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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

18 Summers

Photo Credit:  lauramusikanski from morgueFile.com
Summertime has come, my friends,
The school year’s done, for here it ends.
What will we do to pass each day?
Some camps, vacation, work, and play?
Maybe a mission trip’s in the plan?
How ‘bout cross-country in a van?
Veg on the couch or hit the gym?
Will we bend our knees in prayer with Him?
Will we practice hoops and football throws?
Or water gardens in perfect rows?
Will we canoe or paint a scene?
Tackle the closets and finally clean?
Do some shopping or stay at home?
Travel nearby or go out and roam?
How much or little can we pack?
In that suitcase, bag, or sack?
Have we planned our days to the hour?
Will we take some time to smell that flower?
It’s such a task to balance it all.
Have fun and work some, all before fall.
We have 18 summers with our kids.
Will we have “should haves,” could haves,” or “dids?”
From birth to grad day isn’t that long,
Life’s an adventure, a beautiful song.
Grab some fishing or swim at the beach.
Hike in the mountains while eating a peach.
Whatever you do, make it count.
18 summers – that is the amount.
Cuddle the kids, grab hugs and kisses.
Praise 2-point baskets, forget the misses.
Turn up the music and sing it loud.
Dance alone or in a crowd.
Amidst mosquitos and humid days,
Let’s thank God for the morning rays.
Kids might whine that they’re bored,
Let’s try to remember to thank you, Lord,
For each hot day’s a gift from you.
18 summers – what will we do?
Celebrate our days or waste the time?
Spend some cash or not even a dime.
Embrace this summer’s number, whatever it happens to be,
Summer 6, 9, and 12 are the numbers for me.
The kiddos are growing up so fast,
Grab some shades - make memories to last!

Happy Summer, Sunshines!  My writing schedule will be a bit sporadic over the next several weeks as I spend some time with my family and friends.  I wish you all the best as you embrace your summer…whatever number you’re on!  Enjoy it to the fullest!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Feeling Fancy

Photo Credit:  bethiebee from morgueFile.com
If I was ever asked to share what dog I think looks “fancy,” I would have to say a white Standard Poodle with a show cut.  You know the one…with what looks like giant, fluffy cotton balls around the tail and ankles, along with a bouffant hair-do on the top of their head and chest and then shaved everywhere else.  Anyway, that’s what fancy style comes to my mind.  The American Kennel Club says that poodles are very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing, squarely built, and well proportioned.  They move soundly and carry themselves proudly.  When properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.  Fancy.

Here’s a little story from Mikey about a wise ole poodle:

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful, aged poodle named Cuddles along for the company.  One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that she's lost.  Wandering about, she notices a leopard heading rapidly in her direction with the intention of having lunch.  The old poodle thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in trouble now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, she immediately settles down to chew on the bones with her back to the approaching cat.  Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard!  I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike.  A look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.  "Whew!" says the leopard, "That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard.  So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans, and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.  The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

The old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with her back to her attackers, pretending she hasn't seen them yet.  Just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says: "Where's that monkey?  I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

I loved this fancy Poodle joke and I also loved spending last Sunday afternoon with my two daughters at a fancy-schmancy-Mother-Daughter Tea Party.  We don’t dress up often; we never wear hats adorned with flowers and ribbon; and we don’t use Fine China since there are paper plates available – ha!  So, this was indeed special and we all felt it.

We arrived at the event donning our flowery hats, with pinkies raised.  The teenage girls were in charge of serving the hot tea with milk and sugar cubes, along with the various courses of food.  We began with cucumber finger sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, ham & cheese kabobs, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (because moms of young children have to be realistic…even at a Tea Party), deviled eggs, and a variety of veggies with Ranch dip. 

We then moved along to the strawberries, cubed watermelon & cantaloupe, red & green grapes, banana bread, and chocolate-chip zucchini bread.  Finally, we ended the eating feast with a delicious assortment of Pepperidge Farm cookies, cinnamon & sugar pinwheels, and powdered sugar donut holes.  The girls had to take home their dirt cake pudding cups with candy toppings because there just wasn’t enough tummy space for anything else at that point.

My daughters thought that it was such a treat to be using my grandmother’s Fine China.  I’m sure that my Omi would have loved to see her great-granddaughters enjoying her pretty dishes.  At first, I was a bit hesitant to take my fanciest three cups and saucers to a party with fifty people…over half of them being active little girls.  However, that hesitation didn’t last long when I remembered a short poem I wrote last year called, “Fancy Dishes.”

Use the fancy dishes,
Follow your dreams, hopes, and wishes.
Tomorrow is not a promised day,
Say right now what you want to say.
Love the ones God brings to you,
Don’t put off what you need to do.
Thank God for blessings, one by one,
A contented heart when day is done.
Don’t yearn for all you don’t possess,
Ungrateful hearts are quite the mess.
Let go of anger; it hurts you more,
Hate destroys you at the core.
God’s grace will help you to forgive,
The soul, then free to love and live.
Use the fancy dishes; life is short, my friends,
Imperfectly beautiful; we don’t know when it ends.

So, today is indeed the perfect day to use our fancy dishes.  Sometimes we spend too much energy thinking about what’s wrong in our lives instead of what’s right.  Many times, we spend countless hours longing for what we don’t have instead of being appreciative of what we do have.  Often, we neglect to thank God for the people and things that we are blessed with. 

Maybe we can ponder, “Is it really a terrible day or is it a bad ten minutes that I’m deciding to dwell on all day?”  Hmmmm…..

It’s up to us.  Let’s use the fancy dishes and let’s also ask God to bless us with wisdom (even more than the poodle’s – hee hee!)  May He guide us with the wisdom to choose “right now” as our motto.  Why?  Because right now is the time to offer forgiveness and accept forgiveness.  Right now is the time to offer love and receive love.  Right now is the time to let go of the anger, grudges, and bitterness that weigh us down.

So, join me for a cuppa tea and biscuits and let’s make a toast together, “There’s no better time than right now!”  Cheerio, my friends!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It's Never Too Late

Photo Credit:  Prawny from morgueFile.com
Any procrastinators out there?  Most of us procrastinate about this or that.  You know, we have great intentions to do something and then time passes, life happens, and more time passes.  I’ll share just one example today and it falls into the “thank you” category. 

Here’s the scenario:  Someone does something thoughtful for you.  You really want to thank them and let them know how appreciative you are.  So, you actually remember to purchase a thank you card when you’re at the grocery store a week or two later.  That card even makes it home without getting bent and creased in the plastic bag.  You put the card in a super special secret safe spot.  Another month or two passes by.  You see your thoughtful friend again and you remember about that card you bought back when.  You suddenly have amnesia and can’t remember where your super special secret safe spot is.

More time passes.  You feel that it’s now WAY too late to send that card…wherever it is!  Well, I’m here to let you off the hook today.  Send it.  Yes, send it.  If you can’t find it, grab another one and send it.  If it’s one week, six months, or three years late…send it anyway.  In my opinion, it’s never too late for a thank you.  They’ll be just as surprised to get your card as you were when you actually found your super special secret safe spot.

Since we’re in the “it’s-never-too-late” mode, I thought it would be absolutely fine to send a Mother’s Day funny from Mikey:

THE NEXT SURVIVOR TV SERIES:  Six married men will be dropped off on an island with one car and four kids each, for six weeks.  Each kid plays two sports and either takes music or dance classes.  There is no access to fast food.

Each man must take care of his four kids, keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, do laundry, etc.  The men only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.  There is only one TV between them and there is no remote.

The men must shave their legs and wear makeup daily, which they must apply themselves, either while driving or while making four lunches.  They must attend weekly PTA meetings; clean up after their sick children at 3:00 a.m.; make an Indian hut model with six toothpicks, a tortilla and one marker; and get a 4-year-old to eat a serving of peas.

The kids will then vote them off the island, based on their performance.  The last man wins only if he has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over again for the next 18-25 years...eventually earning the right to be called "Mother."

I thought the mommas out there might appreciate this post-Mother’s-Day-humor.  Not to worry…dads, we love you, too!  We are thankful for all you do, but June is your month to shine.  You’ll have to wait.  Hee hee!

My children made my Mother’s Day very special with all of their handmade items and cards and beautiful words of love.  The one thing I appreciated most was a handwritten note from my 9-year-old daughter that read:  “You have also won a free ticket of us kids being nice!  Congrats!  Love, The Kids” 

I’m so proud to say that for the great majority of the day, they 100% honored the ticket.  However, there was one point when my son and younger daughter were arguing.  I reminded them of the nice little ticket.  My son was quick to jokingly say, “Actually, we didn’t ALL sign that ticket…only the one who wrote it.”  I think the look on my face prompted him to say, “Just kidding, Mom, we’ll try.”

Finally, I want to share a pro-life poem that I wrote for mothers back in 2012.  It’s never too late to say a prayer of thanksgiving for moms and the precious gift of life.

A BABY BOOK
As I slowly turn the pages of my baby book,
I feel a tear slide down my cheek – I take a closer look.
I see a mommy full of love, a daddy…so, so proud,
An echo of my baby heartbeat – strong and very loud.

I close my eyes just to feel their tender warm embrace,
As they gently trace the tiny features of my baby face.
I read about my “firsts” – first food, first step, first smile,
I see a clipping of my hair and pause for just awhile.

Recalling many memories, birthday parties and the fun,
I almost feel the warmth of my own childhood sun.
And neatly tucked there in the book…a Mother’s Day note,
One that I remember just exactly what I wrote:

I love you Mom, I love you Mom, so very, very much,
I love you more than rainbows, purple unicorns and such.
I thank you for listening to all I have to say,
For caring for and loving me every single day.
Thank you for the life that you gave to me,
For shaping me, for making me, allowing me to be.
So, on this Mother’s Day, and all the other days, too,
I’m oh so very thankful God has chosen me for you!

I put the note back in the book and close my misty eyes,
The tears are there because I think of every child that dies.
The tiny little innocents who never have the chance,
To breathe, to live, to dream, to walk, or even just to dance.

I say a little prayer for all the moms in need,
When in that moment in the dark, they let the good Lord lead.
I pray that moms will all choose life - their angel deep inside,
That when in doubt, they will look up, to find their Holy Guide.

I sit in silence breathing in the air - the life around me,
From “rock-a-bye” to rocking chairs – the gift of life is key.
My heart is aching for a life today some mommy took,
I won’t cease prayer ‘til every unborn has a baby book.

Still staring at that thank you card you bought last year?  Send it.  It’s never too late!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!