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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1494179-GRACES-GIFT---A-CHRISTMAS-MIRACLE-II
by Ria
Rated: E · Non-fiction · Spiritual · #1494179
Hope, miracles, joy, dreams, self worth
Darkness was upon them, street lights lighting the main road of the development. Even with the work done by the grounds crew, it looked as if not an inch of snow had been shoveled or touched. The snow continued too plummet the tiny little development. It was, by all accounts, a quaint little community and the snow was beautiful. Again in the distance the sound of snow plows could be heard.

CHAPTER III

The following day, Isabella and her crew went out later than usual to handle the snow. The weather reports speculated the snow would end by mid-morning, which was a day ahead of schedule, However, light freezing rain would continue to fall until much later in the day. EMS personnel interviewed by news camera crews were vehement in their instructions to remain at home and off the roads. The State and local police departments were having difficulty navigating their way around due to white outs and high winds, the ban on travel remained in full force. After breakfast the girls headed outside to chip away at ice and move the cars around. Light rain continued to fall. The bitter freeze temperatures left no doubt the roads and driving conditions would continue to be hazardous for a few days more. It was Sunday. They had two, possibly three, days left of being snow bound.

Able to work from home the girls occupied their lap tops and remained on top of their individual work loads. They were either ahead of the game or caught up. Emails from bosses and an occasional phone call kept them in the loop. Each of them had devoted a certain amount of time to work beginning on Saturday and they were able to enjoy long naps, reading, knitting, writing out Christmas cards, and beloved sitcoms like Friends, The Golden Girls and M*A*S*H. On Saturday they finished making Christmas cookies, did laundry and light house cleaning. Between the outside workout of using shovels and snow blowers they also found a way to do Yoga or some other form of training while inside. Isabella continued with her dream and each night found herself in this vast land, walking along a beach with a man she was certain she now knew from, well, a movie screen and completely unsure how to bring up the subject, even to Tessa. Early Sunday afternoon, cell phones and dogs in tow, they walked the few feet to Frank and Angela's for lunch. The back yards were enclosed with a trestle covering walk that linked each back yard. Most of the properties chose to fence in their yards. Frank simply unlatched the fence and the girls walked through. Angela and Frank also had a lab, Max who was 5 and the dogs immediately began to play with each other. Mystic remained a bit aloof, her bones unable to handle the cold, and soon Frank determined 2 minutes of fun was all they were allowed. They gently checked the pads of each dog's paws to make sure snow had been removed. Mystic allowed Tessa to check and clean her pads but snuggled very closely to Isabella when they were inside Angela’s kitchen. With the girls sitting snugly in the great room, Angela's mom brought in hot coffee and they spent the next few hours discussing the holiday and the weather. The Giants game had been postponed along with New England, Chicago, and Green Bay. They watched the Jets defeat Tampa Bay at Tampa and the Pittsburg game would begin in just a few minutes for the 4:15 game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego. They laughed when Angela's mother announced that living in Maine made the Jersey weather appear mild compared to the battering they often received. The older couple determined they would remain with Frank and Angela through Christmas. With the holiday approaching so quickly it made little sense for them to return to Maine. Angela's brother and his wife lived on Long Beach Island down at the Jersey shore. Once the weather cleared they would go and spend some time with them. Their grandson was almost 10 months old. It would be wonderful to see him again. Angela's brother and family were blissfully enjoying family time in their new condo and Timmy was beside himself to have so much time at home with his wife and little boy. Just before 4:00, with the rain falling harder than it had been all day, so much for the end, the girls decided to head back home. They invited Angela and her family for lunch the following day which they accepted. Although Angela could see them arrive home from her kitchen window, they were instructed to text when they were safely inside, which they did, a mere 60 seconds later.

Angela's mother cleared the coffee mugs and dessert plates and asked Angela how Isabella was doing now that her gifts were back. Angela responded she felt she was doing very well. Learning to accept them much better and becoming less afraid. Mrs. Tully nodded her head and smiled. She too understood the power of dreams, the demands of having insight and the excitement and fear of realizing you were different. She had always loved Isabella and her sisters, she knew, well, she had seen a new woman coming into Isabella's life before Tessa arrived and she knew, without Isabella saying a word, she knew about the dream. Isabella knew that as well. Time had not permitted them to discuss it. Tomorrow. Yes tomorrow, Isabella would receive more information. Christmas was coming. The Angels had many places to be and sometimes they needed help in getting their work done. Bethany, a Guide for Isabella, had asked Mrs. Tully to help out with Isabella. Mrs. Tully ever ready to be of service to the Angels had immediately agreed. The men continued to yell and curse at the football game. Max chewed quietly on his new toy given to him by his favorite "Aunts" next door who spoiled him rotten by the fire place. Angela resumed her quilting and Mrs. Tully picked up her knitting. She was making a sweater set for her grandson. Red and blue. The color of the New York Giants. She hummed softly and smiled. Although almost 70, each time she was asked by a Guide to help deliver a message of hope, she felt 20 years younger. Her fingers worked nimbly with the needles and soft wool, her heart fluttering. Bethany whispered to her. She would often nod to indicate she understood and quietly thanked Bethany for trusting her with this very important message. Her husband, Paul, glanced up from the paper his long legs stretched out on the ottoman and smiled. He had been with his wife for 45 years. He knew her insights, her gifts and when she received her assignments. He might not be sure who would benefit from the assignment but he knew someone would. His son-in-law, keeping an eye on his lap top and the t.v., cursed out the ref. who had just thrown a penalty flag against Pittsburgh. Paul caught his wife's eye, they smiled a knowing smile and then he joined his son-in-law in arguing with a man who couldn't hear them.

The girls returned home and settled down to watch football. The rains battered down on the roof and the wires near and around the development were sagging from the weight of the ice and snow. At 7:30 the lights flickered and then went out. Calmly, so as not to frighten the animals, the girls lit candles, shut off the electric appliances and immediately brought one of the three storm centers into the living room. Isabella and Tessa's lap tops had charged which would provide them additional real time television and radio access of up to 10 hours, if needed. The small colored t.v. continued to give them the information on the Pittsburgh game and the text on the bottom from the local news channel scrolled slowly across giving them updates on the weather. Angela called within five minutes and asked if everyone was alright and once assured hung up to check on other friends in the development. A phone chain began with other friends in the development which Connie fielded. The calls came in on different cell phones. Tessa and Carmela checked outside and saw the street lights were dark. The only lights came from the DOT trucks sanding the local highway and streets. The Christmas tree now stood dark in the corner. Moving slowly through the house, Isabella and Tessa let the animals out for the night at 8:45. Rain continued to fall heavy and hard on the roof. The animals did their business and returned quickly to the kitchen. They were dried off and given a kiss and a treat. Connie and Carmela had begun making up the beds on the floor in the living room. Already the house was becoming colder. They had moved some of the food from the fridge into the coolers and had eaten a snack by flood light and candle light. With heavy thick comforters on the carpet and down quilts for covers and thick pillows scented with lavender, the girls bundled up in the living room in front of the fire place. The tiny little t.v., powered by the Energizer Bunny, remained in full swing. The alarm system had an automatic back up through the security company even though the power had failed which comforted Isabella, providing the company, with local offices, hadn't lost power. As Tessa reminded Isabella with three fiercely loyal dogs in the house, an intruder would have to be nuts to attempt to enter. King might have been young but his intuition was uncanny. Mystic too had her own intuition. She would defend the girls to the death if that's what it meant. Isabella felt herself drift off to sleep around 9:30. She snuggled next to Tessa and felt the warmth of Mystic on the other side of her. The fire place kept them warm. Perhaps not the smartest thing to do, but it was the only way to keep warm. While Isabella continued to walk the green land of God knows where, the electrical current buzzed and suddenly the lights popped on. As the girls stirred and began to acclimate themselves to the harsh light, Isabella heard the word “tomorrow.” She had no time to ask her Guide what that met because the Guide had gone too quickly. Tomorrow. She glanced at the clock. It was barely 11:00 p.m. Tomorrow she would know more. She smiled, groaned, felt her stomach and heart flutter, and threw off her comforter. She joined the others in getting the house back in order. The girls were alert and decided to sleep in the living room anyway. Realizing they were hungry, having eaten only very lightly earlier, they made sandwiches and brought chips, pasta salad and bottles of water into the living room. They watched a few hours of M*A*S*H on t.v. land and cleaned up before falling asleep at 1:00 a.m. Today, Isabella thought as she drifted off the sleep, today, I will know more. Something will be revealed to me she thought as sleep found her. She nestled deeper into the comforter, heard the familiar sounds of her family, the animals and her house, and smiled.

Bright sunlight filled the house on Journey Point Way. The girls woke to the blaring light of the sun. It had been three days since they had seen the sun and their eyes took a few moments to adjust. The dogs yawned and stretched lazily on the comforters before heading to the kitchen door. Tessa let them out and stared. The sun was bright, the sky a soft blue. The rain had stopped, the snow had stopped. Although in love with the entire idea of being with the girls, she was relieved the weather was changing. The patio, driveway and front steps were bare of snow, however slick with a thin coating of ice. The phone began to ring immediately as family and friends began to phone. Power was restored, the snow had stopped, and the blizzard had passed. Connie flipped on the news channel and the girls caught the local weather. According to Mr. G. of channel 2 news, the temperatures would be above freezing over the next few days, topping at almost 42 by mid-day. The concern he went on to say would be the freezing up at night causing dangerous driving conditions. In order to allow for additional cleanup certain businesses were permitted to open by 10:00 and close by 4:00 before darkness and freezing had a chance to settle in. The ban on driving was reduced; however, all non-emergency personnell were expected off the road by 4:00 until Wednesday. Schools would reopen on Wednesday. Business owners moaned and groaned, griped and cried but as the head of the DOT and state highways pointed out better to remain closed for a day or two more than too end up dead from hazard driving conditions. Knowing the worst was behind them the girls breathed a sigh of relief and began making breakfast. That morning the coffee never tasted so good. In preparation for their lunch guests, Connie and Carmela cleaned the house and put away the laundry. They set the table in the kitchen cove and placed the center piece just so. They lit candles throughout the house and then each showered and put on a bit of make up. It had been a few days since make-up had been a priority and it felt good to dress up a bit more. Comfortable in a pair of yoga draw string pants and red tee shirt with an angel on the front, Isabella came down stairs to the smells of pecan encrusted chicken in the oven. A large tossed salad with red onion, tomato and crumbled gorgonzola cheese chilled in the fridge. Angela and her family were due any minute. It was just before 1:00 p.m. Angela had phoned to say she would bring over the appetizers and insisted on doing so when the girls told her it wasn't necessary. In the end, the girls relented allowing Angela and her mother to add something to the day.

Max, of course, came bounding through the yard first. King spotted him and immediately howled to be allowed outside. Mystic and Carmel followed. The dogs sniffed each other, romped and they headed indoors when they realized that's where everyone else was heading. Angela climbed the few stairs from the patio to the deck carefully with Frank and her father on either side of her. Her mother stood at the top of the deck waiting for her. She groaned to each of them she was pregnant not an invalid and could well take care of climbing a few stairs. They ignored her and continued to flank and wait for her. When they arrived inside, Angela sat down on the couch, having handed over the platter of shrimp cocktail to her husband. Her father followed him into the kitchen, along with Connie, and began to cut still warm stuffed Italian breads. The house was filled with laughter and the sound of Christmas music coming from the CD player on the kitchen counter. Frank Sinatra belted out O Holy Night. Mrs. Tully embraced Isabella and immediately felt the connection. Mrs. Tully squeezed her arm and smiled. Isabella knew instantly they would talk later. With the appetizers prepared and spread on the coffee table in the living room they enjoyed a leisurely afternoon. After lunch with dessert before them Isabella went to the kitchen to make another pot of coffee. Mrs. Tully followed suit, Angela and Mr. Tully’s gaze watching her as she followed Isabella into the kitchen. Mrs. Tully approached Isabella and smiled. It turned out Mrs. Tully knew exactly what Isabella was going through and very calmly told her the name of the Angel who appeared to her. Isabella nodded her head and smiled. She confirmed Bethany was indeed the name of the Angel and that Francesca had also become quite the companion of late. Isabella knew that much. Without preamble or doubts Isabella began to tell Mrs. Tully about her dream. She told her about the fluttering in her belly and heart. She described the physical symptoms from the Reiki she received once a month and the attunements she received every three months. Mrs. Tully quietly listened allowing Isabella to purge all of the thoughts and details she had been holding back. When Mrs. Tully asked Isabella if she knew the name of the man in the dream, Isabella blushed and nodded her head. As she explained to Mrs. Tully, she was almost 37 years old, had a wonderful career in publishing, and as a writer, she was successful and finally financially independent and well off after years of paycheck to paycheck existence, rattled off she had a beautiful new home, a new SUV, amazing friends, mind blowing hobbies, and to speak about the dream out loud seemed so high school, so stupid, she had said almost angrily. Mrs. Tully guided her to the chair at the table and sat her down. She joined her a minute later, placing a cup of hot coffee in front of them both. Almost by magic, the others remained in the living room, speaking jovially about the holiday, the impending birth, possible names, and chatted about the antics of the four animals vying for the same squeaky toy. Mystic though backed off after a few minutes and stayed close to Connie. Carmel eventually felt he was above begging and trotted off near Carmela, where he laid down heavily on her feet. Mrs. Tully keeping an ear to the others took Isabella’s hand and softly told her that because Isabella was gifted, because she could see and hear things, because she was energy sensitive there was nothing stupid about her dream or what her Soul was trying to tell her. Tessa walked into the kitchen looking for the coffee and noticed the intense conversation between the women. Mrs. Tully assured Tessa everything was alright and gently prodded Isabella to tell the others about the dream. Tessa had sensed something was going on with Isabella but she had refused to push her or demand any explanation knowing Isabella would tell her when she had wrapped her head around whatever it was that was happening.

Isabella smiled to herself as she entered the living room. The others, Mr. Tully, Frank, Angela, Connie, Carmela, even the dogs, had grown quiet. It was as if they were waiting for her to emerge and talk to them. Isabella took the seat on the floor near the fire place, Mystic placing her head on her leg, Tessa sat next to her, as close as she could without being on top of her. Her sisters were facing her, Mr. and Mrs. Tully took heir places on the couch, Angela and Frank on the love seat. Isabella stared at the Christmas tree. The white lights shimmered against the ornaments. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened her eyes, one of the crystal ornaments, the one placed on the tree for the man in the dream, was swaying. She quickly and quietly glanced at the other ornaments hanging on the tree. They were still. Mrs. Tully also noticed the Angel’s dance and smiled. Isabella looked at Mrs. Tully. The older woman gently nodded. It was time to tell her story.

The others waited on baited breath while Isabella gathered her strength and searched for the right words. What better group of people to share this with she thought. She was safe, loved, and healthy. Per haps if she shared her dream an answer would come. Maybe some detail would become clearer, more apparent. Somewhere in the room she felt Bethany and Francesca flutter by….once again she inhaled a deep breath. On the exhale she began her journey.

CHAPTER FOUR

“As you know”, she began, “I’ve spent the last year or so reinventing myself. I’ve learned to believe in myself and trust myself. My gifts have come back full throttle after having been turned off out of”…..she struggled to find the word “well, fear, I guess you could say. We all knnow what Danny did to me, what I allowed him to do to me for a number of years and you all know what I was left with when he finally left my life." She paused to catch her breath. "Something inside of me wanted more than I believed I was worth. I realized comign home, the night I knew it was over, finally over, I knew the voice wailing in the car was my Soul. She wanted to live. I no longer wanted to die. I also knew I had a long road ahead of me if I was ever going to do anything worthwhile with my life. As you all know, or may have just learned, I began the long journey back to living. I started with therapy and then found my love of holistic healing when modern medicine and medication just didn't cut it for me. I started keeping journals, doing mirror work, affirmations, and so on." She paused to catch her breath. She took a sip of coffee she had asked Tessa to get for her and continued. "There was a tremendous amount of fear, guilt and shame once he left, once Danny left, and I had great difficulty looking people in the eye, or going out in public. I was unable to socialize because of the fear. I also had very few friends, good friends to go out with. I thought the few that stayed around were good for me, but I know now, understand they either didn't want me to get over being miserable because they were miserable or they took joy in feeling superior to me somehow. I know the ones that betrayed me. It took me a long time to admit that out loud but I know and so do they". She bowed her head and smiled at Mystic gazing up at her. She petted the dog's soft head and said "Once I realized my 'friends' were part of the problem I had to let go of more than just Danny. I had to let go of them as well and that made me even more lonely. More isolated. Weekends were a horrible reminder of what I didn't have. I dreaded them. I would cry most of Friday and all of Saturday. The hours were so long. I'd jump at the chance to meet up with my cousins or my sisters but I had to be careful because they didn't know much or as much as I did and I wanted to keep it that way. I didn't want my family to know the extent of my shame."

"No one ever blamed you" Connie chimed in. Isabella nodded and said "I know. But I knew a month, maybe two, into the relationship something was wrong. Danny was good, knew how to pull me in so I stayed. I felt stupid and dumb. I wasn't a kid when I met him. I was in my 30's for God's sake. I should have known." She said, her eyes brimming with tears. She wiped them away and accepted the tissue Angela passed her. She composed herself and said "I made huge changes. I met Tessa, a gift from God, found the courage to join karate, found the courage to accept the courage to accept the social invitations that came, both from Tessa and others, and somewhere along the line" she paused and looked at Mrs. Tully. Mrs. Tully smiled and said "Go ahead love. It's time." Isabella cleared her throat and said "And then one night I had this dream. I don't know how I came up with it, but I did and it's been an on going one. I'm being healed in this dream". She said somewhat frustrated "and I don't know why it's this setting or this person but it is and it's this movie we've all seen again and again and" she stopped and started to cry. She felt like a fool. An absolute fool. Her mind was swimming with fear, doubt, shame and humiliation. How could she possibly tell these people before her about this dream? This man? A man they had all seen in the movies?
She shook her head and the tears came again. "Isabella?" this came from Mr. Tully. "You're safe here. It's OK to tell us. We all know how much you've done. What you've been through. We know how far you've come. This is obviously some thing that matters to you. You're safe to let us know". "You'll laugh at me" Isabella cried. "You'll think I'm nuts or belong on medication or something". "No love. No we won't" Angela said. "Take your time. We've got no place to be and we want to be here". Isabella glanced at the Christmas tree. The angel was still swaying. Isabella spoke to the Angel in her head and said "You're not going to stop until I do this?" The Angel answered her by slowing down a bit but continued to sway. Isabella pulled herself up and said "When the dream first came I didn't know what to make of it. The first night I thought it was because I just finished seeing the movie but the second night and the night after and so on and so on, well I knew there was more to it than just having seen the movie. There were messages in the dreams. A knowing I was meant to be in the sequence and this man was supposed to be by Guide. You all know how afraid I am of men right now. I have my male friends that I trust, wonderful male friends I love, but this man, God, I don't know, he was so different. I knew he was staring at me but I didn't feel ashamed or afraid. I felt warm and confident. I was laughing in the dreams, you guys, " she said pointing to her sisters and Tessa "were there. It was as if everybody knew each other somehow. It's never became clear how we knew each other. By what connection we did. I never bothered to figure out how I could have been there with these people. I just knew I was and it was Ok for me to be there". She paused. "A few nights ago in the dream sequence, I was standing in a barn. Sweet smelling hay and this beautiful horse. I was standing petting him, surrounded by different people. They were all wonderful and warm. I felt good. I knew this guy was there because I could sense him. He was off to the left of me. I almost felt as if he were shy. I kept talking to the others and then suddenly they had left and I was alone. I was talking to the horse when I felt this man come out of the shadows. I remember there was light coming in from the roof and I could smell the sea and the barn. I remember turning to him. He was in costume. Looked like a mid-evil costume. He had long dark hair, a beard, and my God he was sexy. He has gorgeous eyes. When he finally spoke it sounded like an Angel Whispers. He was gentle and kind. He approached the horse and patted its nose. The horse whinned in response. I remember I didn't move away from him. I stood there smiling at the horse. When he spoke to me again I remember my voice being strong, positive. I remember thinking I knew I looked good. I felt powerful. I was dressed in jeans, barefoot, and a comfortable shirt". She paused lost in the magic of the dream and in the healing that flowed through her even now as she remembered. A few seconds past and Tessa said softly "Do you know who he is Isa? You know his name? His real name?"

Isabella gazed into Tessa's eyes. Eyes that lifted her up and given her hope. Eyes that opened up a whole new world for her over the last 9 months. She nodded. "Yes...I know his name". Frank, having remained quiet and transfixed during the entire story, sat up and said softly "Who is he honey? Can you tell us his name?" Isabella said very matter of factly "I know it's hard to explain but he's not ready for me to tell you yet. The Angels promise me it will be soon that I can tell you but for now this is enough." Connie and Carmela gasped. They noticed the Angel on the tree. The only one moving. The Angel swung back and forth with some speed. Even the dogs were up and staring at the tree. It was as if Heaven sighed at her willingness to come as far as she had done. Isabella sat very quietly looking from person to person waiting for the negativity to start. Although she worked on projecting only positive she was human, she was healing, she was learning how to believe again. After a minute, she said "Well, now you know most if it. He still comes to me. Every night. He comes. I have a connection with this man. I've known him in another life. I've been with him on some level in another life. I'm destined to meet him. I believe that very strongly and know it to be true".

Chomping at the bits to know who he was the others sat back and thought for a moment. Finally Mr. Tully spoke up and said "If that is all we are supposed to know, then so be it. I am sure my wife knows who he is, she is gifted as are you. I can promise you and do promise you no one will ask her to reveal anything that is not yet meant to be revealed. Speaking as a father and as someone who loves you I am very proud of you what just did. You are finding your courage and your strength. You should be very proud of what you've managed to do in a very short amount of time." Isabella got up and went to hug Mr. Tully. She was crying when she pulled away from him. He kissed her on her forehead and patted her shoulder. Staring down at Isabella, who at 5'0 was the littlest one of the group, Mr. Tully said "In time little one. In time all will be revealed to you. Keep your faith. Keep your dreams alive. Believe in them. This time of year is full of miracles. You must never give up your dreams."

After a brief discussion and some suggestions from the others, Angela and her family headed home. It was just 5:30. Angela texted when they arrived home and told Isabella she loved her and was very proud of her. Mrs. Tully cried when she hugged her and cupped her face in her hands "Do not be afraid to dream my sweet little girl. You have many gifts. You know in your Soul what is right. Trust your voice. She will not fail you nor hurt you. She is ready to be heard". After the others had left, the girls finished cleaning up the kitchen. They snuggled on the couch, all four of them. The dogs lay near their feet. Once again a re-run of FRIENDS kept them laughing. Isabella, who had grown tired from her admission, fell asleep on Tessa's knee. Tessa stroked her hair and softly told her sisters she believed the Angel on the tree was trying to tell them something. It had been a long day. A positive day for sure but even positive days could be draining. The others napped for a bit and awoke at 7:00 when King nudged his mother so that he could go outside. Up and about the girls made a pot of coffee and picked at left overs from lunch. They clung a bit more to Isabella knowing she was raw from earlier in the day, confused as to what was happening, and unsure of the next step. Determined to make the most of their final night of being snowbound they decided to change into PJ's and bundled up on the floor again for movie night.

The opening credits began. Nestled with one of her best friends, something in Tessa stirred. At the site of an actors name on the screen it all became clear to her. Now she understood Mrs. Tully's comment. Mrs. Tully whispered to Tessa "You will know before the others. Do not question your first thought". Tessa swallowed the lump in her throat convinced she had the answer and slowly turned her head to the Christmas tree. The Angel began to move. Her eyes filled with tears. So he was the man who had come to Isabella. Isabella took a sip of water and caught Tessa's stare. In one split second, Isabella knew Tessa had been told. She said nothing, simply smiled and gazed at the tree. The answers were coming.

CHAPTER FIVE

Over the next two weeks, the girls resumed their routines. Work kept them busy. Once they had completed their work outs at the gym or karate, Tessa would arrive on Thursday nights to spend the weekends. Tessa would stay until Monday morning and then head home on Monday night. She lived not far from the girls but they all found when she wasn't there, she was just too far away from them and she felt the same. Two weeks before Isabella's birthday the girls decided to head out to the mall for last minute Christmas shopping. Once the dogs had been cared for and other light housecleaning had been completed the girls climbed into Tessa's SUV and headed the 2.5 miles to the mall. With some difficulty, they eventually managed to find a place to park and on the way in bumped into a few friends Isabella knew from Karate. Tessa watched Isabella interact with these wonderful new people who had opened up Isabella's life is such a positive way; a beautiful way. Once a week, after training, Isabella would call Tessa on her way to dinner with one or more of the people she trained with. Normally on Wednesdays, and then follow up with her on Isabella’s way home and tell her every positive thing about the dinner and the conversation. Tessa smiled at her now remembering the scared little girl Isabella had been when they first met. Time had changed them both.

The sound of Christmas carols played in the background and children lined up to see Santa. The girls watched for a few minutes rehashing memories of their childhood Santa memories and then moved on. The mall was jammed packed but the girls moved slowly. They browsed through a few stores, refusing to be rushed and then finally stopped at MACY'S. Once they finished they decided to head over to Vincent's Market for sandwiches and a few other odds and ends. Isabella had a feeling snow was on the way. It smelled like snow, felt like snow and that was just fine with her. As long as her family and friends were safe, let it snow, she thought to herself. There was something to be said for heading out on a weekend in the snow. For some reason there wasn't that much stress. Isabella figured it was probably because there was no pressure to actually be somewhere if your job didn't require it. She loved the winter again. It had a new fresh meaning. A pure and simple safety net for her. She slipped her arm through Tessa's and smiled. The girls joked Isabella was being "hokey" again and laughed on their to the food court where Isabella treated them to peppermint flavored coffees. The girls, determined they would save the extra calories for Vincent’s, walked by the cookies, cakes, bagels, etc. Vincent's was an Italian deli that was consistently bombarded with people no matter what time of year it was and although they were a bit expensive the quality of their food was worth the extra money.

Isabella and her crew took a cart and were immediately assaulted with the smells of fresh eggplant, home made pasta and meatballs, sausage, salads, peppers, stuffed peppers, Italian desserts, cookies and every old country traditional Christmas display you could imagine. As with many of the Italian delis in the area the girls felt as if they slipped back into "grandma's kitchen at Christmas." They chose fresh deli meat, four pieces of eggplant, cheese, stuffed peppers, Italian bread, among other things, for their Saturday food supply. Tessa and Carmela bought a bottle of red and white wine and then the girls headed home. Connie joked the sky looked as it did a few weeks before, a slate gray, building up for snow, but quickly moved on to another topic when her phone rang. Once at home the girls changed and took care of the animals. Tomorrow they were going to Angela's for football and some fun. Tessa and Isabella would make the antipasto later on they determined. As Connie bent to flip the switch for the Christmas tree, she noticed the Angel moving. Swaying just so. She scanned the other ornaments but only the Angel was moving. Connie backed away from the tree and whispered something to Tessa and Carmela. Isabella had gone to change and the girls were alone.

“Can’t you tell us Tessa?” Connie pleaded. Tessa shook her head and said firmly “We’ve been over this before. I can’t tell you. It’s not my journey. I can only do what I have been doing. Your sister will know when it’s time to tell you the rest.” The girls grumbled as they walked away. It had been two weeks since the identity of the man in Isabella’s dream had revealed himself to her and she had remained faithful. She had said nothing to anyone about the Angel, Isabella’s awakening, or the dream, which she now knew in its entirety. She felt badly though that she couldn’t tell the others but the man had been pretty clear. Timing was everything. They would know in time. The spiritual energy in the house was changing with each day. Isabella’s confidence was growing through the dreams and she used Reiki to clean the house regularly from lower energies and entities. Often she had to ask for help from the Angels because the animals had a difficult time with it. They enjoyed the Reiki Isabella gave them but the housecleaning was an overload to their spiritual beings. Isabella had been attuned recently and found her gifts were becoming much stronger and much clearer. Sometimes it seemed overwhelming to her and those around her. Not to mention annoying. She knew things others didn’t and had the gift of"sight" which many others didn't. Although Isabella knew she was gifted she never used her gifts for ill will or abused them. As she told her Reiki Master and friend, Lourdes, it was challenging enough to have the gifts, she didn't need any backlash from the Universe because she used them to cause harm to anyone.

Isabella was on the phone when she came down the stairs and stood on the landing. She asked her cousin to hold on as she looked out the window. She smiled. It was snowing. Her initial feeling had been right. They were in for a storm. Isabella heard her cousin’s husband and kids happily yelling they could sit by the fire place again watching movies and eating pizza because it was Saturday and it was Ok to do that. Isabella laughed ended the call smiling as she walked down the remaining few steps to the great room. The girls were in the kitchen putting out food for their lunch, the dvd player set up for their afternoon movie. They had recently seen Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, and decided to watch it again and then move onto the second installment of Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers. With a quiet day ahead of them they intended to enjoy their movie day. This would be the last weekend to enjoy any quiet with the holiday being 10 days away. Cards had been mailed, presents wrapped and placed under the tree, charities had been provided for, and visits with friends had been fulfilled. The only outstanding get together was Isabella’s birthday which was a week away. That was already handled and preparation was complete. The girls had finished up laundry late Friday night with the anticipation of heading off to the mall this morning. Each of them had added on another day to their workouts and traning in anticipation of the busier weekends and holday bustle and so a movie marathon on a snowy Saturday was just what their Souls needed.

Each took their seat somewhere in the great room as the snow continued to fall. A phone call from Isabella’s parents alerted the girls they would be staying with the girls’ aunt and uncle, along with another aunt and uncle because of the weather. Their trip to Isabella's parents' beach house on LBI had been postponed because of time constraints and now the weather. As the six of them had plans to be away for the weekend, they had clothes and anything else they needed. Uncle Nick and Theresa lived 20 minutes up the road from the girls and Isabella's parents lived 15 minutes from Uncle Nick. Considering the six of them throughly enjoyed themselves when they got together, and that they would be comfortable at Uncle Nick's, nobody saw any reason to chance going home. Aunt Theresa and Uncle Nick had enough room for everyone to stay. Isabella’s father and uncles were outside on the deck, under an umbrella, grilling steaks. In the background the girls heard Isabella’s aunt offering up her thoughts on how stupid she thought the men were. The girls laughed so hard they were almost sick. Aunt Philly (Philomena) laughed so hard they could hear her snort a mile away. They fielded phone calls from their cousins who agreed they all thought their parents were strange and laughed themselves silly thinking of the six of them playing card games and arguing with each other all night. While the men grilled the steaks, the women prepared the remainder of the meal and were going to help Isabella's aunt bake the rest of the cookies after lunch. The guys would find something to ammuse themselves with. Either with a nap or a card game. At least they were a family that loved each other and kep the memory of their grandparents alive. Isabella smiled and sat down to enjoy the afternoon. The angels fluttered near her and her Guide, Annabel, a lovely little one who loved to play and was stern with Isabella if she began to doubt herself and her abilities, began to play with Mystic who happily engaged her. The others watched Mystic romp and play on the rug and soon King and Carmel wanted in on the merriment. The girls had grown used to Annabel and simply spoke to her and reminded her not to get them overly excited. Three dogs in a house could be alot of dust and mayhem if there were no limits on play. Annabell loved fun but respected her charge and kept the play perfectly wthin reason.

While the girls enjoyed the first installment of Lord of the Rings, Isabella quielty worked on her lap top smiling. She was writing a forward for a friend's book and had a deadline for Tuesday. She knew the movie by heart and smiled each time a character's voice came on the screen. Her sister's busied themselves with their own work, and Tessa was working on a school projec for a new class come January. Tessa's heart beat faster each time she heard the familiar voice. The two women worked quietly, often times catching each other glancing at the tree. The Angel swayed back and forth. The message clear. Keep believing. As the hours went by the girls took a break and while Connie and Carmela went and shovled the latest round of snow, Isabella and Tessa prepared the food for Angela's the following day. With enough left over, the girls prepared a snack and once again they resumed watching their movie. This time the girls put away their work and paid close attention to THE TWO TOWERS. Mystic was not happy about the gasps and screams that escaped from her momma and the others. She sat very close to Isabella and Tessa. King and Carmel were a bit more relaxed and slept throughout most of the movie. Outside the snow continued to fall. They paused the movie at one point so Tessa could take a phone call. A friend informed them the snow would continue through tomorrow. All in all they anticipated 8 inches. Isabella sighed a contented sigh, as she often did now, and laid her back on the pillow. She watched the Angel dance and smiled. Memories of previous holidays filled her with smiles and sadness. Her grandparents were all gone now. She had been blessed to know them and grow up with them. One by one they passed away and each new year brought a new wave of emotion when the holidays came. The reminder they were gone and how quickly time had gone by. The memories of each season filled her heart. Although the holiday was a painful reminder of their passing, Isabella was grateful for their memories and the traditions they had instilled in her family. She thought of the holidays when Danny was around and although her family had been remarkable, his abuse tainted most of the happy memories. At least for now. Isabella knew the day would come when Danny's memory or his name would remain a distant part of her life. She was healing. He couldn't hurt her anymore. She had a support system now. A healthy system. Sometimes they fought, disagreed vehemently on ideas and actions, but in the end they loved each other. They respected each other. Every day Isabella worked on her self esteem through her mirror work, affirmations, and in the mere fact she contnued to get up and keep moving in spite of how beaten down she might feel. She had been told repeatedly she was an inspiration to so many people. Those comments she treasured. She carried each of them in her heart and pulled them out when the days seemed so futile and long. Connie returned from the kitchen and placed a tray with four cups of steaming coffee on the ottoman. The girls snacked and drank the delicious coffee enjoying the movie in front of them. Carmela looked at Isabella and noticed a peaceful look on her face. She sat on the floor, a pillow up against the back of the couch. Mystic at her side. Tessa was next to her. Carmela watched her sister's eyes as the character appeared on the screen and froze. Carmela then glanced at the tree. The Angel was swaying. He had a plan this little ornament. He knew when to move and when to remain still. He loved to joke with the animals and they enjoyed playing with him. Carmela made eye contact with Tessa who very slowly nodded. Now, for whatever the reason, Connie was the last one to figure it all out. Soon Tessa thought. Soon she would know.

Just then the phone rang. Isabella's boss, Shane O'Malley a wonderful old Irishman was on the other line. He had some questions regarding their new author and needed her imput. He also confirmed the deadline for the forward she was writing and said. He told Isabella he and his wife were safely tucked in and had everything they needed. He urged her to use caution on Monday if the roads were slick and to take her time getting in, if they opened at all. It would depend on Mother Nature. With that, he hung up the phone. Isabella had spent years in law as a paralegal but her real love was writing. With the help and encouragement of her Reiki Master and friends she applied for and got the job at Mustang Publishers. Their headquarters were located in New York City but they had sub-offices in Northern, New Jersey which suited Isabella just fine. She loved her work, was highly respected by her superiors and co-workers and was not only able to work the publishing angle but also wrote from time to time on a variety of issues and forwards on numerous books by people she respected in the writing industry. She worked hard, was very well compensated for her work, and enjoyed a stress free work life. Her hours were 9 to 5 and her boss insisted his employees leave at 5:00. He understood family and personal lives and also felt that too much work caused burn out very quickly. He was a compassionate man who loved his family and made frequent trips to see his married son and daughter in Newport and Maine. The family would be spending the Christmas holiday at Mr. O'Malley's cottage home in Newport. The offices would close for the week because modern technology permitted people to work from home. His employees, all 215 of them, respected the man he was and were devoted to him. He never took advantage of his employees and in turn they worked hard for him whether in the office or at home.

Tessa had also taken the week off and the girls would spend the time together. They would be with their families on Christmas Eve and Christmas day but Tessa would return to the girls' home on Christmas day night and spend the remainder of the time with them through New Year.

After a pause in the movie the girls resumed watching it and Isabella felt peace settle into her bones. The snow was coming down outside but her family and those she loved were safe and for her that's all that mattered. Connie remained in the dark about the Soul that came to her sister each night to help her on her journey and Carmela understood it wasn't her place to tell her. The Angel continued to play with the animals and they enjoyed the banter that went back and forth with it. When Connie went up to bed, Carmela questioned Tessa. Isabella was in the kitchen preparing the coffee for the following morning and was out of earshot for a few minutes. Tessa explained what she knew and explained how Angela's mother was one of the Earth messengers for Isabella. She offered up no explanation as to why Mrs. Tully was the messenger and informed Carmela she didn't understand that either. Carmela listened intently to Tessa and the women concluded in good time Connie would put the pieces together herself, or, perhaps Isabella would tell her. The only sure thing was that it wasn't up to the others to say anything to Connie.

The following day the girls enjoyed a light breakfast and coffee and then dressed comfortably for their day at Angela's. They arrived at 12:00, in time for the pre-game show and were greeted by Max. Together the four dogs trotted off to Max's favorite spot by the fireplace and played amongst themselves occassionally needing a referee when a particular toy became the point of interest for more than one of them. Mystic grew weary after awhile and stayed close to Isabella. She watched from a distance and joined in the playfullness when King nudged her along but for the most part she remained content to just observe.

The girls enjoyed their time with Angela and her husband. They enjoyed good food, the Giants victory over the Cowboys and the Jets pulled out a come from behind win in the 4th. For awhile the girls chatted and caught part of the 8:15 game but went off to bed around 9:30. Tomorrow was Monday and there was work in the morning...well Tessa and Isabella thought so. At 6:30 the following morning Mr. O'Malley called to say a number of pipes had burst in the building. The building was flooded, iced over, and a disaster. No heat, no electricity, absolutely nothing worked. Equipment was gone, files were in tatters, and the Management Company had immediately informed the tenants nobody would get into the building until after New Years. Isabella could work from home, that was a given. Tessa's boss called her 15 mintues later and together they came up with a plan so that Tessa could work from home. There was more worry than joy at the news of the pipes having burst. The cold weather, back to back storms and older equipment had been a disaster in the making. Crews had been in and out for over six weeks making repairs on a variety of things. Some offices were cold, others were to hot. A telephone chain went out and opinions ranged from concern to joy. The girls went downstairs and Tessa put the coffee on for their morning jolt. Twenty minutes later Connie and Carmela came downstairs. Connie was meeting with a client around 10:15 and then again at 12:15. Her afternoon class had been cancelled because her professor was on vacation.
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