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Tuesday, May 29, 2012


“I’m hungry!”

How many times do moms and dads hear that in a day?  Well, I actually hear, “I’m staaarving,” but you get the drift.  As soon as the breakfast dishes are cleaned up, someone is looking for a snack, it seems.  And it isn’t long after that that I’m trying to wrack my brain of what to thaw out for supper.  Feeding a family is a never-ending job.

Kiddos can be hungry little creatures.  I figured that out early…like during my first few weeks of pregnancy with my first child.  Boy, was my appetite voracious!  Most of the time, I felt like the precious little one growing inside of me was completely insatiable.  So, I threw my Nutrition degree out the window and ate like a rock star...and gained seventy pounds.  Yep – I did.

How on earth can someone gain that much weight over 40 weeks?  Well, just grab a TV dinner or two in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep, eat man-size portions of everything, and eat breakfast twice.  You’ll see – it can be done.  I don’t recommend this – I’m just explaining how I did it.

But in keeping with my “eat whatevah ya want” mentality for three pregnancies, I managed to hold on to some of the poundage after each child was born.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that God blessed me with three healthy pregnancies.  I’m okay with the weight gain because it was for a beautiful reason.  HOWEVER, I know that I have much room for improvement in the eating department. 

One of my weaknesses is cereal and milk right before bed.  It’s just something I’ve always done.  I wish I could say that I choose a halfway decent high-protein, heart-healthy, fiber-rich cereal, but I don’t.  It is the Lucky Charms-Cocoa Puffs-Fruity Pebbles line-up that I’m addicted to.  And, have you ever measured a ¾ cup serving?  I mean…seriously.  This is how it typically goes down - I start with ¾ cup of cereal and add milk.  Then, I run out of cereal in the bowl.  So as not to waste the milk that is left, I add some more cereal.  Then, well, there is too much cereal and not enough milk.  I add some more milk.  You get the picture.

So anyway, in an effort to head back toward a healthier lifestyle (the way of life that I read endless college books about), I decided to start with exercise.  I continued to eat the same lavish menu, but I just added some exercise.  Not a single pound disappeared.  So, I decided to work on the input part of the equation - it has to start there I’m realizing more and more.  My sister-in-law, Stephanie, had planted some wonderful seeds about healthier eating some time ago.  Then, my friend, Meghan, had me over for lunch and we chatted about a Paleo-type diet (  For a carb-loving, not-so-Paleo-girlio, it seemed overwhelming at first.

But, I’m thrilled to announce that by avoiding the overly-processed, crinkly-packaged, super-duper-carby-stuff, I have shed five pounds in two weeks.  (Strangely enough, I haven’t even thrown exercise back into the equation yet)  However, my friend Linsey just told me that sweat is just fat crying, so you better believe that I will be incorporating it back in soon!  During the last couple of weeks, I’ve tried all kinds of new protein-rich foods, fruits and veggies that I never knew existed.  Although, I’m certain that the employees at some of the local fast food joints must be missing us by now…I’ll give them a call – hee hee.

To my delight, I have felt much better since I’ve taken out all of the blood sugar highs and lows of my day.  I love sugar, I do (sigh).  But when I asked myself the question, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” the answer was always, “It’s not.” 

Like those pounds that wouldn’t budge for months and months - they hung on for dear life until I tried something different.  Even more important than the adage “We are what we eat” just might be the saying of “We are what we feed.”  If we feed anger, hatred, jealousy, resentment, and fear, they set up camp (like pesky pounds) in our very being and stay until we try something...different.  They can be addicting and they’re there for the long haul.  And, if we ask ourselves, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” and the answer is, “It’s not,” then, it’s time to try something different.

With all this talk about food, there is a great e-mail I recently received about nourishment:

A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper.  He complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.  “I’ve gone for 30 years now and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons.  But for the life of me, I cannot remember a single one of them.  So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons.”

A real controversy started in the “Letters to the Editor” column and continued for weeks
until someone wrote this clincher:

“I’ve been married for 30 years now.  In that time, my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals.  But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals.  But, I do know this – they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work.  If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be physically dead today.  Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment,
I would be spiritually dead today.”

We all hunger for different things throughout our lives.  Some hunger for family peace; some for a soul mate who loves them for who they are; some for a day without pain.  We just need to remember who is able to quench our appetite.  God must be up there saying, “Come on, just ask me.  Ask me.  I’m here just waiting for you to ask me.  I will satisfy your hunger.” 

Generally speaking, I think that most people hunger for love.  While we celebrated with our family this Memorial Day weekend at my parents’ little beach house, one thing was evident to me.  Love grows best in little houses.  In their cozy 800 sq. ft. getaway, we had seven adults and six kiddos sharing time (and only one bathroom).  Doug Stone’s song, “Little Houses,” kept playing in my mind (click here for a trip down memory lane)

“Love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate.
Where you eat and sleep so close together,
You can’t help but communicate.
Oh, if we had more room between us,
Think of all we’d miss.
Love grows best in houses just like this.”

A little fishing pole seems to be the secret, too.  The fish loved it.  My nephew, Holden, caught the biggest fish (18 ½ inch sheephead), the smallest fish (2 ¾ inch) and the most fish (13) with his Finding Nemo pole in a kids’ fishing tournament over the weekend.  He loved carrying all THREE trophies around!  He knew what those fishies were hungry for – something different!  Good job, little man!

We enjoyed making memories.  We fished, we built sand castles, and we even played in a small blow-up pool in the front yard.  Yes, people smiled (truthfully, they were laughing uncontrollably – but anyway!) when they drove by and saw our family of five in a pool made for two.  But, like most children - ours were hungry for closeness, our attention, and our time and those things don’t cost a dime.  Free fun is the best kind!

This week, let’s feed a quality in ourselves that makes us a better person.  Let’s “satisfy our hunger” with things that truly gratify.  Let’s get rid of the stuff that “weighs us down.”  And, in the wise words of our parish priest, Father Gabriel:  “Lord, help us to preach better sermons with our lives than with our lips.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

God's "Will"

One of the many things that I hope to ask the Creator one day will be, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  I have truly been inspired this past week by a special man I barely knew – a wounded warrior, a fallen soldier, a faithful servant…a hero.  I’d like to honor and remember him today, on behalf of his incredible family and especially my friend – his sister – Annie Coffey.

The Wearden family lost one of their favorite servicemen on May 14th, 2012.  However, Will Wearden, a 33-year-old former Army infantry specialist, didn’t die at war.  He was the victim of a tragic stabbing death and died on a battlefield in his home state, which isn’t exempt from this sometimes cruel and confusing world that we live in. 

In high school, Will was Prom King, a three year football letterman, a team co-captain, and earned All-District honors twice.  Will was a devout Aggie Catholic who was a proud member of the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets, Company L-1 and Parsons Mounted Calvary.  He loved his Aggies and the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Bonfire – Whoop!

He proudly served our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Army Commendation Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation for his service with the 1-6 Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, out of Baumholder, Germany.

At the time of his heartbreaking death, he was attending Texas A&M University-Kingsville, pursuing an agriculture-related degree.  Will loved people and people loved Will.  He enjoyed the outdoors.  He was a tree climber (preferably barefoot, I hear), a skydiver, a world traveler, a horseback rider, a campfire builder and a story teller.

He dearly loved his family and his faith.  Will appreciated good Texas music and could two-step into anyone’s heart with his charm and contagious smile (chipped front tooth and all).  The choir of angels gained an incredible voice (a tenor, I believe), as he loved to sing and serenade his sisters.

I recently found out that Will had also been contemplating another type of service – the priesthood – and planned to go through the discernment process after graduation.  Being a soldier for Christ, a priest, would have been a great fit for what one of his friends called “a modern-day saint.”  Another friend said that Will’s legacy would, without a doubt, be faith and service.

As many are trying to process the sudden passing of their beloved friend…brother…son…uncle…and the horrible circumstances surrounding his death – I have seen an outpouring of love that I’ve never witnessed before.  I have watched prayers and love immerse a family at a time when their hearts are aching beyond words.  It gives me just a foretaste of the love that Christ has for each of us.

Reading the sentiments and posts on facebook as loved ones remember their perfect gentleman, their kind and funny friend, their inspiring son, brother and uncle…their true warrior – I am encouraged by the family’s amazing model of faith.  Having faith at a tumultuous time like this is a living testament of what faith really is.  It seems so much easier to believe when things are going well.

I can think of a million different emotions one might feel after losing a loved one to violence…with anger and vengeance being the first to come to mind.  But, a prime example of this family’s remarkable faith is in his sister’s simple post.  Annie writes:  To all who have asked what you can do to help – please pray for the killer, Michael Lerma.  Pray that his soul is consumed with contrition and that he comes to know and love God.  Someday, I want to meet Michael Lerma in heaven and tell him, “I forgive you.  Now, come meet my amazing brother, Will!”

When I stop wiping the tears, I will finish this story…

After we prayed the rosary last Friday night, Will’s aunt shared some of his life with all of us in attendance.  She said that Will enriched the lives of all those around him.  She recalled that Will said things to make people laugh, which she lovingly referred to as “Will-isms.”  She filled us in on some of the childhood things that made Will who he was - like the time he told his dad, “You can punish me later, but first we have a fire to put out!”

I am sad to think that Will missed the Warrior’s Weekend celebration ( this year in Port O’Connor, Texas.  However, as I ponder that a bit more, I realize that he did, in fact, have a homecoming.  The difference is that his family and friends on earth couldn’t see him or touch him during his arrival.  I am certain that the angels gave him a true hero’s welcome.  Can you just imagine?

Will looked so sharp wearing his military uniform in all of the photos I’ve seen.  It is with great confidence that I say he will look just as handsome in a pair of wings.  Actually, it would not surprise me in the least if there are two sets of footprints in the sand – one set belonging to the Lord as He carries Will’s family and one set belonging to Will, as he walks alongside the Lord during the times they need his presence the most.

Will’s aunt shared something else that really struck me.  She said, “For thirty three years, he was our Will.  Now…he is God’s “Will.”  While praying for answers as to why or how this could happen to someone – to Will – it seems that the only thing I can wrap my mind around is that Heaven was needing a hero.

Please watch this video if you have a few minutes (4:21 to be exact) – there’s a comforting poem that scrolls through:  Rest in peace, Will Wearden.  Watch over your family – they love you so much – oh, so very much.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect

My two year old daughter loves puzzles.  Her eyes dance with excitement when she finds that last glorious piece that completes one.  She also enjoys getting all of the puzzle boxes out and…combining all of the pieces…which isn’t as fun…for us. 

My husband came home tired from work one evening to a living room floor covered in mix-matched-puzzle-mania.  The next morning, our daughter found the beloved puzzle cabinet locked, courtesy of a puzzle-weary daddy.  Then, I got to thinking – there must be an easier way to enjoy the puzzles.  A simple solution would be to number the back of the pieces of one puzzle with the same number, so that if (uhemI mean - when) they get all mixed up, the sorting will be less painful (with no locks and chains involved).  You know, as parents, we’ve got to think outside the box (pun intended).

My son did a little “thinking outside the box” in choosing a gift for me for Mother’s Day.  There was a book fair at his school last week and I am a sucker for books.  Well…now I am.  I used to despise reading when I was a child.  It was truly like pulling teeth for me to read and I could not for the life of me fathom that someone would actually read for…PLEASURE?!  During those years, I thought that curling up with a good book would be just about as fun as curling up with a porcupine.  I even vowed in college that I wouldn’t read another thing after my last final exam.

Over time, I realized that I was missing out by not reading more.  So, I grabbed a few books here and there – you know, short ones with pictures and slowly progressed to chapter books (tee hee hee).  Now, I truly LOVE to read.  Sometimes I just can’t get enough and will sacrifice sleep to read just. one. more. page….Zzzzzzzzzz.  Anyway, back to the book fair – while my son was picking out a few books of his own, I was browsing.  One of the books I picked up made me chuckle out loud and my son took notice.

The very next day, he secretly took some of his own money stash to school and bought me that funny little book (The Klutz Book of Brilliantly Ridiculous Inventions).  I was so impressed by his thoughtfulness.  Now, I’m looking into finding a PogoPlunger, Sibling Blinders for the car, a Lawnmowing Tricycle, and Bug Zapper Earrings.   I’ll keep you posted on my findings.  It’s obvious that my son would rather see me laughing than cooking up strange new recipes (hence, the reason I didn’t get the cookbook instead).  And, I feel especially loved that he just wanted to hear me laugh – I love you, son!

Along with reading funny stuff, I truly love inspiring stories.  I’ve found some wonderful and thought-provoking quotes of inspiration on Pinterest.  There’s also some awesome craft ideas and recipes, but I know that “pinning” them on my board quite possibly might be as far as those actually go.  (I try…)  But, who can’t use a good quote, huh?  How about this one for starters:  “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” ~ Steve Furtick.

Wow.  That one struck me as the rock solid truth and I had never heard it worded quite that way before.   No one really “posts” or “shares” their behind-the-scenes.  So, all we see is the highlight reel and it seems that our life isn’t quite as fabulous in comparison. 

If I posted the, um, “reel deal,” it might include:  I’m late every single place I go.  I am constantly playing the thermostat game with my husband (I like it cold – he doesn’t like the bill…when I like it cold).  If I don’t get enough sleep, I’m incredibly grumpy (and every single night I go to bed late and realize it’s a horrible idea every single morning).  I worry too much and many times, my anticipatory anxiety ruins my precious, present moment.  Etcetera, etcetera.

No one likes to report the “imperfect pieces” of their puzzle.  However, we can’t have the highlight reel without the behind-the-scenes, right?  It’s what makes us who we are.  In fact, it’s the perfectly, imperfect puzzle that we are as humans – as moms.  The last few puzzle pieces – the ta-da – the highlight reel, is only possible because of the behind-the-scenes edge pieces – the sometimes not-as-exciting pieces of our puzzle.

I would be completely remiss not to mention the puzzle piece that I am seeking most – the piece of…well, peace.  One of my all-time favorite prayers is the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love,
where there is injury, pardon,
where there is doubt, faith,
where there is despair, hope,
where there is darkness, light,
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so
much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
Because it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in
dying that we are born to eternal life.

What greater treasure can we have than peace?  I pray that I can guard it from the thieves of doubt, fear and despair.  And on a lighter note, I will pray for patience when my children steal my peace and quiet – especially at midnight when the “Coughing Chorus” enjoys practicing across the hall…ugh, those allergies!

This year, my children got me a beautiful Mother’s Day card with a pink Superman logo on the front.  It was about how Moms are just the right mix of “down to earth and save the world.”  I loved it.  After I read it, I said, “Hey, where’s my cape?  Moms have superpowers, right?”  My five year old daughter responded, “The superpowers aren’t in the cape, Mom.”  I said, “Well, where are they?”  Oh, you are gonna love this….she said, “They’re in your heart.”  Well said, my love, well said.

So, I will rest tonight knowing that my children love their perfectly imperfect Momma and so does the good Lord above.  Hope you all had a perfectly imperfect Mother’s Day, too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sowing & Sewing

Are there any gardening luv-ahs in the haaaa-ouse?!  Okay, so, the kiddos and I planted a little garden in the backyard much later in the year than the back of the seed packet said to plant (gasp!).  What do THEY know?  (hee hee)  My husband made nice rows for us; we dug our tiny holes, carefully placed our seeds, covered them with dirt, watered them and…crossed our fingers. 

It turns out that ¼ inch holes and 3 inch holes aren’t REALLY the same when it comes to certain seeds.  Some seeds are picky that way.  So, some took and some didn’t.  Actually, the only plants that have come up so far are the squash plants and frankly, I don’t even really like squash all that much.  Poo!  It looks like sowing our garden seeds will require a bit more attention next time.

Of course, I’m thinking that sowing seeds in a garden is much like sowing seeds in our children.  There couldn’t be a better time to talk “sowing” than this week before Mother’s Day.  But first, I must throw in another humorous top ten “Momma Taught Me” list:

Top Ten Seeds Planted by Moms:
1)   APPRECIATION OF A JOB WELL DONE:  “If you’re going to beat each other up, do it outside.  I just finished cleaning this house!”
2)   FINANCES:  “Turn off the light!  Don’t let the water run!  We aren’t made of money!”
3)   ENVY:  “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do!”
4)   FAMILY ROOTS:  “Shut that door behind you.  You weren’t born in a barn!”
5)   HUMOR:  “If you don’t wear shoes and that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me!”
6)   METEOROLOGY:  “A tornado just went through your room.  Look at this mess!”
7)   LOGIC:  “Stop jumping on the bed!  If you fall and break your leg, you are NOT going to the store with me!”
8)   HOW TO (not) BECOME AN ADULT:  “If you don’t eat your veggies, you will NEVER grow up!”
9)   BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION:  “Stop acting like a hyena!”
10)  JUSTICE:  “I hope you have kids one day who act just like you!”

It was perfect timing when my second grader brought home some science worksheets from school.  I found some of the information interesting and very relevant to my little seed story. 

“How do tiny seeds turn into giant trees?  Seeds have a built-in code, a set of instructions, which tells the seed what it will become.  A pine nut will grow into a pine tree. 
An acorn will grow into an oak tree.  The size of the seed
 has nothing to do with how tall a tree grows. 
It’s the code inside the seed that is the most important.”

How ‘bout that!  As mothers, we are working hard to plant seeds in our children, aren’t we?  Seeds of love.  Seeds of patience.  Seeds of forgiveness.  Seeds of faith.  Seeds of gratitude and honesty.  Seeds of kindness.  It’s okay if they are tiny seeds to begin with – they will grow.  My goal is to work on that “code” inside of the seed – the set of instructions that will help guide my kiddos as they grow.  And, from our little garden experience, I found that sowing requires some extra special attention.

I have to remind myself to nurture the seeds by showering them with love (especially on days when the kids are driving me utterly bazonkers – “Stop aggravating your sister!  Don’t take your brother’s stuff without asking!  Don’t whine.  You get my drift…), looking for rays of hope (even when a situation seems hopeless), and preparing the soil (by taking the time to listen to all the “little” things they have to say, because I want them to share the “big” things, too).

I realize that some seeds take and some don’t.  My prayer is that the important ones do take.  However, three of the seeds my mom tried to plant in me didn’t take: (1) Ironing  (2) Variety at all meals and (3) Sewing.  Let me explain.

Ironing.  With the addition of each child, I iron less and less (not that I ironed all that much before kids, BUT I was more willing).  I love the way clothes look when they’re ironed, but I don’t love the time it takes to do it.  I refuse to buy something without a little polyester (I prefer 95% polyester and 5% spandex, if you want the honest, comfy truth) and I’ve found that if you immediately take a shirt out of the dryer while it’s still warm, there is a good chance you can flatten out those wrinkles with your hand (well, most of them, anyhow).

Variety at all meals.  My mom is so awesome!  She and my dad joined us for a swim at the pool we just joined and she offered to bring a sack lunch.  To you and me, a simple sack lunch might include a sandwich, chips, an apple, and a drink.  Right?  Wrong.  My mom’s lunch included three different types of deli meats, two types of cheeses, tuna salad, cucumber salad, regular cucumbers (with Ranch – oh yeah – bay-bay!!), two varieties of Triscuit crackers, broccoli “trees,” carrot sticks, strawberries, watermelon, cookies AND drinks.  I’m sure I forgot something.  And I think I’VE really done somethin’ great when I have salad, spaghetti AND fruit salad all in one meal!  ;-)  I love you, Mom!

Sewing.  Let’s just say that I’m NOT above using double-sided tape for a hem that’s come loose.  (It’s really sticky, you know?)  The warning here is that if you forget to take off the tape, you WILL end up with pokey pieces of tape in the strangest of places on other random clothes that you wash together with the aforementioned so-called “hemmed” shorts.  (Ouch – what was that?!)

However, I must applaud my friend, Dorian Speed.  She tackled the momma of all sewing jobs.  She made her daughter’s First Holy Communion dress…out of her wedding dress!  (breathe in, breathe out…slowly now…)  Yes.  At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought about that either.  But, as I read more of her explanation, it really made perfect sense. 

I mean, will my daughters REALLY want to wear my wedding dress?  Let’s see – when my oldest daughter is 35 (the age when her daddy might be okay with her marrying), the dress will be 41 years old!  Hmmmm…come to think of it, am I 100% sure the dress is even in that heir loomed box?  Does anyone ever bother to think of that?!  I haven’t until just now.

Anyway, way to go, Dorian!  The only “darts” I know of are the Nerf ones that whiz by my ear as I try to get some laundry done.  Pssst - there is a cool rumor going around that she is now going to transform the communion dress BACK into a wedding dress.  Stay tuned!

I’ll wrap this up by going back to the other “sowing.”  Many of you out there do have a green thumb and I am thankful for you.  But as for me, I think I’ll just focus on sowing seeds in my children - my “garden” - (while eating squash sandwiches with sides of squash casserole and fried squash fresh from our garden).  Happy planting, Mommas, and Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For Real

It was our turn in the class snack rotation at my daughter’s pre-school.  She took some carrots with Ranch dressing, pretzels, string cheese and juice boxes (her choice of items – I was extremely impressed!)  My daughter’s teacher, Ms. Donna, asked me what my “secret” was for the world’s best-tasting Ranch dressing.  She said she almost just drank it from the bowl!

Most of us know that “Ranch” is not created equally.  I don’t know how many times we searched in vain for the perfect Ranch dressing over the years.  We tried off brands and name brands, as well as all of the fat-free, low-fat and full-fat versions on the shelf.  We then ventured into the Hidden Valley Ranch powder packets for the popular dip.  We bought the “Dips” powder variety and used all types of mayo and Miracle Whip in desperation.

It still wasn’t right.

Then, one day the clouds opened and the angels sang a beautiful mayo-melody!  We found the perfect combination for an all-time fav.  Oh, sure, you want me to just share it with you now and save you all the time, energy and jars of creamy wrongness?  Um – okay.  Here it is:

1)  Hidden Valley “The Original Ranch SALAD DRESSING & SEASONING MIX”
3)  1 cup of milk (2% or whole)

Just whisk the ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes and you will be joining Ms. Donna for a toast with a tall glass of Ranch!  (hee hee)  So, the “secret” is the REAL Hellmann’s mayo.  It makes all the difference, I promise.

I’m all about REAL.  REAL tears rolling down my cheek when I laugh too hard.  REAL feelings that I share with my kids and hubby.  REAL words of inspiration on a day that I need it most. 

Then, there are those who have a REAL sense of style – hey, I’ve seen ‘em on Pinterest!  Wow!  However, my 2 year-old daughter DOESN’T have much style quite yet.  If a shirt is purple, then she wants to wear purple shorts and purple socks to match (whatever Barney shade they may be).  Daddy taught her this not-so-stylish “matching” game.  Thanks, hon!

My son was kidding around the other day and pretended to be me on the phone when he was talking to my daughter on the other end (do I REALLY sound like that?).  She didn’t buy it for a minute and said, “You aren’t the REAL mom!”  Awwww!  Our children really do know our voices and I just love that.

Oh, I do have a cute story about REAL gratitude.  My cousin, Kelly, had a funny facebook post the other day.  She is an amazing nurse with a servant’s heart and she works for a home health agency.  One of her patients was so incredibly thankful for her care one day that she gave my cousin…wait for it…wait for it…a jar of Miracle Whip.  Yes, nothing says thank you like the zesty zip of Miracle Whip.  It cracked me up!  Now, maybe if it was REAL Hellmann’s mayonnaise….hmmmm.  No – seriously.  The patient most probably had nothing else to give.  That’s when giving means the most.

I also appreciate REAL (funny) words of wisdom (from a recent e-mail).  Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner - it goes like this…

Top Ten things my mother taught me:
1)   RELIGION – “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
2)   LOGIC – “Because I said so and that’s why.”
3)   CONTORTIONISM – “Will you just look at that dirt on the back of your neck?!”
4)   STAMINA – “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”
5)   HYPOCRISY – “If I told you once, I’ve told you a zillion times – don’t exaggerate!”
6)   ESP – “Put your sweater on – don’t you think I know when you’re cold?!”
7)   IRONY – “Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
8)   OSMOSIS – “Close your mouth and eat your supper.”
9)   ANTICIPATION – “You just wait until we get home.”
10) MEDICAL SCIENCE – “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to get stuck that way.”

On a more serious note, I appreciate REAL courage.  I recently read about a nine year-old boy aiming for a paralympic gold medal.  You can check out Cody McCasland’s story and pictures of his twenty sets of artificial legs here:  If we have legs that work, now is a great time to thank God for them.  You are incredible, Cody.

Another story of REAL determination and motivation was shared with me by my sister-in-law, Kerri.  Beverly Kearney was in a horrific car accident in 2002 and wasn’t supposed to walk, much less survive the crash.  Kerri was this spirited woman’s physical therapist.  And, as it states in the article title, failure was not an option for her.  Check out Beverly’s story for a dose of inspiration:

On a final note, I will leave you with a few bits of REAL insight.  Every challenge in our life will either make us bitter or better.  Beautiful things are not always good, but good things are always beautiful.  The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

And, what is the REAL reason God created gaps between our fingers?  So that special people can intertwine their fingers with ours to fill those gaps - our parents, our grandparents, our siblings, our spouse, our children.  For real.