Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting To Know YOU!

I am an open book. I tweet/talk publicly about myself, family, likes and dislikes. (ok, so I grumble about my dislikes, but still!) I'm happy, silly, joyful, serious, concerned and whine in the cuuutest suuuthern axcent ever.

I have a list of a "few" things about me on my blog. ( it's NOT a's actually over 40...and I could add more..just sayin. I should update the picture over there though, as it is from 2006. I have added a few more wrinkles and some gray hair.) I love letting people get to know me because I LOVE getting to know people. All kinds of people, from far and near and all back grounds.

Having said all that - to say - I love social media and the reach it gives me. I love that I have friends (YES friends!) that live in Africa, Australia, Scotland, Canada etc and have never met them personally - but I feel as though I've known them for such a long time. I love the friendships that I've developed. I love learning about these wonderful people. I want to share some of them with you.

I hope you'll click on the links and learn more about them. These lists can be found on their personal blogs. I have loved reading them, learning more about them and becoming their friend. I hope that you will too.

Gene Bowker follow him on twitter @geneslens - Gene takes awesome pictures and writes from the heart! Fun follow, giver, friend - Read more about Gene

Elaine Kelly follow her on twitter @elaineremains - My chihuahua and I are trying to take over the world, it's a work in progress. (Elaine has an amazing photo blog. Her pictures are awesome and she is quite talented.) And, doesn't mind me umm.. mooning her - with @greetums cards - of course!! Read more About Elaine

Richard Mayhan follow him on twitter @mcProdigal - Counselor & advocate, Tworship Leader, married, apologetics, technology, math, music-loving guy. Was prodigal for 27 years. Now gives hope to all parents of prodigals. They can and do return. Read more about Richard.

Michele Langlo follow her on twitter @shadowedwriter - Hiding in the shadows, she loves to write and is amazing at it. She also has an amazing love of the ocean. shhh..our secret..don't tell anyone! Read more about Michele

Dino Jag follow him on twitter @dinojag - Makin music... & lovin life and it shows. Huge heart for others and always brings a smile! Read more about Dino

Lark Neville follow her on twitter @larkn0298 - Poet, technical writer, movie lover, voracious reader. Horror flick chicks & dudes love her! (I love her heart and passion for writing and others) Read more about Lark

Stash Serafin follow him on twitter @stashskate - Inspiring blind ice skater. Motivational speaker, co-author teaches ice skating as a metaphor of life. (Completely inspiring!) Read more about Stash

Melinda Lancaster follow her on twitter @heartcures - A follower of Christ who ministers, teaches, counsels, writes, in hopes of offering encouragement to those who grow weary on the road called life. Read more about Melinda **Special Note** I have to give Melinda Credit for this idea. Way back 37 1/2 years ago (grins), after reading my list of about me - we discussed getting more "About Me" lists from various tweeple. Thank you for this idea and I'm honored to include you in my list!

Bonnie Squires follow her on twitter @bonnie67 - Wife and Mom of 8. I have many interest Crafts, Recipes & Social Network sites. (Love her blog article called Just Some Hugs - I love hugs!!) Read more about Bonnie.

Michael Sarles follow him on twitter @mas_is_more - Kind acts of randomness. Sports fan, tall guy, sarcastic much, lived in L.A., Israel, NYC, Boston & now Dallas. Former mental health pro. & marketing consultant - #7 is totally my FAV on his list! I can totally see him looking DOWN saying this! Read more about Michael.

Rio Denali - follow her on twitter @NotTypicalBlond - Her bio grabbed me from the get go! Not your typical blond. Former military, formally trained in FBI interrogation techniques, and with a degree in law... Rio might just surprise you. You KNOW you want to know! Read more about Rio.

Gina Stark - follow her on twitter @SuuperG - Some people think I'm egotistical-but enough about THEM! Here 4 laughs & inspiration.Freelance writer/blogger.Love travel, dance,fuud,horses,hiking 2much2 list! (ok, had to twist her arm a tad bit...*grinning* but - turned out nicely!) Read more about Gina.

Corey - follow her on twitter @la_loquita - I dance like no one is watching. I smile at everyone. I walk-barefoot in the sand. I dream under the stars. I love till it hurts. I giggle like a girl. (I love YOUR giggle) Read more about Corey.

Tegan Cole - follow her on twitter @sandalgal - Yankee Fan, Thinker, A little bit of everything...I'm real, that's what I am... (She is REALly cool. Love bantering back n forth with her, @marrangee and @Christianrep - although, I think she plays favs with THEM - *grinning* Read more about Tegan.

I want to get to know YOU more. Do you have a blog that you can do an "About Me" post and share with me? I'd love to list you here!

No blog? Well, you can still tell us about you! Sure you can! Look Below! See that box down there? Yeah...the comment box! How about putting a list there and make sure you include your twitter name - so we can KNOW who you are there are well.

I can't WAIT to get to know you more!

{{{{HUGS}}}} Yall!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Having Compassion and Making a Difference

I'm constantly amazed at the amount of little things that can be done in a day to make a difference. No matter where we go, what we do, each and everyone of us have the power within ourselves to make a huge difference right where we are. Be it with smiles, hugs, kinds words, written note, helping someone out etc, we all have the ability to create change. When you add compassion to it, you get something else entirely.


[kuhm-pash-uhn] - a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Everyone, on some level, feels sorrow for others who have been stricken by misfortune. When you have compassion, the desire to do something, to alleviate the pain and suffering, takes over and your heart must act upon it. There is no stopping it. The desire is so forceful and great that your heart is grieved because you feel like you can't alleviate the suffering. Then it hits you. You realize that while it may be true, you can't stop the suffering, you can't change things by yourself and you certainly can't do it alone, the fact is that you don't have to. There are so many people who have a strong desire to make a difference!

There is safety in numbers, right? Well, when the compassionate join forces and come together, there is STRENGTH, HOPE and MIRACLES are bound to be right around the corner. New Year Of Hope (NYOH) was started because of a strong desire to make a difference. Compassion. When you have compassion, you'll notice every little detail, every miracle and every act of joy causes floods of joy in your own heart!

There is no way I can ever thank those that have come together for NYOH, allowing me to experience the flood gates of joy on my soul when I delivered the HOPE that you provided. The behind the scenes work, the asking, the praying, the begging and the phone calls were amazing. So many people gave what they could to bring this miracle to pass. Those that couldn't give were instrumental in spreading the word about the need - and we could not have made it without you either! You truly made a difference by telling as many people as you could, as often as you could. My heart thanks all of you for your part in NYOH.

Here is how things unfolded. Stick with me. This is a long post, but worth the read!

Finally, it's here. The day we've been waiting for! Delivering HOPE to Roxboro NC. Dwayne is expecting me to come down and deliver the rent for 2009. My heart has been huge these past few months, as I know that I'm delivering so much more.

We finally arrive in Roxboro. Please keep in mind that Dwayne is only expecting me to come down with the 2009 rent that YOU supplied. We get there and the HUGS are wonderful. I give him 2 extra, one for @blogomomma and @cupcakes5 (hey, they needed for him to have a hug from them too!) He invites us in, but I get Diana and we get a "few" things from the back of my car. I have her close her eyes before she opens the car door and she is so surprised as she sees "all" the gifts that await her. We take 2 trips to carry them in and Dwayne is just as surprised. There is 3 or 4 different types of journals, photo album, cute pen, 5 rubber - extra long pencils, box of Magnetos (a magnetic building pieces of sorts), Operation, Monopoly, Connect4, Trouble, 8 different fingernail polishes, 2 heart makeup kits, 2 books, m&m's, big blue box of crayola crayons, markers and other art items, HUGE bag of school supplies, inlcuding 3 1 inch binders, 10 or more pocket folders, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, 24 pack of pencils, 12 pack of pens, pencil holder, erasers, and then a few of my favorite things - as you know I love giving my favorite things too. 2 pair of cute adorable socks, 3 packs of Reese Cups, and a Gorilla Webkin. (I do so adore monkeys) There is a video coming that shows her opening everything, so if I have forgotten anything, you'll get to see it. Dwayne is pretty speechless at this point. I'm ready to explode because my heart is flooded with emotions, knowing the last two items.

I hand him a card, that talks about how we knew he's been discouraged, but things will be looking up soon. I hand write a note at the bottom. It's his first huge surprise.

"The Hampton Inn of Myrtle Beach SC has Partnered with Spreading Joy Corporation to provide you a week at the beach free of charge!"

Immediately, tears of joy from someone who has had to keep getting up, over and over from being knocked down. He shows Diana and she is delighted as she has never been to the beach with her father. I do not have the certificates with me, but 3 restaurants in the area have graciously agreed to provide a gift certificate for their meals. My goal is to have enough certificates for their week of eating by the time he goes so that their meals are completely paid for.

We start discussing the box. HOPE. I saw the box a few months ago in Michaels and grabbed it, knowing I would put a single certificate in it. Hope - there is so much possibility there, especially when people with a heart for others from ALL OVER THE WORLD come together to make a difference. I hand him the box. My smile is a mile wide and my heart is on cloud 37 1/2 because I know what is waiting for him. I ask him to open it and read it out loud. He starts reading - There's Hope that hever ends - dwaynereaves certificate! (That link is a copy for you to see) He gets to the 3 rd line and hangs his head and more TEARS of JOY. FINALLY, my heart is screaming. HE KNOWS!! I give more hugs and take the certificate and read it out loud for the video. He is speechless as he has just read
"Spreading Joy Heroes from all over the world have graciously paid your rent through December 31, 2010"

He had no clue at all. Few people knew of this and we had kept it a secret from everyone. All of you who gave - YOU had no idea what you were giving to!! You thought you were helping a gentleman keep his apartment and pay his debt from last year. Look at what YOUR giving turned into.

  • 10 or 12 gifts, games and huge bag of back to school supplies and Reese Cups for Diana.

  • Week at the beach with meals included. (I have time to round the meals up - gonna make the calls and ask)

  • 2009-2010 RENT Taken care of Completely!

We talk, laugh and cry tears of joy and then, I must go and meet the man that helped make this possible - by trusting a girl that he had never talked to before, never met and had no idea if she would even come through on her promise. Ronnie - the landlord. Remember, I had called and asked him to allow me to raise funds for him with the help of @blogomomma from Chicago and he agreed to let Dwayne stay there in the apartment - even though we had no idea how long it would take to raise the funds needed to catch up on rent. I meet and of course HUG him and thank him from the bottom of my heart. He truly made a difference with the compassion that he had in his heart. The unique thing about Ronnie is - everytime I said thank you, he "gave" it back to me. What a giver! We presented Ronnie with a certificate as well. Such a small thing for his kind heart, but it comes from my heart and he understands that.

Many of you sent in your gifts with a heart felt sentiment "I wish I could do more". I love that your heart wants to give on a bigger level and even understand it, as does mine. Never apologize for giving what you can, and thank you for doing so! Many said, I can't give - you just don't understand, but I can email, tweet and ask others. Oh, after having my guy not work for half the year last year, I do understand! I also know how powerful one single voice can be! You never know who you will reach that has the means of making a difference! So thank you for your voice!

Thank you to @blogomomma who contacted me before Christmas and gave it a cool nifty name, started the ball rolling so that all I had to do was jump in and follow her lead. She did so much work and allowed me to experience complete joy as I delivered the gift that she worked hard to accomplish. I love you doll! You bless me.

Thank you to @cupcakes5 for your never ending voice, love and prayers and heart for others! My world is sweeter because you are in it!

Thank you to those who gave and would not allow us to add you to the list. You secret Spreading Joy heroes have a special place in my heart and I hope your heart is flooded with oceans of joy right now.

Thank you to everyone on this list -

that gave, tweeted and did what you could, with what you have. YOU are Spreading Joy! I hope your heart is soaring!

Thank you Ronnie, again - you are amazing!

Thank you Hampton Inn for providing a dream come true for a little girl and her father! You are fantabulous!

Thank you Marvin McAllister - my friend for allowing me to borrow your video camera. Maybe when Spreading Joy grows up a little more, I won't have to borrow it, but it is nice to know that you don't mind!

Thank you Steve Wikle for wrapping, riding along, videoing and putting up with the singing, giggling and all the "excited" talking the entire way up there. Thank you for being my biggest supporter in Spreading Joy. I love you.

(Shhh...don't tell anyone this is in this article - but ummmm - Have I forgotten anyone? - if so, pleeease do tell me so I can correct it!)

Here are the videos of all of the gifts being unwrapped as well as the "special gifts" that just made my day to deliver!! We could NOT have done this without YOU!

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to deliver HOPE to Roxboro NC! Words can not express the gratitude that lies deep within my heart and soul for being able to make a difference. I know that Spreading Joy was only able to do this with YOUR help and I hope that you'll continue to partner with me, to do what we can, where we are, with what we have - so that we can - TOGETHER - Give BIG!

So, tell me. What do you think?

Did you ever imagine this? Do you see how your giving what you can, can restore hope? Oh...I truly hope so! I do.

***Dwayne tells his story as well as THANKS you for how you helped restore hope. Your heart should be flooded with unspeakable joy as you read how you made a difference in his life!***

{{{HUGS}}} Yall!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Knowing the Struggle is Over

I’m honored to share an interview with K. M. Johnson on the blog tour for her book Knowing the Struggle is Over. I would love to give you a copy of this book - If you would like to be entered in the drawing for the book, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

"When do we stop complaining and start thanking? For every negative there is a positive. Just like for every cause there is an effect. When we are complaining about the obstacles in our lives, we are complaining about the lives that GOD has so graciously given us."

Q: K.M., the title of your book is, Knowing The Struggle Is Over, which is very fitting for the current economic situation. I know some people may be wondering, though, what exactly is the struggle?

A: Honestly, I get that question often. The struggle is not your typical financial situation or necessarily an addiction that I am speaking of. Though those are two great examples, a struggle is actually any situation, trial, or tribulation you may find yourself in.

When you find yourself in a struggle, it often means that you have come to a point where you must make a decision and ultimately a choice. I say this with the understanding that everything we do daily is a choice.

Q: In your book you tell the reader that they can get through any struggle in just three steps. So, what are these three steps?

The first step is to Stop Complaining. Now, I must admit I did say you can get through your struggle in just three steps, but I never said it would be easy! During this first step, the focus is on renewing our minds and changing the way we view the things that are happening to us. Oftentimes, we become so caught up in the world around us that we forget about the God within us.

The second step is to Let Go and Let God. For myself, this was the hardest step. Mainly because I had NO idea what it meant to literally “Let Go and Let God!” Once I had an understanding, it became a natural sequence in restoring my faith in God in regard to my situation.

The third step is to Acknowledge Him. Some may see that as easy and obvious, but how often do we know what to do and still we don’t do it! You have to develop a major spirit of praise and give Him ALL of the glory for everything, big and small. The noticeable things in our lives we always seem to give Him the glory, but God is truly in the details as well.

When we begin to pay attention and notice how He is moving and working in our lives, that is when we can truly praise Him. And a praise like that becomes a sincere and spirit-filled praise. It’s not forced, and you won’t even have to second guess.

Q: How did God lead you to write this book?

A: It’s funny and I talk about this at the beginning of my book. As I drove home on I-10 from Houston, TX, to Gulfport, MS, for Christmas, I received a revelation. I was somewhere in Louisiana, and I began praying about the situation I was in. As I finished praying, I remember thinking, “I should write a book.”

Now, what is interesting is that not only did God impress upon me the strong desire to write a book, but He also gave me the title and contents during that drive. By the time I had made it to my mother’s house, I was so excited because I knew I was about to write this book called Knowing The Struggle Is Over and I was going to have three steps that would help others accomplish just that.

If I were a writer, this wouldn’t have sounded so crazy. I never really had a true interest in writing an actual book before then. The only thing I had ever considered prior to that day was writing a children’s fiction book, or maybe a few songs or poems. But a non-fiction book? Absolutely NOT!

Q: Why did you feel that it was so important to write a book about getting through a struggle?

A: I truly would like your readers to know that with everything you go through, God is preparing you for the next level He wants to take you to in life. Sometimes, we think that we know who God is, and we really don’t. Just because we spent time with Him last week doesn’t mean we can ignore Him this week.

To better understand how He works in our lives, we have to continuously strive for a closer, more intimate relationship with Him daily. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean to put limits on Him, that just means to trust Him.

We begin to lose faith because we aren’t spending enough time getting to know Him. We get through our situations by restoring our faith and developing a closer relationship with God. Everyone has an area in their relationship with God where their faith is not at the level it COULD be.

Q: How can readers get their hands on their own copy of this miraculous book to help them restore their faith in God?

There are several options. My book is available on both my blog: and my author site:

You can also order it from your favorite local bookstore and have it within a few short days. It is also offered on various online stores. Regardless of how you get your copy, the most important thing is that you get your copy! This is a great way to revive your thinking and restore your faith!

Huge {{HUGS}} and great thanks for to KM for a complimentary copy of her book! Its YOURS - simply leave a comment and you'll be entered to win.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Desires of the Heart

As I sit here, watching my son sleep, my heart is incredibly HUGE!

For weeks I desired to see Todd for his 19th birthday. Spoke of it with a few people, (ok...whinned about it too) but pretty much hid the desire in my heart as we are recovering from a difficult financial year last year...and the added cost of tuition each month, well - that is something else entirely.

I had, in my heart, resolved to quietly sit at home on April 3rd, speak to Todd on his birthday (while hiding the tears from him of course. Not that I do that well at all...I don't.) and just lay low, let the day pass and make it through some how. I know that there will be birthdays that I do not see him, I was just dreading the fact that it was going to be this one! I was going to keep myself extremely busy - avoiding the pain and void of not seeing my son for his birthday.

I'm grinning as he snores, such a pleasant sound to my heart.

I have my very own Mommie to thank for this gift! I'll never be able to repay her as it is priceless to me. We plan on leaving and NOT telling Todd so he would be surprised for his birthday - and boy, was he was so surprised! I worked it out with his boss, Linda, that we would meet him at the store. (Thank you Linda for your awesome gift of TIME with him!)

He was turning around to do something as we were walking into the store! He had no idea we were coming. The shock, surprise and happiness were all evident as the emotions swept over his heart! The best gift of all - the HUG!! I love hugs and am unashamedly a "hugger". I love real, two armed hugs!! The hug he gave me - priceless!

So, I'm floating through this amazing weekend. Trying to pry my babies out of bed now, so that we can just enjoy the day together. But, I could not resist taking a moment and saying - Happy Birthday Todd. Isn't it just the greatest thing to have such an amazing gift of time?! Yes. I believe it is. Oh, one more thing. You, the readers of this blog, will allow me to indulge and express my complete adoration for my son..right? [nodding, sure you will - and I thank you]

Dearest Todd,

As you lay sleeping and snoring, you are also doing something else. Warming my heart! I have been watching you for hours now, so very thankful for this gift of time with you. You remember when you use to jump up in the mornings and get ready for school as quick as you could, then lay back down with me until the actual time to get up? You'd always hold my hand. I love that. I love how you are fun, how you love to laugh and how wonderful you make us feel when we are around you. I love remembering the little boy that you were, running around in your cowboy boots and diaper only, helping yourself to the last drink of mountain dew and saying "Thanks mommie for sharing with me"...and I love seeing the fine young man that you are growing into today. I love that you still hug and kiss me in public. That is a huge honor!! I'm so proud of you! So proud of the Christian path you are choosing. Choosing because you want to, not because it's what I taught you to do. So proud of how you are seeking God's will for your life. No matter where God's will leads you, you'll be the happiest and have the most JOY, right in the center, as HE will provide a way for you to walk the course He has set for you. I pray you keep seeking God's perfect will for yourself, keep putting one foot in front of the other...step by step, day by day - one problem at a time, one pleasure at a time. Always remember the little things, they truly are the biggest, bestest things ever! I sure do love you son. I simply can not find the words that will express my love and gratitude to the depth that I feel them in my heart.

Love forever and always,


To my very own wonderful Mommie....thank you!! I can only hope to grow up to be half as wonderful as you are!! I love you!

What are the desires you are longing for? Is your heart heavy because you are missing a child in college? Missing a child in the military - or something I can not imagine....are you missing a child, who is in heaven?

We have so many desires of our hearts don't we? Let's take them one at a time. Working towards our goals and desires if we can. If we can't, working with what we have to meet the desires the best we can...just as I had thought I would have to, using skype, cellphone, email and texting. To tell you the truth, had I not been able to visit with Todd, I would have probably contacted him using each one of those means.

Keep plugging away at your dreams and desires. You never know - you simply never know.

You are awake now! Time to get ready for a wonderful day! Love you Todd. I sure do love you lots n bunches!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is a riveting story of faith, hope and complete trust in the Lord during a time that is nothing short of horrific.

This true account of a family that helped Jews without regards to their own well being, will have you on the edge as you listen to Corrie’s recollection of the events that led up to her family’s imprisonment in a Nazi Concentration camp. Their home was the hub for the underground activities that was responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of Jews.

The grace through the episodes of testing and the miracle of 100 ration cards for food, all under the cover of a small watch shop will remind you that as long as you are willing, God is able.

The Sisters faith and trust as they were “thankful in all things”, including a flea infestation, will walk you through the dark days of World War II. Thinking of others, before, during and after the Concentration Camp imprisonment. Corrie’s detailed memories will have you searching your own heart, looking for all the wonderful blessings that are bestowed upon you each day.

The Narrator, Bernadette Dunne is exceptional! I listened with ease and excitement as I imagined it was Corrie, herself recounting the events over a warm cup of coffee.

I strongly urge you to get this book, listen and let your heart be blessed as you are reminded how living unselfishly, giving what you can, making a difference for others regardless of your circumstances is truly the greatest life of all.

I’d like to thank Christian Audio for the complimentary copy of this book through your Reviewers' program. Follow Christian Audio on Twitter here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Shack

When I started reading The Shack in September 2009, it was towards the end of a long battle. Even though I was strong for my family & I trusted and relied on the strength of the Lord and prayers from friends and family, a great sadness enveloped me. My family had literally been through one of the most grievous years I can remember. We battled doctors on behalf of my daughter Meg who could no longer digest solid food, wondered & prayed about employment for my husband Steve and left my only son at college - 15 hours away. I picked up The Shack and read the first chapter. My heart was pounding, the tears were forming as I felt Mack's pain and the terror of his dreams. I think to myself, there is no way I'll ever be at a point where I can finish this book; I, too, was having nightmares so terrible that I desperately tried not to sleep. Just as the great sadness consumed Mack, it consumed me. I closed the book, wondering if I'd ever finish it.

I'm happy to say that I did have the courage to pick it up and continue reading it. This fictional book describes pain, anguish and fear in such detail that you can feel the pain gripping your heart, then, it does something wonderful. It takes you through the healing process.

The author, William Paul Young, does a wonderful job with having the characters asking questions we would typically ask, expressing doubt, anger and fear. He then reminds us that it's of our own free will that develop our relationship with our heavenly Father.

For a fictional book, there were many passages that were full of amazing truth.

"Faith does not grow in the house of certainty"

"Don't ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak."

This book has been a source of controversy over doctrinal issues. I suggest you read it, pulling out the powerful truths that are throughout the book while simply enjoying it -- not judging it based on doctrine, not judging at all. Let your heart feel the emotions that Mack is feeling as he is working his way through grief and pain, dealing with the issues of forgiveness and struggling to keep it all together for his family.

Sooner or later, you'll have your own great sadness to deal with, and you'll remember - God is there, through everything...even when you feel He isn't.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What Makes YOU Happy?

When I treat myself, I love an extra hot Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte (sugar free) from Starbucks or a Diet Coke and Reese Cup. These simple little things bring me great joy and are truly a treat.

Last year, I was looking for a journal (a treat for myself) and stumbled upon this cool desk calendar. 3,650 Things to be Happy About, by Barbara Ann Kipfer. Being a lover of the million little things that bring joy to my day, I was intrigued.

One was opened, so I began to flip through it. 10 items a day, everyday. How very cool! Giggling with excitement, I decide to treat myself to this wonderful little treasure. 2 months have passed and I must say, it has been one of the greatest gifts I've ever given myself. I love tearing off the page, anxiously awaiting the next 10 things.

I have not always agreed with some of them, but that is to be expected as everyone does not like the same things. And then, there are the things that I have to "good search" to see what they are. (Sorry Google, Good Searching makes sense, as they help out my little non profit.) I have learned something new from this calendar nearly every other day! For instance, did not know what a Yurt was. Go on...Good Search it, if you need to. I did.

I decided to try and list 10 things a day for a week to see what I would come up with. Some have to do with things that happened on that day - others, are just random things that popped into my head. Here they are in no particular order:

Monday: Full moon hanging on a cloud, Gel Pens, soft Kleenex, board games, belly laughs, waking to a kiss, cool sunglasses, soft carpet, Atomic Fireballs, White out.

Tuesday: American Flag, rolling fog, cute note pads, making cotton candy, cloud shapes, Hot chocolate with marshmallows, Handwritten notes, roller coasters, forgiveness, Reese Cups with a Diet Coke

Wednesday: Cute Socks, Chuck Norris Facts, Free Books, Puppies, Statue of Liberty, heart dangle earrings, unconditional love, hot soup, cute purses, lightening bugs

Thursday: Watching my children sleep, Anticipating Christmas morning, huge sliding boards, Ringling Brothers Circus, itouch, Animal cookies, listening to rain, Long lingering HUGS, Hope, Blue Roses

Friday: Little Debbie Cakes, homemade lemonade, reading poetry, Old books from the thrift store, Service Men & Women, Breakfast for dinner, Choices, PB&J with Glass of Milk, Disney Classics, hot peanut butter cookies out of the oven

Saturday: Toddlers that ask millions of questions, Being safe in God's arms, Singing loudly in the car, Sitting sideways in overstuffed chairs, quotes, Falling asleep listening to the ocean lap against the shore, Watching my kids make the right decision, reading poetry, Policemen & Firefighters, Riding with all the windows down in the car

Sunday: Coconut Cake, Having the Bible ready available in hand or online, Universal Studios, Unsweetened Iced Tea, Monkeys on anything and everything, See sawing with a friend, Blowing Bubbles, Cute adorable socks, m&m's, handmade bracelets

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.--Henry Ward Beecher

These are just a few things that make me happy. What about you? Can you list 10 things a day that make you happy, so that at the end of the year you'll have your very own 3,650 things to be happy about? What about listing 10 things a day that are simply happy things? For example, spaghetti dinners do not make me happy, as I do not like any form of pasta. But - being at the spaghetti dinner with smiling friends and getting warm hugs - now...that is happy stuff. See what I mean?

If you blog, I challenge you to list 10 happy things a day, blog it and then link back here. I'd love to read it as well as share it with others!

If you don't blog, consider listing your 10 happy things a day for the week in the comments below. It will be wonderful to see the things that make YOU happy!

If you can't list 10 things aday - how about 3? What about 5?

Again, I ask - What makes you happy?


Saturday, April 10, 2010

All Because ONE Child Cared

I have the Greatest nieces and nephews in all the land. The youngest nephew, Jonathan, recently did a little thing for me. He told his teacher about Spreading Joy Corporation and how we help people. In his mind, he was just telling her about how his Aunt Marie was making a difference. What he didn't realize was that he was actually doing something huge and giving me an opportunity that I may never have gotten myself.

After meeting with his teacher, the preparations start. I want to introduce Spreading Joy Corporation to them. I want them to know what we do, what we've done and what we want to do! What our hopes, dreams and desires are. I want them to know that we've had goals and fallen short of them, but we weren't feeling guilty about it because we simply did what we could with what we had. More than all of that, I want them to walk away empowered, feeling like they can make a difference. I want them to see and KNOW that there's no joy like Spreading Joy.

I only have 30 minutes to speak to them and know that I have so much more than that to say, but am prepared to make it work. After introducing Spreading Joy to them, I quickly run through our accomplishments (article on that soon to be published) explaining to them that while we didn't reach the individual goals we set, we were not feeling guilty. We simply did what we could, with what we had and used that to make a difference. I fill them in on New Year of Hope (NYOH). Explaining where we were and that we needed $802 to deliver HOPE to Dwayne and his 10 year old daughter Diana. Oh, I can't wait to deliver this.

We spend much of our time talking about noticing and appreciating the little things that truly make life big. I'm a lover of the million little things in life that make my heart smile. While I'm sharing this, I hand out Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. The first guy to receive this Chris, wasn't sure about what I was doing and offered it back as I was walking away. I smile and told him to keep it, it's what I love doing. My favorite thing to give out is Reese Cups, because they are my absolute favorite! But, Little Debbie makes is affordable to give sweet smiles. While I'm "spreading joy" and passing out some of my favorite things, I want to remind everyone that holding the door for others, smiling at everyone, letting someone ahead in line and a whole slew of other "little" things make a huge difference.

Middle school children do not have a lot of resources financially, but they do have huge hearts, creative minds and the power within themselves to make a huge difference. We talk about a few of the 50 Ways to make a difference with spending a penny. The list was printed out for them. I'm hoping that they will be inspired to start spreading joy from that. I also tell them I want 50 more ways to make a difference for free and ask if they would consider sending in some ideas.

After giving Jason Lott a few of the "little things that make his life big", I call 4 people (Tols Detmer, Thomas Butner, Madeline Tilley & Sabrina Twery) from the group of kids. Give them a "joy pack". This is not a gift for them to keep, I ask them to choose someone to give this to, someone that could use a little joy that day. They are spreading joy heroes. They give freely, happily and everyone is hoping to be chosen. Are the bags huge gifts? NO. Remember, it's the little things.

The 4 heroes come back to me after spreading joy. I thank them for not grumbling, not whining and doing such a great job. They are all smiling, standing there empty handed. I'm hoping that their hearts are soaring because they just did something amazing! Before I let them sit down, I give them a little something, more than what they just gave away - but still, little things, because I want them to know, first hand, little things are amazing! I want them to realize that they (the huge hearted kids) have the ability within themselves to make a huge difference.

So, what really happened because one little 11 year old boy cared? Well, let me tell you!

Spreading Joy was able to:

  • Enjoy the snow while talking to one amazing teacher over delicious coffee

  • Give away 300 joy packs of candy with our information attached to it.

  • Joyfully hand out and throw into the crowd 10 Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies

  • Give away 6 yummilicious, simply the best treat on the face of the earth Reese Cup - Reese Eggs

  • Give away 9 packs of lip gloss (with 8 different kinds in each) I think

  • Give away 4 packs of fingernail polish (with 7 or 8 different kinds each)

  • Give away 3 $10.00 McDonald's gift cards

  • Give away 3 boxes of a beautiful necklace set

  • Give away 9 books (I love giving away books)

  • Speak to around 200 middle school kids with HUGE amazing Hearts! (and several Amazing teachers too!)

And....imagine with me, for just a moment, if you will. If those 200 individuals tell one other person, JUST 1 - that will be 400 people hearing about Spreading Joy Corporation for the first time. And - if that second set of people tell 1 other person, then we are up to around 600 people hearing for the first time.

So, Jonathan, you amazing Spreading Joy hero - do you see how the "little" thing of telling 1 person, has made a HUGE difference? I hope so. I hope others will too.

What did I get out of all of this? Oh, yes, new people heard about Spreading Joy. Yes, I enjoyed presenting my passion to the school - they were attentive and fun to talk to! But more than that, the hugs, the laughter, the smiles, the bright sparkly eyes - from realizing that "hey!!! I can make a difference, right here - right NOW!" filled my heart with so much JOY, I floated through the rest of the day! I was literally flooded with great joy from the response of the children afterwards! Warm, receptive and their minds were already thinking of ways they could make a difference! My heart was completely overflowing as I was extremely blessed by simply being able to hear their comments as they were heading back to class.

So, when you think that giving a little blue bunny is something small - ohhhh...THINK again!! HUGE!! Huge Spreading Joy Hero there!! I love this guy and someone with a HUGE heart was kind enough to make my day and give him to me!

When Reese Cups are on sale, buy one, get one free....Get them, give one and discover how AMAZING you feel when you are instantly transformed into a Spreading Joy Hero! Chris, the first recipient of the Little Debbie Cake, surprised me with an amazing treat at the end of the presentation! Thank you for the wonderful Reese Cup! It was fantabulous!

There is nothing like being flooded with great joy when you see, first hand, the little things that make life big!

Thank you Lincoln Charter School for having me at your wonderful School! Thank you Ms. Paula Micol for inviting me to present my passion for making a difference. Thank you Jonathan, for being one child who cared and acted on it - and made a Huge Difference!

The question goes out to all who read this:

Have you ever considered for one moment, what telling just one person could do to help spread the word about Spreading Joy? Do you see the amazing difference that just one person doing so has created?

Who will you tell today? Will you be a Spreading Joy Hero and spread the word about Spreading Joy?

Thank you!

Thank you for making a huge difference, right where you are, with what you have, leaving the guilt behind - because you are truly making a difference!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Confessions of a Cranky Gal

Friday morning in January....the alarm goes off, ugghh…I groan. 4:30 already? Mercy. I hit the clock, drag myself out of bed and start the day. It’s Friday, I should be excited. Few more hours and the weekend will be upon me, right? Wrong! Normally the super silliness you see here is just me. While I am and can be completely serious, I love laughing, smiling, cutting up and just loving each and every moment that I can.

I’m not sure what is going on, but I feel anything but happy. I start getting ready and as I normally do, spend time in prayer while getting ready. Someone is on my heart that day, so I pray, specifically for them. Normally this would lift my spirits, but it doesn’t. I head out the door to work. No music, no nothing, just feeling cranky. I realize this and decide to keep my ickiness to myself.

A few hours pass and I’m diligently working through the day. Trying not to focus on the growing crankiness within my heart. A friend calls. “Morning!”, they say – “how are you today?” Before I even realize what I’m doing, I laugh out loud and confess “I’m pretty cranky today, how are you?” My friend laughs and we talk for a bit. Then the friend realizes, wow, she’s not kidding. I admit, no, unfortunately I’m not kidding. I don’t know why, but I’m pretty cranky and what’s worse, can’t shake it. We talk for a few more moments and say our goodbyes. My co-worker laughs and admits that she didn’t even know I was cranky, that I had hidden it pretty well. I apologized and said I was trying not to be spreading crankiness and I’d keep working on it because no one should have to deal with cranky Marie. I wasn't even really trying to hide it, just didn't want to "share" the crankiness and bring down the "TGIF" mood. You know what I mean?

Finally!!! Lunch time! I knew what needed to be done. I clocked out for lunch, sent out a tweet that said:

I got in my car and headed over to a near by Wal-Mart. Trying to figure out what to get and for whom. I knew that I needed to do something for someone – to get rid of the crankiness. I check ubertwitter to send out a few tweets while I’m walking through Wal-Mart. What I saw made me laugh so hard, out loud and in front of everyone. Gene sent a reply that simply said:

With that belly laugh, I feel the crankiness slowly start lifting. Laughter truly is good medicine! I see the perfect thing; Little Debbie Cakes. I LOVE unwrapping smiles and so will the people I give these delicious treats to. I purchase them and see a few more replies about my crankiness. I respond thank you to Jarrell who said "Keep raising those arms & waving hands & praising God." Then to Catie who said "Don't be cranky!! Here's a hug! *HUG* hope it makes you feel better :]" and trust Did make me feel better. More crankiness, slowly oozing away. Then I respond to Angie and Katie who both sent more HUGS, knowing I ADORE hugs. Lastly I reply to Barbara who said "Feel better lady joy!" and head over to Subway to get a sandwich and Peanutbutter cookies for lunch. I smile and give every Subway worker a Little Debbie Valentine Brownie and wish them a wonderful day. I send out a tweet about what I had just done. I smile. I noticed more crankiness oozing away, “nice feeling” I think to myself. I’m walking through the parking lot, pull 2 cakes out for my team and then proceed to give the others away. "I love spreading joy", I happily think to myself. "Does a heart good!"

I get into my car and check ubertwitter to send out a few more thank you’s and WHO do I see?Why, it’s Little Debbie herself - Saying:

At this point, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning! “OH my gosh! Is this real or is this a bot?” I’m giggling out loud to myself. So I ask and they reply that sure enough, they are the real deal! Wow! As real as rain! Some how, knowing this and the fact that the person I had been praying for much of that morning had said that the day had started out difficult, but was getting better, simply just made my day. Those few simple, yet extremely important things helped to get rid of the crankiness.

Next to giving out Reese Cups, giving out Little Debbie Cakes is one of my favorite things to do. They are delicious and very affordable, as well as always bring a smile! I do love unwrapping a smile!

The moral? Am I always spreading joy? No, just ask my kids or husband or for that matter my little sister, Angie. Can there be an easy fix to it? It’s not always easy, but I’m telling you – from experience, I know that if you’ll FORCE yourself to focus on someone else for awhile, the crankiness will leave you. It has no choice but to run for the hills! There will be no room in your heart for the crankies. The joy you get from giving, even something small, will NOT leave room for the crankiness in your heart.

Don’t believe me? Next time you are cranky, spend approximately $3.00 on a couple boxes of Little Debbie Cakes and just give them out to random people with one of your amazing smiles. Then, after you have given them all away, come over here and describe the joy that has just flooded your heart and pushed out the crankiness.

I dare you!
I can't wait to hear from you on what you do to get rid of the CRANKIES!

Sending {{HUGS}} of gret JOY!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Megan and Gastroparesis

It's 2010 and many are asking about Megan and how she is doing. Here are the entries from her journey in 2009. Again, my heart is amazed at how many people stepped up, encouaged, prayed and still to this day, ask me - how is Megan. Lets journey back to November 2009. Shall we? Love having you walk and talk with me. It inspires me.

It's November now. Meg's doing well. Her stomach is working again, she is eating and digesting. It (her stomach) had stopped working completely. No liquids, no solids - nothing would digest, everything would come back. As bad as that was, as hard as that was, the worst part was that 2 doctors didn't believe us. 2 doctors said, you are doing this to yourself. Imagine, one Doctor, that has known her for her entire life, telling her that "if you'll simply NOT throw up, your food will digest" or this is in your head...etc. etc. etc. Never had we had a problem with our pedatrician beliving us, until this. Even though we told her doctor that she "held" her food in - YES - HELD in so she would not throw it up, for SEVEN hours on the fourth of July, sadly encough, he still didn't believe us. I could see it in his eyes. I could see it all over his face. He thinks she has been purging all these months. She has not. I am with her each time it happens.

Anyway - back to November. She has been on medicine that cause her stomach to work, but at such a high price. The pain it brings is horrid. I see it all over her. Everytime I force her to take the meds, she has to endure pain so that her stomach will work. I know there are so many parents who are going through so much worse with their children. I simply can't imagine some of the grief many parents go through day in and day out. My heart goes out to you as you hold on to your precious child. As you journey through each day, one day at a time. As your heart is fearful of tomorrow.

I get a letter from a friend. One who is supporting Spreading Joy but feels like he needs to send an extra blessing along with the letter. It says not to think, just go with the blessing. I don't have to think...I know what to do. I want my princess to have peace in her stomach. I want her to smile again and be your normal, typical teenage girl. I want her to have some good times of pure joy.

I don't have Meg with me. It's Saturday night. I gaze at the letter. "All who touch it will receive a blessing. " I want Meg to have it. She needs to have this. She needs to smile, laugh and have a good time. I contact Richard Mayhan, a fellow prayer warrior and friend who God has used to help round up prayer warriors on Meg's behalf many times. He knows that on Sunday afternoon, when we go to the altar and pray with Meg, we are praying for special healing and pure joy for her. I take the letter to church on Sunday. I'm not at my own church because of a death in the family. Many family members are there and I get separated from Steve and Meg. I'm reading in my Bible in Matthew where the faith of the friends heal the sick. I message that verse to Richard and he says that he is there, reading that as well and so is another person. To stay there, pray there - keep my faith right there. That so far 10 people have agreed to pray with us when we go to the altar. He is tweeting and asking who will pray. I continue to pray that I would have enough faith. That I wouldn't wouldn't be the reason Meg misses out on a blessing of healing. There's 17 that have agreed to pray. All I have to do is say when we are going to the altar and people all across the United States will pray at the exact same time. I sit in my pew in awe at the amazing friends I have, at the mighty God I serve. Meg has struggled so much this year. Her heart has hurt as badly as her stomach because we couldn't get the doctors to believe us. I hear back, 26 people are going to pray. The service is almost ending. My heart is racing as I hear 35 people are going to join us in prayer. I give the word, we go to the altar - for a while we - Steve, Meg and myself are the only one's praying. WE don't wait for the Pastor to invite us, no..we go. Both Steve and I pray for our Princess. Meg holds the letter. We ask for healing for her stomach as well as her heart. We want her to be a happy normal teenager again. We get done, head back to our seats. I get the word that including Steve and myself 47 total people prayed at the same time for Megan. Amazing love for a little girl that they have not even met.

Now the faith begins. We leave, go to lunch. I do not give the meds. She hates them. They hurt her so badly. She eats and the food stays. A week passes, two weeks passes. Still, food staying. No meds, no tears, no "but Mom", no I need pain medicine. None of it. I watch and laugh out loud - wow!! She is eating me out of house and home. I'm giggling and thinking goodness....a few months ago I was forcing her to have milkshakes every day. She says if she never has another milshake, it will be too soon. 4 weeks passes. She is doing well. Eating. Gaining weight. While she doesn't like it, I'm loving it. Christmas Even rolls around. The excitement of her brother being home, the festivities, the day itself. It gets to her and she is sick on her stomach. Christmas day, she is sick for several hours. Am I swayed - no.

It's now the END of January and Megan is doing well. (It's actually the beginning of April now, and she is STILL doing well!) No medicine and yet still digesting. The Doctor had told us this was always going to be an issue. That she would always have a problem. And - maybe she will, who knows....but right now, as far as I believe, her stomach is working, on its own - thanks to My Lord.

Oh, the wonderful friend that sent the blessing. He was part of the 47 that were praying for Meg, withOUT knowing that I was using the blessing he sent. I had the honor of telling him sometime later that he was more instrumental than even he knew. That was a great honor and joy.

If you have Gastroparesis, we understand. We believe you. We know how hard you struggle. Our prayers are with you. We will do all we can to help you walk down this path, and to have joy for your journey. WE will walk with you.

I love prayer warriors. I love the faith of my friends. I love how God gives us the desires of our heart. What is it that you need? What are you praying for? We prayed all year long for Megan. Don't give up. Gather your friends and pray - but don't give up. Keep going before the Lord, don't give up. Keep asking, don't give up. Keep gathering with your friends and praying - but what ever you do...don't give up...keep praying.

What do you need?

Thank you for your friendship, love and care for my princess! I'm blessed to have you in my life!

If you're alone, I'll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I'll be your shoulder. If you want a hug, I'll be your pillow. If you need to be happy, I'll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I'll just be me. ~Author Unknown

This Blog article and other information about Spreading Joy Corporation - an IRS Approved NON Profit Organization can be found at See you there!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Enter to Worship - Exit to Serve

Enter to Worship Exit to Serve By Ronald K. Gray
"We cannot have the attitude to simply ask God's blessings in our life. That is the tendency of the church today. We should desire to actively participate in a relationship with Him."

  • What is the book about? While the book’s title puts it in the praise and worship section in book stores, the book is more about the total life of the believer. Nehemiah10:39 is the core scripture for the book’s teachings. Nehemiah had gone to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and also rebuilt the temple, restoring worship to the people. Worship was centered around sacrifice. I use the different groups pictured in Nehemiah to talk about fundamental areas of the believers life. The scripture says they would not forsake the temple of God. We have forsaken the house of God today. We are so busy with our agendas, we have left the true reason for worship. God is looking for something real from our lives, not just our words.

  • Why Enter to Worship and Exit to Serve? The life of the believer comes from our life in God. We bring to Him a sacrifice of our monies, our gifts, our fruit and lay it at His feet. The premise for most Christians today is what can God do for them instead of how can I worship God with all that is within me. The scriptures teach us that everyone has something to offer. When we worship in the fullness of our lives, God then fills us to be able to affect our world. We then exit to serve God through proclaiming His Word, serving those around us and exalting His name in all the earth. Everything we do in church is to help us fulfill God’s calling on our lives in the world.

  • Why do you talk about money? The very first thing that was brought into the temple was an offering of grain or corn. This is symbolic of money. I go to Kenya every year and they trade their corn for other items such as meat, oil, etc. God is interested in our money. He speaks of money more than He does either prayer or heaven. I think there has been a lot of negative about money and there has been a lot of error through the years. I hope that what I teach in the book is balanced. Many pastors have said this teaching has helped their churches understand the truth about tithes, first fruits and seed offerings.

  • What do you think is the most important chapter of the book? In over 35 years of full time ministry, I have never heard anyone else teach about porters. In Nehemiah 10:39 it lists porters between priest and singers. I thought that was very interesting and researched porters. It is basically a janitor. So between priests and porters are janitors. Servants that do the basics. People who do ordinary things to keep ministries going. God wants servants. That is a concept that is lost in the big time world of church ministries today. Jesus came to serve. I believe that we can make a difference in our community, our neighborhoods, and our world if we are willing to lay our lives down to serve God.

  • What do you hope to accomplish with your book? I hope that ordinary believers will recognize they have something to offer. We can bring our monies and touch the nations. We can bring our gifts and see the power of God touch people and their needs. We can offer our fruit and not wait for the pastors or elders, but be instruments to bring life to those around us who are seeking a relevant relationship with Jesus. The five fold ministries of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher were never supposed to do everything in the church. The church is supposed to be equipped for ministry. Everyone should be able to proclaim the message and everyone should have praise for the God we serve. That should not happen just on Sunday mornings between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. We should be able to give God praise in our homes and throughout the week. I truly believe this can be the church’s finest hour.

  • Are there other available resources connected with this book? Yes, I taught my book at a conference and had it professionally recorded on video and audio. These sessions are great for small groups and Bible studies. There is a Study Guide to help the leader go through the sessions. The book and the video provide different insights that will help people to grow into maturity.

Please leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of this book!

Many Thanks to Ronald Gray for the copy of his book.

Letters To God - Soundtrack

Letters To God is a major motion picture that will be in theaters on April 9th 2010.

The movie Letters To God is based on a true story about Tyler (an 8 year old boy) and his fight with cancer. The letters are his way of praying and talking to the Lord about things that are important to him.

"These letters didn't only help Tyler deal with facing cancer but also worked to change the faith of those closest to him."

I had the privilege to preview the soundtrack for this movie. I've been listening, this week, to the 2 cds with over 20 songs. Talented artists, such as Addison Road, Matthew West, Jeremy Camp, Santus Real and many others have contributed amazing songs to this motion picture.

The instrumental music is awesome! Included are several original scores by composer Colin O'Malley.

This 2 disc set is sure to encourage, inspire and remind you of hope as you listen to the music.

Sampling of the music:

Dear Mr. God - by Warren Brothers This link has some details about the making of the movie, as well as pieces of the song Dear Mr. God. Check it out!

You are Everything - by Matthew West

You can follow them on twitter @letters_to_God They have some links & contest info in their stream.

Check out the preview to the Letters to God movie airing April 9th, 2010. Maybe a family outing is instore for you?

Let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy!

HUGE Thanks @letters_to_God for the complimentary copy of the soundtrack!

Leave a comment, and I'll put you in a drawing for my copy of the soundtrack!
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