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Planting a Seed

An elderly man sits in a chair in the front of the store. His eyes seem lifeless as he leans on his cane. Maybe he is waiting for someone or just tired and needed a place to sit. The first time I passed by him, I looked at him trying to catch his gaze, but he just stared off into the distance. The next time I passed by him, our eyes met, I smiled at him and with a startled look, he gave me a half-hearted smile. I wondered about this man. What kind of life does he live? What are his struggles and triumphs? I decided to pass by him one more time. As I got closer to where he was sitting, I realized he was staring right at me with a wonderful smile on his face. I smiled back and nodded at him and he nodded back. His unexpected smile caught me off guard but in a good way. It made me feel good to have made a connection with someone. Even if I never see that old man again, I believe he planted a seed of kindness in me and I in him.

The human heart has an amazing way of nourishing ” seeds” and helping them blossom. Seeds of kindness, forgiveness, and hope are planted in the hearts of people everyday by the acts and words of other people. At one time or another, we have all been the planter of the seed or the receiver of the seed.

To be the receiver and nourisher of “seeds” you must be willing to have an open mind and heart. When we as humans are in distress, it is natural to close your mind and heart to other people because we don’t want to experience any more pain or bother people with our troubles. Instead of closing ourselves off, what if we tried smiling when we don’t feel like smiling. Making eye contact with someone when we don’t feel like looking up. This will open our minds, bodies, and souls up for the seeds of love and kindness. Those seeds will grow as long as we nourish them with thoughts of hope. Then when we least expect it, we will be feeling emotions of love and peace that were not there before.

To be a “planter of seeds” you must be willing to reach out to other people whether they are strangers, friends, co-workers or family. Try for one week to put aside your inhabitations and reach out to others with a smile, a simple hello, or the phrase God bless you. You will feel amazing and you will have planted many seeds of kindness and love. Those seeds will grow in them and affect the people around them. You may get some people who won’t smile or respond, but keep trying. Maybe your smile or act of kindness is the only positive thing that has happen to the person all day.

You can change someone’s day with just a smile and a nod

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A New Year- A New Opportunity

This time of year can be exciting and overwhelming. A new year has begun. We reflect back on the prior year with all its accomplishments and disappointments, all it’s happy and sad moments. Take time to reflect on last year. Did you meet goals you set at the beginning of 2019? If you did, take time to congratulate yourself. Set new goals. Start this year with a positive attitude toward doing something amazing. Doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just amazing to you. If you didn’t meet your goals, take time to think back. What were the obstacles? Were they avoidable? Did fear or doubt keep you from moving forward? Maybe your goals were unrealistic? Whatever it was, it is time to reflect, revise, and seek revelation. This can be overwhelming, but be honest with yourself. Make a decision to make 2020 a year you can look back on and smile.

This blog began out of a desire to encourage others and myself to live a life of no regrets. As I write encouragement for you, I write it for myself also. Life is short. I want the rest of my life to be the best of my life. This doesn’t mean I want to go about life thinking only of what I want in life. There is a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when we make a difference in the lives of the people around us. In fact, according to the Bible, that is our main calling. I am just saying, if there is something you feel passionate about doing, pray for strength and courage to go forward. You can be an example for others who are struggling to do the same in their lives.

So right now, think about what have you always wanted to do? Is it something that is out-of-the -box? You may not always have support from the people around you. In fact, even the people closest to you may think your crazy. If you feel passionate about it, go for it. If it doesn’t work, you will learn from it and move on. Do not let the fear of failure keep from experiencing all life has to offer.

A New Year – A New Opportunity to Make A Difference

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Birds and Blessings

The trip began like any other trip.  My husband, Doug, and I set out to have an adventure.  With the truck packed with camping gear, we headed north from our home in Southern California.  Every time before we leave on a trip, we pray for protection and that God will put people in our path that we can bless and possibly pray with.  Well, this trip our prayer was answered, but we were the ones with the blessings.

It all began in a hotel in Redding, California. After driving all day on our way to Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, we decided to stop for the night.  Along our drive somehow we had lost one of our sleeping mats out of the back of our truck.  We were bummed because now we would have to buy another one before we got to the campground.  As we were in the parking lot of the hotel getting ready to leave, we began a conversation with a gentleman named Michael. During the course of the conversation, we mentioned the missing mat.  Michael goes over to his truck and pulls out a memory foam sleeping mat and gave it to us. Blessing number one!

During the next eight days of our trip, we were blessed with free wood, free thermos of coffee, free cookies, and a beautiful piece of sea glass from a surfer. At the last place we camped at in Morro Bay, we were blessed with the presence of many types of birds, including a seagull we nicknamed Mouch. Mouch would sit our truck everyday and wait for food. Yes, we believe that even birds can be a blessing.

I began thinking about the phrase “Count Your Blessings”.  During this trip , we were literally counting our blessings. I wondered how many times I go about my day not recognizing the blessings in my life, small and big.  I realize that just as Doug and I desire to be a blessing to others, there are many people who have the same desire to spread kindness. Whether it be a surfer taking time to pick up a piece of sea glass and give it to me or someone providing food and comfort to someone who is mourning a loved one. Life is full of opportunities to be a blessing and in turn, allowing someone else to fulfill their desire to be a blessing also.

Count your blessings- not the problems.  When we do, even birds will be a blessing

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To Resolve or Not to Resolve

The word resolute is defined as an adjective. It describes a person who is purposeful and determined. The phrase New Year Resolution is defined as a statement in which the person resolves to change an undesirable trait, or make a change in an area of his or her life to reach a desired goal. So if the person making a resolution does not already possess the traits of a resolute person, does a New Years resolution set a person up for failure?

Are you a person that has a hard time following through with commitments? Starts something and does not finish it? Procrastinates and puts off doing tasks? If you are honest enough to admit it, I will be honest enough to say I am right there with you. There are some things I will follow through with but I am not always consistent, especially if it is something that is unfamiliar and uninteresting to me.

I wonder if instead of resolving to make a specific change in my life, I should commit to becoming a resolute person. I believe we all can become the type of person we want to be. Not through making a resolution to do a specific thing, but by developing the traits of determination, dependability, and consistency.

Just something to think about as we begin this new year

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When There Are No Words

Can you think back to a time when someone said something or did something that had a profound effect on you? It may have been a stranger that reached out to hug you when you were hurting or a family member who made an effort to listen when you just needed to talk. Go back to that moment in time, did you feel loved, secure and safe? I remember a time when I was struggling emotionally about a relationship. I went to church and at the end of the service, the pastor announced that if anyone needed prayer there were people in the back of the room to pray with. I sat silently for a moment, then I got up and headed towards the back of the room. Before I could say anything, a woman came up to me smiling the biggest smile and she wrapped her arms around me. I remember the warmth of her hug, and the sincerity of her smile as I melted into her arms and began sobbing. I can’t remember what she said to me after that, but I do remember how she made me feel. Without saying a word this stranger made me feel loved, secure and safe.

It is difficult to know what to say when you see someone hurting, especially a loved one. As compassionate people, we want to take away the pain or solve the situation. Many times there is nothing you can do or say to take away the suffering or resolve the situation. You can, however; be that warm hug, that sincere smile, and listening ear. So many people don’t reach out because they don’t want to upset the person or remind them of their hurt. Be assured the person feels the loss, the hurtful situation, or the failure everyday, especially if it is recent. Just knowing someone cares that they are hurting can bring healing.

As Christmas approaches, there are people who are missing loved ones or dealing with a loss in their life. Family get-togethers are bitter-sweet because there is someone who is no longer there. Remembering good times together helps to renew a positive connection to memories. Create memorials and continue traditions that honor the past, yet look toward the future. Most of all, look toward God for peace and strength in times of sorrow.

Sadly, our family is suffering this Christmas season because of a very recent loss of a loved one. Together we have cried, prayed, and shared memories. Together we have felt the peace of God and shared the ultimate gift- love.


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Where is the Joy?

This time of year is like no other. As the month of December begins so does a certain feeling in the air. It’s the feeling of busyness. You see it in the faces of the people around you. There is more traffic, more noise, and more impatient people. People feel as though they need to buy the best presents, decorate to impress, attend all the parties, and do something all the time. In all this busyness, where is the joy?

Yesterday, as I was shopping, Andy Williams song, “Happiest Time of the Year ” played throughout the store. I wondered is this really the happiest time of the year? I looked at the faces of the people around me. I looked for laughter, joy, even a smile, but instead I saw frustration, impatience , and frowns. Even the greeter at the door says a half-hearted welcome. This made me sad. Where is the joy?

I grew up watching “Little House on the Prairie”. I remember watching the first Christmas the family spent in the Big Woods. All the little sister wanted was a star for the tree because it reminded her of baby Jesus. The star on the tree brought her great happiness. Just a simple request but in it she found true joy!

As I sit here writing this blog, I vow this Christmas to focus on the simple aspects of life. I vow to remember why there is joy because of the birth of Jesus. As I shop, I vow to focus on the joy of giving, not on getting the perfect present. As I attend the parties and family gatherings, I vow to find joy in the hugs, the conversations, and the connections made with others rather than worrying about finding that perfect outfit to wear. As I go about my day, I vow to smile at strangers, find ways to offer a helping hand, and keep the Christmas joy alive today and every day. Faith Hill sings about this in her song, ” Where are you Christmas?”. Listen to it and just think about where your heart is this Christmas. If your heart is full of joy, spread this joy to others because sometimes people just need a reminder. Hopefully this blog will be a reminder , as it was for me as I wrote it, to focus on the true joy and feeling of Christmas and how to have this feeling everyday.

Joy is contagious… spread it to those around you and this will truly be the happiest time of the year

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All That Really Matters

A mother shuffles down the same hospital hall she has walked 100 times before. Her legs are so tired she can barely lift them to walk normally. She braves a smile when passing the nameless faces she recognizes but doesn’t have the energy to greet with conversation. Before “that day” a month ago , she relished the opportunity to talk to a stranger. She enjoyed getting to know a person’s story. Now the only story that runs through her mind is the memory of “that day’ when her child became ill, the sound of the ambulance siren, and the concerned faces of the emergency room nurses as they tirelessly worked to save her child’s life. In fact, nothing is like it was before “that day.” She lives in a world of IV starts, beeping monitors, tubes, and endless conversations with nurses, doctors, and specialists.

The mother enters her child’s room to see her husband sitting in the chair beside the bed staring at the frail little person in front of him as if waiting for a sign, any sign that will give them hope. Her husband who before “that day” was quick with a smile and a joke, now with tears in his eyes, folds his hands in prayer and begs for a miracle. The mother thinks about last year at this time. The last minute shopping trips to the store, getting upset at her husband for watching the football game instead of helping, her obsessive need to have everything look perfect, and even the argument she had with her sister about how long to cook the turkey. All those things seem so unimportant now. Her heart is broken. Her child is lying in a hospital bed and there isn’t anything she can do about it. All that really matters is seeing her child’s smile again.

The parents sit together in quiet conversation, hand in hand, both silently wishing they didn’t have to be there but knowing there isn’t anywhere else they want to be. As they watch their sleeping child, their hearts fill with gratitude. They are thankful for the beeping of the monitors that indicate life. They are thankful for the love of family who have cried with them, prayed with them, and encouraged them to not give up hope. They are thankful for the nurses’ and doctors’ knowledge and dedication. They are thankful for God’s strength which they rely on to make it through everyday. The thankfulness they feel this year at Thanksgiving is more heartfelt than ever before because this year they are thankful for what really matters.

This Thanksgiving celebrate life and love for it is all that really matters