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See the 2005 2TheHeart Poetry Contest winning poems here!

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Today's story is a wonderful way to jump start the coming holidays and is for the angel believer in all of us.

"Perfect Fit"
by Susan Reznicsek

It was early December in Suriname, South America, just after the wet season had begun. Rain splashed against the roof as I helped Rose, my six-year-old daughter, get ready for bed. But something was on her mind. She looked at me with a grave expression in her dark eyes, even more serious than when my husband, Terry, and I first met her in the local orphanage three months earlier.

"I don't want to be an angel in the school pageant," she said pleadingly.

"You'll be wonderful," I said, smoothing out her cotton blanket.

"All the other angels in the play are white," she said. "I have brown skin."

I was taken aback. "Angels come in all colors," I told her, and kissed her good night. Still, I had a feeling this conversation wasn't over.

Terry and I were thrilled to adopt Rose. At the orphanage, I had seen the brightness and quiet determination behind her apprehension. But living with us would be a huge change for her. The day she moved in, her battered little suitcase bumped against her legs as she marched stiffly into our living room. Rose warmed to us, and to her new surroundings. We enrolled her in the American Missionary School, figuring the sooner she adjusted to being with American children, the easier it would be for her when we returned home to the United States to live.

Rose was speaking fluent English within two months. Still, she didn't feel like she fit in at school. The prospect of the Christmas play had sharpened her sense that she was different.

"I think I'll just stand in the back row," she told me one day, as though she'd solved the problem.

"Then Daddy and I won't be able to see our pretty angel," I said. I didn't want to push too hard.

A few weeks before the play, her teacher called a meeting with some of the mothers to discuss costumes. "Would you make Rose's costume?" her teacher asked me.

"Costume? I can barely sew on a button!" I laughed.

"If you bring me some fabric," she said, "I'll be happy to make it." Relieved that was settled, I headed home to help Rose practice for the program.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill to men," Rose said timidly. "Did that sound okay to you, Mom?"

"Just perfect. Now try a little louder." If Rose got confident enough about her line, I decided, she might get more confident about her sense of belonging. Rose and I rehearsed so much, she was belting out her big line like an angel who had something important to say to the world, and felt comfortable shouting it from the rooftops!

On the big night, Terry and I settled into our seats and waited. Let this be a special time for Rose, Lord. Something was holding up the show.

One of the teachers emerged from backstage. She scanned the audience and made a beeline to me. "Mrs. Reznicsek," she whispered, "we can't find Rose's costume."

Rose's costume! We'd been so busy rehearsing her lines I had forgotten to supply the material! All our hard work... Now Rose really wouldn't feel like she fit in. "I'm so sorry," I told her.

"The principal's rummaging around. He'll find something we can use," she said. "Sit tight?and pray hard!"

"Rose is a strong girl," Terry said. "And she has two parents who love her to get her through the rough patches."

The children filed onto the stage. I tried to concentrate on the pageant, but I counted the minutes till the angels?and my Rose?appeared. I clapped my hands to my mouth. There stood Rose, front and center, standing tall in the most beautiful costume of all: a billowing, white gown, cinched at the waist with a shimmering gold satin sash. Glitter sparkled all around the neckline and hem, and Rose's halo was a garland of gold stars circling the crown of her head.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill to men!" my daughter jubilantly announced with the rest of the angels. I could hear her voice above them all. It was the best Christmas pageant I'd ever seen.

"Mom, I did it! I was an angel!" Rose called breathlessly as she came running toward me after the play. "When they couldn't find my costume I didn't want to go on," she said, "but then the other angels said they needed me!"

I hugged her tight. "I am so proud of you, Rose. All you angels should stick together from now on."

Still I wondered: where had that costume come from? As Rose celebrated with her classmates, her teacher took me aside. "The principal was at a loss," she explained. "Then he just happened to spot some fabric on top of the cupboard." When he reached up and tugged on it, the costume fell into his hands. "It fit Rose perfectly!"

I understood. The costume was just for her, from God's angels to mine.

Susan Reznicsek copyright 2005

Susan, her husband and their angel Rose live in Oregon. Please email regarding this story in care of 2theheart.


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The Letter Box:

Oh WOW Susan and panel! My how you all have blessed me in selecting my poem as the winner this year! I have hoped and prayed and hoped and prayed, and also doubted just a little from time to time! But I just felt in my heart that I had a chance of winning, however I had no idea which poem it would be! God saw fit for it to be so for me. I give Him all the credit for the gift He blessed me with in January of 1997 when I first gave writing a try! Of course you know the winning poem is written about my mother's bout with cancer. Her birthday will be November 2nd; she would have been 85 this year had she survived cancer. I am thankful for the timing of winning this contest - it can be her birthday present in Heaven! That just makes it so much more special to me and the rest of my family! It is just one more of the many tributes I try to give to my mother because she is so deserving! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to honor her once again!! God Bless All of You.... you have made my life very happy! Kathy Norris

Congratulations to all the poetry contest winners. Great job!

Mary Emma Allen

Dear 2theheart poetry contest writers, I just visited the new page with all the poems and was moved time and time again by the beautiful peotry. My favorites are "Old Barn" and "Brushed Serenity", but every single one is marvelous! God bless you all for sharing such an intimate part of your soul! Love, Geena

2theheart, I just wanted to congratulate all the poetry writers in the contest. Each one is REALLY GOOD! I have great admiration for anyone who can write poetry - I enjoy reading it, but have never been able to write it. This is such a wonderful addition to 2theheart every year. thank you, Jennifer Bedley in OK


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