Category Archives: Random musing

Use The Good China

I’ve had this blog post in my mind for literally years now. Which is kind of funny, given the sentiment… Then last month, we had our neighbors over for dinner and my friend Kelly and I were setting the table using the “good” china, and I remembered that I wanted to write this post. Then life and work and kids and relationships and money and everything else that does so, got busy and stressful – again… and it got pushed to the back burner – again.

Then my Mother had a good friend die. Which starts to happen at her age (late 60s).

And a week later, another good friend, unexpectedly.

And then a whole bunch of reminders in a row came to light in my world about how life is short … Some of the events are private and personal, some have affected many others (Hurricane Sandy is a good example) and some have nothing to do with me but I will never forget, because I’m one of those people who obsess over why bad things happen to good people….

And so I’m back to that moment when Kelly says I don’t need to use the good china for a low key, unplanned, kids-included Saturday night dinner with the neighbors.

She’s right, I don’t need to.

But I’ve decided I want to.

I was married for 12 years before papers were filed… He wants the china now, and it’s ironic because we probably used it less than 10 times in those years.

And I always kept thinking we should pull it out, use it… Even if it was just for a romantic dinner on a Saturday night in our PJs after the kids went to bed. But we didn’t. It stayed in its pretty place on its carefully-organized shelf in the perfectly-placed china cabinet.

Using the good china on any “normal” day is not what we do, is it? We save it. We use it to honor only those really special, really important times in life… Or maybe those days when we want to impress someone who barely knows us but comes over once a year for a holiday… (why do we do that?!)

I’m telling you to do it. Use the good china. Use it often. Use it alone. Use it with friends. Use it when it’s “important” and when you have no one to impress but yourself. (You deserve a little “fancy,” I’m sure.)

The point is, life is short and so are the moments within it. I know this now more than I ever have.

So I’m using my good china. As often as possible.

Because every day we have in life is lucky.

Every moment we spend with someone who truly loves us is profound.

Everyone we let into our home is impacting our lives in some way.

Every day is special, even if it seems ordinary.

And every moment matters. Every. Single. One.

I bought a sign this summer that now sits over my kitchen sink and perhaps it sums it up best. It reads:

“Enjoy life, this is not a rehearsal.”

So get that china out. Seize the moment. Declare it special enough. Celebrate one more day of living.

Thought for the Day

I don’t make it a habit of sharing biblical references, but I read this one in a blog comment this morning (thanks to Steve Woodruff) and I had to share it. I found it spoke to me after closing out what was truly the hardest year of my life.

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

You bet.

In Uncertain Times, Give Credence to the Positive

In what’s been the most challenging few years of my life, I’ve realized today that I’ve focused way too much on my detractors and not enough on my supporters. I’ve been listening to those tearing me down more than I’ve listened to those building me up. Once I started to change that, things got really hard. The haters do not like to be ignored. They yell louder, they get meaner, and they get more and more personal about their attacks. But the louder they yell, the more proof that you are becoming stronger – that you are creating change. And while change can be extremely uncomfortable and make you wonder if you are doing the right thing – keep the faith. You are. That’s why it’s so hard.

Sometimes you can use  detractors’ opinions as fuel to do better, to keep going, to prove them wrong – but don’t forget to focus on your supporters too, and to give them more credence. Thank them, listen to them – hear them. I’ve realized now not only is that what I need to do, but that I need to put my energies into the positive: the people, the work, the beliefs that will carry me along to a better place.

Don’t believe the hype. Keep the faith. Believe in yourself. I found this video today and thought there were so many good quotes in it – so many things to help me refocus my energies, that I wanted to share it with you in case you could use a little reminder, too. Enjoy.

To all those who watch and wonder if I really know what I’m doing….

To all those who stand in judgment, waiting for the other shoe to drop….

40 Lessons I’ve Learned in 40 Years

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday (as much as I kept hoping it wouldn’t happen). It’s impossible to not see 40 as a milestone – there’s so much stigma associated around that number, especially for women. Just look up “After 40” in the Books section on Amazon.com and you’ll find a plethora of titles geared toward what we can, can’t, shouldn’t or should be doing, wearing, thinking – all after hitting the big 4-0.

I’ll admit I got a little grouchy about it. But after it happened, I didn’t feel any worse – and in fact, felt oddly that this milestone is really one that kicks you in the ass to look around your life and decide if you’re happy with it – and if you’re not, why not and just what the hell are you going to do about it? It has also pushed me to look back and think about what I’ve learned, what I’ve applied from those lessons and what I still need to push myself to do, try, apply, accomplish, or otherwise still explore. Here are 40 things I now know – whether or not I’m applying them (yet).

1) There is never a “right time” for a lot of things: having babies, getting married, starting  your own business. No one can tell you the right time – you just have to trust your gut.

2) People have a lot of opinions – you can listen to them but you can’t live by them or you’ll go insane.

3) It’s okay to say no. (In fact, I should say no more often.)

4) I say “I’m sorry” way too much.

5) No one can prepare you for what it feels like to be a parent and how it will infinitely and constantly change and challenge you.

6) Your childhood experiences stay with you forever – whether you want them to or not. (Remember this often if you are a parent.)

7) There can never be too much: fun, laughter, friendship, food. There can be too much: sun, wine, tears, pressure.

8) Women need to support each other more.

9) Forgiveness is a powerful thing.

10) Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go.

11) There’s never enough time in the day. So learn to manage it better. (I suck at this.)

12) Listen to what your kids say – they have a lot to teach you.

13) Regret is a wasted emotion.

14) For me, true and trusted friends are rare and should be treated with the greatest of appreciation and care and never, ever taken for granted.

15) Truly knowing yourself is one of the greatest things in life.

16) There’s no possible way everyone will like you. And that’s okay.

17) I do not want to discuss religion or politics at any dinner party, ever.

18) Sometimes you need to be selfish.

19) Some people are too selfish. Recognize them and decide if you can accept them the way they are or not – move forward accordingly with them in your life – or not.

20) Music is good for the soul. So is good wine, food and love.

21) Life really is short.

22) You can’t be honest with anyone else if you’re not honest with yourself first.

23) Saving for a rainy day is well and good, but so is having a little fun today.

24) Spend time often with your spouse alone – no matter how much you love your children and think no one on the planet is good enough to babysit.

25) Vacations don’t have to be extravagant. Take a day off, go shopping, have wine with lunch, get a massage, watch a movie – whatever gives you a reprieve from your normal routine and daily stress.

26) You can never say “I love you” too much.

27) Inspiration can be found in unexpected places. (I’m always looking for it in church or conferences and I need to give that up.)

28) My religion is not your religion. And that’s okay. We can share this world – even like each other – anyway.

29) Monsters exist.

30) So do miracles.

31) It’s okay not to get credit – do it anyway.

32) Some things can’t be fixed.

33) The most uncomfortable things are probably the things I need to work on the most.

34) I haven’t been dancing enough.

35) Caring what others think is exhausting.

36) It’s not hard to show someone how much you love them every day.

37) Be careful of your judgmental self. “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

38) I suck at card games.

39) I believe playing hard is just as important, if not more important, than working hard.

40) I still have a lot to learn.