TOUCHED MY HEART TUESDAY

Today was a lovely day, even though it was a little warm.  My husband and I had lunch out on this Tuesday.  It is something special we enjoy doing; perhaps a little too much.  None the less, it was a great time. Today, there seemed to be more senior citizens and more children than usual.

Our table was catty-cornered, which gave me a panorama view of the dining room. This is a story about what my eyes saw, my ears heard, and my heart felt.

A older mother, father, and a teenage girl in a wheelchair sat next to us. The genuine love they had for their daughter was so beautiful. Her mother gently pushed back a wandering piece of hair, smiling at her daughter. She held that smile for a bit. Father told her how pretty she looked. Together, they ordered her lunch.  The tenderness in their voices, not only to their daughter but to each other was refreshing. When their food arrived, her father cut everything in small pieces then with his pointer finger, gently touched her nose, bringing laughter all around.  What a beautiful family.

Across the room, my ears heard gentleman telling his waitress that they were waiting for a few more. Taking a sip from my ice tea, I saw an elderly couple walk slowly to the table. Those waiting stood up and hugged and kissed those who arrived.  Family or friends, there was love all around.

Somewhere in the dining room, there was a child that was not happy. He protested everything until his food came. Then, he was one happy camper. My ears could hear his unhappiness, which turned into content, bringing back memories of my own children when they were his age.

Soon we finished our lunch, got our check, and walked up to the cashier. As my husband paid, I turned and gazed at the folks eating their food, talking, laughing,  getting their checks, then getting up, some hugging and some thanking the person who treated them to lunch.

Today was a fantastic day all the way around. Touch my heart kind of day.  A day filled my senses to the brim. A day filled with love.

 

 

 

MIND OVER MATTER MONDAY

I love to tell stories that touch people’s hearts. That is why I write. Hearing someone say, ” Your story was exactly what I needed to hear,” makes my heart soar. I have written over five hundred short stories, two children’s books, a short story collection, and am now working on a novel titled; Chipped and Mixed-Matched. It is based on my teacup series. Three years ago, I started writing the Skyler Letters as a way of helping me deal with the grief of losing my Great- Grandson.

My love of words started back when I was a little girl growing up on a small farm.  Over the years, Mom shared with me how much she enjoyed listening to my stories. Especially those I said to the many kittens that gathered near the back porch stoop.

My love of words has never stopped. However, this morning, when I got up, a feeling came over me that I could not shake. It stayed with me all through the day and is still meandering around my head as I write this story.  Actually, the thoughts I had today have been showing up quite a lot lately. In fact, they are not new to me. Ever since I was a school girl, the naysayers filled my mind with doubts of failure. I was young then and believed them,  However, today, it is the memories of those doubts and new doubts that dance around my head.

 This is where the first part of the story ends, and the real story begins.

How many of you, dear, readers, struggle with doubts? How many of you struggle with how you look, your weight, your passions, and yes, even things that you are good at?  How many of you are afraid to take a chance because words might have been said to you, others laughed, or those who put you down in spite of something good you did? Those words and feelings are real and hang around a very long time. Some never go away.  And some show up on a hot, humid Monday.

I want you to know that you are beautiful, your passions and dreams are real, and all the good things you do, make your heart shine. I want you to know that God created you to be who you are. He gave you your gifts and talents. I can’t help to feel His sadness when He sees any of children doubting themselves; including me.

 Believe in yourself. Take one day at a time. Do not fear failure for it is when we fail, that we grow. Stand tall and keep doing what you love, learn from your mistakes, then rise again. When those doubts start to dance, hold your head up high, and don’t give in. You are better than that. I am better than that.  We all deserve better than that.

One more thing, never forget how much you are loved. Dream big, work hard, laugh often, help others, forgive the naysayers, and love like there is no tomorrow.  One more thing, remember how important you are, especially to me.

 

SPIRITUAL SERMON SUNDAY

Today was a beautiful day, a little warm, but not as humid as yesterday.

At church this morning, our Pastor gave a compelling Sunday Message that has stayed with me all day. It was a sermon about acceptance, showing compassion and love, to all who walk through our doors; no matter what. As our church is getting ready to take a huge step, the message was perfect timing. It was food for thought, at least for me.

We may not know their background, their hearts, fears, and the needs of those who will open the door, leading to the pews, ears listening to hymns, head bowed praying, handshaking, then one last time, a hand that will open and close the door, ready to head home. However, from the time the door opens, until it closes, the opportunity to make a difference in a life or lives is ever present. I love that!  I have always believed that is what we are supposed to be doing; reaching out, accepting, loving, and making a difference.

My Sunday Message…

Hearts can begin to heal when we find little ways to bring messages of hope to those who are broken, feel unloved, or have made their share of mistakes. Words of encouragement, a listening ear, and, what can I do to help, have the power to make a difference, one Sunday at a time, one day at a time. Make a difference, your heart will thank you.

SCORCHING STORMY SATURDAY

This morning, my husband and I went out for our weekly Saturday morning breakfast. As I opened the door leading outside, I was taken back by the heat and humidity. I know its summer and hotter temperatures are to be expected. However, as I am getting older, I will admit, the less I like it. After breakfast, I came home and stayed inside with the air conditioner on.

Later in the day, the skies darkened and the storms moved in. A teaser at first, then blue skies, with gray clouds waiting their turn to build up more water. Finally, a fierce deep black cloud rolled quickly overhead, bringing with it wind, claps of thunder and bolts of lightning. It was as if the heavens opened up, directing the rain in every direction.

As I sat at my computer, I watched the raindrops running down my patio door as if something was chasing them. Oh, yes, it was more raindrops.  Sometimes I get mesmerized by the patterns the rain takes.

Today the patterns reminded me of how each day begins, so to speak, as a fresh start, like a beautiful blue sky with bright rays of sun warming our hearts and spirits. Then, in a flash, life takes twists and turns like clouds starting out light gray but soon changing to an ominous darkness. On those days, no matter what we do, nothing seems to work, and we become frustrated, like clouds that burst open, pouring out drops that soak the ground.

I have days like that when everything goes wrong. Everyone does. No one is perfect. However, one thing I have learned is that the storm does not last forever. Life is trying our best, taking care of ourselves, reaching out to help others, loving family and friends, including those friends we have yet to meet and forgiving those who have hurt us.

Perfect days are few and far between, but if we keep trying, I promise the sun will come out bringing a brand new day with a world of opportunities.

So, on this scorching, stormy Saturday, hang on to hope for better days; including cool breezes with miles of blue and yellow sunshine.

FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom .”    Marcel Proust

I started my day out by enjoying breakfast with a dear friend who was visiting from Ohio. We each had a version of French Toast that was to die for. We reminisced about the past and shared stories about our families.  It was great to catch up. When it was time to leave, I asked her to keep in touch. I am hoping to continue this breakfast treat on her return trip next year.

This afternoon, I had lunch with two more friends. These two are very special to me. They have faith in my writing and continue to guide and encourage me with positive words, along with ideas and suggestions on how to broaden my audience. They get me! These two angels understand my goals and what is essential to my heart.

To Laurel and Carol… Thank you for helping me live my dream of helping others through my words and stories.

” Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”  Mark Twain

 Then there is Maria, who has been a dear friend for well over thirty years. She was there when my parents, husband, great-grandson, and sister passed.  This sweet dear friend knows me better than most people. I value her honesty, loyalty, praise, and genuine, caring ways.  She is a true definition of a friend who is always there.

” A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”  Bernard Meltzer

When I was teaching, I spent several days at the beginning of the school year, teaching my students about friendship. I read them stories, we wrote stories, and we drew pictures.  It was important to me to teach them the importance of being a friend. I explained to them and reinforced the lesson: if you want to have a friend, you must first be a friend. It always touched my heart to see them trying to be the best friend they could be. Being children, sometimes they would have little setbacks, but with encouragement and reminders, they would try again.

” The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

   Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am grateful for my friends that have blessed my life by their conversations, laughter, tears, concern, advice, constructive criticism, and genuine love.  I believe that God, in his Wisdom, places friends on our path. Some will come into our lives for a reason. Maybe they will be the teacher, and we will become a student or, vice versa.  Some will stay a season to help us through a difficult time, or once again vice versa. Then there are the folks that stay a lifetime. They are the gems in our treasure chest of life.

Regardless of how long they stay, cherish the time. Each one is a blessing!

” If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.

Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

 

TIME FLIES THURSDAY

Today is the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day.  It is the anniversary of the declaration of our independence from Great Britain in 1776.  It was a day when flags waved proudly from homes, marching bands played patriotic music, and red, white, and blue decorations adorned windows and doors.  It’s a day to remember those who gave their all for the freedoms we treasure today.

July 4th is also a day for picnics, good conversations, laughter, and memories.

This is a story about family; a unique family whose members are gently aging, but whose hearts are still as loving as the day I met them.

To start, I must go back to 1971 when I married into this family. Oh, the fun we had over the years, celebrating family picnics, not to mention the milestones in our children’s lives; birthdays, graduations,  showers, and weddings. The population of our loving family grew and grew to before long, we were quite large.

One of my favorite memories is the laughter that came quickly and frequently at family picnics. The silly antics of the children playing in the creek, cards being played at the table, catching up with the girls, sharing pictures, and the snitching of chips, as we waited for the main meal to commence.  Good times with good people.

Then on December 11, 1994, my husband died at fifty-one from a massive heart attack. His family was there for my children and me. I continued attending the picnics, where I could count on the laughter and caring words.  Those loving family members will never know how much they helped me during those difficult years. They were, indeed, my angels.

Six years later, I met and fell in love with a wonderful man. I often say that my late husband sent him to me.  The family welcomed my new husband, which touched my heart beyond words. That was nineteen years ago.

This is where my story takes a little turn, a slight twist so too speak, that touched my heart and made me realize that what changes on the outside, doesn’t necessarily change on the inside.

As we all sat outside under the covered patio, my eyes went from one to another, taking in the outer changes of getting older; gray hair on most, and some with white. There were some with more wrinkles, and some without; some slowly walking and some a little sprier.  Some are a bit forgetful, and some are sharp.

Suddenly, a little sadness came over me, and I asked myself, how did this happen? It seemed like just yesterday, our children were young, fishing for crayfish in the creek at Nazareth Park. Now, these same children have families of their own.

This loving family may be changing on the outside, but the love they hold in their heart for others has not changed one iota.  My husband and I are still invited to family functions, and we graciously accept with thankful hearts.  There is always laughter, teasing, and sharing on picnic days.

Nineteen years ago, one of my brother inlaws told me I would always be his sister.  How blessed I was on that day. The blessing continues whenever I spend time with them, especially the times we share a meal together.

 Time is precious! Enjoy your loved ones every day, and especially on this Fourth of July.

 

WAVE OF LOVE WEDNESDAY

It was a beautiful day today, in spite of the humidity. As I am getting a tad older, each day I wake up is a good day. This afternoon, I had my yearly mammogram. I go faithfully for this important wellness check. As I drove to the facility, I thought about all those precious women who have heard or who will hear the words, ” You have  breast cancer.”

I thought about the fear they felt when they heard the diagnosis. Then, I thought about those brave women who made or will make the decision to do everything in their power to fight with all of their might to beat this horrible disease. While I waited to be called back for my test, a wave of love flooded my body for these women.

I thought about the supports; husbands, family, friends, doctors, nurses, and neighbors. I thought about the loving, encouraging words, prayers, positive comments, hugs, kisses, and, ” If you need a shoulder.”  Through all my thoughts sprinkled with prayers, I honestly believe the greatest gift we can give anyone going through cancer or any disease is love. Love walks daily through thick and thin.  It is the bond that connects to hope and faith. And when we have hope, good things start to happen, encouraging those who are ill to keep fighting.

But it doesn’t stop there, many people are going through other hardships in their lives; too many to discuss here. But once again, if we reach out and love those who are hurting unconditionally, situations can change, people can change, and hope can take root in hearts.

Be somebody’s blessing. Always try to be a good friend. Be the one who never gives up; and, who is the one, who spreads love every day.  Make a difference.

” There is no fear in love.”  1 Peter 4:8

THINKING OF AN ANGEL TUESDAY

” Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some had entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

I am in love with angels; heavenly angels, earthly angels, those angels I know, and those I have yet to meet.  This is a story about hope, faith, trust, believing in the goodness of others, and love.

Like many others, I have experienced the loss of loved ones. As each one passed, I thought about their journey to heaven, and the angels that escorted them to their forever home. Some might not agree with me; however, in Scripture, we are told the number of angels is very great.  So why wouldn’t they escort God’s children back to Him?

Did you ever meet a stranger whose smile or kind words was precisely what you needed at that very moment? Some might say it was just a coincidence, I prefer to think it was meant to be. Or how about those folks who take time from their busy days to cook meals for those who are ill, drive cancer patients for treatments, and are always ready with a warm smile to listen to those who are hurting?  I believe these loving folks with the biggest hearts, were created to help those in their time of need.

What about firemen, doctors, and nurses?   They are indeed our angels when we need them. How about teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students?

The next part of my story is about a woman named Marge. She is the Youth Leader at my church.  For some time, I have been observing all the activities she does with our teens. Marge is a beautiful example of believing in the hearts of each young man and woman, she meets.  She listens to them and cares about each one. Marge has a way of honing in on their talents regardless if some are a little shy, silly, or apprehensive. She always encourages them to do their best.  I believe the realm of possibilities and can do attitude, that Marge passes on to each teen, allows them to grow as individuals. Through the Mission trips, pulling weeds for a senior citizen, serving food for a fundraiser, involvement in Relay for Life, and helping within the church wherever needed, Marge’s giving heart teaches the importance of helping others.  She truly is an angel on earth.

I am very grateful for all those loving folks, who somehow show up when I need them.  For those who put others before their own needs, and those who love unconditionally.  I am blessed to know many earth angels.  So, keep your eyes open every day, because you never know when an angel in disguise will meet you on your path or show up at your door.

MAGICAL MONDAY MEMORIES

Today was another beautiful day. Low humidity, a clear blue sky, and a sweet calmness meandered around me, filling my heart, to the brim with peace.

It’s funny how sometimes, the type of day, fruit and vegetables, a familiar smell, a particular song, and farmers baling hay in the fields can transport me back to another time. I love when memories flood my mind, taking me back when life was simple, and love waft through the air touching my mother, father, sisters, and brother.

Summer was always a busy time growing up on the farm. Mom worked in her garden, pulling weeds, hoping for a good crop of vegetables. Then in due time, preparing, and canning jar after jar of her bountiful harvest.  I remember seeing the sweat pour off her face, as she took the scalding hot jars out of the canner then loaded it up again.  Mom would often sing as she worked hard to fill our shelves with everything under the sun.  When I close my eyes and listen carefully, I can almost hear her voice, singing the Old Rugged Cross. Oh, how I miss her.

Most summers, Dad would help a few local farmers with their chore of baling hay. I remember Dad facing the baler waiting for the bales to pop out, then grabbing the bulky rectangular shape tied with twine and piling it on the flatbed with sides. It was a hot job, but Dad didn’t mind. It was a way for him to earn a few extra dollars for his family. Dad was a good man and a great and loving father.  I miss him, dearly.

Although my parents are gone, it’s days like this that keeps them close to me. Sometimes it is as if they are right by my side. Our memories connect us to those who live in our heart.

I believe when we remember those we love, the connection to heaven grows stronger, and our loved ones are happy.

Memories are magical, they heal our hearts, and fill us with a love that never dies, and for that, I am grateful.

SWEET SOUNDS OF SUNDAY

Sunday is my favorite day of the week. How can you not like a day that has the word, “sun” in it?

 In the summer, I love to get up extra early on Sunday, pour my coffee, then head out to the front porch to breathe in the fresh air. There is something special about the peace that finds me as the sun inches its way up, framed by the pink, purple, and orange sky. I like to think that the Sunday choir of chirping birds are surrounded by angels leading them in songs of praise.  Their sweet sounds soothe my soul as I sit and say,   “Thank you,” to the Man who created everything I can see and hear.

As the color palette changed and the sky became a shade of periwinkle blue, the sound of voices filled with conversations and laughter traveled from the open windows and doors, while music swirled through the air and church bells rang.

Then, as I am ready to head off to church, two dogs barked at one another, as if to say, ” Good morning.”  Their tails wagged, and their owners laughed, once again, filled my heart with the sweet sounds of Sunday.

Church, with its songs of love and praise for the Man who created you and me, filled my heart to the brim and left me wanting more.  After church, the clicking of cups being filled with coffee, and the voices of folks, enjoying each other’s company assured me that peace and hope are alive in spite of the challenges we face each day.  As I traveled the short distance to my home, and then throughout the day, the memories of my Sunday meandered through my mind reminding me that I am never alone, and neither are you.

Although each day of the week has its own good qualities, there is something special about the sweet sounds of Sunday that continue to renew my spirit.  Listen for those sounds, and I promise your heart will thank you.

Sunday Blessings!