Sunday, December 27, 2009

Launch of NEW Web Site and Blog site!

WHAHOOO!!! PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!! and this blogger site have been combined to one place. I think you’ll love the new layout! The blog articles are listed on the left side, the main web pages, events, what we are up to etc are across the top of the header.

I’m always looking for new ideas, new ways of spreading joy and would welcome any suggestions that will make the new site better and more fun to meander in!


It is

You will love it there! You can subscribe by email. Click on the subscribe button on the left column – there is 2 tabs, choose the far right one. I know…lots of trouble, but hey…Spreading Joy's worth it…don’t you think? (grinning..very cute adorable grin)

I LOVE MY FOLLOWERS AND WANT TO KEEP YOU! But not sure if I can keep posting at both places or not!!

Thank you for your support, for your encouragement and for walking on this journey as we look for ways of making a difference right where we are, using what we have!

{{{HUGS}}} for your journey!

Christmas Reflections

Christmas time is the best time of the entire year for me. I love the giving. Everyone seems to be more giving and in doing so, without even realizing it, many are flooded with great joy for their very kind, simple acts of joy.

Knowing this about me, it should come as no surprise to you that on Christmas Eve, I had a hard time making myself go to bed. I sat in the living room, watching my children sleep. A current family tradition, started by Todd when he was young, sleeping on the couch, Christmas Eve, with the tree lit and the Christmas music playing. After spending 4 months of not actually having my family completely together, stealing this moment was quite a gift for me. I force myself to sleep, knowing that the morning will soon greet me and we can spend time together. I kiss them many, many times and excitedly go to sleep, anticipating Christmas morning!

I wake, having slept only a few hours. Merry Christmas I shout to myself! Everyone still sleeping, I sneak through the house so that I can enjoy my gift again. In the dark – I sit, quietly, with only the lights from the tree glowing, watching my children sleep, gazing at their still bodies admiring the fact that they are both completely at peace, resting comfortably. I love the Christmas music playing softly in the background and even giggle when a loud snore comes from the bedroom, knowing that Steve is sleeping soundly. This scene has played itself out for nearly 18 years now and my heart knows that I’m limited as to how many more I’ll get. I’ve already taken their picture while they slept, much to my surprise, neither move. The camera usually wakes Meg. She is so tall, yet sleeps on the love seat on Christmas Eve, still. Todd sleeps on the couch, my baby yet a wonderful young man. My, how time does fly.

My heart wants every happiness, every bit of joy, every ounce of comfort for my family this Christmas. My heart wants to give them never ending hugs that are topped with a million smiles, so that they will always know they are not only loved, but adored. They, my family, are my very best gifts. They never have to purchase one single thing for me as I have far more then I could ever want, their hearts, the memories that I cherish and most of all their LOVE.
Then, I imagine…God, my heavenly Father, sitting in heaven – looking down at me, while sleeping, even for just a few hours, wondering if I know that HE adores me, that HE loves me and that HE wants to give ME a million hugs wrapped with grace, comfort and mercy for the journey. He wants to give me life so that I might have it more abundantly. I imagine Him, wondering if I realize that HIS heart wants me to always know that I am loved and adored, by HIM.

I’m so thankful for my very best gifts. I’m so thankful that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m so thankful to be used, to have an opportunity of Spreading JOY every day.

Oh, the excitement is killing me. I have loved this wonderful scene for much too long now. I even let them sleep 4 minutes longer today! Its time to read the Christmas story from Luke 2, its time for giving, laughing and expressing love! It’s time for great joy! I happily bounce through the house, proclaiming that it is Christmas, waking the entire family with hugs, kisses and singing. “Merry Christmas Yall!” I proclaim loudly, joyfully and with great excitement!

Thank you for reflecting on my best gifts of Christmas with me. As you think back about your day, what traditions do you hold dear? What is near to your heart? What is your favorite memory of Christmas? Do you read the Christmas story with your family? What are your greatest treasures?

I hope that you treasure these things everyday of the year, not just Christmas. Trust me, if you do, you’ll be splashed with great joy every step of the way.
Merry Christmas!

"Just when you feel you have nothing to give…give the love that fills your heart!" ~ Marie Wikle @spreadingJOY

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Moonlit Beauty

The light from a full moon (or any moon for that matter) simply amazes me. Especially if it is a full moon over the vast ocean! If you know me, you know that I see things different than most people. I love cloudy days. From the gigantic black clouds to the gray clouds that just stretch across the sky. That does not bother me. I love the rain, where as most prefer the sun shine. Just the other day, I was heading to my car and it was pouring. My first thought was to run to the car, but then it hit me! Why? So, I walked at a normal pace, loving every step and enjoying the rain that was just flowing from the sky! Amazing! I’ve reminded you of all of this to tell you that the moon light is an amazing source of beauty for me. I can sit and gaze at the moon for hours. It captures me in a way that nothing else does.

The brightness of the moon lights up the blackest sky. The fullness of the moon illuminates everything with such softness. That soft, calming effect leaves me gazing with awe each time there’s a full moon. The light of the moon transforms the dull darkness into brilliance – even in the fog!

The moon is majestic, handsome and simply glorious when it is full. The brightness dances across the dark sky – perfect, whole and stunning. This always reminds me that there is always light in the darkness and that shadows are not always a bad thing. I’m also reminded that even with clouds hanging around, the light from the moon is amazing to behold.

Then I wonder. Am I that kind of light? Amazing to behold, when the clouds are looming overhead? Do I continue to rise - slowly and steadily above the clouds so that I can illuminate everything around me? Or, when my clouds are hanging low, is the light suppressed, does gloom abound?

The skies will be pitch dark, the clouds will stretch across the sky but the moon will still give off its brilliant light! May I always remember to shine like the moon in the dark, to give beautiful moonlit hugs, to always illuminate those around me.

Moonlit Beauty….may you always shine brightly, even in the dark!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Joy Thieves

As the Christmas Season is upon us and the hustle & bustle of everyday life picks up - let me remind you not to give into those thieves that will try and steal your joy this Christmas Season.

Christmas is the one time we all come together with a heart for giving to others. It is during this time of year that our minds and hearts are truly focused on others, but sometimes our emotions will get the best of us and in an instant, our tempers are flaring, our hearts are sad and our joy is gone! Don't let thieves come in and steal your joy.

Let me introduce you to some thieves to keep an eye out for. They are sneaky, so watch for them closely!

Thief #1 Extremely Busy - OH, we are so busy and then you throw the holidays into the everyday routine. Being busy, not slowing down to enjoy the music, lights, smell, taste of the season can rob you of your joy. Take some time to dwell on the blessings that surround you. Sit at the mall and just watch the laughter of children that go by. Listen to the never ending supply of Christmas music that is playing. Gaze at the millions of twinkling lights that brighten our days and light up our nights! Don't let the busyness of the Christmas season rob you of the true joy of Christmas.

Thief #2 Things - Little or big, "things" can steal your joy. Little thing that needle at you. Poking you in the stomach, screaming "pick me, pay attention to me." So many little details will be magnified to such a degree that our joy will be stolen and we will not even realize it. Big things that press for your time. Now, there’s a thief! Our days are already filled with high priority items that we feel like we can’t possibly squeeze one more thing in – but we must. Set priorities, go with it and what you don't get done today will wait for you till tomorrow. Guard against this thief closely.

Thief #3 Household Chores - As you plan your Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, don’t worry about perfection. People are happy to receive an invite, to spend some time with you, talking, laughing, remembering and simply having an amazing time with you. Spend time getting things in order, but if a plate breaks, or the skin on the turkey is burned, or the smashed potatoes are a little lumpy don’t sweat it. Smile and enjoy the spirit of the gathering! Enjoy the hugs that you’ll receive and soak up the laughter and joy that is radiating through out the room.

Thief #4 People - One of the greatest things about Christmas is being surrounded by the people you love. You still have work and other commitments that are demanding your time and attention, but don’t let the needs of others sneak in and rob you of the true joy of Christmas. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving steal your joy. Let’s face it, shopping for others should be a time of great giving but in reality many people will send Black Friday grumbling, complaining about long lines and hating the experience. As you stand in the long lines on Black Friday, start looking for ways of spreading joy. Smile at the cashier, speak to those in line around you, say thank you and have a fantabulous day to as many people as you can. You’ll have an amazing opportunity to make a difference this Christmas Season, as long as you guard against this sneaky thief!

Guard your Joy these next few weeks. Don’t let the joy thieves come in and rob you of the true happiness that spreading joy, giving and doing for others can bring you.

So, tell me – how are you spreading joy this Thanksgiving and Christmas season

"Joy is not in things; it is in us."
~ Richard Wagner

Luke 2:10 -
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Heart of Gratitude

This year feels like it has been one storm after another in my life. God answers one prayer, I give Him the thanks and it seems while I’m praising Him for the victory, another storm is brewing on the horizon. I always try to be grateful for the many blessings in my life and find that I sometimes have trouble expressing my gratitude. My writing skills are not as sharp many of the authors you’ll read here on Worldprayr, but I pray you’ll enjoy a peek inside my heart of gratitude.

I’m so thankful for the glorious gift of a Savior! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I had been the only person to ever have sinned that the Lord would have still given me Jesus. He would have still made such a huge sacrifice, just for me.

I’m so thankful for so many things – for a Christian family, for a husband that loves me, children that are Christians because they want to be, not because I am. For extended family that I can go to for anything at anytime and for the best sister in the whole wide world.

I’m thankful for the freedoms that living in the USA gives me, for the kindness of strangers, for the blessings of technology – that bring people that are a world apart right to my finger tips and I can *hug* them. I’m thankful for those that pray for me and then take the time to tell me they pray – as I know our Father honors those petitions.

I’m thankful for the million little things in this life that make life big! For the cloud shapes in the sky, for the colors that dance across the sky when the sun is rising and setting. For the moon that is always there, lighting our way at night and the sunlight that warms me and brightens my day. I’m thankful for the laughter of little children that are swinging on swings, sliding down slides and playing in the rain. For the rainbows that appear after the rain, reminding me that God always keeps His promises. I’m thankful for the ocean and how soothing, calming and gentle the waves feel as they lap against my toes when I’m standing next to it. I’m also reminded of its mighty power that can destroy cities – even those several hundred miles away.
The little things that are huge to me – Reese Cups, anything with monkeys on them, great books, greeting cards, snow, play dough, coloring in a coloring book, having the high score on Kirby’s Pinball on my gameboy! More little things include my favorite coffee cup, Christmas music in October, looking at my children’s baby pictures and game night. Good smelling cologne, coffee anytime of the day, Krispy Kreme Hot Doughnuts. I’m thankful for warm blankets, peach roses, toe socks, indoor plumbing, great movies such as the Wizard of Oz and Winnie the Pooh. I’m thankful for silly signs, great hair cuts, good pair of sandals, warm smiles and family gatherings. I’m thankful for teddy bear hugs, green lights, fire flies, big laughs, friends that call for no reason, surprise emails that say I care and joy of the Lord that gives me strength.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to give to others, to truly make a difference in this life that I live. I’m thankful that God gave me a desire to give big and I pray that desire will never leave me. I’m thankful for the chance to remind others that there’s no joy like spreading joy and when we give, we get so much more in return. I’m thankful for others that try and make a difference every day. I’m thankful for those that take the time so say I care about you….because, a little goes such a long way!

I’m thankful to be a tiny part of the Worldprayr team. Such wonderful men and women taking the time to pray for people they don’t know. Doing all that they can do to make a difference.

There is no amount of paper that could hold all that I’m thankful for! I hope that you'll stop and think about all the million little blessings that come your way every day. What are you thankful for?
Don’t forget the little things for they truly do make life big!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let Go of the Guilt

When I first started using twitter, I was so excited to see @worldprayr come across my twitter stream! Anyone that follows them can send a DM to them and a prayer request will be published to all of the people that follow them and then the prayers begin. I am excited about being a part of their team and volunteer some time each week to pray for needs that come across the twitter stream. They send out Thursday Reflections to those that volunteer and recently I was blessed in particular by one of the quotes.

The strong are not always vigorous,
The wise are not always ready,
The brave are not always courageous,
And the joyous are not always happy.
~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Wouldn’t be nice to always be strong and vigorous, wise and ready, brave and courageous as well as joyous and happy. But the fact of the matter is that we can’t always be this way. Being brave with out being courageous isn’t what gets us down, it is the guilt that goes along with it. Being joyous and noticing the joys that surround us without being happy feels like it should be wrong on some level and then the guilt begins.

When the storms start raging around us and we take our eyes off of our blessings and the unhappiness sets in, that is when the guilt creeps in too. The raging winds of mounting bills, job loss, unexpected emergencies, chronic or even sudden illness are enough to make the happiest person feel sadness and turn their focus to the tornado force winds that are raging around them. Then - as if anything else is needed, the guilt quitely slips in covered by all of the problems.

We have to let go of that guilt! We are all going to have times of sadness when our heart is heavy and we need a friend we can call. We shouldn’t feel guilty about making that call. We will find that our friends will love us even more if we trust them to lift us up during the raging winds. We all have times where we are afraid of the next step, but the courage kicks in when we pick our foot up and begin the journey. Don’t let the guilt of not always being what you think everyone expects you to be get you down and keep you from soaring to heights unknown.

Be comfortable with yourself, right where you are, right now. Me? I’m the happy go lucky kind of gal that loves the small, cute fun things in life. Have you seen the games that are key chained size? Oh, I adore that kind of stuff and it excites me. I mean really excites me - like a kid in the "oh my goodness - LOOK at this!!!" kind of way. I’m usually very "singy",talkative and just love the moment. But there are times that I’m not my normal singy, silly self and am actually kind of "blah". I do try my best not to let those times in my days spill over and affect someone else. I always want to lift up and encourage, but occasionally I need to be lifted and encouraged AND I need to not feel guilty about it. But – that is the hard part. NOT feeling guilty. Think about it - I am spreading joy, right? I am all about making a difference, doing for others and making others smile. I love reminding others to look for the joy that is there, no matter the storms that are around you. So, with spreading all kinds of joy - you wonder how can I be sad?

It happens. Trust me. I can name a handful of people that can pick up on it. I do love encouraging others, so I really try and not let it spill over into my day. There are times that these people don't have to "pick up" on it. I come right out and say - HELP!!

Letting go of the guilt isn't easy as it clings to you. You'll have to fight to get rid of it. Don't be afraid to open your heart when it is hurting. You never know who has been there, done that and can offer up words of encouragement simply because they remember how you feel. Sharing your sad/bad/unhappy times also allows someone to be a blessing to you. It is such a wonderful feeling when someone is dealing with something horrible and we help them.

I’m always encouraged when I start praying for someone else or DOING for someone else. I love sending my mom flowers and need to do so real soon just because I love her so very much. I remember shortly after my Dad died, I was struggling so horribly. I had spent a week of wanting to (and actually did) just sleep through the grief and ignore the entire world because I felt that I couldn’t get past this consuming emotion. I sent her flowers for the soul purpose of lifting my own spirits. Greedy of me – don’t you think? But it’s the truth. I didn’t feel guilty about doing it and unless she reads this, she won’t even know that was why she got them. I did have to work past the guilt of "grieving" in such a horrible way. (I should have called my very bestest friends for help that week. I made things worse by sleeping and robbed them of a chance to be a blessing to me)

Don’t let guilt keep you from making a difference. Don’t let guilt of needing a little encouragement steal your joy! That is what our friends and family are for, to help us through the rough patches. You can still have joy for the journey – even when you are not feeling the greatest, experiencing the best or being your normal, silly, giddy and crazy self. Focus on your favorite things. All of them, regardless of how small or insignificant you think they may be. Another thing to help get past the blues, do something for someone else. Even if just an email saying "I appreciate you!"

What guilt do you need to let go of? What weight do you need to set aside and move past? Never feel guilty for being honest when someone says "how are you today?" If you need prayer, ask for it. Don’t feel guilty for doing so. I take great pleasure in praying for others. When you ask for prayer, you are, in a sense – bringing joy to others for allowing them the honor of praying for you. Do you need a hug, a smile? What is it that you need to help get you through this "down" time. Don't feel guilty for asking!

Remember – I will always love and appreciate you for who you are deep down. If I ask how you are and you are feeling kind of icky and tell me the truth, I will still love and appreciate you just for who you are. I will never, ever hold the weepy, blah feeling moments against you and will always be willing to help you smile. I will probably search for a song, verse, quote - something to help lift your spirits. Something just for you. I’m not good with telling jokes. Actually stink at it – but am always good for a hug. Hugs are such a wonderful thing – even virtual ones.

I'm so thankful that when I need prayer that there are so many people that will pray on my behalf. I'm so thankful that when I need a hug - I know all I have to do is ask!! I'm so thankful that when I need a smile, someone is usually there with a pocket full of wonderful smiles and are willing to share them! I'm thankful I can ask for help without feeling guilty.

Also, if you twitter, believe in the power of prayer and you have a few hours to volunteer to make a difference – email the guys at @Worldprayr. It is an amazing prayer ministry. You’ll be so glad you did!

No matter how difficult life can be the most important thing is to live it with hope.--Anonymous

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back 2 School 2009 Event

Going to school should be an exciting time for every child. Spreading Joy Corporation is pleased to announce that through the giving of a few corporations and many individuals, we were able to spread some back to school joy to 800 children and teens, thus making our Back 2 School project a complete success!

Your compassion towards children you have never met has touched my heart and blessed me deeply. These children will never be able to thank you personally or repay your kindness but you need to know the gift you provided will have lasting effects on their hearts.

There were 4 separate events of giving out back to school supplies as well as several neighborhoods that were covered door to door.

Each bag contained at least 2 spiral bound notebooks, pen, pencil, eraser, glue stick, bottle of glue, ruler, pocket folder and box of crayons. Ten items total.

In this economy, when people need help, many tend to head to a local church for immediate help. One of the events was at a church where their members have a heart for kids and they were able to add to these items. They added 1 inch binder as well as a mechanical pencil, 5 more pens and pencils. The members also gave out 24 completely filled book bags as a special prize.

There is no way to describe the joy and happiness of watching all the children walk away with a bag full of school supplies. The love and compassion from so many people that gave and prayed and told others about the project was very evident as the eyes of the children lit up with sheer delight while rummaging through their bags.

The joy of shopping, bagging and watching the children get their bags was such an honor.

The store associates had such wonderful attitudes as they rang up thousands of items for us. One even joked with me about help for my glue habit! (At least he didn't see me sniffing the crayons, he would have truly wondered then!!)

I'm grateful to my wonderful friends Dale and Jeanne Strickland who helped with the shopping, delivering and was the extra car that we loaded up with goodies. They endured hours of searching, counting and loading the buggies as well as unloading to the car. Not to mention the silliness that comes from just being near me sometimes when I'm tired. They deserve medals for that much alone.

So many people donated their time to bag at the church as well as my family who spent a day helping to bag at our home. Todd had to keep me in line and make sure I was productive - using a ruler to "whip" me back into shape. (I promise I did not take it when it disappeared son, I have NO clue where it when...honest!)

A million thank you's for your generosity could not even begin to cover how I feel for what you've done!

May you always remember that there's NO joy like spreading joy!

You have not lived a perfect day, unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you.--Ruth Smeltzer

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back2School Challenge

I was so blessed to be able to have an opportunity to try and raise $10,000 to help 1,000 children go back to school with a book bag full of brand new school supplies. The Apple Foundation of Denver NC issued me a Matching Challenge and I started sending out letters, emails, phones and a few tweets.

This was also the time that Megan started having severe issues with Gastroparesis. She had lost ALL ability to digest solids and to make matters worse, liquids were at this point not digesting well at all! Now, please, do not think that I'm using her as an excuse, because I would do the same in her case each and every time. I spent all the time needed to make sure she was taken care of as any Mommie would do. She is my Princess and she had to be taken care of.

The only thing I would do differently is TWEET it first. That's right. When I started tweeting this on Monday, you guys rallied around and the RT's were unbelievable. So many people were spreading the word and trying to help these wonderful kids and I thank you for it. I'm so grateful for how you guys jumped in and blogged, tweeted and then many of you donated towards this project! I say it all the time, but I really do mean it - I follow the greatest people on twitter.

So, what happened? We were able to raise $1150.00 and the Foundation is mailing a check for $1150.00 - matching what we raised, so we'll have a total of 2300.00 to spend on these children. Will I be able to purchase 1,000 new book bags and give them 16 different items to go back to school with? No, heavens no - but IT IS ALL GOOD! Do you hear me? All good!

Remember the story of the loaves and fishes in the Bible? Hmmmm? Indeed, time to walk the talk. Time to show you that we can make a HUGE difference in the lives of some FUN children. Time to pray for wisdom, make some decisions about which of the 16 items can be purchased and go from there. Time to do what I can with what I have!

Am I discouraged? Mercy NO! I'm so encouraged by what happened last week, you would not believe it! I found out just how HUGE your hearts are! I found out that I know some of the greatest people on earth! I found out that it never, ever hurts to ask.

So, unless someone ships me 1,000 DONATED book bags in the next week - the school supplies will be assembled in plastic bags. Will all 16 items be purchased? Probably not. Doing some quick math and glancing over prices in the stores it appears that the kids will get about 6 or 7 things each. But I honestly believe this will be huge to them and will come back and post the pictures! We may have to cut down the number of bags to 700 or so, but still praying about that direction.

I just wanted to give you an update on what happened, where we are and where we are going. As with any Non Profit, transparency is the key. I always want to remain open, honest and up front. I give because I want to make a difference. That's why Spreading Joy was started. A desire to give. I can't stop it, it's in me!

Oh, just one other piece of info - for transparency sake. I'm blessed to have a full time job - so all of these funds go towards the purchase school items. 100%! One day, when I'm living the dream and Spreading Joy full time, I'll probably take a salary, but until then, it is all about the giving!

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.~James Matthew Barrie


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Making a Change Series - Launch the Dream!

A DREAM you should be launching
This post is the 2nd in the series Making A Change.
(again, if you wrote this, please let me know so that I may give you the proper credit for inspiring me!)

To go out and change the world one should have:

A GOAL you should be pursuing;
A DREAM you should be launching;
A PLAN you should be executing;
A PROJECT you should be starting;
A POSSIBILITY you should be exploring;
An IDEA you should be working;
A PROBLEM you should be tackling;
A DECISION you should be making.

The greatest force in the world is a positive idea

Doing for others is something that I’ve always had a passion for. I love making sure things are taken care of, I love meeting needs of those around me and I love making a difference in the life of someone who is not expecting me to do so!

Spreading joy and doing fun, silly yet encouragement type things is just in me. I can't help myself!

I’ve worked with inner city children for many many years now and have always tried to do more for them to give them the encouragement they need to know that dreams do come true, to know that this path they struggle on now will not always be. I do this through a local church. Sadly, many organizations will no longer support a "religious" Non Profit group and these children feel the pain of it. I kicked around the idea for a year and a half about starting a "non-religious" Non Profit so that anyone, anywhere could benefit from it and so that I could make a difference and satisfy my craving of giving to others. I also realize that so many people are discouraged and think that their little bit doesn’t help – but I want to remind them it does. I want them to know the joy of spreading joy! I personally benefit from spreading joy as I have a need – a huge desire to give and give big!

With the paperwork approved in an amazing 78 days and legal in the sight of the IRS, Spreading Joy Corporation was a go! My dream was beginning – as so was a major recession. Many said "You are crazy, this will never work!" Others said, "no one will get Spreading Joy."

Bottom line – Spreading Joy Corporation wants everyone to realize that every single act of joy done for someone (anyone) reaps HUGE benefits for the receiver as well as the giver. Encouraging others is FREE and anyone can do it. I also believe that those of us who can give and do for others – should.

What are my dreams for Spreading Joy? What if money was no object and I was spreading joy on a full time basis day in and day out? I’m glad you asked, I’d LOVE to share that with you! (Well, at least a few of them!)

1. I would feed the inner city kids I work with every weekend. Many only get "free" school lunches, so when school is out – meals can be scarce.

2. Christmas in July wouldn’t be about preparing for the upcoming Christmas – Nope, it would be a full blown Christmas celebration with all the works, trimming and presents to go along with it!

3. Groceries for others – I would love to be able to walk up to several people as they are checking out of the grocery store and pay for their groceries. 1 person a day, each and every day. Never knowing where I may show up next.

4. Back to school wouldn’t be a horrible problem for several thousand children. Not at all.

5. Christmas – boy, that would be an awesome celebration. All the fixings of a Christmas Dinner for several thousand of the finest inner city I know! 2 or 3 gifts for each of them. Maybe some new clothing. There isn’t enough room to right the dreams I have for these kids at Christmas time! It would be a blast just to sit back and WATCH the magic happen!!

6. Spreading Joy Across America! I would go state to state reminding people of the joy of giving! Speaking about the huge blessings of doing for others! Having sponsors that would enable me to "give" things as I travel to help those in need. Reminding people that there truly is NO joy like spreading joy! There is joy for the journey! It is all around us! We just need to be reminded sometimes!

SNAP, SNAPback to reality. That is honestly just a few things off the top of my head. I would be a little more structured, have a plan etc. But the question now becomes, since we are in the midst of a horrible recession and things are financially worse than ever, what is a gal with a big desire to give supposed to do?

WORK THE DREAM! Launch it! Keep at it until it becomes a reality! Never give up!

*I can’t travel across America and tell others about how wonderful and easy it is to be spreading joy every day and making a difference – but I can meet with various ladies groups in churches and start there. I can show/remind them that there is joy in the journey – no matter what we are facing!

*I can’t throw a shindig of a bash at Christmas, but I can start now, collecting toys and money to make a difference for as many children possible this Christmas. Making sure that 1,000 kids get at least 1 present, but will SHOOT for 3 each.

*I might not be able to fill 1,000 book bags with the necessary school supplies, but I can purchase a few supplies and give that to the kids to help!

*I can’t purchase groceries for 1 person a day, everyday, but I can distribute food to the homeless in my area and help them with their food needs.

*I can’t make Christmas come twice a year for some wonderful deserving children, but I can plan ahead and start asking various organizations to support Spreading Joy Corporation with a toy drive or a change drive that will be used for the upcoming Christmas season.

*I can’t feed the kids every weekend, but I can call companies and see who would be willing to take 1 weekend day a quarter and set a goal of finding 13 Organizations that will commit to feeding the kids once a quarter. I already have one, (Jim – I’m calling you) so I only need 12 more to go!

Will my dream stop there? No – no way! I dream of giving big, HUGE. This is just the beginning. Don’t focus on what you can’t do when it comes to your dreams!

Focus and work on what you CAN do and get those dreams out there! It isn’t enough to "launch it" – work at it. Set goals! Never give up!
Photo: Kids I DREAM of helping! These guys have been hugging me for 3 years now! We helped them at Christmas! I love you Q and S!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cheesy Glory of Pizza!

Oh, the Cheesy Glory of Pizza

Is there anything that brings more joy to a teenager than pizza? Really – is there? Ok, yes, there may be something like getting their license or their first car. Maybe driving off for the first time without a parent in the vehicle is better than pizza. Wait…come to think of it, for a teen, anything without a parent may be better than pizza.

But back to the purpose of the blog post.

After not digesting anything other than liquids for 3 months – Megan enjoyed Pizza for the first time AND kept it down Wednesday night!

I’m so thankful for your prayers, your emails and the tweets that have encouraged us through this entire ordeal! The question is what now? Her next Doctor appointment is August 26th and we will find out more then. But until then - she will stay on currents meds and keep eating solids!

The research I’ve done says that she may go back and forth fighting this for a long time. It is probably going to be a long battle and that she will have to make dietary adjustments for the rest of her life, but this slice of pizza – this is a huge win!

Will there be future texts that says – Megan is having a hard day, can you text her? Maybe. Will there be the phone calls that ask for prayer because the digestion has stopped again? I don’t know. Will there be the 2 am tweet that cries out in the night for a hug because the battle has been long and the heart is heavy? Possibly. There are a lot of theings that I do not know, but something that I do know is that I’ve had an incredible support group that has held us up in prayer. I know that God is still in control and that miracles do still happen and your love and support has blessed my heart so deeply that I could never express my gratitude completely!

My heart can never say thank you enough for your prayers, love and compassion for a 14 year old teenager that just wants to be a normal kid and that I love with all my heart!

You are amazing at spreading joy!
Kindness in words creates confidence;
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness;
Kindness in giving creates love.--Lao-tzu
Photo: Megan's actual slice of pizza!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Making A Change Series - Goals

I recently came across this and decided that I should do a series of posts on it. To help me remember if I'm going to make a change, there are things I should be doing. This is one of the 2 things I have posted to my computer screen so that as I work through the day I am constantly reminded of it. I hope that you'll be inspired to continue to grown and work towards change! (There was not an author listed, so if YOU wrote this, please let me know so that you may receive proper credit!)

To go out and change the world one should have:

A GOAL you should be pursuing;
A DREAM you should be launching;
A PLAN you should be executing;
A PROJECT you should be starting;
A POSSIBILITY you should be exploring;
An IDEA you should be working;
A PROBLEM you should be tackling;
A DECISION you should be making.

The greatest force in the world is a positive idea

A GOAL you should be pursuing is what I want to focus on today, as I'm already such a wordy person - I could never do a post about all of these at once. You'd leave and never ever return (and I don't blame you.)

Goals are such wonderful things. It gives you something to constantly keep in the back of your mind while you are actually focusing on reaching the mark!

I have several goals right now! So many things to work on. One of which is Back 2 School Project. Trying to raise $10,000 during a major world wide recession is crazy - especially for a newly founded Non Profit Organization without much exposure. Will we reach it? Who knows? Will we be able to give out 1,000 book bags completely filled with 16 different necessary school supplies? I don't know - but what I am completely certain of, if I do not work at it, we will not reach it! I also know that my motto is giving what I can until I can give big. We will take whatever funds are given and purchase what we can and give that if our goal is not reached.

Missing a goal is not a reason to completely give up! Missing it is the very reason we should work harder, smarter and more diligent.

To assist you in reaching your goals - whatever they are make sure you do the following:

1. Make a list of your goals. List them out and then number them in order of importance and focus on your top 1 or 2 while keeping the other goals in the back of your mind.

2. Make it public. Ouch...that is a little scary isn't it? But, if you make it public, you are holding yourself accountable in front of everyone and trust me, you will work on it more simply because you don't want to miss "in front" of everyone.

3. Set a deadline. Give yourself a "due date" Don't just want to lose 25 lbs, lose them by a certain time. Don't just want to be debt free, have certain bills paid off by certain deadlines. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish when a deadline is looming overhead.

4. Share your goals with a trusted friend who will encourage you and ask about them from time to time. So easy, but we tend to forget. Our friends will ask us if we sent out those letters of intent for our Non Profit, if we made those phone calls about getting organizations to commit to getting toys donated for Christmas. Share your goals!

5. Enlist help. When I exercise with my sister @marrangee we have a complete blast. I'm usually trying to just get by breathing and she is just pressing on. I want to have a break sprawled out on the floor and she says to keep going. We laugh, have fun, sweat, stink and we do it. Get help where you can. Help doubles the blessings and divides the load! Never forget that.

6. Never, ever give up. Never. Bottom line, plain and simple. Don't give up. Keep working on them. Keep shooting for the moon!

What are some of your goals? Is it to get healthier (boy, don't even get me started there...) Is it to finish your college education and get your degree (never to late to go back) Is is to get out of debt (I know about those piles of Dr. bills over in the corner.) What are they? Setting goals will motivate us to continue to do what we know we should be doing!

Whatever you are working towards - keep working at it! You'll get there!

Gastroparesis - Update

I realize that the "Spreading Joy Corporation" blog may not be the "best" place for these types of update - but if just one other person can relate to what Megan is going through and it helps them to find joy in their journey, then it is worth it to me. Besides, if we can't talk about every step of our journey with friends, family, twitter friends and such - then who can we talk to them about? If you are here, you are at the very least a friend.

Here is the latest on Megan and where she stands.

The Doctors office did finally call and Megan did show some digestion on her scan this past Wednesday! Now, its not a lot, but it is a start.

He is going to continue her medication, deep relaxation and pain management techniques. The relaxation and pain mgmt is due to the fact she has been removed from ALL pain medications as they tend to relax her stomach and we need it to contract. Also - the insurance has denied the zophran - which helps to ease the nausea caused by the extremely strong antibiotic that she takes 3 times a day. They will not even approve 1 a day - only 24 for the month and she needs 3 a day. We are in "official" appeal mode but that could take a month.

She has also got to learn to "relax" (in a good way, not medicated) her stomach before eating so that it can do what it needs to do.

She has been eating a few ounces of pudding and yogurt and while it "hurts" her to eat it, she is keeping it down. She is now up to mashed potato type food for the next few days and then we can ease her into more of a solid after that continues to do well. Being the typical teenager that she is and the fact that she loves to eat, she really wants pizza. If she continues to keep down 2-3 ounces of mashed potato type soft solids, then we will get her a very small slice of pizza that she will take an hour to eat.

Jeff over at Bear 2 Care 2009 has issued his readers a challenge to stay away from pizza for 5 days to encourage Megan - to let her know that she is being thought of and prayed for and a time will come when she can have pizza again. It's a goal to shoot for!

Her next appointment is Aug 26th and I am concerned that the pain of eating that has been there for 2 years is still there and wonder if/when it will ever go away...and if this wasn't one of the "causes" to begin with. Also she will be starting school around that same time. Right now she lays down and completely relaxes 35 minutes prior to eating and will not be able to do that when school starts. We need wisdom and direction as to what to do for her for that.

Thank you for your prayers, tweets and emails of encouragement. You keep us going! My princess has such a long way to go, but I know she will be one amazing lady on the other side of this! She already is!

Photo: Megan playing w/statue at last Dr. Visit

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Always a Mom

When I was growing up and dreamed of getting married, having children and being a Mommie, I never really knew what all that entailed. I knew that Mom's did so much for so many and always loved and respected my Mom for all that she has done for me over the years.

Even though I am a wife - I may not always be one. I will, however, always and forever be a Mom!

Moms wear so many hats and I'm often amazed at what all we can accomplish when we set our minds to it!

We are wife, mom, gourmet chef, short order cook, doctor, referee, entertainer, taxi driver, organizer, event coordinator, slayer of horrible monsters that lurk in closets. We provide miracle kisses that heal all scrapes, scratches and other injuries that do not require stitches or casts. We are alarm clocks to get the day started and the light switch when it's "lights out" for the day. We are the believer of dreams, encouragers to the end and the gentle shove out of the nest when fear arises. We are a constant reminder that can't never could and that won't never will but if you think you can, then you probably will. We are a light in the dark and the sunshine on a rainy day. We sacrifice great things of the present for even greater things in the future. We cry tears of joy as well as endure the tears of sorrow. We handle untimely disasters single handedly while always knowing where the other shoe is. We know that the book you need is on the 2nd shelf to the left – if you’d just look there, you’d see. We multitask better than the most powerful CEO can whip up a school project hours before it is due. We will believe when no one else around will and keep pressing towards the prize when everyone else is at a complete halt.

Even though we hate it sometimes, we are also the bad guy in this story of life. Hindering our children from doing what they "want" to do when they think it is ok. We are the policeman that strives to keep order and peace as well as the Security guard that keeps watch in the night for dangers that are lurking. We are the backbone when they are weak, yet softly praying that when the kids are older they will have the courage to do what is right on their own. We are determined to preserve and protect and will face the greatest danger for our children - all because we are always a Mom. Even though the kids may think of us as strict, mean, aggravating, ridiculous, uncooperative, hateful and just plain behind in the times - we will always be MOM.

I used to tell my Mom that "I'll never say that to MY kids!” When ever she said "Because I said so.” Did that hold true? NO, absolutely not. In all honesty I probably said everything she said and then some.

That is why I LOVE this video. It reminds me that I am not alone. Other Moms say the same things to THEIR children. We are always a Mom and these things that Moms say will continue to be said by Moms all over the world!

Thanks Mom for always believing, loving and for giving me something good to grow up to be…just like you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Joy of Gastroparesis

Megan had her appointment with Dr. Pinerio with the Levine Children's Center today and we left hopeful!

He believes this is Gastroparesis.
According to the Mayo Clinic's website Gastroparesis is "a condition in
which the muscles in your stomach don't function normally.
strong muscular contractions propel food through your digestive tract. But in
gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly or not at
all, preventing your stomach from emptying properly. This can interfere with
digestion, cause nausea and vomiting, and play havoc with blood sugar levels and
nutrition. No available treatment can cure gastroparesis. Dietary changes
and certain medications sometimes help control symptoms of gastroparesis, but
they're not effective in every case. And the available gastroparesis drugs can
cause serious side effects. Researchers are investigating other types of
therapies for gastroparesis.
He is going to use Erythromycin and Zophran to help treat it. She will take these 30 minutes before 3 meals - which right now is 4 ounces of Ensure (Yummie!!!) She will finish the other 4 ounces a few hours past that. The Erythromycin will also help her stomach muscles to contract - and push the food to small intestines.

In a week or so, we will move towards yogurt. We will stay there as long as we need to - until she feels like she can move to soft foods like mashed potatoes, yummy cheesie grits and oatmeal type foods.

We will keep progressing from there. He explained to her that she will need to re-teach her stomach to accept food - which I had already discussed with her.

She will be doing a 2 hour Gastric Emptying Scan where she eats a small amount of food and then her gift of holding in vomit will have to kick in for 2 hours. They will scan her and see if she is digesting anything at all. This scan will take place July 29th. She will have been on the new meds for 9 days. He will then decide if we need to up the medication or if she still has zero digestion, he said the Gastric Pacemaker would be an option. It is just like a pacemaker they use for the heart - just on the stomach.

This will be a long process. She will have to do some pain management techniques in addition to the meds and thanks to some great people, we already have some relaxation items on hand to help her.

She is tired of the Ensure, but willing to try. She is still skeptical because nothing has helped.

Thank you for how you have rallied around her (and me) and lifted her up in prayer. There is no way that I can tell you how encouraging it is to hear we are praying for you during this time.

I'm so grateful for all of you! I am so blessed to have friends such as you!

Megan is at camp. She will not have the energy nor the ability to participate in the sports but wanted to go.

A million *hugs* and *kisses* would never be enough to say thank you for caring, lifting us up and for being there anytime we needed you!
I am Completely awed by your compassion.....

I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.
Pablo Casals quotes

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Completely Awed by the Prayers for Megan!

I'm coming before you to say thank you for your prayers for Megan. People at my work, people at my Church, friends and family members! Your prayers are what is getting us through this time of not knowing what is going on with Megan. Every time you pass me and say I'm praying for Megan - I was encouraged. I also passed that information along to Megan and again, it encouraged me.

I must take a moment to express my utter respect for those that I follow on Twitter! I absolutely can not name ALL of your names, but YOU have touched my heart so deeply today! It is hard to find words great enough to express my deepest feelings!

A brief history on what you are praying for:

Megan's stomach trouble started 2 years ago. Horrible pain immediately after eating. Her GI quickly diagnosed it as IBS and gave appropriate medication. I never believed it was that but the medicine helped some, so we went on about our merry little ways - dealing with the pain as needed.
In March of this year, we returned to the GI with nausea and he upped her Prilosec. Ordered Endoscopy and biopsies to be taken. All came back clear. No cancer, no bacterial infection no nothing - all "normal". April Megan started vomiting her foods several times a week. Dr. then upped her Bental and ordered more tests. All "normal". In May the several times a week turned into each meal that had meats in it and other "hard" foods. Soft foods like cheesy smashed potatoes, good ole Southern Grits, yogurt, pudding, eggs and the like were ok. Megan was given a Gastric Emptying Scan. She was required to eat more food than she has been able to keep down since April. She ate and was scanned. An hour later another scan. The next scan was the hardest. After many tears because she couldn't "hold down the food" any longer they took the scan and she immediately vomited. She told the technician she threw up less than half of the food. The 4th hour scan showed that only 39% of the food was gone. (Well last time I checked - 39% is less than half!) Finally - a test that showed NO digestion. I just knew that our prayers had been answered and resolution would soon be on the way!

The beginning of June Megan was admitted to hospital for 2 days for observation. She was given Reglan 3o minutes before each meal and still - vomiting of all solids was taking place. So soup for "snacks" it is. Before leaving the hospital - we found out that mashed potatoes and grits were no longer staying down. Even though the Dr. was thinking Gastroparesis - his lasts words to me was - I've never seen this and I don't know what to do. Sent me back to our pediatrician for a referral to another specialists.

We have waited on this appointment for July 20th at 1:3opm for 5 l-o-n-g weeks now. And now - yogurt, as of last week, is not digesting. And as of last night 7-17-09 - liquids are officially having to be "held down". (she can really hold in her vomit...truly) She wants to drink but the pain of the liquids going into her stomach is to great. The nausea that goes with it is so hard to bear. She is sleeping alot today to get through this. (4 ounces an hour - not working. No worries though, if need be, I will take her to ER for hydration.)

Present day - (finally - you say...get to the point!!!) Ok, already. I sent out a tweet this morning asking for prayer for wisdom for the new Doctor on Monday. Told about the liquids now giving her problems and then it happened.

#prayers4megan being tweeted about over twitter!

I know there are so many children out there with terminal illnesses. I know I can never in a million years understand what they or their mothers are going through! One thing I'm certain of is that I would not have made it through these past few months with out prayers!
Few people knew about Megan way back in March. Then a few more and a few more. This morning, after a sleepless night of prayer - I knew I had to ask for prayer. I knew several would step up and answer but I had no clue how those acts of joy would affect me!

My eyes swelled with tears as I read tweet after tweet of people asking for prayers for Megan. Then - names I didn't even recognize started showing up. (I must happily say that I am now following those people - because I want to follow great people like they are!)

I showed my husband the outpouring of your prayers and he was in complete awe by what he was seeing, as was I!

I come to you today to humbly say thank you! It has always been (and will always be) my goal to be spreading joy to each of you but today...I was a recipient of such a magical gift! I realize that I must be diligent about spreading joy because of the encouragement and inspiration I received from your acts of joy! I must not tire, I must not fail. I must press on! And with God's help and your prayers and encouragement - I believe I can do so.

If you have prayed for Megan - thank you!

If you have asked others to pray for Megan - Thank you!

Megan thanks you too!

A million thank yous could never be enough! Never!

YOU are great at Spreading Joy!

"Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others." Brian Tracey

Thank you guys for sharing!
Photo: Mother's Day 2009 Marie & Megan

Monday, July 6, 2009

Some Seriously Fun Stuff - Seriously!

Megan is my proofreader. She reads everything I type. She matter of factly asked me the other day if I ever wrote anything fun? Truthfully, I had started this post and just never come back to it. We love fun! We are the most playful, silly people we know. Fun brings so much joy...don't you think?

I love to laugh, to be silly, to play and have fun.

So with that...I hope you enjoy this fun post...seriously!

Oh, I simply love fun, cute, adorable silly things. Really, I do. I know that will come as a surprise to anyone that knows me, but it is the TRUTH!

Here is my all time favorite from Hoops and Yoyo - you just gotta watch it. Visit Hallmark to send it as an e-card. This is how I am before I have my coffee!

Those guys are the cutest. Many stores have their cards. You should send one to someone...just for the fun of it.

The Procrastinator:

1. I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already.
2. I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or find excuses.
3. I will never put off until tomorrow, what I can forget about forever.
4. I shall meet all of my deadlines directly in proportion to the amount of bodily injury I could expect to receive from missing them.
5. I firmly believe that tomorrow holds the possibility for new technologies, astounding discoveries, and a reprieve from my obligations.
6. I truly believe that all deadlines are unreasonable regardless of the amount of time given.
7. I shall never forget that the probability of a miracle, though infinitely small, is not exactly zero.
8. If at first I don't succeed, there is always next year.
9. I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
10. I shall always begin, start, initiate, take the first step, and/or write the first word, when I get around to it.
11. I obey the law of inverse excuses which demands that the greater the task to be done, the more insignificant the work that must be done prior to beginning the greater task.
12. I know that the work cycle is not plan/start/finish, but is wait/plan/plan.
13. I will never rush into a job without a lifetime of consideration!

Did you guys know I LOVE Chuck Norris? Well, I do and one of these days someone that loves me (or gets tired of me whining about it) will get me to him! But, until that happens - here are my favorite Chuck Norris Facts:

10. The first rule of Chuck Norris is: You do not talk about Chuck Norris.
9. Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
8. Chuck Norris uses a nightlight. Not because he is afraid of the dark, but because the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.
7. Chuck Norris owns a large private estate in the middle of the Atlantic. We know it as the Bermuda Triangle. Chuck Norris does not tolerate trespassers.
6. Before he forgot a gift for Chuck Norris, Santa Claus was real. (oh..I love Santa)
5. Chuck Norris can find the needle in the haystack.
4. The true definition of Pi is Chuck Norris.
3. The chief export of Chuck Norris is Pain.
2. Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

And my number 1 all time very favoritest Chuck Norris fact in the whole wide world is:

1. When the boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris!

These are just a few fun things that I hope you have enjoyed. What are some of your favorite Chuck Norris facts? What fun things bring you joy? Please share them with it is truly the little things that make life BIG!

Photo: Megan...jumping on some bed from some vacation we had.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blissful Inspiration

I wanted to take some time to introduce you to a blog that I think you'll love. I've never met Tabitha personally or even spoken to her on the phone - but our hearts are in the same place.

It is A FiveOh4 Uplifting Blog!

She has no idea just how much she has blissfully inspired me! I've been giving out "Joy Packs" now for over a year now, but haven't thought to put photos up, keep track of them or even really mention it. Who knows why that is. I'll probably start posting a few photos each time I do it so that maybe, just maybe, YOU will be inspired to do something for someone else.

Tabitha and her family send out goody bags to children and adults who are battling cancer or are in the hospital. They make note cards to include in each bag. They will send bags in honor of people! She doesn't let a physical handicap stop her! It is truly inspiring! Tabitha says,

"The first three years of my life were spent living in Children's Hospital
due to birth abnormalities. I was born without a right arm and at 9 months old my right leg had to be amputated. My left arm is half the length of a normal length arm, but none of this has ever STOPPED me."

She isn't kidding. She spends time doing things to brighten the days of children in hospitals and that inspires me!

Tabitha - I wanted to publicly say thank you for all that you do! You are an inspiration to me as well as to so many other people. We may never know this side of heaven just how many hearts you've touched with your compassion and your vision!

I will also be sending you the following items via our friends at Oriental Trading (Love them!)

24 - Neon Monkey Bracelets (Cause Monkeys are my Favorite!!)
72 - Groovy 60's tattoos
72 - Mini Activity Pads
50 - Mini Rainbow Spring Assortment

What inspires you? Do you respond to that inspiration? You'd be surprised how a simple response would make a difference to someone else!

"Abundance and love are not limited. Support others in their pursuit of them and your life will be blessed as well." Lark Neville

Photo from:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Good, The Bad and the Crazy

I love twitter. I love that I have met so many wonderful people there. The other day 2 of my favorite tweeple were tweeting back and forth and it caught my attention. After being asked how things were - @coffeesister replied saying " @HappyLotus has actually been a really rough coupla days yet w/great things in the midst, hope your busyness was a goodness but YAY for calm"

I knew exactly what she was talking about - except for me it has been a rough couple of weeks. Normally we handle problems and move on but sometimes, every once in a while, a problem creeps up and you have to stay with it longer than you desire. The question then becomes, how do you keep focused on the good things going on around you while you concentrate on the bad and the crazy

I won't bore you with all the bad that has been in my life since the first of May, but so that you get the picture, I have to share a little bit of what has happened. Late April I issued a challenge to my twitter friends to do an act of joy a day so that they may see that "there's no joy like spreading joy" and I would join in myself. I'm personally (not including the things I do through Spreading Joy Corporation - but as an individual) trying to reach 1,000 acts of joy and set a goal of 3 acts of joy a day! I'm a giver, love to give and therefore that shouldn't be a problem - right? W-R-O-N-G! Another twitter friend @dr_uw commented "I like your page, very encouraging to risk exposure and share."

I remembered that comment when my phone rang at 7:15 at work on that first Friday morning in May. My husband who had been only working 32 hours a week for months had been given the news the day before that they were only going to be able to work every other week. Not totally laid off, but not making 40 hours a week either. My daughter, Megan, had been dealing with vomiting for most of April and we were taking her to test after test after test. My son, Todd, was graduating in a few weeks and would be heading off to college at the end of the summer and then there is the normal, usual stuff that just goes on. In May the washer broke. That same week, while I was at the laundry mat my husband had a flat tire on the way home and that very night my son's car had a flat tire. (Great a washer and 2 tires) The next week my breaks were going out on the car and when my husband went to change them he noticed that 2 of the lug nut BOLTS were off - yep....gone. He went to take the tire off and what do you know - the OTHER TWO broke off. I could not believe it. I just knew we'd have to pay a tow truck to take my vehicle a mile down the road to get fixed. This is all in the middle of dealing with Doctors and Nurses phone calls and trying to keep Spreading Joy Corporation going. I'm not telling you all of this for your pity - I will take your prayers - but I want to share how in the world we made it through the month of May without totally losing our sanity.

I did not make my personal goal of 3 acts of joy a day in the month of May, but I did continue to do something everyday - just as I have done since April of 2008. While I was focusing on Megan and trying to help her and dealing with the crazy things that were going on around me I knew that no matter what, things would be ok because of the support we had.

The support during this trying time has been unbelievable! So many people are praying for Megan and while it is so hard watching her be so sick sometimes, knowing that she is being prayed for around the world has provided me with great peace. The tweets, the emails, the phone calls, the card and especially the prayers. I love giving and doing, but sometimes you have to let people support you, that is all there is to it. If someone wants to know how you are - tell them. You don't have to be whiney about it, but say that its hard if you need to. Say that you are concerned. Don't carry the burden alone. Take the help that is offered.

I had to remember - this too shall pass. This is only a small piece of the journey. You will not be on this road forever. Things will look up. Things will get better - count on it! Don't dwell on this state that things are in...look to the future as it is a bright one!

I have made sure that I remain a source of motivation for others as well as giving others. I know you'll probably tire of me say "There's no joy like spreading joy" but it is true! When you give, do or encourage others YOU will get so much more back. The joy you receive when you are focusing on others is truly unspeakable. Your heart is warmed, your soul is thankful and the joy that is there because of the difference you've made is unwavering. You can have joy through the journey! You can have joy through the trials.

Take it one day at a time. If you have to, take it one hour at a time! Don't hurry through your day. Don't try to tackle everything all at once. Focus on what is important and let the rest wait. Don't worry about tomorrow. Stay in the now..the right here and make it work.

Don't remain so focused on the "crazy" that you miss the blessings that happen in between. While all this was going on in May - good things were going on too. My son was getting ready to graduate, Spreading Joy received a $10,000 matching grant and little did I know that a $500.00 grant to Wal-Mart was being approved. New friendships were being formed and thank goodness School was almost over! Great things were happening and I was noticing it. I could have easily missed it - had I been focused on the "crazy".

Remember, we are all going to go through the good days, the bad days and most certainly the crazy days. Keep your chin up. Things will be good again. I promise!

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. "~ Ayn Rand

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

To the Class of 2009

To the Class of 2009 -

Your journey is just beginning, and the roads may be long. The days may seem uncertain, but you are ready.

You've been taught to do your best, give your best and be the best.

Keep looking forward while remembering the wonderful times you had. Look forward to the new opportunities that lay ahead of you. Look forward to new friendships, new challenges while keeping your heart tied to the memories that your heart will cherish for a life time.

Remember, you are still young and while you may know what you want to do, also know that things change. Your journey may change a time or two and when it does, I hope you'll seize the opportunity to learn from those changes. I hope you'll have the courage to walk the path least traveled. I hope you'll have the desire to make a difference along the way.

You are our future. Yes - YOU Class of 2009! We need you to be strong yet sensitive to the needs of those around you. We need you to be wise yet willing to still learn and be taught. We need you to be fierce yet still be approachable by the common individual. We need you to be dreamers of wonderful, magnificent dreams and realize that even if those dreams do not come true, that the journey is still worth it!

You are hope, you are love, you are magnificent and courageous! You are wonderful!

Todd - as a part of this graduating class, I must tell you that I'm proud of you. I'm proud of the wonderful young man you have grown up to be. I'm proud of the choices you've made and hope that you'll continue to give great consideration to the choices you'll make.

I'm proud that you love your little sister and would do what ever you needed to protect her. I'm proud that I can trust you to do what is right.

Thank you for how you give to others. Thank you for your love and care. Thank you for having the courage to explore the unknown.

I love you son!
Forever and Always

Photos: Todd Class of 2009 and Todd 4 1/2 yrs. old.

Monday, June 8, 2009

For Megan

The pain in her stomach
Is reflected on her face
Lord, What she needs now more than ever
Is a double portion of your grace

Her laughter and her smile
Have faded away
Now that her blue skies
Are an awful dark grey

Her future is bright
There’s so much love that she gives
But the pain over throws her
Making it hard to fully live

The search continues
For answers each day
Hopefully relief
Will soon be on the way

Then the love will shine
So strong and so bright
I know she’ll be glad
That she fought a good fight

The difference she’ll make
Because she has been there
Will be told for eternity
With luster and flair

A Princess in my eyes
My pride and my joy
Will help those who are hurting
With diseases that destroy

Keep fighting my Princess
Stay strong and devoted
You’ll do great works
You’ll often be quoted!

You’ll make a huge difference
Just you wait – you’ll see
I know this for a fact,
Because you’ve made a difference in me!

I love you Princess. I'm fighting for you!

Photo: by Megan of Megan & Marie

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Difference of A Few

Late April, I decided I would make public my acts of joy during May. I normally do that in the "Tell Me Your Story" portion of the main Spreading Joy Corporation website and over at the facebook group page. Normally it isn't a problem. I set a goal to do 2 acts of joy a day because I'm trying to reach my 1,000th act of joy as soon as possible and issued a challenge to everyone on Twitter to do an act of joy for someone everyday. I wanted to blog our results with the hopes that someone will come across this blog and realize they can make a difference with what they have - right where they are.

Several people stepped up to the challenge and I want to say thank you for sharing with me as well as making a difference.

So, how did we do? Well over 100 acts of joy were emailed, blogged or twittered about. Here are a few!
  • Encouraged sick friend
  • Helped someone get medicine that they needed
  • Left encouraging comments on blog (and believe me, this is encouraging)
  • Purchased Eco friendly grocery bags in an effort to become greener
  • Encouraged people via Twitter (free and so easy to do)
  • Sent care packages to our soldiers and wished they could send more
  • Fed the homeless in their area
  • Provided an entire month of giving without spending ideas
  • Free Bibles and Rice were given through the Free Click Campaigns
  • Cards were sent for encouragement (yes, handwritten cards)
  • Helped a hurting neighbor
  • Gave large tip to waitress who obviously needed help
  • Emailed discouraged friend
  • Helped Spreading Joy Corporation via Good Search
  • Money donated to Missionaries
  • Participated in Spring Forward Campaign

The bottom line, is a handful of people looked for ways to make a difference during one month and many things were accomplished. What if 200 people decided to step up to the challenge and made an effort to do ONE act of kindness a day - just one. Well, I can tell you from experience, those 200 people will be the happiest people on earth (even through trials) and by the end of the month there would be OVER 6,000 acts of joy performed which means over 6,000 people had their hearts warmed.

That alone is enough for me to keep going, keep spreading the word about doing acts of joy daily and to encourage as many people as I can along the way to make a difference with what they have, right where they are.

Thank you again to those of you who participated, who tweeted, who emailed etc. YOU have been an encouragement to me....and trust me, the Month of May was a challenge for me. (which I will post about at a later date) I didn't not reach my personal goal of 2 acts of joy a day, but there is always June!

Scott Adams said "Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." Well done on the ripple effect that you've created this past month - well done!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Your Dash

"There'll be two dates on your tombstone
And all your friends will read 'em
But all that's gonna matter
is that little dash between 'em..."Kevin Welch

My Mom and I will see an extremely old cemetery and we'll stop at just to look at the dates on the tombstones. We will read the dates, look at how many family members are there, how long the children lived etc. I remember one family in particular. There were 6 or 7 small tombstones - obviously children, so I went to investigate further.

This Mother had given birth to several children and none of them made it past the age of 3 or so. I looked at her dates and she wasn't that old at all. I wondered if she died of heart break, especially since all of her children died so young. I wondered if she was ever able to overcome her pain of not being able to raise her children, see them go off to school or do many of the things the children in the neighborhood were able to do. I wondered if her husband was able to console her and help her through this horrible valley in her life, and then my mind drifts back to my own world and what am I doing to make my "dash" more meaningful.
Can I inspire others to make a difference where they are? Can I motivate and encourage my children to be givers without having them be taken advantage of? Can an average young lady, such as myself, have a "dash" that is full of love, joy, excitement, passion and the heart to bring it all together to make a difference?

Yes, and so can you. What are you filling your "dash" with? What will others remember most about you? If you are thinking about this (and I hope you are) and are not thrilled with what is in your mind, take some time to set some goals and make some changes.

Yes - your dash is very important. I hope you are taking the time to fill it with wonderful memories, meaningful relationships and new friendships.
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