The word for the day is ‘FAMILY’. I have been reminded all day of what a blessing it is to be a part of a family. You know, just the word itself gives me a warm feeling. There are so many feelings wrapped up in those 6 little letters that are gathered together to make up the word. It brings to mind UNITY, SAFETY, CONCERN, HUGS, SUPPORT, and, of course, LOVE.

I have been helping out at school this week, and catching up on the lives of so many of my dear friends. It has felt like a big, warm hug just being with them.  Today, one of my friends, RB, brought a book for me to see. We share an affinity for books. And, she knows how much I love old books. She shared the story of this book with me.

It seems that it was given to her husband, B, when he was just a year old. It was about a little boy who was in a Christmas Concert.   The front cover had fallen off, and the pages were yellowed and obviously well read. It had become a family tradition to read it, and both their daughters had grown to love the book as much as he did.

It was such an innocent little book. It told of the little boy who would go into the forest and play his flute for the animals. He was always late, and was, again, for his Christmas Concert.   It was just the sweetest little story. No publisher, or copyright was evident. R had begun searching for a copy of the book to give to her daughters. Finally she located it. Of course, it was out of print. But, her plan is to try to have a copy for her daughters as they move away from home and start lives of their own. Then they can in turn, keep the joy they shared as a family with this book, alive into the next generation. I think it is a precious idea! And, I wish her luck in finding 2 copies! R, thanks for sharing this book with me today. It was delightful!  May God continue to bless your family.

Then, it was off to meet Joy over at Pop’s.  We finished up the decorating for Christmas, and headed over to the cemetery.  I had been working on a little Christmas tree to go on Mother’s grave.  And, we wanted to get it up.  When we drove up, we were taken with the beauty of the trees growing there.  It was like they were on fire!

First, Pop had to take care of the housekeeping, and clean the leaves and grass that had blown there.

And, we placed the tree in the vase.  This tree that is growing next to her grave is one that Pop had planted there.  He and Joy had found a wooden red bird to hang from its branches.   I love it!

Here is a close up of her little tree.  Kind of plain, but I think it is just the way she would have liked it.  Now, she did love to decorate her house with lots of glitz and shiny, ornate things.  But, she would NOT have wanted that on her tree here.  She would have thought that way too ostentatious for this peaceful resting place.  But, I could not resist adding the bird.

So,on this coldest day of the year…so far… our little original family of 4 gathered together to remember and celebrate Mom’s life.  We gathered to cling to each other, and celebrate the life we are living now without her.  For as hard as it is to know she is gone, we still have a blessed life.  We have each other, and our husbands, and our children,  grandchildren, and our family in NC and GA.  We have a promise of life all together again.  We are a family…on this earth for now…and in Heaven to come.  Oh, what peace and comfort that is!
While we were at Pop’s, we were tidying up some of the house, and changing out some decor.  I picked up this beautiful piece that I had given Mom for Christmas many years ago.  For some reason, I turned it over to look on the bottom.  A note had been atached there, and in a familiar handwriting, were the words, “Tonja, this is for you now.  I have enjoyed it so very much.  Thank-you, Love Mom.”  I thought all the words from my Mom were gone forever.  But, quite by accident…[though, I know it wasn’t]…she spoke to me again.  I don’t even think I can put into words how that makes me feel.  But, oh, how she blessed me again today.

And, those feelings of family?  The UNITY, and the SUPPORT, and the LOVE…I felt it all today.  Oh, and a HUG, too…a great big hug from my Mama!