Be more than an “I love you”

I wrote this post last February and it is actually one of my favorites.  Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I wanted to share it one more time:  

What does it mean to love someone or to be loved by someone?  Maybe it is the security of knowing that we occupy a place in someone else’s heart or the significance we hold in someone’s life.

Maybe it means that in spite of our silly oddities, our looks, and our imperfections someone can see us for who we are…..and they love us anyway.

We are someone who matters to somebody else.

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Once in a while the words “I love you” can be just that ~ words.

Over the years I have learned (sometimes the hard way) about love and relationships.  Not just in the romantic sense like the love I share with my spouse, but also the love I share with all my children and grandchildren, my BFF, my extended family, and other meaningful people in my life.

The most important thing I have learned is: It is the ACTION taken that can create the strength, emotion, and significance of those three simple words.

For example:

  • Supporting each other is essential in any relationship ~ marriage, parenting, friendships.  Have each other’s back.  Celebrate successes and comfort disappointments.
  • Respect one another because you each deserve the other’s respect.  Treat each other the way you wish to be treated as you express opinions, thoughts, dreams and desires ~ make these matter as much to you as it does to the other.
  • Be a safety net and refuge from the outside world.  A person you can always trust.  Strive to create an environment that is a welcoming place of comfort, joy and peace.
  • Commitment takes work, commitment is not easy, and commitment must become a priority. Become the “something that you want to last forever” every single day.
  • Forgive the forgotten item at the grocery store and forgive the forgotten birthday present. Forgive when the other lashes out because they are tired after working hard all day.
  • Forgive the other for not knowing what you needed when you really thought they would or should know. Forgive the other when they fall short even when you know they are trying their best. Forgive because no one is perfect.

Be More Than An “I Love You”

Bucket List (a different perspective)

“Bucket lists are only for the young; once you get my age there is no need to seek such outlandish adventures,” said the older woman as she leaned toward the younger lady sitting across from her.

I had been out running errands and decided to stop for a quick-lunch and could not help but overhear the conversation next to me.  I have been thinking about bucket lists so this conversation naturally caught my attention. The older woman was probably close to 70 and the younger woman (possibly her daughter) looked to be in her 40’s.  The older woman argued that she had “no interest in swimming with dolphins or riding in a hot air balloon” at her age.  She would rather take the time to teach her (the daughter) how to make her “special coconut cake” or “teach her granddaughter how to knit”.

Making a bucket list doesn’t have to be all about adventures or fulfilling an overwhelming need to achieve.  The “must do’s” can be something as simple as making cookies for our first responders, teaching your daughter a beloved recipe, teaching your granddaughter how to knit, or watching your grandchild compete in an event.

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Maybe consider making someone else’s dream come true.

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Getting involved in things around your community, staying informed about the world around us, and enjoying the slower pace of life are all some folks need as they age.  This sounds inviting and very appealing to me!

Setting goals and satisfying desires are great motivators. The goals may have to become more focused.  For example, I have put on some weight.  Getting down to a desired size is overwhelming, but loosing three pounds a month is less daunting and more attainable.

Long terms goals can still be set.  I have a friend who would love to finish her college degree after an almost 40 year gap now that she is retired.  Guess what she is pursuing this fall?

I guess the purpose of a bucket list is multifaceted as you age.  While a bucket list can help you see that dreams are still attainable, challenges can still be met, and dreams can still come true there is something to be said for simplicity.  Approach each day as a new opportunity.  Teach your daughter how to make a special recipe, teach your granddaughter your special talent, or step outside and take a walk around your neighborhood. Composing a formal bucket list may not be necessary.  Just get out there and start doing the things that matter most to you!

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Bucket List Idea #3

Resolve a conflict or forgive someone.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Is there someone in your life you need to forgive or is there someone you need to ask forgiveness?  Why not give yourself the opportunity to to let go of this heavy burden?

It’s a hard thing to do—to completely let go of something painful and forgive. It is not easy to forgive when we feel like we have been wrongly hurt.

Sometimes there are obstacles.  Is your personal sense of justice or righteousness getting in the way?  Do you get a little personal satisfaction by brooding or sulking?  Sometimes when we get hurt, we want to hurt back; we want the other person to suffer as we are suffering.

Refusing to forgive leaves an open wound in our heart.

Perhaps you need someone to forgive you.

But, what if the person you need forgiveness from is not willing to forgive you?

Unfortunately, there are sometimes things you just can’t fix.  Sometimes things are so broken that they cannot be mended.  This can be very hard to accept.

My only advice is to pray for that person, pray for what has been broken to one day be restored, and pray you have the inner strength to move on with your life knowing you have given it your best effort.

Don’t put it off any longer. Take this opportunity to release not only yourself, but the person you need to forgive or need forgiveness from.

 “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis Swedes

Bucket List Idea #2

Go tandem skydiving.

“Fun, Frightening, Beautiful” words I heard others exclaim as they each one arrived safely back to Earth.

My oldest son had been talking for months about wanting to go skydiving.  When he turned 22 I gave him the opportunity for his birthday present. He was super excited.

I began to question my sanity.  What was I thinking?

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He was my baby and I was the one sending him off on this adventure.

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I remember my daughter and I anxiously searching the sky for the tiny dot that soon landed safely on the ground.

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When I asked him about the experience he struggled for the words at first.  I imagine there are no completely satisfactory words to describe such a challenge. He then said, “It was so vast! I wish I could go right back up and really enjoy it this time, really look at things!”

Skydiving is definitely NOT going on my bucket list, but maybe it is just what YOU need!  If you have ever considered sky diving , don’t wait!

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Stargaze:  In my opinion, there are few things in life that are more beautiful than a star filled night. The dark velvet sky sprinkled with sparkling diamonds and gems is a sight to behold. I remember travelling with my family one summer from Death Valley, California as we headed towards Las Vegas on US 95 for a visit with extended family.  The sun had set and as the moonless night grew darker the sky became brilliant. At one point we had to pull off to the side of the road in a very dark and remote area to give the brakes on our car a rest because they had begun to get hot and smelly. As we stood outside the car talking about our dilemma my eyes went immediately to the heavens. I had never seen such breath-taking beauty!  The Milky Way was literally sparkling and shimmering, twinkling and gleaming like tiny diamonds.  If you have never had this experience you are missing one of nature’s most magnificent and humbling experiences.

I have been lucky enough to have visited many places during the course of my life and have had opportunities to do many things.  There are still a few things out there that I would like to experience, amend, or accomplish.  In an effort to give myself some accountability and motivation, I have been thinking about making a bucket list.

Do you have a “Bucket List”? You know a list of things you want to experience or accomplish over your lifetime. I have never written a formal bucket list so I decided it might be fun to write one at this point in my life and ask my husband to write one too. It will be interesting to compare and maybe learn something else about each other.

 

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I found some advice and a list of questions to think about to help me get started.

  1. Don’t try to write it all at once.  It is not as easy as you think and it may actually take a long time to write a complete list.
  2. Target different areas of your life, not just the recreation aspect. Things like hobbies, finances, and relationships. (Any countries, places, or locations you want to visit; any skills or activities you want to try out; what would you like to say or do with family or friends; what have you always wanted to do but not yet done,  what would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?)
  3. Look at other people’s lists. You can get some really great ideas that way.
  4. Make some easier to achieve than others. You don’t want to get discouraged.
  5. Set a timeline to make your list more productive. What do you want to accomplish this year, in five years, in ten years, etc.?
  6. Post your list where you can see it often. I am going to place mine on my refrigerator. I open this every single day and it can serve as a constant reminder. Also, if anyone notices it and asks me about it, it will be a form of keeping me accountable.
  7. Cross out the things after you do them and keep adding new ideas. There are so many events, activities and experiences to go through that your list may never be complete.

                          ~ I have started mine, how about you?

 

In the Moment

We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are. – Bill Watterson (author of Calvin and Hobbes)

I want to live more in the moment. You know, those moments when you are totally focused, nothing else matters, and you are aware of all your senses. Distractions and other concerns are absent. To experience life as it happens, not worrying about the consequences or the outcome.

I recall vacations, little league ball games, swim meets, conversations with my mom or daughter, weddings, funerals, I could go on and on.  I was so occupied or distracted with something else that I wasn’t able to appreciate the whole experience as it was happening. I wish I would have had the self awareness to just stop and soak it all in. I have photographs to help recreate these moments, but something is missing.

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Fortunately all is not lost.  I have experienced moments where I was totally immersed.  For example, it would be almost impossible to not be “in the moment” while giving birth! Each of my three children’s deliveries were totally different experiences for me ~ from labor to delivery.  I can remember as clearly as if they happened yesterday. Such precious moments as I gazed in silent wonder at my newest bundle of love in its purest form.

Another time I can recall was when my children were infants and gave me their first smile of recognition. Their little arms circled around as they reached towards me. Their little legs kicked with glee as they broke out into these delightfully, charming smiles. I was totally enchanted.

One more moment to share was when my oldest grandson was just a little guy.  He would occassionally come over to spend the night.  We would play whatever he wanted to play, make brownies, and eat pizza.  At bedtime we would always have such sweet conversations.  One time in particular, as we hugged and kissed goodnight, he said, “I love you so much!”  The sincerity in his voice, and the emotions it stirs in my heart to this very day, is a moment I will forever cherish.

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When I spend time with my grandchildren I am aware of the joy, simplicity, curiosity, and innocence they exude. They are the essence of life in all of its beauty. Do you ever notice how children want us to play with them, to participate in the present moment, and challenge us to reawaken our creativity?  I envy their uninhibited emotions.  They can be happy, sad, or angry all within a matter of minutes.  They cry loudly and they laugh unabashedly.  Imaginations soar and their dreams are always within reach.  They are the absolute definition of “living in the moment”.

Next year, tomorrow, or even tonight is not a guarantee. I yearn to pause and appreciate the beauty and abundance of life once again, the same way I did when I was a child. This new year I want to reconnect with that familiar childlike spark deep inside myself.

Psalm 118:24:  This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.