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Little Bit of Sunshine

What Is the Value of Time?

I don’t have enough time in my day to do that. Where can I find the time to squeeze in practice? How do you expect me to get all this done in this little amount of time? Time…time….time or the lack of time sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out.

Time plays a very important part in all of our lives. It can control where you go, what you can do, or who you can visit. I do think that our lack of understanding time is actually the biggest downfall of our world today. No one seems to place importance on the value of time, just on how much they can squeeze into a certain time period. When you go to your family, friends, or neighbors, and ask them what does time mean to you or how do you place a value on time; you’ll get a lot of different answers but at the root of all those answers is the most basic “ how I can fit the most things into a certain period of time”.

But if you were to ask children or even adults after their parents have passed away, what do you wish you had from someone: a surprising answer is just this simple: their time.

We can rush through life trying to squeeze in as much as we can, putting quantity over quality. But the one thing we can never get back is the opportunity to make memories with those that we love and care about. So instead of worrying about how much stuff you can fit into your day or I could do this next week but let me do it today so I can earn more money; take a deep breath and slow down and look at your family around you.

Have you missed a baseball game? What about a volleyball game or a football game? Have you missed a Boy Scout or Girl Scout meeting? Or missed the opening night of your child’s play? When your son or daughter asks you to play with them or to read them a story, did you reply with not right now or that you didn’t have enough time? Did you reschedule that date night with your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend? Did you cancel the family dinner with your parents or grandparents or other family members?

Time can pass you by in an instant and you won’t even realize that you’ve missed out on great memories. So this is my challenge for you in 2018, and I truly hope that each of you will find the time to do this: I challenge each one of you, including myself, to slow down and take those fleeting moments of time and turn them into amazing memories. Take 5 minutes to call a family member or friend and tell them you love them and are thinking of them, your tv show or movie can wait. Hug your child and read them that bed time story, deadlines can wait 10 minutes. Don’t miss out on a moment that could be gone in an instant. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life upset with yourself for missing the chance to tell somebody that you love them or that you cared for them or that you were there for them. Seize every moment and treat it as if it was your last. Even if it’s only five minutes, it could end up changing someone’s entire world or even possibly saving their life. So put down the book, turn off the TV, or close your laptop; and take back those moments of time before they slip through your fingers forever. Let yourself bring a little bit of sunshine into someone’s dark world.

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Wanderlust

2018 can be the year of new opportunities. Take the chance and courage to learn something new or go somewhere you’ve never been. And these opportunistically don’t have to be expensive things.

Take a map and pick somewhere right in your state that you’ve never been. Most places will offer things to do or see for free. If you don’t have the gas money to travel, then play tourist in your own town. Look at the places you drive by with an open mind and different eye. You never know what you’ll find.

2017 in Reflection

2017 is almost over and most people spend the last couple days to reflect upon the last year and also to make a list of resolutions for 2018. I just want to thank all of my amazing followers this year. You’ve all inspired me to keep this blog going and to find amazing stories, people and organizations to share with you. You all have shined as a little bit of sunshine in your corner as you share this page and the articles I’ve shared with you. If anyone has any stories, people or organizations that they would like to see on this page, please email me. I love hearing your suggestions. 2017 has been a great year no matter what bad news you’ve seen on the news. Always look for the little bit of sunshine in the dark news world. Here are a couple examples of stories that I haven’t featured:

Last January; the Victoria Islamic Center, a mosque in Texas, burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances. Here’s the good news: Churches and synagogues throughout the area offered space, money, and helping hands—raising more than a million dollars for the mosque’s rebuilding. They broke ground in May and by September the mosque was distributing emergency supplies to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Students at Boca Raton Community High School in Florida wanted to make sure that no one has to eat lunch alone or feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to. They founded We Dine Together, a group where members spend their lunch period with a different person every day. The simple act of sitting down next to someone eating lunch by themselves and starting up a conversation benefits everyone. “The club has introduced me to so many different people that I didn’t know before,” We Dine Together member Nathaniel Hopwood shared, “I’ve definitely gained so much doing this — it’s cool to have such a diverse group coming together to share lunch and stories about their lives.”

Sarah Cummins called off her wedding and couldn’t refund the $30,000 she had put into planning it. Instead of letting the hall rental, decorations, and food go to waste, she invited a local homeless shelter to enjoy the spread instead of her wedding guests. Cummins told a newspaper that she wanted to make the best of a difficult situation. “I will at least have some kind of happy memory to pull from,” she said. “I wanted to make sure it would be the perfect wedding.”

Good job America! Keep shining bright and hopefully together, our little bits of sunshine will push out the darkness and change our world. Good luck with the remaining 3 days of 2017 and may 2018 change your life.

The White Envelope

Here’s a great story that’s been going around social media and I think embodies the spirit of Christmas giving:

I have to share….. THIS …just this.

The “WHITE ENVELOPE” is brilliant! It is a beautiful tradition. Imagine if we all adopted it?

Christmas Story:

For the Man Who Hated Christmas

By Nancy W. Gavin

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids—all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike’s smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children—ignoring their new toys—would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Operation Freekce

Little Bit of Sunshine is all about bringing sunshine to the dark corners of the world around us and this wonderful couple decided to do just that in their town. Jeffrey and Amber Barker looked around their town and their neighbors and saw a need. They saw a need to help their neighbors care for their families and children. Operation Freekce has changed the way Oxford, Pennsylvania treats their neighbors. The idea started with the idea of people getting together and donating items they don’t need to others who have a need for them. It started out in the Oxford Presbyterian Church with one small swap meet and has grown to about 4 meets a year. They offer their help to families of all kinds from parents struggling to take care of their children while working to grandparents taking care of their grandparents to the elderly; they help everyone who needs it. Operation Freekce’s main objective is to bring people together to ease the struggle to meet their children’s or family’s basic needs by helping them get what they need for free. One of their main goals is to help those people without feelings getting involved and hurt.

Amber Barker was kind enough to share one of her favorite stories that sticks out in her mind. Their organization helped out a single mother with 4 children to find sponsors for Christmas including a tree, decorations and even a sofa. Her husband had been incarcerated and the family had to start over with nothing. They still keep in touch and that small show of generosity helped the mother to concentrate on finding a job and providing for her family.

If anyone would be interested in donating any items or helping out or if you need help, you can get a hold of Amber through Facebook at Operation Freekce or her personal Facebook page or even on her cell phone 1-610-470-5965. She keeps everything very private for the sponsors and the people they help. This amazing organization is certainly doing their part to spread a little bit of sunshine in their dark corner of the world.

Christmas Presence

Christmas time is upon us, the bright twinkling of the lights and the sounds of jingle bells fill the air. The fell of magic echoes on the faces of children and the feeling of goodwill hopefully flows through each one of us. But at times it can be hard to feel the true meaning of Christmas. The hustle and bustle of the stores throwing advertising for the newest and greatest thing in your face can make you feel like you have to buy that toy or item or you’ll be a failure this year. But why does it have to be that way? Why can’t we change the way that we act around Christmas?

Instead of buying the biggest and most expensive presents for each other, why not try this? This should our new Christmas list.

1)      Instead of Buy Presents, try Be Present

2)      Instead of Wrap Gifts, try Wrap someone in a hug

3)      Instead of Send Gifts, try Send Peace and love

4)      Instead of Shop for Food, try Donate food

5)      Instead of Make Cookies, try Make love

6)      Instead of Hang the lights, try Be the light

Who knows how our Christmas season might turn out if instead of buying items, we try giving of ourselves to our friends and family. We could end up not only brightening up someone’s holiday but we could end up brightening up our holiday and even changing someone’s life.

Day 4: Have an early night

Day Four: Have an early night

Now this challenge might be a little difficult for me. I enjoy staying up after my crazy children go to bed. I like to read and soak up the silence. But since this is part of the challenge, I’m going to put my book down and head to bed early tonight.

Studies have shown that getting the right amount of sleep can improve your heath and mood. How many of you wake up grouchy and aren’t a morning person? My hand is raised, I’m right there with all of you. But I have some suggestions for you to face this challenge heads on and win. First suggestion is to have a nice cup of hot tea or hot chocolate. That always helps me relax and when you’re relaxed; then you can fall asleep easier. The 2nd suggestion is to place your phone/tablet upside down so the screen lighting up won’t wake you up. Or better yet, leave it down stairs or in your living room away from the temptation to scroll through Facebook. Another suggestion is to close your eyes and slowly count sheep. Or imagine different parts of your body falling asleep, starting with your feet. That last one works for me when I can’t fall asleep.

When you go to be early instead of staying up late, you’ll wake up refreshed and it can change your whole mood. You could wake up happy and ready to face the day’s challenges. And when you’re in a happier mood, you can affect other people’s moods and could be the little bit of sunlight in someone’s gloomy day. Give it a try, it can’t hurt anything.

Day 3: Watch A Performance


Day Three: Watch A Performance

This is another fun Happiness Challenge. A performance doesn’t have to be an expensive show that you go see. There are a lot of different performances: a poetry or book reading, a school play or musical, even have your child or grandchild perform a little skit for you. Growing up, my sisters and I would love putting together little plays or musicals and performing them for our parents. Looking back, some of those performances where hilarious that we did them; but they always made us and our parents happy. We didn’t have to spend a lot of money or travel somewhere to watch a performance.

Do a quick search online or in your local newspaper. A lot of churches will have Christmas pageants going on right now. Your child’s school will probably have winter performances or orchestra and choir performances. Look at your local bookstore, some of them offer book readings. Watching a performance is a great way to sit back, relax and let the stress of your day go away. And when your stress goes away, small bits of happiness will slowly creep into your mood.

Music has been shown to decease stress and lighten your mood. And you try to sit there and not smile when little kids run around performing for you. And if none of those options are available for you, you can go online and watch videos of performances. There are all kind of ways to enjoy them. So go ahead, get out of your comfort zone and try to let a performance lead a little bit of sunshine into a corner of the dark world around you.

Happiness Challenge Day 2

Day 2: Make Some Art

This is a fun challenge and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Art can be almost anything. Do you like to doodle? Swirl away. Can you paint? Do a quick painting of anything. Sewing, pottery making, cross stitching and so much more can help your creative ideas expand. And when you’re having fun and creating something, something might just happen to your mood. Art can turn that frown upside down, as much as a cliché that saying is.

If you’re like me, you’re horrible at drawing. But I love doodling anyway. And nothing makes me happier when drawing with my youngest. I can draw something that doesn’t resemble anything but he’ll get all excited and thank me for making him a dog. It’s the simple things in life that can make a little bit of sunshine grow out of darkness. And small doodles can even bring a smile to other people’s faces. Try it and find out. Draw little smile faces on paper in different places, people can’t help but smile when they see them J J J

So here’s my challenge today for all my faithful followers. Let your mind wander and doodle. Even if it’s just on small scrap piece of paper while you’re working or if you want to pull out a coloring book and crayons; just the act of drawing will make your day a little bit happier. And if you’re a little bit happier, then you’re little bit of sunshine could push out a little bit of darkness. And if people around you start drawing, then it’ll make your corner a whole light brighter

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