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

We live in a world filled with grieving people.  Their hearts are breaking as they seek to be seen by another person before disappearing entirely, before becoming ghosts due to lack of meaningful human contact.   Eye contact, a smile, a gentle hello could save them. Yet so many people are chained to the screens of their smartphones or to the demands of their overburdened schedules that they walk right by, never realizing that a life was diminished by their oblivion. 

If you don’t believe me, I suggest you go to any nursing home in your community or to any shelter that provides housing for children without a family.  Take the time to make eye contact, to actually be present. Some eyes will remain blank because they lost hope long ago, but some eyes will flicker with a new light in response to your eyes meeting theirs.  In Africa, there is a tradition that illustrates the power of human connection. A person walks up to another and says, “I see you.” The other replies, “I am seen.” Until another sees and acknowledges you, you don’t exist.  

Just think.  You and I each have the power to save a life, to validate the worth of another by a simple act of kindness.  By taking the time to smile or to say hello, we say, “I see you. You matter.” A second of your time can change a life, but it takes courage to care.  It takes courage to buck the winds of “go away, you bother me”. 

William Penn said, “I expect to pass through this life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

You know, I don’t expect to pass through this life but once either.  I think I’m going to take William Penn’s words to heart and choose loving kindness.  How about you?

Sandy's Signature | Sandra Garton Breech

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

The Infinite Nature of Love

When I consider the infinite nature of love, I always think of my mom, a window, and a clothesline.  Those three things became a portal to a world of wonder, joy, and an understanding of the miraculous blessings of hearts open to loving all things great and small.  As I’m typing this, my eyes fill with tears as I remember…and give thanks.

We weren’t rich.  We lived in a simple house with a kitchen window and a yard with a clothesline.  My mother often stood at that window as she washed dishes, and yet no palace could have offered greater opportunities to grow a heart that loved unconditionally and a soul that expanded to embrace the light and joyously share it with all the world.  My childhood was spent in that light, and the Saga of Rudy and Rita began there.

Chili Beans and Cornbread

I’m not sure when this wondrous journey began, but I’m guessing that it began with chili and beans and cornbread.  Yes, dear born to shine friends, I did just type that, AND cornbread was one of the magical ingredients…as were the clothesline and the window.  My mom, a kind and gentle spirit, was standing at that window when she saw a pair of cardinals land on the clothesline.  The birds and my mom immediately connected, even though cardinals often spook at the sight of a being that could bring harm and death.  The three remained transfixed by the encounter and connected heart to heart by a love that embraced all living things.  My mom, being a true southern lady, immediately wanted to feed the birds, and, Ta Dah, here comes the common, yet magical in that moment, cornbread.  My mom walked outside and crumbled some cornbread where the cardinals could see it.  She stepped back as the birds flew to eat the gift Mama had offered.  In that moment, the three of them bridged that gap between species and began a trusting and unconditional relationship that would span generations of cardinals and most of my childhood.

The cardinals continued to come to the clothesline every, single day.  My mom began to call them Rudy and Rita, and they began to call her when they wanted some of her delicious cornbread — a single note signaled the beginning of another heart expanding visit that proved the possibility of a love that was unconditional and transforming.  Bird and human lived a hope for a tomorrow that had love enough for all — not just the ones that were defined as worthy.

Cardinals on the Clothesline

Rudy and Rita, Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, included their children as their family grew, and their babies loved my mother just as they did.  I don’t know how many generations of these beautiful crimson-feathered creatures became a part of my family.  I only know that there were always cardinals on our clothesline, that they always voiced that single note to call to my mom, and that they always loved her and her cornbread.

Every word of this story is true, and my eyes are filling with tears as I realize, once again, how I was blessed, transformed, in those moments.  My eyes were opened to the spiritual sight that sees the miracles that exist all around us — the miracles that prove that love is big enough to share with everyone and everything and available to us through simple, everyday things like a mom, a window, and a clothesline.

Love Is the Answer

My wish for you this day is that some simple, everyday things will open a portal in your life, a portal that will fill you with the wonder and certainty that you are, and always will be, enough.

Love is the answer.  It always has been.




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

HOW CAN I HELP?   This question contains only four tiny words but has the power to change my life, your life, and the world.  Who would we be if we offered the best parts of ourselves rather than the suspicious, fearful, and often angry parts?

Covid and its demands to isolate, to fear, and to surrender the joy of human connection wounded us in ways that were, and are, a challenge to our ability to believe that life can be good, that we can have hope of a better tomorrow.  We have to find an antidote to that bleak and dismal outlook.  It’s killing us, and it’s killing our world.

I am an optimist.  I continue to focus on the belief that people are good and that light can conquer the dark.  Honestly, I can tell you that often I experience very powerful reasons to abandon that optimism.  However, my heart and soul tell me that the cost of abandoning optimism and embracing cynicism would cost me more than I am willing to pay.

So, as the optimist, I am telling you that I believe we have the antidote that is so desperately needed, and it is a part of each and every one of us.  I can feel you asking, “How can I, a regular person, not a superman or superwoman, overcome the darkness that now fills our world with despair?”  The answer is simple; return to the center of your being which is love.  Offer hope and healing with the simple question “How can I help?”

How do you feel when someone offers to help?  I can tell you that I feel wonderful.  I can also tell you that I feel wonderful when help someone.

HOW CAN I HELP?  Let’s live it.



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

Looking through my kitchen window is different every moment.  Sometimes the sight delights me, and sometimes the sight discourages me.  It’s the same window and the same yard so what changes my emotional response?  Indeed, what makes such a significant difference in my feelings toward what I see?   The question challenges me and encourages a journey into my own heart and mind.  Aha! the insight is blinding as I realize I am the critical trigger; I am choosing to focus on the positive or the negative…and that makes all the difference. When I choose the positive, I see wondrous beauty that includes giant oaks and crepe myrtles, cardinals, hummingbirds, butterflies, and countless other fascinating creatures.  When I choose the negative, I see all the branches that the wind has blown unto the yard, the grass that needs mowing, the flowers and plants that need watering and weeding.  Positive=OH BOY!  Negative=OH DRAT!

What made the prospect of doing some lawn maintenance immediately jump to the OH DRAT! column?  After all, there really weren’t that many sticks, and I have a riding lawn mower.  A moment of thought provided another blinding insight — I was already busy and didn’t like the reminder of more work needing my attention.  More calm, focused thought provided even more positive options because I had the time to do the tasks and really enjoy my riding lawn mower.  Hmmmm…so what really happened to change my prospective from positive to negative?  The simple truth is I had a temper tantrum!  I spent more time processing that than I did accomplishing the yard work.

How many times do you miss the beauty and joy right in front of your face because you chose not to see it…your anger erased the gift and left only the bitter taste of emotional upheaval?

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

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.

This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important:

‘Love your neighbor as yourself'”.

                                                                                            Matthew 22: 37-39 NLV

“Love your neighbor as yourself” appears in the Bible nine times.  It appears that many times because God wants us to realize the importance of loving one another. In fact, relationship, love, is what matters most in life.

Our world has entered a time of great uncertainty and fear.  A thing called a coronavirus, or Covid-19, has disrupted all certainties, all privileges, all beliefs about our ability to choose and to be safe.  We cannot cross borders or go to grocery stores anymore.  All life is focused on containing the spread of this pandemic; all choices are being curtailed in order to achieve that goal.

We are afraid, and our fight-or-flight system is in control.   What we need desperately is an antedote to this terror, and, miraculously we have one — love and love thy neighbor.  Fear cannot continue to exist in the light of love.  Now is the time to be the source of that light.  Instead of judgment for irrational behavior give compassion for the uncertainly that drives it.  Love is the answer and always has been.

My favorite Bible verse has always been I Corinthians 13-13: “Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.” NLV.  It comforts me as I sit alone in my home, practicing the recommended social distancing.  It will comfort you wherever you are.  Take it into your heart and share it with others.  The light of its truth will grow ever brighter as we share it and stand together against this pandemic with courage and loving kindness.

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


By Mother Theresa 


People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; 


If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;


If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;


If you are honest and sincere, people may cheat you;


What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;


If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;


The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;


Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;


You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;



I found this poem at a time I was in great pain, and nothing in my life made sense to me.  I didn’t think I was a bad person, but one horrible thing after another happened to me anyway.  I was thinking about crawling into a cave and becoming a hermit because that made as much sense as any of the other options I had.   Then this poem appeared on my computer screen.  Reading it put everything in perspective for me, and light returned to my world. 

God put me here to be the best that I can be.  How people respond to that is about them, not me. I’ll do my best, and God will take care of the rest.   Who would you be and how would your life be if you believed that?          


(originally published 3/10/2020)

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

Do you ever feel off balance, hollow?  I know I do.  These feelings, for me, are often accompanied by a feeling of answers missed.  We humans spend much of our time struggling with the questions “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?”  Although this struggle colors the reality of each and every generation, there is no evidence, thus far, that these questions have been answered in a way that lays them to rest.  Why?  I think the following quote by C. S. Lewis will provide a profound clue.

You do not have a soul.

You are a soul.

You have a body.

Okay, based on the C. S. Lewis quote, my thinking has been a little upside down.  I’m not a human body with a soul; I’m a soul with a body. Although God created an incomparable, miraculous human body for me, it is, basically, a car that my soul drives.  No soul equals no animation.

Wow!  I can see where the problems begin.  My human body swims in the waters of a toxic, greed and power driven world and is subject to all its seductive but destructive charms.  Driven by a child-like focus on getting its way, this body continually seeks a way to switch to autopilot so that the soul can’t stop it from playing all the fun games this very material realm offers.  The soul, on the other hand, focuses on guiding the body/mind to an awareness that its God-given purpose is to let the love and light of God shine through it to transform the human world. That combination definitely has the makings of an epic conflict…a classic battle between the dark and the light.  This blend of body and soul is so volatile that it ignited almost immediately.  In fact, it began in the Garden of Eden with the snake and the apple.

There’s still a piece that I am missing somewhere.  Let me walk this path one step at a time. God sends us to this earth as spiritual beings on a human journey.  Our purpose is to grow to be the best that we can be, and we come equipped with everything we need to fulfill that purpose.  Well, that seems fairly straightforward and simple…so far.  Next, we have the choice between the light and the dark.  Again, this seems a brilliant and loving plan so that we can grow to be everything God created us to be.  So what is creating the feelings that I’m missing something?

Suddenly, it dawns on me.  I know!  The critical clue is the word “choice”!  God gave us free will, the power to choose between right or wrong and the power to choose between God and the world.  THAT’S THE PROBLEM – not God’s plan for us but rather the choices we make of our own free will.

Just as the most beautiful Waterford crystal lamp is created to shine and illuminate the space it occupies, we were created to shine so that our light can transform the world as well as ourselves.  And like the lamp, we are simply beautiful, but dark, vessels incapable of fulfilling our purpose unless connected to a power source.

Close your eyes.  Imagine you are standing on one of God’s glorious, pristine hillsides, currently dark and devoid of life.  You stand as a miraculous, but empty, vessel, full of promise that you can feel but never realize.  Suddenly, a glorious spot of heavenly light appears in the firmament.  You raise your eyes and your hands to the light and… CONNECT TO THE SOURCE OF ALL.    The love and light of God flows through you in beautiful and powerful waves.  You feel the power of perfect love coursing through you, infusing you with its power and peace.  You look around the hillside and see other humans choosing the light.  The hillside begins to shine with the reflected light of God’s love and your choice to live for Him.  You now know what it means to “shine as children do”.  You will never forget, and neither you nor the world will ever be the same.