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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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Featured Writer

 Renie (Szilak) Burghardt

Renie Burghardt enjoys writing for anthologies and has been a long-time subscriber to Anthologies Online. She is a freelance writer, and was born in Hungary. Her favorite writing is inspirational stories for anthologies. Her many writing credits include:


 Finding Joy in Midlife, was published in the new release, "Changing Course: Women's Inspiring Stories of Menopause, Midlife, and Moving Forward," by Yitta Halberstam. Publisher: Adams Media Corporation, October 2004 
 My Mother's Cat, has been published in the new "Angel Cats-Divine Messengers of Comfort" Allen and Linda Anderson, New World Library, August 2004, and the Angel Animals Network.
 The Green Stamp Heirloom was published in " Rocking Chair Reader: Coming Home" Helen Kay Polaski Publisher: Adams Media Corporation, September 2004
 The Warning, was just published in Ideals Publications,( a division of Guideposts.) "Guideposts For the Spirit: Stories of Courage. Published August 2004


The Reassurance of Angels: Stories of God's Caregivers.

Haunted Encounters, Personal Stories of Departed Pets

A Parting Gift from Anya published in Eternal Moments-Stories of Divine  Miracles   Published in Guideposts-Comfort from Beyond-Series, April 2004 Guideposts Books

Mother's Message published in Stories of Spirit Communication:
When Loved ones Return After Crossing Over 
Editor-Angela Hoy
Published April 2004 by, Inc.


Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul,
Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul,
3 Cup of Comfort books.
Over a dozen Guideposts Books, The latest being, Undying Love-Stories of Eternal Love, published February 2004.
 Ten Chocolate for Women books, the latest being Chocolate for a Teen's Dreams, (2003)

God's Way for Women,
God Allows U-Turns (2)

The Big Book of Angels (Rodale, 2003)
Haunted Encounters, and Haunted Encounters2-Ghost Stories from Around the World (coming May 2004)

The July, 2004, issue of Mature Living: Two American Ladies

May 2004 issue of Women's Independent Press:  Things I Want My Granddaughter's to Know.

And many others, several coming out in 2004.

She lives in the country and loves nature, animals, gardening, reading, and spending time with family and friends.


Enjoy a story by Renie Burghardt

A Perfect Pink Rose

My grandmother was a reluctant bride in 1916, when she married my grandfather. She was just 16 years old, he 27. His first wife, Anna, who had been Grandmother’s aunt, had suddenly died the year before, leaving Grandfather a widower with three young kids.

“I remember what a shock it was when Mama came to tell me that Jozsef had asked for my hand in marriage,” my grandmother told me years later.

“But I don’t want to get married, Mama,” she told her mother tearfully. “Besides, I loved Aunt Anna. I could never take her place.”

“He needs a wife, and his children need a mother, Terez,” her mother had said. “Anna would want you to take care of her children now that she is no longer here. But you don’t have to decide right away. You can think about it for a while.”

My grandmother did think about it. She remembered when Aunt Anna and Grandfather were married. She was eight years old, and a flower girl at their wedding.

“Your grandfather was in his Hussar’s uniform, and he was so handsome, he took my breath away!” Grandma told me. “I remember thinking that one day, I would like to marry a handsome Hussar, too. Then, eight years later, when your grandfather wanted to marry me because his children needed a mother, and he needed a wife, I told him tearfully that I wanted to marry for love, not for need.”

Grandfather, however, didn’t give up easily. He told her over and over that he would do everything in his power to make her happy, and that she would learn to love him. He reminded Grandmother that his children already loved her, and he thought she loved them, and they could have a happy family life together.

“And he was right--I did love his children,” Grandmother told me. ”So I finally decided to say yes, and I was very touched when he brought me a bouquet of pink roses from his own garden, to carry as my bridal bouquet.”

My grandfather loved gardening. He grew especially beautiful roses, and always brought some into their house, so my grandmother could enjoy their fragrance.

“And he often told me my cheeks were as pink and lovely as those roses with the blush in the center,” Grandma said. “Ah, he turned out to be a most romantic husband, my dear, and in no time at all, I was very much in love with him.”

Then a hint of sadness crossed her face. “Your grandfather was a wonderful father, too, the rock of our family. When our only child together--your dear mother--was dying at the tender age of nineteen, a few weeks after you were born, it was he she called out to; it was in his arms that she breathed her last breath, while I, broken up from the pain of it all, could be of no use to her. He was the one who sustained me through that tragedy, reminding me that we had you to raise now. I had to get over my pain for your sake.”

Grandmother and Grandfather went through many hard times during their 49 years together--a terrible war that took the life of his son, the loss of all their possessions, starting over in a new country. In America, they both went to work, saved their money, and soon had a down payment for a house of their own.

“I found the perfect place for us,” Grandfather said one day. “It is an older, white colonial house with a picket fence around it, and a large yard where I can have a garden again. Oh, I will grow some good tomatoes, and Hungarian peppers, and roses that will match the pink of your cheeks.”

“You know, by that time, my cheeks were taking on the color of age, but your grandfather never seemed to notice,” Grandma said, tears welling in her eyes.

Soon Grandfather’s garden became the attraction of their modest neighborhood, just as it had been in the old country, and when he found that heirloom rose he used to grow in Hungary, in a catalog, he acted as if he had found a treasure!

“Your grandfather was a nurturer, and both his plants and I benefited from his tender devotion. He had the magic touch, when it came to gardens and his wife,” Grandma often said.

When Grandfather passed away in late October of 1965, after 49 years of a happy life together, Grandma took his passing very hard. She went back to work to keep busy, and wouldn’t go near his garden. “Every time I look out the window, and see the garden, it reminds me of Jozsef’s absence,” she would tell me with tears in her eyes. So I would come and weed it, when I had the time. I couldn’t bear to see weeds growing up in there.



Then in October of 1966, something happened that changed my grandmother’s mind about the garden. It was the first anniversary of Grandfather’s passing, and I was going to take Grandma to the cemetery. When I got to her house, I found her in the garden, leaning over the heirloom rose bush. “Oh, look, sweetheart, look, there is one perfect pink rose blooming on your grandfather’s rose bush. Isn’t it
beautiful?” she said breathlessly.


“Yes, it’s beautiful, Grandma,” I said in amazement. After all, it was late October, we’d experienced several major frosts, and everything else in the garden was dead.

“Oh, this day started out as a very sad day,” Grandma said. “But then, as I got dressed and waited for you to come and take me to the cemetery, I glanced out the kitchen window, and saw a spot of bright pink. So I opened the kitchen door and went out, and found this one, perfect pink rose. And as I leaned down to inhale its heavenly scent, I suddenly felt an unmistakable presence near me, and I knew that this last rose of summer was a sign from your grandfather. I was so happy, and so at peace, for the first time since his passing.”

When we got to the cemetery, Grandma laid the last rose of summer on Grandfather’s grave, promising him that she would tend his garden from then on, as tenderly as he had tended her, until they would finally meet again in the gardens of heaven. And Grandma kept her promise.


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