I want to tell you about my little brother

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I want to tell you about my little brother.

I remember the day he was born. Its one of my earliest memories – I was three years old.
You see I was an infant when my brother Johnny was born, so there is no memory before him. But Frank – I remember.
My Daddy came to pick us up at the neighbors. I still remember the deep sunset colors in the sky and the smell of carnations that were growing along the walk. And Daddy told me I had a baby brother. It was like he was giving me a gift, a complete surprise. I fell in love with him from the moment I saw him. And he is still the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.

He was a funny little fellow. Johnny and I learned pretty quickly that when we were all in trouble to kind of push Frank forward because he would make a silly face or do something goofy and Mom and Dad couldn’t help but laugh.

He was a rough and tumble kid. Mom would tell the story that she would have us all shiny and clean and ready to go to church. And somehow from the door of the house to the car, Frank’s shirt tail would be out, his socks fallen down, shoes were untied and he would have dirt on his face.

He struggled in school. This was before we knew what dyslexia was and it was especially hard because his brother was brilliant and his sister smart and we loved to read and learn. But he was cute and athletic and always good for a laugh or an adventure.

He could be a pain in the ass too like all little brothers. I remember one car trip from our home in Lubbock Texas to our grandparents in Crossett Arkansas – Frank had somehow learned all the words to Que Sera Sera by Doris Day (don’t ask me how or why) And he sang it all the way across Texas and Arkansas. We were all close to tossing him out the car window.

He was handsome and fun and played sports in school. He was very popular and one spring was asked to 6 proms. Dad said he was going to have to take out a loan for tux rentals and florists.

After high school, he tried to figure out his way. Ended up with different jobs and then started doing carpentry work.

After his first marriage ended, he went thru a dark time and we thought we had lost him.

Then, he gave his life to Jesus and his heart to Janet at about the same time. Mom always said that Jesus and Janet gave her son back to her and she was pretty sure it was mostly Janet.
This began his journey that changed his life.

All his life he wanted to become a good man – He wanted to be those things he loved best about his dad. A family man, a man that loved his wife, a man that adored his children. A man that had a sparkle in his eye and could command the room with his laugh.

These past 6 years, he became deeper and wiser and more loving.
He was a good man.

And I am so proud of him and love him and will miss him the rest of my life.

And there is one thing I know – love is everything – love is what we are called to do and love is the beginning with no end.

He was my baby brother. He was a good man.
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A Litany for the Lighting of the Advent Candles

This is a litany I wrote many years ago for the congregation of a tiny Presbyterian Church in N W Arkansas.
In the Christian faith, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas are considered the season of Advent and many churches and many families light the Advent candles on each of those Sundays.
My hope is that readers of all faiths and beliefs will see the light of hope and love.
Light a candle.

(If you would like to use this litany, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear how you use it and where, especially if it is for your church congregation. Thanks, Kathleen)

Angel of the Rusty Halo

The Litany for Lighting of the Advent Candles

First Sunday of Advent

We wait for You in the stillness.
In the darkness before dawn.
We have heard of Your coming.

The prophet said,
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him–
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD– Isaiah 11:1-2

We wait.
Light one candle.

Second Sunday of Advent

We wait for You in the stillness.
In the darkness before dawn.
We wait in a small town,
making preparations for You.

The prophet said
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79

We wait.
Light two candles.

Third Sunday of Advent

We wait for you in the stillness.
In the darkness before dawn.
We are sheep without a Shepherd,
we are shepherds waiting for the news.

The prophet said,

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:8-10

We wait.
Light three candles.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

We wait for you in the stillness.
In the darkness before dawn.
We hear the angels voices.
We are overwhelmed.
We are awe-struck.

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:1-3

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:13-14

We wait.
Light four candles.

Christmas Day

We wait for you in the stillness.
In the darkness before dawn.
You are here with us.
Your birth proclaimed by angel and prophet, shepherd and magi.
You are here and our waiting is over.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Light your candles.
The waiting is over.
The Light of the World is here!

Give the Gift of Poetry

2015 Books

From EVERDALE PUBLISHING

Poetry is always a good choice for gifts, don’t you think?

And since its time to start thinking about Christmas, I wanted to remind you that my chapbooks are available from Everdale Publishing through lulu.com.

The first is a compilation of my December poems for the seasons of Advent, Christmas and the winter solstice, Festival of Lessons and Carols. A perfect gift for friends and family. Or for when you have those quiet moments to reflect on this wonderful time of year.

The second book is Penelope to Her Husband, Poems of Myth and Fantasy, a retelling of myths, faerie tales, fables, with old and new characters that I hope will charm you.

These are available at lulu.com http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/kge

I hope you enjoy these little books!

A Journey of (re) creation- part 3 or so

http://www.tablerocklakehomesearch.com/listing/mlsid/392/propertyid/60063251/

We are selling our home.

It is the place we came to after leaving our wonderful ‘last really good shack’. A house brought to us by an angel and we have loved it for more than 14 years.

We built Mom’s apartment onto the den in 2005 and she lived happily with us for 11 years. It has been a joy and blessing to us.

Now it is time to move on. Find a new adventure. Re-create our lives once again.

So, if you know anyone who would love a great lakehouse on Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, I know just the place.

And, of course, I will keep you posted.

Thank you, my dear friends,
Kathleen

Christmas Traditions

Victorian Angels

the angel of Christmas Eve gift!, sequin studded stockings, and chalk figurines of wise men and stately camels

My sister in law called from Florida this morning
asking where the tradition of Christmas Eve gift comes from
and after consultation with Mom, decided it was the Allen side
that started it.
Now in our family, the tradition is whoever yells ‘Christmas Eve gift’ first
receives a present. So you lie in wait for people– I answer the phone
‘Christmas Eve gift’ all day, just in case. It can be a little disconcerting
for phone solicitors and people of short acquaintance
that don’t really know how odd we are.

And I explained to a friend about our traditional fruitcake
baked each year by my grandmother, then my mother
and now me. Not really the traditional fruitcake,
more pound cake with nuts and dates, with syrupy
sweet orange juice poured over the top.

And I make Christmas stockings for every newcomer in the family.
A tradition begun when we were children, our socks created
by my Dad’s first cousin and now continued for a third generation,
each hung by the chimney with care, with hopes of St Nicholas
and his eight tiny reindeer.

And our most cherished tradition is bringing out the family manger scene
of which I have custody. It is created from dime store chalk figures,
some still with the price tags from T.G.& Y. or Woolworths
and a cardboard stable with a little paper scene
glued on the back. There are the three wise men
one with a busted nose and their stately camel. The shepherds
with their two little sheep. A donkey or two to rest beside the manger.
An angel in pink, perched on the roof top that’s still covered in bits
of glued on straw. Kneeling Mary, dressed in blue, and stalwart Joseph
with his staff to stand watch over the tiny Baby looking up from the manger.

The Baby.

‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ Luke 2:11-14

All our traditions begin with Him.