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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

31 Seconds

Photo Credit:  lorettaflame at
It’s almost time for school to start.  I can always tell when it’s getting close.  Around August 1st of every year, my children start getting bored and they create strange new science experiments.

Our poor Baby Alive doll – the kids mixed up some Ovaltine and water to feed her just so they could watch brown poo come out on the homemade diaper they constructed of paper towels and Scotch tape.  Gross.  They mixed baking soda and vinegar to feed her too.  Don’t ask about that.

There is one thing that HAS kept their attention though – the Summer Olympics.  My kids have thoroughly enjoyed watching them.  They are amazed by the feats of endurance, strength, stamina, and determination.  When they are really impressed by something, they make their best attempts to emulate.  Here lately, there has been a drastic increase in couch roll-offs, jumping rope at cheetah speeds, and bouncing off of walls in this house.  All acts end in a proud, wide open “V” formation with their arms!

This would also explain the new event that they came up with – Swimming Pool Gymnastics.  Last week at the pool, my older two said, “Mom, we’re going to do some flips and other cool moves in the water and then you can give us a score – either good, great, or awesome.”  I love the optimism here – there isn’t even a category for “so-so” or “improvement needed.”

It’s so interesting how impressionable young minds truly are.  My cousin’s 5-year-old son became a fervent Lochte fan all of a sudden and his mother, Donna, was genuinely puzzled.  She asked him why he liked Lochte so much and he explained the AT&T commercial to her.

With awe, he said, “Because, Mommy, he swam over there—all the way over there.”  In the commercial, Ryan Lochte appears to swim across the entire ocean to get to London.  After the 31-second commercial, the little boy was hooked.  He was Lochte’s number one fan.

Donna tried to explain to her son that Lochte did not literally swim all the way across the ocean to get there.  It just meant that he practiced so much, worked so hard, and had done so many laps in pools over the years that it was like he swam there.  She promised her son that Lochte went there by plane, but isn’t quite sure that she convinced him.

There are so many heroes to follow during the Olympics.  We watch.  We wait.  Some cheer.  Some cry.  We jump up and down.  Some get emotionally vested.  On the first day of every Olympics, my friend, Kendall, even makes or buys whatever food has its origin in the host city to help kick-off the games.  She and her family wake up at all hours of the night to watch most, if not ALL of the events as well!  LOVE. THOSE. OLYMPICS. MUST. NOT. SLEEP.  (hee hee)

But, sometimes heroes are born closer to home - within our own cities, our own neighborhoods, our own families.  I have many heroes in my family.  This time I want to focus on just one of them - my 11-year-old niece.  She was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes two years ago when she was just beginning her third grade year.

As her aunt and godmother, I have been amazed by this beautiful young lady.  She checks her blood sugar with a finger prick eight to ten times every single day of every single month of every single year.  She gives herself an injection of insulin four to five times per day - everyday.  My sister-in-law even checks my niece’s blood sugar level in the middle of the night.

My niece loves drawing fashion designs, dancing, and hanging out with her friends and cousins.  She has an upbeat personality and a contagious smile.  You’d never guess that she has to deal with diabetes every day of her life.  A hero - my hero.

When I asked her if having diabetes stops her from doing anything, she replied, “Well, it does prevent me from eating when I want to and what I want to.  But, it doesn’t stop me from pursuing my dreams.”  How about that for an 11-year-old!

I thank God for her.  I pray for her.  I pray for a cure for juvenile diabetes.  I am thankful that people like her can be heroes for people like me.

In our own corner of the world, I think we each have a unique opportunity to be a hero for someone, in our own special way.  As the author, Henri Nouwen, wrote, “Did I offer peace today?  Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?  Did I say words of healing?  Did I forgive?  Did I love?  These are the real questions.”  As a matter of fact, I think they are questions of a hero.

In 31 seconds, a small child was moved by something he saw.  What can we stand up for, encourage or do in 31 seconds that can make such an impact?  What can we do for someone else that has them saying, “I see Jesus in you.”  You have 31 seconds – GO!

P.S.  No Sips next week, but don’t forget to spread your sunshine!


  1. Another great piece........thanks for the questions many of us don't think about asking ourselves....and reminders of the daily struggles some face but smile, dream and go ahead with life anyway....definitely heroes.

    1. It's so interesting to think that heroes pass us everyday. It's impossible to know what burdens and challenges each face with such grace and strength. Quiet heroes, but heroes still the same. Thanks for reading!