You Are Your Mistakes Weakness. (Forgive yourself)

We all have made mistakes, and some of us made them knowing it was a mistake while in process of making it. Sometimes we made mistakes not realizing it was a mistake until later. The whole point is, we are human. If we were all perfect in every way and never misjudged our own selves, let’s face it, life would be boring. Besides, we are not marry Poppins. (Practically perfect in every way.)
Just because we made a mistake doesn’t mean we have to punish ourselves forever. Yes, we can mourn our failures, but only for a little while. We must not live there. Mistakes are more like life lessons, unless you don’t learn from them and constantly do a cycle of repeat behavior. Some mistakes are worse than others and may even cause us to lose people we love, or felt incredibly close to. Some mistakes my have been because we were blind sided or ignored red flags. Some mistakes are because we wanted to believe something so desperately that we let ourselves make poor choices. You are not your mistake, you are your mistakes weakness.
Our mind and body longs for things that are not always good for us. Our thoughts make us think we need things that are dangerous to our mind and soul, without us thinking about how bad the choices being made could effect us, or even others around us. The thing is, if we strengthen our minds, keep it in a good place, a place of trust, and love, and Godliness, our mistakes become weak, and we become stronger. Living in past mistakes and dwelling on the failures never helps us to heal or to grow. It casts us down, makes us start to doubt our selves, and causes us to become depressed because we feel as though we are not worthy enough to deserve anything good. We begin to see all gray in our lives and lose peace and determination.
Sometimes our mistakes are made with other people, and they do love to bring it up how you did mess up, but that is their way of manipulating you to control the outcome of you growing taller than your past. No matter how much they throw it in your face that you made a mistake, you have to remember that they do not hold the right to say when you are able to heal from it, rise above it, or build your story of survival from it. Even if they don’t forgive you for what ever holds you prisoner in your own mind, you need to forgive yourself. How do you forgive yourself? How do you stop yourself from beating yourself up over a bad choice? When does the healing come and stay?
You start to forgive yourself and start to heal by realizing you are human. Look at other people and see how they understand you and see that you are really not a bad person, because you learned from what tried to consume you. See that you are loved, and that you can be an example to others with your story of how to make a change in a life style that may have been destructive. Look at yourself and think of how, if this was someone else coming to you, begging forgiveness, you, with a loving heart would forgive them. Then realize, if you can forgive them for the mistake, you can forgive yourself. Grow from it, love deeper from it, build yourself stronger and make sure, through all your self building, you are your mistakes weakness.

Battle Of Life

Times have been a struggle lately. Emotions weigh heavily, and it feels like a whirlpool of water, sucking you in with each swirl round. You try to grasp onto something, anything as it pulls you faster toward the center, as if you are heading toward the center of what would be a tornado. The swirl has nothing to grab onto though, so you just keep moving, sucked in by the gravity pull as it goes faster. This is life, the constant struggle, the constant fear that you will always be pulled into the harsh, brutal times that are only out to get you. If only you could grasp air, just breathe, but the water spurts into your lungs as the whirling pulls you closer to the middle. This is life, it’s suffocating you. How can you hold on when everything feels like it is drowning you? You can’t look back, you see no outlet. You just keep swirling round in the whirlpool, waiting for it to all end. It’s no good, just give up. Life has beat you, and you have tried so hard, but there is nothing to hold onto, nothing to pull you out of this destruction. It has won. You gasp for your last breath as it pulls you in, water overpowers your lungs. You sink into the dark, and close your eyes, praying for the last attack of life to end quickly, but it doesn’t end. Here you are, standing in the middle of the whirling water, but seems more like the center of a tornado. It’s mocking you, thinking it won, but in the center, it’s calm and clear. It’s a nightmare around you, but you are centered, focused, and stable. Your strength grows and you see a way out. You look up and realize, all you have to do is climb. You just have to pull yourself up through the center and ignore all the chaos around you. It’s not what is on the outside that matters, it’s what is in the moment inside of you. Then you see it, the way to freedom. You climb through the center, as if the whirl has steps. One hand and foot, each going a step higher. The whirling breaks in parts, as you are pushing on higher. It can’t handle the breaks in it’s swirl as you dig into it with every rise above from lower ground. You finaly reach the top, climb out and look back. It’s now just a pool of water, sitting calmly, sparkling in the sunshine. You see your reflection looking back at you, hair a mess, looking as though you have been in a battle, but you won. You see peace in your smile, and see calmness in your eyes because you feel a change, and you walk away, a soldier, going home to rest with confidence that you were victorious in your battle of life.

The Haunting Of Cedar Lake.

Laura was back at camp, as always, but this year, was there a ghost? What was the shimmering light? What was the moaning noise? Was there more to camp than just… camp? Or was it actually magical?

Prologue

Laura was twelve years old, almost thirteen. She was packing for her last year of Jr. Summer camp. She was excited, as she is every year, but she was a little broken at the same time. She knew this was her last year for Jr. Camp and her last year with all the fun games and sports. Sure, she would still be coming back to camp as a senior, but you had to be more grown up, and the games wouldn’t be near as interesting. Part of being in senior camp was to teach you how to start growing up, to not be so interested in games and silliness. Laura didn’t feel at all ready to give up her child like ways. She just wanted a few more years to pretend she wasn’t getting ready to have to learn how to begin maturing into adulthood. Laura lugged her bag outside and placed it into the trunk of the old station wagon that her parents had as long as she could remember, then she sat in the back seat and waited for her parents to come drive her away to her last summer of being a care free child, now crossing into womanhood.

Lake Cedar

Laura stood in the registration line at Lake Cedar, fully anticipating the full week of; fun games, the camp food, the nightly fire and ghost stories, along with the making of s’mores. She could barely contain herself. This would be her last year then she would start into training as what counselors would do. She would still have fun as a senior, but there would be meetings and a little more grown up activities. Laura decided, since this would be her last year with no responsibility, she was going to have the most amazing time this week and nothing would dull one moment of excitement. The line was moving forward at a pretty good pace and with every inch that they moved, Laura’s felt the butterflies fluttering in her stomach. It had been a whole year since she had been here. She loved camp so much, she would dream about it almost every year after she would return home, but when she awoke she would feel a bit upset because she had almost a whole year to go before it would come around again, but here she was, moving small steps forward to that time of year again. Laura moved up in line and finally reached the registration table, she was all smiles and high anticipatio. She gave her name to the lady behind the table and in return took ahold of her registered badge number.Laura walked away, smiling, heading toward her cabin. The councilor was already in their room brushing down cobwebs from the corners and ceiling, along with two other girls that were spraying down the beds with lysol and placing their freshly washed fitted sheets over the sprayed beds. Laura walked over to the next to last last remaining bed and placed her bags on the floor. She grinned and greeted everyone with a warm and friendly “hello, I’m Laura.” “Hi.” They all responded to Laura’s greeting. “I’m Sarah and this is steph.” Sarah said as she pointed over to Steph. Then the counselor spoke up and said, “I am Gertrude, welcome to camp, Laura. I hope this will be a delightful week that you will always remember.” “Laura responded with a warm smile and answered, “I’m sure it will be, i have loved coming here ever since I was little.”Laura settled in the room quite nicely, she sprayed down her bed and placed on the fitted sheets, unpacked her bag of clothes and toilet accessories, then started toward the cafeteria. It was getting close to supper time and Laura knew the line would be large, specially today, being the first day of camp. Everyone was always excruciatingly hungry on the first day. She could smell the fish sticks from all the way back from where she was walking from. She never cared too much for fish, but for some unknown reason to her, she always enjoyed eating the fish sticks at camp. It was like creating a memory that was delicate and special, no matter what the food was, she enjoyed every minute of eating it. Laura took her tray of food and headed to the table while searching to find her friends that always hung out every year. They all smiled and shouted her name when they saw her walking through the dinning room. She smiled and squealed back at them in excitement, while waving with one free hand. They sat down at the table and began to catch up on how their last few months had been going with school and anything else that they thought was interesting enough to talk abou. As the night went went on, the girls all parted ways back to their cabins. Laura was a little upset that they were not able to share the same cabin, but this was part of the way they were to make new friends, always partnered with new cabin partners, and build bigger friendships. She was in bed, just drifting off to sleep when she heard a noise outside. BANG! CRASH! Laura woke up suddenly and sat straight up in bed, with a flutter now in her heart. She looked around the room, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness. There was a little light from outside that shined in the window, from the few tall night lamps that were scattered around the cabins. After a minute her eyes adjusted, but everything looked just as it always had. The room was in the same order as it was when they all had went to bed. The girls were all asleep. Laura wondered how no one else was awakened from the loud bang and crashing she had just heard. She slid out of bed very quietly and walked over to the door, slowly opening it, she peeked out into the mostly darkened world. There was nothing around as far as she could see. She wanted to go out onto the porch of the cabin to get a better look, but her heart was already pounding. Laura was debating what to do when she suddenly felt something grab her shoulder, pull on her all while she felt warm breath creep down her neck. She jumped and screamed, while swinging her arms into the darkness, and then felt foolish as she saw it was her one other cabin partner, Tilly. “What are you doing, Laura?” “Are you sleep walking or something?” Laura was trying to get a deep enough breath to respond, but her heart was beating what felt a million Miles a minute. “No I… I thought I heard something.” “Did you hear it?” “It was so loud! “Like something crashing.” Tilly looked at Laura with a bit of disbelief. “No, I didn’t hear anything.” Just you scaring me half to death in the middle of the night.” Laura knew there was no use to continue the conversation, so she apologized to Tilly for awakening her and quietly crawled back into bed, but she hardly slept the rest of the night. She knew she had heard something, and it had every nerve in her body on full alert. Morning finally came, but Laura felt very groggy and her eyes felt puffy from the lack of sleep. She decided that wouldn’t mess her day up one bit though. She had a blast all day long. Laura played soccer, went to the planting of trees activity, helped prepare the breakfast in the kitchen for all the students, hung out with all her old camp friends, as well as the new ones. They all found they liked being around each other a lot and their personalities matched perfectly. Half way into the day a couple of the girls, including Laura, decided to take the Kayak out on the lake. The sun was shining so beautifully, and so it would make for a very pleasant afternoon. Laura loved to go out on the kayak. It floated down the lake, fairly slowly, drifting by beautiful flowerbeds, trees, and old Victorian houses. If you were lucky, you could also catch some wild life to watch as you were drifting through. Laura was enjoying the kayaking on this sun filled day, feeling peaceful in her surroundings. She heard a sound, sort of like the sound of a small bell, but she didn’t see anything or anyone that could have rang it. It kept jingling louder, then even louder. Laura looked at her friend in the Kayak with her, but she didn’t seem to notice anything or hear anything. She was just sitting there, calmly watching the passing surroundings. Laura looked around, glanced deep into the woods that was now near the camp area, she saw something shimmering through the trees. It was like glitter when the light would hit it, but there was no sunlight filtering through the trees to make anything sparkle at this precise moment, so she was confused as to what she might be seeing. Laura decided she was probably over re-acting, if she was the only one who heard a bell tingle, and only she saw glittering through the trees, maybe she was just overly tired and needed some sleep. She decided that she would make sure to go to bed immediately at curfew, and hopefully get some rest that didn’t leave her feeling have crazy. Once they returned to the camp grounds, Laura started walking toward the cabin. She was going to change her clothes into something a little bit warmer. She had dressed for hot weather for being out in the sun on the Kayak, but it was cooler once you were on the grounds, surrounded by many trees. As she was walking she heard the bell jingle again, then she heard a moaning come from behind one of the trees, as the tree leaves started swirling as if it was being struck by some wind. She turned around fast, looking in the direction that she heard the noise, but the was no one there, not a thing to be seen. She walked up to the tree and started peering all around it, but still saw nothing. There was a branch just in reach that Laura could grab ahold of and pull herself up, so laura grapped it and began to climb, just as she was stepping foot onto the next branch a scream, so high pitch and shrill, rang so loudly that it caused her the scream herself and drop the branch from her hand. She fell to the ground, banged the back of her head and felt an instant headache start right where she had hit it. Laura lied there for a minute, let out a small whimper, and started seeing stars, then she realized it wasn’t stars, but looked to be like a bright light coming together as one big star, not the stars you see when you get hit. She tried to rise up to get a closer look as it was coming closer and hovering over her. Just as Laura sat up to look at it, the light showed huge sharp teeth at her and another scream shrieked from its large open mouth. Laura screamed and fell back down on the ground and the earth around her slowly faded into darkness. As Laura lay there, her mind, in a dream like state, wandered off to terror. She saw huge teeth chasing her, she ran, but never could get away. She tried to hide, but no matter where she would turn, the beastly teeth were right there. She would scream for help, but everyone would just be laughing at her, pointing fingers and laughing as if they were at a circus show. She felt paralyzed, her legs would no longer move. She couldn’t run, she couldn’t hide then the bright light and teeth would be coming toward her, flying what looked to be 100 Miles per hour. She tried to scream, but it grabbed her and shook her so hard that her teeth chattered, then she woke up and saw Gertrude, standing over her, shaking her, trying to get her to wake up. “Are you ok? My gosh you had me worried sick! What happened?” Gertrude asked with a very obvious panic in her voice. Laura looked around her surroundings for a few seconds, trying to understand where she was and what was happening to her. “I was climbing the tree, I thought I heard something, and I fell.” Laura responded with a bit of a tremble in her voice. “Good grief, Laura! You thought you heard something, so your best option was to climb a tree? Child, what were you thinking?” Gertrude shook her head as she spoke to laura. Laura told her the things she had been seeing and hearing, but Gertrude told her she was just suffering from a mild case of heat stroke and told her she might consider going to lie down for a while. Laura walked away, feeling extremely crazy, and didn’t want to talk to anyone else the rest of the day. Her very last year of Jr. Camp and she was really starting to have a horrible time. Here she was, tired, hearing things, and seeing things and no one would believe her. She spent the rest of the night feeling a bit shy toward the other kids, but joined in the bon fire they had that night, in hopes the strange feeling would pass. The night flew by and curfew was now here, so Laura made her way to the cabin and through herself into bed. She was very tired, and it took her no more than ten minutes for her to fall asleep. Just like the night before, Laura awoke in the middle of the night hearing a big, BANG! She sat up in bed and listened, then she heard the jingling bell, just like she heard while on the lake. She could barely see, with it being so dark, so her hearing was peeked even more than usual. She heard a low moaning coming from outside the cabin window, it sounded like a cry, then drifted into a loud roar. The bells started jingling with a sound of aggression, but no one else awoke from the noise. Laura slipped out of bed, walked out the cabin door. The tree she had been at earlier had its leaves blowing all over the place, but all the other trees were completley still. Laura creeped up to it, feeling as though her heart was now up in her throat. She felt a wave of nausea float over her from her nerves being so unsettled. She squinted her eyes toward the tree, trying to see anything other than blowing leaves in the darkness, but there was nothing, just more moaning and then a high pitch squeal. Laura was just deciding to go back to the cabin when she saw the glittering light flickering in the tree and heard the same bell jingle, only louder than she had ever heard it before. She gasped and quickly covered her mouth. She knew she was not seeing things just from being tired. It was there, bright, loud, and then she saw something else, it was an outline glittering of what looked to be wings. They were huge! They had a fancy design of webbed lace, with high cut corners at the top that accented the flow that stretched out long the farther down you looked. They were shimmering, but a vague see through design. They were somewhat shear, but lacy looking. Laura was thinking to herself, there is no way, I have to be seeing things, I must be crazy. They look like fairy wings. Laura wiped her eyes, as if she was trying to remove a lens that was blocking her vision, but it was all still there. Laura was starting to freak out just a bit. Did someone do something to her food? How could she be seeing something that only exists in cartoons and movies? This was nuts, she knew she had to be a sleep. She slapped the side of her face telling herself to wake up, but even after the repeated slaps nothing went away, instead the bright sparkling light with beautiful delicate wings tried to get closer to Laura, but was suddenly bounced back away from her. The light creature moaned and bursts of glittering sparks flew in all directions, as they did Laura heard a small somewhat high pitch voice whimper, “help me, please!” “Please don’t hurt me, I beg you, just help.” Laura was beginning to understand that she may not have any reason to be afraid. This, thing, whatever it was, was clearly in some kind of trouble. Laura walked closer to the tre, looking deeply into it, she saw this light creature had such cute prissy lips, a delicate cute yet pointy nose, and big eyes. It had golden long wavy hair, and the wings seemed to glitter different colors as she got closer, but they were a very faint color, not bold at all. “What are you? Are you a… you can’t be, there is no way, but you are a ….”the light creature cut Laura off and said in her cute heart melting voice, “a fairy, yes.” Laura blinked her eyes and had a look of disbelief all over her face. “They call me Geraldine.” The bright creature said. Laura looked at her and started to speak, but then realized she had no words to speak. Geraldine spoke again. “I’m stuck in these branches. I’ve been here for two days. I was trying to fly home, but the wind shifted and blew my over to far, I have been trying to blow my own wind to get lose, but it wont work. Do you think you could help get me loose?” Laura pulled herself up by the branch and climbed up to Geraldine. “Why did you look so vicious yesterday? I tried to climb up to see what was here, and you looked like a monster.” Laura questioned Geraldine before attempting to help her get loose. Geraldine turned a bit red on her cute little snow white cheeks, “I didn’t know if I could trust you. We generally have to hide from humans. I was worried what you might do to me. We have a power to change, morph, really, into scary things to protect ourselves from danger. “I’m sorry I scared you, but i became desperate, so I figured I had better try to get you to come back. I desperately need to get home, but I’m stuck!” Laura reached out, as she steadied herself on the branch, it only took a few good tugs and she had Geraldine free from the branch the had her all tangled up. Geraldine flew up from the branch and shrieked with such a delightful squeal, and let out a contagious laugh, then she flew back over to Laura. “Thank you so much! I’ll never forget your kindness.” As she started to fly away, around the tree, laura yelled to her, “where do you live that you were stuck in this tree? It seems like it should be close if the wind could blow and tangle you like that. Is it magical there?” Geraldine stopped and looked at Laura and had an idea, but it was risky, cause it might make the other fairies upset with her. Oh well, she thought. This will be my way of thanking her. Geraldine flew up to Laura and started to fly circles around her, so quickly that all Laura could see was a thin line of bright light around her, then beams of light shot out, like droplets of water, but were sparks of glittering light instead. The lights started weaving around Laura, covering her arms, then her legs. She looked down at her hands and saw they were shrinking. Her legs started to shrink as well and she was getting smaller with every second that the light splun around her. Once she was as tiny as Geraldine the beams of light weaved together into a set of beautiful fairy wings. They were sparkling purple and blue. They fluttered up to Laura and attached to her back, lifting her into the air. Laura almost screamed, but as soon as she started to let out the sound, Geraldine flew up to her and put her little finger across Laura’s lips. “If you wake anyone, the magic will be gone, and you wont be able to come with me. You have to be quiet.” Laura held back the yell that had been rising inside of her and focused on Geraldine. Geraldine then waved her hands, streams of the golden sparkly light shot straight across from her and a huge hole opened in the tree. Geraldine started to go in, turned around and said, “follow me, Laura.”Laura flew close behind Geraldine and watched all around her as the inside of the tree started shooting beams of color all around them. They took a mad dash downward, right through the very middle of the tree, flying faster with every second. Then there started to be flowers growing all around the sides of the inside of the trunk of the tree. Laura was looking and in shock at what she was seeing. How was this even possible? She continued to follow Geraldine and saw a rainbow coming closer, along with beautiful beams of sunshine. They looped through a small hole at what seemed to be the end of the bottom of the tree, then they dove between tree roots and was pushed out, suddenly, with a strong gust of wind. Laura looked up and saw the most beautiful place she had ever seen.The rainbow sat from one side of a blue Robin’s egg color sky all the way to the other side of it. There were flowers of every color you could imagine. There were little gnomes working in the gardens with tiny shovels for digging and planting. Beautiful trees that flowered and never stopped. There were pink flowered trees and red flowered bushes. Laura looked to her left and saw a stream trickling over rocks. She listened to it making its burbling sound as it made its way across the rocks in different directions. To her right there were fairies that were flying back and forth taking care of little animals. There were rabbits, turtles, squirrels, and foxes.Far across the way laura saw the smallest houses, they looked like trees that were made to be homes, and some were built like tree houses in the air, they were so charming. Laura looked at Geraldine with a look of disbelief all over her face. Geraldine laughed and said, “I know, you never would believe this place existed.” Laura smiled and said, “how am I ever going to go home and live after seeing this? The beauty here is unbelievable!” Geraldine took Laura by the hand and they flew away together through the tall fields of flowers, laughing and enjoying every minute of their time together.Geraldine took her over to the waterfall, where the water taste sweet as sugar. They flew down to the petite garden below where the waterfall landed. The flowers were eatable, colorful and taste just like whatever you were dreaming of eating at that very moment. Laura laughed and ate one flower after another, thinking about a different favorite food with every new flower. After she had her fill, she looked over the area she had been eating from and it had grown all new flowers. Geraldine took Laura over to the gnomes and they watched them plant even more flowers. There were multi colored flowering vines creeping above them, aand vines surrounded walls that was built out as far as they eye could see. They spent what seemed to be hours having an amazing time and meeting the fairies and talking to the gnomes. Laura started to feel sad, she told Geraldine about how, at camp, she was only there for a couple more days, then she would come back as a senior to start learning how to be a grown up and be a counselor in the near future. Geraldine smiled warmly at Laura and told her she need not worry. She could come back every year she was there to visit, even being a grown up she could come back. She gave Laura a special anklet and told her to just place her hand on it whenever she was near by and say these words, “open the door, for it is me, I miss you so, and long to see. I always show that I love and care , I’m good at heart and i always share.”Laura chuckled and said, “what? Why do I have to say all that?” Geraldine explained that the enchanted world would only open up to the good at heart and it could tell when you spoke those words and were dishonest. It would never let a greedy or mean hearted person into the realm, for this place was built on magic and love. Laura put on the anklet and thanked Geraldine by giving her a big hug. Laura knew she needed to get back, so Geraldine flew her over to the spot that would return her to her camp. Laura brushed a tear out of her eye and thanked her for showing her this magical place and said she would be visiting again. They hugged and Laura returned back to camp. Laura climbed into bed, very quietly, but her counselor called in a soft voice, “Laura?” “Yes?” Laura called back nervously. “It’s beautiful. Isn’t it?” Laura sat up and started to panic, but Gertrude flew over to Laura in the darkness. Laura saw her beautiful wings and gasped. “How are you? What?” Gertrude waved a wand and turned back into the human that Laura had been seeing all week long. They smiled at each other and then knew, this was there special secret and they both were beautiful caring souls that would forever visit the beautiful fairy realm every year with delight.

The Thanksgiving Stranger

Prologue

Tom was quite the good looking young man. He had the dark eyes, dark hair, and the shade of tan on his skin was the most handsome thing to look upon for any womans eyes. Every lady would do a double take when he walked by, they could barely turn their eyes away, but Tom’s heart belonged to one. Sarah, tall and beautiful, long wavy hair, the color of the corn crops during the fall days, all golden and beautiful, and the those big bright blue eyes. Yes, sarah had his heart, and no flirtatious woman could even make him think about life without her. They were in it for the long haul, with their beautiful three children. It was all a man could want for a family, it was beautiful for Sarah, too. She adored everything they had been blessed with. She loved Tom whole heartedly. How could she ever imagine life without Tom, without their children. How could they ever manage without each other? Sarah, sitting in her rocking chair was reminiscing about the day she married Tom. How much younger they were back then. The years had been good to them for the most part, of course they had parts of life that put stress on their lives, but they always knew how to get through it together. Sarah didn’t know how she managed without him in the past. There was a knock at the door, so Sarah slowly got up off the chair and walked across to open the it. “Good evening, ma’am, said the tall police officer. Sarah’s face dropped, her eyes lost the sparkle that usually lit them up for the whole world to see. “Good evening,” Sarah responded with a nervous choke in her voice. “What can I do for you?” The officer walked in and asked Sarah to please have a seat. As she took a seat on the kitchen chair he started to speak, very delicately, explaining there had been an accident. Tom had been fatally shot. Sarah felt lightheaded, then she felt sick. She jumped up and made a mad dash towards the bathroom. Sarah cleaned herself up, then began sobbing uncontrollably, she covered her face and began screaming with such agony, with a pain in her chest that she had never felt in all her years of living. As she tried to calm herself down and gather her wits, the room started to spin and go dark. Sarah felt herself getting lightheaded and very cloudy, then she fell to the floor as the room went fully black.

Thanksgiving

Sarah awoke to the sun shining very brightly through her side bedroom window. She looked out the window at the beautiful blue jay perched on the medium size pine tree that Tom had planted about eight years ago. It was her favorite tree. It remined her daily, that her mom was always watching over her. Tom had bought it when Sarah’s mom had passed away, it was a life tree for Sarah to always feel as though her mom was still there. Sarah grew up on a christmas tree farm, her dad was known to have the best trees in town, and families came from all over, just to get their Christmas trees from his farm. Sarah’s mom wanted to be cremated and scattered along land, because she loved nature so much. She told Sarah on many occasions that her life was in the trees, all her blood and sweat went into helping Sarah’s daddy grow that farm, and when she died, she wanted to be with it, but not trapped in a box. So, Tom, remembering this request from his sweet spirited mother in law made sure her wishes were granted, and bought a perfect little pine tree to plant with her ashes so she would grow with the tree and be there to always watch over Sarah. Their relationship had been more as though they were best friends, more so than mother and daughter. Sarah had a horrible time with her death, and Tom was there for her every step of the way through the time of healing and grief.

Sarah got out of bed, walked past the tree and blue Jay as she blew a kiss toward it while whispering, good morning mama, I love you. Thanksgiving was today, so Sarah was very busy preparing the house, and getting all the food together. She loved Thanksgiving. It was always a big day in her parents home. Half the little town would come for the holiday, they would all bring a covered dish and celebrate together. It was also the time the community would walk out to the trees and start searching for the perfect one. The children and their parents would walk all over the fields until the perfect Christmas tree jumped out at them, as if it was trying to scream for them to take it home. It was always a magical time of year, specially on the rare occasion when the snowing would start and the families were headed to the fields. After they did their searching, they would all come merrily back into the house, that was transforming from the everyday house to the house of Thanks, and start the celebration of food and friendship.

Sarah took over the family tradition of Thanksgiving when her daddy had died, and it became too much for her mama to handle. Sarah began to do the organizing and planning. Sarah missed all the older folks that used to be here, now her home, but time and death is a cruel thing and she watched it pluck them out, one by one, but many of their children decided to carry out the same traditions. Sarah always went all out, the house was covered from top to bottom in fall decor, and the smells of wonderful food would tease any nostrils that dare come near the place. This year was different though, now she had it all to do with just her and her three children, her very own pride and joy. Tom had been killed about nine months ago, but Sarah was not going to let that stop the day of Thanks to be celebrated in their home. Besides, what would she do on Thanksgiving day, sit home with just the kids, just being depressed all day? Sarah knew it would keep her mind busy so she wouldn’t be just sitting around, ready to break out into tears with her first Thanksgiving without Tom.

Sarah stuffed the Turkey with cornbread stuffing, the traditional always grossed her out, so she changed her recipe a little from her moms. After stuffing the Turkey, she placed it in the oven on a low setting. The longer it cooked, slowly, the more tender meat Sarah would get, and she did love a tender meat. She started making the deviled eggs, green beans with pieces of ham, and her famous peanutbutter chocolate cake. The rest of the visitors would bring items, just as they always had in the past. By the time the town’s people and family would drop all their covered dishes into the kitchen, and overflow it into the dining room, there would be four tables worth of many different; meats, drinks, and deserts. Sarah was busy all morning and was beginning to feel overwhelmed, but just then, her children came into the kitchen to help her, they had been finishing up with putting the remaining decorations all over the livingroom and in the small quaint entrance of the front of the house. They all took charge of the dishes they would be making, as they were now old enough to bring their own covered dished.

Sarah was mashing the potatoes and her mind started taking a trip down memory lane. She was slipping into the memory of thanksgivings in years past. One that had always stuck with her was her first thanksgiving when married to Tom. It was also the time she was starting to take the tradition over for her mom. Sarah was feeling in despair, the home made bread was not rising, her Potatoes were too lumpy, and the deviled eggs were way too thin. She followed the direction perfectly, at least she thought she did. she sat down in a chair, sobbing in horror, as nothing was going well. She had been so tired and just couldn’t seem to get the magic of her own mother’s cooking. She had been taught over the years by her mom, but for some reason today, of all days, she seemed to lack everything that she had learned. Tom came into the kitchen and saw Sarah sitting on the chair by the cook stove, her eyes now red and puffy and her nose all stuffy from crying so much. Tom stroke her hair and said with a sweet, soft spoken word, “Sarah, calm down sweet girl. I’ll help you.” Tom went to the stove and started to preform his cooking magic on all the food that was now in shambles. Sarah stood up and went over with Tom, watched and studied the things he was doing and began to see a new way in how to fix foods that seemed as though they were destroyed. Sarah found out just a few days later the reason she was so tired, she discovered her mind was scattered because of one thing, she was pregnant with their very first child. When she was aware of her delicacy, she felt alive more than ever before. Her whole life started flying and she felt as though she was walking on the clouds.

Sarah came back from her reminiscing when she heard the door bell chime is beautiful sound. It was made to sound like church bells and she had always loved to hear it sing when they had visitors. Sarah brushed flour off of her apron, she was now in the process of making home made bread, but people were starting to show up. They carried on the tradition of meeting up with greetings and salutations, then shortly after would start to roam the christmas tree fields to make themselves known to the tree that picked them as it’s new Christmas family. Sarah welcomed them in with a warm smile and greeted everyone with warm hugs and kisses on the cheek. One by one the families would place there food on the “drop off tables” and make a round of greetings to one another. The house was always delightful with all the smells that came in along with the people who walked through the door. Sarah’s aunt brought her a beautiful apple that she had stuck full of cloves, and Sarah placed it in the middle of her fancy round loaf of bread. It made it beautiful and gave off a very delightful smell. Aunts and Uncles were coming through the door, all the younger and older cousins were not too far behind them. Some brought Sarah small gifts, the people that were close family. Sarah’s heart was starting to feel the old excitment that always hit her this time of year. With Tom gone, she hadn’t been feeling any of it, and she feared she never would again, but seeing everyone’s smiling faces and hearing their greetings of love and celebration, her heart was taking a small break from grief and celebrating life with delight.

Sarah was ready to set the table up, for now the turkey was done. So she placed the turkey in the middle of the table of all the meats. The turkey was known as the “center of attraction” it was the holiday picture of Thanksgiving. She cut into pieces the corn on the cob that one of the towns people had brought, and she placed the corn halves all around the Turkey platter to brighten the tray up. On the table of the side dishes she arranged; deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole, two different kinds. One casserole had marshmallow on top, the other had what was like a crunchy candied nut topping. Green beans with ham, mashed potatoes, that were made with a heavy whipping cream that made them the creamiest mashed potatoes anyone had ever had the delight to taste, Lima beans, Sauerkraut, cranberry sauce, fresh baked bread, fruited jello salad, Watergate salad, maple flavored baked beans with bacon, three bean salad, and pasta salad. The dishes seemed never ending, and some were made a little differently, because sometimes there was more than one person bringing the same covered dish, but using their own twist on the recipe. As the families came back into the house from their annual tour of looking for their perfect christmas tree, they began to gather round to give thanks to the Lord above for this time to celebrate with family and friends. As each individual grabbed a plate they began placing a little of each food item on it. The smell of the food was making everyone so hungry, it was heavenly to take the first bite, and each bite thereafter was more delightful than the last. As they sat and stood around, cause there never had been enough chairs, they reminisced about past celebrations. They looked back on when they were all children, how they would play together all day long. The smaller brothers and sister always wanted to play with the older ones, they would run and hide for hours, all over the big house from their little siblings and cousins. They would hide around corners and scare them while they were trying to find them. Sometimes, on the rare Thanksgiving that there had been snow, they would all suite up to play outside. They would build the biggest snow fortress and make tons of snow balls, after they had a ton of snowballs made, they would start their game of snowball war. They always mixed younger and older together to be fair to their smallest siblings. They never fought over who won, they just made it bout a fun game to see how many hits each could get in and if they were not so good at it, the better snow throwers would spent a little time trying to teach them how to get better with practice.

They remembered how they would go out with their family and pick out the tree. The fathers always had the eldest son be the one to chop down the christmas tree. It was traditional to always let the young lad do it, showing how he was becoming a young man. The girls never got to chop the tree down, even if there was no boy. The father continued to do the chopping because the girls shouldn’t get down in the dirt and were not to handle the axe.

People were getting full, so they were careful about not eating too much, after all, all those desserts were sitting there begging to be tested and tasted. Sarah and her children started bringing all the pies in from the outdoors. They had a huge box that Sarah’s daddy had built years ago, for all the pies that people would bring. It was kept out the back door to keep the pies that needed to be kept cool in a safe cool place. They brought in; chocolate cream, egg custard, coconut cream, Lemon merengue, peach, peach crumb, apple, cherry, and pumpkin. They put all that on the table, along with the cakes that people had brought. There was no end to the pleasures of sampling the most incredible sweets, cookies and desserts.

Another piece of this beautiful tradition was to start decorating the old house. It was part of the town’s thanks to sarah and all her family for everything they had done, for all the joy and love they had brought to the town. The men were outside hanging the lights all over the house to shine brightly for Christmas. They pulled out the nativity scene and began placing it at the center of the house. One man was bringing out the elves, and Santa claus and his work shop scene when he was approached by a man he didn’t recognize. His clothes were filthy, his hair looked like it hadn’t been taken care of in months. He had a messy beard, and he limped ever so slightly. “excuse me, sir. Can you help me?” I have been traveling a good while now, I’m hungry, and very thirsty. Please, might I have something to rid the pain of hunger and thirst, then I’ll be on my way. I promise not to impose on your holiday other than this request.” The man sat down the santa claus scenery, and took the man into the kitchen to give him some food. Sarah turned from the kitchen sink with a towel, drying her hands from washing dished. She looked at the filthy man, who looked ashamed, and she smiled sweetly. “Give me a minute. I will have a plate fixed right up for you, we have more than enough left over to…” Sarah stopped before finishing her sentence dropped her towel to the floor and started to sway as though she was about to lose her balance. Her eyes started to fill with tears, “Tom!” She shouted with a sound of excitement yet doubt all at the the same time. The man looked at her with question in his eyes. “Ma’am?” He questioned her. Sarah walked over to him, focused into his eyes and touched the side of his face with her hand. She repeated, more softly this time, “Tom. It’s you, I would know those eyes anywhere.” The man was in total confusion. He didn’t want to tell this woman she was crazy, but he had no idea who she was. He took his hand and placed it on hers to slowly remove her hand off of him, but as he did so, something sparked in him, something awoke in his mind, it was like a light of realization. Instead of removing her hand as he had planned, he grabbed it. “Sarah!” Sarah began to cry with tears of joy she had never before felt. No one could believe it. People were coming into the kitchen hearing that Tom was home, but how could that be? The had all seen his body at the funeral.

They all celebrated with so much joy, they gave God thanks for returning Tom to them, and spent hours catching up on the last nine months and celebrated all night long in Tom’s return.

Over time the police reported that it came to be known that Tom had a twin brother that he nor anyone ever knew about. His twin, Andrew, had been running with the wrong crowd. He was deep in debt from gambling, he was also mixed up with drugs, and had many people after him from his choice of lifestyle. Unfortunately, for Tom, he was mistaken for Andrew while on a business trip. He had been jumped by a mob of gangsters. They beat and pounded on him so badly he was near death and ended up with amnesia. No one knew who he was because the gangsters had stolen his wallet and money, so they had no way to contact any family members. When andrew was seen walking the streets the gangsters were enraged as to how he was there, much less alive. The leader took out his gun and shot Andrew right in the side of his head. Andrew fell to the ground instantly, and lie in a puddle of his own blood. The gang leader took out Tom’s wallet, minus the money and threw it on top of Andrew, believing they were the same person. Before he walked away he spat on Andrew and kicked him multiple times in rage. The gang walked away, feeling no remorse, and quite satisfied knowing this time, he was definitely not going to be walking around. The police were able to catch and prove who the killers were, all due to the fact that there was dna from the spit.

For the charges on Tom’s case, the entire gange was locked up on charges of; assault and attempted murder. For the case of Andrew, the leader of the gange was charged with first degree murder and the rest of the gange was charged with accomplice to murder.

Tom was adjusting back to his normal lifestyle, his memory had improved by one hundred percent, and the love between Sarah and Tom had grown even stronger than what it was before. Sarah never let a single day go by that she did not live life to the fullest being with Tom. Tom treasured Sarah and his children and made sure every day with them was magical, and unforgettable. They gave their private sorrows in honor of the long lost twin that Tom never knew about, and let tears of sorrow come over them from the thought of where Andrews life choices had taken him. But even so, every Thanksgiving, they sent balloons into the air as a memory in his honor, and gratitude for Tom’s life.

Tom and Sarah learned, and now teach everyone they come in contact with, you must always live each day as though it is your last, and love each person as though you may not see them tomorrow, because in the blink of an eye, death can take anyone. Love is the greatest gift, and no one should ever be without it.

The Search For Puff, The Pup. (Short kids story)

Prologue

It was a cool, brisk, september night. The stars were dancing, brighter, it seemed, to Jane, than they had danced in months. Jane sat on her back porch glider, gliding ever so slighlty, wrapped in a blanket sipping on a warm cup of hot coco.

Jane was starting to feel herself getting sleepy and her eyes were beginning to cross when she heard her mom call from the kitchen, “Jane, have you seen puff?” Puff was their fluffy golden retriever, mixed with other breeds of dog that they never really were sure of. Jane jerked her eyes to focus and became wide awake. “No.” she bellowed back to her mom. This was very unsettling to Jane, as she knew Puff was not one to just take off, or to even hide away. Jane’s mom, tall and slender with wisps of curly, blonde hair, walked out onto the porch. “I have looked for him everywhere. I even put out his treats to entice him to come out of hiding, if he was actually doing so. Jane, I can’t find him anywhere.”

Jane stood up, gathered her blanket and coco, then walked into the kitchen from the porch. “Puff, Puff.” Jane shouted in distress, but Puff never came. Jane felt her heart starting to break and tears started to weld up in her eyes. “Oh mom, where could he be?

What Happened To Puff?

Jane was sitting in her seat at school, her face and nose were bright red from crying all last night. Her heart was breaking from learning that her beloved dog had disappeared. Jane got him as a puppy, there was rarely a moment they were not together. “Hey Jane!” Jane’s friend, Casey, said as she sat in the seat behind her. Jane turned around and gave casey half a smile and respond with a, “good morning.” Casey was not always the greatest detective of someone’s troubles, but she lit up with knowledge today. “Why, Jane, what is it? Did you get a bad grade on a quiz?” Jane gave a somewhat more heart felt laugh. “No. Puff is missing. We looked everywhere for him. I’m afraid he may have been hit by a car or something.” “Mom even put out the treat that he loves so much and he didn’t come like he always does.”

“Oh Jane, I’m so sorry. That really stinks, I don’t know what I would do if I lost my fur baby. Maybe he just got lost and he will come home soon, you never know. Don’t lose hope, you could hang some lost posters.” “I will hang posters, but Puff never runs away, so I’m having trouble believing that is what happened, but maybe.” Jane said to Casey with a bit of doubt in her voice.

All throughout the day Jane felt like she would break out in tears. She found it hard to concentrate on her lessons, the teacher was going on and on and writing all the new material on the board, but Jane kept forgetting to take notes. All Jane could think about was her sweet boy. The day drifted by and finally the school bell rang. Jane picked up her purple backpack and made her way to the bus. Casey tried her best to cheer Jane up, but there wasn’t much use. Jane clearly was going to stay puffy eyed and red all over her face from crying. The bus stopped to let Jane off. Casey and Jane spoke their good byes as Jane walked toward her house, which was about five houses away. As Jane was walking, she noticed a glittering item in the grass below. She bent down to pick it up thinking maybe she had found some change that had been dropped. As she picked it up she saw it was not change after all, but in turning it over she saw it was a dog tag. It had her home address and phone number on it with the word, PUFF, above the adress. Jane started looking left and right calling for Puff, but he never came. Now she was sure he had not been hit by a car, but why was his dog tag off? She began to cry again and went home quickly to show her mom. “Mom! Look, I found Puffs tag!” Jane cried to her mom as she placed it in her hand. Jane went into her dads office and started printing out copies of her, “lost dog poster” with Puffs picture. Her mom gave her permission to go out side to hang the signs before supper. So, Jane ran out doors as quickly as she could and began hanging them on every pole she came across. Jane was getting ready to hang the poster on the third pole when she looked up and saw three other posters of missing dogs. They were all dogs of her friends. When she was small, she would play with them when she would go to their houses. Jane was starting to feel even more that something strange was going on. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but the fact that four dogs were missing made her feel like maybe there was something more to the fact of dogs just running away.

When Jane walked home, she crossed her neighbor’s yard that connected to her back yard. It was covered in fallen autumn leaves, many brown colors were scattered, along with tosses of orange, red, and a few remaining green. A sudden burst of wind came barreling through between the two houses where Jane was walking, much like a wind tunnel, which wasn’t that odd for this time of year. Between the houses was always like this, it also had a tendency to gather trash and bits and pieces of cheap, light weight broken toys. Jane looked down toward the ground trying to guard her eyes from the dirt that was now flying around her, that’s when she saw it, the light red dog collar. She recognized it right away. It belonged to one of the dogs on the lost dog poster. Jane picked it up and quickly put it in her pocket.

The moment she got in the door she went right to her mom and showed her. “Look at this, mom! Their dog is missing too, and I found this outside amongst the leaves, not too far from their house, just like I found Puff’s dog tag.” Jane cried out in dismay. “Oh mom! I don’t understand it. Why are we finding all these things, but our pets are missing?” Jane’s mom didn’t say much, but her lips tightened and her brow went into, what Jane thought, looked like the tightest anger frown she had ever seen on her moms pretty, usually smiling, face.

Jane walked back outside, feeling her heart tightening with so many emotions. She decided she should take a walk and try to calm down, because she, herself, was beginning to feel anger filling her mind.
As Jane walked along the small, quaint little housing development’s sidewalk, she noticed the deep smell of the pine trees. Jane thought, it’s amazing how the smell of the pines is strong during the fall days. She never could smell them until mid September, and she did enjoy inhaling deeply, to take in their aroma.
Jane walked for about fifteen minutes, than made her way back home. She walked in the front door, went to her backpack and pulled out her binders and folders to get started on her homework. It was hard for Jane to study, being all she could think of was that her and many of her friends pets were missing.

The next day Jane awoke to hearing her mom call from down stairs. Jane, get up, you are sleeping the day away.” It was Saturday and Jane loved to sleep in, but she didn’t want to sleep the whole day away, so she asked her mom to wake her. Jane bounced out of bed, and headed for the bathroom. She brushed her teeth, washed her face, and began to brush her hair. She felt like she could have slept many more hours, it was as if she didn’t sleep well last night, but she didn’t remember not being able to sleep, so she wasn’t sure why she felt so incredibly groggy. As Jane went down stairs to get something to eat, the phone rang. “I’ll get it” Jane shouted toward the kitchen to her mom.

“Hello?” Jane spoke. It was one of the neighbors down the street, she wanted to speak to Jane. “I think I saw your missing dog, Jane. I was walking in the park and saw someone walking him. This person had on a black hoodie, sun glasses and jeans. I have no idea who it was, it was almost as if they were disguising themslef.” “Are you sure, what makes you think it was puff?” Jane inquired. Because I saw that distinct black mark on the dog’s tail. No other dog in the neighborhood looks like that.” The neighbor said with excitement.

Jane asked where they went so she could go get her pup, but all she got was that the person took off rather quickly when they noticed they were being watched.

Jane hung up the phone and started to feel the tears filling her eyes. Her mom walked over to her and gave her a tight hug. It felt like the kind of hug she used to give her when she was really little, the kind that was described as the great big bear hug. Jane’s mom always gave her the bear hug when she was hurt, or sad. She hadn’t had a bear hug in a few years, as far as she could remember, and it felt good to have this one, because her heart felt like it was breaking into a million pieces. Jane said to her mom, in between the uncontrollable sobs, “why would anyone take my dog? I don’t understand how anyone could just take someone else’s dog. And what about my friends, their dogs are missing, too. Do you think this person took their dog as well?” Jane’s mom gave the only answer she could honestly give. “I don’t know, sweetheart.”

Jane decided she would go to the park, in hopes that maybe her dog would show up again. Maybe she could catch the person in the black hoodie, maybe she could walk right up to him, or her and yank Puff’s leach right out of their stealing hands. Jane saw many pups that day. Some short, some tall, some black, others brown, and some golden, but non that was her Puff. Jane started asking around if anyone had seen Puff. Jane thought, if someone had her dog there, surely someone would have seen him, other than her one neighbor. No one had seen him, no one even recalled a person in a black hoodie and sunglasses. Jane felt beside herself with what to do. What could she do? She had nothing else to go on, it was all hopeless. Here she was, standing in a park that her beloved pup had been in, but had no idea where he was taken from there. Jane sat down for a minute to calm herself down, she felt herself starting to build tears up, but she didn’t want to sit there, crying, in front of all of the people. As Jane looked up she saw one of her other neighbors heading toward her. It was Sam, the tall, fair skinned, red haired woman that lived a couple of houses down from her. “Hi Jane.” Sam called to her, as she sat beside her on the park bench. “How are you today” Jane looked up at Sam, her eyes still slightly red and puffy from crying earlier that day. Just as Sam looked at Jane and saw the swollen eyes, she lost the smile on her face. “Oh Jane, I’m sorry I, I just wanted, well, I needed to…” Jane looked at Sam in confusion. “What?” Jane questioned. Sam instantly pasted a smile back on her face and started talking all bubbly again, as if she had never even started to apologize about something. Jane sat there, listening to Sam ramble on for the next forty five minutes about meaningless stuff. Jane thought Sam would never get tired, but suddenly, Sam jumped up and said, very suddenly, “well, I have to get home. I have all the.” Sam stopped and looked at Jane with a look of regret on her face, then she continued, “I have all the laundry to wash. Take care Jane.” Jane gave a half hearted smile and said, “you too, Sam.” After that, Sam was gone in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Jane sat there for a good many more minutes, going over the strangeness of the conversation with Sam. Sam was friendly, had always been nice when Jane would see her from the street. She was also nice when they took their pets into her office for check ups and rabies shots. She always smile and waved in public, but never had spoken to Jane near as much as she had just now with this last conversation.

It was getting close to supper time, so Jane thought she had best get up and start walking toward home. When Jane stood up she saw a dog treat sitting beside her. A small bone shaped treat, just like the ones they gave out at the vet’s office. That funny, Jane thought to herself, as she bent over to pick it up. I don’t remember that being there when I sat down. Jane walked home, went in the front door where the smell of, cooked ham, green beans, and potatoes filled her nostrils. Jane had no idea how hungry she was until the enticing smell overwhelmed her senses. I just need to calm down for a while and stop thinking about Puff, I will find him. Tomorrow, I’m going to start walking all over the neighborhood. I will find him, Jane said to herself, make no doubt about that.

The next morning, Sunday, Jane awoke around her usual time. She was so grateful it was the weekend. Jane loved school, it was a bit more intense than middle school was, but she loved learning new things, and loved to give her brain a challenge. She was in honors classes, a team leader in some social clubs, and she loved being part of the skii club. Jane felt life was heading in just the right direction, but she adored her weekends to catch up on sleep and relax after her long weeks grind. Jane forced herself out of bed and went on to start the day. After breakfast, more like brunch, really, because she slept most of the morning away, she put her shoes on, walked out the door and started her mission to knock on every door in the neighborhood to see if anyone had seen Puff, or knew of anyone that had a dog when they didn’t have one before.

Jane went, door to door, asking with all the hope she could, but with every answer, she became more discouraged. No one had seen Puff and no one knew anything about any new dog owners. Jane felt her heart breaking all over again. She had so much hope when she first awoke, but now, she was starting to feel as she did when Puff first went missing. Jane decided to cut through the park on her way home, at least to look at the remaining flowers in the gardens. The look of blooming mums and colorful fall leaves scattered all over the ground was breath taking for Jane. It gave her joy and made her feel peaceful to take in all the beautiful scenery, specially when she was feeling down in her heart. Jane was walking, looking at the beautiful colors, trying to lift her spirit and get out of her own personal funk, when she heard a faint barking. Jane knew their were other dogs there, but this was different. This bark had the playful familiarity that she had heard so many times in the past. It sounded just like Puff! Jane looked around, quickly, her eyes looking back and forth, as quickly as she could make them look. Then she saw it. It was that person with the black hoodie. Jane froze for about two seconds, then she began to run as fast as she could. “Puff, PUFF!” Jane shouted louder and louder. The person in the hoodie looked right at Jane, and as fast as they made eye contact, the person ran away, dragging the pup behind them. The hoodie flew off their head and Jane saw it was a woman. She had bright red hair. Jane knew those eyes, she knew the hair, and she definitely knew that dog! Jane ran home as fast as she could, barreling leg over leg, nearly falling down multiple times. She crashed through the front door, nearly giving her mom a heart attack. “JANE!” Her mom shouted at her with a look of pure shock on her face, she hadn’t seen Jane act this way since she was just a little kid. Jane caught her breath, in between times of speaking and telling her mom everything that just happened. Jane had knocked on Sam’s door, when inquiring about Puff and new dog owners, but Sam hadn’t been home, she must have been at the park. Jane’s mom called the police and told them everything that Jane had told her. The police told them to remain calm and they would look into the situation.

While Jane waited, for what seemed like many hours, she felt butterflies all through her stomach, she was so excited, but felt half sick too. She had known Sam for a long time, it didn’t make any sense that Sam would do this to her, and what about the other dogs, did she have them too? Jane was beside herself when the phone rang, she jumped off the recliner and gave a hurried, “hello!” It was the police, they had Puff, but needed her to come identify the dog, to be sure it was indeed hers.

When Jane showed up, Puff bounded and leaped at Jane, licking her all over her face, while wagging his tail so hard that Jane wasn’t sure if the dog was wagging or the tail was. Sam stood there, glaring at Jane, then her face softened. “Jane, I wasn’t trying to hurt him, or you. I just. I lost my own pup a few months ago, he was hit by a car and the only way I could cope was to keep my favorite dogs from my veterinarian clinic. I felt close to them. I just wanted to be happy.” Jane looked at Sam with some sympathy, but couldn’t speak, she was too close to crying from of the hurt she felt from the betrayal. Jane took Puff out the door and they both walked home.

The papers printed, at a later date, that DR. Sam Smith was charged with endangerment and animal cruelty, and thievery. Sam had been sedating the dogs, so that no one would hear them in her own home and rise suspicion. She would take one dog at a time off of sedation, and treat it as though it was her pet by going for walkes, feeding it, and loving all over it, then continue the rotation with sedating the other dogs. Sam’s business was shut down and she spent a good amount of time behind bars.

Jane was very angry at what Sam had done, but she also felt bad. She knew how bad it was to lose a pet, so she went the the jail and took a picture of Puff with her to visitation. Jane handed Sam the photo and told her, “what you did is not ok. I will never ever trust you again, but I feel for you as well. I forgive you for what you did, but I do not excuse your behavior.” Sam took the photo and looked at it with loving eyes, that now began to weep. “I really am sorry, Jane.” She said in a low tone of shame. Jane smiled and said, “I know.” Then she walked out of the jail, feeling relieved that she was able to forgive and that her pup was alive and well. She strolled down the side walk with Puff and her mom, they decided to go to the park for a while before heading home to play some fetch with Puff’s favorite frisbee.

Your struggle doesn’t define you, you define your struggle.

Someone needs to hear this with their heart. They need to breathe deeply and let it all sink in, one small word at a time. What we deal with doesn’t make us, but it does shape us. It shapes us to be; overcomers, compassionate, loyal, wise, tenderhearted, and could very well be the story to someone else’s chapter to help them find their way through their struggle. It does feel overwhelming when you feel like you made a mistake, like you were not good enough, or you just don’t know what to do in certain situations. Just because you don’t handle everything perfectly is not a sign of failure, it’s more like a sign that you are in a lesson. A mistake is just a trial and error. A mistake, but getting back on track is a, I see where I did that wrong, but now I know how to correct it.

A struggle may be with forgiveness. We know, biblically, that we have to forgive to b forgiven, and sometimes we just are not ready. Forgive comes in baby steps. You are not going to be able to just wake up one day and say to yourself, it doesn’t bother me what they did to me, or said about me. I’m fine with it all and have no care about it now. That is not how life works, unfortunately. Forgiveness comes from healing. Once you start to heal, the things that are lacking forgiveness gradually go away. One day you’ll see that the struggle to forgive doesn’t even bother you anymore. It’s like a scraped up knee with a bandage on it. It needs air to breathe, if you suffocate it, it takes longer to heal, due to the moisture. You have to stop thinking of the things that cause you to be angry, to stop dwelling on the scenario of, he did, she did me wrong. Place you focus on other things. Music, walks, movies. Family, anything you can find to keep your mind dwelling on the good things. Before you know it. You will have defined your struggle, you will rise up and be someone else’s guide on strength to forgiveness.

Whatever you give your heart to is what defines you. Give your heart to loving and helping others, you will be seen as an angel sent by God. Give every part of yourself to worship and praise, you will be victorious in prayer and see the outcome of God’s glory.

If you find yourself struggling with negative things coming your way, you define yourself as a warriorby holding a good attitude, by showing you can stand tall and strong, and not be broken by the pain. If you choose to do everything through God and let Him guide your steps, you will be defined by Him.

You’re exhausted, Slow Down And Breathe

It’s been a while since I have written anything. Life has had me running like a mad person. Summer is always beautiful, fun, and full of adventures, but it is also very tiring. Sometimes I forget to slow down and just breathe. I started taking my walks outdoors again, I had been lacking in that for quite some time. It seems that by the time I get home from work, picking up kids, getting supper on the table, cleaning up from said supper, and getting everyone to bed, the night is well past over. Through all the chaos I am reminded, God doesn’t want us so busy all of the time. He wants us to feel rested in Him. God wants us to trust in Him and to let Him handle our stress. Well, that is a little hard to do, considering He is not standing here right in front of us, ready to take anything we ask Him to off of our shoulders.

Sometimes we have to make ourselves slow down. We need to take that somewhat long walk and play our worship music, or listen to the birds sing. Maybe we are too busy because we didnt pray and ask God His direction for us. Could it be that maybe we do make things hard on our selves by trying to hold everything together?

We have to keep up with our job, sports, phone calls, Bills, family, and so much more. Sometimes, we need to not answer the ringing phone. There are times where you just need to put the next task down and play hide and seek with your child, that is five now, but turning sixteen tomorrow. Let the dirty dishes sit in the sink this one night and look at the new drawing the eleven year old has made. The house work will still be there in the following days to come, so rest from it, sit down and enjoy that old family friendly sitcom you used to always watch, before work and duties took your life over.

We are all so busy running, chasing our American dream, we are making ourselves more behind in the things that are really important. That is time we can never get back.one day our mind will slip down memory lane and the main thing we will remember is how we can’t remember much of anything, except for work.

Ask God to show you how to trust in Him, how you can let Him be your strength when you feel week. Take that picnic basket and pack it with a fun lunch and go to the park, let God’s beauty flow through the very blood in your body, as He refreshes and redefines who you are, in Him.

Give your mind rest from over thinking. You torture yourself by always keeping your mind occupied with having to make choices, instead of resting at night, or anytime for that matter. God will guide you through the day, if only you give Him lead way.

Take time out to read the Bible, even if it is just few short verses. God delights in any effort we put forth to be with Him, to abide in Him. Go into your prayer place and give Him yourself, and He will bless you, comfort you, and bring you to a higher level like you have never seen.

Find peace in all you do by taking a break. Give yourself the ability to slow down and breathe. Don’t let yourself feel pressured into continually going, just to keep others happy. Your health and mental well being need you to be cautious in how much you constantly do.

Be blessed. Be loved. Be the old you, who knew how to slow down when the time was right, and stop killing yourself over things that, in years to come, you wont even remember.