I love you…

Happy Birthday to my heart …

Iloveu.jpg

What a thoughtful birthday gift I received today from my sweet Jenna.

Why do I love it when my kids express that they love me?

Because I feel like when a kid can genuinely love their parent, they’re probably genuinely able to love themselves…

I’m praying for all six of our children to grow into being happy, healthy adults; a little because of what I do/did right, and, more, in spite of what I do/did wrong…

And, most of all, by the beautiful grace of GOD.

#family #raisingkids #iloveyou #Ilovemykids #loveyourself

Advertisements

Dear Life, You are SO fragile…

This morning I learned that a friend, who I met through a support network for moms, lost a dear friend of hers last night. She babysits the little daughter of this precious woman.

The woman and her elementary aged son were both killed after being struck by a Semi on the freeway.

Just minutes before, they were driving down 1-65, near Franklin, TN, during inclement weather.  Suddenly, they witnessed a car flip in front of them.  So, like any decent, selfless soul would do, this beautiful mom stopped to try to see what she could do to assist the driver of the flipped car.  She pulled over to the shoulder and her and her son got out of their car to walk toward the injured driver. It was in that moment that they were struck by the Semi.

I can’t make sense of it. I see it all the time. I’ve had it happen to me. One day, back in 1987, I was hugging my brother and laughing with him, and the next day he died in a tragic house fire (started by a broken human-being who did it on purpose).

I’ve had friends, family, and colleagues lose precious loved ones to horrible illnesses or sudden tragedies who were absolutely fine 6 months before or a day before.  I’ve lost loved ones and friends. We all have. Our friends and families die.  We die.  It happens. It happens to all of us…. So, WHY are we so caught off guard and what can we learn from the fragility of life and the reality of death?

I think it comes down to a couple things… or a couple million.  But, to keep this blog from making all of us feel suicidal by dwelling on the sadness for too long… I’ll just keep it to a couple.

fragilelife6

Number ONE… We may not mean to, but we take life and time for granted. It’s human. We’re human. How could we ever prepare to lose someone anyway? Right? So, we just assume that tomorrow and the next day and the next will come, and everyone who is with us today will be there in those days too.  And while it natural, there’s likely a better way to approach every day we’re given than what we are doing right now. We can’t live in fear of loss, but we CAN live in abundance of life.

The truth is… we just don’t know what will happen next.  Life is so fragile… We should never take a breath for granted. Not our own breath… Not the breath of our loved ones… Not the breath of our friends and coworkers.  We need to appreciate every day and every person in that day.

LOVING people is a pinnacle aspect of being fully alive. Invest in people. Judge not lest you be judged. Cast no stones you aren’t willing to be hit with yourself.  Stop wasting time fighting fights that just end up knocking you and everyone around you out.

Stop “majoring in the minors.”  Use your brain and your heart and eyes.  Stop viewing life through a tiny lens, whether that be an under-educated viewpoint or opinion, or, the screen on a smart phone.  Don’t spend money you don’t have. Live in simplicity.  Make choices and sacrifices that will matter once your daily breath is no more. Function from an attitude of gratitude.  Appreciate every day as a true gift, limited by time, limited in breaths, but unlimited in love and grace. fragilelife7

Number Two… Denial is easier than action. Of course it is, right…? But, should things suddenly and drastically change, taking someone we love from our presence, what will we find most important then? Whatever that is, how can we start living that way now?

Here are a few suggestions: Hug those you love twice as often as you do right now. Do that as often as possible.  If you don’t see them very often (because of distance, etc.), hug them in other ways; a note, a call, a thumbs up emoticon, whatever…just do it.  For those who don’t hug, just try it once over the next day or so. For those who hug once a day, that means twice a day, and so on.

fragilelife5Say “I love you” every day. Show “I love you” every day. Smile at twice as many strangers as you smile at now. For those who don’t smile at strangers, try it just once every day.  For those who smile at people everyday, don’t do it anymore than that…People will think you’re weird. 🙂 Don’t measure your blessings by the “blessings” you see others receive.  Celebrate theirs and share yours. And…remember the little boys and girls and families who are living in 7’x 7′ huts, with no running water, all around the world.  Consider yourself richer than you could ever deserve. Do something today that will last 10 years from now. Sponsor a child. Find one here- compassion.com.

You get my point, right?  If you love Jesus (and I pray you do), show people Jesus. Study what He would do if He were walking through the mall and try doing it.  Study what HE might do if HE saw someone homeless and do that. Study how HE would love a sinner and try to love like that.  Study how HE would love someone with a different opinion than HE had, and LOVE others like that.  Study how HE loves YOU and let yourself be loved like that.

#LOVE

Love GOD, love yourself, love others… TODAY.  Because so far, this is a day we have all been blessed with to do so… Live by this beautiful verse of scripture “THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE. WE WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.” ~ Psalm 118:24

Finally….Breathe in…. Breathe out…  Stop right now and thank God for that breath.  And, right now, pray for that PRECIOUS and DEARLY loved mom and son’s family; a husband, a little daughter, many others, friends, like my friend whose name is Lisa. Pray for her. Pray for Lisa.  Pray for everyone who thought they’d have tomorrow with them… Let’s pray for them and live our own lives like we aren’t promised tomorrow either, because we aren’t.  We have a gift right now, though. That gift is TODAY.

Fragilelife3

I LOVE YOU all and every single one of your fragile lives…

Gratefully,  Donna

Dear Life, Tell Me About Kindness…

kindness_artIn honor of Martin Luther King Day, I feel moved to share two powerful quotes, and, in addition, an excerpt from a book written by Dean Koontz.  Remember this as you read them.  Today is a gift and, once our heads hit the pillow tonight, we won’t have another opportunity to live it, so, why not live it well in the first place. One thought… one suggestion,  in honor of MLK Day, is to choose to perform random acts of kindness. Offer a smile, a compliment, a coffee, a hug…YOU choose. There is so much we can do and these small efforts will last far longer than the brief moment it takes to perform them.

Here are some words to live by today…

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

MLKLOVE

“Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child. Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example. Each smallest act of kindness—even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile—reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined—those dead, those living, those generations yet to come—that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands. Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength—to the very survival of the human tapestry. Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day.”

― Dean KoontzFrom the Corner of His Eye

a_single_act_of_kindness_quote

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

think_full

I have a business associate who signs all of her emails this way- MAKE IT A GREAT DAY! I love that! How often we say “HAVE A GREAT DAY.” But, whether or not this day is great is actually more up to us than we realize… I’ll tell ya what… I’ll plant a little tree of kindness on my block… Will you plant one on yours?

Dear Life… All I Want For Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving…

Oh my goodness… My heart is overflowing with gratitude this Thanksgiving morning.  As I sit and watch the fire flickering, the lights on the Christmas tree twinkling, and the coffee in my favorite mug steaming, my heart is singing a song of gratitude.  And though the song is silent to those still asleep in the house, I think heaven can hear those echoes from my soul…

This year has been a year of LITERAL miracles.  It’s a year where peace is beginning to make it’s way into my daily life… And I’m learning, as I wrestle the various “personality beasts” within me to the ground, that it could have been here sooner…had I let it.

I could dive in and list some major emotional moments where GOD has shown up and rescued the perishing, including me, but that is for another blog post. We have turkeys to cook and sweet potato casserole to bake!

But, I want to touch a subject, this morning, that I pray might “set us up” for some much needed PEACE and JOY through these beautiful days ahead…

As I quietly contemplate this next month or so, a month we refer to as “The Holidays,” I’m struck something I heard in church the last time I was visiting the kiddos in Yorba Linda, CA…The words came from Pastor Brian Moore. He pastors Crosspointe Church there in SoCAl. It’s where my awesome son-in-law is worship pastor.  It’s the church I feel so grateful and welcome in, as a second home, when I’m away from our church, Gracepointe, here in Nashville.

What Pastor Brian said is SO applicable for Thanksgiving… He said… GOD + NOTHING = EVERYTHING..

For the next month, we will be inundated with messages of WANT…We’ll be told we need “this” and we have to have “that”… Children will tell their parents about “such and such”… They’ll say that their friends got “such and such,” so, why can’t they have “such and such???”… Commercials will scream at us day and night…new this, new that… You know…You live here too.

But, all of our WANTING for stuff just leads to a sense of dissatisfaction that we can’t even explain…and, in the end, we just end up WANTING more.

maybechristmasthegrinchdpp

Adversely, feasting on GOD, and all HE gives us, leaves us deeply satisfied and knowing we NEED more…

Here’s the truth… BLACK FRIDAY + CYBER MONDAY = BLUE JANUARY.

Don't Cry Over Christmas

So, fellow sojourners, whose minds, if not guarded, can be sucked in by that guy on TV, standing in front of a shiny new car (with a HUGE red bow wrapped around it) whose telling us WE DESERVE that car….let’s be mindful and careful over this next month, to stay NEAR to what we already HAVE and stay CLEAR of the lie that it’s NOT enough…Because…what Pastor Brian says is so very TRUE…

GOD + NOTHING = EVERYTHING.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil.4:19 #Gratitude #365daysayea

Dear Life, Remember DUKE?

love

This morning, as I read God’s word and prayed, I was struck with a memory of my childhood dog, DUKE.

Duke was such a loving dog. He was full of kisses and tail wagging, until he felt threatened… The few times he felt threatened, he would instinctively nip.

My good friend DUKE

Duke and I… I was in my teens. He was in his 20s (3 years old or so in human years). We were really great friends!

The one time that stands out (most prominently) to me is when he had been hit by a car and I found him with a broken leg. I ran to him to get him and take care of him and, as I approached, he went after my hand, He growled at me and started to bite. He didn’t hurt me, but he did teach me something. Some of the most precious, kindest, and most loving can attempt to attack and hurt others, not because they are mean and hateful, but because they are wounded. Let’s not wound one another. Let’s choose love.

By the way, I changed my twitter name yesterday… It is now @letschooselove 🙂 Follow me if you like that kind of social media madness… I promise I will try always to CHOOSE LOVE as I share little thoughts and other random silliness. 🙂

Dear Life… Can you still use me even though I am pretty broken?

broken crayons

My beautiful friends, family, and fellow bloggers…

Broken crayons still color…Broken lives are not a waste…Broken hearts can be healed…Broken dreams can be restored…Broken promises can be redeemed…Broken pieces can be used in great and mighty ways…

YOU ARE LOVED. YOU are NOT too broken to be BEAUTIFUL….

The question: Dear Life… Can you still use me even though I am pretty broken?

The answer: YES.

#grateful #loved #broken #beautiful

Dear Life… Can you teach me how to love…?

I love chocolate… I love 75 degree summer days. I love shoes. I even love grilled asparagus…

I love a lot of things… but MOST of all… I love GOD… I love people… But not always as well as I should… THANK GOD for the “HOW TO GUIDE” in His Word. However, I’m not gonna lie… This can be TOUGH to do.

Dear GOD of my life, Help me to remember the greatest of ALL is LOVE and help me to make it a VERB in my daily life… Moment to moment, thought to thought, action to acton…OPPORTUNITY TO OPPORTUNITY… Dear life…May I LOVE well.

Here’s how The Message interprets the well-known bible passage from I Corinthians 13:3-7. I LOVE it! And…I know I can do a much better job at LOVING…

May I strive to LOVE this way today-

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”

Now…Go LOVE someone today! 🙂

Love, Donna