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20 x December 21, 2017 - January 3, 2018 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com OPEN HOUSE N O W E NROLLI N G RSVP T O D AY! Join Us Between 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm VOTED BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL January 28 | March 4 100% COLLEGE Acceptance 407.206.8602 www.thefirstacademy.org A Christ-Centered Preschool to Grade 12 College Preparatory School Definitively Christ-Centered Distinctly College-Prep CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 began singing an old Christmas song her Grandma Rosita had taught her. She chose the song on purpose, because she knew in no time her dog would be singing with her, and it was funny. Downstairs, her mother was sitting at the table having her coffee when Esmeralda hugged her and said, “Mom, Grandma Rosita came to visit me last night. She knew that we would be going to visit the retirement home, and she wanted me to tell her dear friends, Carmencita and Cristina, that she loved them very much.” Esmeralda’s mother hugged her back and kissed her rosy cheek. She knew her daughter well. Esmeralda was a sensible and clever child, so generous and friendly, but she also had a great imagination. After lunch, they went to the old people’s home with the dog and rang the bell. One of the nuns opened the heavy door. The long corridor was dark, but at the end, there was a well-lit hall where the residents usually gathered. Esmeralda ran to hug everyone and asked about their health, especially Carmencita and Cristina. Her dog was doing his own thing, waving his tail to everyone. He got many hugs and affectionate words. Her mother and the nuns served tea, and Esmeralda cut the cake. They were having a lovely afternoon, chatting between themselves and remembering the good old days. Somebody suggested to bring a guitar to Esmeralda. The nuns cleared up the room, and the party began. Esmeralda was singing old Spanish Christmas songs with all of them. They also sang Silent Night. The last song was the one Grandma Rosita had taught her. Almost at the end of the song, her dog started singing. Everybody laughed. Esmeralda and her mother hugged the residents and wished them a good night. They thanked them for a happy time together. Back at the house, Esmeralda helped her mother put things away, fed her dog and went to her bedroom to get ready for the night. After a while, her mother came to say good night and to comment about the wonderful day they had. As she approached her daughter’s bedroom, she listened to some voices in Esmeralda’s room. She opened the door slowly and asked her with whom she was talking. ”Mom, Grandma Rosita was with me,” Esmeralda said. Her mother asked what she had said. “Mom, Grandma was very pleased.” Although Mom believed that it was Esmeralda’s imagination, she could not ask the next question, because she felt a breeze kissing her forehead, leaving behind a soft aroma of roses that filled the room. It was Grandma’s favorite perfume! She said in silence, “Merry Christmas, Mother Rosita.” Honorable Mention The Elf & the Lamborghini by Carter Flesner Summer Lake Once there was a salesman who worked for Lamborghini. He was having a hard time making sales. Then one day, an elf wearing cool sunglasses and waving big stacks of cash around walked into the dealership. The elf said he wanted to buy a Lamborghini Aventador SV. I’ll show you our two best ones, and you let me know which one you would like to take home today,” the salesman said. The elf picked the best one, which happened to be green with blue stripes, and then threw his stacks of cash at the salesman and sped away. “What? Did I really just sell a Lamborghini to an elf?” the salesman asked himself. When the elf got back to the North Pole, Santa bought him a racetrack, and the elf raced around the track as happy as he could be. Believe it or not, he zipped around that track all the way until next Christmas. As a matter of fact, I should know, because I, Carter Flesner, am the elf! Honorable Mention A Christmas Miracle by Jaden Nice MetroWest Christina’s alarm clock rang. She shot up with excitement. “It’s Christmas Eve!” she exclaimed. Today was the day that she was going to surprise her grandpa with cookies. She shot out of bed, racing to her closet to find her special Christmas dress.

Christina changed her clothes and brushed her tangled hair. “Ouch!” she gasped, with a whimper. Christina waited a few seconds before attempting to get through that crazy mess. She decided to pull her hair into a braid. Weeks and weeks of hard work trying to learn how to braid hair had finally paid off! After completing her task, she ran downstairs to find her mom and dad waiting for her. They surprised her with a plate full of pancakes shaped as stars. Christina’s eyes shone with appreciation. She hurriedly gobbled up her food and anxiously waited an entire minute before asking her parents, “What about the cookies?” They laughed, and her dad assured little Christina that they would have cookies that year. Relieved, she asked where they would buy them. “This year,” her mother exclaimed, leaning forward as to build anticipation, “we’re baking cookies!” Christina squealed and giggled. They then spent the entire morning baking, mixing frosting and making messes all over the kitchen. Finally it was time for them to take the hour-long trip to her grandfather’s house. The entire duration of the car ride, Christina was restless. She kept glancing toward the plate of cookies that they had wrapped. Even seeing all the Christmas decorations outside could not calm her down. They parked in his driveway, not knowing what was going on inside. Before they went to Grandpa’s door, Christina’s dad stopped her. “Darling, your grandfather is a little sad right now,” he said. “Try and make this visit extra-special and cheer him up in any way you can.” Christina nodded, wondering if it had anything to do with her grandma going to a “better place.” Grandfather William sat alone in his living room, staring at the now-empty rocking chair that was no longer filled by his wife, Ann Marie. It would be the first Christmas since she had passed away, and his heart, once filled with happiness and joy, now felt heavy with grief. He had prayed and prayed for a Christmas miracle so his wife would be saved, but his wish never came true. www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x December 21, 2017 - January 3, 2018 x 21 William had decided that he would decline the invitation to his daughter’s Christmas party. Just then, there was a knock on the door. He sighed and stood up to open it. He was greeted by three friendly faces and a plate of cookies. “Surprise!” Christina yelled and smiled a large toothless grin. Grandfather William’s heart warmed, and he was gladdened. He invited them inside and poured a glass of milk for each of them, so they could all enjoy the delicious homemade cookies. They sat by the fireplace and told Christmas stories. Grandfather’s grin broadened, and he exclaimed, breathless, “This truly is a Christmas miracle!” Honorable Mention A Snowman’s Christmas by Valentina Thibault Windermere Ridge Not long ago, a snowman learned a lesson about Christmas. The snowman, named Jolly, was a favorite of all the children in town. He stood frigid near the center of the town square, just in front of the tall, wide, fresh, green, pointy pine Christmas tree. The tree was decorated with gold cylinder ornaments mixed with bright red and silver rounded spheres; red and golden ribbons tied around the pine stems; and red, blue, green and yellow lights attached to a camouflaged dark-green wire that led all the way to the top, where the shiniest part of the tree — the Christmas star — was covered with diamonds and golden wires. It was a week before Christmas, and everyone in the small town was preparing for the holiday, decorating their houses with lights around their bushes, trees and roofs. They were also setting out stockings, baking, singing carols and buying presents to put underneath their Christmas trees. Many played in the falling snow — laying on the thick, white ground, while expressively making their arms go up and down along with their feet, creating snow angels. Jolly smiled as all the children encircled him, wearing their three-layered jackets and wool hats matching their clothes. Their laughter brought Jolly no CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 Sweet, Sassy & Southern is a cute, trendy boutique that has unique gifts and clothing.We also offer custom monogramming and embroidery. Est.2016 www.facebook.com/Sweetsassyandsouthern46/ Hours: Mon–Fri: 10am–6pm • Sat: 10am–4pm • Sun: closed 4750 The Grove Dr., #164, Windermere, Florida 34786 • (407) 217-7288