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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Just A Letter

Photo Credit:  Mikey's Funnies
It’s “just a letter” – you may think,
Simple words – paper, ink.
Seems old-fashioned, some may say,
Could it really make their day?
A letter can be kissed or maybe catch some tears,
A letter can be saved and last for many years.
A letter can be tucked away or possibly displayed,
It can be read on happy days or even when dismayed.
Letter writing is an art, some may feel is lost,
But, special letters will be kept, never to be tossed.
Take a moment, grab a pen.  Make somebody smile,
The difference “just a letter” makes truly is worthwhile!

I hope that all of my Sunshines enjoyed the Spring Break with family and friends!  My kiddos weren’t quite ready to go back, but ready or not, Monday arrived!  I also hope that this short little poem I wrote has planted a seed that might blossom into a letter today!  Why?  Because my friend, Mikey, does an inspiring letter project every Easter and I want to share those details with you!

From Mikey:

Each year, our wonderful Funnies readers help with a very cool Easter project.  I'm asking you to be a part as well - either with your family, church, youth group, school, etc.  It can make a significant impact on those who participate!

Every Easter Eve morning (Saturday), our family goes to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (Boot Camp) in San Diego.  We - and many other folks - deliver patriotic Easter bags to each of the 100 sick and injured Marine recruits on base.  Our goal is to bring cheer to these special recruits on Easter weekend and to show them how much we support them and stand behind their determination to become a United States Marine.

You can't believe what this does for these guys.  They wake up that morning to what will most likely be just another boring day as they wait to heal and return to training or be sent home.  When they come back from morning chow and see us waiting there with big smiles and hugs, well, the transformation is amazing!

You can be a BIG part of that impact - in a very simple way!

These patriotic Easter bags are filled with items that have been donated from various sources.  The recruits receive phone cards, envelopes, stamps, note pads, and pens.  But the important gift in this bag is a bundle of letters that we collect from children and adults all over the country.  Last year, each recruit had 30 letters in their bag.  That's over 3,000 letters!

Would you please help by collecting letters and/or drawings from children of all ages?  We also need letters from adults of all ages.  The subject can be patriotic, holiday wishes, or even a simple thank you for serving our country.  It can be from schools (public or private), Sunday schools, clubs, retirement homes, and just your own family.

Following are simple guidelines for the letters:
- Notes, letters, pictures, and cards accepted.
- Salutation should be "Dear Recruit".
- Send all the letters/drawings in one package to the address below.
- NO personal return addresses.
- Mark the back of each note with a classroom sticker or stamp with the school address, if they desire possible responses from recruits.
- We ask that you not use glitter.

Please mail your letters to arrive by March 27, 2017 to the following address:
Marine Moms Online Easter Project
c/o Mike Atkinson
3755 Avocado Blvd.
Box 402
La Mesa, CA 91941

Thanks in advance for your support of our project.  We can make the Easter season just a little better for these recruits who SO desire to serve our country!
Thanks!
Mikey

Yes, since I took a bit of time off these last two weeks, I see that the deadline is HERE!  Soooo…..can you grab a pen, marker, or crayon and jot down a little note of encouragement today?  I thank you and I’m sure that all of the recruits on the receiving end of your love thank you too!  I assure you that they won’t think, “Oh…it’s just a letter.”

May God bless you abundantly for sharing your gift of time!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Knock-Knock

Photo Credit:  mconnors from morgueFile.com
Over the weekend, my seven-year-old daughter came up to me with a knock-knock-joke.  I thought it was going to be like every other knock-knock-joke, but it wasn’t.  This one was different and it went like this:

Daughter:  Mom, will you remember me in a second?
Me:  Yes.
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a minute?
Me:  Yes.
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a day?
Me:  Yes (wondering where all of this is going…)
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a month?
Me:  Yes, of course.
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a year?
Me:  Absolutely, I will!
Daughter:  Knock, knock!
Me:  Who’s there?
Daughter:  Hey!  It’s ME!  You said you would remember me!
Me:  (tickling her just to hear her sweet laughter)  YOU!  You got me!  All jokes aside, you know I will NEVER, NEVER, EVER forget you!
Daughter:  I know, Mom.  (smiles, giggles, and runs off to play)

One of the readings at Mass over the weekend just so happened to be about Jesus never forgetting us.  It was from Isaiah and it’s one of my favorites.  I just love the simple song that Carey Landry wrote, inspired by Isaiah 49:14-15.

“I will never forget you, My people.
I have carved you on the palm of My hand.
I will never forget you.
I will not leave you orphaned.
I will never forget My own.
Does a mother forget her baby?
Or a woman, the child within her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
Yes, even if these forget,
I will never forget my own.”

Isn’t it such a great feeling when someone remembers you?  That somehow, in some way, you made a difference in their life or day and they remember you.  I love it! 

In fact, just last week, I received the sweetest little note from Ms. Wilson, the librarian at St. Philip’s in El Campo.  St. Philip’s is the very first school author visit I did back in November and I will never forget it.  Her precious note indicates that she won’t forget it either.  I’d like to share her words with you today:

“Hello!  I hope your new year has been outstanding so far!  I just wanted to thank you again for coming and reading to our students!  Also, I wanted to say thanks for your donation to our school.  I used the funds to purchase a book called, “A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country.”  My thoughts were that it’s a book about women doing important things, and you (as a female author) are doing important, special things, too!  Thanks again so much, and let me know when your next book comes out!”

Yes, this absolutely made my day!  She remembered me and she let me know.

Do we let others know how special they are to us?  Do we assure them that we’ll never forget them?  Are we blessed to have one or two or twenty special people in our lives that we will always remember?  Then, let’s tell them.  Let’s show them.

I’m often reminded of how short life is.  There isn’t an unlimited amount of time to spend with those we love so dearly.  There have been too many sudden deaths lately that I’ve heard about.  It makes my heart ache for the loved ones left behind. 

There was one death recently of a man that I never actually met.  But, I couldn’t help but notice the endless outpouring of loving facebook posts about him.  His visitation even had to be held at our local community center!  Wow!  That in itself speaks volumes. 

His name was Bobby Nicholson Sr. (aka Coach Nic) I read soooo many beautiful tributes about him that it’s impossible to share them all here.  However, what I took home was the fact that his life genuinely touched thousands of people.  He coached.  He mentored.  He inspired.  He educated.  He influenced.  He cared.  He led.  He loved.

Apparently, he also gave the very best motivational speeches ever!  It sounds like he was an absolutely AMAZING man who left an unbelievable legacy of Cobra pride and helped shape and impact countless lives along the way.  I hear he had a great sense of humor and gave equally as great hugs.  I pray for all those who miss him deeply.

In the words of Isaiah…so many will obviously never ever forget you, Coach!

In the midst of sadness, I look for comfort.  I find some peace in the fact that when this incredible gentleman and others who have left this earth approach the Heavenly Gates, Jesus will be waiting on the other side. 

When they say, “Knock-knock!”…Jesus won’t say, “Who’s there?”  Instead, He’ll say, “Of course I remember you!  I could never forget you!  Come on in!”

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  No Sips for 2 weeks, but I’ll be back soon!  Bye for now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

95 Reasons

"Gabriel & Elah" artwork by Evelyn
We all have reasons to smile each day.  Even on days we don’t think we do, there are surely some blessings that we’ve forgotten about.  However, last Friday, I had 95 reasons to smile…all at one time!  Yes, I received 95 of the most beautiful, thoughtful, and loving thank you letters from the sweet students at William Wood Elementary.  I had visited their school the week before for an author reading.  They wanted to show their appreciation through priceless notes and pictures that they had written and drawn especially for me.

If you ever want to feel loved, take some time and read a book to children.  Interact with them.  Ask them questions.  Let them ask you questions.  Encourage them.  Inspire them.  Let them encourage and inspire you.  I’ll never forget these letters.

Of course, I’m going to share some excerpts with you today!  I will certainly keep their unique spelling and punctuation just so you can enjoy the cuteness as well:
  • Thank you for writing “Gabriel’s golden key.”  I had a very good time.  I loved the majic trick!  It was brilliant
  • I really appreciate you coming and taking your time and efferot.  I realy look forward to buying your book.  Thank you so much.  I loved your book.
  • I really enjoyed your magic and your reading.  it was awsome!  Thanks for visiting.  I’m still planing on getting your book.  But I really enjoyed your visit.  And your presentation.
  • You inspired me to be an author.
  • Your book is so fun and fantastic.  You rock.  I am bying your book.  I want to take a picture with you!
  • You inspire me to wright books and I love when Elah jumps out of the book into the glas of water.
  • Good job for making the book called Gabriel’s Golden key.  You are the best for comeing to Willam Wood Elemetery and tell us all about yourself.  You are the coolest reader ever too.
  • Thank you for coming to our school.  We all had a great time!  You’re the best auther I know.
  • I love your book and I encourage you to write more books.  I also love your magic.  I loved Elah.  She was my favorite.
  • Your book is amazing and inspiring.
  • We loved you telling us about your book.  Gabriel relates to me in so many ways and Elah she was amazing.  I also loved your Brittish accent.
  • Your book was fantastic because you were the arothor of the book.
  • I love your book.  I hope you come back.
  • I can’t wait until you publish your next book!
  • You are the best author in the hold wide world and that book was the greatest book in the wold.
  • You are a star!  Your cool!
  • I really loved your book and how you put Christianity in it.  Thank you for putting your time in coming to our school.  We love you!
  • Thank you for donating the book to our school. 
  • Thank you for coming to our school and presenting your book.  We love you dearly.   I hope you keep persuing your dreams of being an author.  Gabriel’s Golden Key is the best book I ever layed my eyes on and hope I can by your book cause it’s a really good book.  Never reavel your magic secrets, Ms. Magican!
  • You are the best author in the world and I loved your Bridish accent.
  • I wishe you can come every day!
  • I will give you 200 dollers for your book!
  • I love your bridis ackint.  You are funny and nice.
  • I luv you a lot.
  • You are awesome and I thank you for your time.
  • What I like most about the book is the 7 Angeles.
  • Thank you for coming and telling your famous book Gabriel’s Golden Key.  I loved your book.  What I loved is the pictures and words and magic and fun.  It was amazing!  Sincerely, your body gaurd
  • I had a blast!  I loved the accent you had.  It was marvlous.  Your book is really, really good.  I don’t know if I want to be a author when I grow up.  It seems like a lot of work.  I loved it when you visited yesterday!
  • You inspier me to wright and read.  I loved it!  I hope to see you again!  I’m very happy you came.  Thank you!
And, THIS ONE (sniff, sniff with tears of joy):
  • My favrite part of your visit was…YOU!  I love you!  I love yoor book!
So, that’s just a taste of the 95 reasons I had to smile last Friday, Sunshines!

What I love most is the fact that these 95 reasons didn’t include anything they had to buy for me.  It was free.  It was heartfelt.  It was genuine.  It was unforgettable.

What reasons do you have to smile today?  There doesn’t have to be 95 reasons, but surely there is at least one?  Right?

As I re-read through these letters again and again, I’m smiling and feeling thankful.  I’m grateful to God for this journey and for the beautiful people I’ve met - young and old and in between - all while sharing my book!

I can’t thank you enough, Ms. Dana, for initiating this memorable project with your students!  I have 95 reasons to THANK YOU!  Keep sharing your light with all those around you because you really do shine, my friend!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now!
95 Letters = 95 Reasons to Smile!