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Friday, January 11, 2019

A time and a season for everything

Click here to hear song

Have you ever heard the song Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds? It was a pretty popular song and was number one on the billboards in 1965 and also featured in the movie "Forrest Gump." The lyrics are very similar and almost word for word from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in the Bible, except for the title of the song.
Here are the words from Ecclesiastes.
“a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
“a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
“a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
The words are about how there is a season for everything in life. Our lives begin when we are born and they end when we die, but the in-between is what matters. It’s how we live our life. What I have found is no matter how much joy or sorrow we go through that, too, is a season. It usually doesn’t last forever, which is good when we encounter things that bring us sadness.
I know for some, the holidays can be hard. Maybe your kids are gone, you got divorced or someone close to you died. These words can give hope that it’s only a moment in time.
We really have to remember time is constantly changing. You can’t stop time. We are only given so much time and we should use our time wisely. As we start a new year, really think about the season you are in and how to live it to the fullest. I found this past year I was trying to do so many things, but wasn’t doing them all to the best of my ability. I had to make some big decisions on what to cut back on. Some of the things I decided to cut back on are things I have done for years and love doing, but as I am reminded in these words, there is a time for everything.
What matters most to you? What season are you in? Are you with a newborn at home? Do you have a toddler? Do you have a teen? Are your kids grown? Maybe you have grandkids? For me, I am in the middle stages of life and my two girls are now teens. People who have kids older than mine have told me your kids will grow up fast and they are right. It seems like just the other day they were born. When they were younger, I would always tease them and tell them to stop growing up. You can’t stop time, you can’t even slow down time. We have to live in the season. Being a mom is a season of life. It’s one of the best jobs I could ever have, definitely one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding.
As I write this, one of the things in life I will be cutting back on are my articles. I have been writing this column for more than eight years and now is the season to step back. To all my readers I thank you for allowing me to share my personal life with you over the years. There is a time and a season for everything.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

13-year-old turns birthday into a time of giving to others

Mackenzie Dunn holds money in her hand at her birthday party
as part her donation to Operation: Miltiary Matters. 

Thanksgiving, is a day to be thankful and a time for giving. I couldn't think of a more giving story than the one I am about to share.

A few weeks ago, my 12-year-old daughter Graci brought home a handmade invitation to her friend Mackenzie Dunn's 13th birthday party. I was amazed to see inside it said, "instead of gifts this year please bring donations for Operation: Military Matters" and she gave a list of suggested items to donate.  Operation: Military Matters, is my daughter Graci's nonprofit. She sends care packages to the military overseas. When I saw Mackenzie was asking for donations for it, I was very impressed. Most teens aren't thinking about giving to others these days, they are more interested in themselves one reason they are labeled the "me generation."

 Mackenzie's birthday was on Veterans Day this year, so that's why she wanted to do something for the military. In the past Graci has shared with her the impact the care packages make on our military.  

When I picked Graci up from the party, Mackenzie handed me a $200 check and three bagfuls of items to send in the care packages. This generosity and unselfish act really made an impact on me and I am sure others including the kids at the party and her family. To see a young teen give up all her presents is really unheard of. I mean she could have had a new phone, iPad, Apple watch, etc. She was such a cheerful giver too, she even told me the other day she received another twenty dollars and her mom was going to give it to me. She knows that will help pay for shipping for another care package. Mackenzie realizes even at her young age what she is doing is making the lives of our soldiers a little bit brighter with the care packages. She told me she wants to help pack the next round of care packages for the troops. Wow, not only is she donating money to a charity, but also her time!  

As I think about this wonderful story of our youth and how there are young kids doing good deeds in the world, it makes my heart so happy. We have to share these kinds of
stories. I know there are more stories like this. We need to report more good news instead of all the bad things kids are doing. My hope is when kids see others being recognized for doing good deeds, maybe they will do something good.

I believe, as parents we need to be the ones to set an example of giving. We need to give to others and teach our children this and tell them it feels great to give. Maybe we can all learn a little something from 13-year-old Mackenzie and her giving heart. As we approach the holidays over the next few months, think about giving to others.

Wishing everyone a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thank a veteran this Veterans Day!

My daughter,Graci when she was  in kindergarten
 at a Veterans Day ceremony at her school
Veterans Day is a day to celebrate all who have served in the armed forces. Veterans are the ones who have given their lives for us to be free. Sometimes we take for granted what veterans have done and are doing for us. It’s easy to do because we are not there.
I haven’t lived it, but I listen to others and hear their stories like the 7-year-old little girl whose dad just came back from Iraq and she missed him so much she hoped he could stay home and work down the street at Publix, so she could see him every day. Or the lady who sat in front of my family in church for months pregnant while her husband was serving overseas and he missed the birth of his baby. Or a friend’s daughter who graduated from high school and her dad was in another country fighting for our country and didn’t see her graduate. Or the family with three kids under the age of 6 who don’t have a mom because she was killed in action while she was serving overseas.
Those are just a few stories ... there are so many more. What’s amazing is these men and women fighting for us give up their daily lives and some pay the ultimate sacrifice with their life.
We should be thankful and honor our veterans. I am blessed to have a family full of veterans and I am thankful for their service. My dad was in the Army. His dad, my grandfather, was one of the youngest pilots in World War II and the Korean War. My father-in-law retired from the military after serving more than 20 years as a lieutenant colonel in the Army. My brother-in-law was also in the Army and served two tours in Iraq. My husband’s grandfather also served. I have great respect for our military and their families.
As a mom and a wife, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a husband or a son or daughter in combat. I know talking to my mother-in-law it was hard not knowing whether or not you are going to get that dreadful knock on the door informing you your loved one was killed in action.
I am glad for Veterans Day celebrations to remind us of these sacrifices our veterans have made. It’s important to bring our children to these ceremonies and talk about what it means to be a veteran.
As we celebrate Veterans Day I think it’s so important to thank our veterans for what they have done for our country. We are free because of the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe. So, here’s to all our veterans ... thank you!!!