The Summer Files: Day 7. J-O-Y

The Summer has stumbled into our valley with a surge of wind and scowls. With my delayed book release and The Son’s medical tests at the Children’s Hospital, a sweet summer seemed to have gotten knocked into the abyss like a dirt clod.


But The Son, even in the midst of his medical prep, had this song for us. Down in the valley, there is J-O-Y. Yes, he sang this during his colonoscopy prep (test one of two).

You hear about kids with health problems that are supernaturally happy and think it’s just a creation of Hallmark films, but it’s no cliché. The Son has been gifted with joy, and indeed was the comfort for his family through his whole ordeal, even when they put the mask on his face and his day faded to black.

When he woke, he smiled and sheepishly asked where his pants were.

I was reminded this morning of our uniqueness, our gifts that God has given each one of us. Sometimes, we hear such reminders so often they lose their power until we walk into those low valleys and find there’s always someone there to offer a song and a chair in which to listen, or an instrument to play your own music.

I suppose we switch from one to the other in various walks of our lives, but isn’t it nice that God has made us so different, yet with the capability of becoming a master orchestra? We are vital to each other.

Now off to work, friends.

Why Shredded Cheese is Awesome


It’s spring break for us this week, and we’re about to set out on a few adventures, but before I go, I want to mention something I’ve learned lately. I’ve been A LOT busy, I mean, overloaded-times-a-thousand-busy, and one of the things that has helped keep me in smiles has been my kids. Children know how to live–they laugh, they have no problems throwing the norm aside and being themselves. So while I take a break before finishing a few (thousand) projects, here is a breath of fresh air from writer, Jeff Goins:

We are not born embarrassed. Fear and self-doubt are habits we learn, often from those who have teased us into compliance or forced us into conformity. And at some point, if we are going to discover why we were born, we must unlearn these habits.“-Jeff Goins (click here for the entire article)

Here it is: permission to be you, from every angle. Have a blessed week.

The Songbird

I never liked caged birds until I met Sweetie. She sat near the entrance in Helen’s apartment living room at the retirement place. Helen loved her, spoke tenderly to her as if she were a diamond on a pedestal. But all I saw was a beautiful creature unable to spread her wings.

Helen was one of my favorites. She was cheerful, tiny—she could have been a little bird herself with her small frame and trill voice—and I never had to worry about gripes or criticisms with her. When I saw her approaching my desk, I knew she’d bring me a smile and a kind word. That was what I needed as I was stuck between a job and a career—just someone to talk to me like I was more than just the staff.

Helen called me in a panic one evening. Sweetie had escaped her cage and 100_1053damaged her wing when she flew through the apartment. I’d never had a caged bird, what was I supposed to do? Birds are supposed to be flying without borders—no wonder Sweetie went for a freedom flight. And this was far outside my job description …but it was Helen.

I put up my “Be Right Back” sign and rushed to Helen’s apartment. It probably took us a good thirty minutes to settle the feathers. Sweetie had cut her wing. I called my husband who had a bird once, and he gave me some instructions on how to treat Sweetie. I found what I needed in Helen’s bathroom and fixed Sweetie right up. “Hope you enjoyed your freedom”, I thought, but Helen gushed over her like she was family. I saw how Helen looked at that little thing. I look at my children the same way when my heart overflows with love for them.

A few years later Helen had to move to the Assisted Living side. Her mind began to scatter a little too much. Her spirits dropped and she didn’t come out of her new place much—but she had her bird. She and Sweetie became inseparable, and Helen took her, cage and all, when she went out for the day, usually with family.

My friend would lose her patience, and eventually her smile, but she kept a firm grip on Sweetie’s cage wherever she went. I’m not sure why she held on so tightly to her bird. But I think she needed someone to sing to her. I think she needed Sweetie to remind her that despite the cage her failing mind wrapped around her, there was still joy out there somewhere.

Maybe when all of us walk through those barred places, all we need is for someone to remind us of the joy out there.

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22

A girl’s tale–guest post by Chloe Rossman, age 6

It’s hard to get the feet moving on Mondays, so I thought I’d bring a little joy for your day. There’s nothing like the perspective of a child, after all, God  gave them this command:

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
I Timothy 4:12

Chloe’s thoughts on finding joy in the little things.100_3262

My mouth makes me smile
My hands make me wave
My feet make me dance
My arms make my hands reach books
My legs make my feet walk
My tummy likes to get full and not full
My chin makes my mouth talk.
My ears wiggle.
My eyes make me see animal’s tails move up and down.
Hats are fun to wear. Clothes are really pretty.
My hair blows in the wind.
Reading books, chapter books, and princess books are really fun.
Raccoons play together.