Do the Burpee

I try to do fitness things everyday…or every other. *wink* I am not in the best shape of my life, but I do try to move and make room for a few more oreos. I have a half marathon I am supposed to be training for, but the weather had other thoughts, so I have just been sticking with my trusty Street Parking workouts. Today that involves burpees.

If you don’t know what a burpee is, you are not missing out on anything, but definitely give that a google to see what it involves. For those of you who love to do burpees – well, I hate you. Just kidding. I love you. But I hate burpees. Some people say burpees are just like falling down and getting back up. I excel at falling down. It’s the getting back up part I struggle with.

I suppose this is true in life too.

It doesn’t take much to fall down, does it? One bad decision, a thoughtless word, or a careless act and down you go. But getting back up? That takes some time. It takes an effort on your part. Just like a stupid burpee.

When you have fallen to the ground in full out burpee mode, you have to maneuver yourself back up in order to, well, do more burpees. You use your arms to push yourself back to a plank position and then you jump (or, in my case, step) your feet back in so you can pop up with a fun little jump. My “fun little jump” just happens to resemble a creepy jack-in-the-box. Who thought that was a good toy for a young child?

When you have fallen to the ground in life, you can look to the bible for some help in gracefully getting back up. Hebrews 3:1 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Imagine that as you are pushing the palms of your hands into the ground and using your strength to muscle yourself up into a plank position. Now that you are there, you need to jump (or step) those feet in so you are ready to pop yourself up – gracefully, of course.

After doing just one burpee, when I find myself in plank position, there are a lot of negative thoughts in my head. My wrists are weak, what if I collapse? I have no core stability, what if I hurt my back? I have two choices when this happens, repetition after repetition. I can quit – or I can focus on the One who gives me strength. I like to remember Philippians 4:13. I know this verse isn’t talking about having physical strength to do one, or one hundred, burpees. But it is God who gives me strength to be content, obedient, and renewed. It is His strength that helps me get into position to pop-up and His strength that helps me clench the next rock I am using to climb out of the valley.  

As I am renewed by his strength, I am prepared to peek over those rocks from the mountaintop. To peer at the beautiful landscape and remember the lessons I learned in the valley below. Keeping my eyes fixed, I can remember 2 Timothy 1:7 as I pop myself back up and get ready to do the next rep. God did not give me a spirit of fear. He gave me a spirit of power, love, and self-disciple.

And trust me when I tell you there is a lot of self-discipline involved with the burpee. And with life…

Truth is, we need God in this life. We don’t truly know how to fully live without him. I also happen to need Him to complete a burpee. And whether I’m doing a burpee or trying to think positively about an unpleasant situation, I can lean into the courageous spirit I have been given. This is the spirit that leads me in love.

I can’t tell you I will ever love to see burpees in a workout, but I sure do love the reminder they represent to keep pushing. Take care to focus, breathe, and make every rep – every thought, every move – count.

~ D 🙂

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A Simple Choice…

Watched one of my all time favorite movies the other day with my oldest son.
The Shawshank Redemption.

It seems every time I see it, I take away a nugget of truth that I didn’t see before. This time, it was “a simple choice“.

Choice is a funny thing to me. I find it comical and sad that too often I (we) walk around like we have “no choice” or say in what happens in our lives. There is somehow a pro-choice and an anti-choice. Then, when I look at the reality of choice, we either make one, or, we make one!

Back to the movie…

It wasn’t Andy Dufresne’s choice to go to prison, but there were choices that set in motion the events that lead him there. It wasn’t his choice on how he was treated, but there were choices made how he would live with his new reality.

There was one choice that really stood out to me this time. Probably more importantly, it was what this choice meant.

“Get busy Living, Or Get Busy Dying.”

The CHOICE was a simple one. Though the quote comes toward the end of the movie, the short recap on how Andy got to the point where he shared that little nugget reveals that the choice to “get busy living” came some 20 years earlier.

Think about that for a moment.

Twenty Years…..

We get bent out of shape when what we choose doesn’t come to fruition after 20 minutes. We whine, we “start over”, we give up… we STOP making the necessary choices that move us toward our goals, purpose, freedoms and by default, make the choice to do/go just the opposite.

Back in my radio days, I did a short 60 second clip on choice. I shared how I look at them as small building blocks. One foundational choice on top of another choice, stacking up to shape the life WE create. However, depending on how HIGH your goals were, you had to go just as DEEP in order for those choices to stand the test and weathering of time.

But in order to get that far, you have to do one very important thing…. own it.

Despite knowing his innocence, Andy chose to own his plight, circumstances and outcomes. This doesn’t mean he went with the flow or just let life happen however it was to be.

On the contrary. He took charge and chose to make deliberate actions to live in every moment however it was handed him. He was able to because he chose to hold on to the hope of what life COULD BE, if he could not only be free on the outside, but by choosing to be free on the inside of prison however possible.

Andy reiterates the importance of hope in a letter to his prison friend, Red, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

But what really stood out to me in the movie this time as I watched, was what Andy chose to do over the course of those 20 years.

He chose to hold on to hope when he was harassed.
He chose to hold on to hope when he was beaten.
He chose to hold on to hope when he was raped.
He chose to hold on to hope when he crawled through 500 yards of raw sewage to freedom.

He chose.

It was a simple choice. It’s always a simple choice. The question is never in the choice being made, it is whether or not we have enough hope to see it through.

Are you facing a choice? Of course you are!

Within every moment there is an opportunity to choose whether or not you’re going to get busy living, or get busy dying.

Have hope. Seek Truth. Keep inching forward, no matter how much crap you find yourself having to crawl through to come out clean on the other side.

talk to you next time,


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100 Wine Glasses

Life is full of clutter and junk we do not need, yet we hold onto it. Stress, anger, frustration, hurt, and pain. Why do we hold these things close? I am guilty of holding on to the junk and clutter in my life. Literally and figuratively speaking.

This past weekend my best friend came to help me pack. Thankfully, she is NOT sentimental. I don’t think I can honestly count how many times I heard “Do you REALLY need that? Are you EVER going to use that? That can go in the trash!” I cannot lie I did get a little irritated at times when an item meant something to me, or I thought it meant something to me. I did cave and threw a lot away, but there were some items I did not budge on. I think she just stopped asking and started throwing things away because she knew I would say I needed to keep it for no reason other than it was moms or dads.

Which leads me to wine glasses. How many does one person need? My mom had probably 100 wine glasses and you guessed it, I would not part with them. I swear to you every time we opened another cupboard there were more wine glasses. My friend repeatedly said “Seriously MORE wine glasses? You really do NOT need all these, you don’t even drink wine!” To which I said, “They were moms. I can’t get rid of them!” I did compromise and threw away 10, so now I only have 90. I think they will look nice displayed in the hutch, and if someone comes over and wants to drink wine, I will have options for them.

I try to be practical, but these days practicality has flown out the window. Emotions have set in and I cannot think straight. Every item I see I think, “I can’t throw that away” The reality is I do not need to hold on to everything.

Letting go is hard. No matter what we are going through in life there is something or someone we must “let go” of. There is clutter that needs to get thrown out. Whether it is material items of a loved one that you most certainly will never use, or feelings, something will need to be thrown out for you to move on in life. The more we hold on to the more our minds and hearts lose room for the important things like faith, love, family, and friends.

We need to let go. We do not have complete control of life. We need to have faith that the man upstairs knows what he is doing and let him take over and declutter our hearts and mind. Get rid of the unneeded wine glasses and start fresh.

I am officially asking Jesus to take the wheel of my life, because I know he will guide me in the right direction.

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Lead with Love

I don’t remember mom and dad talking to us about a lot of serious things. Maybe they talked to my siblings – but I just don’t remember them talking to me about things like racism, worldview, the Bible, or even the birds and the bees. Maybe it was just a different time. Maybe they didn’t know how. Maybe they really did talk about these things and I just didn’t listen… Regardless, I don’t remember any deep conversations.

I can’t say that I have had a lot of those deep conversations with my older kids, either. A few, here and there, but looking back, I sure wish there were more. But Gavin? It seems he and his buddies do a lot of talking about social issues – race, LGBTQ+, BLM, and the like. I am kind of shocked about their topics of discussion. When I was in 7th grade, I was talking about girl drama and cute boys {which were often the source of girl drama}. I am so very thankful Gavin shares these conversations and we can speak life into his ever-growing heart and brain.

Many of our conversations happen in the car, on the way to school – which gives me exactly seven minutes. Anyone who knows me, also knows it is difficult for me to come up with words under pressure. I am a thinker. Seven minutes is not a lot of time when he springs something on me. I typically come up with something {often cliché or just plain lame}, but then stew on it all day and revisit the topic at an appropriate time.

The other morning, on the way to school, we had one of our conversations. As he was talking, I couldn’t help but be a little sad he and his buddies don’t have a Biblical worldview…yet. They have views they can back up with a verse or two found in the Bible, but they don’t have solid views that are consistent with the message of humanity, sin, and redemption. I am trying to help him form that. I am trying to steer him to dig into the Bible to uncover a whole gamut of truth. I am trying to get through to him how God desires us to act justly and love mercy, but there are a lot of unbiblical explanations fighting against me of what justice and mercy should look like.  

As always, I needed time to process the things he was expressing, but I did manage to tell him this one thing I think we all need to grasp. Many people see the world in terms of power and miss the redemption potential of sinners.  Everyone is worthy of redemption. Everyone.

Until we see people – all people – through the lens of Jesus, our world is going to suffer. Until we learn to treat people the way Jesus would treat them, our world is going to suffer. I know that sounds cliché – but I really wanted to make it simple enough for Gavin to understand. When we disrespect others, treat people poorly, exert power, or hurt others in any way – we are doing the same to Jesus. We are made in the image of God. That isn’t a cute saying or a great song – that is truth. When we look at others, we need to see them the way Jesus sees them – as a perfectly created child; unique; chosen; loved; valued.

When we look at another human, we need to see them as created by our Creator. We need to step back and recognize that our personal convictions are just that – ours. There is a freedom in the world to have morals and values that look different from one person to the next. I, for one, do not want to lose that freedom. When we think about the person who frustrates us for their different stance on the world, we need to seek to understand that stance. We don’t have to agree with it, but when we understand where another person is coming from, we are better equipped to engage with them. Engage is a key word here. We don’t want to fight. We don’t want to shove a bible verse down their throat. And we don’t want to insist we are right and they are wrong. That is not engagement. That is stubborn pride. Engagement opens the door to unhindered, intelligent conversation. Engagement takes courage to scale the walls and patiently and lovingly chip away at the bricks – not to change minds or morals, convict hearts, or challenge beliefs – but to love someone enough to make space for God to move.

It is only when God moves that we see redemption. And isn’t that the bigger story, anyway? Our world is made up of sinners. We should never be so high up on that almighty horse judging someone else while forgetting the bible tells us we all fall short of the glory of God. We should take great care in remembering that the sin of humanity is the very reason God sent Jesus to redeem us while we were in the muck and the mire. Jesus didn’t yell at us. He didn’t hold up protest signs. He didn’t turn his back on us when we were at our lowest low. He didn’t tell us we were horrible humans for thinking or believing what we thought or believed. Why on earth would we think this was acceptable for us to do to others? Jesus simply loved us until we were ready to be loved and that is what he commands us to do going forward.

Because I love the simplicity of Bob Goff’s message, let me share one more quote with you. In his book Everybody Always, he wrote:

“People will figure out what we really believe by what we actually do. Everybody has a plan, but God’s looking for people who know their purpose.”

Love is hard – but it is necessary if we are ever going to really change the world the way Jesus did. We are not here to prove a point. We are here to share Good News. If we come out with our guns a’blazing, we will surely lose the battle. But if we lead with love, God will surely win.

When Gavin got out of the car, I watched him walk into school and I prayed that maybe, just maybe, the few words I was able to craft in my seven-minute window would sink into his heart and manifest in his thoughts and words and actions. I’m praying the same for all of us. Will you join me? I truly believe we can change the world with a little love. We had a great example. It is time we followed his lead.

~ D 😊

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Once Upon a Time…

My granddaughter loves to tell stories. We have to make up stories for each other on a regular basis. Her stories involve a funny grandpa or a mischievous sister. My stories are typically centered around a beautiful girl with red hair and a spunky ‘tude. We both begin our stories with “Once upon a time…” and we anxiously wait for the story to unfold. It is completely made up in a very real way – and it makes my sweet girl giggle. This grandma loves to hear her grandkids giggle and I am especially delighted when the giggle comes from something I did or said. Let me remind you, silly is hard for me…

Usually, after the grandkids have left and the house is once again filled with quiet, my brain goes back to “once upon a time.” This time around, the story is real. I love to reminisce about days gone by. Usually, it brings a smile to my face as I relate something the grandkids did or said to something similar in one of the boys lives. If I am honest, though, sometimes I get a little sad when I start the trip down memory lane. Two of my kids are all grown up and married and one is getting ready to head into the teenage years. It won’t be long before “once upon a time” is all I have left – and I struggle with that a bit.

When we are in the thick of raising our kids, we don’t stop to think about the day we will sit on our couch, alone, thinking about “once upon a time.” And yet – here I am. Truth is, I never wanted to picture my boys going away to college or getting married or having a home of their own. I wanted to hold on to the moments that made them little boys who hugged their mama and occasionally took out the garbage or emptied the dishwasher.

“Once upon a time” is about time gone, and today I think about that time with great appreciation. I did what I could to invest into my kids lives. When I look back at that, I see the holes and mistakes – all the places I could have done more. Instead of worrying about that, I am choosing to trust God to do what he does best in filling in the gaps where I fell short as a parent. I know that I have had a great influence on their lives. Life wasn’t always easy. Decisions weren’t always popular. But I hope that one day, when my boys are telling silly stories with their grandkids, they will look back at “once upon a time” and remember I loved them fiercely and prayed for them deeply.

What does your “once upon a time” look like? I hope you look back on the memories and see how you shaped a piece of the world through your kids – because you did. And now, “once upon a time” is about watching the story unfold.

~ D 😊

I’m taking after dad today and linking up a day late with my Five Minute Friday friends. I hope you will take some time to support a few other bloggers in this community. You might find a blog or two you’d like to follow. I know I did!

Posted in blessings, children, family, Five Minute Friday, grandchildren, life & love, Memories, things that matter | 5 Comments

Starting over is hard to do

A few days ago, I shared my morning thoughts about life’s challenges. It said: “Life will never be easy. It will always be hard. But, we can choose our hard. Pick wisely.” I used that morning thought to reflect a little on life and some of the choices I’ve made. I reflected on my hard days and the easy ones and it made me think about how many times I have started over.

I know there are probably others out there that can relate to starting over…hard choices…tough consequences…and the day to day challenges that make life what it is. I figured this week I’d reflect a little with everyone on starting over and the hardness of life and the choices we make.

I can remember graduating high school…looking at the world with a can-do attitude, invincible and ready to make my mark. I remember the change in my routine and that slap of reality when I realized this adult stuff wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I was starting out…and in many ways starting over. It was hard…but it was my hard.

As I settled into my new normal routines, marriage seemed the next logical step. And, marriage was hard. I was no longer responsible for just me. Every choice became harder knowing I had a responsibility greater than myself. Soon after that marriage I got to see that divorce was harder….and I had to start over.

I worked, as most of us do, and soon settled into call centers. It was never intended to be a career choice, but 25 plus years later, here I am. Guess what…call centers are hard. Everyday in a call center feels like starting over. Policy, processes, people all changed frequently. Managers and clients came and went..and stability was never a guarantee.

Kids, blended families, remarriage, finances, another divorce, personal demons and harsh realities…they all played a part in the times I’ve had to start over…and it was never easy no matter how many times I had to do it.

Each time I started over I thought this was my biggest struggle, the hardest challenge, the straw that was going to break my back. Yet, somehow, I survived each new beginning. I made the most of each situation…and, each new start held a different promise for a future.

Fact is…life will never be easy. It will always be hard….but, the meme reminded me that we choose our hard. And, more importantly, that meme challenges us to choose wisely.

Each day is a new day…and every tomorrow we get to start over. And, while we will all face hard times, decisions and situations we do get to choose our hard. So, I encourage each of you to choose wisely.

What do your choices look like? How will you use your new start to make your version of hard…a little easier?

~ Joe Jr.

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…stop moving the wheel

I don’t have a lot to say today.

Lately, I haven’t had a lot to say at all really. That’s the introspective side of me that stops by from time to time.

The details aren’t important, but with the “busy”ness of life’s happenstance over the past couple months and reading the recent posts of my brothers and sisters, I couldn’t help but think of the first time dad let me drive.

I don’t remember where we were but I do remember it was straight.

I kept moving the wheel back and forth like I watched my father do while he drove all those miles when I was little.

Except there was this new thing called power assist steering that actually did a pretty good job taking the oversteer slack out of the steering wheel while driving!

So, as I swerved back and forth on the straight as an arrow roadway, I asked my dad… “How to you keep the car straight?”

He grinned and simply said, “…stop moving the wheel.”

Dad was filled with so much wisdom.

Thinking about that little story and all the “busy” nesses of life I find myself in, I couldn’t help but reflect on the difference between the car I was “in control of” and the ones I watched my father drive.

Maybe I’m trying to do things the way I watched others do in the past and trying to mimic what I saw in my present circumstances.

Maybe the answer to my swerving all over the road of life I’m on is to grip the wheel with my own hands and stop moving the wheel.

10 & 2 ☕😎

talk to you next time,


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A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Unfortunately, I did not find any secret stash of money in the attic. I did however, strike gold in the memory department! From childhood innocence, shock factors, questionable fashion, to teenage fun. So tonight I am going to take you down a piece of my memory lane.

Childhood Innocence:

This is Svend. He was my first crush, and Joe’s Best Friend. I sent this picture to the Sibling Group Chat and I said “I was going to marry him. He moved away and forgot about me though.” I was like 7, he had an accent, and was totally cute! Could you blame me?! I swear to you every picture that Svend was in, Nicolle was in! I can remember Svend, Joe, and Dad teaching me to swim that summer. If they were in the pool, I was in the pool. Joe had other friends, but they weren’t as nice or cool as Svend. At 7 my brother and his friends were so nice and cool. I am sure I was probably the annoying little sister, but I don’t remember Joe EVER making me feel like it. So thank you Joe for always being the cool brother 😉

Element of Shock:

The Element of Shock and my brother’s went hand and hand. When I saw this picture I had to laugh. I am not sure I have ever seen my dad look so mad in a picture! I am willing to bet that Joe and his friends did or said something that did not make dad happy, and completely shocked Deanna. I can almost picture Dee saying “OMG I can not believe you guys did that!” and I can almost picture mom behind the camera laughing at whatever idiotic thing they did! Joe was mom’s baby, I’m not sure he ever got in trouble with her!

Questionable Fashion:

This picture of my good friend Kristi and I was taken in 1993 for Scott’s graduation. There is nothing more to say other than LAUGH, that is what Kristi and I did! What in the world were we wearing?! Rompers? I forgot those were a thing back in the day. We are not even going to discuss my hair. Why oh why? Let’s move along………

Teenage Fun:

Wow 11th grade Homecoming with one of my Best Friends, Amanda. What a fun night! The memories with this girl stretch over a 26 year span. We have had our ups and we have had our downs, but she has always had my back. This picture reminds me of the good ole’ days of no worries, laughter, the stupidity of being a teenager, but the importance of friendships!

I had hoped to find something rare in the attic, but I am glad to have found these memories and so many more (I could post pictures and tell stories for days!) These were the memories that I needed to flood my head with.

While life may not always be sunshine and rainbows, we have our memories to help remind us of times much simpler than these. A time where we didn’t stress, or worry over any and everything. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. What does your picture say?

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Taking Care of Houseplants & People

I remember my mom having a love for houseplants. I am not really one to pay attention to all the details, so I am not sure where they all came from, but there were a ton. I am not exaggerating either. There were plants everywhere – in almost every room. At the house in Ohio {my favorite house ever}, I remember a large windowsill where she kept, what seemed like, dozens of plants all clumped together to fight for sunlight. It really was beautiful until I was the one who had to water them.

I do not have the mom green thumb gene. That is yet another great mom quality that went to the boys. I have two plants in my home – two – both who regularly fight for their life. I won’t recount all the others who didn’t make it {RIP}… I don’t know why it is so hard for me to keep a plant alive, but I just can’t seem to get it right. There are a lot of instructions to follow when it comes to keeping plants healthy – and every plant is different. I can’t keep it all straight.

Despite my lack of skills in caring for them, I sure do love plants and flowers. Aside from the many benefits of houseplants {google that – you’ll be amazed}, I just like their simple beauty. The elegance of their leaves. The intricacies of their design. The vibrancy of their color. It is no wonder mom loved them so much.

Over the weekend, I took the plunge and purchased an orchid. I have been eyeing orchids for years. They are so beautiful, but I have heard they are pretty easy to kill. That is a deal breaker for me. I like to go for the plants people say are hard to kill, mostly because I like a challenge… I guess I chose a different kind of challenge this time – in the form of a pretty purple orchid. As Gavin was making fun of my choice to bring home another doomed plant, I vowed I would do my best to take care of it.

Which got me thinking… {queue sappy music}  

Caring for people is like caring for plants. It takes a conscious effort and I have to work hard at both. I have to be intentional in remembering to provide for needs. I have to be willing focus my attention on others. I have to set aside my own interests. I have to put others first. Relationships are important. I’d argue they are just as important as the houseplants I adore. So today, as we get our week started, my little Monday Motivational pep talk is to encourage you to set aside your own self and look to see the good in others.

There is a lot of divisiveness in this world. A lot. And much of it can be avoided if we would seek to understand other perspectives and have conversations that involved intelligent thought rather than cramming an irrelevant Bible verse down someone’s throat to make a point. We need to do better at speaking life into people {and plants} instead of talking down to them. We need to do better at lifting up and encouraging instead of dragging them through the mud. We need to do better at seeing others as made in the image of God – because we are all made in the image of God.

No, not everyone loves Jesus the way I do – but that is okay. I can love them like Jesus loves me – because that is what he tells me to do and that is what I want to spew out of my pores.


It is God’s command to love him and love others and it is non-negotiable.

Love the people who look and act and think in ways that differ from the way you look and act and think.

Love the people who make decisions that are different than the decisions you make.

Love the people who have different morals and values and convictions.

Love the people who love Jesus and love the people who don’t even more so that maybe someday they will.

Don’t try to reason your way out of loving someone because you don’t agree with them, their choices, or their lifestyle. God didn’t tell you to try to change anyone. He just said to love people – because he loved you first. Don’t try to hide behind a Bible verse that tells you otherwise.

The next time you water your plants, please remind me to do the same – but also remember to take care in your relationships. People are just as complex and complicated as plants, but people are important. It really is that simple.

How will you love others this week? Be open to all the possibilities…

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Sunrise Gratitude & Prayers

By definition, gratitude is being thankful for the special, precious things we are presented with each day. It could be a person, a place, an experience, a circumstance, or an object. It is simply something we did not obtain on our own. We didn’t work tirelessly for it. We didn’t manipulate a situation for it. We didn’t buy it. The things we are grateful for, the blessings in our lives, are things we can’t take or make in our own strength. The sunrise fits the bill every single time. If it wouldn’t be so redundant, I would say how thankful I was for the sunrise each and every day. It is more than mere beauty in the sky. It represents a fresh start. Another chance to get it right.  

Research tells us that practicing gratitude is good for our health – quite literally. Those who make a point to stop and verbalize their blessings are known to have better health, less stress, and positive emotions. People who are filled with gratitude tend to also be more generous and trusting. Interesting, isn’t it? When we take the time to see how fortunate we are outside our own will, we are changed.  

I am changed by the beauty of the sky – the sunrises, the sunsets, and everything in-between. It has a way of softening me and reminding my heart of all that is good and right in the world.  I always point out gorgeous color schemes to my son. He usually responds with a nonchalant, “that’s cool,” but I know he is paying attention because sometimes he notices the sky first and points it out to me. I pray for him relentlessly – that he will be caught up in the world in a much different way than the world hopes. That he will know he belongs, and he would make others feel the same. I pray he would be a boy who grows up to be a man with great compassion, looking at others through the lens of Jesus. When I feel like I am failing as a parent, I look at the sky and remember the same one who painted brilliance there is the same one who created my child. And when he looks at the sky, I pray he will remember the same. My load is lighter when I stare at the sky – and as I remember and pray, I am ever grateful.

The sun rises and the sun sets. Let’s remember to be grateful for each moment in-between. Share your favorite sky picture this weekend and tell us what you see, remember, or pray. Don’t forget to tag us on social media so we can smile with you!

~ D 🙂

Linking up with our Five Minute Friday friends. Come say hi!

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