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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Valley Rise Christmas--Day Four

Three years later, Emily is once again a permanent resident of her childhood home.  And once again, she prepares to celebrate Christmas Eve with her friends and neighbors.  For the first time, she has volunteered to direct the children's choir, her "Cherubs," as they participate in the service.

 Christmas Eve dawned gray and cold.  The forecast called for rain, not snow, and the low clouds held the promise of a gloomy day.  But Emily refused to be discouraged.  She made up her mind to be brutally cheerful, no matter how much the pain under her ribs reminded her of Stani's absence.  She had plenty to keep her busy, and the time would pass, whether she chose to be happy or sad.  As music blared through the speakers, filling the house, she hummed along, even danced a few steps across the kitchen floor, reminding herself of all she had to be happy about.  If everything else paled in comparison to the sight of his face, the touch of his hand, so be it.  Blessings were blessings weren't they, none of them to be counted as anything less.
At six she ate her supper and dressed for church.  She had been to Martha Jean's and, as a gift to herself, purchased a ridiculously expensive new blouse.  White silk, with an open collar and flowing sleeves caught at the wrist in lace cuffs, it was the perfect complement to the camel skirt and dark green vest she’d bought in the fall.  She loved the elegant length of the skirt, falling just above her ankles.  It would be appropriately graceful as she sat on the floor with her little ones during the service.  She wasn’t often overly concerned with her appearance, but tonight she took special pains.  In honor of the occasion, she wanted to look her best. 
Before she left, she moved Joseph and Mary into the stable, with the noble donkey grazing on the hearth nearby.  The shepherds she placed on a table not far away, where the heralding angel's message could reach them.  Finally, she set the angel directly beneath the star hanging above the mantel.  Leaving the lamp shining in the window, she started out for church just as rain began to fall in earnest.
The little stone church was packed, buzzing with excitement as families gathered and friends greeted one another as if they hadn’t been together in months, rather than days.  Her cherubs, with their shining clean faces and carefully brushed hair, seemed suitably impressed with the importance of their roles in the service, even a little subdued.  Emily could only hope that attitude lasted through the hour they spent in full view of the congregation.
But as the music began, and she led them to their places, all her anxiety melted away.  It was a sacred night and even if the children were restless or sang a little off key, nothing could cast a shadow over the beauty of this, her favorite night of the year.

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