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Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Photo Credit:  Scott Liddell from
I’m thankful on Thanksgiving Day, but eager to do more.
Can I be grateful on that day, plus three-sixty-four?
What happens on those other days that fill up the year?
Do we pack them full of fret, negativity, and fear?

I’ve heard that it’s a thankful heart that welcomes lasting peace.
Once we are appreciative, our worries seem to cease.
Can we be thankful for the meals we eat that are cold?
We should because we do have food.  For some, that is gold.

Can we give thanks for laundry on the floor that is piled?
We should because we do have clothes to wrap our every child.
Can we thank God for endless lines at the grocery store?
We should because that means we have someone to cook for.

Can we be thankful for a child who never sleeps at night?
We should because we have a child to hold so very tight.
Can we thank God for troubles with the house, the car, and such?
We should because it means that we’ve been blessed with oh so much.

Can we thank God for pokey trucks and even traffic too?
We should because it gives us time to say prayers overdue.
Can we thank God for running late to where we need to be?
We should because it means we have a place to be, you see?

Can we thank God for aches and pains we have when getting old?
We should because there are some who’ll die too young, I’m told.
Can we be thankful for a house that’s messy on most days?
We should because that house is full of children that we raise.

Can we give thanks for times we’ve felt alone and so afraid?
We should because the Lord was close beside us as we prayed.
Can we thank God for times we disagree with those we love?
We should because we can forgive with grace from up above.

Can we thank God for extra pounds we just can’t seem to shed?
We should because that means for us, our family is fed.
Can we thank God for mornings that come too soon, we say?
We should because we have received the gift of life that day.

And what about those dishes stacked high there in the sink?
We’d thank the Lord for them too, if we’d just stop and think.
Burdens that we claim might be blessings in disguise.
Can we praise God with thankful hearts?  I think it would be wise.

Is it truly possible?  We can and we should,
To show our thanks for the Lord, crucified on wood.
Let’s work at being grateful for the blessings, down they pour,
On Thanksgiving Day for sure…plus three-sixty-four.

* Happy Thanksgiving, Sunshines!  If you would like to read another Thanksgiving poem, check out, “A Special Guest.”  Have a wonderful week! *

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Do You Spell Love?

Photo Credit:  Kevin Connors from
It’s not what we have in our life, but who we have in our life that counts.  ~ J.M. Laurence
Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand. ~ Blessed Mother Teresa

My youngest daughter always asks me to spell words for her.  Last week, she asked me, “How do you spell love?”  “L-O-V-E,” I quickly responded, so ecstatic that she loves words as much as her momma.  But, then I thought more about that simple question.  How DO we spell love?  How do we show love?  How do people know and feel our love?

Her inquiry prompted me to give each of my children Dr. Gary Chapman’s online quiz about the five love languages of children.  I had given the quiz to the older two a couple of years ago, but I hadn’t given my youngest the test yet.  It was time for a refresher, so they all had their turn at answering the questions.  It warmed my heart to hear their choices.

Come to find out, each of my three children have a different love language.  So, each of them feels most loved in a slightly different way.  That makes mothering them all the more exciting now doesn’t it?!  One size does NOT fit all!  I know that from my Halloween costume adventure, but we won’t rehash that at this time.  Ha!

Dr. Gary Chapman breaks his love languages down into simple terms.  I like simple.  Here they are:

Receiving Gifts
Children with the love language of gifts feel good when someone gives them a special present or a small surprise gift.

Physical Touch
Children whose love language is physical touch like to receive hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and high-fives.

Acts of Service
Children whose love language is acts of service like it when others do nice things for them such as helping with chores, helping with school projects, driving them places, or being asked to help make dinner.

Quality Time
Children with the love language of quality time like it when others do things with them like play a game, watch television with them, or go to a ballgame together.  It’s not so much what they do, as long as they are spending time together.

Words of Affirmation
Children whose love language is words of affirmation like for others to use encouraging words to tell them that they are special and that they do a good job.

If you haven’t done the quiz with your kiddos, I encourage you to give it a try.  It’s only twenty short questions and you might be surprised at their answers.  Of course, Dr. Chapman encourages a bit more patience with younger children.  He said that you might try asking him or her to draw some ways parents love their children.  Or, when reading books or watching programs together, you might ask the question, "How do you know that mommy or daddy loves that little boy or little girl?" Another way is to experiment by expressing love in each of the five ways over a week's period of time and see what their response is to each expression of love. 

Not long ago, a friend posted something on facebook that really hit home in the “show-your-children-you-love-them” department.  It was a wonderful blog post by Rachel Macy Stafford called, “Six Words You Should Say Today.”  She said, “When simply watching someone makes your heart feel as if it could explode right out of your chest, you really should let that person know.  I’ve got six words for you.”  I couldn’t grasp the impact that those six special words would actually make. 

“I love to watch you play.”  Yes, those six words are the magical words that just might change the way that you interact with your own family.  I share Rachel’s sentiments in the fact that I’m wordy too, so rarely do I stop at six words.  (No comments from my friends out there…)  I’m the type of gal that gets frustrated by word limits of any kind.  Instead of increasing margins to three inches, font to 24, and triple spacing, I’m forever making the margins zero, the font 10, and using single spacing.  So, to say, “I love to watch you play,” and leave it at that, would certainly be challenging.

Have I ever said those words to my children before?  Surely, over the years I have encouraged, cheered, gently guided, complimented, and offered constructive criticism.  But, I really can’t recall saying those exact words often enough.  So, I experimented.

The first opportunity I had to try them out was after watching my daughter play the piano.  In awe, I sat on our couch, mesmerized by her little fingers gently gliding over the keys…making music…beautiful music.  I don’t play the piano and I don’t know a half note from a quarter note, so my heart just gushed with pride as I watched her play so seemingly effortlessly.  After she finished my private recital, I simply said, “I love to watch you play.”  That’s it.  Nothing more.

A magnificent smile radiated from her precious face and her eyes glistened.  She was so proud.  They WERE magical!  Six words.  She insisted on playing several more tunes for me and then gave me the biggest Mommy-sized hug ever.  Simply said, those words seem to really take the pressure off. 

There have been many opportunities for me to use these special words with my other two children as well.  I specifically enjoy telling my children things like, “I love to watch you teach your sister,” and “I love to watch you share,” and “I love to watch you be an example of Christ’s love,” etc.   You wouldn’t believe the joy that beams from their little souls.  Try it.

My six-year-old daughter loves books about world records – longest fingernails, oldest woman, shortest man, largest chocolate bar, tallest building, and so forth.  Wouldn’t it be incredible if there was a world record book that was home to records like: most time spent in prayer in one hour, most hugs given in a day, least amount of gossiping in one week, most times to forgive in a month, most times to “pay it forward” in a year?  Wouldn’t that be a fabulous way to spell love?  Just an idea…

I’ll leave you with one final thought.  “I don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like me because I’m too busy loving the people who love me.”  (Author Unknown)  Surely, most of us can spell love – L-O-V-E.  But, are we giving our best effort at showing it, sharing it, and nurturing it?  Every.  Single.  Day.  Maybe it’s through finding out someone’s love language?  Maybe it’s using those six special words?  Maybe it’s working toward that “new” world record?  Maybe it’s focusing on others more than ourselves?

How do YOU spell love?  Let’s spell it…show it…share it…and live it this week.  Want to spell love for someone you may not even know?  Send a card or letter to an injured Marine and bring some love to their military heart.  Get the scoop from this link through Mikey’s FunniesBe sure to get those letters in the mail by December 1st!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trust Me

Photo Credit:  Melodi2 from
Over the last week or so, I read two different stories that were great reminders about what it means when the Lord says, “Trust Me.  Not just “trust me” with the big stuff, but trust me…always.

The first story was sent to me by Aunt Irene and it’s called, “The Rope.”  (Author Unknown)

The story tells about a mountain climber who was desperate to climb the highest mountain.  He began his adventure after many years of preparation.  But, since he wanted all the glory for himself, he decided to climb the mountain alone.

The night felt heavy in the heights of the mountain.  The man couldn’t see a thing.  All was black.  Zero visibility.  The moon and the stars were covered by clouds.

With only a few short feet to go before reaching the mountaintop, he slipped and fell into the night air.  He fell at great speeds and could only see black spots as gravity sucked him down.  In those anguishing moments as he fell, the good and bad episodes of his life came to mind.

He thought about how close death was for him.  All of a sudden, the rope tied to his waist yanked him as he came to a screeching halt that almost tore him in half.  Like any good mountain climber, he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist.  With only the rope holding him as he dangled, suspended in the still night air, he screamed, “HELP ME, GOD!  HELP ME!”

A deep voice came from the heavens and answered, “What do you want me to do?”  The climber responded, “Save me, God!”  “Do you REALLY think that I can save you?” asked God.  “Of course I believe you can,” replied the man.

“Then cut the rope,” God said.  There was a moment of silence and stillness as the climber hung there.  He decided not to cut the rope and just held on tighter with all his strength.

The next day, the rescue team reported that a climber was found dead and frozen…his body hanging from a rope.  His hands were strongly gripping it…only FIVE feet from the ground!

This amazing story concludes with Isaiah 41:13 – “I am holding you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God – and I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid; I am here to help you.’”  Why do we doubt the things of God?  He will not forget us. 

How attached are we to our “rope?”  What “rope” do we hang on so tightly to that prevents us from trusting in HIS plan?  When will we let it go?  When will we just cut the rope and LET IT GO?  God has marvelous things planned, but we have to let go of the rope first.

There is a quote that my son, who adores fishing, shared with me the other day.  “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”  (Vincent Van Gogh)

I love the quote for many reasons.  For me personally, it is a reminder to trust.  Life will be unpredictable, just as the sea.  There will be storms and crashing waves.  But, if I trust that God has my hand, there is no reason for me not to dive in and enjoy the waters that this life has to offer. 

The second story I want to share is taken from Lou Holtz’s book, “Winning Every Day.”  It goes something like this:

A man’s car tumbled into a ditch.  He called on a nearby farmer to help, but the farmer said, “You’ll need a team of young stallions to pull that car out.  I only have one horse named Dusty and he’s old.  I’ll bring him over to the ditch and see what he can do.”

The farmer hitched Dusty to the car, snapped a whip in the air, and yelled, “Pull, Jimmy, pull!”  Dusty didn’t move.  The farmer snapped the whip again and hollered, “Pull, Sammy, pull!”  Dusty still didn’t budge.  He snapped the whip a third time and said, “Pull, Charley, pull!”

The farmer snapped that whip a fourth and final time and hollered, “Pull, Dusty, pull!”  With one mighty tug, Dusty yanked that car out of the ditch.  The driver was so grateful and shook the farmer’s hand.  “Thanks so much for freeing my car.  There is one thing that I don’t understand.  Why didn’t you just call Dusty by his name from the start?  He never moved when you called him by the other names.”

The farmer replied, “Dusty is also blind.  I had to call out those other three names first.  If Dusty thought he had to do it all by himself, he never would have even tried.”

This story resonates with me because at times, I feel a whole lot like Dusty.  If I really thought that I had to navigate this big ole world all by myself, I don’t believe that I would even try.  It’s too overwhelming to go it alone.  I find such comfort and strength in believing and knowing that God is there to help me, gently reminding me to trust Him along the way.  Always.  Big stuff, little stuff…always.

NOTHING is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)  I find such hope in those five words.  What is “nothing” anyway?  Nothing is zero, nil, zilch, nada, zip, nix…nothing.  So, NOTHING is impossible with God?  It’s so hard to wrap our finite minds around it, but if we can try to grasp the concept, we will certainly soar with a peace that is unmatched.

I encourage you to listen this week for the tender reminders of God saying, “Trust me…I’ve got this.”  And, then, slowly, finger by finger, let go of your rope.  He’ll be there to catch us.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Military Heart

Photo Credit:  Kenn W. Kiser from
A military heart is unique, it must be true,
The blood that pulses deep within is red, white, and blue.
Its love is like a fire that grows when it is shared,
For complete and total strangers, they have truly cared.
All heroes past and present, at war and at peace,
My admiration for you all will never ever cease.
Veterans who went by choice or those who had been drafted,
I feel that God took extra care with certain hearts He crafted.
He had to make them strong and brave, but tender all the same,
He knit them in their mother’s womb and knew them each by name.
It would take a special heart to leave loved ones behind,
To kiss and hug good-bye with Old Glory on their mind.
The countless sacrifice they made for freedoms we enjoy,
For every man, every woman, every girl, and every boy.
For those who have such passion for our great U.S. of A,
Who’ll stand for life and liberty, so we can speak and pray.
If you see a warrior, please give them all our love,
For the heart that beats within them is a gift from God above.
We’re thankful, oh so thankful, for that heart we have admired,
For giving so unselfishly, although it may be tired.
We’d never know of its fatigue - it’s hidden way inside,
For that heart is full of love, as deep as it is wide.
On Veterans Day and all the days that come before and after,
We thank you for allowing us a life of hope and laughter.
To wake each day knowing what you must have seen and heard,
It’s hard to find the thoughts to share - there isn’t just one word.
What can we say?  What should we say?
A debt we just cannot repay.
I think I’ll just say thank you from the bottom of my heart,
I’ll pray for you - thank God for you.  That’s certainly a start.
I’ll do my best to wake each day full of gratitude,
I’ll make a daily effort with a thankful attitude.
I’ll live to nurture peace – I’ll try to do my part,
And I’ll thank the Lord everyday…for your military heart.

*  Please feel free to share this poem that I wrote with every military heart you know!  God bless the U.S.A!