how to be sunshine for your children (and feature posts from this week’s link-up)

it rained on tuesday.

rain is good for growing things, like cucumbers and tomatoes and patience. the boys splashed in the puddles and kasher insisted on sitting plunk in the middle of one.

we were cold and wet and we stomped mud across the floor and changed into soft clothes and drank hot chocolate out of pink plastic cups. there were movies and wigs and our nanny brought her keyboard and songs filled the house.

but then it rained on wednesday too, and when we woke up, there was no power, and the lights went off inside me too. i stood in the kitchen staring at a living room full of boys with pent-up aggression and nowhere to go and the television like an angry blank face.

so we tried the library. but the boys stripped down to their underwear and ran around yelling and hitting each other.

then we took them swimming and finally, to the gym where they ran around with balls the size of a planet and they fell asleep in the van on the way home. and while i was driving, a bird flew into the windshield and all that was left were its feathers swishing back and forth in the wipers. and i cried while the nanny laughed and the boys slept and i yelled, “what a horrible day!”

but for them, for those boys asleep in the back seat with tuna-fish sandwich smeared on their cheeks, it had been a good day. and that was what mattered.

sometimes you need to be the sunshine, when there is none.

and sometimes that means just sitting and holding your children, or running around with them in a gym full of balls, or swimming and smelling their skin, while it rains outside.

that night, when i tucked joey in, he turned to me and asked, “why does God love us?”

i thought about the glass of wine waiting upstairs but then turned and saw the masterpiece he was.

“think about the picture you drew today,” i said. “think about how proud you were when you finished it.”

he nodded.

“we are God’s pictures,” i said.

he sighed and lay back on his pillow.

“God has a lot of pictures,” he said, and i pictured a cosmic refrigerator with all of our artwork taped to it.

“he sure does,” i said.

we are God’s creation, on display. and oh, how our colors light up a dark and powerless world.


(what about you? do you like the rain? our nanny does… i don’t. it makes me feel restless and weak. how do you survive days without power?)

there were so many good posts this week, it was hard for us to decide! here are a few that shone:

when a homeless man chases you in china

she learned that from me


when life reads differently than i’d write it

the enemy

i’d rather

vital ingredients

*linking today with The Gypsy Mama, whose word is “opportunity.”*









39 Comments

  1. “sometimes you need to be the sunshine, when there is none.” Love that. Beautiful words, once again. My heart feels warm every time I read what you’ve written. Thank you.

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  2. The idea of a cosmic refrigerator with all our artwork taped on it!! Enjoyed that.

    Some color inside the lines, and some don’t, but we’re all God’s kids. :)

    Beautiful sunbeams, Emily.

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  3. Ah, this post… wow. I felt all my own rainy days and relived them in your words. I’m going to use this idea of God and the pictures to help my kids understand, too.

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  4. I think rain gets especially tiresome when you know winter is over and it’s supposed to be the season for sunshine!

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  5. I can remember dreading those rainy days Em. You often just propel me back decades to those days of little ones and finding it hard to just get through the day. You are doing such a great job – you make my spirit soar when I read your words. Those little ones are storing up all that love and goodness. They really are.
    P.S. Thank you for mentioning me. I am so very honored.

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    • your post more than earned the mention, friend. xo

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  6. There is always sunshine in our hearts when we allow His Grace to flow over and through us. I need to remember that, because there are days when I just want to be “Mrs. Grumpy Pants.” BTW, we will be HAPPY to take any of the rain you don’t want!! Things are pretty crispy here. Hoping your day is flooded with joy and love, dear Emily. :)

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    • i will package some up and send it your way, friend :)

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  7. This was so beautifully written. I loved the imagery of us as God’s pictures. You are such a wonderful Mom!
    I have to admit, I secretly like the rain because it means I don’t get to feel guilty about cosying up in the house with a pile of books :) I’m so tragic :)

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  8. I can’t be that sunshine without the Son in my heart. That sounds cheeky or dorky, but it’s truth. You were sunshine to those boys teaching them to make lemonade out of lemons. There I go again…

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    • sometimes the dorkiest things are the purest. like my husband :P he’s a nerd and he’s so purely wonderful. love you friend.

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  9. This just makes me ache. I remember rainy days and no power. And I remember bedtime questions. Your answer is magnificent. one that I will remember and undoubtedly use with my grandkids at some point. Thanks for all of it.

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    • you have such a tender heart diana. thank you for loving on me.

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  10. I don’t mind a rainy day with a good book or movie, but not without power and not two days in a row. I love the lines here

    “think about the picture you drew today,” i said. “think about how proud you were when you finished it.”

    he nodded.

    “we are God’s pictures,” i said.

    I could go to sleep with that in my head every night and never tire of hearing it.

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    • thank you sweet happy girl. it was all God, giving me those words. love to you.

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  11. ONE rainy day i can stand. a string of them makes me anxious. and i HATE the power out. but the boys automatically pull out a board game and we play. and then sleep.

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    • i can’t wait till my boys are old enough to play board games. well, i can… but i look forward to that day. while savoring this one.

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  12. What a glorious reminder. Sometime we are the sunshine. I get gloomy on rainy days and the funny thing is it makes me mad because I actually like the seasons. Why do I get gloomy and grumpy then? I guess it’s just biological. Still makes me mad and it goes back around. Bleck! Next time we’re breaking out the hot chocolate and maybe skates in the basement.

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    • skates in the basement! love it jessie. perfect. and i know… i get grumpy in rain too.

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  13. “think about the picture you drew today, think about how proud you were when you finished it. we are God’s pictures.”

    Can I just, like, quote everything you say? cuz I’d probably make you famous. You are so full of wisdom.
    xoxo

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    • oh jess you always make me feel good about myself :) thank you for loving on me. xo

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  14. em, nearly each time i drop by i’m thanking God for the giant supply of wisdom and grace He offers through you.

    ‘we are God’s creation, on display. and oh, how our colors light up a dark and powerless world.’

    love.

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    • i beg God for wisdom every day, friend. and i thank him for you in my life. bless you.

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  15. I think rain depends on the season of life we are in…small children all underfoot for days…rain is hard…sitting alone listening to the rain wash over the earth…peaceful…don’t lose heart dear friend…you are in a very pressing season…may you feel the Son shining brightly upon you heart….xoxoxo

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    • thank you sweet ro. you are such an encouragement to me, always. e.

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  16. “We are God’s pictures.” Delighted.

    Thanks for stopping by my site, Emily. “Huffing and puffing and blowing the house down” :) makes me grin. Yes, and yet, yes, they are so little, so tiny and precious.

    Hugging mine tonight,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

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  17. Thank you for the mention!
    I adore the rain, LOVE it. There is something about the way the earth smells and the lighting of it all. It makes me happy, that grey sky smiling at me… ;)

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    • Oh and I must tell you how this post encourages me…to find the masterpiece they are and leave the wine or favorite book or writing. Good stuff:).

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  18. Beautiful post. God does have a lot of pictures. I laughed out loud of the picture of your boys with the underwear on their heads. My boys are older – but yes they have done exactly that.

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  19. Emily, you are brilliant sunshine, and just plain brilliant. I love the analogies, like growing patience as well as cucumbers, and the light going off inside you along with the electricity, and especially all of us being God’s pictures. Thank you for lighting up our world.

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    • oh carol… thank you friend. you’re so good to me.

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