In a former life, I was a local pageant queen. One of my queenly responsibilities was speaking to youth groups and giving motivational speeches. I remember one speech in particular for a group of teenage girls – some of whom were only a couple years younger than me – about confidence and self esteem. The…

Last night I saw this picture sitting on the kitchen counter at my mom’s house. It was the happiness that first caught my eye. It was the message that caught my heart. Not just the words, although those are important… “gratitude surrounds her” The lesson came as I paused to wonder what the gratitude was…

We try to be good. We work hard to improve. But what if trying to be good is really is as simple as recognizing the goodness that God has placed within you and then getting out of your own way? We recognize the hand of the Lord in our blessings and in the external happenings that take…

It’s phenomenal to see how freely children share their hearts. I experienced this quite literally with a student in my sixth-grade classroom. James had been born with a heart problem. He had had his first open heart surgery when he was only in first grade, and during this sixth grade year he had to be…

I used to live my life in a spirit of perfection. I knew I truly wasn’t perfect, but it’s something I really strived for. I had to write my thank you notes perfectly.  Prepare a perfect meal.  Be the perfect mother. Before my 3rd child was born, I started to feel a sense of inadequacy of not being able…

Has it been a while since you have been as close as you would like to be? Perhaps there have been too many hurts, mistakes, and regrets along the way. Maybe it’s time for us to refill our lives with faith like that of our children. Some intermediate grade students were participating in a special…

My six-year-old daughter, Vivian, left this note for me for me the other morning. What took her a few minutes to make now it sits on my shelf at work where I can see it, and it will bless me for weeks to come. The other morning I wrote a little note to my oldest…

There is a feeling that comes when my kids run to me when I walk in the door. The same one that came when I read that love note on a napkin in a school-time lunchbox. It’s the sweet tingling of my fingers as I open an anonymous envelope on my desk and read a…

Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). One of the attributes children have is the ability to be happy. Children are naturally happy. I have seen children on almost every continent—many of whom have little…

Food is my love language. Whether it’s a slice of hot apple pie or a perfectly ripe summer tomato, the right bite can put a smile on my face during an otherwise dismal day. Not only does nibbling on a favorite treat taste good, but receiving one from someone lets you know that person is…

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