Create Your Own Sunshine!

image     Monday’s have always gotten a bad rap. Everyone dreads them. No one looks forward to them like they do Friday’s. It marks the end of two days dedicated to doing whatever it is you wish. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Monday’s are a privilege. They are another opportunity to wake up and experience a glorious new day. I know you’re thinking..”How can I look forward to the daily grind?” There is nothing exciting about five days of the same old routine. I used to be like a lot of you. Watching the clock while the minute hand seems broken because you are certain this day will never end.

      Several years ago, I worked as a mailroom courier at a local bank operations center. My day consisted of driving around to different bank branches and delivering mail as well as picking up other materials. I enjoyed this job very much because I got to see different people. But I knew this was not my calling. It was not what I was meant to do. It was however where I was supposed to be at that particular time.  

      While working there, a fellow co-worker of mine, an older gentlemen with big bifocals and Grandpa-like qualities, dubbed me “The Sunshine Girl”. Every afternoon for two years, this man would bust through the doors of my office and make hisself known by saying as loudly as he could, “There’s the sunshine girl!” It wasn’t until years later that I realized this mans kind demeanor went with him wherever he would go and his happy attitude was a ray of light all of its own. As I was sucked into the boring ho-hum of my work, this man brightened my day simply by spreading a little sunshine to whomever he came across.

      About a year ago, I ran across my friend in the grocery store. Time had obviously taken a toll on him and his health had deteriorated tremendously. I went up to him and his sweet wife and the first thing he said to me was, “Hello Sunshine!” He still had a big grin on that old familiar face and his words warmed my heart. For it seemed while he was spreading sunshine in my life, I was also a small ray in his. 

      Yes, Monday’s are hard and we often feel as if a dark cloud is hanging overhead. But we must choose to shine wherever we go. Each day of the week is another chance to be a light in someone’s life and Monday’s are no exception. It’s an opportunity to embrace another day as a gift and do what the Lord has put us on Earth to do. So, choose to radiate sunshine today! It’s like medicine to the soul. And who couldn’t use a little extra Vitamin D? 

Raising Our Children In Today’s Culture

        A quick scan of the news or briefly flipping through the local newspaper is enough to send a parent into hiding with their children. The world has become a dark and sinister place and can be down right frightening at times. Parents are afraid to send their children to school. People are afraid to go and do simple things such as pick up groceries or go see a movie. There is an uneasy feeling in the air. You may have even asked yourself, “What will happen next?” As a new mom, I have become increasingly more alarmed by the encounters my son may have to face as he grows in life. With the type of society we live in today, I find myself pondering the question..”How do we raise our children in today’s culture?”                     

   With crime rates and violence at an all time high, it’s easy to feel the pressure of it all weighing on your heart. Many times circumstances are beyond our control and we are left feeling hopeless. There is a spiritual battle being waged daily against motherhood and the hearts of our children. But you can rest easy, friend! The Bible has a solution for everything! We are told: 

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So powerful! This verse reminds us that  raising good and wholesome children begins in the home. By setting a vision for our sons and daughters lives, we are laying the foundation for them to create their own vision for themselves later on. Train up your children with kindness, positivity, faith, and love! The result will be a happy and confident child that meets the ways of the world with the morals you ingrained in them. 

The Hands That Rock The Cradle

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    Today while folding the babies clothes, I stopped for a moment and just stared at my hands. My fingers are awkward and tired. They haven’t seen a manicure in I don’t know how long and I’ve basically given up the thought of getting one anytime soon. Today these hands have:

  • packed my husbands suitcase for an overnight trip
  • changed the babies diaper
  • fed the baby a morning bottle
  • fed the baby his morning cereal
  • prepared myself breakfast
  • played pat-a-cake
  • got the baby’s bag together to go visit my mom
  • changed another diaper
  • bathed the baby, brushed his hair and teeth
  • semi-dressed myself
  • half put makeup on
  • rocked the baby for a nap
  • woke the baby up
  • drove him to my mom and dads
  • drove back home
  • washed clothes
  • folded clothes
  • took out trash
  • stocked the babies supply closet
  • fixed lunch

and that’s just the first half of my day. Should I continue? 

   Picking up toys, wiping runny noses, washing dirty dishes, changing poopy diapers, and cleaning crumbs out of every nook and cranny is inevitable..unless you are “Supermom” and just in case you are, please tell me what your secret is! It’s easy to pick a mother out of a crowd…just look at her hands. They are the ones that usually have chipped nail polish that’s pushing a buggy full of things that are for everyone other than herself while holding hands with the cutest baby boy who is screeching loud enough for everyone on the other side of the store to hear! Yes, I might have been describing myself just then.

   By looking at the palms of a mothers hands, the daily demands that her hands face are evident. Yet what some may fail to see are the willingness that God designed these hands with. The strength to keep going when she’s too tired to pick up another toy. The super hero power of getting a knotted shoelace untied. The ability to pry open your child’s crocodile strength jaws when they’ve managed to place a pen top in their mouth.  What I see are the tiniest hands that intertwine their fingers around yours and never want to let go. When I see dirty bottles and dishes, I see that I am blessed to feed my family. When I see the toys scattered and the laundry mounting, I know I’m blessed with a place to call home. When I see my husbands muddy work boots by the door, I know I’m lucky to be married to someone who provides for his family and leads by example.

    These hands are the ones that reached down to feel every butterfly kick when my baby was still being formed in my womb. The ones that rock his precious soul to sleep at night. The ones that held my husbands tight as we said “I do” and began a life together. The ones that pick fresh flowers to grace the table we gather around as a family. If you look at your hands, you may see rough around the edges. I encourage you to look closer. Because the two hands that rock the cradle are the hands that change the world.

Everyday is Worth Celebrating

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     Yesterday afternoon as I sat at a red light, I watched as car after car sped past. Each person looked as if they were on some sort of personal mission to get where they were going as quickly as possible. In that moment, it hit me. Why are we always in such a hurry??

    The light changed to green and I headed in the direction of our home. I looked to my left and was awestruck by the most beautiful sunset that was just dipping below the horizon. I wondered to myself how many other people had stopped for a moment out of the hustle and bustle of their day to appreciate this amazing view. The sky was a stunning array of blues and pinks and looked like a canvas painting. I glance in the rearview mirror at E giving me a toothy grin. He is kicking his feet up in the air and babbling something that sounds similar to “Mama” and it makes my heart explode into like a million pieces.

    Before my son was born, I made a personal commitment to myself and the unborn life inside me, that I would soak up every sweet moment and enjoy every single thing. Even the dirty diapers and midnight feedings! That I would never become so busy that I missed out on smiles, laughs, or important milestones in his life.

   Jesus never wants his children to be so busy that we miss out on beautiful sunsets or the little joys that make up our happiness. He wants us to carve out time to do things we love but more importantly to spend more time with Him! 

   Today, I urge you to take time to enjoy life’s simplest pleasures. Everyday we are blessed with is a special occasion worth celebrating!

Be Still and Know

   May we use this weekend as a chance to recharge our spiritual batteries. To reenergize our minds and bodies. To turn off all of the noise and distractions. To put away all worries and burdens. And take a break to Be Still and know that whatever the next week may bring that God is already there and He’s got this! 

Happy Weekend!

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Just Smile!


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    The other day we were running late for church. I had set the alarm thirty minutes early the night before to ensure that we would be up and on time since my brother and his girlfriend would be meeting us for worship service. As soon as the alarm clock went off, I was up and preparing a quick breakfast. I changed the babies diaper, fed him a morning bottle, and bathed him quickly. I picked out a precious outfit he wore for six month pictures and a little pair of white shoes. I quickly realized that his foot had grown some since the last time he wore the shoes so they were a bit snug. I broke down for a ten second emotional mommy moment asking myself how my baby boy could be growing so fast and thinking oh, dear God how I was going to miss these little piggies when they turned into big piggies!!

   After working the shoes onto his feet, we grabbed our things and were out the door with ten seconds to spare. As we were driving down the road, I begin to hear a chewing sound. My son had somehow managed to wiggle the shoes off of his feet and was gnawing on one of the velcro straps. (Yes! My son is teething and Yes! I do know that a shoe is not an appropriate teething toy!)  Aggravated and thinking of how much trouble it was getting his foot into the shoe in the first place,  I ask my husband: “Please tell me that is not his shoe!” He just laughed and said, “Yep!”  

   Knowing we would have to get the shoes back on his feet before we went inside for church service, I started to go on and on about how we were going to be late for church and that we are always somehow the last ones to go in on Sunday’s! That’s when J looked at me and said two words that really rocked my soul! He said, “Just Smile!” It is not the response I expected him to give as I sat there complaining. He could have told me to hush babbling and that he is just a baby. Right then, I couldn’t help but feel the corners of my mouth turning upwards and a grin slowly creeping across my face. We pulled up at church two minutes late and I said forget the shoes!! My sweet baby looked as dapper as ever in his white socks…one which was inside out!!

    Isn’t it awesome knowing when things aren’t necessarily going our way we can look up and smile knowing God has everything under control? I was so worried about being at church on time I was letting Satan steal the joy I feel on Sunday mornings! I needed a reminder that God didn’t care about us being late but our presence there was all that mattered.