Last night my daughter and I had the honor to attend and help out at the "Night to Shine" event established by the Tim Tebow foundation. It is a prom type event complete with limo, red carpet walk, some pampering, photography, and lots of dancing and karaoke for some awesome guests who happen to have various disabilities, illness, or special needs. To see the big smiles as each were given moments in spot light and the opportunity to embraced, loved, and, respected for the amazing people that each of them are, it was hard to hold back happy tears throughout the night. I wound up spending a lot of time listening to the story of a mother of a 16 year old girl with the sweetest smile and fun personality who had cerebral palsy and years of battling brain cancer. The mother herself was gearing up for surgeries 7-9 in the next few weeks for a genetic bone deformity while her daughter had undergone 15 of her own surgeries to that point. As she shared her story and lots of pictures there were shared hugs, tears, and laughter as we turned focus back to her daughter who with great rhythm showed me the right timing on the wobble while we all got down on the dance floor. If you ever get an opportunity to attend this event or, to invest just a little time in fundraisers and events for those who battle disease, or any of life's hardships, I highly recommend it. In the end you will always get back more than what you can give. You will see rays of hope, see the sun shining through others, and come away appreciating all of your blessings so much more.
All of those smiles were still on my mind as I excitedly drove to watch the sun rise over the ocean on this freezing cold morning. I do not have a lot to give, I certainly don't have the resources to give financially, or even a whole lot of time or energy, but, giving the little of what I do have has made all the difference. We are all loved children of God. And if you take the time to lean in and look closely enough you will see the light of God pouring out through everyone. I see it in the faces of the individuals at the mental rehabilitation center where I sometimes get the opportunity to fill teaching chair yoga and meditation. I see it in people who are serving in all types of ways and those being served. Take the time to listen. Dare to hug a stranger. And always, always smile.