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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Wind Fairy

Photo Credit:  SRCHEN from
For those of you who read my recent post, “Friday Night Lessons,” this is a little follow-up to that.

Okay, so a week went by after my son lost his prized five dollar bill at the football game.  Honestly life moved on, schedules rocked along, and we didn’t give much thought to the long-gone money.

Every day after school, I let the kids check our mailbox.  Much of the time they argue about whose turn it is to check it.  Why?  Because seeing their name on an envelope is just magical and they want to be the first to see it if so.  I love getting mail too, however, most of the time when I see my name or my husband’s, the contents are not a party invitation or care package.

After some discussion, we finally determined that it was my son’s turn to open the metal door of mystery.  He hopped out of the car like a kangaroo and bounced on over to the mailbox.  He quickly thumbed through the contents (searching for his name) before even taking the envelopes from their tiny temporary home.

Then, I noticed that all too familiar smirk.  In one bounding leap, my son made his way back into his seat.  He made the announcement loud and clear, “I got one!  I got one!  I got mail!”  The girls begged to sift through the other envelopes to check for their names.  Frowns shortly followed.  “Not this time, girls, maybe tomorrow, “ I reassured their sad selves.

A torn envelope flew threw the air and then there was a deafening silence.  “Mom.  Mom.  Oh my gosh.  Mom.  Read this,” he quietly said. 

He handed me the short note that read, “Found this floating around the football field on Friday.  Think it belongs to you.  Signed…The Wind Fairy.”  I looked up at him and in disbelief, he waved a five dollar bill.  The girls were now rigorously searching through the mail again for the hundredth time in hopes of finding their own personal loot.

When we got home, my son asked for a stapler and ran to his room.  When I inquired about what he was doing, he showed me that he had folded up the miraculous money into a little square, placed it inside the handwritten note, and stapled the edges.  I asked him why he did that and he responded so sincerely, “Because, Mom, I am NOT going to spend this one.  It’s VERY special.”

The evening routine ensued – doing homework, eating supper, taking baths, reading Berenstain Bears books, and tucking everyone in.  The warm sunrise greeted us the next morning as usual (Thank you, Lord!) and the adventures of the day came and went.   It was time once again to check the mailbox.  It was my six-year-old daughter’s turn.

Like a cheetah, she bolted toward the mailbox and searched through its contents.  Poo!  Another one for brother bear, plus some boring ole bills.  With her bottom lip pooching out just a bit, she handed the envelope over to her brother.  He opened it.  It was a blank card with a crisp five dollar bill inside and the words, “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” on the outside.  We couldn’t believe it…not only one, but now TWO five dollar bills!  He flashed his pearly whites my way.

Then, I told him something that my Aunt Edie recently reminded me of, “You know, son, God will NEVER be outdone.  You offered up your five dollar bill for someone who probably needed it more than you and look what God has done.  He doubled this blessing.”  My son smiled as the girls listened in on the conversation. 

It was my four-year-old’s turn to check the mail the next day.  All the way from the back of the car, she scaled the seats like a squirrel eyeing the perfect acorn.  I kid you not…this time, there were three envelopes waiting in that mailbox - one for each of my children.  The energy in the car was off the charts!  Envelopes were flyin’ and squeals of giggly laughter were heard by the entire neighborhood.

My thoughtful cousin, Kelly, had sent my son a five dollar bill and had sent my daughters some money and scratch-off tickets as well.  In unison, they all screamed, “We love Kelly!  We love Kelly!”

It was an amazingly memorable and fascinating week by the mailbox, I assure you.

Several things came to mind as I pondered all of the excitement.  The Friday night lessons continued as we all were reminded of the goodness of people and of God.  My son anonymously received ten dollars, plus the five dollars from Kelly.  It was unforgettable.

After we discussed the lost money that night at the football field and he really felt in his heart that someone needed it more…we were both satisfied with the lesson learned.  We moved on.  However, God didn’t stop there.  God not only doubled his blessing, but He tripled it, and my son won’t soon forget that experience.  I hope that my son never forgets, as he learns to be more and more generous with God’s gifts.  God will not be outdone.  Will NOT, I tell you.

And, what I adore most about anonymous giving is that it is “giving” without the expectation of being paid back.  It is “giving” without strings.  It is “giving” to make a difference.  What can we do anonymously this week to show Christ’s love to someone? 

Can WE be someone’s “Wind Fairy?”  Can we whisk away someone’s loneliness just by listening?  Can we blow someone away with our generosity?  Can we be a gust of cheer for someone who is down?  Can we be a calming breeze to someone who is full of worry and fear?  Can we be a breath of fresh air?  Can we?  I think we can because…correct me if I’m wrong here…even the smallest of winds can make all the difference on a day that’s a bit on the “sticky” side.

Have a great week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Reunion to Remember

Oh, what fun we had this past weekend!  I’m still smiling about all the memories we made.  It was my 20-year high school reunion and many of my old (NOT, I repeat, NOT, as in old age!) runnin’ buddies were in town.

Of course, we had been chatting about the event for more than a year beforehand, so the anticipation had been building for quite some time.  Since I missed the ten-year-reunion because I was 11 months pregnant with my son (felt like it anyhow!), I wasn’t about to miss the twenty.  I literally hadn’t seen several of them since we walked the stage that day in May.

There were many options for classmates during the reunion weekend – Mass and pep rally during the week, the football game on Friday night, a campus tour on Saturday morning, an Alumni golf tournament that afternoon, and the reunion party on Saturday evening.  One could do as much or as little as they wanted.

The two things that we were able to attend were the campus tour and the reunion party.  The tour of my ole alma mater was a walk down memory lane.  The moment I stepped into the royal blue, locker-filled hallway, I began to recall my days at STJ.  I vividly remember talking with friends, rushing to classes, doing homework and projects, decorating lockers for games, playing sports, cheering for our team, going to Homecoming, Sadie Hawkins, and Prom.  The scent in the hallway brought it all back.  Was it the vintage wood or the original lockers still residing there?  I’m not sure, but the smell flooded my heart with memories.

I had to convince my children that they did not serve donuts and coffee in the library when I was a student there.  I assured them that it was only a part of the special tour.  They’re still doubtful and think that I enjoyed a sugary sweet breakfast for each one of my high school days.  Yee-haw!

One of the tour highlights was that my children were able to witness first-hand a perfect circle being drawn…on a dry erase board…in less than a second…with one big, circular swoop of his arm…by the amazing Mr. Pozzi.  They will never forget that circle…or the donuts.

After the tour, we all parted ways and were eager to get ready for the party that evening.  My good friend, Kim, and I arrived early to set-up.  STJ had provided a big “Welcome Back” poster of our senior class photo.  After twenty years, I still remember taking that picture like it was yesterday.  Sigh.  My mom had also given me a bag full of high school pictures that I had stored at her house.  So, of course, I grabbed some tape and made a photo board.  The conversation piece, however, was a painted mural that at one time adorned the walls of our high school gym for Homecoming.  It was hard to believe that my classmate’s mom had kept it for all these years.  Thank you, Mrs. Daley!

My cousin, Kelly, graduated in ’93 as well from another local high school and she was in charge of the karaoke fun.  She truly knows how to get a party started, so we knew we were in good hands with her handling the entertainment!  She knew most of my graduating class…heck, I thought she went to school with us for as much time as she spent on our campus – hee hee!  Oh, and I made her a little “Throw-back Thursday” poster with high school pics as well…(you’re welcome, honey!  I love you, too!)

Okay, so one by one, our classmates started arriving.  I was both excited and nervous.  I mean, twenty years is a long time in between reuniting with folks.  But, there weren’t any huge shockers, with facebook and all…we could mostly guess who everybody was with a good amount of confidence.  There were a few friends that literally had not changed one iota.  I will be contacting them soon for a small bottle of their fountain of youth lotion.  Trey…you’re one of them!  Some of my buds had lost hair, some had grown facial hair (the men, the men!  Goodness, you people!), some had gray hair, some hair hadn’t change a bit.

But, the coolest part was that no one actually noticed all the details that we potentially fretted over and worried about before coming…What do I wear?  Does this make me look fat?  Should I arrive early or fashionably late?  Are these jeans slimming enough?  Did I cover-up all the gray?  Is my muffin-top too noticeable in this shirt?  Are these extra high heels going to cut off circulation in my feet?  Is my beer belly that obvious?  Is my dress too tight?  Will my arms keep flappin’ long after the wave?  Will they force me to sing karaoke?  Will people remember EVERYTHING I did in high school?  Will there be awkward silence since it’s been twenty years?

No one cared.  No one noticed.  As soon as we walked through the door, we just picked up right where we left off in 1993.  We had a wonderful dinner and I marveled at how everyone had their same laugh, same smile, same bear hug, same silly humor, or their same sweet shy side.  Literally, everyone that came wanted to be there and hung out like time had simply stood still for all of these years.

However, once a few folks had a bit of liquid courage, the karaoke excitement really took off.  The boys were rappin’, the girls were clappin’ and Proud Mary was rollin’…rollin’…rollin’ on a riv-ah!  Kelly said it happens every time.  About thirty minutes before closing time, brave guys and gals finally make their way to the stage and ask for “just one last song...just one more.”

So, before the place forced us all into our cars, my cousin and I belted out one more Reba.  Good times, Kelly.  Good times.  But, no one was ready to call it a night.  We were enjoying each other’s company so much that we wanted more.  People wanted to get together…after the get-together.  So, my husband and I propped open our eyelids with toothpicks and drove downtown.  The back-side of thirty normally goes to bed before 3:00 am…at least in this house, they do!  My feet kept yelling, “house shoes, house shoes” and my body hollered for, “pajamas, pajamas!”  I told them to be quiet.

We reunited once again for more visiting and reminiscing.  It was fabulous.  The evening could not have been more memorable and I’m thankful to all who were a special part of it.  The kicker was the four hours of sleep that we got before church on Sunday morning.  Yawn. 

So, to captivate the attention of my readers who also might be going on four hours or less because of a job, a new baby, or children who roam around in the night playing musical beds, these one-second sermons are for you:
  • If you can’t see the bright side, polish the dull side.
  • Kind words make good echoes.
  • Life is short, pray hard.
  • The best things in life aren’t things.
  • No God, no peace.  Know God, know peace.
  • Life is a measure to be filled, not a cup to be drained.
  • When you’re green with envy, you’re ripe for trouble.
  • We stand tallest when we stoop to help others.
  • The best way to have the last word is to apologize.
  • Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  • Marry someone you love to talk to.  As you get older, their conversational skills will be just as important as any. 
  • When you say, “I love you,” mean it. 
  • When you say, “I'm sorry,” look the person in the eye.
  • Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live.
  • Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  • When you lose, don't lose the lesson. 
  • Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  • When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. 
  • Spend some time alone. 
And, finally, if my classmates and I were so excited about a twenty-year reunion, I can only imagine the heavenly reunion after our last days on this earth.  Let’s live a life that we can be proud to recount and reminisce about with our Maker.  Have a great week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friday Night Lessons

Photo Credit:  Kevin_P from
Our family recently enjoyed some time under the spell of Friday night football.  With finger-lickin’ nachos in hand, we made our way into the stands.  However, in south Texas, we weren’t welcomed with a crisp, cool evening just yet.  It was humid and we almost needed a blood transfusion with all the mosquito bites.  BUT!  Nothing stops a cheering fan, right?!

Before too long, we heard the crack of tackles and the crashing of helmets.  The cheerleaders were yelling with enthusiasm as they threw small footballs like torpedoes into the growing crowd.  The pride and spirit pulsed through the stadium with each beat of the school band.  A sea of fans filled the creaky bleachers and the scoreboard lit up the dusky sky like white stars in the black of night.

Aside from the fact that I WILL be purchasing a bleacher cushion before the next game, we were having a grand ole time.  Then, my son pulled out his wallet that held a single five dollar bill.  He was STARVING (like all 9-year-old boys right after supper), so he begged for more grub at the concession stand.  About the time he offered to buy this round of snacks, a whisper of wind grabbed the bill out of his hands and whisked it away…somewhere far, far away…under the bleachers.

Oh, the sadness on that boy’s face!  Terrible.  Just terrible.  He was struck with such sorrow that he couldn’t move.  So, my daughter and I trampled down the bleachers to go and find it for him.  We looked and looked.  And looked.  No money to be found in the muddy mess under the stands.

Many things ran through my mind on the way back to tell him that we came up empty-handed.  The first of which was the urge to remind him that I’d advised against opening his wallet in the bleachers…that his money might fall through the cracks.  My second, more optimistic thought, was that some happy camper now thinks it rains money and believes in the power of even the tiniest of prayers.  My final, most loving thought, was that someone might have needed that five bucks more than we did.

When we made it back to our seats, my son had already gained some sense of composure about the whole thing.  Through a sniffle or two, he said, “Do you think that maybe someone needed it more than me, Mom?  I’ll just think of it as a donation…like at church.”  I nodded in agreement and we sat in silence for a moment, with one arm around my son.  Friday night lessons learned.

Speaking of lessons learned, I can always use some food for thought myself.  One recent Friday evening, my Aunt Edie sent me an e-mail with some wonderful pearls of wisdom that I want to share with you today:

A Lot Of Trouble Would Disappear If Only People Would Learn To Talk To One Another, Instead Of Talking About One Another.

When People Walk Away From You, Let Them Go.  Your Destiny Is Never Tied To Anyone Who Leaves You.  It Doesn't Mean They Are Bad People, It Just Means That Their Part In Your Story Is Over.

Human Life Would Be Perfect If... Anger Had A STOP Button, Mistakes Had A REWIND Button, Hard Times Had A FORWARD Button, And Good Times Had A PAUSE Button.

A Reflection Cannot Be Seen In Boiling Water.  In The Same Way, Truth Cannot Be Seen In A State Of Anger.  Analyze Before You Finalize.

A Good Heart Can Win Many Relationships.  A Good Nature Can Win Many Good Hearts.

The Greatest Of All Faults Is To Imagine That You Have None.

A TOUCH Could HEAL A Wound.  An Eye Could SPEAK Volumes.  A SMILE Can Confirm I AM THERE.

The Bird Asked The Honeybee: "You Work So Hard To Make The Honey And Humans Just Take It Away.  Doesn't It Make You Feel Bad?"  "No," Said The Bee, "Because They Will Never Take From Me The Art Of Making It."

Friday night lessons learned.

My final tale to share is adapted from Mikey’s Funnies.  For all of us with kids in sports…some for the umpteenth year in a row now…some of us for the very first time…here goes:

At one point during the game, the coach called one of his players aside and asked, "Do you understand what cooperation is?  What a team is?"  The boy nodded in the affirmative.

"Do you understand that what matters is whether we win or lose together as a team?"  The boy nodded yes.

”So," the coach continued, "I'm sure you know, when a flag is thrown, you shouldn't argue, curse, attack the referee, or call him an idiot or blind.  Do you understand all that?" The boy nodded yes again.

He continued, "And when I take you out of the game so another boy gets a chance to play too, it's not good sportsmanship to call your coach stupid is it?" The boy shook his head NO.

"GOOD," said the coach, "Now go over there and explain all that to your parents and grandparents."

With my husband embarking on a first time gig as an assistant coach for our son’s flag football team, I just thought he’d appreciate me sharing this last little story – hee hee!  Best of luck to my husband and son and all of the teams out there learning lessons…on and off the field.

So, in wrapping up, let’s not miss out on an opportunity to learn something…whether it be on a Friday night…or a Monday morning…or a Wednesday afternoon.  Never stop learning.  Have a great week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Take Some Time

Photo Credit:  clarita from
As we recovered from the three-day weekend tease, we jumped right back into the hustle-bustle routine we barely started.  Sound familiar?  So, when thinking about what to share this week, I went with the gift of time. 

As a parent, we do a lot of chauffeuring during the school year, don’t we?  Many kids are involved in after-school activities…whether it be a sport, karate, band, gymnastics, art lessons, music lessons, dance, cheerleading, or learning a foreign language.  Folks are on the road for a big chunk of their day shuffling kids here and there.  Somehow time flies by so quickly between all the driving, whether we like it or not.

This week, I want to make an extra effort to value this precious gift of time.  Plus, I want to share a story that made me laugh from Mikey’s Funnies.  It’s obvious that in our rushing around, maybe we aren’t even taking the time to say, “I love you.”  Here goes:

In a morning Bible study, a group of women were studying how to live in a loving relationship with their husbands. The women were asked, "How many of you love your husband?"  All the women raised their hands.  Then they were asked, "When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?"  A few women answered today, some said yesterday, and some didn't remember when.

The women were then asked to take their phones and send the text message, "I love you, sweetheart."  After a few minutes, the women were asked to exchange phones and read aloud the responding text messages.

Here are some of the replies:
1.  Who is this?
2.  Uh, mother of my children, are you sick?
3.  I love you too.
4.  Did you wreck the car again?
5.  I don't understand what you mean.
6.  What did you do now?
7.  ?!!???
8.  Don't beat around the bush, just tell me how much you need.
9.  Am I dreaming?
10.  If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, somebody’s gonna get hurt.
11.  I thought we agreed we wouldn’t drink during the day.
12.  Your mother is coming to stay, isn't she?

Silly stuff, but all joking aside, let’s remember to say those important words this week.  Take some time.

Another story that caught my eye has been around a time or two, but it deserves another read.  My dad even mentioned that he enjoyed it and it takes an extremely special story to capture his emotions.  So, if you’ll take some time, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

It had been many years since Jack had seen the old man.  College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way.  In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams.  There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son.  He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday."  Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.  "Jack, did you hear me?" she asked.  "Oh sorry, Mom.  Yes, I heard you.  It's been so long since I thought of him.  I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.  "Well, he didn't forget you.  Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing.  He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.  "I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.  "He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said.  "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him.  He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important... Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as Jack was, he kept his word.  Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.  Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful.  He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.  Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment.  It was like crossing over into another dimension - a leap through space and time.  The house was exactly as he remembered.  Every step held memories.  Every picture, every piece of furniture... Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.  ”The box is gone," he said.  "What box?" Mom asked.  "There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk.  I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside.  All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone.  Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box.  He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.  "Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said.  "I better get some sleep.  I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died.  Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox.  "Signature required on a package.  No one at home.  Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.  The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago.  The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.  "Mr. Harold Belser," it read.  Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package.  There inside was the gold box and an envelope.  Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett.  It's the thing I valued most in my life."  A small key was taped to the letter.  His heart racing, with tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box.  There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.  Inside he found these words engraved:  "Jack, thanks for your time! - Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued time.  My time."

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.  "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.  "I need some time to spend with my son," he said. "Oh, by the way, Janet... thanks for your time!"  ~ Author Unknown ~

So, after all was said and done, TIME was what mattered most.  Everyone is blessed in different ways.  Some have a great deal of treasure.  Others have tremendous talent.  Many have both.  But, we are ALL given the exact same number of hours in a day.  How will we use the brand-new set of 24 we’ve been given today?

Take some time to love the people God gave to you, because He will need to take them back some day.  Have a great week, Sunshines!