Lizards have blankets

1 lizardMy childhood was filled with imagination and fun fantasy thanks to my mom.

I remember going to bed at night and peeking out from under the covers ever so often, hoping to see the “Sand Man”.   I was told that the Sand Man came every night.  He had a bucket full of sand and would fasten the eyelids together of all little children with sand, so that they would have a good night’s sleep.  It made perfect sense to this little girl, who awoke each morning with a crusty-sand-like mixture in her eyes.  I felt this “Sand Man” was extremely aggressive and rude.  I tried and tried to stay awake long enough to get a glimpse of him, but he was too elusive!

My mom could talk to lizards.  We spent a lot of time outside in those days before computers and video games.  Occasionally we would come across a nice green lizard.  Mom would make sure we would stop in our tracks and be very quiet and still.  She would then, in a very authoritative voice, say “Lizard, Lizard, show me your blanket!”  We watched with eager anticipation, and sure enough, that lizard would pump out a great pink blanket from under its belly!  We were so amazed!  Our mother was just so magical in me and my sister’s eyes!

Of course we heard lots of stories about the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.  The Tooth Fairy was one of my favorites. She was a little mouse fairy that flew around gathering little children’s teeth to make her mouse furniture.  I could picture a cute little mouse with wings, a tutu and wand.  But as hard as I tried, I could not imagine why anyone would want furniture made out of teeth!  How uncomfortable!

Role playing and imagination were vital to entertainment in those days.  My friend next door and I played house with our baby dolls.  I had loads of Barbie dolls.  These dolls had a camper, vehicle, and even an airplane!  Mom showed me how to take an ordinary cardboard box and using crayons, transform it into a Barbie house by drawing pictures on the wall and of course furniture! These hand-made houses were more fun than the already made vehicles.  I can remember playing “Ms. America” and answering the all important interview question.  We acted out our favorite movies like “Mary Poppins”.   Making up games was of no consequence.  Our little minds were just brimming with ideas and creativity.

According to mom, loud repeated thunder was God moving furniture.  I did not think God had furniture made from teeth.  I was sure it was gold and heavy – hence the loud thunder!  Mom talked quite a bit about God, Mary, the Saints and angels.  We knew our guardian angel was always watching over us.  We said our prayers every night, talking to God with Mom.  There was not a doubt in my mind that God knew everything I did.  If I did anything that I thought would make my parents mad;  I was also worried that God was mad.  He was a very real part of my life.

I eventually grew up and gave up the games and fantasy.  I never gave up my faith in God and my friends in Heaven.

In some way trusting in imagination leads to lessons in having faith.  Teaching a child to believe in mouse fairies and lizard blankets may seem childish and unproductive, but it is just the opposite.  A child is naturally inclined by innocence to believe.  Children look up to their parents and when a parent embraces the world of the unknown and unseen, a child is taught to have faith.  They understand  that not everything can be seen or touched or fully understood.

At a certain age, I knew there was no Sand Man lurking in the dark corners of my bedroom.  I gave up baby dolls and eventually had three real babies of my own.  I learned the real meaning of Christmas and Easter which has nothing to do with elves and baskets.  I never gave up my faith in God and my friends in Heaven.  I never gave up those evening talks with God.  Although I cannot see Him, I feel His presence and know that He is watching and guiding me and my family.

When I hear parents or teachers today complaining about a child’s imagination, I get sad.  The secular world wants to do away with imagination and fantasy play.  The secular world wants children to believe only in what can be seen and proved.  The secular world does not want to hear about babies in the womb having a soul or that people with disabilities are vital and have purpose.  The secular world does not want to hear about God or Jesus or Mary or Angels or Hell or anything of the spiritual realm.  It has an agenda that robs children of innocence and a proper childhood.

So, this summer, sit with your kids and watch Mary Poppins then act out your favorite scenes.  Take a walk outside and make your child giggle when you make a lizard show his blanket.  Look for fireflies and call them “lost fairies” looking for their home.  Then put your little one to bed and say a goodnight prayer to God together.

But you can leave out the Sand Man. He is too creepy!

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

Franny’s Poor Angel!

It is taught by the Catholic Church that we all are given a guardian angel the moment we are conceived in the womb and created by

guardian angelOur Lord.  Hebrews 1:14: “What are the angels then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by Him to help those who are to receive salvation.”  Since it is God’s plan that we are all called to be with Him in eternity, it stands to reason that we all are given this angel as a guide throughout life.

According to the book, Get Us Out of Here, by Nicky Eltz, some of us have more than one angel.  Eltz spent quite a bit of time interviewing Marie Simms, an Austrian Mystic.  Marie claimed to have been visited by poor souls in Purgatory for much of her life. (She died in 2004)  The book is fascinating.  According to Marie all of us have at least one angel.  Doctors and Religious have two guardian angels.  These angels stay with us on earth and in Purgatory until we make it into Heaven.

When I read Marie’s testimony of Doctors having two angels; I immediately thought of my sister-in-law who is a Doctor.  I called her mom and told her that her daughter had two guardian angels.  She was not surprised and said she had known that for quite some time.  When asked to explain, she told me that when my sister-in-law was very little she told her mother that she had two angels.  She even knew their names, Meredith and David!

I too was not surprised.  I have always heard that little children often times can see and sometimes communicate with guardian angels.  In rare cases adults, such as Padre Pio, have also had the ability to communicate with an angel.

That got me wondering about my sister, Franny’s, angel.

I am ten years older than Franny, so I witnessed her grow up.  At a very young age, Franny had a very real but very imagined friend.  I would sit on my bed doing homework and listen to her have very involved conversations with this invisible girl – I cannot remember her name.  It got to the point where I asked my mother if something was wrong with Franny “in the head.”  My mother told me lots of kids have imaginary friends and she would grow out of it.  I remember thinking that my mother had to be wrong.  There was no way any “normal” child could have such lengthy discussions with an imaginary friend.

Now I wonder if that could possibly have been her angel.

Now let me tell you about Franny.  She was accident prone, a free-spirit, and definitely T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  I have always felt sorry for my parents for the stress raising Franny must have caused; but now that I think about it, her angel must need a serious vacation!

I witnessed her guardian angel in action.  She could barely walk and was standing beside the kitchen cabinet one day while my mom was fixing dinner.  I was sitting on the floor trying to get her attention.  Suddenly my mom dropped a knife.  I had a clear view of a knife barreling straight down, sharp side down, heading for my sister Franny’s head.  All of this occurred in the blink of an eye.  I clearly witnessed the knife make a sharp left turn and fall on the floor beside my sister.  I was shocked.  I knew enough about physics to know that nothing could have made the knife turn like that.  I jumped up and quickly told my mother what I had just witnessed.  My mom saw God’s Hand in everything and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Must have been her guardian angel.”  I thought there was no other explanation.

By the time Franny was two she had made multiple trips to the emergency room.  There was a burn from a floor furnace, stiches on the lips from a fall while climbing on a high chair…

My favorite story of all is the quarter.  At the age of seven, Franny was home from school due to having pneumonia.  I guess she was bored and decided to fling a quarter in the air and try to catch it with her mouth.  She was really good at this.  In fact she was so good that the quarter eventually went straight down into her throat!  I was in my room and could hear a huge commotion in the kitchen.  When I entered I saw my dad holding Franny upside down while hitting her back.  Franny was red and choking.  My mother – the nurse- was frantic and screaming.  My dad yelled at my mom to grab the car keys. (The hospital was only about two miles away).  My frantic mother yelled that she did not know where her keys were and ran into her room to find them.  I could see my car keys.  I grabbed them and my dad and I took off for the hospital.  My dad was driving and Franny was sitting on my lap.  Lo and behold, as soon as she was upright again, she swallowed that quarter.

We drove up to the emergency room and my dad instructed me to take my sister inside and inform the nurse that she has pneumonia and had swallowed a quarter.  I was mortified and asked him why he was not going in.  He calmly stated that he left in such a hurry, he did not put any shoes on his feet.  I brought my sister who was breathing but still sobbing, into the emergency room.  My dad left to get shoes.

I told the nurse what happened.  She began filling out paperwork.  She looked at Franny crying and asked her what was wrong.  Franny told her that her back was hurting.  The nurse said, “That is probably from the pneumonia, honey.”  Franny immediately set her straight, “No, it hurts because my dad was hitting it!”  Again, I was mortified.  The nurse just laughed.  She took Franny get an X-ray.

At that moment a mad woman came barreling in the emergency room driveway in a red station wagon.  I knew the car and I knew the woman – it was mother!  Poor thing, she had no idea if her child was alive or dead!  She walked in just in time to see Franny coming out of X-ray and then a clear picture of a shiny quarter already settled in her stomach.

That quarter stayed in Franny for six months.  When scans showed it could not be passed and was in danger of blocking her intestines, it had to be surgically removed.   My mom called it her thousand dollar quarter!

Over the years there have been many more Franny tales and adventures.  She is married now and has two beautiful children.  Of course she still makes trips to the emergency room, recently breaking her foot!

I just have to laugh and say “Franny’s Poor Angel!”

 

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

Jesus’ Angel

Luke 1:26 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph who was  a descendant of King David. The girl’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”.”

Before God created man, He created the heavens and all things visible and “invisible”.  The angels were in existence long before man walked the earth.  Throughout the Bible the angels are seen as messengers and protectors.  They adore, glorify and praise the Creator.  These angels play a vital role in the journey of mankind.  As Catholics, we believe people are given a guardian angel from the moment of conception.  An angel to help protect and guide us on our journey back home to our Lord.

When the Word became flesh and Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother, Mary, I can only believe that He would have had a very special Guardian Angel.  For that matter, I believe His mother would also have had a very special Angel to guard and protect her due to her special calling in life.

We know that Mary was approached by the Archangel Gabriel with the message that she was chosen to carry the Messiah.  I would love to believe that Mary’s special Guardian Angel was the Angel Gabriel.  One of only four Archangels, Gabriel was close to our Lord and would have stayed close by the Word made flesh.

I believe that Jesus had a very special Guardian Archangel as well.  The Archangel, Michael, is known to be the leader of God’s angels.  St. Michael is normally depicted in armor, fighting off Satan and his demons.  Never has there been such a temptation of man by the devil as when Jesus and His followers were tempted.  God would never have sent His Son to this earth to be lower than the angels for a time, without the proper protector.  This protector must have been St. Michael.

I believe Jesus, in His divinity, could see the angels.  He must have had a close relationship with both His mother’s angel, Gabriel and His own, Michael.  As revealed in the painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, these angels not only watched over mother and Son, they prepared them for what was to come.

The nativity story is full of angels.  From the announcement to Mary to the announcement to the shepherds; mankind relies on these heavenly beings to steer us in the right direction and lead us to our Savior.

Luke 2:13 “Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom He is pleased!”.”

This Christmas we thank God for the gift of His Son.  We also should thank Him for the gift of our angel and all angels who watch over us and protect us.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

 

A fish named Starlight

English: An image of a Common goldfish

English: An image of a Common goldfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My grandkids are a six-year-old girl and a four year-old boy.  They live a little over an hour away.  About once a month they get to spend the weekend at Grams and Pop’s house.  There is usually a whirlwind of activity as the girl is very dramatic and the boy is perpetual motion.

Recently, my granddaughter has discovered that we as humans have a limited time on this earth.  That has made her very sensitive to the subject of death.  I tried to talk to her about the lives of the Saints and how they are in Heaven.  She covered her ears and wanted none of it.

Imagine my horror when Saturday, my daughter arrives with the grandkids who are proudly showing off two goldfish they have won at the local fair.  My daughter whispers to me that we will just put the fish in a tank of water and they “will probably die anyway”!  So began our weekend with the grandkids.

My granddaughter named her fish Starlight.  I tell her that is a beautiful name for a beautiful fish!  Five hours later all of us are watching Starlight  struggle and then the poor thing loses her life.  I watched my granddaughter grab the little fish net and ask her mother to fish out Starlight so that she could flush her down the toilet.  I thought she was acting very brave and that  she must not have the same sensitivity with death of an animal or fish as with a human.

Later on she brings a picture that she has drawn.  I look down at her art tablet and see a gold fish floating in a toilet!  I could not contain my laughter.  It was such a surprise!  Well, immediately my granddaughter began bawling and ran to the back of the house.  Oh no!  I looked at my daughter and said, “time for a fish prayer service”.

The four of us (myself, my daughter and two grandkids) gathered around a Crucifix.  My granddaughter said we should say a “Hail Mary”.  My grandson reminded everyone to make the Sign of the Cross.  He prayed for God to Bless him, his sister, and his whole family.  We all said the Hail Mary prayer.  Then my granddaughter picked out several prayers from a prayer book, which I read while she held the book.  My daughter said some nice words about Starlight.  We ended with the Guardian Angel prayer.  It was quit lovely.  My granddaughter and I actually had a talk about dying.  I was able to share with her that people never die.  Our bodies do die; but we have a soul that lives forever thanks to Jesus.

All of this reminded me that Jesus often taught using fish.  Matthew 14:17  “All we have are five loaves and two fish, they replied. ..then He took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God.  He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Everyone ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left over. The number of men who ate was about five thousand, not counting the women and children.”

Mark 1:17 “Jesus said to them, Come with Me, and I will teach you to catch men. At once they left their nets and went with Him.”

God works in mysterious ways.  A fish named Starlight won at a local fair has helped my granddaughter get over her super sensitivity to death and all topics related to death.  Thank you God!

In case you are wondering…the boy’s fish made it through the weekend.  Raphael is swimming safe and sound back at my daughter’s home.  When it is Raphael’s time to go, we know exactly how to handle it!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry