combined.Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until it’s smooth, and then stir it into the coconut mixture.Line a tray with wax paper.Grab a spoonful of the mixture, wrap it around an almond, and roll it into a ball (1-2 inches in diameter). Place it on the tray. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the mixture. There should be enough for ~32 chocolate coconut balls.Place the tray into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let them set. Enjoy!

High Birth Rate

A little rural town had one of the highest birth rates in the country and this phenomenon attracted the attention of the sociologists at the state university. They wrote a grant proposal; got a huge chunk of money; moved to town; set up their computers; got squared away; and began designing their questionnaires and such. While the staff was busy getting ready for their big research effort, the project director decided to go to the local drugstore for a cup of coffee. He sat down at the counter, ordered his coffee, and while he was drinking it, he told the druggist what his purpose was in town, then asked him if he had any idea why the birth rate was so high. “Sure,” said the druggist. “Every morning the six o’clocktrain comes through here and blows for the crossing. It wakes everybody up, and, well, it’s too late to go back to sleep, and it’s too early to get up.”

Life is a Bag of Frozen Peas

A few weeks after my first wife, Georgia, was called to heaven, I was cooking dinner for my son and myself. For a vegetable, I decided on frozen peas. As I was cutting open the bag, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor. The peas, like marbles, rolled everywhere. I tried to use a broom, but with each swipe the peas rolled across the kitchen, bounced off the wall on the other side and rolled in another direction.My mental state at the time was fragile. Losing a spouse is an unbearable pain. I got on my hands and knees and pulled them into a pile to dispose of, I was half laughing and half crying as I collected them. I could see the humour in what happened, but it doesn’t take much for a person dealing with grief to break down.For the next week, every time I was in the kitchen, I would find a pea that had escaped my first cleanup. In a corner, behind a table leg, in the frays at the end of a mat, or hidden under a heater, they kept turning up. Eight months later I pulled out the refrigerator to clean, and found a dozen or so petrified peas hidden underneath.At the time I found those few remaining peas, I was in a new relationship with a wonderful woman I met in a widow/widower support group. After we married, I was reminded of those peas under the refrigerator. I realized my life had been like that bag of frozen peas. It had shattered. My wife was gone. I was in a new city with a busy job and a son having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings and the loss of his mother. I was a wreck. I was a bag of spilled, frozen peas. My life had come apart and scattered.When life gets you down; when everything you know comes apart; when you think you can never get through the tough times, remember, it is just a bag of scattered, frozen peas. The peas can be collected and life will move on. You will find all the peas. First the easy peas come together in a pile. You pick them up and start to move on. Later you will find the bigger and harder peas. When you pull it all together, life will be whole again.The life you know can be scattered at any time. You will move on, but how fast you collect your peas depends on you. Will you keep scattering them around with a broom, or will you pick them up one-by-one and put your life back together?

Today I can…

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful
That the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad
That my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me
Away from waste.

Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was
Growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that
Thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a
Quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy
Because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my
Mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can
Feel honored because the Lord has provided shelter for my mind, body
And soul.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped. And here I am, the
Sculptor who gets to do the shaping. What today will be like is up to

I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

~Author Unknown By Me~

Sax ~ Cathy Mogus

The little chapel—a nondescript square building that was painted red—had been an army barracks. But what did my pastor husband, Jim, and I expect from a tiny coastal town in British Columbia? A cathedral? We added beige siding, and tried to provide stimulating Sunday services to the tiny congregation of about 30 people.

Music always helped. I played piano and another member played the organ. We even had a gentleman on saxophone, who sometimes led the hymns instead.

One Sunday morning our sax player led the congregation in song, while I accompanied him on piano. In the middle of the first hymn, I could have sworn I heard a saxophone playing, soft and mellow.

I discreetly glanced around the room, but could not determine where the sound was coming from. Not from our sax player—his hands were empty.

Hymn after hymn, the invisible saxophone player accompanied me. Following the service, several parishioners commented on the mysterious saxophone playing. “Did you hear it too?” they asked me.

My husband and I discussed the unusual service when we got home. So many of our church members had noticed the saxophone music, it became obvious to us where the music had come from.

I had always heard people talk about a choir of angels singing—but now I knew that at least one of God’s angels played the saxophone. Just for our little chapel.

~The Window

~Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital Room.One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each Afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed Was next to the room’s only window.The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.The men talked for hours on end.They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, Their jobs, their involvement in the military service, Where they had been on vacation.Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window Could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his Roommate all the things he could see outside the Window.The man in the other bed began to live for those one-Hour periods where his world would be broadened and Enlivened by all the activity and color of the world Outside.The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children Sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm In arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view Of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.As the man by the window described all this in Exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the Room would close his eyes and imagine the Picturesque scene.One warm afternoon the man by the window Described a parade passing by. Although the other Man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window Portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and Weeks passed.One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water For their baths only to find the lifeless body of the Man by the window, who had died peacefully in his Sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital Attendants to take the body away.As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other manAsked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after Making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one Elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window Beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked The nurse what could have compelled his deceased Roommate who had described such wonderful things Outside this window.The nurse responded that the man was blind and Could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he Just wanted to encourage you.”Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making Others happy, despite our own situations. Shared Grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, Is doubled.