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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I See Me In Your Eyes

Photo Credit:  kakisky from
As moms, we know that if we want to get our children to talk to us, we needn’t look farther than our very own bathroom.  We know the drill all too well.  We just “need a minute,” so we quietly escape and lock ourselves in the potty room.  Three whole seconds later, there are tiny fingers reaching under the door, nails screeching down the door, and the sound of a clothes hanger jiggling in the door, all in a gallant effort to get to Mom.  Gotta.  Get.  Through.  That.  Door.

It’s always the same…”Mom, I have something very, very, VERY important to tell you right this second.  It can’t wait.  Mom?  Mom.  MOM!  Are you going number one or number two, Mom?  Are you almost done?  Mom, talk to me.  Please answer, Maaaahhhhmmmmmm!”

So, I get that many kids are instantaneously eager to share their heart and soul as soon as a mom’s derrière hits the porcelain chair.  And, that is also why I’ll overlook the fact that this little moment I’m about to share happens to take place in a stall at a public restroom.  Sometimes moments don’t happen when and where we expect them to.  THAT, I am certain of.

I had finally taken my youngest daughter to see Disney’s Frozen last week at the movie theater.  I mean, I didn’t want to rush into anything.  It had only been playing like, since November, right?!  She had been asking to go ever since I took her older sister and a friend back in December.

So, we made a special day of it.  We got there early, meaning we watched the previews before the previews and she was almost ready to leave by the time the movie actually started.  But, I digress.  I wasn’t expecting a crowd on Frozen’s last day at the theaters, but I did consider that there just might be others hitting that “last chance” showing too.  Well, there were indeed others.  Six others to be exact.  So, we had plenty of seating options.

However, before we even entered the theater, we took a trip to the potty.  After my daughter went, it was my turn, so it doesn’t surprise me that she immediately started chatting since I was, in fact, in the bathroom.  “What are we going to do tomorrow?  What does heaven look like?  Can we go swimming?  Why does it rain?  Can we get popcorn?  How do birds fly?”

Suddenly, she stopped, just as abruptly as she began.  Standing one inch in front of me in a tiny stall, she gently cupped my chin with both of her precious hands and stared into my eyes.  (All the while, my quads are trembling trying to hold the squat position just so I do…not…touch…that…pot.)  With the glare off of the bathroom lights at just the right angle, she saw her reflection…in my eyes.  She said, “Mom.  Mom!  This is so amazing.  You should see this.  I see ME in your eyes!”

Yes.  That was a moment for me…oddly enough, in a stall at the movie theater restroom, but a moment nonetheless.  Here is one of my children, who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.  Here she is, standing in awe, saying that she sees herself in my eyes, in the sweetest voice known to man.  There was so much in that simple statement really because I see me in her eyes too.

As we watched Frozen side by side that day and belted out that catchy tune, “Let It Go,” I pondered a bit more about what she had said.  Don’t we feel proud when we see some of our own good qualities shine through in our children?  And, don’t we cringe when we see the not-so-good personality traits and behaviors creep out of them too?

There is another someone special who wants to see Himself in our eyes.  His name is Jesus.

Two songs come to mind when I think of Jesus and desperately wanting to be an example of His love to others.  One of the songs is “Let Them See You in Me” by the JJ Weeks Band.   The words that move me are, “Let them see You in me.  Let them hear You when I speak.  Let them feel You when I sing.  Let them see You…just let them see You in me.”

Another piece of inspiration that captures my attention comes from a line in a song by Matthew West - “God, why don’t You do something?”  He said, “I did, I created you.”  Many times we complain and beg God to do something about all of the turmoil and negativity in our world.  In the song, God replies to His children…that’s why I made you.  I love to think about that and the incredible opportunity we are given each day to share His love and to do something with the gifts and talents He has given us.

Do others hear God in what we say?  Do others see God in what we do?  Do others feel God in what we write?  Do others get a glimpse of God’s love just by looking in our eyes?

Just as my young daughter told me in the bathroom stall - “I see me in your eyes,” we can put an epic smile on our Lord’s face each day if He is able to tell US, “I see Me in YOUR eyes.”

We can do it, Sunshines!  Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Sunshines!

Photo Credit:  dieraecherin from
February 16th marked two years of sippin’ sunshine in my little corner of the blog world.  I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to share the inspirational things that make me want to be a better me.  I’m so glad you’ve joined me and I certainly appreciate each and every one of you!  Thanks for being there.

It’s been a fun ride.  We’ve laughedwe’ve criedwe’ve prayedwe’ve been thankful, and we’ve worn our socks to church.  I’ve loved every minute and hopefully you have too!  I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for the rest of this journey.  I’ll keep writing as long as He keeps inspiring.  I think I’ll be at this gig for awhile since His inspiration is everywhere.

Thinking about my second anniversary, I googled it.  Did you know that the traditional gift for anniversary number two is cotton?  They say that after two years, couples are cozier and more comfortable with one another, making cotton the gift of choice.  My husband and I don’t really do the “traditional anniversary gift” thing.  However, if underwear and kitchen towels count, then we most probably bought those things back in 2002, so we’re good.  Whew!

As I look at the last 120 posts, I am reminded that I have indeed gotten more comfortable at finding the inspiration around me.  I find it when I least expect it…ESPECIALLY when I least expect it.  I find inspiration in a friend, a family member, or many times, a complete stranger.

On Sunday, I pondered a little bit about this anniversary.  On that same day, I spoke with a couple who has been married for almost 43 years.  I asked them what one thing has kept them together all of these years.  The wife quickly responded and said, “Humor…definitely humor,” and smiled at her husband. 

The husband thought for a second and then replied, “Her homemade chicken noodle soup has kept us together.”  I thought that was the cutest thing.  He said, “No, I’m serious.  If I ever thought of leaving, I remembered that I’d miss her chicken noodle soup, so I stayed.”  Then, I saw that he gave her a little squeeze while sitting close to her on the couch where we chatted.  Precious.

I’m certain that humor and chicken noodle soup have definitely been a big part of their lasting marriage, but I’m sure that patience and love have too.

As it says in Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit, and so be at peace with one another.”

So, while a t-shirt, bathrobe, pillowcase, hammock, or table cloth would be great for this cotton anniversary of Sips, I think I’d rather you laugh with me; seek forgiveness and peace with me; and pray for patience with me.

Speaking of patience, here is a magnificent story that my Uncle Erol forwarded to me.  It should have you giggling in no time…or at the very least, gaining an incredible amount of appreciation, admiration, and love for all teachers everywhere!

One of my favorite stories about patience is the story told about the teacher who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his boots.  She pulled and he pushed, but the boots still didn’t want to go on.  When the second boot was finally on, she had worked up a sweat.  She almost whimpered when the little boy said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.” She looked and sure enough, they were.

It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on.  She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on - this time on the right feet.  Once the boots were on, the little boy announced, “These aren’t my boots.” She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, “Why didn’t you say so?!” like she wanted to.

Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.  Once the boots were off, the little boy said, “The boots aren’t mine.  They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear them.”  The teacher didn’t know if she should laugh or cry.  She mustered up the grace to wrestle the boots on his feet again.  When the boots were back on for the third time, she said, “Now, where are your mittens?”

The little boy said, “I stuffed them in the toes of my boots.”

Oh mercy!  And, there ya have it, ladies and gents!  Patience, patience, patience.  I pray for it and therefore I should not be surprised that the Lord grants me numerous occasions to practice!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Thank you for sharing my blog with others.  That’s one of the best gifts that you can give me on this comfy, cozy, cotton anniversary!  Much love to all…

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

12 Inches Gone

Photo Credit:  dhester from
I joined a gym last week and lost 12 inches.   Crazy, huh?  It’s true.  Well, not entirely.  I did join a gym and I’m still sore from the class that I went to on Thursday.  In fact, the only part of my body that does NOT hurt is my eyelashes and I’m using them to type this blog post today.  Hee hee.  No, seriously.

Annnnnd, I did lose 12 inches…but not at the gym.  I was at the store last week checking out and the lady behind me struck up a conversation.  She quietly said, “I used to have hair like that.”  I stopped unpacking my cart and looked at her, with her thin gray hair peeking out from under her pink ball cap.  I quickly assessed that she must have cancer and be losing her hair with her treatments.

That moment was tough for me.  There I was with my waist-length hair all wrapped up in a big ole bun on top of my head.  And, there she was, with whispers of hair barely touching her shoulders…not enough to gather to even make a tiny pony tail.  A feeling overwhelmed me…I felt like I had so much…too much.

I asked her, “Are you going through chemo?  How are you doing?”  She responded, “Well, just this morning, I woke up and clumps of hair were all over my pillow.  I just cried and cried and cried.  Chemo is terrible.”

I wanted to find the perfect words to comfort her and take away her pain.  In my attempt to make her feel a little bit better that day, I said, “I will be praying for you and I also want you to know that I’ll be donating a foot of my hair to make a wig for someone just like you.”  And, with that, she smiled a smile that radiated through my body and straight to my heart.  It felt good.

I had been meaning to cut my hair for weeks.  I donated 11 inches back in April of 2012 and I’d grown it out again.  After that chat with a stranger, I knew it was time to cut it for another donation.  God was speaking to me through her.

A hair donation is free.  It requires nothing more of me than the effort to cut it and send it in to Pantene Beautiful Lengths so that some brave woman without hair can feel hopeful once again.  I could do that.  That was certainly something that I could do.

We can give hope to others in so many ways, really, besides hair.  Not everyone has 12 inches to give.  I do think that God allows my hair to grow fast because He knows I’ll give it away.  Might that be how it works in other areas of our life?  The more we give away, the more He gives us in turn?  In the Bible, it says, “Much is required from those to whom much is given.” (Luke 12:48)

I hadn’t made the time to cut my hair, so I was possibly keeping hope from someone else.  I felt that way, at least.  So, I took action and cut my hair.

Just this weekend at Mass, the gospel was about being the salt of the earth.  “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?” (Matthew 5:13)  As Christians, we are called to be the salt of the earth because our very lives can enhance the lives of others.

Fr. Thomas Rosica explains it this way, “In the ancient biblical world, salt was a precious commodity.  It gave flavor and zest to food; it served as an important preservative; salt also made people thirst for something more.  Jesus wanted His disciples to give flavor and zest to the world through His teaching; to preserve the truth as He proclaimed it to the world; to make the world thirst for more.”

Rosica goes on to say, “The concern that ‘salt has lost its flavor’ is difficult for us to understand today, especially because of the purity of the salt we use.  In the time of Jesus, salt was not purified in the way that we know but was collected from deposits left by the Dead Sea as it dried.  This salt was exposed to the elements and could break apart and lose its flavor.  Such salt is a very appropriate metaphor for discipleship, which can and does lose its vigor over time if care is not taken to keep it alive.”

How are we being the salt of the earth today?  Are we holding onto hope or are we giving it away?  Did I really need that extra 12 inches of hair?  Not really.  Is there something we have that we can give this week?  Something that doesn’t even cost a dime?  Our time?  Love?  Hope?  Forgiveness?  Encouragement?  A simple smile?

My Aunt Edie reminded me of the words of Blessed Mother Teresa: "Peace begins with a smile.  Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

If we don’t know where to begin, we can start with the ultimate question of our lives, “God what do you think I should do?”  Matthew Kelly encourages us to allow that question to permeate our inner dialogue, our prayer, and all moments of decision.  If we do, we will live a life uncommon.

The beautiful news is that we can give in our own unique, special way.  "God doesn't want us comparing our lives to others.  He gave us a one-of-a-kind makeup, background, and skill set for a reason.  He has a purpose in mind for us and wants us to use what He gives us to be a success at being ourselves - not a frustrated imitation of someone else." ~ Allia Zobel Nolan (from The Worrywart's Prayer Book)

As my bun got a little smaller (Hair bun, hair bun!  Watch it peeps!  Ha ha!), my heart got a little bigger.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Get Comfy

Photo Credit:  jdurham from
We had a “first” on Saturday evening.  Normally, we all get ready for church and in typical Kallus fashion - despite attempts to get there earlier - we arrive at exactly 6:00 pm (ish).  Always.  Early is the perpetual goal, but it seems just barely out of reach each and every weekend.  BUT!  Not this time.

This particular evening, we were a tiny bit ahead of schedule.  It looked so promising as our house clocks indicated we’d probably arrive with 7 whole minutes to spare.  Why this time?  Well, our son had purchased a handy little portable DVD player with some Christmas gift cards (the second cool piece of portable technology in our home).

So, all three kiddos were huddled in the car watching a movie, ready to go, and waiting on US!  How ‘bout that?!  That was a first!  My hubby and I hopped into the car and were just darn giddy that they were quiet, content, buckled up, and READY.  Ready, I tell ya!

With the catchy little tunes of Disney’s Teen Beach Movie coming from the back seat, I was feeling so optimistic about our early start.  Maybe this is how we can get to church on time, I pondered.  I can almost hear it now, “Kids, please go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, stop fighting with each other, brush your hair, stop rolling around on your clothes on the floor, don’t take her hair bow, stop chasing him around the kitchen, and kindly get dressed.  If you do all of this, you can watch a movie in the car on the way to church.”  Yep!  We’re goin’ with it.  We’re definitely goin’ with it.  Bribery it is!

So, as we neared the last stop sign on our trip there, my seven-year-old daughter peels her eyes away from the movie and mumbles, “I don’t have any shoes on.”  Really?  Yes, really.  I knew we didn’t have time to go back home for shoes.  What I would have given for a random pair of shoes (or at least one shoe) squished somewhere under the seat beside the cracker crumbs and fruit snack wrappers.  A random flip-flop.  House shoes.  Rain boots.  ANYTHING!  Nope.  No such luck.  We looked.

It would take twenty minutes to drive home and back again just for shoes.  Not only would we not be early, but we’d be terribly late.  Then, the tears started rolling down her cheeks.  I had such a mixture of emotions that ran through my head from, “Are you kidding me?!  That’s why I can’t stand that DVD thing!  It mesmerizes you all and prevents you from thinking clearly and now you forgot your shoes!” to “It’s okay honey, we’ll make some shoes real quick out of grass and mud” to “Daddy will just have to carry you” to “How on earth will that look taking you into church in socks for goodness sake!” to “We’ll laugh about this one day…it’s no big deal” to “This IS God’s HOUSE after all…we’re just going comfy tonight…just like at home.  Surely He won’t mind.”

I settled on the last thought because it made me feel better.  I couldn’t help but giggle a little under my frustrated frown because there was nothing we could do at that moment to avoid the fashion police for our 1st grader.  We just had to go with it.  So, we headed inside our lovely church in socks and that was that.  I was so thankful that the socks weren’t the dingy, stained ones at least.  We have plenty of those around the house.  This pair was actually new AND they were clean!  Thinking positively, I thought it could be worse and she could’ve had no socks and dirty feet.

Her daddy scooped her up and wiped her tears and carried her into church.  He set her down by the door and she walked in with me, still weepy.  I hugged her and assured her that it would be fine.  I told her that we’d sit in the back and no one would even notice.  The main thing was that we were there (Right?!).  God was just glad to see her.

The whole sock thing reminded me that God does love us for who we are – our heart and soul – not for anything materialistic.  In fact, if I recall, back in Jesus’ day, they were barefoot much of the time, right?  Well, at least in dusty sandals (I figure that it’s okay to rationalize.).

Speaking of comfy, God is a comfortable place to fall.  He can wipe tears without tissues.  He can heal without medicine.  He can feed us without food.  Countless times in the Bible, He invites us to be with Him…to be quiet with Him…to pray…to visit His House (even in socks…well, it doesn’t EXACTLY say that in the Bible, but surely He meant to say that somewhere in there).

I also wonder if we do our best to make our place of worship warm and welcoming to all.  Do we assure people who are reaching out for God’s love that they’ve come to the right house?

A comforting verse is Psalms 9:9-10 – “The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed; a refuge in times of trouble.  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

Psalm 23 is also a great reminder about the comforts of following Him in the journey towards our heavenly home.  Taken from a children’s Bible:  “Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!  He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams.  He restores my failing health.  He helps me do what honors Him most.  Even when walking through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding and guiding all the way.  You provide food for me in the presence of my enemies.  You have welcomed me as your guest; blessings overflow!  Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards, I will live with you forever in your home.”

How do we get more and more comfortable with someone?  We spend time with them…many times chatting at their home.  What a great idea, especially when it comes to getting comfy with our Lord.  I’m sure He’d love for us to stop by His house for a visit anytime!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!