Publisher - December 2019

Publisher1219Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by te moments that take our breath away.  —unknown

What do you expect a miracle to look like? Does it have to be dramatic, like a person on their death bed suddenly showing no signs of illness, or can it merely be a fourth-grader going back to her first grade teacher’s class and reading to them? I’ll never forget the day when my now 21-year-old daughter and I shared one of those lasting moments, teaching me to see the small miracles that are in our lives everyday. In fact, this one started unfolding in my car while taking my daughter, Jacie, to school 12 years ago:

Jacie was a fourth-grader at Hilton Head Elementary IB School. She and I were talking one morning on the way to school, as we always do, and she told me she was going to read to Mrs. Penale’s class that day. Mrs. Penale was Jacie’s first grade teacher. It began to dawn on me how special this was. When Jacie was in Mrs. Penale’s class she was just beginning to read. I remember being a little worried because she was not one of the students who was reading at an accelerated level. I knew it would be hard for her. Nonetheless, my little girl was returning to help other children learn to love to read, just like she did.

How sweet. No, it went beyond sweet. How noble. I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to share in her joy, but most of all I wanted to see her in action as she took on this voluntary task of being a role-model. I wanted her to fully know that what she was doing was important. Then, it came. From the far right corner of the backseat I heard this precious voice say, “Mama, you can come with me. Do you want to?”

“Yes! I would love to join you,” I said resoundingly, as I began to tally up the day’s meetings and to-dos in my head. More hesitantly, I then added to call me later, and let me know what time she would be going. She had not been out of the car 10 minutes when my phone rang. I answered to hear something along the lines of, “I need to be in her classroom at 1:30. And, we eat lunch at 1:00, so why don’t you come and eat lunch with me, and then we will pick out books and go to her classroom. Is that okay? Will you? Will you come please please, please?”

As I approached the entrance of the cafeteria, she was coming out to look for me. A long sigh of relief, “I was so worried you weren’t coming,” she said. She put her arm through mine and marched me proudly into the cafeteria. We went through the lunch line. The school was serving turkey and dressing with mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh the memories that came flooding back. I even drank from my little carton of chocolate milk. I remember during the lunch announcements, they introduced me as a guest, and everyone clapped for me. She and the other children at the table decided I should come eat lunch with them everyday just so I could get clapped for. I agreed!

Soon enough we were off to Mrs. Penale’s room. The kids were excited to see Jacie and I was enamored in seeing her make such a difference. Jacie read the first book to them, and then asked if I would read the second book. Looking out over all those precious little faces filled my heart. It was as if a moment in time became suspended. A gush of appreciation for teachers, for the school, for the children, for my daughter, for my life and for that moment filled my soul, and I knew I was saturated in blessings by the presence of all those who surrounded me.

There was one part of the cute, little story I read to them that said something about making sure your pants are pulled up so you don’t show your crack. The children loved it and roared with laughter! At the end of the reading time, Mrs. Penale asked the children to tell Jacie and me what they appreciated most about us being there. I’ll never forget the little boy that raised his hand so politely, quietly waited to be called on, and then said, “I really appreciate the part about the butt.” Another roar of laughter!

In hindsight this experience with Jacie and all the children was one of those moments that take your breath away. Only one word can describe it…precious!

Welcome to our #BeTheDifference” issue. You are really going to enjoy the line-up we have for you this month. Women never cease to amaze me, but as long as we are built with the human spirit and heart, there will always be amazing stories to tell. In closing, my holiday wish for you, my readers, is that you will have precious moments during this special season and into the New Year. I also pray that as a Nation, and especially as women, that we take the time to realize how important precious moments are not only to the well-being of our spirituality, but also to the connectivity to each other, our family, our community and our country as a whole and that we rejoice in them. Finally, I pray that our eyes and minds are wide open to relish the small miracles that unfold before us each day.

Happy Holidays! Peace on Earth and Within You,

Elizabeth Millen