Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

BOXES ARE FOR CEREAL, NOT PEOPLE                                                                                                                      Sandra Garton Breech


The above words blasted into my brain as I was once again wondering “what on earth is making this so impossible?”  That thought occurs to me often as I am usually trying to learn to do something far outside my comfort zone (or I am multitasking on a ridiculous level.  Example:  I just watered my flowerbed for over an hour because I started writing and forgot the time.  Luckily, in this heat, it is basically impossible to overwater anything. Yes, I am so very human.) But I digress.  Back to “Why am I usually trying to do something far outside my comfort zone?”

At this particular moment in time, I realize that I am trying to fit into a box that someone else has defined as the way to do things.  I am trying to do what the world says is the path to success.  Wow!  That’s a really foolish choice for someone whose sister has always told her, “You march to a different drummer.”  Then, why am I trying to cram myself into a box that hinders rather than helps me?  I think the answer is fairly simple, as it often is.  It’s the seeing the answer that is the hard part.  Because I am unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or both with what I am trying to do, I fall into the trap of “someone else knows how to do this, and I need to follow that path.”  What is brilliantly successful for someone else may never be helpful for me.  Why?  Because I am not that person; I am different, and that is okay.  Being uniquely myself is the whole point of this journey we take in life.

God created each of us to be a glorious one-of-a-kind masterpiece.  With that kind of God-given glory running through my veins, I choose to be totally and completely myself.  Why?  BECAUSE BOXES ARE FOR CEREAL, NOT PEOPLE NAMED SANDY, OR SHELBY, OR GRANT, OR LAURA, OR JANE, OR…


Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

I am probably one of the world’s greatest fans of fireworks and have travelled the world to witness some of its  most magnificent displays.  Yet one that is closest to my heart is only 50 miles from my home.

As I sit in the predawn light, I think of you and me and wonder how often we miss the treasures in our own backyards.  We humans are fickle and tend to take the people and places we love for granted.  Why oh why do we do that?  I believe is it too much to do rather than a calloused soul that creates this tendency to overlook the precious.  Our ridiculously over scheduled lives leave only time to put out fires rather than cherish the simple gifts of love and togetherness.

My favorite Independence Day fireworks celebration always opens my eyes and heart as it bathes me in the innocence of love shared in a place still unspoiled by technology, overcrowding, and concrete.  My soul breathes in the light and sheds the burden of “too much to do in too little time”, and I am a child again.  I am a child who was blind but now can see…and innocent wonder and joy saves me once again.  Unfolding before me is a gift beyond imagining, a coming together of the best of God and man.  Yes, the fireworks are beautiful and exciting, but it is people loving one another and taking the time to share this time with one another that is the miracle.

This same miracle is offered to each of us every, single day, but we are too busy to see it.  And we are losing the best of ourselves bit by bit as we rush past the opportunity to love those who want to love us back.

I took oh so many pictures of this day.  See the miracle in the photographs.  Which photographs do you find the most beautiful?  What do you feel in your body as you look at them?  You are seeing one miracle after another — some created by man; some created by God.  You can have these same miracles in your life.  Are you, am I, going to continue to rush past love or embrace it?  CHOOSE!


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Your Were Born to Shine

As I sit at my computer in the hours before dawn, I am thinking of you and of me.  The first words that pop into my mind are from a piece from PETER PAN, a book by J. M. Barrie.  In the segment, a mom is reading to her two young children. Tinker Bell, the fairy who is Peter Pan’s constant friend and companion, is dying because no one believes in her.  Her light is growing dim…so very dim.  As the mother continues reading, she tells her children that Tinker Bell can be saved if enough people believe in her.  She suddenly drops her book and says, “We can save her!  IF YOU BELIEVE, CLAP YOUR HANDS!  CLAP YOUR HANDS”!

I frequently struggle with creating a global resource for God’s hurting children because the challenge seems beyond my abilities.  Coupled with those doubts is the fact that I often run into walls that appear out of no where.  The closer I get to fulfilling God’s wish for me the more impossible the obstacles are.  Then, as exhaustion sets in, the ghosts of uncertainly begin to materialize.  The voice in my head says: “I don’t know enough about technology to do this.  I don’t know what to say.  I need to be more like this person or that person.”

Praying banishes the ghosts and brings a sliver  of light back into the room.

I return to square one again and figure out what I know for sure.  I decided I know at least two things:

  • No one can beat me if I get up one more time than I get knocked down; and
  • I’m going to give this the best I’ve got.

With those two absolutes as my focus, things begin to happen.  Suddenly, I can see the possibilities rather than the limitations.  What created that transformation?  After all, I’m a person just like you, no better , no worse, but amazing things happen when a person decides to believe…and act on it.  Belief sparks a flame that becomes a fire that becomes a global resource for healing.  You don’t need someone else to ignite you and your dreams; you just need to believe in yourself.

Remember Tinker Bell and the children.  IF YOU BELIEVE, CLAP YOUR HANDS!


Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

How do you mend a broken heart?  That is a question that has echoed through time since humans first existed on this earth.  I’m guessing that both Eve and Adam had broken hearts after they took a bite of the apple and found what that cost them.

None of us ever think of a broken heart until we have one, and then “how do you mend a broken heart” becomes the most important question in life.  It’s a plea for survival, coupled with the question “do I want to survive?”  It’s an anguished entreaty to God, “will I ever hope or trust again?”  First and foremost, it is a timid whisper emanating from an injured soul, “will I ever feel safe to love again?”

I’ve had a broken heart, and it almost killed me.  Every dream destroyed; every promise betrayed; every element of my life ravaged because the “game” was such fun.  Although the “game” was fun for him, it wasn’t for me.  It cost me my heart as it shattered into so many pieces that I couldn’t imagine ever finding them all, much less putting those pieces back together.  The pain as it broke was so excruciating that I was sure I was having a heart attack and needed to go to the emergency room.  BUT…I wasn’t. I was simply one of the broken who had to give up believing in the man I chose to be my forever, who had to grieve the death of a dream and find a way to come back.

Finding a way to come back, to beat again, has to be one of the greatest challenges of the human heart.  I once heard a renowned heart surgeon say that, despite all his years of experience and training, he still didn’t know why a transplanted heart “chose” to beat again.  My heart was dead, but I wasn’t a candidate for a transplant.  So, how was I supposed to “choose” to let it start to beat again?   Why would I ever even consider  that kind of agony a second time?     I felt so much safer inside the cozy fortress I had built around myself.  No one could hurt me in here as I withdrew from the world and chose to exist rather than live.

Honestly, allowing my heart to start beating again was monumentally difficult for me.  Only the horror of realizing I had built a prison around myself instead of a fortress was powerful enough to blast me out of my stupor and seek healing.  First, I had to find enough of the broken pieces to glue back into something resembling a living heart.  Then, I had to muster up the courage to dream a new dream that would inspire my damaged heart to face the hell of growing whole again.

I knew I wasn’t strong enough or brave enough to make the quantum leap to a gloriously healthy, loving heart.  I could only manage one small step at a time, and inch by inch I crawled my way out of a cold, living death.  The journey was not one I could have imagined from a place of love and safety.  It was not one I would have ever chosen voluntarily, but it was the one that ultimately defined me.

Today, I wake every morning and thank God that I am free.  To those of you who are members of the walking wounded, I say this.  Rise up and embrace the possibility of a life filled with love and wonder.  No one can take away your ability to dream unless you let them.  You are glorious beyond imagining because that is who God created you to be.  Face your fear and  shine; your light will transform the world…and YOU!


Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

“I’m only passing through on my way home.  Heaven is the place where I belong.  More than an idea or just a dream, the land beyond the stars is calling me.  When my savior calls, I will go.”

I absolutely believe these words written by Jim and Melissa Brady.  We were created to spend eternity with our Creator.  That was the plan all along with Jesus as the key to our admission.


Spending eternity in Heaven is not our only goal.  We came to earth as spiritual beings on a human journey.  Our purpose was to grow to be the best we could be, and God gave us every gift we needed to accomplish this.  Imagine that!  Each of us was created by God, perfect in His sight, and blessed with talents that would enable each of us to have a positive impact on this world and all its residents.  As I type this, I am imagining a world inhabited by such enlightened beings.  Suddenly, I realize that I am talking about heaven on earth — a place where love and kindness and honor are commonplace, where we live in harmony with our Heavenly Father.

If that is God’s plan and He creates each of us with the ability to contribute to the fulfillment of that plan, what happened?  I’m certainly not living in Heaven on Earth, and I don’t think anybody else is either.  In fact, we seem to be moving in the direction of creating hell on earth rather than Heaven.  Wow!  This got to be very serious very quickly.

How did each of us go from being children of the light to being children of misery and doubt?  I think the answer is less complicated than we might want to believe.  Could it be as simple as the fact that each of us wants to be the Hero or the Heroine rather than the foot soldier or the archer?  Could it be a simple as the fact that we don’t value each of our roles as worthy and profoundly important to the creation of harmony?  What makes a surgeon more important than a teacher?  What makes a president more important than a mom or dad?  Again, the answer is fairly simple.  We measure worth on the scale of money and power rather than love and kindness.  We measure value according to the definition created by a toxic world rather than the definition created by a loving God.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to contribute to that dark reality even one more second.  I want to be a Warrior of the Light rather than a Servant of the Dark.  As I sit here, I wonder how I can find my way back to the path of light that God intended for me to walk.

Suddenly, my mind is filled with answers.  Can it really be that simple?  Yes, it really can be that simple.  The answer may not be easy, but it is simple.  I remember that I can choose.  I HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE!  The antidote to the dark always lies with the power of the one who is brave enough to stand for the light and fight for it.  The courage and power of the one who remembers he or she is the child of God and fights for the right to live as the child of God can ignite the passion of the many.  Courage is simply fear that has said its prayers.  As I drop to my knees and pray for the courage to be part of God’s solution, I pray that you will choose to join me.  Choose to be a Warrior of the Light.  SHINE…because our light can transform the world.



Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

I’ve lived a life of contrasts.  Twice I have risen like the mythical Phoenix from the ashes of the complete and utter destruction of my life as I knew it.  Once I had a trusted colleague ask me, “Do you know how intimidating you are?”  In utter shock, I answered, “No.  What in the world could be intimidating about me?”  He replied,       “You know exactly who you are and what you stand for.  Most of us don’t even approach that.”  I’m still thinking about that exchange.

Recently, my technology wizard woman asked me, “Do you want me to alter some of your writings?”

Puzzled, I said, “What do you mean?”

“Well, find another word for prayer, for example.  Your spiritual focus will cost you.  Many readers will dismiss your writing and automatically go elsewhere if you continue to include God,”  was her reply.

Stunned to silence, I thought, “Is this a joke?  Is she kidding?”  Then I remembered all the walls I’ve hit.  I remembered Facebook dismantling and removing my sites because my posts were “abusive and offensive.”  I remembered that it took the impressive professional skills of a different technology wizard to get my sites put back up.  I also remembered that the woman who asked me those questions is a person of deep and committed faith in God.  Suddenly, I knew.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Who am I, and what do I stand for?

I am Sandra Garton Breech, the child of a living God.  My faith is childlike and profound, and I will go wherever He leads.

So, the answer to the question, “Do you want me to alter your writings?” is ABSOLUTELY NOT!





Her body is battered and broken by the cruelty of the owners of the puppy mill who chose to brutalize her for profit.  When she suffered an injury from continuous breeding and birthing litters of puppies, she could no longer produce income.  So, they threw her into a dark room to die in her own waste. but her story doesn’t end there.

Members of an organization that rescues French Bulldogs saved Maisie before the light of her amazing being flickered out.  Because her injury was not treated when it could have healed completely, tiny Maisie is a paraplegic, but that doesn’t define her.  What does define her is a contagious joy for living that shines out of her, touching and blessing everyone she meets.  She came into my life because my daughter loves her and chose to adopt her.

Many people only see Maisie’s handicaps rather than her miraculous gifts.  They only see that she can’t use her lifeless back legs or control her own bodily functions.  They somehow miss her powerful front legs and how fast and joyously she runs toward those she loves, and she loves almost everyone, especially my daughter, Laura.

What puzzles me the most is how anyone could miss the magic of Maisie.   It’s easy to miss, I guess, because it’s on the inside of her.  Although her legs shriveled, her heart did not.  It grew so big that I often wonder how it fits in her tiny body.  Her miraculous heart is big enough to love everyone and everything unconditionally and joyously.  Spending time with her inspires me to do the same.

I call her Mighty Maisie, the Wonder Dog, a small dog with a big message.  What is the message?  With her life, she shouts, “Don’t let fear and pain define you!”





Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

At 5:17 AM on Friday, January 2, 2023, I heard God talk to me…and it was loud, and it was strong.  His words exploded into my soul with a wonder and a light that filled it to bursting.  IT BROUGHT ME HOME to the realization that I could fulfill God’s plan for me in this earthly journey.

Long ago I answered God’s call to be one of His healing resources for His hurting children.  Yet, I have been haunted by an awareness that I have never quite understood or fulfilled that promise.  I kept trying, but I ran into wall after wall until I was often broken, bleeding, and exhausted.  For some reason, no matter how hard I tried, I was failing to keep my word.  Yet, this morning at 5:17 AM central time, I finally understood why.

The truth is I always had the answer.  That answer is a natural part of who I am, but I had lost it with the toxic struggle to be seen and heard in the material world.  I am a licensed professional counselor and a spiritual being on a God-ordained human journey.  With this simple question, I offer all that I am.



Rise and Shine: Woman with Arms Outstretched at Sunrise - Ready to Take on the Day

The tiny girl clings tearfully to her mother as she refuses to go to school.  She desperately wants to go but fears that death lurks there among her friends.  In another part of town, an elegant senior citizen stares out her window, longing for the thing she fears most, a hug from her granddaughter.  Lastly, a brilliant and kind high school student sits in his therapist’s chair and whispers, “If this is all there is, I don’t want to live anymore.”  About now, you may be wondering, even hoping, that this is the theme of the latest science fiction movie.  Sadly, you would be wrong.  Each of these is an example of our current reality.

Covid exploded into our awareness with more than a threat of illness; it screamed ‘ISOLATE OR DIE!” and created the terror of connection with those we love.  So, we went inside, locked our doors, and lived without the warmth of human contact.  We forgot how to talk to the friendly checker at our neighborhood grocery store; we forgot how to gather with friends in the backyard just because it felt so good; we forgot the simple joy of sharing a moment with a friend.  We replaced community with the cold “safety” of function by electronics…and the loneliness is killing us.

Statistics indicate that 61% of Americans say they feel lonely.  Today 49% of Americans have 3 friends or fewer and 12% have 0 compared to 1990 when 27% had 3 friends or fewer and 3% had 0 friends.  Science indicates a strong connection between loneliness and depression, anxiety, obesity, and suicidal thoughts.  Human life expectancy is reduced more by loneliness than it is by heavy drinking or obesity, and lonely people are more prone to Alzheimer’s disease.  There seems to be a trend here, and it is definitely not a positive one.  Isolation is costing us more than we can pay, and we’re seeking destructive alternatives to feel connected.  “Opioids feel like love.  That’s why they’re deadly in tough times.” Maia Szalavitz.  In 1999, there were 8,000 opioid deaths; in 2021, that figure rose to 75,673.  Yes, you read that correctly; the death toll from opioid overdose skyrocketed to 75,673 in two years.

I’m writing this, dear friends, because I work with the people suffering from the lack of human connection and the inability to feel safe in the world.  We thought we had recovered from the destruction of the Covid pandemic, but we haven’t.  None of us has quite found a way to return to the belief that we are safe and life can be good.  We can’t find a way to reboot and thrive.   So, what’s the answer?

I strongly believe the following quote.  “The good life cannot be found in isolation.  It’s found through deep and meaningful relationships” Nate Hilgenkamp.  I can’t tell each of you what to do because I respect the fact that your life is yours to shape, but I can tell you how I began to rebuild my life and my loving community.  I sought the presence and guidance of the loving Creator of all and once again was reminded that He is always there.  Knowing that I’m never alone gave me the courage to begin again…and again and again if that’s what it takes.

Please know that I am very human and struggle just as each of you does.  As a shy introvert, I do not naturally and easily build human relationships.  So, building a new loving and safe world is a challenge, but one I welcome.  Closing my eyes in a quiet and peaceful space was my first small step toward the world of my hopes and dreams.  I could see more than a new world.  I could see more clearly who I am and what I believe.  I am a total and complete optimist and absolutely believe that God created me to fly.  I believe you were born to fly too.  How about it?  Come fly with me as we shine a light on this kind and brave new world we are creating.

In order to see yourself with better eyes, it is important to realize that the filter you are using to evaluate your worth is toxic and flawed.  You are trying to mold yourself into a shape that the material world defines as valuable rather than using the eternal portrait that a loving Creator says accurately portrays the glorious potential and worth that is truly you.