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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Present of Presents

Photo Credit:  RainbowhART from
Hello there, Sunshines!  Happy 2017!  I’ve missed you!  I hope that your holiday season was packed with all the people and things that you love.  Did Santa bring you everything on your wish list this year?  Did you get the latest and greatest phone, tablet, or notebook?  What about those must-have kitchen gadgets or groovy photography supplies?  Did you find a big ole TV under your tree?  How about that drum set you longed for since you were a kid?  A new gaming system possibly?  Hunting and fishing gizmos?  Other cool thingamabobs, doodads, and devices?  Well, maybe, just maybe, you got THE present of all presents this year?

However your Christmas turned out, I truly hope it was sprinkled with a bit of peace, love, hope, joy, health, and happiness.  Each of my children surprised me with thoughtful gifts that I’m eager to tell you about today.

My seven-year-old daughter made me a stack of coupons and wrapped them up in festive Christmas paper.  These eighteen coupons are awesome because of the great love behind them.  What was written on the coupons you ask?  Here goes: 
  • Take my bath first without complaining.
  • Don’t say, “I’m bored.”
  • Pack my own lunch.
  • Brush my own teeth.
  • Help clean the dinner table.
  • Make you smile.
  • Make you laugh.
  • Go to bed on time.
  • Massage your back.
  • Help with dinner.
  • Say, “I love you.”
  • Write a letter to you.
  • Draw a picture of whatever you want.
  • Don’t bug you.
  • Pick out my clothes by myself.
  • Do it the first time you ask.
  • Give you a hug and a kiss.
  • Be patient.

Priceless.  Yes, I’m going to keep them forever and possibly make copies of them so I can use them over and over!

My ten-year-old daughter bought me the softest stuffed monkey in the world.  She bought it with her own money at a Christmas store at her school.  The monkey is red and red is my favorite color.  I love monkeys too, so this was perfectly perfect!  She knows me.  She gets me.

My thirteen-year-old son wrote a beautiful piece entitled, “Where I’m From.”  I’m so proud of it that I must share it with you:

“I’m from the smallest town that has the biggest heart in Texas.  A place where you can faintly hear a train whistle as you drift off to sleep.  I’m from a place where oak trees surround the house like a wall guarding a fort.  From fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  A place where love is shared all around.  I’m from fresh baked cinnamon rolls and watching Saturday football.  Tossing the pig skin to hitting buzzer beaters.  From floatin’ the Frio on a hot summer day to setting the hook and reelin’ them in on my Shimano and Lagoon.  Sitting back and relaxing on my Grandma’s front porch.  I’m from Russell and Heather.  From the old green Chevy pulling in at 5:30pm every day and the sounds of keys clicking as stories are being written.  From two sisters arguing in the back seat.  Hearing “Get out of my room!” or “Clean off the table.”  And in the darkness of my mom’s closet, there is a faint glow of happiness from the scrapbooks that hold old photos that will one day emerge to be shared and cherished with family and friends.”

Oh yes, I cried.

Along with these precious and thoughtful gifts from my children, I did get THE present of presents.  Well, actually I need to spell that last word differently.  I got the present of presence.  Yes, “presence” is a gift.

Presents are great, but PRESENCE can be life-changing!  Do you find comfort or joy by just being in someone’s presence?  Even without words being spoken, do you feel unbelievably loved just by being near a certain someone?  Do you somehow feel brave or happier when you are with them?  How in the world did I ever find the courage to take my very first plane trip this past December?  It was the strength I found in the presence of my family and friends who were with me.  Flying was one of my greatest fears and I conquered it with the help of presence (and Bonine, of course!). Ha!

I also had the magnificent opportunity to visit with the amazing and talented Ingra Sparkman for an interview on her 365 Victoria project page.  I’m Day 357 if you want to check it out.  It’s such an inspiring project!  Ingra is a biographer, photographer, and momma.  She’s hilarious, witty, compassionate, and has a heart of gold filled with love for all those around her.  I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet this incredibly motivated woman without the wonderful gift of presence.

Presence.  Let’s be more mindful this new year of being fully present when we’re with the people who mean the most to us.  We’re not promised tomorrow, so let’s be present today.

Before I close, I know that many of us have made some sort of New Year’s resolution, right?  That’s what people do in January.  We set goals.  Maybe we’ll make healthier choices, exercise more, worry less, sleep more, fight less, be positive, be organized, save money, and pray more.

Well, Father Bentil wants us to add something to our list of resolutions.  Maybe we won’t make and break this particular resolution in January.  He suggests adding the following prayer, “Lord, help me to be more loving.”  It’s a good one!

So, in 2017, I say we treasure the gift of presence and we make our best efforts to be more loving to others.  We can do it!  It’s possible!  No dieting or exercise required!  Hee hee!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!  Bye for now.

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