The Mouse Who Saved Christmas

      THE MOUSE WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS

                          By Robert Z. Hicks

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, except for a mouse.
He crept to the kitchen and stopped by a chair,
To nibble at breadcrumbs that had tumbled down there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of candy canes danced in their heads.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas would soon be there.

When up on the housetop there rose such a clatter,
The mouse jumped in alarm and thought, “What’s the matter?”
Down through the chimney came a round little man,
With a bright red suit and a Florida tan.

Over his shoulder was a bag full of toys,
Dolls for the girls, and games for the boys.
Out in the kitchen, still tarrying there,
The mouse heard a scuffle and sounds of despair.

He ran down the hall to a terrible scene,
Santa tangled in cobwebs from last Halloween!
Caught like a fly, he turned and he twisted,
The more to be tangled, the more he resisted.

The mouse was dismayed by an awful thought,
“What will happen to Christmas if Santa stays caught?”
No thought for his safety, he knew what to do,
He leaped to the cobwebs and began to chew.

His teeth flashed in the light from the Christmas tree,
And in no time at all, he had chewed Santa free.
“Oh thank you kind sir,” said Santa to the mouse.
“You’ve saved me, and Christmas, so for you and your spouse,

I’ve two pounds of cheese and chocolates to share,
And a castle to live in under the stair.”
Santa dished out the presents in the blink of an eye,
Then whisked up the chimney with a wink for goodbye.

Stars twinkled above as he jumped to his sleigh,
“Up Dancer, up Prancer, let’s be on our way.
Merry Christmas,” Santa called, as he zoomed out of sight.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Merry Christmas 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2017

Blog followers have asked how I can remember all the things I share about on the Blog entries.  My secret is that we have on file 51 years of annual Christmas newsletters highlighting our newsworthy activities of the year.  So you can see a sample, this year I’m sending you our Christmas greeting via the Blog.

In the July of last year, I was in the hospital with a heart attack and two heart arteries completely blocked.  My cardiologist told me that I am his “miracle patient” for 2016, “We did not think you would make it.”  The Echocardiogram last week showed my heart functioning at 50% output – normal is 50% to 70%.  Last year in the hospital, my heart was at 15% – so I guess I am a documented “miracle”!

I came home under Hospice care, and this past March 20th, I was discharged from Hospice care.  I was improving, and no longer qualified for Medicare support.

Last year I reported that Ashley was half way done with the illustrations for my next book, Danny the Dragon.  Illustrations done, I chose to go with Christian Faith Publishing, a hybrid publisher.  Danny has passed their editor’s desk, and is now in Page Design for formatting/typesetting, as they work the book through their system.

Ashley did a cover, so after the publisher makes a trailer and a website landing page for ordering, Danny the Dragon can be ordered via Barnes and Noble online, or on Amazon. Danny will be available in paperback, hardcover, or e-book.  WHEN, we do not know, but February is a guess.  I’ll send out a letter as soon as we know.

On my Blog entries which you have been getting, I’ve started a new series, a flashback to my youth growing up on the farm north of Ionia Michigan. I’ll continue sharing episodes from my unpublished book, Once I Was A Kid, With the Wild Things On Grandpa’s Farm, and perhaps throw in some other memories.

Ionia friends from high school days may have visited the place back then.  Spark some memories, and stay with me as I reminisce about days of my youth on the farm.  My nephew Kim is still there, maintaining the place.

Thanksgiving week, we had a young couple for lunch who are missionaries in Zambia, Africa – here in the US for furlough and to raise support.   “Home” for them is a tent in a base camp on the edge of civilization three hours by jeep from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.  From the base camp they go out to villages with a translator to teach locals how to farm “God’s Way,” and to witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They train locals to be pastors, then they can move on.  The pastors they train also learn how to raise vegetables to sell, so they can be self-sufficient without a job interfering with their work.

They shared a video of catching a cobra that had gotten in their shower.  I now appreciate the security of our house all the more, although we did have some toads get in.

Most of all this year, I thank God that I am alive!  I thank you and all the people who prayed for me, and all those who came to help me from Hospice, and The Crossroads Church, and neighbors.

I can look forward to wishing you a Happy New Year, and share again with you next year!  Be blessed, and celebrate the birth of Christ, and have a happy year ahead.

The Blog is interactive!  I’d love to hear from you by comment or email.

Bob & Betty

Ode to the Toads

It all started a couple of weeks ago when a toad showed up in our shower. Betty had a wild time chasing him around the shower with a paper cup in order to evict him.  Next night — and the next, there was a toad again in the shower.  Then Betty found one in the toilet, and one jumped down from the wall.  Betty evicted them all, out the front door.  We may never know how they got in the bathroom.

Now, when it gets dark, and coincidently, when we sit down for dinner, five toads gather on the window by the dining table to catch insects attracted by the light.  We, especially Betty, delight in watching them wait motionless, and suddenly jump to grab something.  Are they the same five toads that were in the bathroom?  No way to know; but, at least they are outside.

                                       ODE TO THE TOADS

 

 

 

 

 

Five toads on our window,
What did they do?
They tried to catch bugs and millers to chew.
And sometimes they caught a mosquito or two.

They joined us for dinner, and to have dinner too.
We watched them eat; did they watch us too?
They hung upright, sideways, and inverted askew.
Whatever it took, to be where bugs flew.

Our time was up, and dinner was through,
We left the table, and the toads left too.
The toads left the window; maybe they knew,
Dinnertime was over, no more bugs to pursue.

Five toads on our window,
What did they do?
They entertained us for dinner; that much we knew.
Why they leave when we do, we don’t have a clue.

 

A Halloween Tradition Gets Started


               A Halloween Tradition Gets Started

                          JACK THE PUMPKIN

There once was a pumpkin named Jack.
Who grew up in a patch out in back.
There’s not much a pumpkin can do,
But grow in the sun, so he grew,
And he grew and grew and grew.

Jack asked, “What’s my fate going to be?
Is there something out there just for me?”
But the word came down on the vine,
“You’re going to be food, Jack, don’t pine,
You’re food on which people will dine.”

Then came that eventful day,
When Jack was taken away.
Jack was put in a roadside stand,
To sit on the rack looking grand,
’til a family came by in a van.

The family bought Jack for their boy,
To play with instead of a toy.
He cried out, “Oh Dad, please come quick,
Sis’ has done a really mean trick.
She poked holes in Jack with a stick!”

“Now, don’t cry over this,” said his dad.
“These holes aren’t really so bad.
With my knife it will be no big feat,
To round out the holes to look neat,
Before Mom bakes a pie we can eat.”

“My goodness,” Mom said to the lad,
“What caused you kids and your dad,
To cut holes in your pumpkin? Who knows!
These holes can be eyes, cut a smile and a nose,
With a candle inside, how he glows!”

“He’ll be a light for the kids on the street,
When they come to the door for a treat.
Jack will be a Halloween light,
To shine out into the night,
So the shadows won’t be such a fright.”

So Jack found his destiny,
With a name for all history.
His fame spread on Halloween night,
As the pumpkin lantern so bright.
He was the first Jack O’ Lantern, all right!

                                                                                                                Robert Z. Hicks, “Mr. Bob”

(Jack the Pumpkin is an excerpt from my unpublished book, “Once I Was A Kid, With the Wild Things on Grandpa’s Farm.”

“Once I Was A Kid…” is a memoir collection of anecdotes of experiences I had from age 7 to 12, with rhyming stories inspired  by those adventures.)

Looking Back! Looking Forward!

imagesLooking Back!  Looking Forward!

New Year’s eve 2015 – time to reflect and look back on the past year, and plan for the year ahead.  2015 was a landmark year as I had my 80th birthday, and Betty & I celebrated our 50th anniversary.  Betty also had a remarkably perfect total hip replacement with no pain from the surgery.  The lack of pain is from God’s provision and lots of PROformance, the superfruit extract from eXfuze that is high anti-inflammatory.

My rhyming story picture book, “Mouse in the Manger” was an award-winning Finalist in both the Florida Writer’s Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.

Our intent for the new year is to press on – keep on keeping on with renewed resolve to our commitment made some 45 years ago to be as healthy as we can be.  We were challenged by our doctor in Hawaii to learn and do what it takes to be healthy.

As God led us on a path to health and well being; we learned many things, and gathered tools and resources to improve our health.  We had stages to go through, as we learned that low fat, low cholesterol eating, while good, was not enough because we were eating preservatives, artificial colors and additives that were detrimental.  We learned the necessity of “movement” called “exercise”, and then resources for eating organic as the food supply became detrimental from GMOs.

We trained at the Better Life Institute to teach people how to lose weight, and then worked with a certified nutritionist as wellness coaches for 20 years.  We loved helping others improve their health, and continue to offer the information and resources we found when people want to make the lifestyle change for good health and anti-aging.

If better health is one of your new year’s resolutions, and you are serious about it, give us a call, and we’d be delighted to help you on your journey by sharing what we’ve learned.

2016 Goals:

Help people with their health goals.   Expand our eXfuze business.   Exercise daily.   Be consistent with the Blog – twice weekly.   Publish a new rhyming story picture book – “Danny the Dragon” – already in the works.    Ashly Otis, who did the illustrations for “Mouse in the Manger”, has completed one illustration of Danny – and it is gorgeous!

What are your goals for 2016?  Feel free to share – writing your goals is the first step in getting started!

Your health is your greatest asset!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Memories

imagesChristmas Memories

My favorite holiday is Christmas! It is first special because it is the birthday of Jesus, who came to be with us and be our savior. Second, Christmas has special memories from my childhood that I cherish.

Christmas was always the big family event of the year, with Christmas Eve as the most exciting part for me. Soon after Thanksgiving, we would go to a tree farm and buy a fresh cut tree, usually eight to ten feet tall to set up near the front window in the living room.
We fussed with the strings of lights because all the bulbs had to be good for the string to light. My sister Jan and I decorated the tree with many colored balls and dangling ornaments, and strands of icicles. We had a special antique angel for the top.

Our gift giving tradition was to “fish” for small inexpensive gifts. Mom said that Grandma started the tradition during the Depression when there wasn’t much money for gifts. All the wrapped gifts were piled on the pool table in the front room, and a sheet tacked up over the door. We tied a string on a “fishing pole” to throw over the sheet. Someone would hook a gift on the string and call for the recipient to come “fish” it out while everyone watched to see what they got. With many small gifts, the giving could be stretched out for the whole evening.

The gifts also became a tradition. I always gave Mom a box of #2 lead pencils and packs of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum — individually wrapped, of course. I tied the pencils in a long string. I always gave my sister Jan a can of cashews, and Daddy a bottle of after shave lotion; usually Old Spice or Bay Rum. Daddy got paperback books, or Zane Grey westerns or Agatha Christi mysteries.

We vied to see who would notice the passing of midnight, and be the first to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Then we hung our stockings on the mantle over the fireplace and waded through the mounds of wrapping paper to go to bed.
Christmas morning I was up early! I snuck out to once again try to shout “Merry Christmas” before someone else did. First stop was to see what goodies were in my stocking; maybe a candy bar or a small jackknife.

Mom was already up preparing Christmas dinner for the midday. Normal days we ate in the kitchen, but today we ate on the big table in the dining room. Mom usually boiled two of our own chickens, and dropped dumplings on top of them. I loved those dumplings and gravy! The rest was traditional, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple pie or pumpkin pie for dessert.

Either Christmas Eve or the end of Christmas day, or both, Mom would sit down at the old upright piano, and we gathered around to sing Christmas carols.

Sigh. Christmas was over. Now, the long wait until next year. The wonderful memories lingered as we ate leftover chicken and pie.

Do you have special traditions at Christmas, or memories from Christmas past? Please share – we’d love to hear them!