Keep on shining…no matter what



It’s in the way the moon shines boldly out into the ink black of night, and the way the sun gives us its brilliant shine amidst the clouds, from a clear sapphire sky.

Shining…what does it mean to shine?

Last evening, an event called “Shine” happened at many churches.  This is an extra special party that crowns people as kings and queens simply by being born, being humans that have lived life with challenges that would overwhelm most of us.

It is entirely possible that I’m  not being “politically correct” by calling them “special needs people,” but I just figured that if I lived life with this kind of unique person, I’ll just say what I feel!  How about I just call them some of the words that come to mind…

Special…Incredible..Resilient…Courageous…Filled with Joy….Compassionate….Loving….Teachers….Friends.

These events are near and dear to my heart.  I’m so grateful that 3 years ago this month, I was able to take my 16 year old daughter to “Shine” with her date, Jacob, who was then 17 at the time.

I had broken my fibula earlier that week, so I was on crutches…then in a wheelchair.  I have blogged before on what a perspective adjustment this was for me.

We all went up the red carpet, and I was more than slightly mortified, when those welcoming us so graciously were trying to find somebody to take care of me.  Yes people, the caregiver, became the cared for.

I wondered why this was so hard to take?  I find it ten times easier to care for somebody else, then to let myself be cared for.  Why?… well..because when you do the caring, then you are the one who is in control…however..when you are down and broken, and in desperate need of care…it is humbling to allow the care to flow over you…to accept it even is challenging…

I learned so much that night at “Flatirons Community Church” in Lafayette at “Shine.”We all have the ability to shine, to go forth, and give all of ourselves, to let pride fall away, to live in the joy of the present….why on earth would we hide this?

The resilience of human beings to pick themselves up, and to boldly flourish in spite of unspeakable odds, is what causes me to say..”we are without excuse.”  If my daughter gave what she had every day, and I  so believe that she did…than that is enough…it has to be.

In our broken ways, broken bones and hearts, if we dare to risk the break again and again to be whole…this is courage.

This is what it means to truly live.  To dive in and risk being hurt, to be vulnerable, and possibly get your heart trampled, and squished, until you feel like there is no more of you….and then…

Out of the blue, a small brown box appears in your mailbox, and with it, the book you had ordered the week before.  The small box was unexpected by me, but the book was not.  However the fact that these two items arrived together is not lost on this girl.

I carefully opened the box, and in it was a another decorative box that contained a lovely bottle of perfume.  The name on the bottle reads, ” Bianca.”  The tears dripped down my face, and made my nose run too.  Who had done this?  Who had known that I needed to see her name on that precious bottle, that I needed to uncork the contents, and let the breathtaking scent drift into my lungs.

It was instantaneos.  It was wholly divine.  The card inside the box contained this description of the  perfume.  “It smells like sunshine, grass and the wild outdoors.”(Thank you Tam for your thoughtfulness, and your love..)

I was so touched by this act of generosity from my friend.  The book I opened up next was ,”The Broken Way,” by Ann Voskamp.  This is not a coincidence.  Sometimes the best fragrances come forth from those with breaking or broken hearts.  The scent of sorrow, mixed with joy is an intoxicating mix, and stirs the senses, and heightens the awareness that a  broken and a sweet smelling life pretty much needs to go hand in hand.  At least this is what I have come to realize.

Chloe and Bianca at Shine 2015

So ……shining wherever we are not only seems to bring joy to others, it  also completes us…it brings us happiness too.  It really is a win win.

I am so thankful for “Night to Shine,” for all of the volunteers, churches, and individuals that donate their time, energy, and funds for such a night as Shine.  From a Mother who is so grateful that her daughter got to experience this with her….such a treasure, and I look back and smile, and have the sweetest scent of pure fragrance wafting about me.  Sometimes the memories are all we have left, and the photos that document that these occurrences indeed do happen, make me realize that I wasn’t just dreaming…all of it was real.

Reality can be a challenging entity.  Things come at you when you least expect it.  One beagle gets sick, while the other beagle finds her way into a 8 pack  bag of hamburger buns…and yes…when I located the evidence..she had left part of the plastic bag…”Tillie!!!!..” I have to laugh, because I’m astounded at her audacity.  She gives me a look from the wooden kitchen floor, as her belly sags onto it, like,

“what??”…. “you mean all of those buns were not for me?”

What’s a person to do ?  I put her outside for a great long while, hoping I did not find her blown up somewhere in the back yard…seriously..that dog would eat and eat..until she blew!  I love her..yet I do want to strangle her…don’t judge…

Mario..on the other hand..the beagle afflicted with cancer, has had a good week.  He is softer, slower, gets winded quicker, but when I open the fridge to find “treats”…he somehow gathers up his strength, and meets me there.  Single minded..Food….gimmie…gimmie…

They make me smile…they shine…they comfort…they quiet my soul…and that is a very good thing…

We all require the quiet…the respite after the storm subsides.  The regrouping of our senses…even though they seem to get put back together in a curiously different manner.  We are not the same.

Loving fully, and boldly changes us…we cannot go back to what was…we can only leap forward into the abyss of the terrific unknown.  Where will we land…immaterial.  Just jump…close your eyes..don’t be scared…wait…we all get scared..but do it anyways.

Gather in…gather close…it happens sooner or later…the news..the horror…the big change.

Often there is no warning, but sometimes you prepare your whole life just to brace yourself for “the news”  when it comes… can’t accept it…Life is an unpredictable journey…and yet still..we stay in the drivers’ seat…foolish humans…



And then…there were shoes…and oh but I do love leopard prints!  I am digressing, but yes I am addicted.  The more crazy and uncomfortable, and adorable they look..the more I want them!.. what is wrong with me?…I am sorry..but really..not.

They bring me joy…it’s true…they are works of art, and I appreciate that…I love deals…so if I can find a cute pair that’s affordable…done…and ..done.

So…get your “shine” on…wherever you are, whatever you do…there is something about you that is extraordinary, revolutionary.  Do not deprive the world of you…your extremes…yourself..your  beauty…You were created to “shine as the the stars in the heavens,” and when you do…


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