Martha Abbey Miller

bringing out the best in others

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Taking a Sabbatical…

In order to complete the manuscript of my first book, Hope Personified (the biography of Frances Landers who ended illiteracy in a large mountainous region of Haiti), I will be scheduling few additional one-woman performances from July-December, 2014.

I appreciate everyone’s support for my dramatizations of people of historical significance. I look forward to resuming a more active speaking schedule after Hope Personified is off to the publisher. I encourage you to visit haitifoundation.org to learn more about the remarkable mission of Frances Landers’ foundation, Haiti Education Foundation. Thanks for being patient with me while I finish writing the book!

(Source: marthaabbeymiller)

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Peter Pan Moment 12: Look!

It’s a meaningful day. A day of remembering. Honoring. Loving. Celebrating, if only silently, the birthday of a loved one no longer here.

Ah, would that this parent of mine still be with me, though circumstance and chronology of course make the point moot.

But to walk again with my father, to relive many moments, others to redo…

He would be with me just now, as I step out beyond the door of the cafe.

I see the honey bronze of late autumn trees, the stunning blue of the sky. I feel the filtered cool sun.

I would have involuntarily touched his arm. “Look, Dad…” and I would need say no more, for he would love this day as I do.

I am blessed in my life, in many ways. With those whom I love, and who love me in return. Those with whom I call this village home. This hamlet of a town, so serene, so lovely, so full of that which is extraordinarily ordinary - yet so beautiful.

The crisp gold of the oak leaf. The geese overhead, keeping pace with crystalline contrails in flawless sky. The flowers, abundant in number and color, flanking my walking path.

I love this hamlet. It is home to me, more poignant this day as I honor the date of my father’s birth.

I will not forget this day, as I will not forget him.

Would he be proud? I find myself asking. Yes, I decide, of both my life and my choice to live it in this serene little village.

The air is crisp. It bites at my cheek, just a bit.

A single gold leaf, dipped in honey and edged in caramel, falls from the oak and falls toward the ground.

My father’s memory stirs. My eyes mist, blurring the leaf as I stoop to pick it up.

"Look Dad," I say again. "It is the mighty oak. It is safe in my hand. As you are safe in His."

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Peter Pan Moment 11: Somebody or Nobody?

Cleaning the house just took on new meaning. I dust, I scrub. I wipe away neglect. At times like this, progress is slow. And I am forced, as I work, to redefine my self image as a good homemaker.

Nevertheless, I have thrown myself into the task of conquering my housework.

I am in my home office, now thinned and tossed, sorted and filed. I put bare feet up on bare desk. New energy pours through me, bordering on self righteousness, a sin of which I am particularly guilty.

Taking my dampened cloth in hand, I begin the detail work. Around the crevices of my desk lamp, the terra cotta pots of my houseplants, the folds of my stapler.

The yellow and black of my taxi cab bank.

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Peter Pan Moment 10: A Taxi from New York

"Never, never forget your family."

One thing is sure…I’ll never forget the moment a man said this to me.

The time? The specifics have faded. A business trip to New York, perhaps two decades ago.

The place? A taxi cab, somewhere in the sea of yellow and black on the streets of Manhattan.

The man? Armenian, perhaps. An immigrant. Married with children, and to be sure, a hard worker. In our brief ride together, it is evident he is proud of his accomplishments. Prouder still of his family.

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Peter Pan Moment 9: Pennies from Heaven

Some call them lucky pennies. The ones on the sidewalk. For me, they are reminders from God. 

Several years ago, I start dropping my “lucky money” - found pennies, an occasional nickel or dime - into a special bank. Slowly I notice a pattern. I start to pay attention.

I’d have a drought - no pennies in my path for days. I would ask, “Lord, what haven’t I done? Am I missing the mark?” I’d pray, and listen. Pennies would appear. “Ah, Lord, what are you telling me? Am I doing something right?”

Over the years, my bank has filled.

A few weeks ago, I make five stops by car. Five parts of town. Each time - five times - a penny outside the driver door. “Oh Lord, I must be on the right track! Thank you for reassuring me!” Then another drought. More asking. More pennies.

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