Many look to the Christmas season for memory-making. We get together with family and friends, share time and some fun. The best memories from these times aren’t the ones that are made to happen. The extraordinary memories are those moments that happen organically. They are extraordinary moments that fate brings together and that leave an impact on our hearts.
Recognize an extraordinary moment by being in the moment. Go through this holiday season and all of your activities, both new and the every-year traditions, focused on the place, the people and the activity. Be mindful to not let outside distractions rob you of a memory-making moment. Enjoy the events and times you will have in the coming weeks.
One of my favorite passages in the Christmas story is Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary wasn’t distracted by the stink of the barn, or the sounds of the animals, or possibly the disappointment of having her firstborn far from home and away from family. It wasn’t her perfect plan, it was God’s, and she rolled with it. She took it all in.
While Mary’s extraordinary moment changed the course of history, ours probably won’t. But if we are paying attention and taking in the times that have potential, they may change the course of a relationship or even our lives.
Please take a few minutes before you continue to read to listen to this song by Mercy Me.
We would all like to believe that when things in life get tough that our convictions will stand strong. Well, things are tough right now. I’m waiting for the locust and frogs to show up (a little comic relief). At this point, there is so much out of my control, things I can’t just fix, that all I have to lean on is my faith. My husband and I hold on to each other and our belief in a God who is bigger than all our worries or concerns.
Are we perfect in remaining constant in our faith during the storm? No. On any given day or hour, there is an internal struggle between ego, self, and selflessness. This time in our lives is just as much about how we walk the journey in faith, and what we learn in the process, as it is about just getting to the other side.
We believe that every season, good or bad, is the opportunity to learn a little more about ourselves, grow personally and spiritually, and eventually be ready to encourage someone else in their journey.
On one level, going into the Thanksgiving holiday we have much we could wallow and moan about. But on more important levels we have much more to be thankful for. We have what we need, and those we care about are healthy and safe. Those are the things we will focus on tomorrow and each day after.
Be encouraged today, and reminded for tomorrow as you are enjoying time with family and friends (or being driven crazy by them), that there is always far more to be thankful for than to complain about. Stand firm in your beliefs even if things are not going as you planned.
Do you remember being little and twirling about? Or in your teens singing your favorite love song (into the hairbrush, on your bed or in front of the mirror) thinking of the ONE boy you were madly in love with? Maybe you can’t carry a tune and have two left feet, but singing and dancing are so good for us that they should not be ignored.
Dancing boosts memory, improves flexibility, reduces stress and depression, improves balance and makes your heart happy.
Singing has been said to strengthen your immune system, improves your posture, your sleep and reduces stress.
I know what you’re thinking all that singing and dancing around will make your family think you’ve gone nuts. Maybe it’s time to surprise your family. Sashay across the kitchen or twirl your way to the dinner table. Or maybe you just dance when no one is watching. And sing as loud as you as can when you are alone at home or in your car. Who cares what the grump in the car next to you thinks. It’s fun and frees the spirit.
We all have a happy dance inside somewhere. It’s time to let it out.
Road rage isn’t something I’ve struggled with. Sure there are times when I’m running behind and I get frustrated in traffic, but never angry. Usually, if I’m running behind it’s my own fault. But that’s not the issue at hand, we’ll talk timeliness another time. For my new full-time job, I commute to downtown Louisville.
On a good day, it takes me about 30 minutes. With the beginning of the school year, it seems everyone has returned from vacation and is back in their routine, driving to work downtown at the same time I do. The clogged highway has slowed me down in the morning. The other day I noticed as I crept along that I wasn’t angry but a little anxious. Not a normal emotion for me. So I turned on my “sing along” playlist.
This is the playlist of all the songs I love to sing along with. And when I’m alone, I like to sing very loud. In doing so, I no longer felt anxious and I gave my lungs a little workout. Walking into the office, I had a song in my heart and wasn’t all stressed from the ride in.
I may have found a cure for all those angry, crazed drivers. Sing! Here’s what’s great, no one can hear you, sing loud. Go ahead and flashback to those stand-on-your-bed with the hairbrush microphone moments. The escape will de-stress and change your spirit for the day.
It’s intriguing to me the plethora of commercials offering middle-aged people programs and pills that make them feel like they are 25 again (who wants to be 25 again? I was young and dumb). Or they promise to stop the signs of aging. I can’t even tell if these products are vitamins, medications or therapy. I agree that as we age things about our bodies change. Sometimes those changes mean we can’t pull an all-nighter, or after a day of yard work, we are sore in places we didn’t know we had. We pace ourselves differently. Each of us ages differently. Why are we fighting so hard to not age?
The fact of the matter is we are all aging. We are changing. It’s going to happen. The challenge isn’t to turn the clock back, it is to move forward taking care of our selves and aging as gracefully as we can. To live lives that are purposeful until our last breath. It’s too easy to let ourselves slow down. We can sit down too early and then we get stuck in routines that can be unhealthy and waste a lot of time. Parents of young children spend their days working and caring for children. That’s the season they are in. Children grow up and need less of our care. With this season, we get some of our time back. What do we do with it? Do we get sucked into reality shows and TV watching every night? That is no way to let life go. Stay engaged.
So much of what I’ve noticed about the elders in my life is that while their bodies are aging their spirit is still very alive. They get up every day and do something — go to the store, go work in the yard, they read, volunteer, spend time with friends etc. They are active. They are engaged in living. It didn’t take a pill, potion, or therapy to accomplish this active elder life. I’m not sure what to call it, other than a decision. Even when their bodies do fail their desire to keep moving, they continue to live and be as active as their bodies will allow. They know their days on this earth are waning. Instead of sitting down and waiting for their last breath, every day they get up and make the decision to DO life.
Today is the day. It’s eclipse day. The day for which millions have waited and planned. We’ve had experts predicting and sharing with us how to get the most out of the eclipse. Here are a few of my thoughts.
Have your approved eclipse glasses. (@NASA) Check out Nasa’s safety tips for viewing.
Be realistic — We live in a time of amazing scientific advances in meteorology. Today we have weather warnings that save lives and the ability to predict to the minute when events like an eclipse will occur. With all these great resources, we can’t control the weather. WHAS meteorologist, Jared Heil, @whas11jared, posted a video a couple of weeks ago with the chances of clouds on eclipse day. If it happens just remember there is no controlling clouds, how they move or where they stay.
Be in the moment — don’t waste the few minutes you have observing to try and capture the photo or video. Take in this 100-year wonder. Consider the creator.
“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 Think about how awesome this event is. Ponder the fact that when He set the moon, sun and stars in motion, He knew how they would orbit and when there paths would cross.
What if could hear other people’s thoughts? Do you ever wonder when you’re standing in line behind a stranger, what are they thinking? Or if you notice someone noticing you, do you wonder what opinion they are forming?
In the 2000 romantic comedy, What Women Want, ladies man, Nick, through an electrical shock is given the ability to hear women’s thoughts; to peek behind the curtain into the psyche of the female mind. After being just a little freaked out about it, it’s explained to him to be a gift. But, would it really be a gift to hear other’s thoughts?
There are many women reading this right now thinking, yes! I would love to hear my husband’s thoughts and really know what goes on inside his brain. I get that. But we don’t. How many times have you thought something and then the discernment filter comes out added to a little wisdom and you don’t express the thought? How many arguments were avoided or hurt feelings preserved? On the other hand, do we miss opportunities to encourage and support?
The ability to hear others’ thoughts would be cheating ourselves of the journey to getting to know each other. Relationships are grown over time. We slowly reveal our selves to others as trust is built and our connection grows. It a melding of souls. For those we interact with who will remain strangers or acquaintances, let me encourage you to take notice and take the opportunity to share an encouraging word or thought. You never know, it may change the direction of their thoughts.