Tag Archive | Mama

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 6

 

“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”

“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.

“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.

“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”

“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”

Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked into the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”

“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him.  Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”

“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”

“Yes, child,” Mama said softly.

“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”

Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.

“You’re right, Isabel,” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”

Isabel shook her head from side to side.

“He’s coming again!”

“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”

“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”

“We will see Him?”

“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”

Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents, and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!

“Mama,” she whispered before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”

“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”

“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”

~*~

What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?

Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the  Carols, or even the gifts.

It is about God’s love for you.

We love Him because He first loved us.”

I John 4:19

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. 

He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:16-18

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 3:36

Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.

God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:

Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23-24

One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!

“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever! 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Kathy

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater: Sample Chapter from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Katherine H. Purdy)

The weeks of rain showers reminde me of one of my favorite chapters in

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart!

 

 In 1924 some things were done differently. Isabel’s family had a pump in the kitchen but it only pumped cold water. Families who lived in the country only took a full bath once a week as well as washing their hair. In order to conserve water during a dry season, families kept a rain barrel under the gutter to catch rain water. If you were creative, you could turn a chore such as washing your hair into a play time. My grandmother talked about washing her hair in the rain and allowed her children to do the same. When I was a child, I wanted the same experience but was told there was too much pollution in the air.  So, lets enjoy Isabel and her two sisters experiencee from Chapter 22 of The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

Egg Shampoo and Rainwater

“WELL,” MAMA said as she placed the last loaf of bread into the oven, “tomorrow is Sunday, so we need to wash your hair, girls.”

“May we wash our hair in the rain?” Isabel asked as she looked outside at the cool, steady rain from the kitchen window.

“You always say that rain water smells good and we won’t have to use up the well water for our hair.” Isabel smiled as she made the last comment, knowing Papa was worried that the well would go dry before the end of the summer.

“Well,” Mama said, “I suppose it would be alright as long as you agree to come back inside at the first sound of thunder.

Go upstairs, and put on your bathing clothes so you will not mess up your work clothes.”

“Yes, Mama,” Isabel said. She headed for the back steps to her room. Maggie and Sylvia followed and then passed her on the steps.

“Oh boy,” Sylvia raced to their room. “I love playing in the rain.”  ”Sylvia said as she quickly dressed.

“Well,” Isabel said, “we are not playing in the rain; we are washing our hair.”

Isabel said. She pulled out her bathing I wish Mama and Papa would allow us to wear the new style like everyone else.

These old things are heavier than our regular dresses. Besides, they look ugly, and they are no good for swimming.  The last time we went swimming, I nearly drowned because my clothes were full of water and dragging me under water.”

“I remember,” Maggie said. She giggled and watched Isabel make funny faces at the offending fabric.

“Ye gads,” Isabel said. She attempted to button the dress portion of her swimsuit.

“Isabel,” Maggie said, “you just used God’s name in vain.”

“No I didn’t. I just said the same thing everybody says.”

“Mama wouldn’t like it..”

“Oh, Maggie,” Isabel said to her sister, who was also struggling with her suit, “you are such a goody-goody sometimes.

Besides, I said g-a-ds and with a little g – like the Roman gods, you know.”

“That does not make it right, Isabel. It is still using God’s name in vain,” Maggie said.

 Isabel decided to drop the issue.

“I’m telling Mama you’re swearing,” Sylvia said as she headed for the bedroom door.

“Please don’t tell her.  It will only upset her, and I promise never to say that again.” Sylvia twisted the doorknob, and Isabel spoke up once more.

I will give you a nickel if you don’t tell.”

“Okay,” Sylvia said. She took the coin from Isabel and Now shut your eyes, and don’t peek!”

Even with her eyes closed, Isabel could hear Sylvia placing the coin under her mattress for safekeeping. Next, Isabel could hear a soft thud as Sylvia removed her hand from under the mattress and a trashing sound as her hands were smoothing out wrinkles from the covers.

As if we didn’t know where she keeps things she doesn’t want us to see,” Maggie said as Sylvia exited the room.

“What do you mean?” Isabel questioned with suspicion.

Sylvie always puts her money and other secret treasures under her mattress. Didn’t you know? ”

“No,” Isabel said.

Maggie said with a smile. “You keep your diary in that old hatbox in the far right corner of the closet,

and the key to unlock it is on a string hanging behind the picture on the wall.”

“Maggie Greene,” Isabel said, “you’ve been snooping.”

Maggie said sweetly as she walked to the window and pulled back the curtain, revealing the old climbing tree a few feet from the house.

“If you want to hide something in our room, you should close the curtain or make sure no one is sitting in the tree reading. ”

“Margaret Louise Greene,  it’s impolite to spy on people; you should have let me know ”

“I saw your diary and you wrote that you have a boyfriend.”

“I do not have a boyfriend!”

Isabel and Arnie sitting in a tree…” Maggie chanted as she took off down the steps with Isabel close behind.

“No running in the house, girls,” Mama said as they entered the kitchen. They slowed their pace to a quick walk as they stepped outside

into the pouring rain.

“Now girls,” Mama said as she stepped onto the back porch. “Lather your hair twice, and be sure to get the suds out.

I will mix up the rinse and be back in a few minutes.”

The three girls twirled around in the rain until their hair was completely wet and then stepped back onto the porch.

“Here,” Isabel said. She picked up the jar of shampoo. “I’ll pour some on your hair, and then you can pour some on mine.”

She poured the amber liquid onto Maggie’s head and massaged it into her sister’s hair. Next, Isabel turned and repeated the

 same for Sylvia. Then Maggie poured the slimy liquid onto Isabel’s head.

“Work up a good lather,” Isabel said as she worked the shampoo through her own long hair.

“Sylvie, it looks you’re wearing a crown on your head. Maggie, let’s see how high we can pile the suds on your head.”

The girls giggled as they made funny figurines on their heads.

“We should rinse it off or the suds will make our head itch.: Isabel quoted Mama, who warned them each time they washed their hair.

“We know that,” Maggie said and then raced off the porch to rinse the suds from her hair and was followed by her sisters.

 

The girls danced around in the rain again as they attempted to rinse out the offensive lather.

“Oh no,” Isabel said, “the rain is slacking off.”

“Let’s do the second lather before it stops altogether,” Maggie said.

 

They ran back to the porch and repeated the procedure. Just as they stepped off the porch, the sky seemed to open up

with the heaviest rain they had seen all year.

Sylvia said. She twirled around, allowing the rain to wash her face as well as whisk away the shampoo.

“My hair feels softer already and smells good too,” Isabel said.

 

Mama stepped onto the porch with a tray containing three jars. She handed Isabel the jar with an amber-colored liquid.

“Apple cider vinegar to rinse your pretty brown hair.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose as she drenched her hair with the pungent rinse. “It stinks,” she said.

“It will make your hair nice and shiny, and it will wash away the suds,” Mama said.

She handed the jar of lemon juice to Maggie and then poured the liquid from the remaining jar on Sylvia’s head and worked it through her hair.

“Why do we have to use lemon juice?” Sylvia asked.

“Because you have blonde hair; it will make it shine like the sun. Now, run back into the rain and rinse.”

The girls obeyed their mother and stepped back onto the porch to squeeze all of the water out of their hair.

Isabel ran her fingers through her hair as she pushed the water out and then squeezed.

“Do you hear that?” she said. “Squeaky clean.”

“Perfect!” Mama said and handed each daughter a dry towel. “Now squeeze the water out of your suits, and go inside.”

 

After changing from their wet clothes, Isabel and her sisters returned to the kitchen to sit by the stove to dry their hair as they

enjoyed freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate.

“I love washing my hair in the rain,” Isabel said.

“Me too,” the younger girls agreed.

“Yes,” Mama said, “I’m thankful for the rain which will help the crops grow and will help keep my family clean.”

 

The argument between Isabel and Maggie was lost in the suds and washed away with the raindrops.

 

Photo Shoot

I don’t know about you but when I was a child, I loved listening to stories. Especially family stories. Some of my earliest memories were listening to my grandmother talking about her childhood. She had a small picture of her mother holding her first child. That little framed picture was always on the small, round table with claw feet and a lion head with a ring in its nose for a drawer pull. I sat under this table, holding Grandma Lizzie’s photo in my hand. I could imagine her sitting in a rocking chair, singing lullabies to her little one. I could see her washing clothes on a scrub board, and hanging them on a line. Most of the chapters in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart are taken from my grandmother Isabel’s memories.

I think you get the picture. I’m visual. I imagine a scene and then put that scene into words. In future posts there will be pictures of “Mama”. I’m so thrilled to share this with you!

Apparently, I told the stories to my friends and one of my friends from childhood remembered them too. We found each other on Facebook and I haven’t chatted that much since sixth grade!  My friend is a great photographer, seamstress, baker, mother, grandmother, wife and a great friend!

 

Photo by John Purdy

Photo by John Purdy

~*~

The day was freezing cold but my friend, Kathie and my niece, Emily were determined to get some pictures of “Mama” that I can use in my posts or even in my book, The Vision of a Mother’s Heart which is in the process of editing for a second printing.

The Lord is good, He granted me with a healthy day without vertigo or migraines so my husband, John and I were there too. It was amazing! A day I shall remember forever and sweet Emily must have been freezing but she didn’t complain. The temperature was below freezing that day and we were all bundled up except her. Her only warm item was a small afghan throw. What a trooper!

Why did I choose Emily? You know how families are, we see grandma’s eyes, granddaddy’s humor, mama’s chin. Something about Emily’s eyes reminded me of Grandma Lizzie or “Mama” in the book.

Emily and her husband David

Emily and David

Meet Emily. She is my cousin but her Mom and I are so close in age and were more like sisters, I’m “Aunt Kathy” and Emily and her two older brothers are more like my niece and nephew. (Phew! That’s not complicated at all is it? Love is the tie that binds regardless of the title.)  Emily is married and has two wonderful sons.  She recently posted this picture of her and her husband. When I saw this it reminded me of our great-grandmother Lizzie aka “Mama” in The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

I pulled up Grandma’s picture and placed it beside Emily and shared it with her and my dear friend the photographer and cheerleader for my books. We could finish each other’s sentences in the sixth grade and when we found each other on Facebook, we have been chatting ever since. We still think alike! Our former teacher has given us her approval for our talking now.

A plan was formed. I must say that Kathie and Emily did all of the work! Kathie knew of a perfect location and even made an apron for Emily to wear as well as props for the photos.  Emily wore her mother’s wedding dress as the blouse, bought a long skirt and had her hair fixed in a pompadour.

Lizzie Minnix holding her first son, Eugene. (2)

Emily Baker as Grandma Minnix by Kathie Kingrey

Emily dressed as “Mama” Photo by Kathie Kingrey Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathie took shots of “Mama” doing the same chores women in rural Virginia which were part of their every day life.

Look for more pictures of “Mama” in upcoming posts.

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                  I would like to thank everyone who was part of the photo shop.

To my friend, Kathie of  Kathie   Kingrey Photography, Emilie, my husband, John who ran around taking pictures of Kathie taking pictures! To my Aunt Sandra, her son Doug, Emily’s husband, David, Kathie’s husband, Russ and   a dear friend of Kathie whose excitement for the project matched ours!

I am also thankful for Granny (Nannie to most of her grandchildren), her siblings and their spouse for sharing memories with me. Most of all, I thank The Lord Jesus Christ for opening the door for me.

Blessings!

Kathy

Proverbs 3:5-6

From the hands of a child

Lachin and Dandelion

Isabel smiled as little Billy crawled to a patch of dandelions and picked one. With a look of accomplishment, he held up his prize and offered it to Mama.

“Ah, that’s nothing but an old weed,” Jimmy said and laughed with their two older brothers. “Papa said so!”

“Boys, you mustn’t laugh at your little brother,” Mama said as she reached for the yellow offering. Farmers might not like dandelions because they say the roots choke the good plants but God made them for a purpose.”

Mama received the gift, lifted it do her nose, breathed deeply and sighed. “Thank you Billy, it’s” she said as she picked him up and held him close. “Every one of you have brought dandelions to me and I treasured every one. Even a dandelion becomes a golden treasure when offered from the hand of a child.”

Jimmy turned and ran to the dandelion patch. “I’m gonna pick some Dandy Lions for you too!”

Lachin and Gabriel

 

Thank you, Jamie Cook Wilson for letting me use the pictures of your sweet Lachlan and Gabriel!

 Michele Green Photography & Design‘s photo.

 

 

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart ~ The Lesson

Summertime is a wonderful time for families to do activities together. One day, the Greene boys decided to give their dog, Sandy a bath while their younger sisters were hanging sheets on the line for Mama. The result was a lot of fun for the children but extra work for “Mama,” especially since the sheets were dragged through the mud twice! What would you do? Did she fret or did she use the opportunity turn the bad event into something wonderful?

I’ll let you decide. This is a repost of a blog I posted last year. Happy reading!

What would you do if your dog pulled a clean sheet off the clothes line and dragged it through the mud? Isabel’s Mama turned it into an opportunity to share the Gospel. Read part of a chapter from The Vision of a Mother’s Heart to see how Mama used a dirty sheet to share the Gospel.


Isabel followed Mama and the children outside, helped her dump muddy water, and refilled the tubs with clean water for washing as Eugene built a fire under the wash water.
“Now,” said Mama, “This dirty, filthy sheet reminds me of something.”
“Mama,” said Maggie softly, “I don’t think it’s just dirt and mud…this one stinks!”
“Oh, Sandy, sighed Mama as she picked up the corner of the sheet and held it up for the children to see. Do you know what this reminds me of?”
“Sandy? Curtis asked with a wide grin on his face.”
“Doing laundry?”
“Sin,” said Maggie.
“Yes, said Mama, It does remind me of sin, especially since we continue to sin again and again but Jesus has washed us clean in His precious blood so that all the Father sees when He looks at us is the precious blood of His son…and not our dirty, stinky sin. However, that is not the lesson I came outside to teach you today.”
“It isn’t?” The children asked in unison.
“No, it isn’t,” said Mama as she walked around, showing the sheet to each child, making sure they got a good whiff as she passed by, “this sheet reminds me of my good works.”
Isabel could hear a gasp, her own amongst them.
“Isabel,” said Mama, “I have heard you often say lately that you are ‘doing a good deed today’ and I want to make sure that my children are not counting on good deeds to go to heaven.” Mama stopped and looked seriously at each of her children before she finished her thought.
“You see,” continued Mama, “the Bible says that all our good works are as filthy rags to the Lord. There is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn our way to heaven. God is so Holy, so good, that in comparison the very best we can do is…well like this filthy sheet.”
“Ugh, that’s really bad!” Isabel turned to see which brother had spoken but could not see for the tears in her eyes. If Mama’s good works are as nasty as that sheet, what about mine? The thought cut to her heart, Everybody has always told me that I’m a good girl; certainly not a sinner. Of course, everyone is a sinner, Isabel admitted to herself. She quoted Romans 3:23 quietly to herself.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”that means me.
Isabel thought about the unkind words she had said about Sally Anne before she really knew her and suddenly, she remembered talking back to Papa in her heart and she thought of all the times her pride was hurt by the other girls at school and she knew without a doubt that Isabel Greene was indeed a sinner. Her heart pounded and her stomach churned as she remembered
Romans 6:23 which says that “the wages of sin is death”, and that means separation from God, we learned that in Sunday School. What was the rest of that verse? Oh yeah, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Isabel returned her focus to Mama who was just about to dip the sheet in to the wash water, which Isabel knew contained Clorox bleach, for she had noticed Mama pouring liquid from the brown bottle into the water while the children were talking amongst themselves. Isabel listened carefully as Mama continued to speak.
“Our good works will not get us to heaven. We cannot work our way to heaven, or buy our way. There is nothing we can do. Going to church does not save us either, she said quietly. There is only one way to heaven. Jesus said:
‘I am the way, the truth and the Life, no man cometh to the Father but by me.”
“ Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sin,” said Mama as she put the sheet into the soapy water, sloshing it around with her hands and rubbing it on the scrubbing board as she talked. “The Bible says
‘ Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool’,
When she pulled the sheet out of the water, it was clean, and white.
Mama whispered something to Eugene who disappeared and quickly returned carrying Mama’s goody tin. Mama opened tin as she spoke.
“Salvation is a gift. A gift is free, you cannot earn it or it would not be a gift; nor can you purchase it. Do you understand what I am saying?” Mama said.
Isabel looked around to see if everyone understood and was surprised to see Sally Anne and some neighborhood children sitting in the grass with them. Isabel smiled and returned her attention to Mama and the important gift of salvation.
“Good,” said Mama,“I’m glad you understand and accept the Truth of the Word of God but you have not yet received the free gift, have you? All that is left for you to do is to receive God’s gift of salvation, just as I have this little gift for you.” Mama reached into her tin and pulled out a peppermint stick and offered it to Sally Anne who reached out and took it with a polite
“Thank you.”
“Now,” said Mama, “that gift is yours to keep and no one can take it from you; it belongs to you.
“Salvation is just as simple. You trusted me to give you a good gift and opened your hand to receive it; we call this faith. Trusting The Lord Jesus Christ for salvation is faith. John 1:12 says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:”
“ When you receive Christ as your savior, you become a brand new creation. This is part of His gift…new life!” Mama gave a “gift” to everyone before continuing. “Part of receiving the gift of salvation, my dear children, is repentance. This means to be truly sorry for your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you and leave that sin with Him. Some preachers say it this way: ‘take your sin to the cross, lay it at the feet of Jesus then turn and go the other way.’ In other words, don’t go back to your old sinful way; remember, Jesus washed your filthy sins away, see the dirty water?”
The children stood up, looked into the tub of muddy water, and nodded.
“Mama,” said Isabel, “I want my sins cleaned away so that I will be white as snow.”
“Me too,” said Maggie with tears running down her rosy cheeks.
“Let’s pray together,” said Mama as she hugged each daughter close to her heart, then directed them to the back porch steps where they tearfully laid their sinful self at the cross, asking and receiving the forgiveness that Jesus extended to us all on the cross of Calvary. They opened their eyes as new creations in Christ.

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart.

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy ~ part 1

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy was posted in 2012 but I thought someone may enjoy reading the story again as we prepare for the most wonderful day of the year – Christmas!
Christmas Joy

Isabel’s Story
By Katherine Hinchee Purdy

Isabel’s long curls bounced as she jumped and clapped her hands. “Papa’s coming, Papa’s

coming,” she sang while skipping into the kitchen where Mama was taking out a tray of ginger

bread men from the oven.

“Isabel,” Mama softly chided the child, “you will be out of energy before we trim the tree if you

keep that up!  Besides, Papa and the boys have work to do before they bring the tree into the

house. Climb up on the stool and help me decorate some of the cooled cookies.”  Mama

walked around the kitchen work table, tied Isabel’s hair back with a ribbon, placed Isabel’s

Christmas apron over her head, and tied it in the back. “Have you washed your hands?”

“Yes ma’am,” Isabel said as she picked up a flat butter knife and began spreading frosting on a

butter cookie.  “Mama, do you want me to add some banilla?”

“I think you mean vanilla, dear. I have already added the ingredients while you were skipping around the room.”

“Oh, may I add some ba- I mean vanilla next time?” Isabel asked as Mama carried the empty bowl to the dish pan.

“I’ll bet baby Sylvia wishes she could help too!”

Mama looked at the baby in the cradle in the corner and smiled. “Perhaps next year she can

help. Maggie is only three years old but she did a wonderful job helping with the first batch of

cookies.”

Isabel looked over at her sister napping on the cushioned chest against the back wall, covered

with her favorite quilt. She envied her sister but refused to give in to the urge to nap since she

had declared herself “too old” to nap on her fifth birthday. Besides, if she napped she might miss

something and this little girl didn’t want to miss anything.

Mama turned to the stove and gently used the spatula to remove the cookies from the pan and

placed them on a cooling rack and then stepped into the back porch and returned with a napkin

holding a disc of cooled dough for another batch. While Mama’s back was turned, Isabel quickly

ran her finger around the bowl of icing and quickly popped her finger into her mouth just as Mama

returned to the kitchen.

“Save the icing for the cookies Isabel or you’ll ruin your appetite for supper.”

“Yes ma’am,” Isabel whispered and lowered her head. “I’m sorry.”

“No need to be sorry, child. I did the same thing this morning. The temptation was too great. Just

one more taste and then you can put a ribbon hole in this last batch of gingerbread boys so that

we can hang them from the tree.”

“May we have just one gingerbread boy today?”

“No dear,” Mama said as she placed the  cooled cookies into a tin. “If we eat them now, we won’t have any to place on the Christmas tree for you to nibble on Christmas day. Besides, we won’t have any to give away to our neighbors who don’t have children at home anymore. You know how Christmas cookies and gingerbread men always cheer up our lonely friends.”

“Yes, Mama,” Isabel said slowly and looked at the golden boys looking up at her with frosted features. “If we drop one on the floor may we eat it?”

“Perhaps if it is truly an accident, we could all share a bite.”

“Oh,” Isabel sighed and went back to work.

“Mama,” Isabel said as she carefully used a small dowel to place a hole in the last gingerbread

boy’s head. “I wish we could cel-eeee”

“Celebrate” Mama said with a smile.

“Cele-brate Christmas every day!”

“That would be lovely dear but we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We only have one birthday each

year. Besides, if we celebrated every day, don’t you think you would get bored?”

“Oh no,” Isabel said with a smile, revealing a space where a new, permanent tooth was just

beginning to show. “I can never get tired of Christmas.”

Just as she placed the last ribbon hole in the gingerbread boy, the back porch screen door

squeaked.