November 2, 2008

amanda-twinkling-christmas-slippers.jpgAmanda loved so many things, but most of all she loved shoes.  Every time she received a gift it was a new pair of shoes, boots, sneakers or slippers.  All of her uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends would send her gifts of shoes.  Her mother would take her shopping for new shoes when school started or when she had a special party to attend. 

Amanda had shoes in every style, color and design imaginable.  She had loafers with pennies in the pockets, and running shoes with blue and white shoelaces.  She had slippers for bedtime that were fuzzy with faces of puppies on the toes.  Amanda had many pairs of party shoes fit for a princess.  She had fancy shoes in patent leather.  She had black ones, red ones, blue ones and white ones.  She had purple shoes with blue bows on the straps.  Her colorful sneakers were in every kind of design.  Some of them even had flashing lights on the soles.  She called her favorite fancy shoes her twinkling Christmas slippers.  They were beautiful red slippers that glittered in the light.  They had Christmas trees on the toes and little white presents with red ribbons and bows that danced around the shoes.  They were trimmed in red satin ribbon and a green bow sat at the front of each slipper.  

One day, Amanda’s mother said that they were going shopping in the city for Christmas presents.  Once they were there, they stopped in all the fancy shops.  When they were finished, they went to have lunch in a favorite restaurant.  As they were walking towards the restaurant, Amanda noticed something special.  There on the corner amongst all the shoppers, sat a lady with her little girl.  They were wearing old tattered clothes and the mother was begging for money.  The little girl was wearing shoes that were much too big for her small feet.  Amanda’s heart ached for the little girl.  Amanda’s mother stopped and gave the woman some money for her collection plate.  She didn’t say a word to Amanda as she continued to walk toward the train station.  Amanda noticed that tears had welled up in her mother’s eyes.  She didn’t ask her mom why she was crying because she felt sad for them too.

Amanda and her mother returned home with their presents.  As Amanda wrapped her gifts, she could not stop thinking about how many shoes that she had and how that little girl only had big ugly shoes to wear.  Amanda went to her closet and took down the Christmas slippers off the shelf.  She loved this pair the most and thought how the little girl might feel wearing these pretty shoes instead.             

At breakfast the next morning Amanda asked her mother if she could give a Christmas present to the little girl that they had seen the day before.  Amanda’s mother smiled, and told her that giving from your heart was the true meaning of Christmas.  She agreed to take Amanda back into the city, so that she could give the little girl a Christmas present.  Amanda wrapped the slippers in her best wrapping paper. 

The next day they went back to the city and found the spot where they had been the first time that they had visited the city.The little girl glanced at Amanda and put her head down in shame.  Amanda knelt down and placed the present in the little girl’s lap.  The little girl looked down at the gift and then looked up at Amanda’s face and smiled.  The little girl hugged the box as if it were her favorite stuffed animal.  The mother of the little girl smiled warmly at Amanda and her mother.  Again Amanda’s mother placed money in the woman’s collection plate. 

All the way home, Amanda smiled.  She felt so warm inside.  Several days passed and Amanda’s mother arrived at her bedroom door and said “Amanda, I have a few more last minute errands to run in the city tomorrow, would you like to join me?” Amanda was thrilled “Oh yes Mommy”, she said.

That day it was a cold day and Amanda wore a red coat and green velvet hat and pants.  Amanda had a furry scarf tied around her neck and pink mittens to keep her hands warm.   She had her tall black boots on just in case it snowed.  When they got into the city, they went to a big department store and bought Amanda’s father a blue tie.  They stopped in many small shops and then had lunch in a fun restaurant.  Seated at the counter, a real toy train carrying their food stopped right in front of them, letting them slide their plate off the little car.  Just before they were to leave for home, Amanda asked if they could see the little girl one more time.  Amanda’s mother was pleased to say yes. 

They walked several blocks passed store windows decorated for Christmas.   She could not wait to see her new friend.  As they approached the corner, Amanda could see the little girl.  She did not have her head down in shame today.  There she sat alongside her mom wearing a great big smile.  She clapped her shoes together so that the Christmas trees twinkled more brightly in the sun.  She looked up at Amanda and the love shone back at her.  Amanda thought that the shoes fit her perfectly and that they seemed to twinkle even more brightly than before. 

Amanda’s Christmas was divine.  There were lots of presents underneath the tree.  Of course on Christmas morning she had received several pairs of new shoes.  Aunt Kitty gave her a pair of fuzzy knee high boots to wear after skiing.  Uncle Charlie gave her a pair of blue cowboy boots.  Her mother and father bought her a lovely pair of white ice skates with pink laces and pompoms.  Although Amanda was thrilled with the sight of all the presents, it was the pair that she could no longer wear that brought her the most joy that Christmas Day.  Her heart felt so warm every time she remembered the little girl and her twinkling Christmas slippers.


April 4, 2008

dsc00824.jpgOnce upon a time there was a little boy named David. David had a very nice family, and he lived in a very nice house. David had a fun little sister, named Sally and a wonderful dog named Rusty. He had nice toys to play with and he went to the very best school. There was just one thing that David did not have, he did know how to be happy. Nothing seemed to make David smile, no matter what his mother, father, sister and even Rusty did, David was always unhappy.

One day David was sitting on his swing in the backyard feeling sad. A little girl walked right into his yard and walked up to him and said, “Hi, my name is Sandy, have you seen the Thankful Coat around here?” David thought for a moment and said, “A Thankful Coat, I never heard of anything called a Thankful Coat.  No, I haven’t seen one around here. What exactly does one look like anyway?”

“Well”, said the little girl. “It is the most wonderful coat in the whole world. It makes you feel happy when you wear it.” David asked, “What color is it?” “Oh, it is the color of the rainbow”, said Sandy. “Come on, let’s look together to see if we can find it and then you’ll know what one looks like!”

So Sandy and David looked everywhere.
They looked behind the house.
They looked behind the bushes.
They looked all over the backyard.
They looked and looked and looked.

Suddenly, they heard such a commotion. All the birds, bees, bunnies, squirrels, butterflies, chipmunks, and even David’s dog Rusty were gathered around a large oak tree. There it was hung on one single branch of the oak tree…a beautiful coat. It was the color of a rainbow, just like Sandy had told him. The animals made beautiful sounds that sounded just like lovely music.

“See David, here it is the Thankful Coat”, said Sandy. “Come on, let me put it on you and you’ll see it will make you feel happy.” So, David held out his arms while Sandy slid the coat over his shoulders and then he put one arm in one sleeve and then the other. David said, “Gee this coat feels nice, and I feel better, Sandy.” David felt very thankful all of a sudden.

David was thankful for the beautiful blue sky.
David was thankful for his new friend Sandy.
David was thankful for his fun dog Rusty.
David was thankful for his family.
David just felt very thankful.

The more thankful David became, the happier he felt. The happier he became the bigger his smile grew. David’s smile grew bigger, and bigger and bigger. Happy Thoughts popped up everywhere in David’s mind. David had found the secret to happiness, to wear the Thankful Coat.

David was especially thankful to Sandy. “Sandy, thank you so much for this coat, I feel happy for the very first time in a very long time.” Sandy looked at David and said “I must leave now David, so that I can bring this coat to other unhappy children.” “What?” David said in disbelief. “How can you take this coat away, Sandy, I don’t want to go back to being unhappy.”

Sandy started to smile and said, “Why David now that you know the secret to happiness is being thankful, you can make your own Thankful Coat to wear every day. Your Thankful Coat can be an imaginary one and you can make it any color you would like it to be. Every day when you get up you put on your imaginary coat and start to think of all the things that you are thankful for and you will be happy.

David thought for a minute and he said, “I think my thankful coat would be blue with gold buttons.” Sandy said, “Now isn’t that fun?” Tomorrow morning you will get up out of bed and put on your imaginary Thankful Coat and think about all the things that you have to be thankful for, and you will be as happy as you are this very minute.” Sandy hugged David and said, “Goodbye, David I am so glad that you have the secret to being happy now.” David said, “Sandy I am so glad that you found the Thankful Coat and that you taught me how to make one of my own.” After Sandy left, David got out some paper, pencils and crayons. He drew a picture of a coat and colored it blue and made the buttons gold. He hung the picture in his room.

The next morning David got out of bed, he looked over at his drawing hung on the wall, and he put on his imaginary Thankful Coat. To his happy surprise he started to feel happy. The more thankful he became the happier he felt. David’s smile got bigger, and bigger and bigger. David’s life became full of happiness and he remained happy for the rest of his thankful days.

What color would you make your Thankful Coat?” What color would you make the buttons?” Go get your crayons and some paper, draw your own Thankful Coat and color it with your special colors. Every morning when you wake up, put on your imaginary Thankful Coat and begin to think about all the things that you have to be thankful for, and just like David you will have the secret of happiness.

The Beginning…


December 29, 2007

wobniar2.jpgOnce upon a time there lived a ferocious dragon named Renaem.  He could cause so much trouble in the land with his fiery dragon flames that the people would run for their lives when they saw him.  They never dared to go into the forest, where he lived.  He would prowl the land, angry all the time.  When he got especially angry out of his mouth would spout huge fiery dragon flames. Renaem had a son named Wobniar.  Wobniar was learning how to be a dragon.  Every day Renaem would take his son deep in the forest so that he could teach him the ways of being a dragon.  Renaem would stand and think about hatred, resentment and get angrier and angrier.  When he was full of ugly thoughts he would take a deep breath and he would spout huge fiery dragon flames .   


Wobniar was amazed.  Then it was his turn.  Wobniar would try to think of hatred, resentment and anger, but an extraordinary thing would happen.  He couldn’t seem to hold onto these thoughts in his head.  His mind would always wander.  Soon Wobniar would be thinking about the birds and soft animals and how thankful he was for the blue sky and the green grass under his feet. Then his dad would shout “Wobniar, where is your dragon flame?”  “Oh, here I go Father”, said Wobniar.  He would take a deep breath and out would come the most beautiful RAINBOW. Wobniar would stare in disbelief.  “What kind of dragon spouts RAINBOWS?” he thought.  This must be a mistake thought Renaem.  “Try again son, said Renaem.”  So Wobniar would think of hatred and anger and resentment…but suddenly he would look over at a bunny or a bird and…Out would pour the most lovely RAINBOW that anyone had ever seen. Higher and higher the RAINBOW would fly into the sky.  All the birds and sweet animals would smile. 


Day after day, week after week, there were no fiery dragon flames, just magnificent RAINBOWS. Renaem would shrug his shoulders not being able to explain what was wrong.  Soon people in the land saw the RAINBOWS in the sky and learned about Renaem’s secret.  His son was not a flame spewing dragon like his father.  People started calling Wobniar the “RAINBOW DRAGON.” 


Children would go into the forest and hide behind the bushes to get a look at the “RAINBOW DRAGON.”  “Wow, Ooh, Aaah!” would be heard as the children would squeal watching RAINBOW after RAINBOW fly above the tree tops.  Wobniar would spout RAINBOWS in all sizes and shapes.  He would write words in the sky using RAINBOW letters.  As he spelled out his name, the children lying on their back and staring at the sky could see the letters backwards.  All of a sudden one of the boys said “Look, look… Wobniar spells RAINBOW backwards.”  “He really is a “RAINBOW DRAGON” one of the girls squealed.” 


One evening Renaem and Wobniar had a talk.  His father asked “Wobniar, what kind of dragon spouts RAINBOWS?”  Wobniar thought for a moment and then said, “What is a dragon anyway, Dad?”  “Is it someone who has to walk around angry all the time, thinking about bad thoughts, just so he can spout fiery dragon flames and make everybody scared?”  Wobniar said “If you ask me, Dad it feels a whole lot nicer to think about good things and make RAINBOWS!”   Renaem was shocked, he had never really thought about it before.  His father had taught him how to be a dragon and his grandfather had taught his father how to be a fire flame sprewing dragon.  “Dad, why don’t you just try to do it for a week, and then after that week if you think that I should try to stop making RAINBOWS, I will”, said Wobniar.  Renaem said, “Okay son, I’ll try it for a week and see if what you are saying is true.” 


A week went by and the people in the land saw the blue sky filled with the biggest RAINBOW that they had ever seen.  It went from one end of the land to the other and it was in the shape of a huge arch.  The people ran as fast as they could to the end of the RAINBOW, which was on the other side of the forest.  To their surprise, when they got to the end, they found both Renaem and Wobniar together in the forest making RAINBOWS. They were each writing words in the sky.  Wobniar shouted, “Look Dad, Renaem spells Meaner Backwards!”  They roared with laughter so hard that they rolled around in the grass. 


When Renaem and Wobniar noticed the people from the town watching them, the people got frightened.  They were so afraid of Renaem.  Renaem shouted “Come and join us, don’t be afraid.”  The people were shocked, and slowly they came out from behind the trees and the bushes to join them.   They all sat around and enjoyed the beautiful sky and the warmth of good thoughts that radiated from the two dragons. 


From that day on, no one feared Renaem.  Wobniar taught everyone that it is so much more enjoyable to think about wonderful things than to be angry about ugly thoughts.  Renaem promised never to spout fiery dragon flames and cause trouble again.  “Making RAINBOWS is ever so much more fun than being angry”, he shouted.  All the town’s people cheered in delight. 


They crowned their beloved Wobniar The RAINBOW DRAGON.  Wobniar would sit on his thrown that the carpenters had made especially for him.  All the children that lived in the town would line up to whisper their name in Wobniar’s ear.  Once he knew how to spell their name, he would write it in the sky in his huge RAINBOW letters.  Each child would watch in wonder as their name floated high about the tree tops. 

Sassoon, The Dragon and The Lantern Festival

September 12, 2007

sarah-3-lantern-final-in-stars.jpg“Grandma, where is your lantern”, asked Sarah. “Oh, don’t worry I have one, and so does Mommy.” Ashley ran into the room “hurry up, hurry up, we have to go so we can buy the light-up sticks before they are all gone.” “Okay Ashley, let’s go”, said their mother. Sarah, Ashley, their mother and grandmother walked out the door of their townhouse and through the gates of Burnside Estates.

Across the street was the post office, a pet store and a small convenience store. All the shops were closed now because it was such a special night, it was the Chinese Lantern Festival. They walked two blocks to the beach where a huge stretch of walkway with all kinds of things to buy could be found. Floats in all kinds of shapes and sizes, beach blankets, trinkets and tonight they were selling light-up things in all kinds of designs. 

 As they walked along the boardwalk a man carrying balloons and all kinds of light-up things walked by.  Their mother called him over and said, “Sarah, Ashley what would you like?” “I’ll take a necklace and light-up stick please”, said Ashley. “I want those light-up glasses and a light-up stick, please”, said Sarah. The beach was starting to fill up with people on blankets, chairs and children were running everywhere.

They loved the Lantern Festival which was held every September. Sarah and Ashley were from America but they lived with their family in Hong Kong for their father’s work. Repulse Beach was on the south side of Hong Kong Island and they loved it there. All the people in nearby villages would gather at the beach with their lanterns. The whole beach was lit up with candles and lanterns against the dark sky, it looked amazing. The beach was surrounded by mountains. In the distance you could see little lights twinkling on the mountainside, which were lanterns belonging to people who lived there.

They walked towards the shop that sold lanterns.  Hundreds of lanterns hung from the ceiling of the lantern shop. Master craftsman made multicolored paper lanterns that looked just like butterflies, dragons, birds, dragonflies, and many other animals. There were teddy bear lanterns, and cat lanterns, round lanterns and tall lanterns. There were light-up sticks that everyone carried, and light-up headbands, eyeglasses and necklaces for the children. “Look, look they have lanterns like Bambi” Sarah shouted, as she picked out the lantern in the shape of a deer. “I want the fish lantern”, said Ashley as they selected their favorite kind. While their mother paid for them, the shopkeeper handed them candles to use for their lanterns. Now they all had lanterns and candles to light for later when the sky grew dark.

In China the dragon is very sacred, very lucky and very welcome. The legend was that a dragon named Sassoon lived in Repulse Bay.  He lived across the street from the beach, on top of the mountains behind a huge apartment building. The apartment building was designed with a square hole right in the middle of the building so that Sassoon could still see the ocean. It is very unlucky when a dragon cannot see the ocean. The story was that Sassoon hated the Lantern festival because he liked to sleep at night and all the lights kept him up every year. No one knew if this story was true, because only a few people had ever actually seen Sassoon. But the building was proof that he must have existed at one time.

“Let’s walk the whole length of the beach with our lanterns lit up and see all the different kinds that people have”, said their mother. “And then we can set up our blanket at the other end of the beach and have a bite to eat.” Their mother was carrying a basket filled with a picnic dinner. The night was beautiful, the dark sky against a large full moon twinkled against the waves crashing to shore. The sand was cool and the weather was very warm, but with a cool ocean breeze. Many families had set up little areas with chairs and some had even built sand castles. People had small candles in the sand against their sand castles. They had them in all kinds of shapes, some were hearts, some were circles and some were sitting on bits of the sand castles. Children were tossing the light-up sticks, and because it was dark from a distance you thought that sticks were flying around. Beautiful lanterns were sitting on each blanket. “Oooooooooh, did you see that one Sarah”, said Grandma. “Look over there”, said their mother, “Have you ever seen so many lanterns in your entire life?” They walked and walked and when they were almost to the other side a breeze started.

Within moments huge gusts of wind started to blow from all different directions. The bright full moon was covered by dark clouds that were blowing past the face of the moon. Sarah grabbed onto her lantern and the candle blew out. Ashley said “look, look everyone’s lanterns are being blown away.” With that a huge gust got hold of her lantern and it started to be whisked down the beach. They all ran and her mom caught it just in time before it went into the sea. They turned and the rain started to come down in buckets. The light of the lanterns went out from one end of the beach to where they were standing. People scattered to pick up blankets, hold onto their children and salvage their dinner picnic baskets.

Sarah looked at the mountain, passed the beach, passed the large apartment building and saw something very large moving on the other side of the hole in the building. She gasped “It’s Sassoon, It’s Sassoon.” He was large and red and he had little wings but a very big head. He was smiling. She smiled too, because she knew that he had done this, he had blown all the lanterns out and probably provoked a storm cloud. Sarah stood there and said “Look it’s Sassoon!” They all stopped and looked in the direction that she was pointing. “Oh my, it is Sarah, I think that you are right”, said the Grandmother. Ashley laughed at the mischief that he had caused, she was quite mischievous herself. “What a crazy dragon”, said Ashley.

Their mother looked inside her large bag and pulled out two tiny packages that held raincoats for each one of the children. Something that came in handy in Hong Kong, you never knew when a storm might appear. Everyone was running, and the rain started to come down harder and harder. They could see Sassoon waddling back to his home in the mountain tops. He had accomplished what he set out to do, put all the lights out before he went to bed.

As they all reached the curb, their grandmother hailed a taxi cab. “Wow, Grandma how did you do that”, said Ashley. She knew that everyone else wanted to hail a taxi and they had been very lucky indeed. Sarah thought that the dragon Sassoon had brought them luck because they had actually seen him. They all went home very wet, very entertained and happy that they had gotten to see the lanterns all lit up, before Sassoon had blown them out. Sarah and Ashley would never forget the Lantern Festival and especially Sassoon the dragon.

 The End


July 25, 2007

faeriefestival.jpgMarilyn loved to garden more than anything else in the whole world. She planted beautiful flowerbeds, and so many different kinds of vegetables. Her favorite gardening was done in her herb garden. She spent most of the Spring and Summer in her garden.

One day she spotted something moving behind her basil leaves. To her surprise, she found two little faeries backed against a garden rock. They looked frightened. Marilyn spoke first. “Why don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you, what are your names?” The one on the left spoke first “My name is Rosemary and this is my syster Thyme. We are garden faeries and we are here to help your garden bloom. Our cousins are coming tomorrow to help tend to your flowerbeds.” Marilyn looked and said “Well, I am happy to meet you. I would love to learn more about gardening, will you teach me?” “Oh yes,” said Thyme “come back tomorrow and we will bring our friends.”

When she went home, she ran to the kitchen and said “Mom, Mom I saw faeries in the garden and they spoke to me and they are going to teach me how to be a better gardener!” She could hardly catch her breath. Her mother replied, “Of course Marilyn, now it’s time for dinner, go wash up and help set the table.” Marilyn knew that her mother did not BELIEVE, but it did not matter, she did and that was all that mattered. That night she went to sleep so excited.

The next day, she hardly ate her breakfast. She flew open the screen door, ran outside, down the garden path to her patch of garden. When she reached her herb garden, she got down on her knees and looked ever so carefully. She heard a curious sound, like a flute in the distance.

Marilyn turned around and there behind her, near her left shoe, stood three faeries. Rosemary, Thyme and a funny little fellow wearing a blue coat and playing the flute. “This is our brother Lemongrass, he plays the flute to help the herbs grow”, said Rosemary. Marilyn was thrilled and she gardened with them all day long. She had brought a picnic lunch and she shared it with them. What a sight it was to see Mariilyn and her three little friends sitting on a blanket having lunch.

When lunch was over she noticed many faeries that day near her flowerbeds. She was glad that they were tending to the flowers, because her favorite place to be was in the herb garden. She really loved being with Rosemary, Thyme and Lemongrass. When it was time to go home for supper she said goodbye and told them she would meet them again the next day.

Days turned into weeks and her garden was beginning to look amazing. Her mother said “Well Marilyn, it looks like all your hard work has paid off, you garden looks wonderful.” Marilyn smiled, she knew that the magic that her little friends had brought to her garden was the reason it looked so beautiful.

One morning she awoke with a sore throat and a fever. Her mother came up to see what was keeping Marilyn from the breakfast table. Her mother saw that Marilyn did not look well, and felt her head and then called the doctor straight away. When the doctor came He said to Marilyn, “You need bed rest young lady, you must drink plenty of fluids.” Marilyn was so worried, she said to her mother, “What if my faerie friends go away if they don’t see me in my garden?” “Oh, now Marilyn I am sure that if there are faeries in the garden they will be there when you are well”, said her mother.

Days turned into a week and still she needed to stay in bed. Her garden should surely be ruined, she thought. Maybe the faeries will go away and I will never see them again, if I don’t go and visit them. One day she awoke and felt almost as good as new. She was well enough to go downstairs for breakfast. “Now Marilyn, I have a surprise for you. The doctor said that now that you no longer have a fever he feels some fresh air might just do you some good. So, I will let you go in the garden just for the morning, if you promise to come home and rest this afternoon.” Marilyn screamed “Yippee, Oh yes Mommy I will, I will… The screen door shut with a thud and Marilyn ran down the garden path. As she came upon her patch of garden she could hardly believe her eyes. Her garden was lush with greenery. The flowers were in full bloom and there was not a weed in sight. Her herbs were luscious and she could hardly breathe as she looked all around her.

She knelt down and started to look through the beautiful leaves for her faerie friends. She almost began to cry, when she heard a familiar sound in the distance. She turned around to be greeted by her old friends, Rosemary, Thyme and little Lemongrass was playing the flute. “Come on, come on we have something to show you Marilyn”, said Thyme. They led her deep into the garden and Marilyn could not believe her eyes. There were faeries everywhere and they were dressed in lovely little outfits wearing flower wreaths in their hair. There were faeries wearing gumdrop hats and faeries in white dresses carrying the most sensational bouquets in horn shaped carriers called tussles. The little boy faeries wore tiny blue and purple coats and they carried baskets made of grass twine. Marilyn could see that this was a celebration of faeries. She noticed the wee dancers were holding onto the ends of pretty ribbons attached to a May pole made of a stick covered in ribbons. There were wonderful garden huts draped in scarves and bits of fabric held up by twigs.

Marilyn peeked into one of the little huts and the little faerie guests were being entertained by a story teller. Another little hut held all the ingredients to create beautiful garland wreaths for their hair. There was baby’s breath, buckets of faerie dust, green leaves, sprigs of lavender and ribbons to make the faerie garland. Some faeries were carrying plates full of pink and green sandwiches and others were pouring lavender lemonnade from pitchers made of leaves. What a delightful sight, thought Marilyn. Lemongrass stopped playing the flute and said “Marilyn, this is our Faerie Festival and we hold this every year in July when we celebrate the harvest of our hard work.” Marilyn looked all around and said to the three of them looking up at her, “I am so thankful for how beautiful my garden looks, especially my herb garden. I promise you that when I grow up I will remember and still BELIEVE. I will celebrate the faeries festival every year”.

Well, as you might have guessed, Marilyn grew up to be an incredible gardener. Even though Marilyn was a grown-up, she still BELIEVED. She opend up her garden every year for the July Faerie Festival. The town loved the festival and they looked forward to coming. She had tents made of scarves created for the storyteller and she hired a flutist to play alongside. Another tent was made to house piles of leaves, flowers lavender and ribbons. Several young girls helped the little children and grown-ups to design their faerie garland for their hair. In the garden were tables set with pink and green sandwiches and pitchers of lavender lemmonade on each table. Tussles filled with beautiful bouquets of flowers decorated spots in the yard. Cakes of faerie design were placed on tall cake pedestals decorated with fowers from Marilyn’s garden. Tables coverd in pink tablecloths held stacks of faerie wings and tutus for the children to wear. A May pole stood in the center of the herb garden with blue and pink ribbons cascading down. Children dressed up in faerie tutus and wearing faerie wings danced around the May pole.

Marilyn still BELIEVES and she never forgot her promise that she made to her wee friends Rosemary, Thyme and Lemongrass. Every July Marilyn hosts the faerie festival. She helps all her guests learn about faeries and hopes that they too will BELIEVE.


June 4, 2007

bernadette.jpgIngrid Bernadette Wannabe had brown hair and big brown eyes.  She went to a very nice school and had lots of great friends.  Everybody loved Ingrid Bernadette Wannabe, except she had this one problem.  She had a personality that seemed to never be satisfied.  Ingrid Bernadette Wannabe said “I want to have blonde hair and big blue eyes like my friend Jill B. Jones.”  So Ingrid Bernadette Wannabe changed her name and let her bangs grow so long so it would cover her beautiful brown eyes.  “Call me Ingrid B. Wannabe from now on Mom and Dad”, said Ingrid.  Ingrid B. Wannabe lived in a nice town called Oakville.  The town had a wonderful school and a great big recreation center.  Ingrid B. Wannabe said “I want to live in the town called Littleton like my friend Nancy Liverpool.” Ingrid B. Wannabe’s street address was 25 Crossing Lane and she lived in the prettiest blue house with white shutters and window boxes in every window.  Ingrid B. Wannabe said “I want to live on Spring Street and have a white house with black shutters like my friend Harriett Jones who lives around the corner.” Ingrid B. Wannabe’s mother bought Ingrid the nicest clothing to fit Ingrid perfectly.  Her mother picked out just the right shade of colors that she thought Ingrid would like.  Ingrid B. Wannabe said “I want to wear baggy orange pants and a big purple shirt with red suspenders just like my friend Billy Matthews wears.”  Ingrid B. Wannabe had the cutest little dog, named Twinkles.  Everyone loved Twinkles and she was so much fun.  She would cuddle on the couch with Ingrid and she could catch a ball and bring it back.  Ingrid B. Wannabe said “I want a Golden Retriever like Rusty my friend Sam Herrington’s dog and I want to name him Rusty.”  Ingrid B. Wannabe had the greatest toys.  She would proudly show all of them to her friends.  That is, until she would see something new and different that a friend would have.  Then Ingrid B. Wannabe would come home and say “I want a toy just like my friend’s.”   Ingrid B. Wannabe had quite a big selection of baseball caps.  She had them in her room and the stack got taller and taller and taller.  Because every time Ingrid B. Wannabe would see someone’s new hat she would say “I want a hat just like my friend.”  One day her mother decided to have a talk with Ingrid B. Wannabe.  “Ingrid, do you know that our last name was not always Wannabe?”  Ingrid’s Mother said.  “Why Mom, how could that be?”  Ingrid asked with her eyes so wide they were as big as saucers.  “Well when Daddy was growing up and moved to a new city he met lots of new friends.  He thought that they all had better names than his so, Daddy changed his name.  So, Daddy changed his name to I. B. Wannabe”, continued her mom.  Ingrid B. Wannabe thought for a long time and then she said “What did it used to be”?  Ingrid was looking at her mother out of the corner of her eye.  Her mother answered “Oh, his name was originally I. B. Satisfied!”  Her mother smiled and waited for Ingrid to respond.  Ingrid B. Wannabe looked at her mother for a while and then she started to laugh.  They both laughed and laughed.  “Oh, Mommy you are so silly”, said Ingrid.  But Ingrid B. Wannabe understood what her mother was trying to show her, she wanted her to be content with what she had.  Her father had never changed his name but she thought about the word satisfied and what it meant.  A funny thing happened after that day.  Every time Ingrid B. Wannabe would find herself wanting what someone else had, she would remember her mother’s silly story and she would think.  She would stop, and smile and suddenly she would become Ingrid B. Satisfied. 


June 1, 2007

tomato-lady-and-daughter-with-flowers.jpgOne day while Susan and Lynne were playing in the backyard their mother called them inside. “Would you please go on an errand for me? I need you to go to my friend Tilley’s farm and pick up some tomatoes. She has grown the most glorious tomatoes in her garden”, their mom said.

So, Susan and Lynne set off to find where their mother’s friend lived. They got on their bicycles and rode down several blocks nearby. They had a map that their mother had drawn for them, with Tilley’s address printed on top. When they found the street, they were very confused. The street was very narrow, and at the end of the street was a very old building, an apartment house surrounded by a parking lot. This was the address, but none of the apartments seem to have balconies, or backyards. Lynne asked Susan “So, where is Tilley’s farm, Susan?” “I can’t imagine where this lady would grow tomatoes, Mom must have given us the wrong map, said Susan.”

They entered the buiding and climbed the creaky old stairs to the third floor. They knocked on the door marked 222, and a woman answered the door. She was a smiley lady wearing bright colored clothing and wearing a white apron with a bunch of tomatoes in the pocket. “Come in, come in girls, I have lots of tomatoes for you to take to your mother.” Their mother had called Tilley to let her know that they were coming.

The girls walked inside the tiny apartment. They looked around and Susan and Lynne were in shock. Right in the middle of this very large room was the most magnificent garden that they had ever seen. The old woman chuckled, “See my garden, it is very unusual, yes?” Susan spoke first, “Oh yes, I have never seen such large tomatoes. But how can you have a garden in your apartment?” Lynne was still amazed and she said, “How did you grow them here?”

The woman took a deep sigh and said “Well, a long time ago when I was a very young girl like you two, I dreamed of having a garden of my own. I decided that when I would have a big house with a large backyard I would have a garden. I waited and waited and I never did get that big house, nor did I have a backyard. I grew older and older and I was afraid that my health might fail before I ever got my garden. So, one day I got out of bed and decided to begin to garden right where I lived. I put burlap bags all over the floor and I covered it with many bags of dirt. I found lights that could transform my room into a greenhouse. I experimented and experimented and one day my garden began to bloom. Vegetables and some flowers, but these glorious tomatoes are my favorites. I took my tomatoes to the farmer’s market. Everyone was amazed. Little by little people began to know Tilley’s tomatoes and they started to call me the Tomato Lady.”

The girls smiled and fell in love with her as she told her story. The girls took the basket of tomatoes from the tomato lady. She bid them farewell and smiled as they walked towards the staircase. “Wait dear children, I have something else for you,” she said. She reached into her pocket and took out two little bags of tomato seeds. Then she said, “Dreams are just like these packets of seeds. They are not meant to stay inside but to be planted in order to bloom into glorious fruit.” Don’t wait until you are so old like me to plant your dreams…plant them today and you will enjoy the fruit soon. Begin today.”

When the girls came home they gave the basket of tomatoes to their mother. She thanked them for going on the errand for her and asked the girls about their adventure. Susan and Lynne went home that day with more than just a basket of glorious tomatoes and a packet of seeds. They went home with the inspiration to plant their dreams while they were young. Susan took the packets of tomato seeds and went in the backyard to get ready to plant them. Lynne went into the shed and got some gardening gloves and shovels for them to use. While they gardened they both dreamed of huge red tomatoes and thought about their dreams. They could hear the tomato lady’s voice say “Dreams are just like these packets of seeds. They are not meant to stay inside but to be planted in order to bloom into glorious fruit.”


May 22, 2007

100_11121.jpgBenjamin just loved Christmas and he especially loved the Christmas tree decorating party that his family held each year.  He was in charge of putting the candy canes on the Christmas tree.  Benjamin really wanted to hang all the special ornaments instead.  Benjamin’s mother was walking down the hall passed Benjamin’s room.  “Benjamin” said his mother, this year we have a surprise for you.  Since you are a big boy now and are six years old, you are going to put the special ornaments on the tree tonight.”  He loved the special angel and the snowman the best.  The big red Christmas balls were so shiny that they twinkled against the Christmas tree lights.  Benjamin knew how proud he would be this year when he would stand back and admire the ornaments that he had hung on the family tree.   “Now hurry up and finish getting ready”, said his mother, as she walked downstairs to the kitchen.Benjamin was so excited this morning because his dad and his little sister, Sally were all going to pick out a tree together.  After they chose the special tree, his dad was going to cut it down and then they would bring it home on their sled.  Benjamin ran down the back staircase that led to the kitchen.  “Where’s Dad” he said, “Where’s Dad and Sally, they didn’t leave without me did they?”  His mother glanced over with a smile “Well, who is the excited boy today, Ben? Dad would never leave without you he is out back getting the sled ready.  Sally is there too.”  Before she even finished her sentence Benjamin was out the door and running across the yard towards the shed.   Benjamin’s dad was busy cleaning the sled and Sally was throwing snow balls.  They all left together and walked towards the woods to cut down the family Christmas tree.  Benjamin and his sister Sally followed behind the sled that his dad brought with them to carry the tree.  They ran along side and laughed.  “Sally, what kind of tree do you want?” Benjamin asked.  “Oh, I want a little one so that I can decorate it all by myself,” said Sally.   “I want it to be the best tree ever, Dad, said Benjamin.”  “I think that it will be the best tree this year, son”, said their father. When they were deep in the woods they began to look for just the right tree.  Sally and their father went to the left and walked through rows and rows of trees.  Benjamin walked in the opposite direction.  It wasn’t long before Benjamin found just the right tree.  Why, he could almost see his favorite ornaments hung on the tree alongside the beautiful twinkling Christmas lights.  He stood for a long time just admiring the tree.When all of a sudden, he heard the sound of a tree being cut down, “Oh no” he thought.  He quickly ran towards the sound, only to find Sally and his dad…his dad had also found the perfect tree!  He was cutting down another tree in the forest.  Benjamin knew that he should have stayed together with his dad and sister.  He felt so disappointed that he did not get to choose which tree they would decorate. “Well, Benjamin isn’t this tree a beauty” said his dad.  Benjamin said “Oh yeah.”  “Give me a hand here son, said his father.”  Benjamin and his dad loaded the tree onto the sled and tied it securely so it would not fall off.  Away they went to their cozy little home to get warm by the fire and have cookies with Mommy and Grandma.  As they walked through the snow Benjamin just couldn’t get that other tree out of his mind. When they got home, Benjamin’s mom was baking Christmas cookies with Grandma in the kitchen.  They were chocolate chip cookies, Benjamin’s favorite kind.  Grandpa was in the attic sorting the Christmas lights and boxes of Christmas ornaments.  “Well, Benjamin I bet you’re excited about tonight, his mother said.”  Benjamin said, “I sure am Mom, and I get to hang the special ornaments too!”   It had started to snow by now and when Benjamin looked out the window all he could see was white trimming every tree in sight.  He thought that it looked like Mom and Grandma had put cookie icing all over the yard. Well that night rolled around pretty quickly.  There were plenty of cookies and goodies to eat.  The family gathered around the piano to sing “Silent night.”  Christmas carolers were singing at the front door and Benjamin’s  mother invited them in for something to eat.   Grandpa shouted “Ben, it’s time to decorate the tree.”  “Okay Grandpa, come on Sally let’s go, said Benjamin.”  They ran through the dining room into the living room where the tree stood.  Everyone was in the living room by now and taking ornaments from the boxes stacked in the corner.  Benjamin’s dad had already put the Christmas lights on the tree and he leaned over to plug in the cord.  Everyone cheered as he turned off the room lights and lit the tree.  Grandpa picked up Benjamin and lifted him high enough to hang the star from the top of the tree. “Okay Sally now it’s your turn”, said Grandpa.  He lifted her so that she could hang a candy cane on one of the top branches.  Sally was in charge of haning the candy canes on the lower branches.  Grandma said “Sally, here is a bunch of candy canes for you to be in charge of, hang them on the tree.”  Benjamin went over and found his favorite ornaments.  He carefully hung them on branches in the front of the tree for everyone to see. Later when everyone was gathered around the nativity scene to say a prayer of thanks for baby Jesus, Benjamin asked God to watch over his tree alone in the woods.  Benjamin felt so sad about his lonely and bare tree.   Benjamin’s father saw how sad Benjamin looked.  “What’s the matter son”, said his father.  Benjamin started to cry and said “Dad I feel so sad for my tree.  When we were in the forest today I found the perfect tree but it was too late.  You were already cutting one down and now it is all alone in the forest on Christmas Eve.”  His father looked at Benjamin and said, “Benjamin you could have told me about how you felt.  Never wait so long to come to me for help. Together we can work anything out.  Go get your coat and scarf and while you are at it, get some Christmas ornaments.”  Benjamin did what his father asked and when he came back his dad had his coat and hat on.  “Come on son, we are going to decorate that tree for Christmas.” It was dark and cold and the snow was coming down more lightly now. There was a bright full moon to help light the way.   Benjamin’s father carried a box of ornaments and Benjamin carried some in the pockets of his coat.  They trudged through the snow and finally found Benjamin’s tree.  They both stopped and stood still…they could not believe their eyes. The tree glistened underneath the light of the moon.  Each branch was covered with snow and the snow was twinkling like Christmas lights.  His tree looked more beautiful than any tree that he had ever seen.  His dad put his box of ornaments down and said “Wow, look at that!”  Benjamin smiled, he didn’t feel sad anymore.  “Okay, let’s get to work son, let’s put these ornaments all over this tree and make it really magnificent.  Then next year when we come to cut down our tree, we will know which one is your favorite.”  Benjamin felt so happy as he put the ornaments on the tree with his father. When they were finished they stood back and looked at the tree.  “Wow” his dad said again, “Benjamin I think that you are right I have never seen a tree more beautiful than the one you have chosen.  Next year we will know just where to look and we will bring this one home.”  They both walked back home underneath the moonlight with the snow falling and Benjamin thought about what a special Christmas Eve it had been.  Tomorrow morning they would wake up and open their gifts and later in the day Grandma and Mommy would make a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Benjamin just loved Christmas.