Skip to main content

12 Pearls of Christmas with Margaret McSweeney

Welcome to the12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!

Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.

We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items (books, a gift pack, music CDs) from the contributors! Enter now on Facebook or at the Pearl Girls blog. The winner will announced on January 2, 2013 at the Pearl Girls blog.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***
A Mistletoe Medley
By Margaret McSweeney

“You have breast cancer.” Those four words my doctor said the week of Mother’s Day 2012 have forever changed my life. Mere months after my fiftieth birthday, I encountered this unexpected “lump in the road” and ventured through a major detour after reaching my half-century mark.

Through this “grit,” God has covered me with His amazing grace! At the same time of my diagnosis, two books released: Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith along with Aftermath: Growing in Grace Through Grief. During this Christmas season, I rejoice that my cancer was caught and treated at an early stage. After six weeks of “daily radiance” (AKA radiation therapy), I started my daily dose of Tamoxifen to help battle any potential cells that might cause a recurrence. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.

While writing Aftermath and sharing my journey of grief as an adult orphan, I experienced several “hugs from heaven” as I discovered family letters, journals, and even a video in which my mother shares her faith. This is a mistletoe medley from my mother’s heart:

Each Christmas season my father used to go down into the woods behind our home and bring us back some mistletoe. It was a present that my sister and I loved. We’d tie it with bright ribbons and would hang it over several doorways in the house.

It was always fun of course for a Christmas party, but it came to mean more than that to us. It seemed to become a symbol of the meaning of Christmas: Love, God’s love for the world that prompted Him to send Christ to become our Savior. Somehow it seemed to enhance our love for each other as a family. And we found ourselves stepping under the mistletoe to give someone a hug or to plant a kiss on someone’s cheek and say, “I love you.”

I thought of these mistletoe Christmases during my mother’s losing battle with cancer. I penned my thoughts like this:

Illness, you ugly parasite!

Like mistletoe, you’ve entrenched yourself upon my body!

As you bloom and grow, you feed upon my strength.

I shall fight!

Battalions stand by to help!

My doctor’s scalpel will sever you.

Modern medicine will shrivel you.

You shall fall to the ground,

And I shall stand again strong and well.

But what if I cannot conquer you?

If you are with me still

As my constant, inevitable companion,

I pray that God will help me

Learn to live with you in peace

And somehow discover how you, my enemy—

Like mistletoe at Christmas—

Can serve some useful purpose.

There are times when we cannot rid our lives of things that hurt such as pain or grief, loss, illness, sorrow. Sometimes they’re with us as our inevitable companions and we must learn to make peace with them.

Those are the times when we can ask God through Christ to help us transform the loneliness, the pain, the grief, the loss-symbolically into something that can serve a useful purpose in our lives.

May you feel an extra “hug from heaven” this Christmas season from the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. God is present, and He knows your name!
*Text quoted from Aftermath (New Hope, 2012) by Margaret McSweeney, pp 114-115
***
Margaret McSweeny is a well-published author and freelance writer for the 411 Voices and the Daily Herald, the largest suburban Chicago newspaper. She is the author of Aftermath, A Mother's Heart Knows and Go Back and Be Happy. She is also the founder of Pearl Girls™ and the general editor of the Pearl Girls™ books; Mother of Pearl and Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace. All proceeds from the sales of the Pearl Girls™ books go to charity. For the past five years, she has served on the board of directors for WINGS, an organization that helps abused women and their children get a new start in life. Margaret would love to meet you too. Follow her on twitter or friend her on facebook. You can also keep up with Margaret atKitchen Chat or the Pearl Girls blog. Margaret lives with her husband and two daughters in the Chicago suburbs.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#Win Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (US)

AVAILABLE NOW ON DIGITAL!
AVAILABLE OCTOBER 23 ON BLURAY/DVD!
Rated PG
1 h 54 mins
AMAZON US   |   AMAZON CA
Join the celebration, sing and dance, and discover how it all began! Ten years after Mamma Mia! The Movie premiered, you’re invited back to the magical Greek island of Kalokairi in an all-new musical sequel based on the songs of ABBA. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is now pregnant, and like her mother Donna (Meryl Streep), she’ll need to take risks. The film’s original cast returns, with new additions including Lily James as a young Donna, Andy Garcia and Oscar® winner Cher.

WANNA WIN A COPY?
1 winner
US only
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





**Freda's Voice is not responsible for the prize shipment, lost, damaged or stolen prizes.

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis (16)

Kindle: 1331.0 KBPrint: 307 pagesPublisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (Jan. 27 2015)ASIN: B00K53D3JC

AMAZON US   |   AMAZON CA   |   AMAZON UK

No one has ever guessed Emily’s secret. Will you? A happy marriage. A beautiful family. A lovely home. So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life—to start again as someone new? Now, Emily has become Cat, working at a hip advertising agency in London and living on the edge with her inseparable new friend, Angel. Cat’s buried any trace of her old self so well, no one knows how to find her. But she can't bury the past—or her own memories. And soon, she’ll have to face the truth of what she's done—a shocking revelation that may push her one step too far. . 

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, England, and after graduating from the University of Bath spent over 20 years working in marketing and advertising. She is the author of two novels, One Step Too Far and When We Were Friends (previously called A Serpenti…

How Reading Helps Your Brain

The brain is one of the most complex biological structures that scientists and doctors have ever encountered. It is like a machine that runs non-stop that has the computing power to be able to make very complex decisions and experience unexplainable phenomena like emotions. The brain controls every other organ in the body so it is arguably the most important one. Unfortunately, probably due to its brilliance, it is a fairly vulnerable structure that can and does degrade over time.
Many experts agree that one of the best ways to maintain the health of the brain is to keep it active, just as you would with your muscles to keep them strong. There are also a number of nutrients that are very important to maintaining a healthy brain and preventing its decline. Reviewy is a website that contains information on a number of different supplements that can be used to boost brain power and protect it from degradation. Check out the site for more information on nutrients that help to safeguard th…