Monday, March 26, 2018

Hallmark of Spring

North Carolina is adopting the look and fragrance of spring. I love the hope and new life this season ushers in after the long winter. The flowering dogwood tree is a hallmark of our stateits blossom, our state flower. 

It's doubtful the dogwood tree was used for the cross of Christ as suggested in the well-known legend of the dogwood, but this beautiful flowering tree blooms during the Easter season and its distinctive blossoms remind Christians of Christ's death and resurrection.

The tree’s pink or white blossoms have two long and two short petals that form the shape of a cross. Each petal contains a red-stained indentation representative of the nail prints and the blood of Christ. The cluster of stamens in the center of the bloom symbolizes his crown of thorns.

As you breathe in the beauty and fragrance of the dogwoods this spring, know that the story of Christ's death and resurrection is far from legendary. From his suffering came forgiveness and new life for all who believe and receive him as  Lord and Savior.

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18, NASB).

Now it's your turn: Share an early Easter memory or tradition.

I always welcome your comments.

Have a blessed Easter, 


Legend of the Dogwood Tree:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Reasons to Smile Book Winners

 " I thank my God every time I remember you."
Philippians 1:3, NIV 

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday's Reasons to Smile book giveaway. Whether you subscribed to my blog, dropped in to browse, left a comment, or blessed someone with a random act of kindness to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, I can assure you, you gave this gal a reason to smile. 

As promised a Reasons to Smile gift book will be on the way to two new blog subscribers. Congratulations to Pam Flippin and Becky Cortino whose names were selected at random from my jar of dreams. Please private message me your addresses so I can get your books to you. 

Thanks again to everyone who visited my Bringing Life into Focus blog. I hope you'll return.

Blessings, Starr

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

World Down Syndrome Day

Hi Everyone...Today is World Down Syndrome Day. To celebrate give someone a reason to smile with a random act of kindness. And don't forget to sign up for the random drawing for the Reasons to Smile books. I'll announce two winners  tomorrow. You'll find the details on my previous post. Thank you! Hugs, Starr

Monday, March 19, 2018

Down Syndrome Awareness Giveaway

My husband and I are privileged to be the parents of a beautiful daughter with Down Syndrome. God placed Ashley in our care 42 years ago to love, protect, guide, and teach. Today, I look back through the years and question who is teaching whom.

Ashley exhibits more unconditional love and grace for life's journey than most of us will begin to comprehend. Although she chooses not  to converse a lot, I stand amazed at the impact she continues to have on the lives of those who know her and witness her sweet spirit and winning smile. Regardless of how our day has gone, Ashley continues to give us reasons to smile.

In 2016, two of my stories and photos of Ashley as a child were published in a book called Reasons to Smile: Celebrating People Living with Down Syndrome I’m honored that my stories were accepted and published along with 50+ others from around the world.

On Wednesday, March 21st in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day,  I will give away two of these beautiful photo gift books by random drawing. To earn a chance to win one of these beautiful books (1) subscribe to my blog by typing your email address in the sidebar above and (2) type Celebrate Down Syndrome Day in the comment section of this post. I’ll announce the winners on Thursday, March 22nd.


Good luck and thank you for visiting my blog today through Wednesday in honor of families living with Down syndrome. 

Starr Ayers

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Something to Crow About

“I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!” —Peter Pan

Chiming in on this mantra as a child, seemed like a noble quest—like something I should crow about—but in reality, as an adult, I know this way of thinking is only fun in fairy tales. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for fun and games, but refusing to own up to grown-up attitudes and responsibilities ushers in mountains of hardship and pain, not only for me but for others.

God’s word tells us, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV).

What childish ways do you hold onto? In what areas do you refuse to grow up? Have you spoken like a child, thought like a child, or acted like a child lately?

I think not, you say?

Think again.

When was the last time you insisted on your own way? Took something that wasn’t yours? Didn’t care what others thought? Wasted time? Talked about someone behind their back or spoke unkind words to their face?

Stings, doesn't it?

Believe me. I feel your pain.

Perhaps we should change our mantra. How does this sound? "I wanna grow up.
I wanna grow up. I wanna grow up. That's me!"

Yep! Letting go of our childish ways is definitely something to grow as well as crow about.

Ready? All together now...