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If Amazon Fails to Deliver by Christmas, Never Fear

The Christmas tree was up. The stockings were hung. The nutcrackers, the reindeer and the gingerbread houses were on display. Yet I knew something in my home was missing. And it wasn’t just the candy the kids had eaten off the gingerbread!

Atlanta had miraculously seen its first snow. Amazon had delivered enough boxes to clutter our closet floor. Our ceramic nativity scene was propped up below our TV. Still I couldn’t shake the feeling that something had gone missing. And I didn’t trust the Amazon tracker, which told me otherwise: All items were delivered.

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Grandma Says to Pull Out A Brick!

“This past summer I came across a stash of letters written to me by the greatest writer I have yet to truly know, my Grandma Agnes. She wrote to me often during my college years, her letters always typewritten, each word carefully chosen. What’s incredible is as much as I loved receiving her letters then, as a young journalism major, her words are even more meaningful and relevant to my life now.

As word got to her that I seemed “depressed” transitioning to college life far from family, she encouraged me to journal — “not to be confused with keeping a diary”, she cautioned. “God may want you to know that you need not fight any battles alone. Admit your need and limitations.”

journal Agnes

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How a Mom Wearing Ripped Jeans Saved Me and My Family

“Mommy, why are her pants ripped?” my three-year-old daughter asked LOUDLY with a voice of concern.

I didn’t have an answer.

“Mommy,” she asked again, “why?” insisting I reply.

The soccer mom passing us by — wearing jeans ripped like she’d been attacked by wolves — overheard her question.

“It was my cat,” she said, trying to save me with a laugh.

But my daughter just looked more worried. Then my five-year-old son two steps behind followed up with the same question, “Mom, is she okay? Why are her jeans so ripped?”

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Family Is Worth All The Fuss

Every summer my family makes the 550-mile journey to my family’s farm in central Illinois, where century-old barns bulge with ravenous pigs and the farmhouse fills up with two dozen more mouths to feed.

It’s no wonder we meet up on Grandpa and Grandma’s farm, the only place imaginable to feed all these growing grandkids. Here, the harvest is plenty — Grandma’s zuchinni bread and pork noodle casserole, Grandpa’s daily pick of green beans, and Aunt Molly’s hidden vegetable Yum Yum as I call it. Because whatever we ate could compete with Grandma’s Yummy bars!

But as much time as we spend serving up seconds, somehow these little creatures with monster appetites feed us, the adults, more. Where else can you find a friendly cricket-catching competition, a sidewalk turned into a two-wheeler highway and unscripted plays with a cast of cousins? These curious cousins — as lively as crickets caught in a critter jar — feed our lust for life, for love, for family.