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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

They Don't Exist

Photo Credit:  jojo22 from
Certain smells bring back memories.  For instance, my son grabbed an old cologne out of my bathroom cabinet the other day and has been wearing it on occasion.  When I smell it on him, I have to giggle a little bit.  Why?  Because when the kids were younger, we taped a label on that same cologne and called it “Monster Spray.”  We sprayed it in their rooms to keep the monsters away when they were scared.  My husband and I would constantly assure them that monsters didn’t live under their beds, but it helped them sleep more peacefully when we’d spray it.  So, for the incredible love of beautiful sleep…by golly, we did!  Speaking of monsters under beds…

They don’t exist.  Besides monsters, what exactly is “they,” you ask?  Unicorns?  Abominable snowmen?  Pots of gold at the end of rainbows?  Eyes actually bigger than anyone’s stomach?  Mermaids?  The list could go on and on and many may argue that some of these actually do exist, BUT, there is something that truly does NOT exist.  Take a wild guess what it is.

The Seven Dwarfs?  Good try.  Guess again.  Okay, I’ll tell you.  The answer is…perfect families.

Many of us have witnessed inspirational families and their uplifting stories along our journey of life.  We are touched so deeply by the ways in which they overcome some of life’s greatest challenges.  I thank God for the chance to witness this here on earth.  Sometimes we might even see families that appear to have it all together, all the time.  Perhaps, we’ve even wished to be exactly like them.  Have we ever looked at a family and been envious or jealous?  Maybe or maybe not.  The bottom line is that the families we admire and adore are not perfect.  We might think they are perfect, but if you ask these families if they are…they’ll say, “No.”

However, what I love the most is the fact that even imperfect families can still encourage us, challenge us, and motivate us.  I think that gives us all a remarkable message of hope.  Imperfect people can inspire.  Imperfect families can too.

Pope Francis has some great words about families that I’d like to share:  

“Perfect families do not exist.  This must not discourage us.  Quite the opposite.  Love is something we learn.  Love is something we live.  Love grows as it is ‘forged’ by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences.  Love is born and constantly develops amid lights and shadows.  Love can flourish in men and women who try not to make conflict the last word, but rather a new opportunity - an opportunity to seek help, an opportunity to question how we need to improve, and an opportunity to discover the God who is with us and never abandons us.  This is a great legacy that we can give to our children - a very good lesson - we make mistakes, yes; we have problems, yes.  But, we know that that is not really what counts.  We know that mistakes, problems, and conflicts are an opportunity to draw closer to others and to draw closer to God.”

Pope Francis also spoke some amazing words recently about forgiveness in the family.  Our priest, Father Bentil, shared these incredibly inspirational words with us at Mass over the weekend:

"There is no perfect family.  We do not have perfect parents.  We are not perfect.  We do not marry a perfect person or have perfect children.  We have complaints about each other.  We have deceived and disappointed each other.  Therefore, there is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness.”

“Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival.  Without forgiveness, the family becomes a theater of conflict and a bastion of grievances.  Without forgiveness, the family becomes sick.  Forgiveness sterilizes the soul, cleansing the mind, and freeing the heart.  He who doesn't forgive has no peace of mind nor communion with God.”

“Pain is a poison that intoxicates and kills.  To keep a wound in one's heart is a self-devouring and self-destructive gesture.  It is autophagy (biting of one’s own flesh).  He who doesn't forgive becomes physically, emotionally, and spiritually ill.  That's why the family must be a place of life, not of death; a territory of healing, not disease; a stage of forgiveness, not guilt.  Forgiveness brings joy where there was sorrow-produced pain; and healing, where pain caused disease.”

Forgiving is not easy, most will admit.  But, I believe that those same people will say that it’s worth it.

The existence of leprechauns, elves, Big Foot, and the Loch Ness Monster may be debatable.  However, I’m thrilled to say that the existence of perfect families is not up for debate.  Why am I thrilled by that?  Well, because that means that we all have a chance… a chance at finding gold.  What?

Let me explain.  Even though I’ve never found the gold at the end of any rainbow (and I will not admit the number of times I’ve tried looking for it), I think there is gold found in something else.  There is gold in our imperfections.  Why?  Because we have a golden opportunity to love, to inspire, to motivate, and to encourage since we are most relatable when we’re far from perfect.  People can’t relate to perfection.  Perfect is not possible and that’s okay.  We can inspire others best and most profoundly when we’re real…imperfections and all.

So, now that we know that perfect families do not exist, I encourage you to get out there and make a difference!  Any individual can be inspirational, so why not you?  Any family can be inspirational, so why not yours?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Secret Code

Photo Credit:  SQUAIO from
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful fundraising event in Port O’Connor, Texas with my husband and our good friends, Melissa and John.  The special evening was held at a beautifully breath-taking venue called The Sanctuary at Costa Grande.  The Friends of the Port O’Connor Library hosted the memorable night in an effort to raise funds to build a new library and buy new books.  I was able to visit with a number of Texas authors as well and that made it an even more amazing experience for me.  I also had the chance to pick their brains a bit about the ins and outs of publishing a book, since that is on my bucket list!  Soon, Sunshines…very soon.  I’ll keep you posted about my upcoming children’s book!

Anyway, let me tell you about one of the fun moments of the evening.  There is a long, paved driveway from the highway to the waterfront community clubhouse.  As we drove along that road, I took in all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the coast.  The palm trees swaying in the salty breeze immediately took me to my happy place.  I was all smiles as we made our way up to the closed gate.  I was smiling because I love the coast and I was also grinning because I knew something.

I could tell that my husband was wondering about that closed gate up ahead.  BUT!  I knew how to open that gate.  I knew the secret code.  Before he could even ask me, I said, “No worries.  I have the super-secret code.”  I felt extra special thinking that I was one of the select few who was privy to that information.  Melissa had texted me the code earlier that day, so I pulled it up on my phone.  As I got my fingers primed to punch in the top secret numbers, I noticed something that took the coastal wind right out of my sails.

Guess what was taped to the keypad for ALL to see?  THE CODE!  Yes, I guess I wasn’t the only one who had access to the code.  I had to laugh though because I had jokingly made such a big deal about being the only one with that confidential information.  My husband just grinned as I pushed in the very PUBLIC code and the gate opened.

You know what? There’s another code that isn’t privy to just a few people.  It’s a universal code word that will bring an incredible amount of joy to our lives if we use it.  Do you know what it is?  It’s an 8-letter-not-so-secret-code word.  The code is kindness.

There was a teaching moment over the summer in which I had the chance to encourage my daughter to practice kindness.  We were at the Frio River and my older daughter was getting ready to take a shower one evening.  She gathered her soap, lotion, pajamas, and towel and asked me to help her get the shower water at just the right temperature.  The bathroom door was closed and from the other side, I could hear her sister hollering our way, asking my daughter if she could use her tablet.

To say that my daughter is protective of certain belongings is an understatement.  She never wants her sister to mess with her tablet.  Never.  Ever.  I could see the snarl on her face and just as she opened her mouth to holler, “No!”…I put my finger to her lips and whispered, “Hey…I have an idea.  What if you surprise her and say “Yes” this time?  Wouldn’t that shock her?  Wouldn’t that act of kindness just blow her away?  Why don’t you try it?  She won’t believe it!  Just say it and see.”

After a few moments of thoughtful consideration, my daughter wiped away her scowl and said, “Yes.”  Then, I could hear my other daughter in intense disbelief on the other side of the door.  “WHAT did you say?!” she hollered back.

“I said yes,” my daughter replied with a smirky grin.  Then, we both heard my youngest daughter chatting with my mom in such a doubtful voice.  “Did she say yes?  Really?  Did she?”

I could tell that my older daughter was so proud of herself for choosing kindness in that moment.  She was beaming.  It was profound.  What happened after that made my heart sing.  When my daughter was done with her shower, she walked out to look for her sister.  Her sister gave her a gigantic hug and told her, “Thank you!”  Then, you would not believe the amount of sugary sweetness that came out of my youngest daughter’s mouth.  She offered to get her sister a drink and said they could share the blanket and pillows on the couch.  The circle of kindness went on that entire evening and it got me all teary-eyed for sure.  It was one of the most memorable evenings of sisterly love.  Believe me, I held on to every morsel of it because it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.  One act of kindness.  Just one.  See what can happen?

This brings me to a little coastal kindness story that I ran across recently:

One day a man was walking along the seashore.  He noticed that during the night many seashells and starfish had washed up on the shore.  Thoroughly enjoying the morning sun and cool sea air, the man strolled for miles along the sand.

Far off in the distance, he saw a small figure dancing.  The man was joyous that someone was celebrating life in such a grand and uninhibited manner.  As he drew closer, however, it became apparent that the figure was not dancing, but repeatedly performing some act.

Approaching the small figure, the man noticed that it was a child.  The girl was methodically picking up starfish from the shore and tossing them back into the surf.  The man paused for a moment, puzzled, then asked, "Why are you throwing those starfish back into the ocean?"

"If I leave these starfish on the beach," she replied, "the sun will dry them, and they will die.  I am throwing them back into the ocean because I want them to live."

The man pondered for a moment, impressed with the child's thoughtfulness.  Then he motioned up and down the miles and miles of beach and said, "There must be millions of starfish along here!  How can you possibly expect to make a difference?"

The young girl contemplated the man's words for a moment, then she slowly leaned over, reached down, and carefully picked up another starfish from the sand.  With a gentle effort, she lobbed the starfish back out into the surf.

She turned to the man and smiled. "You may be right," she said, "but I made a difference for that one!”

Can WE make a difference for just one person?  Can we use the secret code of kindness to bring life to someone?  Can we share the code with others?  Not only do I think we can…I KNOW we can!  I’ve seen how acts of kindness bring forth the very best in people…in the one giving AND in the one receiving.

Try the secret code.  It will open countless gates.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

P.S.  I think the Lord wanted in on this kindness discussion as well.  As I was driving home this evening, there was an 18-wheeler in front of me with the words “Psalm 138:8” written across the back.  I looked it up as soon as I got home.  It read, “The Lord will work out His plans for my life, for His loving kindness continues forever.  Don’t abandon me, Lord – for You made me.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Mousetrap

Photo Credit: DuBoix from
You know, I’m always a sucker for great friend stories, so I wanted to share this one with you from my buddy over at Mikey’s Funnies:

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.  "What food might this contain?" the mouse wondered.  He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed this warning: "There is a mousetrap in the house!  There is a mousetrap in the house!"  The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me.  I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house!  There is a mousetrap in the house!"  The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray.  Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house!  There is a mousetrap in the house!"  The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse.  I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down, and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap…alone.  That very night, a sound was heard throughout the house - the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught.  In the darkness, she did not see it - a venomous snake whose tail was caught in the trap.  The snake bit the farmer's wife.  The farmer rushed her to the hospital, but when she returned home, she still had a fever.  Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup.

So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient.  But his wife's sickness continued.  Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.  To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer's wife continued to get worse and passed away.  So many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon.

And the mouse looked upon it all, from his crack in the wall, with great sadness.

So, the next time we hear someone is facing a problem, and we think it doesn't concern us, remember…when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.  We are all involved in this journey called life.  We are in this together.  We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to support and encourage one another.

Each of us is a vital patch in another person's quilt.  Our lives are delicately quilted together for a reason.  One of the best things to hold onto in this world is a friend. 

Plus, you just never know when you’ll need a friend.  In order to protect the innocent, I won’t tell you the name of this particular pal, BUT just the other day, she was stuck in a bathroom stall at a church festival…without toilet paper.  Short of drip-drying for half an hour, she texted her husband from the stall and begged him to find a friend to rescue her.  I got there as fast as I could and threw a big wad of toilet paper her way.  Case in point…you truly NEVER know when you’ll need a friend.  Be extra kind and BE the friend you want to have.

I love to laugh.  I truly do.  I love the rush of joy that pulses through my body when I’m laughing.  I also enjoy making others laugh.  Did you know there was a saint who loved to laugh too?  Yep, I just found out about him the other day and his name is Saint Philip Neri.  Some people credit him with saying, “A sad saint is no saint at all!”  I like him already, don’t you? 

Upon further research, it was said that many people of his day thought there was no way for his jovial personality to be combined with an intense spirituality.  But, his very life melted that narrow view of holiness.  His prayerful life was always accompanied by a good laugh.  He also wanted others to become not less, but more human, through their striving for holiness.

Our priest, Father Bentil, is always encouraging us by saying that we are all “saints in the making” or “saints in training.”  So, if that’s the case, I think I’ll strive to be a laughing one.  I guess I can start my journey today by sharing this little giggle from Mikey:

It was a minister’s first Sunday in a new parish and he was presenting the children's message.  The sanctuary of the church had some magnificent stained glass windows, so his message centered on how each of us are called to help make up the whole picture of life (the family of God).  Like the images in the windows, it takes many little panels of glass to make the whole picture.

And then he said, "You see…each one of you is a little pane."

And then pointing to each and every child, he said, "You're a little pane.  And you're a little pane.  And you're a little pane.  And..."

It took a few moments before he realized why everyone was laughing so ridiculously hard.

Humor is a gift from God.  I thank Him for that gift daily.  Most of the time, we take ourselves far too seriously.  We should ask the Lord to help us add humor to our perspective.

Let’s sprinkle in some laughter, starting today.  And, if a friend wants to share with us about a problem, a worry, a joy, a need, or…a mousetrap, I will certainly remember to listen a bit more closely after reading the story above.  Won’t you?

Here’s to becoming more attentive, more compassionate, and less me-centered.  Won’t you join me?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Test

Photo Credit: Prawny from
With school in full swing now, the kiddos are taking tests of all kinds…spelling, reading, science, math, and more.  They prepare for each test and then, with a hug and a kiss, I send them off to do their very best.  Over the course of their schooling, there will be countless tests and all the tummy butterflies to go with them, I’m certain.  However, I was touched by a heartwarming story entitled, “The Test,” by S.I. Kishor, that I received from Mike Atkinson the other day.  I knew that I needed to share its uplifting message with you:

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station.  He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't - the girl with the rose.  His interest in her began thirteen months before in a Florida library.

Taking a book off the shelf, he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin.  The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.  In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.  With time and effort, he located her address.  She lived in New York City.  He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.  The next day, he was shipped overseas for service in World War II.

Over the next year, the two grew to know each other through the mail.  Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart.  A romance was budding.  Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused.  She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like.  When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7 pm at the Grand Central Station in New York.

"You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."

So at 7:00, he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen.  I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:

A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim.  Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were as blue as flowers.  Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit; she was like springtime come alive.  I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose.  As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

"Going my way, sailor?" she murmured.

Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.  She was standing almost directly behind the girl.  A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat.  She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes.  The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.  I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.  And there she stood.  

Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle.  I did not hesitate.  My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.  This may not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful for.

I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment.  "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell.  I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?"  The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile.

"I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in the green suit who just went by begged me to wear this rose on my coat.  And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street.  She said it was some kind of test!"

Oh, I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did!  I just LOVED it!  So many thoughts flood my mind after reading it again (and again).  It made me ponder beauty a bit.  External beauty is so fleeting, isn’t it?  Here today and gone tomorrow.  We hold on super tight to it though.  We do our best to take care of ourselves.  We exercise (right?!).  We eat fairly nutritiously (right?!).  We take extra care of our skin and hair.  We do our best, but time waits for no one.  The beauty of our youth starts to fade little by little.  We can fight it all we want.

We check out ourselves in the mirror many times a day, but have we done an internal beauty check lately?  How are we taking care of that?  And, do we have someone in our life…a spouse, special friend, or family member…who loves our internal beauty as much as (or more than) what’s on the outside?  If we do, we better hold on tight and never let them go!

When I say, “hold on tight and never let them go,” I mean the following:  Weave them tightly into the tapestry of your life.  Let them put their handprint on your heart…like that of a handprint in wet cement.   Let it dry there and remain forever.  Like you’ve probably heard before - many people will walk in and out of our lives, but a few will leave their footprints on our heart.  Hold on to those beautiful few with an embrace that lasts longer than the hug itself.  They are the keepers…the ones who love you for you…imperfectly perfect you. 

I want to wrap up this Sips with a few memorable quotes about beauty:
  • Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart. (Kahlil Gibran)
  • Beauty is not flawless; it shines even through your flaws.
  • Next time you think of beautiful things, don’t forget to count yourself in.
  • Beauty is about a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and most importantly, a beautiful soul.
  • Beauty is being the best possible version of yourself on both the inside and the outside.
  • I can’t think of many things more attractive than a beautiful person whose beauty isn’t actually what attracts you.

After that last quote, I think I’ll stop.  That one wraps up “the test.”  May you find something beautiful in…each day…each person…and yourself, as well.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What Do You See?

Photo Credit:  Uncle Erol
My Uncle Erol captured this beautiful photo of my Aunt Edie a few weeks ago.  She was enjoying an afternoon in Port O’Connor, soaking up the warm, salt-kissed air.  She told me that she stood quietly by the water that day, just dropping tiny graham cracker crumbs, little by little.  She didn’t make a big scene.  She simply stood there, releasing bits of cracker from her hand and admiring the calm and serenity of the water. All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, a flock of seagulls surrounded her and happily welcomed her tasty treat with open arms, uh…wings.

When I first saw the photo, I immediately asked my aunt and uncle, “What do you see?”  They paused in silence.  I said, “Oh my goodness!  Look at Aunt Edie.  Just look at her!  Are you kidding me?!  With her white hair, gray blouse, and black pants…all the birds saw was an incredibly generous, loving, nurturing…Mama Seagull!  They knew she would take care of them.  Oh, this picture is so cool!  I’m totally using it for a Sips!” (and here I am!)

Perception is an interesting thing, really.  What do you see?  What do I see?  Many times, what we see will differ.  Sometimes, what we see will be the same.  But, I want to share two remarkable stories with you today about how we perceive what we see.  And, as luck would have it, my sweet Aunt Edie is the one who sent me both of these thought-provoking stories:

Story #1:  In Washington D.C., at an arcade outside a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six classical pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, exactly 1,067 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.  After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a couple of minutes, leaning against a nearby wall, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later, the violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.  At 6 minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.  At 10 minutes, a 3-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes, the musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.  About 20 of them gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.00 that day.  After 1 hour, he finished playing and silence took over.  No one noticed and no one applauded.  Only one female passerby recognized him and applauded his performance.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.  Just two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.  This is a true story.  Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:
  •  In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
  • If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
  •  Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Story #2:  One day, a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test.  They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin.  The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual.  Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over their papers.

To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions – just a black dot in the center of the sheet of paper.  The professor, seeing the expression on everyone’s faces, told them the following:  “I want you to write about what you see there.” 

The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task.  At the end of the class, the professor took all the exams and started reading each one of them aloud, in front of the students.

All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet.  After all the papers had been read, the classroom was silent. 

The professor started to explain:  “I’m not going to grade you on this.  I just wanted to give you something to think about.  No one wrote about the white part of the paper.  Everyone focused on the black dot.  The same happens in our lives.”

He went on to say, “We have a white piece of paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots.  Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself every day, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the daily miracles we see.”

“However, we insist on focusing only on the dark spot – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend.  The dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they’re the ones that pollute our mind.  I encourage you to take your eyes away from the black dots in your life.  Enjoy each one of your blessings and each moment that life gives you.  Live a life filled with love and contentment.”

I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed each of these two sharings.  They certainly left me with much food for thought.  Do I focus on the black dot?  Do you?  When I focus on the things in my life that aren’t going the way I’d wish, am I missing the beauty of the many blessings directly in front of me?  In concentrating all of my energies on what might be wrong, am I missing all that’s right?

What about you?  What do you see?

Join me in appreciating the white part of the paper of our lives.  Join me in recognizing the beauty around us.  God allows us a glimpse of His love through others and circumstances. 

The question is…will we allow ourselves to see it?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

P.S.  I also want to wish my precious Aunt Edie an extra wonderful, sunshiny, Happy Birthday!  Thank you for all of the support, love, and encouragement in my life and with my writing.  When I see you, I catch a glimpse of Christ.  Thank you for that!  I love you.