Browsing Tag


Back to basics

Back to basics … living with gratitude

There is no better time than now get back to basics, to start paying more attention to what’s important, returning to the values of gratitude and appreciation. Let them swell and expand our hearts. Let’s be less concerned with the complicated details of living. Let’s simplify our lives, concentrate on a perspective of thankfulness, and from the Echoes my February 2015 Happy Day Moments Facebook Page, let’s think on these things …

 B-basics type2


Love always trusts, always hopes, always gives, even when the other person doesn’t give back. 

Let’s respect others the way we fiercely long to be respected. Love is one thing, respect is another. 

A significant synonym for “love” is “forgiveness.” 

Surround yourself with positive friendships and you will feed your soul.

Stay grounded with an underlying love for all people, without exception.

Let’s have real warm affection to one another and be willing to let the other person have the credit.



Releasing grudges and bitterness will allow you to receive more beauty and joy in life. 

Be forgiving and look at your failings with mercy, patience, and as teachable moments.

Look forward. For forgiveness. For hope, for joy, for consolation. 



Never qualify your kindness. Be kind to grumpy people as well as happy people.

Even being intentionally kind and gracious with smiles and cups of coffee shared can transform lives. 

Look around. And find someone to encourage. Remind them they’re not alone. 



Don’t lose heart or grow weary in doing what’s right, for in due time we’ll see blessings if we don’t get discouraged and give up.

Whatever you’re in the middle of — heartbreak or joy — know that you always have value and beauty and strength.

Seek that sacred space where gratitude dwells. 

Gratitude can push you through life’s slumps, thrust you over the humps, and pull you out of the dumps. ‪




Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability to succeed. 

Don’t let the voices of guilt or inadequacy whisper negativity into your moments.

Accept others for who they are; we’re all just trying to do our best.

It’s okay that sometimes you need a quiet place alone to help you figure stuff out. 

Learn the wisdom of being happy where you are and with what you have

Give your life to something bigger than yourself and your story becomes greater.

Believe that who you are and what you do makes a difference. Because it does. 


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My 2015 sentence

So now January is over. And we’re halfway through February. And maybe that means all those expectations you wrote down are feeling less motivating and more paralyzing. Or maybe you chose a “word” to be your focus throughout the year and the letters are blurring.

I did not make resolutions. And since I’m a yakkety-yak, no single “word” for me. But I do have a sentence that has swirled in all the corners of my heart for months and months, a sentence which I know will carry me through 2015, which I pray will keep me motivated and moving forward and in focus. The sentence, the words: “Love like Jesus.”

The sentence that becomes a motto. A tattoo. A prayer.

All of us should want to love like Jesus, no matter our doctrine, theology, ideology or denomination. I want to learn to love like Jesus. I want my husband to love like Jesus. I want my sons and grandchildren to love like Jesus.

I want to be generous, forgiving, and compassionate enough to love people unconditionally. To understand sacrifice and selflessness. To get over being the center of my world, and to focus on looking for those who need my help every day.

I want love that is patient, that is kind, that doesn’t envy, that doesn’t boast, that isn’t proud. I want love that doesn’t dishonor others, that isn’t self-seeking, not easily angered, that keeps no record of wrongs. I want love that doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

I want to understand that every day love makes a difference. That life is a gift. That love is a gift. That each day I awake and breathe is a gift.

It’s the only gift that I have right now. And my only appropriate response is gratefulness.

May my heart and eyes be open to loving like Jesus.

Open to love; closed to resentment. Open to forgiveness; closed to bitterness. Open to grace; closed to mercilessness.

Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around me. And all around you.

Love each other as I have loved you. ~ Jesus [John 15:12]

For the next eleven months, I’ll be writing and meditating on what it means to Love Like Jesus.

Want to join me?

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Happy Day Moment Echoes: 9.14

For today, lean toward Pooh and away from Eeyore.


As Winnie the Pooh has taught us, there is power in encouragement. There is power in a positive word, a kind gesture, a quiet gift that can change someone’s day. It’s in the small moments when we choose to listen to our hearts, to tell someone we’re thinking of them, that we believe in them, and that we’re praying for them, for their hearts and spirits to be lifted.

Here are some more encouraging words from the Happy Day Moments Facebook Page, Echoes from September 2014:

  • Letting go quickly of negative stuff is the healthiest way to live.
  • Focus on what you can do, not on what you could have done.
  • Choose love as your lifestyle. Love fearlessly and without limits.
  • Respect others for who they are. Not for who we want them to be.
  • Those people you appreciate, those you love – tell them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • winnie-the-pooh-quoteSift all your decisions through love.
  • Understand and embrace the idea that God has a plan for your life.
  • Refocus your vision to see grace in your present situation.
  • What would life be like if we considered others more important than ourselves? If we truly placed others’ needs before our own?
  • Love and forgive more. Regret less.
  • When you put your best foot forward, you’re on your way to starting the hokey-pokey.
  • Treat others with love, dignity, and respect and you’ll build stronger relationships.
  • Remind yourself of the gifts God has given. Bear them in mind as you go through your day.
  • Difficulties are part of every success story.
  • When you are weary and can’t find strength to stand, let God carry you.
  • Fill your day with love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.
  • Nurture and guard your friendships, because they matter.
  • Always go beyond what is required.
  • If you feel abandoned by those who were once close, shift your focus to those who remain faithful.
  • A beautiful day begins with a beautiful attitude.
  • Let your words bring out the best in others, not put them down.
  • Smile as often as possible.
  • In moments of great darkness, God continues to love us with an everlasting love. Again and again.
  • You are brave enough, smart enough, kind enough, and loved enough to move forward.

4e63d83c46f1d741f467981fb4d3da73Thanks for reading, and as usual I love hearing from you. Take a moment to comment on my post with your thoughts.

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7 Ways to Find a Happy Moment

7 candles

My oldest grandchild turns seven this month. In his honor I’m sharing with him – and with you — seven ways to discover a Happy Day Moment every day.

1. Love.

Lego flowersEvery good thing in life starts with love. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Say “I love you” to others and take time to be around those you love. The more you say “yes” to love, the more loving you will become.

The important thing is to love. Keep loving those who have hurt your feelings or disappointed you. Keep loving when times are hard and confusing. Keep loving in the kindest ways. The right time to love is always right now.

You will be remembered for your love. Choosing to lend a hand in love is always good. It always leads to a better story. Love. Everybody. Always.

Grandson: I love you. I will always love you. I love you more today than yesterday. I will never stop loving you.

2. Be kind.

Lego umbrellaTreat others as you would like to be treated. Help others whenever you can. Be nice and thoughtful and think about the feelings of others. Don’t be afraid to help someone. Say kind words. Be mittens against the cold. Shade against the heat. Umbrella against the rain.  Being kind and friendly to others helps our world.

Treat everyone, even yourself, with kindness and respect. It’s as simple as that. Whatever you do is always better when you add kindness. Choose to be kind every day, and you’re truly choosing to make the world a better place. Kindness is a terrific happiness habit.

Grandson: Your kindness sends light into the dark places.

3. Be thankful.

LegosEvery day you can choose to be thankful for something. For family and friends you love and who love you. For the world around you and the blessings you have. Being happy doesn’t mean you have everything; it means you are thankful and appreciate what you have.

You can find a good thing, a moment, even when things aren’t going your way or you’re having a bad day. You just have to open your heart to see them.

Be joyful. Be grateful. Thankful people are happy.

Grandson:  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

4. Have faith.

Lego Peter on waterHaving faith means trusting and believing. Even when you can’t see what is ahead, you can know that God is in control. Think about Peter in the Bible. He had faith and stepped out of the boat and did the impossible. He walked on the water! He took a risk, he believed. He trusted God. Sometimes you may think, “I can’t do that!” Peter probably did. But he stepped out anyway and trusted. And he kept his eyes on Jesus. If you want to do great things, you have to get out of the boat. Take a risk. Have faith. And you can have faith because you know in your heart that God is faithful.

Grandson: With God nothing is impossible.

5. Forgive.

Lego drawEverybody makes mistakes. That’s why pencils have erasers. People mess up all the time. It’s important to remember that God has forgiven us so we must also forgive others. No matter the mistakes, God forgives. We should too. When someone says, “I’m sorry,” forgive quickly and give grace as much as possible.

Grandson: Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Move on and try to do better next time. 

6. Give.

Lego kindnessWhen you are generous with the gifts you have of love and compassion, you make others happy, and you will be happy, too. Give, and don’t think about what you might get in return, but give because giving is the right thing to do.

Don’t just give money to those who need it, but give your time and energy, serve others around you. Say “Yes” to helping others. Give light to those in the dark. Give a blessing to those who are sad. Remember what Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Grandson: When you give to others, you show God’s love.

7. Be yourself. 

Lego ThorGod made you special. There is no one like you! You are perfectly valuable, perfectly you. Always remember that you are amazing and you can do whatever you set your mind to. And always laugh and smile as much as possible.

Being your best self is to love and obey God and to follow Jesus.

Grandson: I believe in you. I will be there for you.

When you focus on being loving, being kind, being thankful, having faith, forgiving others, giving to others, and being yourself – you will find Happy Moments each and every day. I’m sure of it.

Grandson: Whenever I’m with you, whenever I see you, whenever I hear your voice, whenever I look at photos of you – that is a HAPPY DAY MOMENT FOR ME!

[And remember: Legos always bring Happy Day Moments!]

Lego pile

My Parents: Their Love Story

I never tired of hearing their story. As a little girl, I’d sit beside my mom with their wedding album spread across my lap, slowly turning the pages of 8×10 glossy black and white photographs. I’d trace my fingers along their faces, along Mom bridethat white gown.

“Tell me again,” I said. “Tell me again about you and dad.”

And she’d smile and her eyes would crinkle and she’d get that lovey-dovey look and then she’d repeat once more Their Love Story.

Their story that she was 18 and he was 25, that she had just graduated high school and he was the high school football coach, that she was a cheerleader and he was the cheerleading sponsor, that she was the popular class president and he was the town’s most eligible bachelor, that they had only three dates when he proposed…

I’d smile too and stare at that photo of my mom looking so beautiful and my dad so tall and handsome.

And I’d listen to her story:

Your dad was tall and really good-looking as he stood by his junior high classroom door greeting his students. Besides coaching, he taught history and social studies. I often stole a few looks since my senior classes were nearby. That year I had many conversations with “Mr. Kehoe.” Sometimes when he had lunch duty. Sometimes when I had cheerleading practice. He was appointed high school cheerleader sponsor and I’d been a cheerleader for four years.

And your dad knew my whole family: our dads (your grandpas) played cards together; your Uncle Harley played on the high school football team; and he was friends with my older brother, your Uncle Charlie.

When high school graduation time came, I practiced my commencement speech, and I remember seeing my speech teacher and your dad sitting and listening at the back of the gym. After I had graduated in May, he called me early in the summer and asked me to visit a boy cheerleader who was in the South Bend hospital. I told him that I had planned to go shopping with my girlfriends, and he said, “I’ll take you shopping.” That came as a surprise, and I said yes.

At the department store he asked me to model the dress for him. I did and while I walked back to the dressing room, the clerk said something about “my husband.” I replied, “He’s not my husband.” She answered, “Don’t worry, he will be.” I wasn’t sure how to take that comment, so I just smiled.

On the drive home from South Bend, we laughed and talked all the way. We stopped and bought sweet corn, which we took to my house and cooked, and then we went to play golf.

A few days later he asked me out on a “real” date, and then we had a second date to a drive-in movie, where he told me he loved me. Your grandma was leery and cautioned me, “Barbara Ann, you know he’s older. Are his intentions honorable?” I guess they were because on the third date he proposed and I willingly accepted.

We were married that November during the Thanksgiving holiday. I went from a senior one year to a faculty wife the next!

But part of the story that I loved most, that all my life I thought was magical and wonderful and amazing and enchanting and oh-so romantic, was this:

Sometime before visiting the injured cheerleader, I had a profound experience. I was riding home one night with my girlfriends after spending the day at the lake. The talk turned to your dad, the most handsome, eligible bachelor in town and the girl he was currently dating. One of my friends asked, “I wonder if it’s serious? I wonder if they’ll get married?” At that precise moment, I heard an audible voice: “No, because you’re going to marry him.”

Startled, I looked around to see if anyone else had heard it. If they had, what would they think? Maybe I had actually said it aloud? No. They were still chattering away, completely unaware of what I had heard. Quietly, I sat there, squeezed between my friends in the middle of the front. Was that an angel? Was that God?

I always held that moment close in my heart. And then in a whirlwind, your dad and I had our three dates, and suddenly I was planning a wedding and then we were married… all in less than six months.

So, what do you think? Did God speak to me?

I’d catch and hold my breath, then exclaim, “Oh, yes! God told you that you’d marry Dad!”

Now can you see why I loved hearing Their Love Story? Cute petite high school grad. Athletic attractive football coach. Three dates. Voice of God.

And so their wedding.  Then their marriage.  Then their family. Three babies in three years, then a fourth. Then, what else would you expect after hearing the Voice of God – years and years and years of Happy Day Moments!

Now it’s come to this: 60 years of marriage!

November 21, 1953 ~ November 21, 2013

Engaged summer 1953

Engaged summer 1953

The kiss! Her veil came off!

The kiss! Her veil came off!

Mr. & Mrs. M. Fred Kehoe (notice she's carrying her veil)

Mr. & Mrs. M. Fred Kehoe
(notice she’s carrying her veil)

Cutting the cake (there's that lovey-dovey look)

Cutting the cake
(there’s that lovey-dovey look)

The Kehoe family 1965

The Kehoe family 1965

P2Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you.

Their children:
Steven Charles – born 1955
Jama Sue – born 1956
Douglas Frederick – born 1957   (Moved from Plymouth, IN to Muncie, IN, 1958)
Julee Ann – born 1961

Their grandchildren:
Jama married John Bigger in 1980 ~ Johnny – born 1983. Thomas – born 1984
Steve married Amy in 1985 ~ Bryn – born 1986. Steven Jr. – born 1987. Seth – born 1990
Doug married Laura in 1988 ~ Allison – born 1989. Shelby – born 1990. Adam – born 1993
Julee ~ Max – born 2000

Their great-grandchildren
Born to Johnny and Joni Bigger ~ Dawson – born 2007. Phoebe – born 2009. Finley – born 2012

How Does a Man Love His Bride

From Fred Kehoe to his wife Barbara (on their 50th anniversary)

He loves her with a love

that is not conditional.

It is not dependent on anything

she might do or say.

It is constant twenty-four hours a day

– even in sleep.

He loves her with a biblically based love.

Jesus is his teacher and example as

to how he is to love his bride.

The word of God is his textbook

in proving or measuring this love.

He loves her more than any other

human being on this, or any other, planet.

She is God’s gift to him,

and his prize.

There is nothing that can separate

his love from her.