Precious Daffodils

Spring has sprung !  The daffodils are blooming all over town.  When I think of the spring season, I always think of daffodils.  The air smells different to me this time of year.  The birds sing loudly in the morning.  The sun stays up a wee bit longer in the evening.  I start wanting to wear pastel colored sweaters as I eagerly await our annual Spring Break trip to Mexico.  I love celebrating Easter and I eat way too many jellybeans. It feels good to let the sun shine on your face after a long hard winter, doesn’t it?  Spring is full of hope !

Springtime in Colorado can be a little unpredictable and that is why I love Daffodils !  Let me explain…. This is how daffodils grow in Colorado….   It will be a beautiful spring day and the daffodils are all abloom and glorious in their bright shiny yellow splendor and yes, you guessed it, a big snow storm will come and just bury them.  You can’t see them at all.  But you know what, in a few days, the snow begins to melt away and those little daffodils begin to poke their way through the snow.  They stand tall and they keep blooming.  Daffodils are the most hardy of spring bulbs.  Now if we use this analogy for life, it holds a lot of truth.  I would like to be like the daffodil who continues to bloom in the spring even when a snowstorm is determined to bury it.  Have you ever felt that way?  You are just coasting along in your springtime and WHAM out of nowhere you are hit with winter.  A loss of a job, a devastating diagnosis, a death of a loved one.  I am sure most of us can think of a time in our lives where we have felt like the little yellow flower just trying to survive the storm.

A master gardner once told me never to cut  back the green stems of the daffodils once they have bloomed.  Let them die naturally.  Through the beauty of photosynthesis the green part of the plant absorbs the sun and stores vital nutrients which allow the plant to survive the heat of the summer, the chill of autumn, and the freezing temperatures of winter.  How well you feed the plant in the spring determines how well the bulb survives the following year.

The same principal holds true for us.  If you find yourself in a routine time in your life, coasting, things going well, I encourage you to take this time to feed yourself.  Seek God first, Seek Him in extended stillness and solitude, Nurture your spiritual growth through God’s word.  Rejoice in the springtimes of life.  Store up the “nutrients” so that you too can be like the daffodil determined to bloom even if the winter wind blows.

” Springtime is when you feel like whistling even when your shoe is full of slush”- author unknown

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You got a letter !  I would run down two flights of stairs and retrieve the letter out of the hand of my grandpa who stood at the bottom of the staircase waiting for me with a huge grin on his face. ” Love Birds” – he would say.  I was receiving a letter from my sweetheart who later  would become my husband.  I looked forward to those letters every week as we were apart during my first two years of college.  Now I must confess we saw each other almost every weekend but we did live about 2 hours apart  and  25 years ago we didn’t have cell phones or i pads with Skype. We couldn’t afford those long distance phone calls, so we relied on letter writing to stay connected.  We were not in constant contact via text messaging like most of us are today.  I loved getting those letters every week.  I have them saved in a storage tub in my basement and every few years we bring it out and sit down and reminisce. It is fun to re –  read what was so important to us then and how now after 25 years of marriage somethings have changed yet so much is the same.  Our kids roll their eyes and say ” you and Dad sure were mushy in your letters”.  It still brings a smile to my face.

I loved going to the mailbox when I was a little girl too.  My Grandma and Great Aunt were taking a trip around the world and they were sending me 3D postcards.  If you have never seen a 3D card, they truly are remarkable.  You feel as if you could  jump right into  the card and be a part of the story.  The cards arrived stamped from all over the world and sweet notes penned in my aunts familiar script.  I still can picture my mom and I looking through all the cards that would arrive, definitely a fond childhood memory.

I loved being pen pal to my grandma in Minnesota and my sweet aunt in Oregon.  They loved writing letters too.  My grandma could take a whole page describing the potluck she attended and what all the ladies had prepared.  When we looked through my grandmas things after she had died, she had saved all the letters from my sisters and I – they were tied with a blue ribbon.  Words in familiar handwriting are so special aren’t they?

When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter to someone on a beautiful piece of stationery?  It has been awhile for me.  I too have been caught up in the now technology of email and texts.  I still love to read letters and when someone takes the time to write to you, it really is a special occasion.  You never know what your words mean to others.  A handwritten card or letter is far superior to a typed e-mail.

God must be a huge fan of letter writing because that is how most of the new testament is presented to us.  The Apostle Paul was an incredible letter writer.  If you think about it , we learn so much of the life of Christ and we receive so much instruction and love through these ancient letters.  Paul used this form of communication to tell the world about Christ, to thank and encourage the members of the early church.  These letters are our connection to Christ too.  God spoke to those in the early church through these letters and now in 2012 to us as well.  I am thankful for letters.

My encouragement to you this week is to read Paul’s letters in the new testament.  See how he shares emotion, concern, gratitude, and most importantly the message of salvation.   You will be blessed .  On a personal note, what if we took the time this week to sit down and write someone a letter – that is your challenge.  I am sure you will make somebody’s day much brighter.

Blessings !

Sherri

Save the Starfish

A rough storm came up one night and left a sandy beach strewn with starfish.  The next morning a child walked along the shore stopping every few feet to pick up a starfish and fling it back into the sea.

An old man watched the child and finally shouted at him, ” Why bother”, son.  There are too many starfish to make a difference.”

With that, the boy picked up another starfish and looked at it intently before heaving it out into the sea,

then turning to the old man he said, ” It makes a difference to this one”.     ~ Author Unknown

This story came to life for me 10 years ago when my husband and I were getting ready to travel to China to adopt our daughter.  I had  a lady ask me why I was doing this and because the abandoned girls in China was such a huge problem did I feel guilty that I could not take them all home.  I immediately thought of this story I had read one morning on an adoption web site, the starfish story I shared with you above, and I shared it with this stranger hoping that she could see that I wasn’t trying to solve the One Child Policy of the Nation of China nor was I  thinking I could save all the orphans in the world, I just wanted to bring my little girl home.  I was trying to be faithful to what God had laid on my heart and my husband’s heart… adoption.

We had been home with our precious Lexi for about five years when I attended a conference where the key note speaker, Elisa Morgan, launched her new book –  “She Did What She Could”.  This book was life changing for me.  I began reading it on the plane ride home and stayed up late into the night finishing it, taking notes, and really thinking how those simple words … ” She Did What She Could” can really have a profound affect on the world if each one of us applied it to our lives. It made me think back to the day I shared the starfish story with a stranger.  I realized that if I was faithful to do what God had laid on my heart and share that within my sphere of influence, I could make a difference in this world.  I started to think about how this was already working in my life.

When we returned home from our journey to China, we had many family members and friends coming over to meet our little girl.  In a few short weeks one of our dear friends said they were wanting to do the same thing.  Then another couple started asking questions and we shared our story with them and they too wanted to adopt.  Members of our family became interested in adoption, and soon each couple we had talked to was adopting and they were sharing their personal story with others and inspiring more couples in their sphere of influence to adopt as well.  WOW – soon it seemed like everyone we knew was adopting – this was amazing to me.  A few months ago my friend and I sat down as we were preparing to speak to a group about adoption and we counted  20 children who have now been adopted all with a connection to our adoption story.  You never know how God will use your faithfulness to profoundly inspire others.  It is very humbling.

I was inspired to write this blog today because I was watching an interview last night conducted by Bill Hybles, who is a well know pastor and author, and Bono, yes Bono the rockstar.  I was moved to hear Bono speak about the Aids epidemic of our lifetime and how he knew he was not Mother Theresa and could not save the entire world, yet he could do the best with what he has been given.  He knew he had fame and money and could give a voice to those afflicted by this terrible disease.  He said we can’t fix everything but the things we can fix, we have to.  I thought again about the principle of just doing what we can and inspiring others to do the same.  God does the rest.  It will amaze you to see who God has placed in your life and how by working together you can make a difference.  It is awesome to see how God orchestrates the crossing of paths in our lives.

My encouragement to you today is to decide what the ” starfish” in your life are, then do something about it.  I encourage you to read the book ” She Did What She Could”.  You really can make a difference – You really can !

Blessings!

Sherri

Focal Point

Spinning , spinning, high on pointed toe, around and around , pirouettes across the stage. How does the ballerina do this without falling down?  A focal point.  Now picture a young child with their arms outstretched spinning around and around until they get so dizzy they fall down.  Why did they fall? No focal point.  Your focal point is your center of attention and it keeps your mind focused on the task at hand.  As a little girl, I loved gymnastics and dance and I learned at an early age how to do a full turn, a pirouette.  At my dance class there was a picture of a big yellow smily face and as I learned to turn I was told to look at the smily face every time I made a full turn.  Doing a full turn on the balance beam required a lot of focus and I was taught to “spot” the end of the beam.  This would keep me straight and help me not to fall to the ground. I can still picture that big yellow smile as I turned my way across the dance floor.

What is your focus today?  What is it that keeps you from falling off track in your life?  For me, it is Jesus. Keeping focused on the Lord keeps me from going sideways, from being so overwhelmed by the busyness of life that I fall to the ground because I am spinning out of control.  I confess this is not an easy task; however, the days that I stay focused on Him are the days I feel like I am dancing!  There is a beautiful hymn that was written long ago and it has always spoke deep into my heart.  The refrain says…….

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

I encourage you today to stay focused on Him !

Be blessed !

Sherri