From the Publisher

Holiday Cards

The mailboxes at my home and office are unusually full these days, thanks in no small measure to the stacks of holiday cards and letters I receive. Like so many others, I am blessed with an abundance of friends and family, as well as business associates and clients, who still send  holiday greetings via snail mail. If only they knew how much I appreciate getting them – and keeping them!
I was reminded of this small pleasure the other day when I received an unexpected Christmas card from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his family. The card – a watercolor painting, depicting the parlor in the official residence – is lovely. Shown in the room are Oreo and Pancake, the adorable, four-legged members of Texas’ First Family.
Now, I am not sure how I got on the governor’s holiday mailing list, but I am grateful. So much so, I showed the card to my son, Matthew. He was duly impressed.
Admittedly, Matthew is a loyal conservative. So, it came as no surprise when he said, “Mom, you should keep this card!” 
And, of course, I will. And, who knows, maybe my six-year-old grandson will find it among my things — years from now — and confirm its worthiness as a special holiday keepsake too. And, just maybe, he will appreciate the other holiday cards I’ve opted to hold on to for him, as well. Like the one I got in December 2007.
The card was written by my mother, and it included an endearing message and prayer. My mother sent it during the last holiday season of her life. 
It still brings me joy to look again at that card, and at my mother’s handwriting. It’s pretty, even though it was penned by her left hand, the one she had to learn to write with after the stroke she suffered 20 years earlier. The beauty of the handwriting reminds me of my mother’s steadfast determination to do things right and well, no matter what! 
That card brings peace too. It reminds me of my mother’s love — for me and for the God she so believed in.
The card I got from my dad last year is the newest among my holiday treasures; it was the last I would receive from him. Now, I smile – and laugh — when I look at it. 
His handwriting was large and bold, designed to attract attention!  And, in some ways, it was playful — just like he was! 
When that card was written, my dad was 92 years old. Just  before sending it, he told me, “I’m getting old; I don’t need to send Christmas cards anymore.” 
But, a week later, he did send out cards! Lots of them!
Later, when I asked him what made him change his mind about the holiday cards, he said, in a hushed, almost reverent, tone, “Your mother always said sending cards to those you love and care about is very important. She said recipients really appreciate getting them. She said some people will even keep them. She said some cards live on long after we do!”
Then, with a smile and wink, he added, “I sent out cards again this year because, well, I want your mother to know I was listening!”
Then, he asked me, “Did you send out your holiday cards yet?” 
“Of course,” I said. “I was listening too!”