"As I lay me down to sleep..." My children recite the prayer in unison as I listen intently to the sound of joy in their voices. My miracles. I'm full with a sense of gratitude. This prayer was my first connection to Peace when I was a wee little one. I remember many nights, I would lie in bed filled with fear. A fear so intense I struggled to close my eyes. Only back then, I often allowed those negative thoughts to trigger more and BIGGER fear. And so, it was the children's prayer, which helped me to begin to feel safe. Oddly, this solution to pray was certainly not a choice prompted by frequent Sunday services. We were more of the Easter and Christmas crowd if you catch my drift. Yet, I felt an inexplicable yearning to seek comfort in God. I really didn't even know what God was other than Peace. Those evening prayers from my childhood expanded for me night after night. I would ask God to Bless others, specifically the sick, the poor, and the homeless. I'm not sure exactly why I felt compelled to throw that in there, other than it made me feel good. And, I thrived on that feeling of positivity, of feeling good, like my prayers mattered. I remember doing this as far back as second grade. I know specifically, it goes that far back because I had just moved to my third school that year. It was Spring, and I recall my Pop telling me a story of Saint Therese. He claimed by asking her to intercede with God, that the one praying would receive a gift of roses. The gift was to be a sign that our prayers were delivered. At the ripe age of seven, I was intrigued by the notion. So, as I struggled to gain comfort in my newest of bedrooms, I decided it would be a good time to push it on this prayer thing. I remember the faint illumination of my night light as I looked around my new space. I took a long look at the door toward my feet. The room was small perhaps an 8 x 10. The glow of the light touched upon the faces of my stuffed animals. All of which were looking back at me from a hammock style net. I took a deep breath and folded my hands. I prayed my little heart out that night. I recall my ritual of requesting Blessings for all those less fortunate. And then I remember asking if God hears me? I asked if Saint Therese would help deliver my message to God. I asked if she would let me know I was safe and to please send me roses. For me, that message would validate my actions and show me that God was listening. It would in some way make me feel protected despite my young mind's wonder. I never understood why these conversations to Bless the world around me brought me solace. Today, I encourage my children to pray for their family, friends, and the world at large. We choose to sprinkle in the practice of gratitude, especially in moments we need a reality check. We feel that being thankful for the simple blessing to experience this life should be shared. We do this by thanking God for our family, friends, home, food, good health, abundance and/or a particular 'show & tell' we are fond of that week. {We try to keep it all relative people.} Though this simple bedtime routine is a small task, it is also LARGELY impactful for shaping the values of our future leaders. I believe the perspective that there is something greater than ourselves is an essential part of appreciating life. As I type these words, I know I owe a depth of gratitude to my Pop and St. Therese, as to why I continued to seek God. It was my fervent belief in my childhood Faith that awakened my greater Spirituality. I know this. Because it was only a short time after I sought this guidance that I was validated.

A higher power certainly gave me more than a bouquet. At that age, I needed something that would blossom, so the Universe went bigger. I felt deeply struck with gratitude when I saw the grounds-keepers planted rose bushes for Spring at the apartments I was living . I was blown away. It was so clear.

When I caught my first glimpse of the grounds, I knew in my heart St. Therese had gifted me the joy of continued blooms in a place where I needed it most. Today, when I see a rose bush, I am reminded of my grandfather most. I lost him to Heaven in 2011, but I know he is with me in Spirit always. Mostly, I am grateful that he loved me and spent time talking with me. He was my special person, and I was lucky to have had him in my life. Every day I am thankful for his heart. I hope you all are infinitely Blessed and take some time today to connect to something that brings you to good feelings.