Archive for February, 2013

“HELLO! HELLO! HELLO!”

“HELLO!  HELLO!  HELLO!” is such a familiar greeting in my childhood.  “Mom, why does grandma say ‘Hello’ three times when we walk in?” my 7 year old self would ask as we walked into my grandmother’s home who lived just one mile down the street from where I grew up.

I just heard that familiar greeting as I am sitting in the living room at my grandmother’s home in her golf oasis in Florida as a few of her friends arrive for a visit.  I have been here all weekend with some other family members as my grandmother moves nearer and nearer to THE final destination.  Yes, she is dying.  Not today.  Not tomorrow.  Not this week.  Probably not next week or the week after.  Within a month or two she will leave this earthly plane but in the meantime she is alive and living the best that she can and we are here to experience some of that.

I feel fortunate to be privy to some of the stories that are shared in such an intimate setting.  I always knew my grandmother was strong, powerful, full of life and opinionated.  However, as I sit and listen the stories this weekend (and of course stories I have heard over the years) she is also a real person with real life experiences, has had many ups and downs, has shed a lot of tears, has found love and happiness and has the most contagious, roaring laugh on the planet.

My Mom is here, a few aunts and uncles, with other neighborhood friends of my grandparent’s stopping by during the days.  Grandma is spending most of the day relaxing, reminiscing and resting.  We have done a lot of sitting and talking, literally hours of sitting and talking.  We have all shed tears, shared stories, asked questions and done a ton of laughing.  In fact, the first morning I woke up here, I thought to myself how great it is to be awakened from sleep by roaring family laughter, especially considering these circumstances.

During this time, we have drawn out the family tree.  My grandmother birthed 10 children.  My grandfather, who isn’t my grandfather by blood but has been “Grandpa” to me for close to 30 years, has 7 children of his own.  There are layers of grandchildren and great grandchildren and the total count of immediate family comes to 96 people total.  WOW!!!  Isn’t that an absolute monstrosity of a family!!!

“It’s a myth that a big family is always happy.  We have our share of tears, but there is a network support system that always goes into gear in time of need.  My children were the reason I got up in the morning” a direct quote from my grandmother back in 1981 when she was voted “Mother of the Year” by the local Fenton newspaper at the time.

That “network support system” has always been a central idea to how our family was run and I see it in my generation, especially when it comes to my own siblings and nearest and dearest.  That theme is a powerful part of what my life was built around especially considering my dad was one of his own natural support network of 9 children.

There is nothing like family, absolutely nothing that can replace these blood connections.  When family gets to these numbers, there are good eggs and bad eggs, however we are all connected and always will be connected in a way that runs strong and deep behind the scenes…and largely due to the ideas of the amazing matriarch that started this show.

My grandmother is a legend and one of my heroes.  I know she will never truly grasp in this lifetime the extent of her extraordinary life and contribution to this world.  She will never realize what an amazing person she is, her beauty, her strength and how much good she contributed while she is here.  But her faith is strong and I know she will figure that out as soon as she sheds her current failing body.

When she leaves this earthly plane, she will travel effortlessly to wherever she believes Heaven is and I know God will know when she arrives because he will hear her roaring laughter and her infamous “HELLO! HELLO!  HELLO!”.  May peace be with you in your process of transitioning, Grandma, and thanks in advance for watching over all 95 of us from the other side.

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HAPPY

This past weekend I was up north and spent my days snowboarding at Crystal Mountain.  There were many, many moments during the days that I thought to myself “I am happy”.  I then asked the question “What makes me happy?” and “What about everyone else?”.

I live a blessed life and I have many things that add to my happiness.  In those moments while I was out on my snowboard, my happiness was magnified by the fact that I had a warm bed to wake up in, I prepared and ate a great breakfast that fueled my body for my day, I had time to play in the snow, the sun was shining, I was enjoying great conversation with a friend, I was able to let loose and fly down the hill on my snowboard and I was up north which is a change of day to day scenery.

I thought to myself “I really wish everyone that I know could be out here having as much fun as I was having.”  That thought was soon nixed by the fact that the slopes would be too crowded if EVERYONE I knew was out there, but it transformed to “I really wish everyone that I know could be doing something that would add to their happiness as much as snowboarding in the sunshine adds to mine.”  Yes, that is a much more rational thought.

When I mention the thought of being happy, I am also reminded of a man that has been coming in to get adjusted at the Cafe of LIFE for years and never, ever gets excited about anything; Monday is not exciting, Tuesday is not exciting, Wednesday is not exciting, Thursday is not exciting, Friday is not exciting, the weekend is not exciting, literally nothing is ever exciting and I wonder about his internal happiness.  My thought is…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?!

Last night I attended a prayer service for an icon of a man who lost his life way too young.  This man was truly a happy man and he did his very best to show others a little bit about being happy ever chance he got in hopes he could help them smile a little more on the inside.   As I listened to his children speak about him, I was reminded of my own mortality and that we are never guaranteed a tomorrow and that life is really short, often shorter than we anticipate…so figure out what makes you happy and go do that!

Be HAPPY!  There is absolutely no time like the present.  If not today, then WHEN?!?!  There isn’t anyone who is going to make you happy, you have to go out and make that happen for yourself.  Let’s not wait one more day.  Get out there!!!

What makes you happy?  How do you add happy stuff to your day?  Share in the comments below, you may end up inspiring someone with your ideas or the things you do.

 

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WHAT IF LIFE IS ABOUT SOMETHING DIFFERENT

I attended an amazing lecture with some really good friends this past weekend.  The presenter/author touched on a really important topic…WHAT IF LIFE IS ABOUT SOMETHING DIFFERENT than we have always thought?
In this culture we have been taught that life goes something like this…
Grow up.  Get the education, Get the job. Get the boy. Get the girl. Get the car. Get the house. Get the time off for vacation. Get the kids. Get more kids. Get the bigger house. Get the better car. Get the toys. Get the better toys. Get the good retirement. Get better stuff than the neighbors. Get the grandkids. Get retired and live happily ever after.

Is it possible that our understanding or life itself is totally askew?  Maybe there is data missing and the whole human race is after the wrong stuff.  How is it that 7 billion (+ or -) people declare they want the same thing and not be able to attain it after thousands of years of trying.

The lecturer presented the idea that maybe life is more about the following:

Be authentically you.

Figure out what it means to be you.

Then move about and express yourself in this world in a way that allows others to express themselves in a way that is more true to their own soul as well.

I think it is pretty safe to say that our job is to search and seek out ways for us to know ourselves better and to figure out our purpose and meaning in this life.  We are not our physical appearance, the things we have, our education, our car, our job, our partner or our kids.  We are simply us and stripping it all down to the very core of what that means is WE ARE LOVE.  The rest of the stuff and things are just a very small piece of life.  Our bodies are the vehicle that gets us around in this world so that we can have experiences.  Beyond that, life is about relationships and how our words, thoughts and actions affect other people’s words, thoughts and actions.

The end of the lecture was a culmination of all that he said and 3 simple “call to action” steps that we can take as we travel through our days.

1.  LOOK AT PEOPLE – really look at them because we all have a strong desire to be seen and the “eyes are a window to the soul”.

2.  SMILE – Smiling at another means “I get what I am looking at.  I get you.”  If you are happy in your life, make sure to tell your face about it so it can be your loudspeaker to the world around you.

3.  TOUCH – Reach out and make contact with someone.  Our culture walks around severely deprived of physical touch and it is a necessary part of being a human.

…and a little bit of icing on the cake – SAY SOMETHING NICE – tell people how wondrous they are and give them back to themselves.

Can we really afford to walk around one more day not expressing ourselves and holding back from showing the world love?  The days go quick and this life is really short and we only get one chance.

We never know how something that we think, say or do today will effect the lives of millions tomorrow.”                                          -BJ Palmer

Let’s make it count because what if life really IS about something different than we have always thought?

 

 

 

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