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someone you know
needs a hug today
...it may even be you!
The bond between a child and an aunt is one of the most unique relationships anyone can enjoy. An aunt may look and even act just like your mother or she may be the complete opposite. Whatever the case, aunts are the ones who stand beside moms when nieces and nephews enter the world and from that moment on, they take their place as friends and mentors. ...
someone you know
needs a hug today
...it may even be you!
The bond between a child and an aunt is one of the most unique relationships anyone can enjoy. An aunt may look and even act just like your mother or she may be the complete opposite. Whatever the case, aunts are the ones who stand beside moms when nieces and nephews enter the world and from that moment on, they take their place as friends and mentors. Aunts buy special treats, go on vacations with you, and some may even help with homework when Mom doesn't understand the questions. She is always there for you.
The pages of this book are filled with hugs to tell your aunt just how important she is to you. Heartwarming stories, inspirational messages, personalized scriptures, and uplifting quotes written just for aunts will bring a smile to your aunt's face.
If you're an aunt receiving this unique gift book, know that it's given in love from a niece or nephew who appreciates all you have done.
Aunts Are Wise
You can't begin to fathom My understanding of you. My wisdom is pure, peaceable, considerate, impartial, sincere, and full of mercy. Just ask, and I'll help you to prioritize your days and give you a heart of wisdom.
Your God of Wisdom
— from Isaiah 40:28; James 3:17; Psalm 90:12
Leonardo Da Vinci was a brilliant person. In addition to his great works of art, he was an accomplished and celebrated scientist, mathematician, architect, inventor, anatomist, engineer, musician, and writer. He accurately conceptualized the invention of solar power, the helicopter, the tank, and the calculator more than four hundred years before their time.
So he beat you to the punch on a few obscure ideas (do you personally need a tank?). But it's hard to image he could beat you where it really counts: wisdom. Intelligence is a gift; wisdom is an achievement. It's what you choose to do with the intelligence you've been given. Wisdom involves knowledge but goes far beyond it. True wisdom springs from experience mixed with a liberal dose of good judgment and uncommon common sense. It's knowing precisely your place, understanding how things fit together, discerning what's appropriate or best, and pursuing excellence.
Some aunts, like you, are inherently wise. They know how the world — and human nature — works. They understand the seductive nature of the temptations before us, the dangers of giving in, and the way to resist. They know what's important in life, what's just gravy, and what's best avoided. They see things about us that even we don't yet know about ourselves, and they gently, kindly, and wisely help us discover it for ourselves and make our own wise choices.
Wisdom isn't something you can teach or bestow: you can only model it, exude it, and hope those around you imbibe and absorb it. With each passing year, we see your wisdom more clearly. Thank you for sharing it with us.
The people who influence us are those who have stood unconsciously for the right thing; they are like the stars and the lilies, and the joy of God flows through them all the time. — Oswald Chambers
Everything in Its Place
It almost felt as if she were going home. Katie had always had a fondness for visiting Aunt Margaret's house as a child. She loved the huge yard, the country feel, the colorful plantings, and the big old house with lots of nooks and crannies for exploring. As an only child, she used to climb the big weeping willow tree when she needed a break from her boisterous cousins. Maybe she'd climb up in that tree once again. She certainly could use a break from the boisterous, dizzying life in the big city that was threatening to overwhelm her.
She sighed as she turned down Aunt Margaret's street. She turned off the air conditioning in her Hyundai and rolled down the window, inhaling deeply the sweet country fragrances she remembered from her happy childhood visits. Since each of her parents had remarried in recent months, everything had changed. Katie didn't feel at home — or overly welcome — with either new stepparent. That was why when her heart yearned for home, it was to Aunt Margaret's that she was drawn.
She had barely turned into the gravel drive when the door of the house was flung open and a joyous Aunt Margaret bounced down the steps to greet her, arms open wide. She practically pulled Katie from the car and enveloped her in a safe, comforting hug. Katie dissolved into her aunt's embrace. The faint smell of jasmine, her aunt's trademark scent, made Katie feel both secure and consoled.
"Katie, darling!" Aunt Margaret exclaimed. "It just warms the cockles of my heart to see you again. It's about time you got some of that big-city smog out of your hair."
"I've had about all I can stand for a while." Katie tried to make it sound like a joke, but the laugh she intended stuck in her throat. It was too close to the uncomfortable truth. She'd needed to escape the city, her job — her life. More and more she was worried that she'd made the wrong choices. Maybe Aunt Margaret's decision to live in a small town was wiser than Katie's decision to pursue a fast-paced advertising career in the city. After all, Aunt Margaret had a lovely home and a happy heart, neither of which had come to Katie yet.
Aunt Margaret steered her toward the house. "I can't wait to hear all about your life in the city — your job, your apartment, your friends — everything," she said. "It must be so exciting!"
"My job practically consumes me, my apartment is about the size of your family room, and my friends — well, their lives are pretty exciting, I guess. They all seem to have the right boyfriends, the right apartments — the right lives." Katie forced a chuckle. "Haven't let me in on their secret yet. But let's not talk about that right now. Tell me what's going on with you."
A concerned look crossed Aunt Margaret's face briefly; she studied Katie for a moment, then changed the subject as asked. "Oh, I expect you know how it is," Aunt Margaret said cheerfully. "It's the simple life. Nothing much changes here, but I keep busy...happy."
"That's good," Katie replied, setting her suitcase in the entryway and surveying her aunt's home. The house looked like Aunt Margaret: fastidious, neat, totally pulled together. Everything in the house looked like it was made to be exactly where it was, not one item out of place. Katie pulled a windblown piece of hair out of her eyes and wedged it behind her ear. Aunt Margaret had been out in the wind too, but not a single hair was out of place. How did she manage? Katie wondered.
"I've got some people coming over for a barbecue," Aunt Margaret announced.
Inwardly, Katie groaned. She'd come to relax and get away from stress. The last thing she wanted was to make small talk with a bunch of strangers. "Oh, I didn't mean to come at a bad time," Katie apologized. "I'll go for a drive or stay in my room to keep out of your way."
"Nonsense," Aunt Margaret said firmly. "I've told everyone you're coming. Some haven't seen you since you were knee-high to a grasshopper. Others are anxious to meet you after hearing me brag about you. Besides," she added with a twinkle in her eye, "I'll need your help to pull it together."
It would never do for Aunt Margaret to host a party that wasn't as pulled together as she was. Seemed Katie was in, whether she liked it or not.
"There you are." Aunt Margaret sat down on the porch swing beside Katie. "Did you try my homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie?" she asked, pushing the pie plate toward Katie, who fended it off.
"Oh yes," Katie said, rubbing her stomach, "and the pecan and the lemon meringue. I'm so full I could burst! And the barbecue chicken...corn on the cob...everything was delicious. Aunt Margaret, you are an outstanding cook."
Aunt Margaret laughed appreciatively. "I'm glad you enjoyed it." She was silent for a moment, then asked cautiously, "Have you enjoyed anything else about the day?"
"Oh yes!" Katie hugged her knees to her chest happily. "It's been a delightful day. Everybody's been friendly and kind. They all like and respect you, Aunt Margaret. It seems like such a welcoming, close-knit community. I almost forget myself and feel at home."
Encouraged by Aunt Margaret's understanding smile and a slight squeeze on her elbow, Katie continued. "Remember that neighbor boy, Josh, who chased me with frogs when I was six? He's all grown up — and pretty nicely."
Her aunt chuckled.
"Did you know his father, Randolph, is the mayor?" Katie enthused.
"I know." Aunt Margaret's eyes seemed to dance.
"He seems pretty nice too."
"Yes, he certainly does."
"Josh is a photographer who teaches at the local college," Katie continued. "He really seems to love what he does."
"That's important," Aunt Margaret said.
Katie was silent for a long moment. "He told me there's an opening at the college for an advertising instructor," she confided softly. "He encouraged me to apply for it."
"Why Katie, that's wonderful!" Aunt Margaret exulted. "Are you interested?"
Katie sighed wearily. "It's mighty tempting," she conceded. "I've always loved being here with you, Aunt Margaret. You make me feel at home. And after spending the afternoon with your wonderful neighbors, I can almost imagine how happy I would feel to truly belong somewhere like this. But..."
"But what?" Aunt Margaret pressed gently.
"How do I know where I really belong? I always thought a career in advertising was what I wanted, but now...now I'm not so sure...about anything. I just feel so locked in to things — too committed for good or bad to make such a big change."
"Do you like where you are now? What you're doing, who you are?"
"Not really," Katie miserably admitted at her aunt's prodding. "But maybe it's my own fault. Maybe I haven't given it enough of a chance. Maybe I'm doing something wrong." She pulled a long lock of hair away from her eyes and stuck it behind her ear, leaned forward earnestly, and continued, "Aunt Margaret, do you think it's possible for your dreams to change? Do you think you can try something for a while and realize it's not the right place or the right job anymore — and make a change?"
"Come here," Aunt Margaret commanded, setting the pie on the porch railing, slipping her arm through Katie's, and steering her to the far end of the porch. From this vantage point Katie could see the whole beautiful yard, including about a dozen guests still milling around the dessert table, chatting, or playing badminton. She saw Josh standing beside his father, talking. He noticed her looking in their direction, smiled, and waved. Katie waved back and hoped he was too far away to see that she was blushing.
"Over there, by the garage. See my beautiful azaleas blooming?"
"They're lovely," Katie agreed. "Several of your neighbors and I were remarking on them earlier."
"I used to have all my azaleas out front," Aunt Margaret continued. "Do you remember coming for Easter and seeing them all abloom?"
"I remember," Katie answered. "They looked like they belonged perfectly out there. Why did you move them?"
"Things changed. A big ice storm a couple winters ago brought down the big spruce out there. With it gone, the azaleas struggled. They don't do well in direct sun," Aunt Margaret explained. "But once Randolph helped me move them — yes, dear, he's quite a gardener — to a more suitable shady spot out back, they took off, and now they seem quite happy."
Katie leaned across the porch railing and studied the brightly colored azaleas thoughtfully. "I understand what you're saying," she said. "And it gives me hope — and a tiny bit of courage — that I might be able to make a change for the better. But how can I know if my new choice will be any better than my last one?"
"A wise and experienced gardener has a pretty good idea where a particular plant might thrive." Aunt Margaret put her hand on Katie's back reassuringly. "I've sensed for a long time that you know you don't belong in the city. You're like a fish out of water. You belong in a place where your heart feels at home and where you know you're loved. You deserve to be happy, Katie. What does your heart tell you?"
"My heart is telling me that I'd like to at least explore the opportunity at the college Josh mentioned."
"Marvelous! I thought you might discover something to your liking here today." "You did, did you?" Katie pretended to be offended. "Did you set this whole thing up on my account? You did, didn't you!"
Aunt Margaret winked. "I've been around long enough to know how to arrange a few flowers that seem to go together."
As they walked arm in arm back to their guests, a question suddenly came to Katie. "Aunt Margaret, don't azaleas bloom in early spring? How do you get these to bloom in the middle of summer?"
"They're Encore Azaleas," Aunt Margaret explained. "Just when you think they're through flowering, they get a second wind and bloom all over again."
"Admiring the beautiful azaleas?" Randolph asked as they passed by the mayor and his handsome son.
"Oh yes," Katie agreed. "Aunt Margaret put in a good word for you, bragging about your gardening skills."
"Well, I hope you'll put in a good word for me with your Aunt Margaret," he said with a wink.
Katie was surprised to see Aunt Margaret blush and instantly suspected — no, knew — what Randolph meant. She smiled and raised one eyebrow as if to say, "You and the mayor?"
Aunt Margaret sweetly whispered, "Azaleas aren't the only ones that can have an encore."
Katie slipped her arm out of Aunt Margaret's and into Josh's. "I suddenly have a strong desire to take a look at that college of yours," she said with a self-assurance that astounded and delighted her. "Would you be willing to take me on a tour of the campus?"
"I'd be delighted," he said with a smile that seemed strong and genuine. She looked back and locked eyes with Aunt Margaret, who was smiling broadly. As Katie turned back, a gust of wind blew her hair. Instinctively, she reached up to push the stray hair from her face but then realized there was no need. For once, everything seemed to be right where it belonged.
Hugs for Aunts © 2007 by Howard Books
Chapter 1: Aunts Are Wise
Chapter 2: Aunts Give
Chapter 3: Aunts Make a Difference
Chapter 4: Aunts Are Heroes
Chapter 5: Aunts Can Be Adopted
Chapter 6: Aunts Love Uniquely
Chapter 7: Aunts Inspire