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Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Photo Credit:  DeduloPhotos from
What motivates us?  In our uniqueness, each of us is motivated differently.   We have varying views, values, priorities, needs, interests, and concerns.  The most motivating people in this world can encourage and convince us that a proposed action will result in something meaningful to us and that the effort required is worth it.

People naturally talk about what they're interested in and what motivates them, if we'll just take the time to listen.  A review of the research of Frederick Herzberg indicates that the top 5 leading motivators in the work place are:

1.    Achievement (accomplishment and a sense of contribution)
2.    Recognition (support, praise, respect)
3.    The work itself (meaningful, stimulating, fulfilling)
4.    Responsibility (and advancement)
5.    Creativity and growth (learning and giving of oneself to others)

Doing some further research, I found that fear can also be a strong motivator, if we refuse to let it be a hindrance.  In an article by Ashley Arcel, she indicated that we fear change, uncertainty, and unfamiliar territory.  But, she said that fear hides all the really good stuff in life.  “All of the exciting next steps and the big life changes are crouching behind some amount of fear, no matter how small.  We will never find out what life has in store for us if we don’t learn to walk through the fear.”

Arcel listed five great reasons to feel the fear and move forward anyway:
  1. Fear means something important is about to happen.  The presence of fear often means that something is about to change, and with change comes opportunity.
  2. Embracing fear means embracing growth.  If we aren’t afraid, at least some of the time, then we aren’t learning.
  3. Even if you fail, you’ll be happy you tried.  Sometimes you have to jump and build your wings on the way down.  Well, sometimes the wings don’t come in all the way, they aren’t quite big enough, or they don’t show up at all, and you hit the ground a little harder than you anticipated.  But, hey, now that you’re down here on the ground, you can head off in any direction you choose.
  4. Fear happens; it’s a good idea to make friends with it.  So, sit down with fear.  Get to know it.  Take it out for a cup of coffee, and find out where it came from. You don’t have to love it, but it’ll do you good to understand it.
  5. Every time you overcome fear, you are stronger.  When we look back on the most exciting and growth-filled periods of our lives, we can see that they were also some of the most terrifying.  When we walk through our fears rather than run from them, it is impossible not to emerge as a stronger person. 

Speaking of fear, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the following story from my cousin’s wife, Donna.  She sent this text to me recently and I just had to share:

My son was running a warm-up lap on the track after school while getting ready for soccer.  I see him come tearing down the back stretch and I’m thinking, “Darn, what lit a fire under him?!”  It wasn’t an ordinary warm-up lap by any means.  As he gets closer, there is a guy behind him yelling, “Go faster!  Kick it in!”

After soccer, this same man asks me if my son runs track.  I said he hadn’t yet.  He said, “Well, I used to coach track and I can recognize a runner.  That kid is a runner.  He needs to do track.” 

We get in the car and I tell my son, “See there.  That man said you need to run track.”  My son responds, “Yeah, but I was running for my life.  I thought that guy was trying to kidnap me!  I was NOT going to let him catch me!” 

Sooooo, fear CAN be a motivator…to run like the wind!  Ha!  Poor little guy!

And, honestly, this next story from Mikey is too cute not to share.  We’ll just say it’s about motivation to work (or not to work):

A farmer and his recently hired hand were eating an early breakfast of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee that the farmer's wife had prepared for them.  Thinking of all the work they had to get done that day, the farmer told the hired man he might as well go ahead and eat his lunch too.

The hired man didn't say a word, but filled his plate a second time and proceeded to eat.  After awhile, the farmer said, "We've got so much work to do today, you might as well eat your supper now too."

Again, the hired man didn't respond, but refilled his plate a third time and continued to eat. Finally, after eating his third plate of food, the hired man pushed back his chair and began to take off his shoes.

"What are you doing!?” the farmer asked.

The hired man replied, "I don't work after supper."

Motivation.  Some of us are natural motivators.  Some of us need motivating.  We need each other.  Let’s make our plans and set our goals, but let us also anticipate bumps along the way.  When we need extra motivation, let’s open up and share our intentions with others.  Father Bentil always says, “A problem shared is half-solved.”  I believe it!

We all need someone or something to keep us motivated at times.  Let’s keep our greatest, most authentic supporters close in heart so that we can lean on each other.  God gave us special friends and family members to be our support beams in this life.  We need vertical beams (God) and we need horizontal beams (others) for our strength and motivation.  Let’s remember to treasure the gift of each other.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Number 80

Photo Credit:  sariena from
It’s hard to believe that’s you,
These feelings of mine are all too new.
Up in the stands, I clap and cheer,
Tackle football’s a first for you this year.
Number 80 – you make me proud,
And that is why my heart beats loud.
An anxious heart, all the same,
I watch you out there play the game.
Twelve years ago, I swaddled you tight,
Protecting you with all of my might.
Now it’s helmets, pads, and such,
I hope the angels guard you much.
Please be fast and strong, my son,
So no one will catch you – not anyone!
Enjoy this time, as I sure will,
For number 80, my heart does fill.
When you make tackles – yardage too,
Defense, offense – I pray for you.
I’ll wear my shirt – with 80 on back,
My constant support – you will not lack.
I’m in the bleachers – there I’ll be,
Look my way – a smile you’ll see.
Do your best, son, give your all,
This Football Mom is ready for Fall!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Photo Credit:  missmayberry from
Most people don’t like to wait.  For anything.  We don’t like to wait for the car in front of us at a green light, late co-workers, our turn at the doctor’s office, airport security, test results, internet glitches, grocery store lines, for our significant other to get ready, OR…

How long the average guy or gal will wait for something before they take action or completely freak out differs from person to person.  For some, it’s less than 5 seconds.  For others, it could be hours.

This past weekend, we celebrated our 143rd Annual St. Joseph’s Church Picnic.  Our local community center was full of the delicious aroma of fried chicken, brisket, sausage, potatoes, green beans, desserts, and money.  Seriously.  It always blows me away at how incredibly generous people are.  They were buying game tickets for their children and grandchildren, raffle tickets left and right, silent and live auction items, and everything in between.  AND, our priest’s cake sold for a whopping $6,200!  I’m certain that Father Bentil’s cake had gold-dipped-coconut in there somewhere.  Soooo awesome!  The day was wonderful in every way and amazingly successful as well.

The day before the picnic, I was able to witness the beauty of teamwork.  It was so encouraging and uplifting to see the many helping hands and eager hearts diligently at work.  There were men, women, and children of all ages bustling around.  Tables and chairs were being set up, food was being prepped, and the various areas were being organized so neatly, like a brand-new box of crayons.

Through all of the rhythmic work, I kept glancing over at an elderly gentleman sitting at one of the tables.  I smiled.  He smiled.  I kept getting things done and moving around like the other worker bees.  He looked calm and peaceful, just sipping on his cup of water.  I wondered off and on who he might have come with.  This sweet man was the epitome of patience.  While his family members worked, he sat quietly, just observing everyone’s steady pace.  I smiled.  He smiled.

Time flew by with a hop-skip-and-jump and I realized that we’d been there for four hours already.  And…so had my patient friend.  About that time, my husband was setting out some placemats on the tables in this man’s area.

It was 2:00 pm at this point and the gentleman leaned over to quietly ask my husband, “Can you tell me when they are going to start serving the food?”




My husband reluctantly shared with this man that the picnic was the NEXT day.  MERCY, MERCY, MERCY!  Bless his heart!  Ugh.  The next day, I feverishly looked for my friend at the picnic because I wanted to buy him a plate.  I never saw him, but I sure do hope that he returns next year…on Sunday.  I want to thank him for his shining example of the precious gift of patience and I want to buy that man some food!

Waiting.  I’ve never seen anyone wait with such grace.

Here’s a funny that my friend, Mikey, sent my way:

A man scolded his 5 year-old son for being so unruly and the child rebelled against his father.  He got some of his clothes, his teddy bear, and his piggy bank and proudly announced, "I'm running away from home!"

The father calmly decided to look at the matter logically. "What if you get hungry?" he asked.

"Then I'll come home and eat!" bravely declared the child.

"And what if you run out of money?"

"I will come home and get some!" readily replied the child.

The man then made a final attempt, "What if your clothes get dirty?"

"Then I'll come home and let mommy wash them," was the reply.

The man shook his head and exclaimed, "This kid isn’t running away from home; he's going off to college!"

Yes, and after talking to all of my mommy friends with kiddos in college…this is the truth!  Some moms and dads can be found waiting.  Waiting for that call of joy that their child passed their first college exam.  Waiting for that tearful call because their son dearly misses momma’s cooking and daddy’s checkbook.  Waiting for that Facebook post of their homesick daughter smiling with a new friend.  Waiting for that strange-empty-nest-feeling to go away.  Waiting.

I’ll close by saying this - I’ll never forget that gentleman sitting at the table and I hope I don’t soon forget his model of patience.  If a human being can be that patient, I can only imagine how patient our loving God is with us. 

I envisioned God sitting there waiting – waiting for us to pray, waiting for us to forgive someone, waiting for us to use our gifts and talents, waiting for us to love like Him.

How long will we keep Him waiting?

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Photo Credit:  Ahborson from
I love it when people use their God-given talents.  I am especially in awe of those talents that seem so extraordinary to me.  One of those talents is that of woodworking.  I’ve seen the magic that some men and women can do with simple pieces of wood.  They can create cabinets, book shelves, beautiful furniture, tables, chairs, desks, benches, swings, and the list is endless!

About eight years ago, my husband and I assembled a large wooden playset in the yard for the kiddos.  Have you ever had the unique pleasure of doing that?  Well, let me tell you – if you can make it out of that project still married, you can make it through anything!  Ha!  There were gigantic boxes full of a gazillion pieces of wood, screws, nails, other random items, and a set of instructions. By the grace of God, that thing was eventually built.  However, during that time is when I developed a deep appreciation for all of those woodworkers out there.

Many times, I can’t even get a nail straight in the wall.  Wham!  Oops, it bent to the left a little bit.  Whack!  Let me try to make it straight again.  Nope.  Now, it’s bent to the right.  Grrrrrr.  Let me chunk this nail in the trash and start all over.  Don’t EVEN think about looking under the things hanging on my walls.  You will be dazed and confused by the quantity of nail holes.  Shhhh…don’t tell my husband.

How in the world do master woodworkers do it?  With all the measurements, precise cuts, intricate angles, hand-picked materials, perfect tools, and detailed schematics – I’m amazed!  Truly amazed. There was a website I found that said, “We sell plans so detailed that the projects practically build themselves.”  Now, THAT I’d like to see!

All of this talk about woodworking brings me to two stories that I’d like to share.  The first one will provoke some thought and the second one will probably give you a giggle or two.

Story #1 from Mikey’s Funnies:
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms, fell into conflict.  It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then, the long collaboration fell apart.  It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words, followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on the older brother’s door.  He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.  "I'm looking for a few days’ work," he said.  "Perhaps you would have some small jobs here and there.  Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother.  "I do have a job for you.  Look across the creek at that farm.  That's my neighbor.  In fact, it's my younger brother.  Last week, there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us.  Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better.  See that pile of lumber curing by the barn?  I want you to build me a fence, an 8-foot fence, so I won't need to see his place anymore.  That’ll cool him down, anyhow.”

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation.  Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.  The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing.  About sunset, when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer's eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped.  There was no fence there at all.  It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other!  It was a fine piece of work with handrails and all.  And the neighbor, his younger brother, was heading his way, with his hand outstretched.

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."  The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, hugging.  They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.  "No, wait!  Stay a few days.  I have a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

Story #2 about bridges:

A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer.  Suddenly, the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, “Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.”

Without hesitation, the man said, “Build a bridge to Hawaii, so I can drive over anytime I want.”

The Lord said, “Your request is very materialistic.  Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking - the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific; the concrete and steel it would take; it would nearly exhaust several natural resources!  I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things.  Take a little more time and think of something that would honor and glorify me.”

The man thought about it for a long time.  Finally, he said, “Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife.  For example, I want to know how she feels inside, what she’s thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says ‘nothing’s wrong,’ and how I can make a woman like her truly happy.”

The Lord replied, “Hmmmm - do you want two or four lanes on that bridge?” (Hee hee!)

We may not be able to figure each other out – why we do the things we do or don’t do or why we say the things we say or don’t say.  However, let’s try our best this week to build bridges instead of breaking them down or burning them completely.

We may not all be handy with wood, but I think that each of us has some woodworking talent within and that is for…building bridges.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!