Colorful Sprinkles

Every morning no matter if it is 6am or 7am, when there is movement on the bed our puppy Charlie gets the tail wagging. She is crate trained and so she sleeps in her crate at night, so mornings are one of her favorite times. She watches for movement of any kind from my hubby or I and she starts with this quiet whine. Then when she sees that it’s working she starts the tail of happiness. Slow and steady at first and then when the door opens it is full force wag. This isn’t her only weapon of choice. She has to have a toy, it doesn’t matter which one but she must have one. Then it’s all out waggle time. Her tail wags so hard her butt moves with it. Then as she is waggling her prance around the room with her toy in her mouth finishes off the routine. Most days we are up and getting ready to take her for a walk with her brother Jorj, but weekends, weekends are the day of snuggling in bed before starting the day.

Charlie is the best kind of alarm clock. It’s not always easy to want to get out of bed much less get the day started. She makes it that much easier. She is my morning sprinkles. My son had his birthday party this last weekend and requested cupcakes. So as he and his friends were carted off to the movie theater to watch his chosen movie my daughter volunteered to make the cupcakes. At first she was going to make the cupcakes black since my son likes to play Dungeons and Dragons but the end result was pink. Go figure? When I asked what happened she said she decided to go with red but got pink instead. The fix to the pink was to add sprinkles.

Sprinkles at the pop to the top of a cupcake, they had the pizzaz to the hot fudge sundae, they are the fun to the whip cream on a fruit smoothy. When we interact with people we can be the sprinkles on top. During tax season one of the businesses has a person out near the road that holds a sign telling people to come in and get their taxes done. This person is suppose to catch your eye with the sign and with their movements. Most of the time it was a person standing there that looked bored and cold, but on most mornings as I drove by I would see this gal just seemed happy. She waved at people but she did it with a smile. That’s adding on the sprinkles!

We do our day by day, day in and day out. Most of us have our routines. Parents work to get kids ready for the day, men and women get ready for work all the time. Kids navigate school, friends, peer pressures as best as they can. Let’s face it we all have stress in some way and capacity. It’s not easy to be the sprinkles for someone else when you feel overwhelmed in your own life. You know what though? Actually adding in the sprinkle time will make your day better too.

This weekend was full of things that needed to get done. It was also full of cupcakes with sprinkles, cornhole with my son and his friends, and a surprise visit to an airport and hour plus away just to see my sister and her hubby before they hoped in a rental car to get to their final destination. This weekend was very tiring, but I am a happier person because of the fun I got to have with other people. I got to be sprinkles for others. There is a time and place for everything. This includes going out of your way to do something fun or special for someone else.

Charlie is an automatic sprinkle spreader. She can’t help it. We can become an automatic sprinkle spreader with practice. Smile at someone you don’t know. Look someone in the eye. Call a friend and say “Hi!” Text someone who may be doing something hard and tell them they are doing a good job. Make some cookies, try a new recipe and invite a friend over. Walk the dog (yes even dogs at time needs some “sprinkles”). There are so many ways to spread joy. We just have to get past what our tunnel vision is to see where more joy is needed. Until next time:

Kindness and joy are free, sprinkle that stuff everywhere!

Oh I know them!

It’s funny sometimes the amount of people I think I should know living in a small town and working in a field in which pets are involved. I walk into the store or go to my son’s baseball practice and realize I don’t know very many people at all.

While at work today it was a different story, I felt like I was at a friend reunion. I saw people I haven’t seen in months while others I had seen a few weeks ago. Knowing people can be a status symbol though. People love to throw names around of people they know that are important in their eyes, when in reality the people are just people who have a certain job or lifestyle.

A friend of mine started her new job this week. I saw her today and saw someone who was unsure of her environment because she was new but knew that once she was able to open up she would do amazing and her co-workers would love her. In my mind she is important and valuable, but if I were to introduce her to a new person they wouldn’t necessarily know that until they got to know her. Something I learned years ago is that those who are known for doing something important in societies standards don’t always want to be put on a pedestal.

This sweet couple I met a few months ago had this awesome dog. The dog was older and not doing as well as he once did in his prime and so when it was time for them to say goodbye to him I was honored to help them. The wife was this sweet gal who wanted to make sure that her husband was supported during this hard time, and was very comforting to him. The husband wanted to make sure his pregnant wife was supported and got the help she needed when their dog needed help going outside or getting cleaned up. They both took care of each other and loved deeply. They came in to our hospital recently with a new dog. They had to wait for some results on tests so they opted to go outside and enjoy the sunshine. This is where I met up with them. They both were as sweet as ever. I gave the gal a big hug and was introduced to their new fur kid. We caught up for a little bit and then I had to head inside.

This couple hold jobs that society deems as important, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to being kind and being loving. When it comes down to it, people are just people. We should treat them as such. Having friends who are pastors, doctors, teachers, stay at home moms/dads, receptionists…etc. It doesn’t matter what their title is, know them for them, not the job title. In a world that deems you important by how many people you know or how much money you have. Being the loudest and the proudest is seen as the best.

The most important people in my life can be loud, and sometimes are too loud, but what really stands out about them is the quiet. The acts of kindness they do for others. The humble nature they have. Their willingness to help others. When I think of these people I proudly say I know them, and it’s not for what society deems important but for what the heart deems as important. I love to say, “oh I know her, she helped me when my husband was oversees” or “oh I know her she was a stronghold when I had younger kids and now that they are older she keeps me sane”. I love that I don’t need to say things like “see that guy, did you know he’s a doctor? I hung out with him a few times” or ” that gal sitting there, did you know she owns that store downtown?” Whose important in your life? Why? Is it because of status or because of the person they are? Staying humble and true to yourself will attract people likewise. Until next time:

You are already amazing, you are already worthy, you are already enough, you are already deserving, you are already blessed, you are already healthy, you are already abundant, you are already loved.

That’s all you need to remember today

Unknown

Fears

What is it about fears that make us so irrational? Having a healthy fear is not bad, it keeps us from doing stupid things like touching a hot stove, or jumping in front of a car. When the fear becomes bigger than our willingness to do something it has too much power.

When I was a kid I loved to play with spiders. I would sit on the front steps and watch them make their webs. I would bring them dinner at times too (though I stopped that when I felt bad for whatever insect I caught tried to get away and couldn’t). As funny as it is I even had a “pet” daddy long leg that lived in my family’s shower. Spiders were not a bad thing in my mind until I saw the movie ”Arachnophobia” in the movie theaters. From there on out spiders had a scariness to me. I could be close to one, if there was one over my doorframe I couldn’t leave the room. If I ended up squishing one, I had to quickly get it off the bottom of my shoe just in case it was still alive. I remember one time helping my best friend clean out her garage and we found a black widow in a box. We burned the box. I have no idea what was in there but it didn’t matter. When I started working in the vet world, a tarantula was brought in for being sick. That was the day I felt brave.

When I couldn’t get it to let go, I admit I was almost in tears until the doctor I was working with “saved” me.

This is just one of many fears that are out there. I have a family member who is afraid he’ll get left behind or forgotten if he gets dropped off somewhere. Some people are afraid of heights, others are afraid of going too fast (like on rollarcoasters). Sometimes there are rational reasons why people have these fears. Some people feel that you can condition these fears out of people. I don’t really know the answer and sometimes it can be frustrating when dealing with someone who is overcome by one of these fears, especially when you can logically show them they’ll be ok.

The Bible says there is no fear in love. We were not put on this earth to be fearful. We are to live. We are to share with others. We are to love others. We can’t do these things if we are constantly allowing a fear or fears keep us planted where we are. When my kids were younger I tried to show them what it was like to take healthy risks. So they learned that helping others was ok. They learned that doing sports was ok or taking dance lessons was ok. They saw their dad and I take risks, we were scared sometimes but we didn’t let fear overpower us.

As I am sitting at my son’s baseball practice, I am watching him be brave. This is out of his comfort zone. He thought he would be playing on the same team as his best friend, but instead he is on a team that he didn’t know anyone the first day. He has mandated that I wait at the field for the whole practice due to another fear he has, but even if I couldn’t stay and watch, he has shown that he is ok. My best friend has to be brave, she has fears coming at her left and right. Her daughters look to her for guidance and she happily gives it to them. I know she has said ”no” to the, before when it comes to trying new experiences but it is rare. She does not have an easy life but she does not allow her fears to stop her from living her best for herself and her family.

Fears are roadblocks we put in front of ourselves. They either have the spikes that deflate our tires or they are ones that with a little extra strength we can master and overcome them. I pray for my kids often. I want them to have strength that comes from joy which ultimately comes from love. There is no fear in love, and love has joy wrapped around it. This is where we get our strength, our patience, our boldness, our humility. Imagine how much better our lives would be, our world would be if we allowed love (joy) to rule us instead of our fears. Until next time:

Negativity is contagious. Unhappiness is contagious. Fear is contagious. But so is happiness. So is optimism. Some is love. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. And strive to be a reflection of what you want to receive.

MichellCClark


Best Laid Plans

Ahhhhh, the weekend is here, time for things to get done. The work week was long, after work meant family time and of course the ever present game practices, church and other “outside of the home” activities. Weekends are to get caught up on life. There’s a lawn to mow, a garden to plan, and meal prep for the coming week. This was the plan, we were supposed to stick to the plan. Until we couldn’t, enter the stomach bug.

All was good Friday night, then early Saturday morning my stomach said some things that shouldn’t have been said. It protested and cried, so I protested and cried and ended up on the couch most of Saturday, trying to figure out what I did to make my stomach so mad. I have some thoughts of what happened but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter, I had to nurse my poor stomach back to health. So the plans I had were laid aside. Step in my family. My family is pretty wonderful as it is. We don’t always get along, we fight sometimes but when push comes to shove we pull together to take care of each other.

My hubby stepped in the most yesterday. My eldest daughter had to go to work, which is usually something I do, but he made sure she got there. I slept. My son fed the animals and played with them, I slept some more. My middle child laid low so that I could rest, which I did. By Saturday night not all of the things we wanted to get done got done, but I was given the time to rest, and food was brought to me when I felt I could eat it.

Sunday I was much better and all those plans for the weekend didn’t all get done but that’s ok. Sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to get this or that done. We already have the pressures of work, family and life why do we feel the need to add more? We are one of the only countries in which it is a status symbol to be busy, to be worn out. How is this a good thing? No wonder we have more illness, more anxiety, more irritations. Don’t get me wrong, we need to push ourselves, but we also need rest. I was talking to a gal the other day that at one point had too jobs, her husband worked and she was homeschooling her kids. There is no break in that. I couple of years ago, I was doing that (other than the homeschooling part) and I was WORN OUT! At that point I realized that I needed a rule. So I set a rule that said the weekends were for me and my family. I didn’t work, I didn’t take phone calls from work (and almost anyone else) and I did the stuff that needed to be done for me and my family.

This rule isn’t 100% guaranteed to be set in stone, but it did make were best laid plans could be altered. Family trips could be planned, and I could be me without the stress. Sometimes it takes mentally telling myself to turn off parts of my brain so that I can be creative, fun and there for myself and family. This week is promising to be busy again. I thrive in busy but only because I know that I have a break coming at the end of the week. Best laid plans are just that, plans. Rest is needed and very important. How lovely to thrive to be more stable: God/family/work/rest. I for one don’t want to be know for how busy I am, I would rather be known for how kind I can be, how joyous I could be, how loving I could be. How about you? Until next time:

Be the kind of person who isn’t afraid to ask someone if they are ok twice, if they say they are, but look like they aren’t. Be the kind of person who smiles at people even if they don’t smile back. Be the kind of person you wished for when no one was there for you. Be the kind of person who is brave enough to stand alone in a crowd for what is right. Be that person because we need more people like that in the world. Be that person because people like that are rarer than the rarest diamonds and gold.

Nikita Gill

Inner Dialog

A few weeks ago I wrote a book. I geared it to be for kids. I wrote it for people like me. This book sits in my computer’s saved file. Will it ever see the world? Time will tell. This book is about self worth. About finding your shine. It’s about being strong when you don’t feel like it. It’s about being kind when inside your head you are not kind to yourself. It’s about being bold enough to still go on in with your day even if everything feels off. It’s about being humble but still acknowledging that you have worth. It’s about being proud of the things you have accomplished without being full of pride and thinking that you are better than anyone else. It’s a book that I should read daily.

Be Strong, but not rude.

Be Kind, but not weak.

Be Bold, but don’t bully

Be Humble, but not shy

Be Proud, but not arrogant

Jim Rohn

Our brain is a wonderful thing. It will adapt to the thoughts we have. If we make it a point to be more positive and to think more positive we will start to have a more positive outlook. We all know that person who seems to go through life not letting anything really bother them. They seem at peace with the world around them. They don’t have an easy life per say but they have chosen to take it day by day, hour by hour. On the flip side we all know that person who seems to have a chip permeantly on their shoulder. Life is hard, people are hard, nothing is their fault and the world owes them something. Two ends of the spectrum and most of us fit in the middle. We have good days and we have bad days.

Our inner conversations are what guide our outlook. When I first wrote my book, I needed to hear the words that I had written. I good friend of mine had confronted me about not being approachable at work. She knows me pretty well and can tell if I am off, even if I don’t know it myself. She is also the person that will tell me I am good at what I do and that I am a good person. She is an encourager with a hint of realism. She doesn’t let my head get to big for my shoulders if you know what I mean. What I took from her conversation with me is that I don’t know my worth. My inner conversations with myself hold doubt, fear, mistrust in some people, and pride. My inner conversations also hold love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. What I chose to listen to is how my outlook of myself becomes.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him (Jesus) because He first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19

We were made who we are to be who we are. Our thoughts we have can be changed to joyful, encouraging thoughts. These then can be used to create a community in which we lift each other up. God made us in His image, God is love, and so we are love. There is no fear in love. Fear brings in self-doubt, a prideful mentality, a tear down of who we are, jealously and envy towards others. Love brings the opposite. It helps us to be bold, humble, kind, proud, strong. We need to be love more than anything else in this world. It will make us shine! Until next time:

Six ethics for life: Before you pray-believe, Before you speak-listen, Before you spend-earn, Before you write-think, Before you quit-try, Before you die-live

William Arthur Ward

Spring Joys

This week was filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, all a part of life in general really. I absolutely love the spring season. The flowers and trees start to bloom out, I start to get excited about the upcoming garden that I know will just be amazing this year (despite not having a green thumb). Life just seems to come alive again after the cold winter months drive it into hibernation, or for us humans inside where it is warm.

This spring season brought baseball into my sons life. He wanted to start playing because his best friend was playing, so we signed him up. We went out and bought him the gear. We talked to his best friend’s mom and made plans for them to go to their practices together after school. We arranged the calendar and our lives to be busy every weekend until summer. We were set. Winter took our plans and shook them up a bit though. After the teams were made (my poor son ended up on a different team then his friend) and the first practice was to take place, storm number one came to town. And just like the postal service, rain or shine the kids practiced. I stayed in the car where it was warm. My son is at his second game today. It really is fun to watch the kids learn and grow in a sport. It’s fun to sit in the bleachers and dream about how far your kid will get in the sport they have chosen to try. It’s fun to cheer them on, even if at the moment their only goal is to try and hit the ball.

My “garden” was started a few weeks ago with some seeds from the local store, some raised beds build for the garden out front and some high hopes that maybe, just maybe this year I will have more than just one cucumber and a head of lettuce. I have a secret weapon this year though. My middle child said she wanted to help. She went with me to the store, helped build the beds, researched with me on how to start the garden inside so that we could transplant them outside. She even offered to keep up with the watering of the seeds. We were smart enough to make a backup plan though. Self watering pots! They have been a lifesaver, seriously, I think we have seedlings purely for the fact that they were put in the self watering pots. It’s easy right now, the plants are inside. After Memorial Day they’ll get moved outside, which means out of our line of sight. Dear Lord, I hope we got sturdy plants!

Spring has a way of putting a “spring” in my step. I get energized, and feel like I can take on whatever comes my way. Joy comes bubbling up. There are times when it feels like life in general has seasons. I have heard people describe times in which they felt they were going through a cold spell, or a dry season. Spring is new life, new opportunities, new joys. My husband loves to hang clothes on the line, it brings with it a smell that just emulates joy. Today he turned the heater off and opened the doors and windows. There is a slight breeze but the sun is out at shining bright. The temperature is still a whopping 60 degrees, but it feels heavenly compared to the wind/snow/rain/20 degree mixture we have had the last couple of weeks. The dogs got to go on a run this morning with me, the yoga mat was thrown aside, instead the deck was my yoga place.

Joy comes in the small things sometimes. The smell of laundry hung on the line. The crack of the ball hitting the bat. The garden that is starting fresh. The sweet nap of a happy puppy. There will always be highs and lows in life. Even when you feel you can’t find the joy in the moment, you just go into your memory bank and think of the smalls that have brought joy to your life. The memories won’t fix the lack of joy but they will help enhance the moment you are in. Until next time:

The things you believe to be your limits will disappear as soon as you move closer to them

Unknown

Sizzle in the Air

Ruth woke up early just as she did every morning. She had the goats to feed, and the donkey and her colt had to be let out into the back field to graze. She knew if she didn’t hurry she would miss out on the breakfast her mom had already started to prepare. Ruth dressed quickly and splashed some water on her face hoping it would help her to wake up. Once outside the coolness of the morning woke her up the rest of the way. The farm always seemed busy, always had some sort of smell and noise that came along with it, and today was no different. Once her chores were done she went inside just in time to see her mom put the last bowl on the table.

The rest of the day was Ruth’s so she went to go see if her friend Sarah could play. Ruth knew that if her dad or one of her older siblings caught her doing something that wasn’t work they would put her to work as quickly as they could. She was very good at not being seen, which seemed to work in her favor. As Sarah and Ruth played they noticed a large crowed coming down the road that led to Jerusalem. The townspeople also noticed and stopped what they were doing to watch. Sarah and Ruth were so curious they ran to the road to get a closer look. That’s when Ruth noticed the donkey. It looked really familiar but when Ruth noticed a man sitting on it she thought it couldn’t be her family’s donkey until it got closer and she saw that it was. The donkey was the colt her family owned so why was this man riding it? Ruth ran home to tell her dad what she saw. When she walked through the front door she heard her brother telling her dad that when the two men started to untie the colt, he asked them what they were doing and they said “The Lord is in need of it” and so he let them take it. How odd she thought, but what did she know she was just a child. Little did she know how the world would change in the days to come.

Still pondering what she saw the day before Ruth did her chores again, but this time she noticed something different about the day. At first she couldn’t put her finger on it until it hit her, the world seemed quiet. Not a normal quiet, a quiet in which even the animals didn’t seem to make a noise. It was almost as if the land and all living things did not make a peep. Not only was that strange to her but there was a feeling in the air like all things were holding their breath waiting for something to happen. Ruth wondered if it had to do with the rumor heard about the man she saw on her family’s donkey yesterday. She overheard her neighbor say he was charged with doing something awful, but didn’t understand the word used. How awful it would be to die on a cross! Whatever was going on created a current in the air like when lightening is close by, it was enough of a fear for Ruth that she decided she was better off inside with momma.

Dinner that night brought only talk about what was happening in Jerusalem. It seemed to be the only thing on everyone’s mind. The man hung on the cross was said to only be a carpenter from a small town but he was charge with saying he was God’s son. The only thing that was talked about more was the strange things happening all around. The darkness, the earthquake, it all seemed so strange. By morning all seemed to be “breathing” again. The world woke up energized. As strange as the day before being silent, this new day was louder than any time Ruth could imagine. It felt as if even the rocks were making noise. The talk now around the village is that the man that was hung had been buried but this morning the guards woke to the tomb being empty. How could that be? Even when Ruth asked her momma she was surprised that a grown up didn’t know, but Ruth knew even as a child that her life would never be the same.

Easter Sunday brings shouts of “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!” Easter is the hope of all Christians, it gives us hope in what is to come. It’s the day before when Christ was buried that should be noticed as well. The world was silent, God was silent. It’s as if all living things had collectively sucked in a breath and held it, waiting for the “what’s next?” to be answered. To have the collective release of that breath the next day with the empty tomb. God was silent, but he was still Present. In the times in which we feel alone or when life feels like it has left us mangled and beaten we may feel as if God is silent in those moments but He is there. We just have so much noise going on in our heads, that we miss the quiet movements of strength surrounding us. Easter is hope, and in that comes joy. Until next time:

He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.  Come and see the place where he lay     Matthew 28:6

That’s Not What I Wanted To Hear

When I was younger it never failed, I would get up in the morning, run to the standing heater and try and wake up. While in the midst of trying to warm up/wake up my mom (who had been up for hours) would start to list off the things she wanted me to do that day. It would take all my willpower and strength not to growl and spear her with daggers coming from my eyes. I definitely did not want to hear what she had to say. She wasn’t purposely trying to have me glare at her but she was already in “go mode” for the day and was subtlety trying to get me there too.

My dad did this too but in a different light, whenever we went on vacation to Yosemite National Park (which was almost every summer of my childhood) he would let us know that every other day while there we would be doing a hike. Most of the time these hikes were all day and meant that we would have to get up early and do a bunch of switchbacks in the sun. I know there was grumbling and growling going on, but it never changed his mind, and we always ending up on a mountain.

As time went on, and my family grew my kids were receiving the same treatments I got. When chores were not getting done, there would be reminders. When we went on vacations that had mountains involved we would end up on a hike. When school work needed to be done, we would tell them about the reminders we would get emailed to us. These were things they most definitely did not want to hear about.

One of my hubby’s favorite things to say to me is “next time….” and then he would tell me a way I could do something better next time that I had talked to him about. He never meant these “next times” to be annoying, he actually would be trying to help, but man would I get so upset when he threw the “next time” in there. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say, because that meant that I didn’t do it good enough the first time.

The people we have in our lives are there to help us, whether it’s to help us see we need to move on or move up in our own growth. When my momma would list off the chores I needed to get done she was teaching me responsibility. Yes, letting me wake up would have been better, but I learned that she trusted me to get done what she asked. When my dad told us of the hikes we were going to do, they sounded nearly impossible for someone that was “young” but those are the memories I cherish the most. If I would have refused to go and defy him I would have missed out on the packed lunches on the side of a river. I would have missed out on the views of the valley on top of a waterfall. I would have missed time spent with my family that instilled in me the importance of family strength. Don’t tell my hubby this but if I would have just set my pride aside and listened to his “next times” I would have had an easier time doing some of the tasks that I was doing.

This past weekend was Palm Sunday. Jesus was going into Jerusalem on a donkey. The religious leaders were telling Him he needed to quiet His disciples because they were celebrating too loudly. They did not like that they were seeing the Old Testament prophecies coming true before their eyes. Because they did not like what they were seeing and hearing they were going to miss out on what Jesus was offering. They had no power to change what was happening. They tried everything, and would be ordering His death soon. Even in that, the most unthinkable thing to happen, would not stop what Jesus was doing, and they would miss out because they did not like what He was about.

I would hate to miss out because I didn’t like what was being said, or if I didn’t like what was going on. In my life I would have missed out beautiful views because of a hard hike. I would have missed out on learning because I didn’t want to open my ears to listen. I would love to say that if Christ told me to go I would go without hesitation. My faith isn’t as strong as I would like it to be though. I am getting there, I am trying to listen and I am trying to obey. I would hate to find out that I missed out on something so life changing all because I didn’t want to take the time to stop and be still while He whispers. Listening and hearing are too different things. Listening and acting on what we hear is what shows maturity and humility. Who wouldn’t want to have these qualities? Until next time:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.     Romans 15:5

Overwhelmed?

There was just a little time before the next appointment came in. There were phone calls to be made, medication scrips to be filled and hospitalized patients to be taken care of. There was questions to be answered and receptionist to get back to. Online orders to be filled and so on and so on. To top it off my oldest texted saying that she was not feeling good and I was thinking how bad would it look to have my hubby take off to get her from school when it’s his last day of work. I had a tow truck company scheduled to “break into my work truck” to retrieve the keys I locked inside decide that they would come earlier than scheduled and “oh by the way, is there someone that could meet us at the truck?” The list could go on and on especially if I added in the last two days but I won’t. I can’t even say that I am upset about the events that have been happening, I can say I am a bit overwhelmed.

None of the above is meant to be complaining. Most of this is what happens on an average day at this thing called life. When days like these happen the cracks that might be in the exterior shell of my sanity can either grow bigger or they can be held tight by the strength that is found in the deep down joy that has been given to me. The struggle is real, when choosing to complain or choosing to celebrate in the trials. It is so much easier to go along with the crowd and find the negative. When there is that one person that is always used to place blame on, it makes the blame that should be yours “easier” to bear.

This past weekend my daughter and went to a training at our church. We are a part of the children’s ministry program teaching the “educated toddlers” as my daughter calls them. We have the joy of spending every other Sunday with 3-4 year olds. Man if there is a class that can teach you about joy or complaining it would be this class. While doing our training though we were being taught how to teach the kids we were with, but the main thing was to show them they are important and loved. As the pastor was talking I thought about what it meant to show the kids I taught that they were important. This sent be down memory lane to when my dad used to work in the toddler room at the church we used to go to.

Growing up, my dad was the breadwinner, he would go to work every day, come home and would want to relax. We knew he loved us and he tried to show us in different ways his love. Sometimes it was small gifts he brought home, other times it was having us play the computer games with him. He was our solid foundation. We knew dad would always be there for us and he was. As we got older and started doing our own things he started to work in the church toddler room. He would usually show up before the kids got there and would get the toys ready, and as they started to get dropped off he would say hi to them and then go back to playing with the toys around him. Eventually the kids would notice that he was playing with toys and go to him. A lot of times they were unsure, but every time he worked he would do this same thing. As time went on the uncertainty of what he was doing wore off and by the time the parents came to pick up their children he had kids in his lap, and kids sitting around him all playing with the toys he himself had been playing with. He showed the kids in that classroom love by consistently being there, not being pushing about what he was doing and patiently waiting for them to come to him.

His method worked almost every time. He told me once that he started to work in the toddle room more and more to give the kids there the attention he would have loved to have given us when we were younger. My dad did his best when we were kids. I can bet he was overwhelmed more than we knew and he never let us see it. When my dad was in that room full of kids he loved on them, and let them know they were special to him. He showed them who Christ was every time he showed up.

This past week was overwhelming, this past weekend it would have been so nice to skip the training grab a book and stay in all day reading. Instead I went, I learned, I grew and I was blessed. I was able to learn again from my dad. I was reminded that the God I serve is so humble that he had a “triumphant ride” into Jerusalem on a donkey colt that had never been ridden. There were so many times that Jesus could have said “I am too overwhelmed for this” but he didn’t. The strength he had to go through all he did was from the deep down joy He had and the ability to show us we are important and loved. How great is that! We don’t have to do this alone. Find your strength from the joy inside you, it’s there you just have to allow it to permeate your life. Until next time:

I don’t want to adult today. I don’t even want to human today. Today, I want to Goat. Gonna eat all day and head-butt anyone who tries to stop me.

Unknown

What’s your worth?

One day a young lady woke up and she knew something was different. She got out of her bed the same way, made her breakfast the same way and got ready for her day the same way. Something still felt off. When she stepped outside to walk to school that’s when she first noticed the difference. Though the sun was shining it never let it’s rays fall on her. All the people and places around her were surrounded in the sun’s rays but she could never seem to get warmed by them. It was like she was walking with a cloud or a shadow above her. When she got to school she thought for sure the lights inside the building would shine on her like everyone else, but sadly even inside there was a dimness around her that only she could see and feel. She tried to ignore what was happening. She tried to go about her day as if she were the same as everyone else, but eventually the dimness started to get to her. She started feel anxious and fearful that maybe something wasn’t right. She didn’t know what to do and she hoped that the next day would be normal again. Sadly though, the next day and the day after that were the same, she seem to just stay in this world of grey, as if she didn’t deserve the brightness of the light.

After the third day of this she got on her knees and prayed. She knew she should have done this sooner but she was so worried about what was wrong that she forgot to ask the one person who could tell her. Her prayer wasn’t a special eye opening prayer but a simple one in which she asked that her heart and ears be open to hear what she needed to hear. While reading a book before bed she remembered something. A day before she was put into the dimness she had shown her friends and family a painting she had done that she was proud of but she had never been too sure of her skill. Those who saw it praised her and told her how wonderful it was. If someone were to ask any one of them they would say that they were not surprised at the talent the girl had. Even with the praise and the encouragement to keep doing more paintings the girl still didn’t believe in herself. She just thought they were being nice. She didn’t know her worth. She wondered if this memory was there to help her understand the predicament she was in.

The next she talked to her mom, she told her what was going on and that she didn’t know what to do. The girl really wanted to be back in the rays of the sun, she wanted to be back in the same light as everyone else. She even told her mom about the day she showed everyone her painting. As she finished talking she noticed that her mom had this simple smile on her face. She invited her daughter to sit with her on the porch. As gently as she could the girl’s mom hugged her and said with love “my child, you don’t know your worth, and that is why you are not shining as bright as you could” It wasn’t that the sun’s rays were not shining on the girl, or that the lights in the building at her school were more dim when she walked through them. The girl did not know her worth and so she started to see the world around her as more bright because to her everyone else had more to offer. Once she started to believe in herself, once she started to understand and see what others saw in her, once she understood the love that God had for her and the talent He gave her, the dimness would start to fade away. She would start to see herself as brightly as what she saw in her environment.

We so easily become this girl. A new person gets hired on at our job to learn to do the job we are doing, our light gets dim. A lie is told about us, our light grows dim. Someone does something better than us, our light grows dim. We mess up, we fail at something, we fall, all these things will cause our light to grow dim. When this happens the world around us seems to be brighter and we just can’t seem to understand why we can’t get into that light. We are our own barriers. When we know our worth, when we know that God loves us and wants our lives be filled with joy, we have strength. We can go through hard times and failures and still shine just as bright as those around us if not brighter. We are all unique, just as we should be. How boring this world would be if we were all the same. When we shine bright because we are confident in who and whose we are we can share our brightness with people around us. It really doesn’t matter if we are an adult or a child, there are times when our shine isn’t as shiny. It’s in these moments we need to seek God and see if we fell into the trap again of not accepting our worth. The world is a beautiful place filled with sparkling, shining people accepting who they are and helping others to find their sparkle too. Do you shine brightly, or do you walk around in a world that needs more light? Until next time:

…and today is the day, stand out, stand up, stand your ground. Be the “who” that you are and be proud, and when you feel that you can’t make a sound, right there is the time when you’re supposed to get loud. Wake up, get up and do something.

Excerpt from a song on the radio
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