Thursday, December 17, 2009

the littlest angel

There are many moving Christmas stories. One of my favorites as a child was the story of "The Littlest Angel" written by Charles Tazewell over 60 years ago and still in print because of its simple but beautiful message - love comes from the heart.

Here is a shortened summary of the story from a blog called Hubpages.

The Littlest Angel is a story of the youngest angel in heaven--a little boy who doesn't know how to act angelic. In fact, he acts just like the little boy he was on earth. But in ... [a perfectly] ordered heaven, the littlest angel struggles to find his place. His heart yearns for earth, where his boyish treasures lie. The littlest angel is messy, clumsy, always late, and he sings terribly off key. The other perfect angels in heaven don't quite know what to do with him.

"However, owing to the regrettable fact that he always forgot to move his wings, the Littlest Angel always fell head over halo!" -The Littlest Angel

Finally the littlest angel is sent to be "disciplined" by the Understanding Angel. The Littlest Angel sits on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and unburdens his troubled little heart, revealing just how homesick he is for earth. The Understanding Angel agrees to retrieve the boy's box of earthly treasures, which contains things that only a little boy could love.

When the birth of a Christ child is announced, all the angels excitedly gather to announce their gifts to the newborn king. The littlest angel only has his box of treasures, kept under his bed. It is all he ever had, and is the perfect gift of innocence. In a moment reminiscent of the story of the widow's mite from the New Testament, the Littlest Angel decides to give his box of treasures to the Christ child.

As he approaches the Christ Child, the littlest angel is stricken with fear that his gift is not good enough. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh are the gifts brought by the three wise men. How can the gift of a poor little angel compare with these expensive gifts? Soon, however, the hand of God rests on his shoulder and God declares that this simple gift is the greatest gift of all.

What gifts were contained in the littlest angel's box? Why was the gift of the littlest angel treasured above those of the three wise men? As with the story of Rudoph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Charles Tazewell creates a suprise ending. Try to imagine how the story might end. What treasures would you place in your box? Is it better to give gifts or to receive them?

We all have something to be grateful for this season. I am grateful for my family first of all, but also for the wonderful opportunity of teaching all of you. Have a wonderful Holiday.

For the answer to the above questions, read's description of the book.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

my grandmother

My grandmother was born in a small French village, Graffigny-Chemin. The village is located east of Paris in the ancient province of Lorraine. Today the province is renamed Haut-Marne. The village is close to the larger French town of Verdun and west of Germany and south of Belgium.

My grandmother's maiden name was Marguerite Chevallier Meine. Her mother was Laura Chevallier. Her father was William Meine. William was a German businessman from Freiburg, Germany. Laura Chevallier was born and raised in Graffigny where she married my great grandfather and raised my grandmother and her sister. My great grandfather William died before World War I.

My great grandmother Laura is the lady in the picture to the left of her house. The photograph came from my cousin George Campbell.

There are many stories of my grandmother, but the one I love the best is how she met my grandfather James Madison Pearson. He was a young lieutenant who along with over a million other American soldiers arrived in France in 1917 to fight Germany during the First World War. The story goes that he was wounded in France and sent to a hospital in Graffigny where he met my grandmother. She nursed him back to health and as so often happens, they fell in love, married and came back to the United States.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Get started, discover your ancestry, and create your first family tree.

Visit, How to create a family tree.

1. Start with yourself. It may seem silly since you already know who you are, but you should always start your family history search by documenting your own life. Gather information about your birth, education, sports activities and interests, etc. A few photos and souvenirs will highlight what is important to you. Your children will really appreciate you some day!

2. Next, do the same for your parents and grandparents. Scour your house for photographs, records, letters and journals, family Bibles, and even baby books. Sit down and talk to your parents and grandparents and ask questions. Everyone has a story waiting to be told. Be mindful that sometimes stories are painful or sad. A parent or grandparent may be reluctant to discuss part or all of the family history. In this case it may be best to ask about a particular photograph or record that deals with a sensitive issue. Or, simply ask a different family member. Have patience.

Good luck.