Love Fiercely

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Sometimes we are in a constant state of busy and distraction. It’s easy to forget that our life has a predetermined set of days, hours and minutes. We get so caught up in the things that don’t matter that we don’t leave enough time for the people who do. Look up from whatever it is you’re doing. Eliminate the things that do not serve you and keep the things and people who do. Never withhold love or attention from someone because you are nursing anger or disappointment. Love them anyway and love them fiercely. One day you will wake up and either your clock or theirs will have run out. I wish we could pop in a magic battery to steal a few extra minutes we overlooked before. We get one chance to love people and one chance to be loved. We can never get the time back that we wasted but we can learn from our mistakes and make our time count. It’s time to step out of ourselves and let others know they do matter.

Saying goodbye is so hard but living without someone is even harder. Love people in a way that leaves an imprint on their heart and allow them to leave one on yours as well. At the end of our lives it won’t matter how many miles we’ve run or how much money we’ve made. What will matter is how much time and love we received and how much we gave with genuine heartfelt and powerful intensity. The kind that stays with us forever whether we are in this world or onto the next. So love fiercely and make each minute of your clock count. Time is a gift. Give it freely.

Death

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Death. It’s everywhere I look this week. I just flew home on a plane from my father in laws memorial service. In the blink of an eye, a life is over. As I was exiting the plane I overheard a conversation between two men in the seat next to me. “Yeah, I just flew home three weeks ago to bury my dad and today I am back to say goodbye to my mom”. 

Death evens the score. It reminds us that the ending is the same regardless of how life begins or how we roll through the middle. Doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, happy or sad. Time eventually runs out and all we can do is sit and wait.

My cat is dying. She is wasting away before my eyes. An animal who was once so fearful of leaving the house just wants to sit outside. I am out here with her fighting back tears that are too strong to contain.  I let them dampen my face. It’s been a humbling week. One that will stay with me for quite a while. It’s a peaceful night. Except for the sound of a bird chirping, all I can hear is the gentle flow of the wind. Let it blow through I remind myself. The pain, the regrets, the fear…so many questions. What have I done with the time I’ve been given? Have I loved enough? The cat sits at my feet and the unspoken words between us are too painful to explain. I know and she knows and we just sit here quietly side by side. Have I lived my own life like this silly cat? Have I too stared out the window too afraid to walk outside? I wonder if it’s a message, a lesson that she leaves for me so that maybe one day I can feel the same freedom she feels here tonight. I’ve had this cat for as long as I can remember. I’ve had her longer than my 15 year old son. She started out in Texas and made the move to Indiana and Oklahoma. She was my constant companion through every move. She was a quiet presence of strength and love.

Death is a creeper. I feel it in the shadows as I struggle to make peace with it. It’s been a long couple of days and I am feeling really tired. Maybe tonight I will get some sleep. For now, I will sit with sweet Jimgles a little bit longer. I want this moment to linger. Maybe, just for now, time will stand still and let me enjoy her a few minutes longer. Maybe this last night is all we have. There’s no way to ever know.

We Get One Dance

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Everytime I hear news about the passing of another friend, I am reminded about how fragile life really is. I think I have so much time but the truth is I waste so much of it on silly nonsense. Like everyone else, I allow myself to become engulfed by the things that I have no control over and those things take away what is most precious and valuable, my time. On a day like today when the sobering truth is staring me in the face, I don’t care about who the next president will be or what latest news headline is causing dissent among my people. I care about those moments I feel energized and alive. I think about those times I take a good, deep breath and am grateful for exactly where I am. I can’t help and wonder if many of us get this thing called life so very wrong. We get one dance around the sun. I don’t want to race around. I want to take it slowly and enjoy every step and person I meet along the way. The problem is most are so busy rushing around they don’t even see me there. Today, throw your hands in the air and shake your hips until the smile is plastered on your face. Have fun, be in the moment and dance.

A Mark On My Heart

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I love you was the last thing she would ever say to me. As I looked into her beautiful eyes, my heart knew this would be the last time, this was really goodbye.

I had no idea when I decided to volunteer for Hospice how attached I could become to another human being in such a short time. I was telling my dad how deeply affected I was by the recent death of a patient I had grown to love. His response took me by surprise. “It’s not good to get attached.” I knew he was wrong. I had come to understand that being completely open to embracing someone with my whole heart was one of the most beautiful gifts I would ever know. Tonight I am in pain. As the rain falls against my window, my tears fall onto my pillow. I am comforted by the fact that my sweet little lady finally got her wish to go back home. I will miss her sweet face and the warmth of her hand and I am a better person because our lives touched, if only for a moment. Timing is everything and I believe everyone we meet serves a purpose. Our short time will leave a mark on my heart. I hope she knew just how special she was to me.

How Do You Live?

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A girl I went to school with lost her battle to cancer today. One thing I know for sure is you can learn so much about living from someone who knows she’s dying. There is no time for the nonsense. No time to stress over a kid getting a bad grade. No time to stress over an argument, your favorite sports team losing a game. It is so insignificant, all of it. The things we get ourselves crazy over seem so unimportant on a day like this. So how can we do it? How can we remember that everyday is a gift and tomorrow is never promised? The truth is we are all dying. Every day we do live is also one less we have left to live. Find a way to live like today is your last day. We don’t have time to sweat the small stuff. It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. How will you choose to live today? What changes do you need to make?

Accepting What You Cannot Change

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When the truth fits, you have no choice but to wear it no matter how it feels. When it comes to clothes, we can pick and choose what feels good on us. If something looks great, we wear it often and wear it proudly. Life though doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes we have to wear the most uncomfortable thing imaginable day after day after day, no matter how much we yearn to take it off. We must learn to be comfortable in something that may even hurt us. 

45 will embrace me in a few months. There are so many things that I have loved about my 40’s. These years have been like a comfortable, soft, cozy sweatshirt. I know who I am now yet I am open to changing everyday. I am proud of who I am and content with my life exactly how it is. There’s only one thing that haunts me. The truth hit me right in the heart and I’ve been silently suffering in pain ever since. That life I love so much is about to change and I can’t help but wonder, am I ready for it? I don’t think I could ever be ready for something like this. That big, cozy sweater is unraveling string by string and I am naked and exposed to what is underneath. A big sense of who I am and what I consider my life is about to come crashing down. Like it or not, I am entering a time in my life where the inevitability of losing both my children and possibly my parents is not too far away. No wonder I can’t sleep at night. No wonder I am battling depression and feeling moments of anxiety and panic. If I didn’t, what kind of person would I be?

They say you can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge so even as I type these words, I feel a sense of relief. I have unscrewed the lid just enough to allow the pressure and air to slip out to survive another day with a peaceful heart and a gracious smile.

Can I change the future? No I can’t but I also can’t ruin the present by focusing only on what’s ahead. I must embrace, more than ever before, the blessings in my life right here and now. What do you think? Will you join me?

Sometimes Death Teaches A Lesson That Comes Too Late

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Kiddy Rock died today. Several years ago, my brother brought a cat home from college. Kids were abusing her and he felt the need to go on a rescue mission. That cat never left my mothers house again. The truth is, I never really liked the cat. She would stand underneath every step you tried to take until you gave her what she finally wanted. She never stopped meowing and I have to admit she was really annoying. Today though, I surprisingly shed a few tears for her. Like most of us, she just wanted to be seen and heard. Don’t we all want attention? The difference is that cat didn’t have too much pride to demand the attention she craved. Most of us feel the same loneliness and yearning for love that she did. Why are we so selfish with what we can give? Why is it so hard to love people the way they want to be loved and give them our time and attention? Why does it take losing a person or a pet to realize how crappy we were to them in the time they were in our lives? My son loves that cat. We were just home a few weeks ago and I heard my mother ask who put a towel out by the front door? I knew it was him so she had something soft and warm to lay on. His heart is enormous and his heart will be broken. We should all love someone or something that much. We should all be so kind. Do it. Start today. Be kind. Pay attention to those people in your life who are craving your attention. Love them today while you still can because tomorrow is never promised.

Missing So Many Today

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I’m not really sure if I chose the right time to taper my depression medication. I am hoping by the time the holidays are over, I will be off of them for good. As I sit here quietly thinking about the family members who have passed away, I can’t help but shed a few tears. People come and go into our lives and they change us. Some for the better and others for worse but the ones we hold dearly never completely slip away.  Their lessons, their memory, their kind words and their smile live in very special part of our hearts. It seems like yesterday that I was a teenager sitting in a room full of relatives, surrounded by an amazing circle of love. It saddens me to know many of those special people haven’t been a part of my life in several years. Every Thanksgiving I allow myself to remember. I sit in the pain, in my loneliness and I quietly grieve for their loss. I also remind myself that life is so much shorten than we ever imagine and it is so important to make memories with the people I am still blessed to have a part of my life. My heart is so full knowing in three short days I will return to place I grew up. The house that built me will be standing strong with a faint memory of my grandmother standing in the window waiting for me to pull in the drive. I still feel her presence today. Take time to look around your table over this long weekend. Be grateful for every person, every day, every memory and for all the wonderful times that are still to come. Count your blessings. Count them a hundred times and allow that special love to fill your heart and tuck it away where you can pull it back out whenever you need it most. 

A Heavy Heart

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When there is a tragedy such as the one in Oregon, most of us feel a looming sense of sadness. It is a time the world needs to come together to mourn and heal. This one really hit home with me. Maybe it’s because I know my daughter will be in college after next year. Maybe it’s just because I am a mom and the mere thought of losing one of my babies to something so senseless and unnecessary brings me to my knees as my head tries to find an answer to the question, how could anyone do something like this? I have such a deep respect for all lives. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of personally making a choice to end someone else’s. My heart hurts tonight for the hate and the anger and the violence that are infecting the hearts and minds of so many. There is so much kindness in the world but there is also hatred and vengeance and a lack of self control that allows someone to shoot innocent people down without batting an eyelash. There are people who can saw the heads off of human beings because their religious beliefs are different from their own. It is hard for me to allow myself to go to this place and admit their are people who live without a heart. There are those who lack understanding and compassion and it’s like missing the last piece to a 2000 piece puzzle. No one knows where it went or why it isn’t there, it’s just gone and that’s the way it’s going to be. What is the answer then? To argue over gun rights and point fingers back and forth while people’s hearts are being torn out from the pain of learning one of those people shot today was their daughter, son, wife, mother, father? Can we overturn this darkness by loving the hate right out of people?  Is this a cry out to others because of a lack of love and attention they have in their own lives? Is this the only way they feel anyone will notice they even exist? Is it possible people are born with the incapacity to love, respect and sympathize with a fellow human being? What could happen that is so horrific that someone could mindlessly take the life of another innocent soul? My heart is so heavy tonight. It feels like it is ripping right out of my chest. Be better today than you were yesterday. Be kinder and gentler and send more love out into the world than ever before. Let go of anger. Take care of your own crap and don’t dump it onto other people. If you must be angry, keep it to yourself and don’t allow yourself to inflict your pain onto anyone else. Be accountable for who you are and what you contribute to the world. Every word, every action and every thought makes this world better or bitter. Choose wisely because your decision matters.