I’m spending the weekend with my family. I’m guessing we’re not the only ones trying to squeeze a little bit of extra summer into these waning weeks.
One of my favorite Sunday posts is my Friend Mine post, and knew it would be a great Gina’s Favorites post. You can read my Friend Minepost below in its entirety, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links to read Friend Minein its original location.
I want to smell the growth and feel the moss under my feet
Hear the birds around me
Climb every tree
Leap with every lamb
Dance with every wolf
Some wolves twice
I want to know as dappled sunshine fades into night
As stars begin to twinkle over trees
As the gentle wind blows the sweet scent of life around me
As the woods go dark
That I have taken a good walk
And am ready to rest
– Gina Valley
We had a small fire in our linen closet last night. A blanket on the top shelf was too close to the old light fixture and it ignited. We had the fire out before the fire fighters arrived. But, due to all the thick black smoke and the fire’s proximity to our ceiling, we wanted the professionals to double check that the fire had not spread through the walls or ceiling. Fortunately, it hadn’t.
It was scary to see what such a small fire could do, and to imagine what a large one would mean.
It was embarrassing to have strangers go through every last one of our closets and cupboards. For safety’s sake, I was glad they did. But, I was wishing I’d finished doing the organizing I’d planned for the summer.
The whole experience served to remind me and my pack of a couple obvious things that we tend to forget.
First, we should do what we know we should do.
Whoever piled the blanket close to the light knew it was the wrong thing to do. Whoever left the light on and closed the door knew it was the wrong thing to do. I realized that leaving those shelves in, and expecting no one to use them was foolish on my part. I should have ripped them out years ago. Those errors were glaringly clear tonight.
But, it was also a good reminder to me in other areas. There are people I’ve meant to call to check on. I know I should, but I haven’t. I need to hire a new assistant, as I’m working too many hours and I’ve promised myself and my doctor that I would. I need to get myself to the gym to protect my health.
I know why my children don’t do what they know they should. They’re children. They are acting childishly. They should be, as they’re still learning.
I’m not. I have no excuse, and I need to do what I know I should.
The other lesson we all picked up was that today is the only day we have.
We have another closet with a similar light fixture and similar shelves in it. We emptied it, as instructed by the firefighters, last night. It was late, but it was worth staying up to make sure it was done. Then, we changed the batteries in every smoke alarm, as they’d drained themselves last night. Today, we’re ripping out the upper shelves in both closets, changing the light fixtures, and putting smoke alarms in every closet.
Nothing like your house full of black smoke to remind you that waiting for tomorrow is not an option. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Procrastination is not a viable option. I don’t know why it always seems like it is, until something big, like black smoke pouring out of a closet, reminds you that it’s not.
This week, I’m going to make a major effort to do what I know I should, and to remember that today is the only day I can count on to do things. I know my life will be better for it. I hope you’ll join me in the effort.
How do you remind yourself to do what you know you should? What is something you put off? How do you get caught up when you’re behind? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
I hate that Monday signals the end of the weekend. Weekends always feel too short. I’m rarely ready for them to end.
I love that Monday is the start of a new week.
Monday mornings have magic. They signal the start a new day and a new week.
For some reason, every Monday seems to hold extra possibilities and opportunities that other days of the week just don’t seem to have.
Of course, truly, any day, any hour, any minute can be a new beginning. Each is an opportunity to seize life and run with it.
But, somehow, Monday seems to give me a deep breath that propels me forward. I’m inspired to start new projects and new plans on Mondays with renewed energy.
I think forgiveness is a lot like Mondays.
Forgiveness can feel heavy, like heading back to work on Monday morning. Whether we’re seeking forgiveness, or striving to grant it to someone else, it can feel like a burden, just like Monday morning.
But, just like a Monday morning, forgiveness releases energy and possibilities that come at no other time. Whether we ask for forgiveness or grant it to someone else, it gives us that same deep breath and propels us forward.
A lot of life starts on a Monday.
Even more of it starts with forgiveness.
Have you ever sought someone’s forgiveness? Have you struggled to forgive someone in your life? What happened when forgiveness was granted? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
My pack and I have been traveling. We’ve visited family, and spent lots of fun time being together.
Now, we are on our last leg of our journey home.
As I have planned to be busy being unbusy and unplanned until we return home, I’ve gone through my posts and queued up favorites to keep you in giggles while I’m hanging with my pack.
I hope you enjoy this Gina’s Favorites.
And, I hope you stop and take time to hang out with and smile with your loved ones, too.
Thank you for reading and sharing.
Laugh Out Loud!
Today’s Gina’s Favorites post is my Smile post. You can read my Smile post below in its entirety, or, for you hardcore readers, click on one of these magic links to read my Smile post in its original location.
My plan for this week was for it to be one of rest and relaxation for me. A time to spend extra time with my children and the rest of my family.
Hasn’t quite worked out that way.
But, when it was time to pick a Gina’s Favorite post for today I knew immediately that it had to be one about gratefulness.
I’m not grateful for the horrible pain this week, and the need to be rushed to an emergency room. Twice.
But, I’m beyond grateful that I’m here to tell the tale.
I’m not grateful for the insurance company that is, thus far, refusing to pay for treatment an emergency room doctor considered essential.
But, I’m very grateful for the cardiologist who travels to the many tiny towns in this part of the state, who just happened to be in this tiny town the day I needed him.
I’m grateful for the kindness so many people have shown me through this.
And, corny as it sounds, I’m grateful for life.
I tend to take life for granted. Sometimes, when I’m over-tired and over-whelmed, I even find life tedious. But, this week has been a big reminder to me that every day is a gift. Every moment, even the difficult ones, especially the difficult ones, is an opportunity.
I hope you enjoy this Gina’s Favorites.
And, I hope you stop and take time to hang out with and laugh with your loved ones, too. Life’s short. Make sure you take time to live it and laugh about it.
I suppose my being exhausted might have been a contributing factor to my quick and thorough jump to irritated, completely skipping empathy and humor along the way.
I’d called home as I left the doctor’s office with my second youngest son to see if the four of my kids who were home wanted me to pick up take out for dinner for them.
As the ill child of the day, my second youngest son had the privilege of picking the establishment we would patronize that evening. But, a painful rash and a case of wheezing were distracting him, and he was having a terrible time deciding what he wanted to eat.
When my youngest answered the phone, I asked him what he wanted to eat. Apparently, he mistakenly thought he was in charge of picking the take out place, instead of just offering a suggestion to his brother as to where to pick dinner from.
Turns out that the food from the chicken place my youngest suggested would have been difficult for the ill child of the day to eat, as his rash made opening his mouth very far painful. So, we went to a place famous for their sandwiches and chili fries instead.
My youngest immediately expressed annoyance at what he saw as a change in plans and told me he didn’t want anything. I figured he was tired and hungry and would change his mind when I arrived home with the food. I ordered him the ham and turkey sandwich he loves.
But, when we got home, my youngest not only was sulking, he refused to eat any of the food I brought.
I figured his hunger strike was fueled by tiredness and a tummy filled with snacks while I was at the doctor’s office with his brother. Surely, he’d be his usual, grateful self in the morning, and be thrilled to find his sandwich waiting for him in the fridge.
Well, Disney didn’t write this story, and my youngest son, even while in the midst of inhaling the sandwich I’d bought him, continued to express unhappiness that his choice had not been purchased and showed a complete (and I must note uncharacteristic) ungratefulness for what had been given to him.
I took a note from the martyr-mom handbook and gave him a snippy lecture about gratefulness and my disgust at his lack of it.
How could he while holding his favorite, and I might add way over-priced, sandwich in his hand not only fail to appreciate what he had, but to lament something he thought was better? How could anyone do that? How could such a complete lack of gratefulness happen in my house?
And, then I thought about the shampoo.
My husband was going to the store one afternoon, so I asked him to pick up my shampoo for me. He did. Except, he got the wrong kind. It was close, but not what I’d asked for. How grateful had I been for his effort? Not the least bit.
Have I been grateful for our more than adequate supply of clothes or have I been only complaining about the laundry?
Have I been thankful for the means to buy supplies for meals or have I been focused on the chore of making yet another dinner?
Have I been thankful for the privilege of having a house full of children or have I been lamenting the inconvenience of dealing with sassy teens and messy bathrooms?
I have everything I need in my life. Everything.
I have much of what I want.
Countless prayers I’ve spoken have received a “yes” from my Heavenly Father.
There are so many who would be unspeakably thrilled to have half of the blessings I enjoy.
When did I stop appreciating them?
When did it become habit to complain instead of privilege to thank?
My child acted childishly. He should. He’s a child.
I’m not. What’s my excuse?
As I explained to my child, I now remind myself.
Gratefulness is a small blessing we express to those around us.
It’s an enormous blessing to ourselves.
Are you feeling grateful today? Is there someone you’ve been meaning to thank? How do you include gratefulness in your day-to-day life? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
My pack and I are spending time together traveling this week.
One of my favorite giggles about time came from Groucho Marx:
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
Makes me laugh every time I see it. I know it’s hokey, but it gives me the giggles.
One of the most important parts of getting away with our children is giving them time to laugh. As I watched one of my daughters, often a sullen teenager, laugh uncontrollably while playing a silly game in the hotel pool last night, I was reminded how important it is to occasionally drop everything important, because sometimes doing nothing is what’s most important.
This week and next, I’m taking time off to do just that.
So, I’ve gone through my posts and queued up reader favorites to keep you in giggles while I’m hanging with my pack.
I hope you enjoy this Vintage Gina.
And, I hope you stop and take time to laugh with your loved ones, too.
One of the cool things about traveling so much this week is that it’s given me the opportunity to sit back and look at the scenery.
I often forget how important it is to nourish my soul by seeking out the beauty and encouragement found in the creation all around me.
We live in a beautiful place. All of us. Every one. Varied places. Cities. Towns. Countryside. Sometimes I get so busy that I forget to see what’s always around me.
Trees. Rocks. Waves. Clouds. Even a potted fichus or the tiny daisy pushing up through a crack in the sidewalk downtown.
It’s not just the green rolling hills or the vastness of the ocean that can source renewal. Even the pot spilling over with pansies in front of the skyscraper I auditioned in today can refresh me if I just take a moment to revel in how lovely and how amazing they are.
When I look at trees and flowers and rivers I can feel myself relax as I soak in both their beauty and the reminder that they were created uniquely with a purpose and so was I.
It’s amazing the change in my attitude, the release of stress, the gratitude I feel when I make it a point to see what’s around me, and to take a few slow, deep breaths, forcing myself to slow down and absorb it.
Beauty renews, refreshes, encourages.
Seeing that the trees can endure the storms of winter, surely, I’m reminded, I can handle those that blow my way as well.
And, if a bent, craggy stump can be more lovely than a sculpture, surely there is a beauty to be found in the efforts I make as well.
I hope what you see outside today will bring joy and encouragement to you.
What inspires you? What reminds you that there are great things when you’re feeling low? What takes your breath away? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.
I’m so tired that I spelled “I’m” wrong. Twice. Thank goodness for spell check!
I’m not sleepy, although I wouldn’t say “no” to a nap (who would say “no” to a nap?), I’m tired.
Things have popped up in life that I need to make time for in my already full schedule, things that take energy to deal with. Energy that, frankly, I just don’t have right now.
I need to do some re-prioritizing and re-scheduling because my plate is too full, and my time to rest and recharge has been lost. I need to get that back.
Of course, ironically, it takes time to do the re-prioritizing and rescheduling to open up some time. That’s why I haven’t done it yet.
I’m sure you can relate.
I think we all over-stuff our days, spending time and energy before we even have them.
I need to make it a point, we all do, to schedule enough margin into life to allow for the stuff that shows up unexpectedly.
When we don’t allow ourselves margin, unscheduled extra time and energy, we position ourselves into an unbendable place. Our life lacks give. If there is no give, no bend, no margin, our only options are to stand firm or to break.
We need that third option.
We need margin.
Margin allows us to take time to think and enjoy. When we are too busy doing good stuff, we miss out on doing the best stuff. We need margin to allow us to see it before it passes us by.
I need to get my margin back. I’m going to spend part of the holiday tomorrow planning, rescheduling, and delegating toward that end.
I’m also going to start a big squirt gun fight.
Fun is the first thing that disappears when the margin is missing. I intend to take mine back.
I hope you do, too.
How is your life? Is it balanced right now? Do you have enough margin to allow for the pop-ups? Are you allowing yourself to have fun? How do you make sure you don’t miss the “bests” while you are working on the “goods”? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
We all know that to receive love is a great gift. But, I think that often the greater gift is gained when we give love.
I’m not talking about the mushy, sweet romantic stuff we gush for our one and only, although that kind is very nice.
I’m talking about the strong, glowing, giving kind of love that reaches out to those around us. The kind that looks for those who need help. The lonely. The lost. The hungry. The sad. The weak. the misunderstood. The exhausted. The depressed. And, many more.
I’m talking about the kind of love that sees a need and makes it its business to not only fill it, but to also preserve the dignity of every individual it has the privilege of serving.
It really is a privilege to demonstrate love to those around us. It’s an honor to love those who need it, especially those who don’t seem to deserve it or even want it.
And, it’s something anyone can do in their own way. In fact, it’s best if we all demonstrate love for the people around us in our own way.
A listening ear. A concerned query. A box of food. A ride to the doctor. A warm smile. A mowed lawn.
There are as many different types of love needed as there are people.
I thankful I’m Loved.
I realized this week that in my harried life I have let my sensitivity to the needs of the people around me drop a bit. I’ve been so busy rushing that I’ve missed opportunities to even assess the needs of others, much less meet them.
I’m scheduling in some margin to allow for love, to allow real life to seep in, to truly absorb it, so that I can demonstrate it to others. I must plan time to turn what sometimes feel like interruptions into opportunities to show caring.
Love is an action, and action takes time.
I want to get back to giving that gift.
After all, if I don’t have time to show the love I’ve been shown to the people around me, what’s the point in me being here at all?
How are you showing love this week? Has someone demonstrated love to you in a special way? Do you have a need? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.
Some guys I know (and some I don’t) are hitting on an important topic of late: Depression. I’ve put links to their posts, and two of mine, below.
If you or someone you know might me suffering from depression, check out the posts, and their links for resources to help.
May you see beauty today that you never noticed before.
May you shine brightly where you are.
May joy flow forth from you to those around you.
Have you seen anything with new eyes lately? Have you reached out to someone in a new way? Have you seen beauty somewhere that you never noticed it before? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.