Funny Things I’m Grateful For

peacockTeeth, spoons, peacocks, blue, ice-cream sundaes. In May of last year, I had an epiphany. I began to list “Three Things I’m Grateful For” every day. Not only did I list them, but I kept them in my mind throughout the day. This made me happy, caused me to smile more, and generally kept me calm and at peace even in situations that could become stressful. I have decided to pursue this challenge again this year and during the month of ice cream sundaeJune, I will meditate on things I am grateful for–not the super spiritual or super profound things, although I am eternally grateful for those. This list will be those mostly unnoticed kind of things that we would miss if we didn’t have them. What would life be like without teeth? Think about it! And what if you had never seen a peacock spread her tail feathers or tasted an ice-cream sundae?

teethI am going into June being thankful for teeth, spoons, peacocks, blue, and ice-cream sundaes. You’ll see more of my list over at Dare to Be Happy Facebook page, and please feel free to add to my list.

Today’s Verse: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

SharySignatureI’d love to hear some unusual things you are thankful for.

Charity Turns Things Around

Enjoy the continuing saga of Animal Kingdom Adventures. If you missed the first installment, “The Lion and the Porcupine Declare the Day,” you can read it here.The second installment is about Daniel Gollimer, a gopher. He is not an animal that others want to be around.  At the end of “Daniel Gollimer Keeps a Record”, Daniel has just left the meeting of the forest friends and tunneled to his underground abode. He was full of doom and gloom, as his nickname depicts, and some of the animals decide he needs help. Will they be able to turn him around? Keep reading.

“Well somebody needs to go in after Mr. Doom and Gloom. If not he’ll burrow down and be there for months and come out worse than ever,” Jerry, one of the giraffes urged. “I don’t believe I’m the one to do it, but somebody needs to at least try.”

“I’ll go,” said Charity, a chipmunk. I’m a little smaller than he is, and I can sneak in his tunnel and surprise him.”

“But, he’s going to fill your head with all of that scary talk,” Chuck, the woodchuck said. “I’ll go! He won’t scare me none. I’ve lived longer, and I know we have to trust God for our food and safety. He’s never let us down. Let me go talk to him. I’m going in.”

“Chuck, no offense but you’re almost twice as big as Daniel, and I think you might have a little trouble getting in.” Charity said “I really want to do this. He’s family, and I know I can help him see the truth. If we can get him thinking and believing like the rest of us, that will help everyone, especially Daniel Gollimer. The giraffes will have to find a new nickname for him instead of ‘Mr. Doom and Gloom’ if I have anything to say about it!”

chipmunkCharity scampered off toward the entrance to D.G.’s tunnel. Nose to the ground, she silently dashed into it. “Oh, Mr. D.Geeeeee.” she called as she made her way swiftly through the first tunnel covering about 15 feet per second. Suddenly she stopped because something large and furry was right in front of her. It had no mouth, no eyes, no nose. “Uh-oh, Mr. D. G. I am right behind you. Can you turn around?”

“No, I can’t turn around, Miss Charity.” He squeaked. “I can only go in one direction, and it always seems to be the wrong direction.”

“Mr. Daniel, sir. I have a great idea. Just step backward one step at a time. Every time you take a step back, say, ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ Take another step back, ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ Step back. ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ Did you understand? Can you hear me, sir?” Charity squealed.

gopher2And Daniel Gollimer squeaked back at her, ” Miss Charity, what are you talking about? I was born to dig tunnels underground. I dig with my teeth and front claws then kick the dirt back. You better get out of the way. While I’m kicking dirt, I think about things. I think about all the bad things that are going to happen. You had better get ready Miss Charity. Save yourself. Hide away until calamity passes. You better get out of my way. Here comes some dirt.”

Charity stepped back some, chittered and sighed, “No sir, Mr. D. G. God loves us and cares for us, and He always makes a way for us to escape. Being joyful and grateful and full of faith are the answers to finding your way, Mr. Gollimer. We need you to help us fill the forest with faith and joy. You’ll help us, won’t you?”

The gopher stopped digging. “You need me?”

“Yes, sir,” she heartily affirmed.

Daniel took a step back. “No one ever said that to me before, Miss Charity.” He stopped in his tracks, and thought for a full minute while she waited patiently behind him and watched for any movement of his tail. Finally she heard him squeak, “If you need me, I’ll try. What do you want me to say?”

Charity repeated her instructions to step back and say, “Everything is going to be okay.” She made her way backwards through the tunnel herself, encouraging D. G. to keep backing up until he could turn around. Along the way, she reminded him of God’s love and faithfulness and that there was nothing to fear. By the time they had backed out of the tunnel all of the way, she saw a slight grin appear on his furry face as he turned around. Together they scurried back to the creek to tell the giraffes and other animals the good news that D. G. had turned around.

Will D.G. get a new nickname? And what about that rumbling he heard in the distance?

Fun Facts About Gophers:

  • Gophers weigh about eight ounces and are about five to twelve inches long.
  • They spend their days and nights creating intricate subterranean tunnels as much as eighteen inches underground. These are called gopher towns.
  • A gopher town may contain thousands of gopher residents.
  • Gophers rarely come above ground.
  • Gophers’ cheek pouches open from the outside and can turn completely inside out for cleaning.
  • They use these pouches to carry food to the burrow where they hoard astonishing amounts of berries, nuts, seeds, grains, and insects.
  • Gopher eyes and ears are barely visible, but the sensitive whiskers and tail make up for the weakness in their hearing and sight.




Daniel Gollimer Keeps a Record

Enjoy the continuing saga of Kingdom Animal Adventures. If you missed the first installment, you can read it here. K is for keeping a record. Let’s see what the animals have to say about this!

BEAVER3 public domainBelinda leaned back on her 15″ tail and flashed her beautiful front tooth as Johnny leaned down closer so his tiny ears could hear Belinda’s answer. “Johnny, it’s very important to declare the things of God in your life every day, you know that, quiet or loud, you must do it!”

Belinda and Johnny walked toward the rest of the forest animals as they could see everyone was beginning to sit down for the morning round-up.

King Louie had just called the meeting to order and asked if there were any challenges that needed to be dealt with. Belinda and Johnny joined the giraffes  Jeremy, Johnson, and Judy and squatted down so they could see. The other beavers were seated near a tasty tree in case they needed a snack if the meeting went longer than it should. As the first animal was recognized to speak, all of the giraffes became restless, rolling their eyes, muttering, “Not him again.” “Oh, no, It’s D.G.!” “Mr. Doom and Gloom himself.” “Here we go again.” Other animals expressed unease as well.

Sure enough Daniel Gollimer, a gopher, of course, waddled up to the front of the group and stood trembling before them. “As you know friends, I keep a record of all the things that might go wrong and I wwwwant to ggggogo over them with you. I have  been hearing rrrrumbbblings. They are getting cccccloser. Some herd of something is coming. The ground vvvvibrates every day stronger and sssstronger.I can’t tell how far away or how close they are yet, but I can tell you something bbbbaddd is about to happen. It doesn’t rrrrreaally matter,” he stuttered as he shook, “because our food ssssupply is going to run out before they get here. Lightning and heavy rains are going to destroy our forest and our food supply. We have no way to escape. I’m going bbbback underground. It’s all I’ve got to say. Good-bye everybbbbody.”

Naturally, there was a stirring among the animals. They had heard this before, but yet every time it gave them pause. What if there was some truth to it? Gonzalez rose to quiet the crowd. “Now friends, remember you have nothing to fear, but fear itself, let us list again all of the successes we have had here in the forest. Who will be first, Willie, what do you walruses have to say to kick this thing off?

“Well,” Willie mustered his courage, and addressed the group, “Number 1: There were rumblings before, and it was only the grasshoppers swarming in for their food fest.”

“And number 2,” the elephant, Ellie piped up swinging her trunk high in the air, “Another time rumblings turned out to be that herd of elephants, pretty nice bunch. They went on their way after checking out our waterholes for a couple of days.

3. The beavers built 12 dams just last week, so our food stock is good for a very long time. We can take care of the ducks, frogs, and fish in our waters.

4. “The streams are still running clear, plenty of fresh water,” one of the dogs remarked with a gesture toward the stream.

5. Plenty of leaves on the trees to eat. No shortage there,”Jeremy, a giraffe commented.

6. “Worms are plenteous,” shouted the hogs.

The list went on for several more minutes, and you could feel the tension easing among the animals. Gonzalez made a final remark, “It’s important to keep a record of our successes, of all we’ve got in our favor, and of the blessings we have every day of our lives. We are not in this alone. We’re God’s creatures, and He will provide everything we need. Now who’s going in after D.G. We gotta get that boy turned around in more ways than one.”

Will the animals be able to get D.G. turned around, and what is that rumbling he hears in the distance?SharySignature

A Letter to Love and Faithfulness

love and faithfulness3Proverbs 3:3-4

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man. NIV

All right Love, all right Faithfulness. Stay right here beside me.

love and faithfulnessThat’s right hang around me so if I start to say something thoughtless, you, Love, will step in and say something kind. You, Love, will see into the other person’s life and recognize what they need.  You will inspire me to give of myself to meet their needs. You will niggle me to go the extra mile. You will motivate me to give what I have to make their life better and their day brighter. Love, stay right beside me and encourage others.

Faithfulness, you are my friend. You cause me to keep my word. When I dilly dally, you speed me up so I am on time.You put a spark in me to follow through on the things I said I would do. You let others know they can count on me. Because of you, others know I respect them and value their time and attention.

love and faithfulness2Love and Faithfulness, you enable me to win the favor of God and man. Because of you, I have acquired a good name.  A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.  Proverbs 22:1 Love and Faithfulness, you insist that I look out for others needs and desires instead of my own. Stay close to me, Love and Faithfulness. I am binding you about my neck. I am writing you on the tablet of my heart. I am winning favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Life is great!

Do you know someone who is always thinking of others? Do you know someone you can really count on? My question to myself is, “Sharon, how far are you away from being this kind of person? What steps can you, Sharon, take to move in that direction?”

From Doubt to Belief: The Power of Visualization

focus “The power we possess in our mind is exponentially  greater than the power we have in the physical. So often, we only operate in the natural realm and never step back to use our minds. We wear ourselves down so we can hardly even be effective in the natural and then our bodies are too fatigued to play catch up. If we can stay ahead of the game and prepare for our everyday battles before they happen, then we will find more power than we ever imagined. I guarantee that if you focus and prepare for the problems that you know are going to arise throughout your work week, you will feel so on top of your life that you will actually feel like you can function and be creative and really live your life instead of just barely reaching status quo.”

Nick & Emmerson2What you have just read was written by Nick Jordan, husband, father, bass player, business owner, student of engineering, graphic designer, and my second son. He finished my “500 Words” last night for me, and what he said resonated with me. His words reminded me of the study done to demonstrate “mental rehearsal technique.” Three groups of basketball players took part in the study. First they were tested on how many free throws they could make. Then for the next thirty days, one group practiced for one hour a day. The second group visualized making free throws, and the third group did nothing. The astonishing results were that the first group improved by 24% and the second group  improved by 23% without physically practicing. The third group of course did not improve at all. These studies have been replicated over and over. Jack Nicklaus, generally accepted as the most accomplished professional golfer of all time, said he never hits a ball even in practice without bringing it clearly into focus in his imagination first.

basketball2Nick mentions in his words above that if you “focus and prepare for the problems that you know are going to arise throughout your work week,” you will be able to take control and get the results you really want. As you focus and prepare for your successes, you are far more likely to achieve a much higher level of success. See it in your imagination the way you want it to turn out. What is the best thing that could happen? Visualize that happening. See the end result. See what it looks like, not as a spectator but through your own eyes. Feel how you will feel when you have accomplished what you wanted. You decide how it is going to turn out.

What kind of a day or week will you have? This method can bring you success even when preparing for  a meeting that you are uncomfortable with. You can use your imagination and visualization to bring a desired result into any confrontation. You can use it to bring the success level desired in your work and even in improving your relationships. The more clearly you see it, the easier it will be to attain it. Visualization is a powerful way to progress from doubt to belief.

We often read these kinds of stories relating to sales or sports, I am excited about Christians like myself learning to use these God-given techniques to have the life God intended us to have. I believe we can have abundant life with all the blessings a loving heavenly Father would bestow upon His children. We often fall short of this only because we do not know the principles that will take us from doubt to belief so that Mark 11:23 and 24 will be fulfilled in our lives.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:23, 24

Have you ever tried visualization or using your imagination to see the positive results you desired? Please tell us about it in the comments or put your prayer requests here. Have a wonderful day! You really can!

Mark 11-24SharySignature