Shine On a Parade

Dear Lindsey,

My mom woke me one Pennsylvania morning on my birthday and told me God had wrapped my present in white, if I would just look outside. (SNOW!) Although, I had always wished for one of those cool pool-party-birthdays my friends had in the summer, my parents had a way of making my birthday special just five days before Christmas.

Mom never wrapped my birthday present in Christmas paper, but went through the

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

inconvenience of getting the “out of season” birthday paper to make my day different. I was the envy of my brothers (I was sure) when I got presents two days in the same week.

Then some adult came and rained on my parade.

“You must hate having a Christmas birthday!” the adult had said.

“What’s there to hate?” was my thought, but what I said at that young age was, “yeah,” in agreement with the adult, and my heart searched for reasons to hate it.

I am reminded of this every June 10th, because I remember a time someone rained on my son’s parade.  That date was already special to me because it is my friend’s birthday, but then we became parents on June 10th of 1997, an answer to many prayers! June 10th’s value multiplied when our second son was ALSO born on that same date three years later. I had painted their shared birthday with a positive brush, the same way my mother had painted my Christmas birthday with positive. My boys always get double cakes. (Although sometimes they help me and one requests cupcakes, cookies, or cookie dough instead!) Their uncles often call one, hang up and then call the other so they get double calls. They can “party hardy” together – and will have it in common all through adulthood. AND they can sing the song, “You say it’s your birthday? It’s my birthday too, yeah!” and really mean it!

Casey was four or five, when some adult came into his life and said, “You must hate sharing a birthday with your brother. That stinks.” I watched my son’s sky turn a little gray as he probably contemplated why it was a bad thing; he had never known any different.

It must be easier to rain on a parade than shine on it.

When my milk-allergic son was two, eating a frozen banana covered with sprinkles, enjoying every minute of it, someone at the store decided to shower some rain, “You can never have ice cream? Never? I couldn’t LIVE if I were you!”

Someone recently drizzled on my daughter, “You might be able to put dew from the grass on your face and wipe off those freckles.”

I know I know: some of those negative comments are from people just trying to be fun. Some are trying to “relate,” but too often un-contemplated words are just a form of precipitation on a parade! (My husband has spent hours counting the freckles on my daughter’s face – so I am thinking the “wiping the freckles off” comment didn’t stick, but I could practically see her thoughts:  “Am I supposed to want to wipe them off?”)

Small talking at graduation parties recently, I saw my own tendency toward rain as thoughts crossed my mind during conversations. It IS easier to bring up negative subjects, spread negative news, or in other words: rain on the parade. But we are not called to the easier path. We CAN paint some positive into peoples’ lives. What if we encouraged the mother of the handicapped child, instead of pointing out how difficult her life is? (She already knew that part.) What if we told the person getting married that he is going to LOVE married life, instead of pointing out the ball and chain?  What if we stop negatively saying, “You sure have your hands full!” to the mom with five young kids in the store and instead we say, “Wow, I bet you have some joyful times coming in your house!” What if we told someone in a storm of life that without the rain, a sun can never make a rainbow?

Do you remember someone who brought out the sun in your parade called life?

I remember what I considered, “messing up” a reading at church during the Christmas program when I was ten. Afterward, the minister’s wife came to me (as if she hadn’t even heard my error) and said, “You are a beautiful reader!”

Her husband immediately interjected, “And you read well too!”

Ha! That one pierced through some clouds.


I have told it before (when Shouting Out to my Dad) that when I had burned the cookies, and my brothers were making fun as brothers do, my father came in, took a bite and exclaimed, “Finally! Cookies made just the way I like them!!” That one still makes me smile – shining sun onto my parade thirty years later!

A most memorable sun shined into my life in February of 2010. A man sent an email to my husband with the subject title, “Should there be a second author in the Brady house?” This was a strange, “out of the blue” comment from someone I was yet to meet. Attached to the letter was a fifteen-page pdf presentation encouraging me to write. Apparently Russ Mack, who had helped get Chris’s best seller published, had seen me speak on stage somewhere with Chris.  The first page of his document had a copy of the “NY Times Best Selling Author” award from my husband’s book, Launching a Leadership Revolution, but Russ had Photoshopped an “s” on the end, so the ribbon now said, “NY Times Best Selling Authors.”

For fifteen pages, Russ quoted Benjamin Franklin, (“We should all write something worth reading or live something worth writing.”) and others and told me “Somewhere, somebody is looking for exactly what you have to offer.”  Since he was involved in marketing books, there was weight to his opinion that was both flattering and humbling to me. His sun was high in the sky, shining on my parade.

Despite little response from me and nothing in it for him, his encouragement didn’t stop. A few weeks later, he emailed me again to see if I had thought through his proposal. I must admit, I couldn’t figure out why he would continue encouraging me, especially since I had told him, “thanks, but no thanks.”

In 2011, another letter came, “It looks like the world still needs your wisdom.”  Later that year, within one week of the first letter of this blog, this Russ Mack sent me another email telling me he knew it would be a success.  I was shocked he had already found my blog, since I had not told him. Another letter came the next year. His sun shined brightly and consistently.

Although I only actually met him once or twice, I consider Russ’s encouragement such a blessing. He was such a sun on my parade.

But suns set.  Berkshire Sunset

Last week, Russ’s sun set, when he lost his battle to cancer and went to be with the Lord.

Though I did not know him well, I can tell you that the effects of his sun will warm and give light to my life and many others’.

May we each follow his example of shining onto the parades of others’ lives.

Encourage when there’s nothing in it for you.

Encourage again, even if there’s no acknowledgment.

Be positive toward others, even when you feel like your own life is a little cloudy, and you will be surprised how the sun reflects back on your own parade.

And one day, like Russ, when your sun is set, the effects will shine on the parades of others for years to come.

God bless,

1Thes 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Related Posts

If I am to be Queen, I Shall Be a Good One

In 1831 in Great Britain, a little girl was studying English history. Reading through the royal lineage, she saw her own family tree and innocently realized that she was to be the next queen. The thought overwhelmed her and her tears drew the attention of her tutor. The little girl explained her plight and her tutor confirmed her destiny. It was recorded that day that the young Victoria said, “If I am to be queen, I shall be a good one.”

Of course, Queen Victoria reigned through much of the peaceful 1800’s so well, that the Victorian era is renown as a pleasant one. Furniture and architecture styles bear her name.

When talking with other wives, I am often asked questions like: How do I get my husband to be a spiritual leader? Or how can I motivate my husband to do more?

My answer is not an easy one – and I didn’t like it when I first came to this conclusion:

If I want to be married to a king, I must determine to be a good queen.

A Chess piece.

Last week, I read the book of Esther. Following a series of sermons on Esther that my pastor did last year, it struck me how much Esther had to do to be queen!! The year’s worth of beauty treatment and selection process alone are evidence of the Almighty hand in this suspenseful, twisting, true tale of a heroine. (I highly recommend reading that little 10-chapter book of the Bible again NOW!) But the biggest thing that struck me during the book this time was the respect with which she treated the king.

I have been guilty in the past of looking at other women married to successful men and thinking wow! It must be cool to be treated like a queen! I can’t say I ever really thought about what it would take to behave like one.

I come from the same educational background as my husband: engineering. We both had high scores on the GRE (100% in logic – I know…GEEKville), went to the same college and had companies pay tuition through our scholarships. We went to work in the automotive industry. He worked on engine components; I worked on transmission components and together, we made the car go:).

It is a blessing when a woman can use her abilities to work outside of the home, when she has her Biblical priorities in line (Proverbs 31, for example)…but I hope her husband still feels like a king.

Too often, a woman will use her God-given talents to advance her family, (Her heart is right.) but somehow end up turning her husband into a pawn instead of a king, and then wonder why her husband won’t act like a king. (Of course, I would be equally disappointed with a man treating his wife as anything less than his queen, but I digress from my point in this letter…)

Maybe there’s something to this “act-like-a-queen” stuff!

A spiritual leader will be his best when he has spiritual followers.

I am no linguisticologist (although I can make up words!), but it seems like the word, “encourage,” would break down into “in” and “courage” or, “to put courage into.” (And “discourage,” would be the opposite, or: “to take courage out.”) I don’t know about you, but I always do more when someone is pumping courage into me. What if we pumped courage into our kings? Then we would be queens!

I recently read a blog which inspired me to make my own list of ways to encourage my husband. I am sharing the first 20, but I would love if you attached comments to add more!

Look out, ladies! This past weekend, I read this list aloud to a mixed-gender crowd of a few thousand people in Louisville, KY. I was shocked by the response of the men, who shouted, “Read more! Read more!”

I guess men, like women…and kings, like queens, crave encouragement. Don’t wait to receive in order to give it.

Make your own list… And then live it.

Determine to be a good queen.

20 Ways to encourage your husband:

  1. Enjoy a great time in the bedroom with him.
  2. Send him an email that lists the A-Z things you love about him. (If you can’t do this, it may be part of the problem. Think harder and longer; take your time…even a letter a day.)
  3. Know what his dreams are and make a scrapbook out of them for his review.
  4. Ask him not what he can do for you, but what you can do for him. It is not, “Do unto others only if they do unto you,” but “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”(Matthew 7:12)
  5. If he is concerned about eating healthy, prepare meals that align with his desires and have them ready. If he would rather eat differently, treat him like an adult…an adult king.
  6. Do “his chores” for a week, expecting nothing.
  7. When he fails, forgive quickly.
  8. Leave him a note in his briefcase or lunch bag, for example: “I am so glad to be YOUR queen.”
  9. Write his goals on the bathroom mirror with dry-erase marker (if he likes your encouragement on his goals, and if he likes to keep his goals to himself – let him! After all, aren’t there some goals we girls like to keep to ourselves, too? :)).
  10. Take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise, so you are the best queen. If you can’t live with yourself, it’s virtually impossible for anyone else to live with you either. Self-discipline helps so many more than yourself, but I could write another whole letter on that subject alone!!
  11. Let him be his own boss. (Too often, I am the captain of the ship when Chris travels and it is easy to let my command-giving fall onto the king’s ears when he returns. – Not a good method of encouragement :))
  12. INITIATE a great time in the bedroom.
  13. Buy his favorite soda.
  14. Have the kids make a “Yay, Daddy!” party complete with notes why they love him.
  15. Talk nicely about him to others, in front of him and behind his back.
  16. Be his advocate when speaking to your kids. Stand up for him, even if you need to buy time, for e.g.. : “I am sure Daddy didn’t mean it that way. He loves you. When he gets home, you can talk to him and clear it up.” How a child talks about his dad tells me A LOT about his mom.
  17. Don’t keep score. “his hours of free time” “his money spent” “his reading time”
  18. Greet him at the door in lingerie (First, make sure he’s not bringing business partners home with him that night!)
  19. Protect his time. Don’t invite people over, or to ride to an event with you, or stay with you, unless he agrees. Your “followership” encourages his leadership.
  20. Stop what you are doing when he comes in the door. (Don’t be on the phone if you are expecting him.) GREET him as though you are happy to see him! “What you have done for the least of these, you have done unto me,” said THE King. (Matt 25:35-40)

Feel free to add more in the comments below…(and kings could anonymously give us queens some ideas, too…)

I can see the crown beginning to grow on your head!

In love,

Terri Brady

Recommended Reading

Esther, of the Bible

Sexual Intimacy within Marriage by Cutrer and Glahn (Good for marriage – with or without existing physical problems.)

Intended for Pleasure by Ed and Gaye Wheat

His Needs Her Needs by Harley, Jr.

Becoming the Woman of His Dreams  by  Sharon Jaynes- My FAVORITE marriage book: what 300 men wish they had in a wife (and it had nothing to do with chest size! Phew!)

King & Queen