The Christmas Coat

A Sweet Christmas Story to share

I’m not sure who wrote this – a friend sent it to me in an email – but it’s worth passing forward. Whether it’s fiction or fact, it brought happy tears to my eyes. If you know who the author is/was, please let me know in the comments. In the end, all we have is our story, our name, and what we gave away.
An old boy was fumbling around one day
In a women’s clothing store.
He’d found his wife a Christmas coat
And was headed for the door
When he bumped into a little boy
That looked like he was lost
And he said “Mister can you help me
Find out how much something costs?
Here it is almost Christmas
And the nights are gettin cold
Winter time is on us
And my mom don’t have a coat
I’ve been workin for the neighbors
And saving for a time.”
And in his tiny, outstretched hand
Was a dollar and a dime.
His gaze went from that big eyed boy
To that pretty Christmas coat
And he finally cleared away the lump
That had gathered in his throat.
He said, “Son,
that’s just what this coat costs.
We’re lucky that we found ‘er.”
And he turned around and gave a wink
To the lady at the counter.
She put it in a pretty box
And wrapped it up just so
And went off in the back
And found a big red Christmas bow.
He said “I thank you for your help, sir
And I kindly thank you, ma’am.
I hope y’all are gonna have a big Christmas
‘Cause now I know I am.”
Well, the old boy walked home busted
Except for the dollar and the dime
Thinking he’d just have to buy
The coat another time.
He told his wife that Christmas this year
Wouldn’t be much fun.
He gently took her in his arms
And told her what he’d done.
She said, “Why you old softie.
I wouldn’t trade you for a farm.
I’ve got two or three old coats
And your love to keep me warm.”
She put that money in a matchbox
And placed it beneath their tree
And said “That is the grandest gift
You’ve ever given me.”
The years went by like years will do
When people are in love.
Their marriage was a golden bond
That was forged by God above.
Then one day came some bitter news
That filled his heart with fright.
The doctor told the old man’s wife
That she was going to lose her sight.
He said, “There’s an operation we can do
But it puts me on the spot
‘Cause it’s a quite complex procedure
And it’s going to cost a lot.”
The old man said, “Doctor, I’m a failure.
I’ve made no preparation.
We don’t have the money
For that kind of an operation.”
The doctor got the strangest look
And he sat there for a while.
And then he slowly nodded,
And he broke out in a smile
He said, “Why sir, you can’t fool me.
You’re a very wealthy man.
You long ago invested
In the world’s best savings plan.
I’ll see she gets the best of care.
She’s going to be just fine.
And the total cost to you, old friend
Is a dollar and a dime.”
The old man stared in disbelief
Then he recognized that smile,
The one he’d seen those years ago
On a loving, thoughtful child.
He said, “What you gave to me that day
Was more than just a coat.
You gave me the gift of giving
And you gave my mother hope.
My mother’d been mistreated,
Neglected and abused.
But she gave life just one more chance
And it was all because of you.
Now every year she takes that coat
And lays it beneath our tree.
It represents to us the things

That Christmas ought to be.
She says that when we leave this world
For a better home someday,
The only things that we’ll take with us
Are the things we gave away.”

Now it’s time for LAUGHS! Just released: Another CUTE BUT CRAZY Rom-Com set!

Did you get happy tears from the story of the boy and the Christmas Coat? Ready for tears of laughter? Check out the Quirky Careers of this odd lot of characters. Can they stop from falling in love? Nope. Get acquainted with these love-challenged guys and gals today. Read for #FREE with Kindle Unlimited or buy for 99cents. Another great set by the ladies from THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD.

DEPRESSION AT CHRISTMAS TIME

DepressionInstead of giving you a menu you’d probably never use, or ho, ho, ho, the happy time of Christmas, I am going to talk about Depression. My son, Rhys died in February/19 after his heart was destroyed on Dec.20th by a woman he trusted. He’d known her 9 years, she was the mother of his daughter’s best friend. He was also clinically depressed. He left his two beautiful daughters behind.  The following information is from the internet at Professors House website.

Christmas is the most likely time of the year to experience depression. The suicide rate is higher during December than any other month. This tells us that Christmas depression should be taken seriously. Loss, failure, and loneliness are just a few of the things that can trigger depression at Christmas time.

Holidays are stressful.

People fail to recognize that holidays are stressful enough to trigger a depression. Sometimes the hustle and bustle and the need to produce (food, presents, parties, and the lot) are enough to seriously frustrate a person right into a depression. Feeling disconnected with the holidays can easily lead to a mild to moderate depression.

Whether dealing with a loss or change or simply feeling overwhelmed by holiday sadness, the number one most important thing anyone can do is to tell someone. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Over the past ten years there has been a great awakening, so to speak, that has illuminated the issue of Christmas depression. People have become more educated and more understanding about the phenomenon and often already know that someone they love is suffering from depression before there is any actual confession.

If you are alone at Christmastime and you realize that you are coming down with holiday depression, reach out to someone by phone, whether it is a friend, a relative, or a professional, just call someone. This is so important. There is nothing to be ashamed of and there are plenty of people willing and able to assist you. A bad moment (even a really long one that last several weeks) does not have to ruin a future. Unfortunately people who find themselves depressed and do nothing about it are prone to staying depressed. Depression can interfere with job performance, friendships, romantic relationships. I can affect parenting, self care, and even the ability to take care of the dog. It can lead to losses of these very important things if the depression becomes serious enough.

DON’T IGNORE THE WARNING SIGNS!

Dealing with a holiday depression once you are able to recognize it is a vital step in returning to a better state of health. Naturally, my first recommendation is that you find a good counselor to speak with. The onset of holiday depression doesn’t have to mean that you require long term counseling or even medication. It may just mean you have to learn to set better boundaries or learn to let go of the past or learn better coping skills when it comes to dealing with a tragedy. Nothing that you are experiencing is so terribly abnormal, and no one is going to react terribly to you if you ask for help.

A good counselor can help you learn to set “holiday boundaries” while you are coping with holiday depression. “Holiday boundaries” include things like limiting the number of holiday party invitations, scaling down Christmas, and asking for help. It’s okay to deal a little differently with the specific tasks that tend to depress you more. Wrapping presents can trigger an emotion or a memory. Consider asking for help so that you don’t have to wrap nearly as many. Sometimes just doing it with someone is enough to help keep your depression away.

Unforgettable Christmas

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Unforgettable Christmas Joy

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Christmas Cookies and Holiday Luv

Christmas is a time when calories don’t count. It is a time for sweet thoughts and deeds and memories—and Christmas cookies.

Below is an easy cookie recipe that I started making with my mom and my sisters when I was barely tall enough to steal a few samples off the baking pan cooling on the kitchen counter.

It is also a time for romance, and right now my Kindle is filled with holiday romance. My Holiday Luv Bundle: Four Christmas Romances is now on sale for 99¢ until the end of the month.

Holiday Luv

 

Wishing you a merry and bright holiday season filled with love—and cookies!

Christmas Almond Crescents

Makes about 40 small cookies

Christmas Cookies

Christmas nut crescent cookies on festive background

  • 1 cup (1/2 lb) butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 2 tsp cold water
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light. Mix in the vanilla, brandy and water. Add in the almonds and flour, Mix well.
  3. Shape into small crescents and bake on ungreased baking sheet for 12-15 minutes. When cookies are still warm, dust with confectioner’s sugar. Store in closed container. Cookies will keep for 5-7 days.

Travel with Mona, visit the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal–A Story of Eternal Love

Often described as one of the wonders of the world, the stunning 17th Century ivory-white marble Taj Mahal was a mausoleum built between 1632 and 1643 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth, as a proof of his eternal love. The Taj Mahal is located on the right bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. 

Docking in Mumbai

We boarded the Princess Cruise ship in Civitavecchia–two hours away from Rome– and cruised the Mediterranean Sea to Naples where we spent a day, and then stopped in Santorini, Greece, before entering the Suez Canal and reaching Akaba on the Red Sea. Following six days at sea, we docked in Dubai and Oman, and then crossed the Indian Ocean, and arrived in Mumbai, India, where we took a bus tour of the city.

Old Indian-architecture in Mumbai
Modern residential building in Mumbai

Our Hindu guide explained that Mumbai hosted the wealthiest billionaires and the poorest of the poor. He also described the habitants as being the most tolerant on Earth, respecting all religions and granting citizens equal rights. In 2012 when we visited India, high ranking government officials included Hindu, Muslims, Catholics,…When we saw cows ambling on the sidewalk and monkeys jumping between trees, our guide explained that no one in India would ever hurt an animal.

The top floors of this high-rise are the penthouse of the wealthiest man in Mumbai.
A typically crowded street in Mumbai

Traveling to Agra

The next day we boarded an Air India plane and flew to New Delhi. We left our five-star hotel at four in the morning and walked for twenty minutes to reach the train station. In the early morning the streets were almost as crowded as during the day, with homeless roaming around, early workers carrying piles of newspapers on their bicycles, or vegetables on their wooden carts. After a three-hour train ride we arrived in Agra and took a bus that dropped us at the entrance of the Taj Mahal. A heavy fog–which apparently is a daily occurrence–veiled the famous mausoleum, but slowly faded as the sun rose higher.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. The Taj Mahal is constructed with impeccable symmetry. Minarets flank the domed tomb, and a central pool reflects the main building.

Notice the different colors at different times of the day. The gardens—an earthly representation of paradise—are divided into quadrants, and twin red sandstone buildings (an east-facing mosque and a west-facing guesthouse) give the mausoleum complex a balanced harmony. 
I am standing on the terrace at the entrance of the mausoleum. Notice we had to remove our shoes. The acoustics inside the main dome cause the single note of a flute to reverberate five times.
The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan, as the actual graves are located at a much lower level.The sarcophagi are enclosed in an eight-sided chamber ornamented with pietra dura (an inlay with semi-precious stones) and a marble lattice screen. 

The shopping in India is amazing. Vendors boasting their merchandise– jewelry, silk scarves, incrusted boxes, and others, waited for us at the door of our buses , ready to accept any bargain.

After a fabulous day in Agra, we returned to New Delhi and visited a Maharaja castle, and then flew to Cochin, in the South of India where we caught up with our ship and continued our cruise to Thailand and Singapore–more stories for another time.