Love your life better.

This is my son’s hand on our most recent camping expedition, which he said had it’s very own smiley face!  I love his view on life!  I actually saw the face before he mentioned it and I was thrilled he could see it too.  But then, he could find a rainbow in a swamp! Which is funny because he is also quite capable of the reverse.  He is an optimist at heart but, after living almost a whole decade on this planet, he has learned things can take a turn for the worst and so he harbors doubt and a pessimistic streak, (honestly inherited from his mother) but, when we are camping and away from the norms of obligation, except when he still had to take the trash away from camp to the dumpster much to his chagrin, he visibly relaxes and the world is his to manipulate into a series of joyful events.  Especially the ocean, he tells me the smell relaxes him. Agreed!  After all, it’s my ocean!  (In the same way it was his Ireland in Braveheart).
 
I was reading a comment on a blog of Mike Rowe today and as so often happens with auto correct and lack of proofreading, someone mistakenly wrote how Mike is a great philanthropist who helps people to “love their lives better.”  I am one of those…yes the one of those who expect some sort of review before posting something and cringe at the misspelling or just plain misuse of verbiage all over.  But, I am improving in my area of raising awareness.  My children are corrected because they are learning the right way to present themselves in written and spoken forms, the rest of you grown ups, I expect a little more from, really but, I have ceased pointing out the glaring errors and focus on polishing my own glass house, stones and all. For the most part we can all translate the correct intimation of what was written and said and go on our merry way.  And sometimes, errors lead to whimsical enlightenments never achieved with absolute correctness.
 
So, I know the author of this faux pas meant to type “live” but, I also like the quirky syntax of “love your life better”.  Hence,  I immediately thought of the picture above. Time and time again my son, minus his cynical side, chooses to love life better.  It’s not just seeing a smile in the sand.  He was at the ocean, what’s not to be cheery about?  He makes a subconscious effort to make life better.  If, (really it’s more of when) he hears his sister make a terrific noise, possibly registering on the richter scale and he does not hear her characteristic “I’m all right!”, he is usually faster than me in investigating and comforting she who has fallen.  When, being the gentleman he was raised to be, he holds a door open for me, I may have to wait another full 2 or 3 minutes because he saw someone half a football field away, who may need use of his particular door, of the 4 in a row surrounding him.   I’ve never hurried him, just encouraged his desire to help others.
 
I am in constant awe of his perspective of life’s little disappointments.  He opened a deck of cards with biblical people featured on each one and the Joseph card was torn, brand new deck, just one torn in the middle of the deck.  I’m thinking sarcastically, “good quality control”, especially after he tells me his last deck has the same card torn the exact same way.  He considers it a moment and says, “Honestly, I can understand why it’s torn.”  I’m thinking to myself, how on earth can he understand this, what’s there to understand?  But, I say out loud: “You can?  Why would it be torn?”  The reply comes out smooth and unassumed, “Well, because Joseph’s brothers tore his coat when they threw him in the pit so…it fits!”  And with a shrug of his shoulders, he is off to inspect whether the two Joseph cards are indeed torn the same way. 
 
I can honestly say my mild mannered son makes me love my life better.  He makes me look deeper and I’m an analyzer at heart but, he helps me keep my bitter side in check.  Are you able to weave the little disappointments into a bigger tapestry of joy? If not, do you have someone who can show you how?  Share the silly things in life, see a smile in the sand and share it with someone else, the memory is made all the sweeter when someone else shares your point of view.
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Didn’t your mom teach you to share? You are not alone!

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Most of us were taught some form of communal awareness at a young age, a hug for comfort or an appreciation of someone else’s efforts, and if by chance we missed it, upon reaching maturity, it becomes obvious there are a lot of advantages and a purpose to sharing with others, whether it be food or chores or anything else you can remember Mom telling you to share with siblings or friends.  Yet, in today’s world, we turn our back on such a basic principle and think we are an island of our own self made opportunity, unwilling to share our deepest pain and still expecting others to bond with us and not understanding why it isn’t happening.

I had the great privilege to speak to a wonderful group of women from a local church today and they were so very gracious to me, before and after I spoke, both are equally important!  It is interesting to get up in front  of a group of people you do not know (well, I knew two out of the 22 people), and speak for half an hour without being able to gauge your audience.  While I am usually a good read of people, this was held at a restaurant and there was eating going on, and shifting of plates, all of which makes for a more relaxed atmosphere and yet, it is harder to tell the measure of your impact.  I wanted to inspire these ladies to be brave and bold and speak out to others about their life experiences by sharing some of my personal pain and suffering for the exact reason of showing them what it’s like to share and give them that A-Ha! moment.  I want them to feel strong enough to open up and reach out and build relationships, meaningful, deep binding relationships to support each other and build community.  The only way to do this is to become unguarded, not just open the mouth and let loose about stories that are not yours alone to tell but, after guarding your heart in the Word of God and, being sure of the One who made you, stepping out of yourself and reaching out to someone else who might just be in the very same boat as you and has been dying to have a warm body to talk to but, thought they were all alone.  The overwhelming response of the women who came up to me afterwards was humbling and amazing!  So many different ages and backgrounds were represented and yet, each of the ladies who approached me related to something they heard, it resonated with them, they could identify closely with something I shared and there was a spark of purpose in some eyes, compassion in others as well as genuine appreciation.  How exciting is that?!

I know God is starting something big in their midst and I will be praying they keep being sensitive to where He is leading them, and keep growing in each other by sharing and building those relationships we were designed to have with others.  I look forward to hearing about what is being accomplished!

Murphy really needs a vacation!

Despite not turning on my alarm last night, I was awoken by two sweet children hopping in my bed for a quick snuggle before the first day of school.  Cue chirping birds here.  All is smooth and lovely until I realize the alarm didn’t go off but, I’m still good on time so I enjoy my peaceful beginning and untangling myself from my children,  I serenely float down tge hall to say goodbye to my husband.  Little did I know, when he left for work,  I was not waving goodby but apparently hello to Murphy.   Honestly,  how many things can go wrong in one morning?   The children were out of toothpaste, somehow someone must have eaten a midnight snack of the tube I saw in there last night when I checked for signs of any delay we may have for this auspicious morning.   Apparently,  the same person must have been in desperate need of a change of clothes because my daughter stood naked as the day she was born in her room and yelled oh so sweetly down the hall for, “UNDERWEEEEEEAAAAAARRRRR!”, yes there was underwear last night, when I checked, deciding to try this whole, lay- your-outfit-down-on-the-night-before-thing-so-you’re-not-naked-and-screaming-down-the-hall-in-the-morning,  thing i hear is so successful for others.  (Are you sensing a pattern here?)  Aforementioned intruder also absconded with clean underwear in the dryer, at least it was drying last night, when I…wait for it…checked!  Pancakes went off without a hitch,  and if you disregard the infernal, more secure than Fort Knox packing tape on the thermos which when finally destroyed, resulted in the spoon being launched across the kitchen, so did the lunches I packed! My son reminds me I probably still have time for a shower which makes me realize I’m still in my pajamas, bless his little heart!  Probably not the outfit my boss wants to see me in at my meeting this morning!   Somehow all is assembled, almost time to go and my vitamin slips out of my hand onto the floor,  it’s bright pink on a grey stone patterned floor,  how hard is that to find, you ask?  I decided to leave it for Murphy,  he needs a little pick me up after his busy morning!