PictureNothing but Clear Skies ahead!
I wish I could take credit for this story because it’s just that good! Writers slave and wrangle for hours, days, months to come up with just the right words to impress upon our readers. So when someone just lays out some brilliance before us without even trying, our hearts break a little. But that’s exactly what happened today when my 9-year old son served me an Ace of a story.


There are days when raising children is a total beat-down; you’re left wondering if anything you say or the examples you set are even cracking the surface of their stubborn heads. You wonder if they are going to be Grumpy Gus's their entire life, not learning a lick of goodness from you. Of course, these days are outnumbered by the good ones, but man do they feel like a dark thunderstorm that just won’t go away.

But today, we had sunshine … literally! Driving in the car this morning, taking my son to a summer camp program, we mentioned how nice it was outside. We rolled down all the windows and turned up the music on the radio. We let the wind blow through our hair and the song rev up our spirits. We were jamming! And smiling! And soaking in the rays. We felt totally carefree and wrapped up in the magic of the summer days. My son grabbed my phone and pulled up the weather app to see if there was any rain in the forecast.  Siri reported it would be sunny all day long. Then, he searched for the town where my husband is on business this week — Bloomsburg, PA — to see if it would be sunny there. Yep! Sunny skies in PA today. Then, he checked the radar in Dallas, where all the rest of our family lives. He happily announced, “Meme will be swimming in her pool for sure! It’s going to be sunny and HOT!”  By now, he was really getting a kick out of finding all the places expecting sunshine so he continued with our favorite ski slopes: Beech Mountain, NC and Breckenridge, CO both reported sunny skies! Then he went coast to coast:  New York City — sunny…. Los Angeles — sunny!  His voice elevating and speeding up, he exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, it's even going to be sunny in Cupertino, Italy!"  We broke out into hysterics. All this talk of sunshine just spilled all kinds of LIGHT into my car. The sun has that effect, doesn't it? It can just heat you up with joy and giddiness, and we were feeling it. He began taking screen shots of each city’s weather report and then snapped his head toward me and with a wild look in his eye exclaimed, “Mom, you have a write a  LIGHTbeamers story about this. You have to share all this sunshine with your people!!"

Stop me cold.

I giggled that nervous little laugh — stalling him with my reaction while I processed the moment.
My gosh — he’s paying attention. He hears me when I say “Come on, smile!! — we gotta shine a light for others”.

Right before my eyes, in the span of about 5 minutes, he
deftly crafted a killer story with a keen eye and a sense of humor, and delivered it to me on a shiny, silver platter. All I could think about is how all this talk of LIGHT is impacting him (and undoubtedly my daughter, too). Just the thought of the sun beaming its golden rays down in other parts of the world made him smile and think happy thoughts.

So there it is my people. The biggest dose of sunshine I can deliver for you, all the way from California to Italy.
Even if it's stormy in your city, hang on, there are clear skies ahead!

It's a bright sunshiny day! 
APRIL

 
 
An experience with my son recently opened my eyes -- and his -- to the realities of so many people in our community.  Last week, after being dismissed early from school, I took him with me on my regularly scheduled route for Meals on Wheels.  On a particular stop, a lady's home I've been to many times, she did not come to the door. Her front door was wide open, her purse laying visible by her back glass-sliding door. I slid the unlocked door open and peeked my head inside. I called out her name repeatedly, yelling almost, to see if I could perhaps wake her from a deep sleep. Nothing. I reached for my cell phone and called her - maybe hearing the phone would wake her, assuming she was asleep. Nothing. By now, my son began asking lots of questions. Where could she be? Is she okay? Do you think she's just sleeping and not hearing us? Mom, do you think she's.... dead?  I looked my boy in the eye. Son, it is possible. These things do happen.  That experience -- though scary -- was real. I was thankful he was with me that day to experience it.  I want my kids to know what goes on in the real world while many of us are spending our free time this Summer playing at camps, swimming at the pool, socializing at BBQ's, and vacationing at the Beach.

PictureClick & Share
Many of my friends -- me included -- are making Summer Bucket Lists full of fun activities to explore the outdoors and discover new things about our community.  Otherwise, the reality is most of our brood would lock themselves inside all day on iPods, iPads, and gadgets. But in addition to these ideas of summer fun -- I want my kids to  use their free time to shine their Big Hearts - and learn about ways they can impact their community.  An idea of a Summer Bucket List of Big Hearts began to swirl in my head. What if I set aside one day each week to give the kids an experience of a different kind?  What if,  instead of heading to the pool that day, we did something kind and generous for someone else??  What if we spent one afternoon completing fun Random Acts of Kindness? What if we took an hour the next week to deliver flowers to a resident at a nursing home. And the following week, what if we knocked on someone's door to bring them a hot meal only to discover they might need of medical help??? (For the record, we later learned the lady on our Meals on Wheels route that day was not dead, but had been whisked away earlier in a rush to the doctor by her son. She was safe and okay. But having a person who knocks on their door everyday to deliver meals can -- in many ways -- be lifesaving).

So today, the first official day of Summer Break, I'm kicking off a Family Challenge -- the Big Hearted Summer Bucket List. I'd love it if you & your kids would join me! Let's all set aside one day a week (one hour!!) to do something nice and kind and generous and giving for someone else.  I've compiled a list of ideas to get you started. Feel free to add to it -- and share your ideas with the LIGHTbeamer Community on our Facebook page.   Think of the experiences this will not only give to others -- but to your kids!

BIG HEARTED SUMMER BUCKET LIST
*A WEEKLY FAMILY CHALLENGE*


Summer is all about fun in the Sun — but while you’re at it — show off your Big Heart!

Each week, set aside one day to complete a Task that benefits someone else!
You know — shine your LIGHT sort of thing!!
Grab your kids and go show them what it’s like to be a
LIGHTbeamer.

To get you started, here’s a list of ideas — or add your own!!
Post pics and Share ideas with us on our Facebook Page
Social Share using #LIGHTbeamers #Bucketlist #BigHearts


Deliver a route for Meals on Wheels.
They always need last-minute drivers! This is a super fun one to do with your kids.
The clients on the route LOVE it when children come to drop off meals.
And who knows, you might be a lifesaver!

Buy some fresh flowers (or pick them from your backyard!) and deliver to a Nursing Home resident.
 
Ask the staff who could use a little dose of sunshine that day, then drop in to say hello and brighten their day!

Sign up to work a shift at a local soup kitchen.

You & the kids work the line, smile, and share your spirit with others.
Remind the kids to look these people in the eye!!

Create a care package for a military unit stationed in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Homemade cards, hard candy, pictures of your family, a note with a prayer written especially for them.
All kinds of ideas — google some!

Spend 1-hour doing Random Acts of Kindness.
Buy the coffee for the person behind you; pass out $5 gift cards to people at the grocery store;
Pick a person at random at gas station and buy their gas;
Stand on a street corner/red light with your kids holding a sign that simply says, “SMILE!”.
Imagine how fun this can be!!

Volunteer at the Animal Shelter.
This will be a favorite with your kids. But be sure to set strict expectations before going in, otherwise you might come home with a new puppy!!

Bake some cookies for a neighbor.
Just for no good reason other than to say “Thank You for being a great neighbor”.

Sign up to run/walk a Charity 5K together.
Not only will you expose your kids to the awesome race atmosphere, your entry fee will go to a good cause!
PictureClick & Share!

For years to come, I'm not sure my son will remember the details about how he spent his summer days by the pool or playing Xbox. But I know he will never forget the day we stopped at the lady's house on our Meals on Wheels route.  Making memories is about creating experiences of the heart. Kids have the Biggest Hearts I know! Teach them to use them in a way that will shine a LIGHT and brighten the world.

This summer is going to be so awesome! Shine on!
APRIL

Like, Comment, and Share this post with others. Let's get everyone in on this Challenge.

 
 
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A friend of mine recently shared with me a simple - yet so powerful - philosophy that has carried her through a very difficult time. She’s recently suffered through a devastating job loss which led to stressful, scary financial times; Her job search has been brutal and soul-crushing; Her Dad is suffering through a Cancer diagnosis; Her grip on control slipping. Yet, through it all, she and her husband have reminded each other to stay strong and positive with this simple phrase: “Daily Bread”.   It reminds them that what they have today is enough.   Enjoy Today — it is enough. Worry about Tomorrow tomorrow. Today, you have what you need. Today, you have enough.

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Taking a moment to take in a deep breath of Gratitude will do wonders to stop the spiraling feelings of fear and gloom. Gratitude just sets everything in your life back to Center. It forces you to focus on the positive, letting the negatives fall away into silence. It puts your mind back into a place of grace and love and LIGHT, allowing you to be more open to possibilities and opportunities you couldn’t see before because you were so cluttered with the Fear.

Remembering your Daily Bread is also a reminder to take pleasure in what’s around you, what is in the “here-and-now” rather than beat yourself up on what you don’t have, coveting what others have achieved. What you have, now, is enough. Daily Bread.

Our needs as humans are so basic, really. Air, water, bread…. love. Nowhere in this list will you find a place for money, furniture, stilettos, or fame. If we can take the time to stop and focus on our Daily Bread, the LIGHT will shine so much brighter for us all. The circle of Gratitude will grow and expand, encapsulating more and more around us, attracting more Goodness into our world. We have enough.

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Sometimes, I don’t even have the proper words to sit and give thanks for all my blessings because the abundance is so plentiful — My family, my health, my family’s health, friendships, physical abilities, food in my pantry, the roof over my head, air, water, bread, love.
So I just sit and Be. I breathe. I inhale “Thank”, and exhale “You”. It is enough.

I am enough

You are enough

What we have — today — is enough. Daily Bread.


 

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    Hi, I'm April and I'm glad you're here. 

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