The Day I Truly Began to Live

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably discovered a common theme in every post… This post is no different. — I’m posting it a day early. Do something special tomorrow, will you? It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary; truly, the best things to me are finding the extraordinary in the ordinary… 

Out of the 365 days in a year, I bet almost every one of us have at least one or two dates in the year, besides special birthdays, that we remember. Some of us recall good times on those dates or we recall bad times – things that changed our lives and caused us to live differently. One of those dates for me is December 1. I usually begin thinking about the date the week before it comes.

Over the years I’ve tried my best to do something that would make it a happy occasion. One year I held a fun dinner party for my family and friends, and we all wore funny Christmas hats. Ridiculous sounding, isn’t it? It was.

Christmas and the holidays are a difficult time for a lot of people – a busy time too. Besides choosing to do something “happy” on a day that brought me so much sadness as a preteen, I’ve also learned to do something daily and it can be something as simple as putting away all of my distractions [READ: cell phone] and just choosing to live in the moment and do silly things I did as a kid like finding funny shapes in the clouds.

This morning, while working out, I chose to take in the full magnificent view right in front of me. To me, it’s one of the most beautiful views in our rural county. Could you imagine a person not enjoying that view (pictured above) simply because they were too busy looking at a device or looking down just going along with their regular routine?

I’m thankful that over these past 35 years God continues to remind me daily never to take my life for granted, even though sometimes I still do. I’m guilty.

Today, I’m writing this post in honor of my brother Doug who chose to end his life on this day. He died on December 1, 1982. It was the day he died… and the day I truly began to live. Maybe it’s a day you decide to fully live too.

I love this song I just happened to find on a Google search. It’s a good one. Listen. God has great plans for all of us.

Make it a Merry Christmas

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One of my most vivid childhood Christmas memories involved reading Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” by the fireplace and catching a whiff of my favorite fuzzy pink slippers starting to smoke while my feet were propped up on the raised hearth. Though I was terrified momentarily, it was a good memory because I was snuggled-up, much like I am tonight, experiencing a beautiful “silent night” by our Christmas tree.

This morning I saw a young friend at the Post Office who I hadn’t seen in a long time. When she opened the door to leave, I said, “Merry Christmas!” and it felt so strange to hear those words coming out of my mouth… Where did the year go?

Those of you raising young children, enjoy the moments that seem to last forever… One day you will be like me looking at your sentimental Christmas ornaments that represent special events in your lives. When our family decorated our tree over the weekend, we had a good laugh about the most expensive ornament that had formally been presented to our eldest son by his orthodontist when he was young; his assistant actually made the suggestion that the Herbst appliance become an ornament in jest, but I loved the idea and we’ve hung it every year. It’s a little hard to find, but it has a red bow and sparks a funny memory much like the thought of my fuzzy pink slippers smoking.

Enjoy these final days of 2017, friends. Make it a Merry Christmas! Laugh, smile and remember.

Don’t be afraid to change-up your routine

I remember saying something in my 20s about not liking routines and my friend reminding me my life was made up of them: brushing teeth, doing laundry, checking mail, paying bills, etc. Of course it was. We humans are creatures of habit. Some of our routines may include habits we’re not proud of, but we have them, and they’re really hard to change if we aren’t constantly on guard wanting to make each day better than the day before.

For example, over the summer I realized when I came home from work to an empty house that was usually filled with active boys that if I didn’t open the blinds and let the light in and find something to do with my time that a sadness would come over me. Now, I doubt my boys at college were experiencing the same sadness I was, lol, but they too were experiencing a change in their normal routine.

Besides doing something as simple as opening the blinds, I jumped right in and started taking two online college classes at FSU and am now counting down the days for them to end. Those classes completely have occupied my time at home after work more than I would like, but I definitely have gained useful skills and will take a final class in the spring to earn a web design and development certificate, which I desperately needed to do to update my skills in an ever evolving world of technology. So, it’s been good. A good change.

Routines. Change. Mindfulness. Prayerfulness.

Being mindful and prayerful about our daily activities really is the key to finding joy in each day. It’s one of those routines I’ve been practicing most all of my life that my friend reminded me of in my young adult years and I’m so glad she did.

This song I posted above is actually one of those songs that was part of my running routine in college that kept me on track. Even now I find myself smiling when I listen to it, especially when I run, which hasn’t been often and is definitely something I’ve realized is missing in my current routine that I need to add again.

Don’t be afraid to change-up your routine. We only have one life. Let’s make it great!