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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fishing With You

Photo Credit:  keencarlene from
What is fishing with you, my child, really all about?
Is it how many redfish, flounder, or the trout?
Is it about the lures, the rod, reel, or bait?
Is it about the time of day?  Before sunrise or late?

Does it matter where we fish?  A lake, the sea, or river?
Will the sky be blazing hot or so chilly that we shiver?
Is it about the size of bass, catfish, or a gar?
Is it how you cast your line?  A foot away or far?

For me, it’s more about the catching, not only just the fishing.
Catching time and catching memories.  That is what I’m wishing.
As you concentrate so hard on that fishing line,
I am thanking God above that He made you mine.

When a squirmy little fish wiggles in your fingers,
Around a moment such as this, my beating heart just lingers.
I smile because I love you and this time is what I treasure.
It’s not about the fish we catch or inches that we measure.

As you stand there waiting on the line that you have thrown,
It gives me time to look at you and see how you have grown.
When you stare at your cork bobbing in the sea,
That gives me a chance to realize how much you mean to me.

When you yell hysterically, “Woo-hoo!  This one’s a keeper!”
I recognize my love for you has only gotten deeper.
We’ll be fishing.  I’ll be catching...precious time with you.
Catching moments left and right.  That is what I’ll do.

So when you ask if I will go fishing with you soon,
You can bet that it’s a yes!  I love you to the moon!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Straight From The Nest

Photo Credit:  butkovicdub from
As I glanced through facebook over the weekend, there were countless pictures of beautiful young ladies and handsome young men looking ever so debonair for the perfect prom photo.  Wasn’t my own high school prom just yesterday?  It feels like it was.  Where did those twenty-something years in between there go?  That’s what I want to know.

I do know that during those years since my prom, God blessed me with three little ones and they call me…Mom.  What I can’t seem to grasp is how fast my children have grown.  As I now stand eye to eye with my 12-year-old son, I want to cry.  Is he really as tall as I am?  Sigh.  He used to fit snuggly in my arms in the rocking chair.  I used to cry because he never slept as a baby more than 30 minutes at a time.  I would cry because I didn’t know why on earth he was crying.  And, as a brand-new mommy, sometimes I just cried for no reason at all.  Now, I get teary-eyed because he’ll slowly be inching his way out of the nest over the next few years.

Just the other day, I was holding my 6-year-old daughter on my lap in public.  I started swaying a little in the chair and patting her.  She enjoyed it for a moment and then whispered in my ear, “Mommy, don’t do that.  People will think that I’m a baby and I’m not a baby.”  Sigh.

I ran across an article by Shelley Emling in which empty-nesters offer ten snippets of advice to those of us who still have little birdies at home.  I thought it was definitely worth a share.  Here are the reminders…straight from the nest:

1. The older the children get, the more you realize how precious the time is.  “When they are little, you feel like they will be that way forever!  Therefore, take as many family vacations together as possible.  They make lasting memories of real quality time spent together.  Once they go to college and have their own responsibilities, it just gets more complicated.” — S.W.

2. Get to know their friends.  “Encourage them to have their friends to your house.  You learn more about your kids from whom they befriend than anything else.  Be non-judgmental and open to discussion about anything so when they are away, they won’t feel like anything is off limits to discuss with you if they need to.” — L.S.

3. Have family dinners often and make them a priority.  “The dinner table is a place for sharing all that’s important with unconditional love, respect, and openness to discussing ideas.  Make it a safe place to be heard and not judged.” — J.C.

4. At the end of every year, sit down with your child and write down their memories of the past 12 months.  “When they turn 18, get those pieces of paper out and look back on all that’s happened.” — K.P.

5. Go to every play, sporting event, or awards assembly you possibly can.  “You never want to be that parent who had to work and, therefore, just couldn’t be there for your child.” — A.G.

6. Listen from the front seat when they sit in the back.  “Don’t comment.  You will learn more about their daily lives when you are chauffeuring them back and forth to activities than you can imagine.” — A.T.

7. If your kid tells you a secret, and asks you not to tell anyone, don’t.  “If you tell your girlfriends, it will get back to them.  It really will.” — K.L.

8. Unplug when you’re with your kids.  “When your kid talks to you, PLEASE turn off the cell phone and the computer.  You can check email after they go to bed.” — E.K.

9. Help your kids figure out their strengths and interests.  “Try to help your child discover things they are truly passionate about, and then nurture those interests.” — S.W.

10. Be affectionate — always.  “When your child hugs you, never be the first one to let go.” — M.M.

All this talk about the nest reminds me of a poem I wrote in August of 2012 as the kids began a new school year.  It’s called, “Time to Fly.”

It’s time to fly my little ones – oh my, how you have grown,
To think that God gave you to us…for our very own!
To love and to teach - His words along the way,
First days of school are bittersweet, all the moms will say.
I won’t look at your baby pix, nope, won’t even dare,
How I’ll miss your little laugh, the sweet smell of your hair.
Oh, come on now, it’s okay, I wipe away MY tears,
Can’t believe how fast they flew – you know, that thing called years.
“Are you nervous, little one?  Grasshoppers in your belly?”
“You got it, Momma, you’re so right and also very silly!”
I wonder if you’ll be okay – will others treat you nice?
Why DID I put my make-up on?  I’ve put it on now twice.
Good-byes are the hardest, but I know you’ll be just fine,
You’ll read and write, play and learn, and count to ninety-nine.
For you must know, my love, that nothing is impossible,
For the word itself becomes the phrase, “I’M possible.”
Just be yourself, be who you are, let Him guide your way,
Bring some sunshine to a friend – it’s sure to make your day.
Listen to the teachers – let them see your heart,
For teachers are a gift from God – their lives you’ll be a part.
Please try hard, give your all, and do the best you can,
Not one of us is perfect, though – no woman and no man.
Give thanks each day for all you have, for all that you receive,
Offer struggles to the Lord, He knows that you believe.
If you’re sad or lonely, while you are away,
Know that you are on my mind and just for you, I pray.
Through all of this my little birds – the nest is always here,
You’re always welcome here at home, remember that, my dear.
Now, go out there and be all…that you were born to be,
Make new friends, learn great things – you mean the world to me.
Even though it’s time to fly, I see your newborn face,
But, keep God first and things you do will fall right into place.
Mom and Daddy can be taught a thing or two still…so,
Knowledge is learning something new…while Wisdom…

Let’s remember to enjoy all the precious, present moments before the kiddos spread their wings and fly…straight from the nest.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How You Say It

Photo Credit:  prawny from
The other evening at dinner, my 6-year-old daughter was being quite, um, rowdy, let’s say.  She was hopping around the dinner table like a rabbit and couldn’t sit still in her seat when she finally found her seat.  So, my 9-year-old daughter rolled her eyes and mumbled in a disgusted, grumpy voice, “She is SUCH a spaz!” 

Of course, this statement made my 6-year-old immediately respond with tears, “That is SOOOO rude!  That’s SO MEAN!”  I leaned over and whispered into my 9-year-old’s ear, “That wasn’t nice.  Why don’t you say that she’s energetic instead?”  Then, my 9-year-old announced again, much louder, with a smile, bright eyes, and an incredible amount of energy, “She is SUCH a spaz!!!” 

I asked her why in the world she repeated the same exact thing and she said…in all honesty…“I thought you wanted me to just say it energetically?”  Yes, I did hold back a giggle at her interpretation.  Oddly enough, my 6-year-old was smiling at this point because now she wasn’t sure if it was a cut-down or a compliment.  It was a moment that I won’t forget.  I guess it’s not so much the WHAT, but the HOW, huh?

In doing a bit of online research, I found a statistic that read: 10% of conflicts are due to differences in opinion.  90% are due to wrong tone of voice.  Again, it’s not the WHAT, but the HOW…

I’ve heard this before as well, but it’s a great reminder to think before we speak.  THINK stands for:  T – Is it true?  H – Is it helpful?  I – Is it inspiring?  N – Is it necessary?  K – Is it kind?  A tongue has no bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart.  We need to be careful with our words.  There’s a way to say what we mean without being mean.  I love this quote, “Raise your words, not your voice.  Rain grows flowers.  Thunder does not.”

I’ve touched on this in other posts, but I’m fascinated with it and there is some great information out there about body language that emphasizes the importance of the HOW, not the WHAT:

POSTURE - Posture is one of the first things people notice about us.  It’s important to stand tall, without appearing too rigid.  It shows confidence and strength, so stand up straight, Sunshines!

HANDSHAKE – We shake quite a lot of hands in Texas, don’t we?  We aren’t supposed to crush the hand of the other person, but a great deal can be said through our handshake.  Make it firm, but not crushing.

BODY POSITION – That stance of ours is important!  It can set the mood of the conversation.  Research shows that opening our stance to the person we are talking to gives off a sense of vulnerability.  It makes us appear more approachable and personable.  Supposedly, if we turn our hips off-center, it makes us appear defensive.  So, watch those hips, people!  Ha!

NEUTRAL FACE – Actually, our “neutral face” matters quite a bit.  Some folks appear to be scowling or angry…all the time.  Sometimes, we can come across as mean, even if we don’t, um, mean it.  So, smile.  It’s worth a try.

EYE CONTACT – Apparently, this is the aspect of body language that people mess up the most.  We should work to find that happy medium between intensity (serious, scary staring) and diversion (avoiding eye contact altogether) so that people will know we are sincere in what we’re saying.  Shifty eyes can also show deceptiveness or aloofness.

I know we’ve all had experiences with the HOW being so much more important than the WHAT.  We could list several examples:  Saying I’m sorry.  Saying I love you.  Asking for forgiveness.  Offering forgiveness.  Heck, even telling a joke…

Here’s a fun little story from Mikey that made me smile.  I’m pretty sure it was HOW Grace said what she did and not WHAT she said:

After twenty years of shaving himself every morning, a man in a small Southern town decided he had enough.  He told his wife that he intended to let the local barber shave him each day.  He put on his hat and coat and went to the barbershop, which was owned by the pastor of the town's Baptist church.  The barber's wife, Grace, was working that day, so she performed the task.  Grace shaved him and sprayed him with lilac water and said, "That will be $20."  The man thought the price was a bit high, but he paid the bill and went to work.

The next morning the man looked in the mirror and his face was as smooth as it had been when he left the barbershop the day before.  "Not bad," he thought, "At least I don't need to get a shave every day."  The next morning, the man's face was still smooth!  Two weeks later the man was STILL unable to find any trace of whiskers on his face.  It was more than he could take, so he returned to the barbershop.

"I thought $20 was high for a shave," he told the barber's wife, "but you must have done a great job.  It's been two weeks and my whiskers still haven't started growing back."  The expression on her face didn't even change, expecting his comment.  She responded, "You were shaved by Grace.  Once shaved, always shaved."  (Cute, huh?  And, a great reminder of Jesus’ love and saving grace!)

Speaking of love…love is another thing that’s more HOW than WHAT.  Love is not so much WHAT we say (although hearing the words, “I love you” never gets old for many people, including myself).  Love is more than that.  Love is what you do.  Love is HOW you prove your love to be true.

Here’s to a week of showing love, thinking before we speak, using a better tone of voice, being aware of our neutral face, watching the direction of those hips, and saying what we mean…without being…mean.  Surely, God can help us with all of this.  Let’s ask Him.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Daddy-Daughter Dance

Photo Credit:  phaewilk from
The dance is tonight, Mom.  I can hardly wait!
I get Daddy to myself.  Tonight, he’ll be my date.
Mommy, will you paint my nails?  How ‘bout Dazzle Red?
Please curl my hair this evening, too.  That is what you said.
Mommy, how about mascara, lipstick, and some blush?
Can I get ready early?  I sure don’t wanna rush.
Let’s take some pictures on the porch.  I’ll smile and pose just right.
This Daddy Dance is once a year.  It’s happening tonight!
I’ll dance with Daddy every song.  How much longer til we’re there?
I’ll wear a dress that sparkles.  I’ll put flowers in my hair.
I’ll grab some snacks, chat with friends, but this is special, Dad.
When the night is over, I know that I’ll be sad.
Let’s make the most of every moment.  Twirl me once or twice.
A waltz, two-step, or polka.  Boogie-woogie would be nice.
Hold me in your big, strong arms and never let me go.
And, don’t forget to tell me what I already know.
Tell me that you love me, Dad, and that you always will.
Every time you tell me, it’s my heart that you fill.
Tell me I’m your sunshine, the twinkle in your eye.
If you shed a tear, Dad - I’ll wipe it if you cry.
Do you think I’m beautiful?  Inside?  Outside, too?
Tell me Dad - I’ll have no doubts, if it comes from you.
I’ll always be your baby girl, as the years fly by.
I won’t forget you danced with me.  You’re my favorite guy!
Thank you for this evening.  Your time means much to me.
Let’s go, Dad – it’s date night.  Here’s that ol’ truck key…