Dec 042008

Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa
At the Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin . The child climbed up on his lap,
holding a picture of a little girl. 'Who is this?' asked Santa,
smiling. 'Your friend? Your sister?'' 'Yes, Santa,' he replied. 'My
sister, Sarah, who is very sick,' he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and
saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue. 'She wanted to come with me to
see you, oh, so very much, Santa!' the child exclaimed.
'She misses you,' he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face,
asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas</ SPAN>.
When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help
the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but
'What is it?' Santa asked warmly.

'Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..' the
old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to
collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.
'The girl in the photograph… my granddaughter well, you see ..
she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even through the
holidays,' she said through tear-filled eyes. 'Is there any way,
Santa any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all
she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.'

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave
information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see
what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that
afternoon. He knew what he had to do.
'What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,' he
thought with a sinking heart, 'T
his is the least I can do.'
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that
evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where
Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get
to Children's Hospital.
'Why?' Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother
earlier that day. 'C'mon…..I'll take you there.' Rick said softly.
Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa.
They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would
wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and
saw little Sarah on the bed.
The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the
Grandmother and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day.
A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently
pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead.
And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a
chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were
talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the
family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered
the room, bellowing a hearty, 'Ho, ho, ho!' 'Santa!' shrieked little
Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV
tubes intact.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug.
A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at
him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches
from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at
her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to
force himself to choke back tears.

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the
gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the
bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully,
whispering 'Thank you' as they gazed sincerely at him with shining
eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly
all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been a very good
girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray
for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded
in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah's bed, holding
hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed
in angels. 'Oh, yes, Santa… I do!' she exclaimed.

'Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you.' he said. Laying
one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He
asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her
body from this disease.

He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when
he finished praying, still with eyes closed, h
e started singing, softly,

'Silent Night, Holy Night…. all is calm, all is bright…'
'The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and
crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed
at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held
Sarah's frail, small hands in his own. 'Now, Sarah,' he said
authoritatively, 'you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on
getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this
summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time
next year!'

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had
terminal cancer, but he 'had' to. He had to give her the greatest
gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.

'Yes, Santa!' Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and
kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed
between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and
rushed to Santa's side to thank him.

'My only child is the same age as Sarah,' he explained quietly.
'This is the least I could do.' They nodded with understanding and20
hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee
for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks
went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

'Hi, Santa! Remember me?!' 'Of course, I do,' Santa proclaimed (as
he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being
a 'good' Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the
'only' child in the world at that moment.

'You came to see me in the hospital last year!' Santa's jaw dropped.
Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little
miracle and held her to his chest. 'Sarah!' he exclaimed. He scarcely
recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were
rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year
before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the
sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed –and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing
about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed.
Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and
humbly whispered, 'Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!'

Oct 222008

My blogging-buddy Jessica sent me this and thought I would share 🙂

Ya gotta meet Molly…

Meet Molly.  She's a grey speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Hurricane Katrina hit southern  Louisiana .  She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled.
While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier and almost died.  Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind.  He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn't seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.  She protected her injured leg.  She
constantly shifted her weight and didn't overload her good leg.  She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial limb was built.  Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

'This was the right horse and the right owner,' Moore insists.  Molly happened to be a
one-in-a-million patient.  She's tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood that she was in trouble.  The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant
owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly's story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana .  The little pony gained weight, and her mane finally felt a comb.  A human prosthesis
designer built her a leg.

The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly's regular vet, reports.

And she asks for it.  She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on.  Sometimes she wants you to take
it off too.  And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca.  'It can be pretty bad when you can't catch a three-legged horse,' she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now.  Kay,the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers.  Anywhere she thought that people needed hope.  Wherever Molly went, she showed people her
pluck.  She inspired people, and she had a good time doing it.

'It's obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life,? Moore said.  'She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving
hope to others.'

Barca concluded, 'She's not back to normal, but she's going to be better.  To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.'


This is Molly's most recent prosthesis.  The bottom photo shows the ground surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it.  Wherever
Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.