Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am sending this out early in hopes that it will reach everyone that followed Sophie's story in time for Thanksgiving. I ask you to please send this to the people in your email list that prayed for her and I ask you to read it to your children that love her so!

This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. A few years ago, I had prayed to the Lord to help guide me into a direction that would be worthy of his blessings. Wow, He showed me a depth in my heart that I was very unsure about at first. But, I knew that if I was to fully have Faith in him, I had to take what was laid on my heart and do the leap of Faith. Regardless of what others would say or think because of it. I am grateful that I did just that and that my heart was truly open. For now I am finally seeing what He means by the word "Joy". I am grateful to have learned one very important key to living a joyful life. And that is... knowing I CAN'T truly be happy unless those around me are too.

I have found that God gives us the fundamentals of life but so many of us choose to not listen. But the reality is.. how can we be happy if our family, friends, neighbors or co-workers are sad and unhappy? Just like it's hard to eat a full meal when you see your neighbors starving. So my idea of a happy life is to try my best and live in such a way that my friends, family and even strangers don't suffer because of something I have said, done or didn't do. Now I am far from perfecting this, and at times I fail miserably... but I strive for this daily and teach my family to do the same.

You see Gods will for us is NOT that we perfect this ( we are all human and creatures of imperfection), perfection only leads to pride and self-righteousness. He only wants us to trust Him enough to place our lives in His hands fully and watch Him transform us into joyful people that are thankful in good times and in bad. Then, in return go out and show the world what He can do.

"What caused me to finally open my eyes and ears to Him you may ask?".....well no one other than my precious Goddaughter, Sophie Dale Sparks of course. She was a true believer! I have been told that some people had been taken by surprise at the end of her short life. They had no idea she was so close to death because she looked so healthy and happy. The only thing that showed the world she was even sick was her beautiful bald head. She made dying look easy, and I know the only reason she could do that was because Sophie allowed the Lord to consume her heart. In return she spread SUNSHINE into the lives of many people, some who hadn't seen the sun in many, many years.

I received many letters from people that I don't even know, thanking me for sharing Sophie with them. Through opening a random email sent by a friend their lives were changed. One in particular touched me in away that I could never fully describe. The letter explained how they had never met Sophie personally but felt as if they had. They shared how Sophie's story became almost an obsession and were always seeking ways to learn more about her. They would get up early and before even brushing their teeth, they checked their email for any new updates. They told how when they received the word that Sophie was now a heavenly angel, their heart sunk. Heartbroken not just over a communities loss, her parents pain, or shattered hope. But also because there would be no more updates or pictures. However, the most fascinating thing they shared with me was that it was her death that led them back to church and into the arms of our Lord. A place they had left and long avoided for years. They now woke up no longer to check for emails from me, but to talk to God! Up until that letter I myself was asking God "Why? Why take our Sophie Sunshine when she was leading so many to you in prayer? When I know she would have glorified you for the rest of her life? Did we not pray hard enough or lead a good enough life, had we done something wrong?" Well God so gently and graciously answered my question with that one of many letters that came. He didn't take her to punish us...He took her because she deserved it. She went over and beyond and earned her early promotion from this world that can be very unkind! Her little body suffered so and now it was time to give her a new one.

I have learned that we should all live our lives like Sophie did. When we enter a room, we need to light it up with SUNSHINE!!! You are never to old to learn and never to young to start! I hope that if you, your family, your neighbors or friends are suffering---that the Lord is allowed to jump into your/their hearts and that you find the gratitude that pure JOY can bring.

This Thanksgiving may your home be filled with the Lords love, His peace, and an over abundance of His blessings on your table.

Many Blessings,


"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yes, there is a Santa Clause!

Good morning! A simple question from a kind but curious adult sparked me to journal.

I was asked, " Why do you call the LV Angels Christmas event the "Evening with Santa"? "Leaving God's name out of it completely?"

This question instantly took me back 10 years ago when I was asked a very similar question, "Mom, if there is no Santa then does that mean there is no God?", from a teary eyed 10 year old girl who had just discovered from children at school that Santa was a made up character. So my response was a fairly fast and easy answer. " I believe Santa Clause is just a mere representation for God. To me Santa is a gentle way of talking about and introducing God to the most tender of hearts."

I chuckle to myself thinking about how many eyebrows were just raised as they wonder to themselves how I could possibly compare God and Santa? However, I can easily and without hesitation explain that as well.

Let me start my saying that all though Santa is a fictional character and God is a TRUE AND VERY REAL essence, they do have a lot in common. Santa much like God never ages nor does he die. (Even their very existence is something of a mystery) They both are "all knowing"' ( they do keep a list and know if you are bad or good and if you are sleeping or awake) Both are told to live “above us.” (the north pole & heaven). Santa and God each love people no matter their circumstances, and want us to do the same. They are reported to share the same level of patience... slow to anger and quick to forgive. Children eagerly await Santa's arrival in hopes they had been good all year, much how adults await the coming of Christ in hopes that they have led a good life. But, the biggest thing they have in common, this time of year is their "Helpers". God has His disciples and Santa has elves. Without them, how would their very existence continue and be passed on from generation to generation. I remember looking at that sweet, innocent brown-eyed 10 year old and explaining the story of St. Nicholas and how he was one of the very first "elves/disciple" in teaching us what Christmas was truly about. I sat explaining to her that Santa's reindeer were actually symbolic of the donkeys that carried the wise men and their gifts, just like the twinkling Christmas lights were the Stars that lit their way. How the star on top of our tree was meant to be the Star of Bethlehem, the angels were to remind us of how the message of Jesus' birth was delivered " and lastly how Santa's jingle bells represented the coming of a special occasion or message, much like we hear in our church before we take communion. What a wonderful teachable moment that had turned into. I remember thinking with a mothers heart, and refusing to allow anyone to turn her child's Christmas into anything but what it really was.

Christmas is that time of year we allow our memories to transport us back to simpler and more nostalgic times. Songs by Burl Ives, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby..okay I think you get the picture. Those songs teleport me to my own Christmas past. I hear them and I think of our living room and a Christmas tree strung with lights, huge primary-colored bulbs that get all scratched but still looked beautiful, tinsel that sparkled everywhere, and a silver lighted, foil tinged Christmas Star on top. Instantly I am a kid again, lying under the tree next to my brothers coloring in a Christmas coloring book, dreaming of what we would be getting from Santa, and figuring out how much money we had saved to buy our parents gifts from "Santa's workshop!" A time of excitement in preparation for a huge family get together with our most favorite people. It was a time of BELIEVING in things unseen, MAGICAL beauty, and HOPES that the feeling the season brought would never end.

Now as I finish my journal entry, I feel the need to thank this kind person for asking me that curious question. It forced me to remember what it is that makes this time of year so incredibly special.

And now I ask them, " Why would I NOT call this event the "Evening with Santa?"

Please feel free to share this email, in hopes that it might enlighten someone else along the way.

Many Blessings!

A friendly reminder:
We invite you to come celebrate with the LV Angels Tuesday December 6@ 7pm. At the LV City park and turn into a child again while you ride Santa's sleigh along side Mrs, Clause, sip hot coco and listen to Christmas carols, and enjoy watching " Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" from a 12ft movie screen as your children wait with excitement to visit Santa and take rides on the Wiggle Waggle Polar Express train. Remember that we have donation boxes at HEB, Family Dollar, Dollar General, St. Ann's Catholic Church, and Affordable trailers. We hope to collect many nearly new coats and blankets as well as brand new pajamas, undergarments, and outer garments for children in our community that are less fortunate. You may call Lisa at 830-779-2796 and order your families "Evening with Santa" t-shirts for a price of $10.50 each with all proceeds going towards families that are more in need. This is a free event with only one requirement....YOU MUST BRING YOUR CHILD LIKE FAITH & YOUR SMILES!
(incase you too need some help one day as I did) :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friendsship & Love

This evening as I sit alone in my silent home, my sweet dog beside me and the moon peaking in through the window, the rest of the family has been dusted by the sandman, and I can't help but smile as I reflect on the joys in my life. Next week, my home will be overtaken with the aroma of our Thanksgiving dinner, family and friends will fill the walls. This now quiet home will be reflecting the sound of children’s laughter, intriguing conversation, and football! Lol.

So on days 15 & 16 I am grateful for friendship and love. I hold family and friends to be among the most important gifts there could ever be, and in this area of life I have been abundantly blessed. When I meditate on this, my heart begins to overflow and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Powerful Blessing's come from small acts of Charity!

Okay okay! I know! Once again here come the excuses for being behind on my blog! This time it was honestly no fault of my own. You see, Friday morning my wifi router decided to blow up on me, leaving me at the mercy of my iPhone. There is just no easy way for me to blog from that. Or at least any way that I'm aware of.

In an effort to keep this post from becoming a book, I have decided to link up 4 days worth of gratitude for you. So here it goes!

This time of year is very chaotic for me to say the least. I started a nonprofit organization 3 years ago helping the less fortunate of our community. Each year we have put on a Christmas event for our entire town. The few weeks beforehand can be quite stressful but the emotional reward you get when it is over, more than makes up for that brief period of feeling overwhelmed. The smile on the faces of children and adults alike are absolutely priceless. It helps us to remember that Christmas time is truly about communities coming together as family and celebrating the way our Lord asks us to. So day 11-14 of my gratitude list is my thankfulness for this wonderful charity, the outpouring of support and generosity from this loving community that I live in, and for blissful chaotic moments that turn into the most wonderful and powerful blessings! Here is a link to our facebook page in case you are interested in checking us out!

Blessings, Shannon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lessons in language! WOW

This morning I went outside to watch the sunrise. It was cold yet so refreshing at the same time. The view from my house at this time of year is simply PERFECT! The sun is rising in the east and the warmth from it on your face is so soothing! And, when you do an about face, you see the most gorgeous moon descending in the west. The sight of this today almost had me in tears. You see, it's those moments that I'm alone with God that so much of His work makes sense to me. It was almost as if He was saying..."Shannon, can't you see that yesterday is fading but what a beautiful sight it was and it's leaving you with a smile. Now turn around and see the beauty that is just dawning, and the wonderful things that wait you."

Isn't that just amazing? Tonight when the moon rreappears, it will be His reminder to me that just because something is out of sight, doesn't mean that it's necessarily gone forever. Day 10: I'm grateful that I'm finally understanding how God speaks... And gosh do I love his language! I have temporarily turned off the music to the page so that you can play a song that has become my saving grace in my dark moments.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankfulness & I got behind...AGAIN

A 30 day challenge of Thankfulness and I got behind...AGAIN!

Today is the 9th. SO here is yesterday and todays:

Yesterday we were blessed with a "touch" of rain and cooler weather. So Day 8 is my gratitude for the MUCH needed rain. South Texas is in the middle of a record drought and any moisture we get is always very much appreciated. The rain we received won't even begin to make up for the lack of rain we need, but anything helps when you have thirsty lawns, trees & critters. I am thankful on this Day 9 of the challenge for the cooler temperatures. After a long, hot summer of reaching triple digits, these cool Autumn mornings feel amazing!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Gratitude & Thankfulness doesn't even begin to describe my Day 7: Today, I am thankful for my FAITH!. Without my Faith, I could NEVER have gotten through what I have these past few months. I have learned a lot about this word over the past couple of years, and by far it is what carried me! I always had faith, but until I put it into action, I never saw how much it bettered my very existence. I am often asked, "Do you still pray? Do you still trust God?" And I confidently & always respond with a profound, "YES"!

We often ask for God to help us, but is it help we are asking for? Or are we just wanting to tell Him how to do it? We say we trust God but DO WE REALLY? To truly "let go and let God", we must literally relinquish things to Him and have Faith that however He chooses to take care of things is His business.

Faith is NOT telling God what to do, how to do it or when to have it done by. Faith is trusting God to do whatever He says while accepting His will even when it is not our own.

We should praise God when He chooses to answer our prayers the way we believe, and just as loudly when He doesn't. Faith is trusting and accepting the will of God no matter what.

I watched FAITH carry a 5 year old child and ultimately allow her comfort in death. I am forever grateful for the most beautiful word ever....FAITH!

My Very First Give Away!

My Very First Giveaway has been put into place!

Hello dear friends! Well, I'm so very excited to be having my very first GIVEAWAY!!! It's been such a pleasure blogging within the last few weeks and meeting such amazing & inspirational people! :) This has been a very fun
experience, and I would love to host a follower friendship appreciation giveaway!This is also being done in efforts of gaining some new fellow blogger's and making even more wonderful friendships.
I will be giving away a beautiful 16" rustic barbed-wire cross that has already been treated and is ready to be hung. Made by me personally, along with another little surprise just for SMILES! Would go beautifully outside or inside on a Cross wall, rustic room, or by itself!

Are you excited and ready to enter??! If so, here are the giveaway rules for your chance to win this beautiful cross!

** Leave a comment on my blog letting me know that you are a follower or become a follower of "Shannon's Sparkles and Sunshine" using the Google Friend Connect gadget on my page, and leave a comment letting me know you did so.

For extra entries, you may:

** Mention my giveaway in one of your blog posts.

** State the giveaway in your Facebook and/or Twitter Page with a link back to this post.

Just leave me separate comments for each extra entry. The winner will be chosen via

The giveaway will end Wednesday, December 7th. (My Birthday) at 12 midnight, Central Standard Time.

A winner will be announced on Thursday, December 8th.

Good luck, and please tell your friends about this wonderful giveaway!
This giveaway is open to both US & international friends. :)

**For anonymous users or bloggers with private profiles, please make sure to include your e-mail address in your comment post so I may contact you in case you win**

This will be fun! GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sweet Solitude


As I write this I am sitting at my laptop in my chaise/lounge, the smell of Folgers brewing, nothing on but a soft lit lamp next to me, (and our wall clock ticking in the background) the family is still snuggled up in their beds, and I am enjoying the solitude right before sunrise.

It tickles me that for so long in my life I didn't enjoy the sound of "quiet". I had to have noise, craved activity and wanted the comfort of company even if it came from sounds of a radio or television.
After three children, the stress and strain of getting four different family members off to their respective activities, the daily grind of household chores, and having to give someone my attentions most all of my awake hours.... I have come to CHERISH these rare times of 

I can blog without guilt, sip my coffee and feel warm and relaxed, and for a little while I am the master of MY world, no worries of hearing anyone yell my name and answer to no-one (until one of them awakens and I fly back into mom/wife-mode, of course) But mostly, I enjoy the quiet and the solitude because it allows me time for devotion with God, and it brings me to a point of complete relaxation. It has taken me many years but I am finally learning that it is okay to take some "Me" time without feeling terribly guilty. Often times, I feel like I am a trick of all trades and a master of NONE. Like a woman with 2 very long arms that are being stretched in 5000 random directions, that must be ready to have an answer to every question at every second of the day. PLEASE don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade THAT I AM NEEDED, WANTED & LOVED for anything else in this world. Without my family, I would be A miserable and terribly lost soul. It is most definitely  because of those crazy "life" moments that I have grown to appreciate and love the BLISSFUL feeling I receive when I BLOG IN SOLITUDE!

So since I missed day 5 of giving thanks, I figured this morning I would make yesterday and today a "ALL IN ONE". My day 5 has to be my gratitude for my blog and the release it allows me! And, day 6 goes to the the precious moments of SOLITUDE that I am learning to allow myself ! I hope you all enjoy your "ME" time too! 

Psalm 90:14 -Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Many Blessings,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Anniversary to us!

Day 4: Today my husband and I celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary. Gosh, it has honestly flew by! Glenn informed me this morning that we have been together over half of my life. WOW! I REALLY FEEL OLD....but I wouldn't want to grow old with anyone else! 3 wonderful children later we are still reinventing different ways to fall in love. Thus far it's been a great journey together. I would be lying if I said it's been perfect but it's been as near to perfect as most people can ever hope to experience. My husband is a great, honest, loyal, God fearing and hard working man. He can work on and fix just about anything....and not just with WD40 and DUCT

I love him more each day that passes. He truly knows me better than anyone. He can tell when I am tired or have a lot on my mind. He can sense over the phone when I have been upset or am just out of sorts. He comforts me and tries to make me laugh. He makes me feel loved and supported. And, I know that he backs me 100% in everything I do. So today I am thankful for my HANDSOME husband!

I have no regrets that I took that vow 22 years ago. It felt "right" then, but it feels "PERFECT" now. He is my partner, my love, my rock, and my friend. God picked the best husband for me, and because we kept Him close, I feel we grew together over the years instead of apart.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thirty Day's of THANKFULNESS

Well it seems that even before Halloween is over, the stores are stocking the shelves with Christmas decor. Just this past September I went to get pool supplies and found that the shelf that housed the chemicals all summer long were being restocked with artificial CHRISTMAS TREES! At this time here in South Texas we were still coming extremely close to hitting triple digits and the LAST thing we are thinking about is CHRISTMAS! But retailers are eager to get our $$$ and they sure know how to reel us in. The weather is just now getting to the point where we must store away our swimsuits and put away our wide brimmed floppy hats. Now we are being forced to look at Snow, Santa Clause and winter gear.....SERIOUSLY, What has happened to Fall? We are being robbed of one of the most beautiful times of the year. However, the stores make it easy to get swept up in the bright lights, jolly holiday music, and the pressure to "SPEND SPEND SPEND"! I refuse to let them rob me of this very special holiday. I believe it is time we give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves. So I invite you to take some time with me to reflect this month on what's really important, and give thanks each day for all we are BLESSED with in our daily lives.

Since I am starting this blog on day 3, I will blog 3 days worth of "Thankfulness" today. They will be random and in no particular order, except #1. Will you join me, or do you have a list already going of your own? Please share your post so that I too can follow your list of "Blessings"!

Day 1: My first of THANKFULNESS has to go to Jesus Christ. He has become my answer to everything. I am honored, blessed and thankful for my relationship with Him. He is my ticket to happiness and true Joy. I credit Him for everything that follows on this daily list. Here is my favorite picture of His sacred heart. I have this picture framed in my room along with each of my kids. Seeing Him first thing upon waking and the last thing before falling asleep is so important.
Psalms 100:4 we are taught to, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless His name."

Day 2: I am so very grateful for my family. Family completes me in every way possible. And I say that loudly and proudly. Yes, I am indeed BLESSED with a CRAZY but LOVING family. To me family are the people you can lean on when the going gets tough, they are the ones you can trust to laugh or cry with in any given situation, they are your safe haven that you can always be yourself around. I find comfort, safety, security, fun, and LOVE within my family! I am truly BLESSED!

My third seems like an odd one. But I am thankful for SHOES, yes shoes! I saw a picture that told a story of how so many children across the world own NOT A SINGLE PAIR. They walk through mud, sand, rocks, trash and even SEWAGE...BAREFOOT.
Shoes are something we tell our kids to put on in cold weather in efforts of keeping them from catching a cold, or something worse. We have boots for when they are working along side their father's outside, rain boots for wet and muddy weather, flip flops for summer days to prevent the HOT STREETS from burning their tender toes, and we even give them house shoes to wear in the home.

Living in a part of the world where most of us take a simple pair of shoes for granted made this picture a bit hard to swallow.