North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


February 8, 2013

Danielle Cater: Family time is priceless — make it count

COMMENTARY — As I sit here with my daughters and engage myself in a rather intense coloring contest, I am reminded of the importance of family. Since my family just recently doubled in size, it is even more apparent to me that nothing compares to the closeness of family.

I agree with many people who feel as though friends can come incredibly close to family. But there is still something about family that can’t be replaced with a friendship. Don’t get me wrong, there are areas in my life where my girlfriends are much closer to me than my blood family. There are corners of my world that my family would probably rather not be a part of, so I reserve those crazy corners for friends who can bear to be with me there.

But the most intimate and close areas of my life are reserved for family. Nothing compares to the joys that come with good family time. Just tonight, on a random Friday night, I found myself dancing in the kitchen with my daughters and my husband. That’s the moment that it hit me — life is good. Family helps to make life better. I guess God really knew what He was talking about when He stressed the importance of putting Him first and followed that closely with family. Nothing on this earth should come before your family — not your job, your church, your education; nothing.

When our families are functioning correctly, it seems that all is right with the world, but when things are out of order in our families, nothing in the world seems right. You can have your finances in order, get a raise at work and even get along with your in-laws, but if things are rough under the roof of your house, then none of the other stuff matters. This is why it is so vitally important that we invest our time and efforts in things that matter most.

Instead of sinking your mind deeply into the new “CSI: Miami” series, turn off the television and crank up the radio and have a dance contest with your kids. Instead of raking the leaves and moving them to the burn pile, make huge piles of leaves in the yard and then have diving contests with the kiddos. I guarantee that they will be more than happy to help rake up the piles if they think there is going to be some fun, family time hidden in there.

The most important things in life aren’t bought; they are memories made with the ones you love. Stop running around thinking about the next big thing and learn to enjoy the moment with the ones you are with. Instead of spending your time texting someone who doesn’t care enough to be in the same room with you, lock up your phone and look across the table at the person who made the effort to be there with you. If it’s your husband or wife, take the time to appreciate them for being there with you. They cared enough to take time out of their busy schedule to be with you. Make your time count. Make your family your first priority and you’ll never regret it.

Your children are going to grow up too quickly. Your parents are going to eventually pass away. Your spouse is going to have off days that seem like they last for months. Enjoy what you have today. Live in the moment and make that moment count with the ones that matter the most in your life.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to this coloring contest before it turns into a dance contest. Wherever this night takes us, this family is going to have a good time because we care enough about each other to make our nights together count.


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  • Danielle Cater: Life is precious from the beginning

    The media is all abuzz this week over the story of a woman who apparently gave birth to seven babies in the last 10 years without anyone’s knowledge, then killed her babies and stored them in boxes in her garage.

    April 24, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014

  • Commentary: Bad vacation attitudes won't last forever

    In these photos, everyone else in the family is smiling as if this were their favorite vacation of all times, but I am huffing with my arms crossed and a literal frown on my face.

    March 26, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: I’ll never live down running out of gas

    Have you ever had one of those days where you are functioning on four hours of sleep, and yet you still have to get up at 5:45 a.m. to get the family to church by 7 a.m. on the other side of town? After church you run home to get ready for your 6-year-old’s birthday party and then head straight back to church to help with the services until after 9 p.m.? That just might be a good description of our Sunday afternoon. Whoever said “easy like Sunday morning” obviously didn’t have kids and probably didn’t go to church.

    March 20, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Most people aren’t politically correct

    I probably work in the wrong profession to hate political correctness, but I do. I can’t stand it when I feel as if I need to walk on eggshells all the time to keep from hurting people’s feelings. I don’t try to be excessively offensive, but people are so easily offended these days, it’s almost impossible not to tick someone off by everything that you say or do.

    March 14, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Lessons, fun times make retreats enjoyable

    I did something recently that is apparently out of the ordinary for most people. I went to a marriage conference while I was not in the midst of marital problems.

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks to Gardendale citizens for hospitality

    We, along with many other travelers, spent the next two days and nights in your splendid center. We are of the opinion that we couldn’t have been stranded in a better place.

    February 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be sure to give your kids what they need

    Once the snow melted this week, life went back to normal and we all found ourselves busy with our regular day-to-day activities, and trying to catch up on everything we had put on the back burner during the snow days.
    Our household had a busy weekend, and among the events of the weekend, we celebrated our second birthday in three weeks. That’s right, our perfectly-blended family has given us two daughters who celebrate birthdays within three weeks of each other.

    February 18, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Find excitement in the boring days

    Many people got to take a vacation day this past Monday for MLK Day. What this day stands for is a great cause and an issue that should be addressed, but for many people, it was just another holiday.
    Our office is like most other offices, so we were open to the public Monday. But since schools and daycares were closed, I got the privilege of staying home with the four best daughters in the world. We started off the day with the attitude of fun.

    January 22, 2014