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Good afternoon members!

Today I have the honor of sharing another story with you by my friend Joan Wester-Anderson.  We wanted to help get the word out on her new book so be sure to read about it at the end of the story!

From my family to yours,


Oh, Brother

by Joan Wester-Anderson

Our only daughter, Nancy, has a difficult birth order position; she's the youngest, with four older brothers. She spent her childhood trying to be regarded as a person rather than a toy, and usually failed. "I'll bet she's spoiled," little old ladies in the supermarket would tsk-tsk, while watching a brother push her in the grocery cart. Well, if you consider seeing how far the cart could tip without spilling the baby--or tickling her 'til she screamed--as "spoiling," I suppose she was. (There were times when she'd ask to be put into the playpen, just to avoid the line of fire.) "Stop!" I once shouted as I spied a son pushing her far too vigorously on our backyard swing.

"She's too little to go that high!"

"Look, Mom!" he yelled in delight, "she's flying!"

Time passed, Nancy went to school, met some girls and learned what skirts and pierced ears were all about. Since she could wrap Daddy around her little finger, she was sometimes useful to the Fraternity as a go-between; she had also learned to run extremely fast, so she was no longer in physical danger. But she was still "the kid," craving respect and equality in vain. Nor did her high school or college experiences elicit much interest from our sons, since the last always graduated as she entered. "Been there, done that" was their consensus. They left for jobs in other states, and occasionally flew her in for vacation weekends, but she remained Little Sister, someone to pat on the head like a puppy. They'd be doing it when she was fifty. She'd never catch up.

Nancy met Scott in college, and a year after graduation, they became engaged. It was time to plan a wedding. As she and I went through the reception checklist, one dilemma emerged. "I want to dance with Dad first," she explained, "and then each of the brothers, before I dance with Scott." It made sense, I guess--they had all been her surrogate fathers. But if five musical numbers preceded the newlywed dance, wouldn't guests be falling asleep into their sherbet cups?

Then one day I happened to hear Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings, and our problem was solved. Not only were the lyrics perfect, the song had enough verses to accommodate every male. Nancy would begin by dancing with Dad, we decided, then each brother would cut in, suavely handing her from one to another, and back to Dad for the final lines.   Then she and Scott would dance to a song all their own.

By long-distance phone, I informed each son of his mission. "Great!"  said one. "Just to enliven things, I'll pick her up and toss her to Tim."

"I'll spin her around," suggested another. "I wonder if she'd wear skates.?"

"NOW HEAR THIS!" I responded. (I am not above yelling at a 28-year-old if necessary) "This is her big day. Try to behave like humans. Be dignified."

The evening before The Wedding passed in a blur of airport runs, with all brothers eventually present and accounted for, along with their tuxes for ushering duties. (Would they behave as handsomely as they were going to look? I wondered.) Nancy and her bridesmaids were staying overnight too, wearing torn jeans and plenty of hair rollers. The household rocked with laughter and reminiscing, the stuff of which memories are made. I promised my husband I wouldn't cry.

Finally it was morning. The florist, hairdresser, photographer, and others commandeered our dwelling, and then the limo driver was at the door. Nancy drifted serenely into the living room, all in white...and everything stopped. Everyone looked. The brothers were stunned. "Is" one asked.

Many marvelous hours later, Bette Midler's familiar voice began, and the room hushed as Nancy and her father glided onto the dance floor. Slowly, tenderly, as if he were holding a treasure, he managed to maneuver her just where she should be... The first verse ended, he blinked furiously and, yes! handed her off to our eldest.

"Did you ever know that you're my hero?" Eldest moved her smoothly around the floor (where had he learned to dance?), then Second Son cut in, looking almost professional. "You're everything I would like to be..." and this unemotional engineer gently kissed her cheek before presenting her (like a precious piece of porcelain) to Number Three.

Three seemed dazzled at his sister's poise, uncharacteristically at a loss for witty retorts. Another revolution, more grins, and then--perfectly coordinated--the handoff to Youngest. "Fly, fly, you let me fly so high..." I heard his excited voice across the years, saw the swing swooping once more up to the clouds.

The moment was ending. "Thank you, thank God for you..." Yes, she was singing to her dad, telling him in ways only fathers and daughters know, how very much he meant to her. Then I did cry.

Guests applauded and wiped tears, and even the deejay told us he had never seen anything as sweet. Sweeter still, though, was the metamorphous that had unexpectedly occurred that night, not only our daughter going from Miss to Mrs., but our sons seeing her, perhaps for the first time, as a woman all her own. They would listen to her views with genuine attention now, even ask for her opinion from time to time.  And if one did slip, and pat her head, her own newfound maturity would allow her to see it for what it was and always had been--a gesture of love.

Weddings bring all kinds of changes. Aren't they wonderful?

Joan Wester-Anderson

Write Joan and let her know your thoughts on her story!


Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and parenting magazines. She was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980's, and has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of publications, including Woman's Day, Modern Bride, Virtue, Reader's Digest, and the New York Times Syndicate.

Her 15 books include WHERE ANGELS WALK, TRUE STORIES OF HEAVENLY VISITORS, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year, has sold almost two million copies and been translated into fourteen languages.

Her most recent book, In The Arms of Angels -- True Stories of Heavenly Guardians was just published!

Joan writes:

Extraordinary stories of angelic appearances in the lives of ordinary people abound. In my book:  In the Arms of Angels I bring together some of the most compelling true stories I have come across in the past five years. Whether they center on seemingly mundane events or national tragedies, the stories I relate in In the Arms of Angels reveal that angels do accompany humans on their daily journeys and can have wonderful influence their lives.

IN THE ARMS OF ANGELS is full of stories of hope and comfort, as well as goosebumps; everything from a survivor of 9/11 who met a mysterious stranger to a little girl whose angel caught her when she fell out of a window.  It was written because, although I have done many books on angels and miracles, after 9/11 I sensed a fear and apprehension within the country, as if all the beautiful and hopeful stories we had heard and exchanged about angelic protection during the '90's meant nothing.  Perhaps God had even abandoned us.  Yet my mailbox was filled with evidence of continued heavenly care.  I wanted to share those happenings.  And so, another angel book was born.

You can order Joan's newest book at by visiting:

For more stories of God's love, or to join Joan's weekly email list, check out her website at:


Thought For The Day:

"It is not guided missiles, but guided morals that is our great need today."--George W. Ford

Verse for the Day:

"The man of integrity walks securely..." --Proverbs 10:9

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"You feel a lot braver the second time you jump out of a tree."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"Reasoning with a two year old is about as productive as changing seats on the Titanic. --Robert Scotellaro

Coach's Thought For The Day

"I always say that to appreciate warm weather, you must experience cold. I wouldn't change one thing -- all the embarrassing moments, the defeats, all of everything -- through all of his, I have learned me." --Floyd Patterson, former professional heavyweight boxer

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you can get the right ones, in
the right order, you can nudge the world a little." --Tom Stoppard

Deep Thought For The Day:

"Everyday I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I've stayed alive." --George Carlin


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Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

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