Friday, December 12, 2008

Life is Short. Life is now.

A women that I knew through neighborhood parties, said hi to in the grocery store and, from the outside, lived a life very similar to mine, passed away last night. She was 39, had three children and a wonderful husband and although seemingly healthy, was diagnosed with leukemia less than 8 months ago.

I had heard about her diagnosis through the grapevine and ran into her in Target once after that. She looked fine to me. I expressed my concern and chatted for maybe a minute. Now she's dead. She's dead with three children at home that are the same age as mine and will grow up without a mother.

I did not follow her condition and heard this morning that she would not live through the weekend. I came home today and read all of the Caring Bridge posts over the last 7 months. I am now intimately aware of how horrific and yet hopeful the last 7 months of her life were. There was such an amazing outpouring of love and support from her family and friends. I feel guilty that I read it all after the fact and did nothing myself to help her or express my support. My heart and entire body aches for her and for her family.

Today I hugged my husband a little tighter and my children a little longer. I lay with my 2 year old at bedtime and she gave me sweet kisses in the dark. I have no idea if my life will be short or long. What I do know is all I have is NOW and I want to make the most of it. I want it to be on purpose. I think I will finally read the book that is referenced in the prior post. And, of course, make more pancakes.

Just Like Any Other Day . . . but with more pancakes

My mother bought me a book awhile ago called Life is a Verb: 37 days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally. I was familiar with it from a very well written and inspirational blog she introduced to me. The premise is, basically, what would you do if you knew you had only 37 days to live. This is based upon a life experience of the author which you can read about on her blog. My description would pale in comparison. It's a great blog. Check it out.

So, I finally read just the introduction of the book a few weeks ago. After asking the 37 days question she wrote about many responses. One response that I haven't been able to get out of my head went something like (I'm paraphrasing because I have dogs and children in my lap), "the same thing as every other day but with more pancakes".

My children often ask for pancakes for breakfast in the morning before school. My usual response is something along the lines of, "I don't have time, I have lunches to pack; I don't want to mess up the kitchen; How about cereal this morning and pancakes on the weekend?" But ever since I read that intro in the book I have not been able to refuse them pancakes. The truth is, the time it takes me to whip up the pancakes does not compare to the smiles on their faces and the knowing that they are going to school with full bellies, smelling of syrup. I hope that they will remember the pancakes and not necessarily the fact that they were embarrassed that I wore my pajamas to the bus stop.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

365 days?

It's December 2. I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions yet it is that time of year when one starts to think of such things. It is quite possibly spurred by that turkey, gravy, dressing, coconut cream pie coma that I'm just coming out of. I can't seem to get the healthy, fit & balanced mantra out of my head during these last days of 2008. That is a good thing. If only it would stick.

And you? What is playing in your head? Are you thinking of all you can eat or drink during the month of December because you are going to resolve to lose it in 2009? Don't kid yourself, compadre. Are you too stressed about gift giving to think about next year's resolutions? Don't stress. Giving should be purely about joy, not obligation (although I strongly disapprove of the word 'should'). I am proud to have eliminated that stress from my life. I love to give and that is the only reason I do it. If nothing jumps out at me to give you then, well, you probably won't get anything.

I've been toying with the idea of resolving to post something every day during 2009. I love to write. It is a great outlet for me. I wouldn't want it to be a chore. However, sometimes those types of challenges are necessary for growth. I've also been thinking about a real resolution to be a vegetarian in the new year. That would be a great challenge and something I truly believe in. I think it would be the perfect thing to take me outside of my comfort zone. It's not really a challenge if it's not outside your comfort zone, right?

I would love to hear the resolutions that would push you outside of your comfort zone.

I am also really excited about the new Bachelor starting January 5!!! Totally in my comfort zone. I will snack on only vegetarian snacks while I watch it : )