My friend Justine is an amazing person. She’s raising her beautiful three-year-old daughter, holds down a job, and just completed the college classes necessary to earn certification as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

I don’t know how she does it. When our children were small, I thought I was accomplishing great things any time I managed to get dinner on the table. Worse, I had a tendency to stress out when life didn’t go exactly as I planned.

Justine has taught me some wise lessons about going with the flow and finding joy in small everyday things. Recently she was securing her daughter Natalie into her carseat, when Natalie asked, “Mommy, do you want a sticker?”

When Justice said yes, Natalie leaned forward and stuck the sticker right in the middle of her mom’s forehead. Then Natalie stuck one on her forehead, too.

I’m trying to imagine myself in Justine’s shoes at that moment –- how I might have reacted. Likely, I would have smiled -– kindly — and explained how grown-up mommies don’t wear stickers on their foreheads. And in doing that, I would have ruined an incredible opportunity to teach my child that love includes joining in the joyous games and fun times of childhood.

You can see by the photograph what Justine did. She left that sticker on her forehead, and she took a selfie. Then she shared the photo with her Facebook friends. Together she and Natalie taught a lot of us a precious lesson about being a great mom, about enjoying life, and about cherishing the wonderful gifts God gives us, especially in and through our children.

Justine’s reaction brings to mind one of my favorite Bible verses, which is also good advice — not only about parenting but about good health.

A cheerful heart is good medicine….” Proverbs 17:22 (Holy Bible, New International Version)

Thank you for sharing the cheerfulness, Justine and Natalie!

Story and photograph used with permission of Justine Hatfield. Photograph copyright, 2016, Justine Hatfield.


Sue Harrison

BIO: Novelist Sue Harrison is best known for her Alaska trilogies. Her novels, national and international bestsellers, have been published in more than 20 countries in 13 different languages. Her novel Mother Earth Father Sky was named by the American Library Association as a Best Books for Young Adults. Sue lives with her husband in Michigan, but has family here in Nebraska and love Nebraska's rich history. She is currently writing romantic suspense for the inspirational market. Catch up with Sue on her website and blog – .