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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sand Dollar on my Windowsill

Did anyone else’s daughter receive a “Baby Alive” from Santa this past Christmas?  Boy, was my five year old excited when she opened that gift!  It was such a joy to see her eyes lit up in wonder and delight.  She had been talking about wanting “the baby that you can feed and change her diapers” for weeks prior to the big day. 

If you haven’t hung out with Baby Alive lately, you’re missing some fun (and…lots of extra work, actually).  Some of the things the baby says are:  “Mommy, let’s play,” “I’m so hungry,”  “Mommy, where are you?” and “I’m really thirsty, Mommy.”  This is strangely similar to what I already hear on any given day (times three).  Hmmm…

She comes with baby peas and baby pears for food, which purposely are green and yellow and look oddly familiar in her diaper to the many pooey diapers I’ve changed over the years.  I guess blueberries wouldn’t have worked out so well, since the food literally goes right through that doll.  Blue poo?  (Why can a mom talk about diaper poo so casually?  Sorry about that…)

And, those diapers that she wets more often than a newborn – those things cost a buck a piece!  I just encourage my daughter to keep them on her baby until we know for sure that she needs changing.  “Mom, there is a huge puddle under my baby.  Can I change her now?” she asks.  “Um…let me squeeze it out one more time – surely there are some dry spots left in that diaper?” I reply.  (Kidding…kinda)  I’ll be buying regular diapers for the baby next time because at least those diapers claim to hold several pounds each (says so on the box!  hee hee) 

This special little baby also says, “I love you, Mommy” and “Mommy, I missed you.”  My daughter just glows when she hears her baby say these things to her…just like I do when my children express the same sentiments to me.

One morning, my daughter explains, “Momma, when I first wake up, I’m allergic to the light.”  I gently remind her that it is sometimes tough being a mommy and daylight isn’t always a welcomed sight if you’ve been up all night with your baby.  She closes her eyes for another long blink and gives me a little morning smile.  (Oh, how I can empathize with that allergy!  Apples don’t fall very far from the tree, do they?)

My daughter also claims that she knows how to make messes, but doesn’t know how to get out of them.  (Touché, little one, touché)  So, nine times out of ten, I’m wiping baby’s face and hiney and changing her diaper before the next feeding.  (I’m talking to Santa about a lower maintenance baby for next year!)

But, then there are those moments – those moments when time stands still and I watch my daughter care for her baby.  She’s so gentle and loving and I see a glimpse of her as a mother one day.  (I try not to ponder too long on that idea or there WILL be tears…MINE!)

Caring for my children (…and Baby Alive), I think of the countless messes that we, as moms, clean up…over and over and over again.  There is a similarity here between our mothering and how our Father cares for us.  He cleans up our messes, too (over and over and over again).  I guess the one big difference is that we can get sooooo tired and fed up with all of our duties on the rough days and…He doesn’t.  What does He do?  To explain just what He does, I’d like to share my all-time favorite inspirational piece:

One night I dreamed that I was walking along the beach with my Lord. 
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. 
In each scene, I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes, there were two sets of footprints and sometimes only one set.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So, I said, “Lord, you promised me that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.  But, I have noticed
that during the most trying periods of my life, there have been only one set of footprints.
Why, when I needed you most, were you not there for me?”

The Lord replied, “My precious child - the times
when you have seen only one set of footprints…
is when I carried you.”

He carries us.  He carries us like a loving father carries his child.  He carries our burdens, our fears and our worries.  He carries us…and I get so much comfort from that thought alone.  I also think He left something besides footprints in the sand while carrying us along that beach.  I think he might have dropped a sand dollar, too.  Have you ever looked closely at one?  I’d like to share a poem someone wrote about these wise little shells:

There's a pretty little legend,
That I would like to tell,
Of the birth and death of Jesus,
Found in this lowly shell.
If you examine closely,
You'll see you find right here,
Four holes from a nail, a fifth one,
From a Spear.
The Easter Lily on one side,
Its center is the star,
That appeared unto the shepherds,
And led them from afar.
The Christmas poinsettia,
Etched on the other side,
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our Happy Christmastide.
Now break the center open,
And here you will release,
The five white doves awaiting,
To spread Good Will and Peace.
This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me,
To help us spread his Gospel,
Throughout eternity.

Our Father can be found in the world around us…if we look.  A flower’s beauty can become a part of us and we can give it back to the world in the form of a smile or a loving word.   The song of a bird can become a part of us and we can give it back to the world by laughing more and laughing out loud.

So, when we reach down to pick up a sand dollar that washed ashore, let’s grab a shell as well and toss it into the ocean.  The ripples from that one shell can stir the surface of the water far beyond initial impact.  It might remind us that we, too, can spread His love in ever-widening circles, even beyond our knowledge or anticipation.

On days that I forget what it’s really all about, I look at the sand dollar on my windowsill for a gentle reminder.  Well, I should go – Baby Alive is calling for her Mommy’s Mommy and that’s…well, that’s ME!


  1. Beautiful reminder that God is indeed can we not marvel at creation.....wonder and never doubt that there is a Power beyond all understanding and He loves us beyond anything we deserve. Thank you for helping us to remember.

  2. As always Heather, your timing is impeccable. I actually got to go for a jog on a most beautiful beach and as I prayed the rosary I thought of The Footprints and searched for sand dollars. Thank you for making the memory more special and sharing your words..... God Bless!!

  3. Thank you for your comments, support and words of wisdom! Thanks for taking the time to grab a few Sips of Sunshine this week! Love ya both!