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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Back-To-School Blues

Photo Credit:  Prawny from morgueFile.com
Are your kids singing the back-to-school blues?
Have you bought their supplies and brand-new shoes?
Forms to fill out and fees to pay,
The days have flown since the end of May.
They'll need to use the gifts God gave,
And try their best to behave!
With dance, gym, sports, and art,
The schedule's tight right from the start.
They'll learn so much throughout the year,
The kids have grown...is that a tear?
Let's pray for them along the way,
Let's love and care for them each day.
We need to start this year off right,
So, come to the museum on Saturday night!
We'll have Chick-fil-A and read my book,
They'll be golden keys...come take a look!
It's a Pajama Party, so don't miss out,
We'll have tons of fun, without a doubt!
Grab your tickets online today,
Since the back-to-school blues
Aren't
Here
To
Stay.

Hello Sunshines!  Join me for a Back-to-School Pajama Party at The Children's Discovery Museum this Saturday night (August 12th) from 6-8pm.  There will be a bit of magic, a reading from my book, Gabriel's Golden Key, and yummy Chick-n-Minis from Chick-fil-A!  It's breakfast for supper and all ticket proceeds benefit The Children's Discovery Museum.  I will be signing my books and giving away special golden keys with each book purchased as well. Please buy your tickets now at www.cdmgoldencrescent.com.  They are $8.00 each and include the delicious meal!

I hope you all have enjoyed your summer!  I will continue writing my Sips throughout the school year, but you'll hear from me a bit more sporadically since I'm a working momma now. But, as the inspiration hits, I'll be sure to share...share...share it!

I'll see you on Saturday night, Sunshines!  Bye for now.




Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Here's To A Non-Bummer-Summer

Photo Credit:  GatorTodd from morgueFile.com
Tis the season for moms, dads, and grads, no doubt!  You can almost reach out and touch the excitement in the air as students and teachers count down the last few days of this school year.  Children and parents everywhere are wondering just how their summer will be.  Will it be a non-bummer-summer?  Well, that’s up to us.  We choose.  I wrote a poem last May that I want to share again, with just a few tweaks: 

18 SUMMERS
Summertime has come, my friends,
The school year’s done, for here it ends.
What will we do to pass each day?
Some camps, vacation, work, and play?
Maybe a mission trip’s in the plan?
How ‘bout cross-country in a van?
Veg on the couch or hit the gym?
Will we bend our knees in prayer with Him?
Will we practice hoops and football throws?
Or water gardens in perfect rows?
Will we canoe or paint a scene?
Tackle the closets and finally clean?
Do some shopping or stay at home?
Travel nearby?  Go out and roam?
How much or little can we pack,
In that suitcase, bag, or sack?
Plan our days to the hour,
Or take some time to smell that flower?
It’s such a task to balance it all.
Have fun, work some…all before Fall.
We have 18 summers with our kids.
Will we have “should haves,” “could haves,” or “dids?”
From birth to grad day isn’t that long,
Life’s an adventure, a beautiful song.
Grab some fishing or swim at the beach.
Hike in the mountains while eating a peach.
Whatever you do, make it count.
18 summers – that is the amount.
Cuddle the kids, grab hugs and kisses.
Praise 2-point baskets.  Forget the misses.
Turn up the music.  Sing it loud.
Dance alone or in a crowd.
Amidst mosquitos and humid days,
Let’s thank God for morning rays.
Kids might whine that they’re bored,
Let’s try to remember to thank you, Lord,
For each hot day’s a gift from you.
18 summers – what will we do?
Celebrate our days or waste the time?
Spend some cash or not a dime.
Embrace this summer’s number, whatever it happens to be,
Summer 7, 10, 13 – these are the numbers for me.
The kiddos are growing up so fast,
Grab some shades - make memories to last!

Happy Summer, Sunshines!  Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a break from my writing schedule, as I work and spend some time with my family and friends.  I wish you all the best as you embrace your summer…whatever number you’re on.  Enjoy it to the fullest!  Here’s to a non-bummer-summer!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Age Is A Funny Thing

Photo Credit:  sophisticat from morgueFile.com
Today, I want to share a few funnies from my friend, Mikey, in honor of my baby brother’s birthday this past weekend, on May 13th.  My brother and I love to laugh, so here are some giggles – one joke per decade of your life, big guy!  Ha ha!  It’s hard to believe that my little bro is the BIG FOUR-OH!  We fought incessantly as kids, as my poor Mom and Dad can attest.  However, I could not be more proud of the absolutely amazing man you have become, Aaron!  Seriously.  You don’t even have to pay me a penny (inside joke) to say it, because I mean it!  Truly.  I am blessed to be your sister and friend.  Kisses and Hugs!  After 40 years, surely you’ll share your candy with me now?  Maybe?  Hee hee!

JOKE # 1
Age is a funny thing.

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids?  If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?"  "I'm 4 and a half."  You're never 36 and a half, but you are 4 and a half going on 5!  That's the key.  You get into your teens and now they can't hold you back.  You jump to the next number.  "How old are you?"  "I'm gonna be 16."  You could be 12, but you're GONNA be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life happens: you become 21.  Even the words sound like a ceremony - you BECOME 21.  YES!  But then you turn 30.  Ooohhh, what happened here?  Makes you sound like bad milk.  He TURNED.  We had to throw him out.  There's no fun now.  What's wrong?  What changed?

Then you're PUSHING 40.  Stay over there because it's all slipping away...

You REACH 50.  My dreams are gone...

You MAKE IT to 60.  Whew!  I didn't think I'd make it.

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, you're PUSHING 40, you REACH 50, you MAKE IT to 60, and by then you've built up so much speed, you HIT 70!

After that, it's a day-by-day thing.  You HIT Wednesday.  You get into your 80s.  You HIT lunch.

I mean my grandmother won't even buy green bananas: "Well it's an investment, you know, and maybe a bad one at that."

And it doesn't end there.  When you’re into the 90's, you start going backwards:  I was JUST 92.  Then a strange thing happens if you make it over 100.  You become a little kid again: I'm 100 and a half!

Age is a funny thing.

JOKE # 2
An old geezer who was a retired farmer for a long time became very bored in retirement.  He decided to open a medical clinic.  He put up a sign outside that said: "Dr. Geezer's Clinic. Get your treatment for $500, and if not cured, get back $1,000!"

Dr. Young, who was positive that this old geezer didn't know beans about medicine, thought this would be a great opportunity to make $1,000.  So, he visited Dr. Geezer's clinic.

Dr. Young: "Dr. Geezer, I've lost all taste in my mouth.  Can you please help me?"

Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient's mouth."

Dr. Young: “Aaagh!! -- This is gasoline!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations!  You've got your taste back.  That will be $500."

Dr. Young gets annoyed and goes back after a couple of days of figuring out how to recover his money.

Dr. Young: "I’ve lost my memory.  I can’t remember anything."

Dr. Geezer: "Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient's mouth."

Dr. Young: "Oh, no you don't, that’s gasoline!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations!  You've got your memory back!  That will be $500."

Dr. Young (after losing $1000) leaves angrily and comes back after several more days.

Dr. Young: "My eyesight has become weak --- I can hardly see anything!"

Dr. Geezer: "Well, I don't have any medicine for that so here's your $1000 back," and handed him a $10 bill.

Dr. Young: "But this is only $10!"

Dr. Geezer: "Congratulations!  You got your vision back!  That will be $500."

JOKE # 3
A new business was opening and one of the owner's friends wanted to send flowers for the occasion.  They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card.  It said, "Rest in Peace."

The owner was angry and called the florist to complain.  After he told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist said, "Sir, I'm really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry, you should imagine this: somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, 'Congratulations on your new location.’”

JOKE # 4
John was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place.  Looking up toward heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me.  If you find me a parking place, I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up beer."

Just then, a parking place miraculously appeared!  John looked up again and said, "Never mind.  I found one!"

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines, and Happy 40th Birthday, Aaron!  I love you!  Bye for now!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

M-Day Is Here!

It’s May and M-Day is here!
It’s time for mothers to cheer!
A day to shine and celebrate,
Be pampered a bit and sleep in late.
What does the dash in M-Day mean?
It surely means “others” as I have seen.
The dash is important.  Her gift is serving.
Tell her she’s special - this you’re observing.
Moms give of themselves three-sixty-five,
They sacrifice so their children can thrive.
They launder the clothes, prepare the meals,
Always aware how everyone feels.
Some sleepless nights spent in worry,
Her taxi service is sure in a hurry.
Long to-do lists may not be complete,
But, her love is great – from head to feet!
When a child is sad or lonely and scared,
A mom knows this because she has cared.
When a child is happy and full of joy,
Mom knows this too, about her girl or boy.
There are new moms and moms with quite a few years,
Both of them will experience tears.
Tears of joy and tears of doubt,
Together, we learn.  That’s what it’s about.
We learn from children. They learn from us.
Sometimes we’ll agree.  Sometimes we’ll fuss.
We’ll pray for insight, guidance, and more,
Along the way, with memories galore!
As long as we live, our babies they’ll be,
Our love runs deep and this you’ll see!
Most of “mother” is “other” – it’s true,
So, love your mom, whatever you do!
Tell her you’re thankful for her time,
Draw her a picture.  Write her a rhyme.
Make her dinner with her favorite dessert,
Maybe some flowers or a new shirt?
Or no gift at all and just be good,
Get along without fighting, please, if you could.
God blessed this world with angels we call,
Mother or Mommy – she loves with all!
Happy M-Day, ladies!  I’ll say a prayer,
And thank God for you, for being there!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines, and Happy Mother’s Day!  Bye for now!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Greatest of Gifts

Photo Credit:  dhester from morgueFile.com
My 10-year-old daughter has been hard at work on an ancestry project for school.  She chose to research Poland since my mom’s dad was born there.  She’s been interviewing my mom, aunt, and uncle to discover some of the pieces of our Polish puzzle.  She’s learning about foods, customs, games, traditions, jobs, holidays, and the language.

My daughter has investigated which family members still live there and why my grandfather came to America all those years ago.  I have enjoyed listening to her excitement as she relays her findings and shares all the stories with me.  Being a little foodie herself, she has especially loved learning all about the delicious dishes that my grandpa used to prepare.  I know she probably still won’t dive into a heaping bowl of sauerkraut or cabbage rolls, but it’s been a fun learning experience all the same.

One of the areas that I’ve truly appreciated has been the language part.  We found out that “Ja Cie Kocham” is “I love you” and “Czesc” is “Hello.”  “Jak sie masz” is “How are you?” and then we stumbled upon a word that she’ll never forget, I’m sure.  That word is BRAT.  Do you know what it means?  Yep!  It means brother.  She thought that was interestingly funny.  Hee hee!  We all laughed…except her brother, of course.

Anyway, I love languages.  All kinds.  I love to hear families speak to each other in their native language or mother tongue.  It’s fascinating to me.  I wish I could speak many different languages, so I will add that to my bucket list today!

In the meantime, I was inspired to write a poem after working with my daughter on this project.  Here goes:

Do you speak French, Italian, Spanish, too?
Can you say “I love you” and “How do you do?”
Do you get lost when listening to Greek?
Are you confident with language?  Or tongue-in-cheek?
Can you rattle off German and Polish as well?
Do you speak Chinese as clear as a bell?
Is Czech the one that you know best?
Are words so confusing you need to rest?
The great news is, we don’t have to speak…
Everyone’s language to get what we seek.
You see, there is something small that can bring…
Happiness to all.  Hearts will just sing!
It’s free to give and to receive.
It’s the greatest of gifts, I do believe.
You carry it with you wherever you go.
Some keep it hidden.  Some let it show.
The joy is great if you wear it awhile,
Every language gets it.  It’s simply a smile!

I realized that everyone smiles in the same language.  I love it!  I encourage you to share a smile with someone today – a friend, family member, or complete stranger.  You’ll make their day and I dare to say that you’ll make your own day better, too!

It’s the greatest of gifts.  Your smile.  Your Polish-German-Spanish-French-Greek-Chinese-Czech-Italian smile!  Yes, that’s the one.  Share it with your “brat” or sister!  Ha!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Could This Be The Year?

Some gutsy guests have decided to move into our home this Spring.  Well, not exactly move INTO our home, but rather move ONTO the front porch.  These valiant visitors have found our porch to be the perfect, cozy spot to settle down in.  Who are these daring little guests?  They are…“The Swallow Family.” 

These bold birdies are bound and determined to move in.  My husband didn’t really like the idea of them pooping up the front porch and making a muddy mess everywhere, so he and the kiddos made a makeshift scarecrow.  They constructed it out of a cardboard box and palm tree branches.  The girls colored a funny face on the cardboard box, wrote “Stay away!” and stuck the branches in the top of it.

Well, The Swallow Family just laughed and laughed.  I heard them.  In fact, I hear them chuckling now as I type this Sips.  Actually, they temporarily moved to the back porch.  Yep.  I hear them unpacking at this very moment.  They’re staying.  However, did you know that one of the family members was insistent on taking up residence on the front porch?  That winged warrior was brave enough to make his nest INSIDE the “scary” cardboard box!  Uh-huh.  NO FEAR!  None.  Seriously.

I just have to giggle because I admire the birds’ courage, fearless motivation, and never-give-up-attitude.  My husband has been battling this audacious feather family for a few weeks now.  Mr. and Mrs. Swallow got me to thinking more about fear though and how fear can hold many of us back from doing the things we really want or need to do.

So, of course, I was inspired by “Sparrow Spunk” and decided to write a poem.  Here goes:

Could this be the year?
Could this be the year to tackle fear?
Take a big breath and make it deep,
Let go of the fears that we may keep.
Make that appointment.  Go on that trip.
Cringe a bit and bite that lip.
Find a way to take that class,
Study hard and you will pass.
Go for a check-up.  Take that job.
Find the peace that fear does rob.
Mend a friendship.  Take a test.
Harmony is found when souls find rest.
“Don’t be afraid,” the Lord does say.
He’ll be with us along the way.
It won’t be easy.  Fear is rough,
But God does know we are enough.
Pray for strength.  He will provide.
Tackle fear.  He’s by our side.
Public speaking, heights, and such,
Flying, tight spaces, thunder – too much?
Doctors, dentists, snakes, spiders?
Dig down deep because we’re fighters!
We will doubt and that’s okay.
We’re not perfect in any way.
Go ahead – laugh.  Maybe cry.
Whatever you do, just please try.
“Increase my faith,” we asked the Lord,
And all His love…out He poured.
He’ll send friends in fearful places.
He’ll send hope through many faces.
Something or someone hold us back?
Many things can get us off-track.
Let it go and let them be.
Without fear, we’re stronger, see.
Fear just limits and takes away,
The beauty God blesses in each new day.
Take a chance and dive on in,
It’s where we’re going, not where we’ve been.
Right now, we’re ready to do great things.
Fear is too heavy for our wings.
Ready to soar?  Ready to fly?
Fear likes to stay, but say good-bye!
Could this be the year to tackle fear?
I think the answer is yes, my dear.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

You Are Enough

Photo Credit:  anitapeppers from morgueFile.com
God needs us.  This I know.
He has ground to till and seeds to sow.
Have you ever thought God can’t use you?
Far from perfect.  Mistakes we do.
Our feelings of doubt and those of fear,
Can hinder God’s work all through the year.
His knock on our door may be gentle or loud.
You’ll hear it alone or when in a crowd.
Can you be the one to help God out?
Be available.  That’s what it’s about.
Do you question your gifts, your talents, and more?
Be open to see what God has in store.
He believes in us more than we see.
Saying yes to Him is truly the key.
He doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called.
He doesn’t care if you’re hairy or completely bald.
If you’re short or tall or maybe between,
A seasoned helper at times or fresh and green.
No matter your age, background, or money,
If you’re quiet, calm, upbeat, or funny.
He needs us.  He wants us.  He’ll bless us for giving,
Ourselves to Him – instruments while living.
Am I enough?  Are you enough?
He’ll take us all – the tender and tough.
Temperaments differ.  Personalities vary.
He needs us – the single and those who marry.
On this earth, we’re His feet and hands,
There’s much to do in all His lands.
We are clay in His care, ready to mold.
He needs the young, middle-aged, and old.
Need a sign?  Well, this is it.
It’s time to take action.  Don’t just sit.
You’re enough.  I’m enough.  We are enough, I’ll say.
God is calling us in a very special way.
Thank you, in advance, for your yes to His call.
Don’t be afraid.  He’ll pick us up when we fall.
Let’s spread His love the ways we can,
To every child, every woman, and also each man.
Are we overly sensitive?  A bit too rough?
Worry not, my friend, because YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dancing With Daddy

Daddy-Daughter Dance - April 2016
My girls received a special invitation a few days ago.  It was the invite they were waiting for all year long!  The invitation is for the Annual Daddy-Daughter Dance at their school.  This year’s theme is Enchanted Garden and I’m certain the place will be blooming with charm, beauty, and memory-making!

There are only 11 days until the big night arrives!  The girls are already discussing hair, nails, and dresses.  They love the thought of hanging out with their dolled-up and decked-out girlfriends, but the main thing is time with Dad.  They have Daddy all to themselves.  They’ll dance until their feet hurt and twirl until they’re dizzy, I’m sure!

I wrote a poem last April that was inspired by the epic Daddy-Daughter Dance, so I want to share that again with you today:

THE DADDY-DAUGHTER DANCE
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…

I want to take this time to also thank the amazing people who host this event and make it such an incredibly memorable night for daddies and daughters!  On behalf of all the mommies, I want you to know that you are truly appreciated!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines, and may you have a loving, joy-filled Easter with your family!  Bye for now.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Point A to Point B

Photo Credit:  Ladyheart from morgueFile.com
Point A to Point B may not be a straight line,
If it is or it isn’t, the path is still mine.
It’s not how or when we get to Point B,
Who we meet, what we learn - THAT matters, you see.
Sometimes our journey has curves and bends,
How we view the turns – on us, it depends.
The road can be bumpy or smooth on some days,
Grab the wheel, hold on, embracing each phase.
Do we set goals and follow our dreams?
Or have we lost sight, to some, it seems?
Each person, each moment, all have a part,
Of the adventure we’re on – a piece of our heart.
The ups and the downs, confusion, and doubt,
The glass we view is what it’s about.
Is it half-empty or maybe half-full?
Experience from both is what we will pull.
Successes and struggles create who we are,
To better our vision, more clear by far.
What is God’s plan?  What is His will?
Have we prayed for guidance when going uphill?
Life can be messy and that is true,
But, never give up, whatever you do!
We have gifts and talents unique to us,
Find them and use them.  Don’t worry and fuss.
Be confident you were created for more,
Do you hear God knocking?  Open the door.
He’ll take our hands, you and me,
And help us travel Point A to Point B!

A sweet high school friend of mine, Alison, traveled the winding road from Point A to Point B.  She pursued her passion of becoming an Interior Designer, by way of a few other credentials after her name.  I was inspired by her story, so I wanted to share it with you today:


I have always loved houses.  I remember vividly, a conversation with my Dad before going off to college.  He'd asked me what I wanted to study, and I answered something like historic preservation of houses.  In his own, Dad-only-wants-the-best-for-you way, he suggested I pursue something a little more likely to offer, say, a job when I got out of school. 

When I visit with peers and potential clients, they often ask how I got from point A to B.  Let's just say it was a circuitous route.  It seems a bit self-indulgent to post, but my journey might offer some insight to others who may be searching for their True Path, so I thought I'd share.

When I landed at The University of Texas, (hookem!) I knew it had a renowned School of Architecture, but didn't think it was for me.  I ended up majoring in Nutrition, and despite sharing the (dismally-named Home Economics) building with the Interior Design students, I never knew Interior Design existed as a profession.  Forgive me, but I thought it was a place-holder degree for women waiting for their MRS.  Little did I know!   After graduating, I went on to work in medical sales.  It was a good living.  I enjoyed meeting with patients, but I just didn't feel a connection to the sales aspect.  After about five years, I decided to leave the business.  

At the time, I was dating my soon-to-be fiancĂ©.  When I told him I was thinking about leaving sales, he (who was just finishing up law school), suggested I get a law degree.   

So, I did what anyone trying to find a fitting career does - wrack up a lot of debt!  In the meantime, my new husband and I were renovating our first home - a 1920s bungalow. Maybe I should've seen it as a sign that I was WAY more interested in the space planning and finish selections of my house, than I was in keeping up with my studies!  Ultimately, law school was a good experience.  I made great friends, but by the time I earned my JD, I think I knew in my heart I didn't want to practice law.  But who wants to admit the last three years were potentially a very expensive mistake?  

I floundered for a few years as we moved out of state, started a family, and moved overseas to Brazil.  There's a sort of limbo you go into when you first move to a foreign country.  You know you're not in Kansas anymore, so to speak, but you're also not acclimated to the new culture.  It was in this time of semi-seclusion that I first learned of design blogs.  I pored over blogs written by people who were schooled in Interior Design, were practicing it, and writing about it in a way that showed it in its true, professional light.  It was one of the biggest lightning bolt moments I've ever had - I knew it was what I was meant to do.

I started a blog as a way to channel my thoughts and inspiration about interiors, but being overseas, wasn't sure how to make my way forward with actually becoming a designer.  I used the time in Brazil to absorb as much design as possible - the Country offers a fantastic study of classic mid-century design, mixed with cultural aplomb.  There's no doubt that living in Brazil significantly impacted my aesthetic, honing my preference for eclectic design.  It was, in itself, an education in design.

When we returned to the States, I focused on settling our family, and personalizing our home.  Once again, I felt that rush of excitement of having a design project to dig into. Truth be told, I probably crave renovations more than straight up decorating, but am happy as a clam doing both!  It gave me time to think about how I wanted to pursue a design business in an area where I have no friends or family to do those "freebie" design projects for to build a portfolio.  I decided there was NO WAY I was going back to get yet another degree, but still wanted some street cred, so I enrolled in Northern Virginia Community College's Interior Decorating Certification program.  It's a great program that provides sound fundamentals in the design process, and was just what I wanted in terms of credentials.  

Sometimes, I feel like I'm getting such a late start, but I also can't imagine coming to the table with any different experience.  My story comes through in my work, and I dare say, will ultimately make me a stronger designer.

You can find Alison in her beautifully cozy, decked out and jazzed up, corner of the web at Alison Giese Interiors.  I’m so very proud of you, Alison!  You found your Point B and I can see how happy you are using your gifts and talents!  Keep shining, my Dietitian-Saleswoman-Lawyer-Designer Friend!  Woo-hoo!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I Love You More

Photo Credit:  pippalou from morgueFile.com
A little girl ran to her mom, exclaiming, “Mom, I love you!”
She hugged her tight with all her might and said, “I REALLY do!”
The mom knelt down and held her child.  She sang, “I love you MORE!”
“Impossible!” the girl replied, “Love YOU a billion four!”
“I love you more than all my toys, my games, and even candy!
I love you more than my stuffed bears - more than my favorite, Sandy.
I love you to the stars and moon and planets in the sky.
I love you so, each day and night,” she yawned with a sigh.
The mom picked up her precious angel - sat her on her lap.
She rocked her in the rocking chair, so they could take a nap.
With each rock, back and forth, she smelled her child’s sweet hair.
She held her close, heard her breathe, and felt the loving care.
As the child drifted off, she whispered, “Mom, I love you.”
The mom responded with a kiss, “Sweetheart, I love you, too.”
The mom then prayed, “Thank you for this child You gave to me.
Do I deserve a love like ours?  It’s so deep you see.
How blessed I feel to have such a special gift as this.
You’ve given me so much, Lord.  I love to reminisce.”
The Lord assured, “Dear daughter - my children, I adore.
Actually, if you want to know…
I’m the One who loves you
MORE.”

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Just A Letter

Photo Credit:  Mikey's Funnies
It’s “just a letter” – you may think,
Simple words – paper, ink.
Seems old-fashioned, some may say,
Could it really make their day?
A letter can be kissed or maybe catch some tears,
A letter can be saved and last for many years.
A letter can be tucked away or possibly displayed,
It can be read on happy days or even when dismayed.
Letter writing is an art, some may feel is lost,
But, special letters will be kept, never to be tossed.
Take a moment, grab a pen.  Make somebody smile,
The difference “just a letter” makes truly is worthwhile!

I hope that all of my Sunshines enjoyed the Spring Break with family and friends!  My kiddos weren’t quite ready to go back, but ready or not, Monday arrived!  I also hope that this short little poem I wrote has planted a seed that might blossom into a letter today!  Why?  Because my friend, Mikey, does an inspiring letter project every Easter and I want to share those details with you!

From Mikey:

Each year, our wonderful Funnies readers help with a very cool Easter project.  I'm asking you to be a part as well - either with your family, church, youth group, school, etc.  It can make a significant impact on those who participate!

Every Easter Eve morning (Saturday), our family goes to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (Boot Camp) in San Diego.  We - and many other folks - deliver patriotic Easter bags to each of the 100 sick and injured Marine recruits on base.  Our goal is to bring cheer to these special recruits on Easter weekend and to show them how much we support them and stand behind their determination to become a United States Marine.

You can't believe what this does for these guys.  They wake up that morning to what will most likely be just another boring day as they wait to heal and return to training or be sent home.  When they come back from morning chow and see us waiting there with big smiles and hugs, well, the transformation is amazing!

You can be a BIG part of that impact - in a very simple way!

These patriotic Easter bags are filled with items that have been donated from various sources.  The recruits receive phone cards, envelopes, stamps, note pads, and pens.  But the important gift in this bag is a bundle of letters that we collect from children and adults all over the country.  Last year, each recruit had 30 letters in their bag.  That's over 3,000 letters!

Would you please help by collecting letters and/or drawings from children of all ages?  We also need letters from adults of all ages.  The subject can be patriotic, holiday wishes, or even a simple thank you for serving our country.  It can be from schools (public or private), Sunday schools, clubs, retirement homes, and just your own family.

Following are simple guidelines for the letters:
- Notes, letters, pictures, and cards accepted.
- Salutation should be "Dear Recruit".
- Send all the letters/drawings in one package to the address below.
- NO personal return addresses.
- Mark the back of each note with a classroom sticker or stamp with the school address, if they desire possible responses from recruits.
- We ask that you not use glitter.

Please mail your letters to arrive by March 27, 2017 to the following address:
Marine Moms Online Easter Project
c/o Mike Atkinson
3755 Avocado Blvd.
Box 402
La Mesa, CA 91941

Thanks in advance for your support of our project.  We can make the Easter season just a little better for these recruits who SO desire to serve our country!
Thanks!
Mikey

Yes, since I took a bit of time off these last two weeks, I see that the deadline is HERE!  Soooo…..can you grab a pen, marker, or crayon and jot down a little note of encouragement today?  I thank you and I’m sure that all of the recruits on the receiving end of your love thank you too!  I assure you that they won’t think, “Oh…it’s just a letter.”

May God bless you abundantly for sharing your gift of time!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Knock-Knock

Photo Credit:  mconnors from morgueFile.com
Over the weekend, my seven-year-old daughter came up to me with a knock-knock-joke.  I thought it was going to be like every other knock-knock-joke, but it wasn’t.  This one was different and it went like this:

Daughter:  Mom, will you remember me in a second?
Me:  Yes.
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a minute?
Me:  Yes.
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a day?
Me:  Yes (wondering where all of this is going…)
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a month?
Me:  Yes, of course.
Daughter:  Will you remember me in a year?
Me:  Absolutely, I will!
Daughter:  Knock, knock!
Me:  Who’s there?
Daughter:  Hey!  It’s ME!  You said you would remember me!
Me:  (tickling her just to hear her sweet laughter)  YOU!  You got me!  All jokes aside, you know I will NEVER, NEVER, EVER forget you!
Daughter:  I know, Mom.  (smiles, giggles, and runs off to play)

One of the readings at Mass over the weekend just so happened to be about Jesus never forgetting us.  It was from Isaiah and it’s one of my favorites.  I just love the simple song that Carey Landry wrote, inspired by Isaiah 49:14-15.

“I will never forget you, My people.
I have carved you on the palm of My hand.
I will never forget you.
I will not leave you orphaned.
I will never forget My own.
Does a mother forget her baby?
Or a woman, the child within her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
Yes, even if these forget,
I will never forget my own.”

Isn’t it such a great feeling when someone remembers you?  That somehow, in some way, you made a difference in their life or day and they remember you.  I love it! 

In fact, just last week, I received the sweetest little note from Ms. Wilson, the librarian at St. Philip’s in El Campo.  St. Philip’s is the very first school author visit I did back in November and I will never forget it.  Her precious note indicates that she won’t forget it either.  I’d like to share her words with you today:

“Hello!  I hope your new year has been outstanding so far!  I just wanted to thank you again for coming and reading to our students!  Also, I wanted to say thanks for your donation to our school.  I used the funds to purchase a book called, “A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country.”  My thoughts were that it’s a book about women doing important things, and you (as a female author) are doing important, special things, too!  Thanks again so much, and let me know when your next book comes out!”

Yes, this absolutely made my day!  She remembered me and she let me know.

Do we let others know how special they are to us?  Do we assure them that we’ll never forget them?  Are we blessed to have one or two or twenty special people in our lives that we will always remember?  Then, let’s tell them.  Let’s show them.

I’m often reminded of how short life is.  There isn’t an unlimited amount of time to spend with those we love so dearly.  There have been too many sudden deaths lately that I’ve heard about.  It makes my heart ache for the loved ones left behind. 

There was one death recently of a man that I never actually met.  But, I couldn’t help but notice the endless outpouring of loving facebook posts about him.  His visitation even had to be held at our local community center!  Wow!  That in itself speaks volumes. 

His name was Bobby Nicholson Sr. (aka Coach Nic) I read soooo many beautiful tributes about him that it’s impossible to share them all here.  However, what I took home was the fact that his life genuinely touched thousands of people.  He coached.  He mentored.  He inspired.  He educated.  He influenced.  He cared.  He led.  He loved.

Apparently, he also gave the very best motivational speeches ever!  It sounds like he was an absolutely AMAZING man who left an unbelievable legacy of Cobra pride and helped shape and impact countless lives along the way.  I hear he had a great sense of humor and gave equally as great hugs.  I pray for all those who miss him deeply.

In the words of Isaiah…so many will obviously never ever forget you, Coach!

In the midst of sadness, I look for comfort.  I find some peace in the fact that when this incredible gentleman and others who have left this earth approach the Heavenly Gates, Jesus will be waiting on the other side. 

When they say, “Knock-knock!”…Jesus won’t say, “Who’s there?”  Instead, He’ll say, “Of course I remember you!  I could never forget you!  Come on in!”

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  No Sips for 2 weeks, but I’ll be back soon!  Bye for now!