What if this was your last Christmas?

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Can you believe another year is about to close?  It feels like I simply blinked and it was December again! How about you? However, if I take a little time to reflect over the year I realize that within that crazy, busy year there have been some monumental experiences that should not be overlooked; there were so many learning opportunities for me.

One of the biggest “stand out” experiences for me was, unfortunately, a horrific car accident in which my husband and I walked out with our lives and we are beyond grateful.   This unfortunate experience has given me many moments of reflection as I think about the brevity of life; it goes by so fast and sometimes it is stolen from us.

Our car accident has caused me to take a deeper look at my passions, my professional work, my personal life, my meaningful relationships, as well as my physical & emotional health. As I stepped out of the truck that day, badly shaken, my first thought was an overwhelming gratefulness that our lives had been spared but following that I experienced a very clear picture of what really matters in my life~ people.

As you walk through the holidays, how can you navigate the season so that the busyness does not steal from your connection with others? How can you slow the pace in order to share tender moments along the way? Christmas traditions can be so fun, baking and office parties can be invigorating; but taking the time to be certain that those you love know that they matter is really at the heart of Christmas.

What’s tugging at your heart this year? Is there a relationship that needs encouragement? A single mom struggling that needs your touch? Does your spouse need the festivities to slow down so that the two of you can remember what great friends you are; or perhaps work towards being again?

Our unexpected accident has only heightened my awareness that every day is a precious gift!  Truly, the 2016 Christmas season could have been our last! Every day is, indeed, a gift! Instead of chocolate indulge deeply in the relationships that surround and bless your life and in doing so you will have a very Merry Christmas.

We Danced~

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This last weekend our family engaged in a “little known” tradition in our family.  We danced! Our family gathered together to celebrate anniversaries, 6 couples in our family had marked significant milestones and we wanted to acknowledge the beauty of that together. As the evening cooled and the sun went down we laughed while dancing to pop songs watching one another make some creative dance moves.  As the moon began to show itself in the sky we danced to slow songs from the 50’s;  there were tears in our eyes as we watched the sweet way our parents moved together like they were teenagers once again.

Dancing was an integral part of our parents history back when dancing looked significantly different then it looks today!  It is a memory of sweet times, laughter, and celebration.

Sadly enough, when I was a young girl the dancing stopped.  At the time we attended a church that didn’t allow dancing and my parents wanted to “do the right thing” out of reverence and respect.  It was sad that the dancing had stopped.

Years down the road, perhaps 10 years ago now,  family weddings and summer BBQ’s began to become a regular occurrence ~ first we just played really cool music and then toes started tapping.  We began to dance again. The laughter, silliness, sweetness, and extremely cool moves began again.  Nowadays, we look forward to the next time we will gather to dance again!

Take inventory for a minute.  Is there a life giving, joyfilled activity that you’ve either neglected or felt guilty about taking time for?  Is it time to give yourself permission to re-engage in it again?  Something nostalgic?  Something light-hearted or whimsical?

As the evening ended we watched some of the Iphone videos of our crazy dance moves and all agreed that the brothers-in-law had truly epic moves; most importantly we all left with a full heart and tired feet!   🙂

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What will be said of Me?

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I have a wonderful privilege of gathering with some amazing women every other week to spend time talking about the things that we care deeply about.  We discuss the season of life we are presently in and look for quality ways to navigate the many challenges and opportunities we encounter everyday. We talk about learning to say our “best yes”, to make sure we find ways to re-fuel in order to be the best version of ourselves, and we look at focusing on those things we consider the highest priorities at this time, using them as a good filter when choosing how to best use our time.  These conversations are always rich and encouraging.

Last night we spent our time talking about Legacy.  We were all able to point to a person in our life who impacted us in a powerful way. Each one of us teared up simply talking about it! We could clearly see that without the gift of that person having touched our lives we would not be the women we are today.  Then we turned our attention to the fact that each one of us could be “that” person in someone’s life.  Down the road when a group of women gather, perhaps our name with be the one mentioned when expressing appreciation for key impact on their lives.  This is what leaving a Legacy looks like.  Lasting impact.

In a small study written by Dr. James Dobson, he expresses Legacy this way:

“Legacy is what future generations recall about you. You are a patriarch or a matriarch and your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will take what you have done with your life and build on their own lives.  It is the continuation of your ministry and influence (both positive and negative) beyond your lifetime, reflecting what you value and what you believe is important.”

Wow, does that mean that the choices, behaviours, values, and traditions we do ( or don’t) intentionally choose will be passed on to our future family? You bet!  Think about your family of origin; is there a legacy you feel compelled to carry forward?  Perhaps that legacy was unhealthy and you now have the chance to make choices that will turn it around in your generation.  Choosing to leave a good and lasting Legacy requires intentionality, long-term vision, strong values, and time spent building rich relationships.  We all have a choice as to the Legacy we leave behind.

Look at your life today and answer this question: “Who influenced you to be who you are today and how does their Legacy encourage you to leave behind a Legacy that continues to bear good fruit in the lives of those you dearly love? Take time to write out the type of Legacy you would like to leave behind and then make choices consistent with your hearts desire.  🙂

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

Being Mindful on Valentine’s Day~

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For so many, Valentine’s Day can be sweet, romantic, and full of warm remembrances of years of marriage or a meaningful relationship!!  Valentine’s Day can be a celebration of a marriage or a relationship that has weathered obstacles and stood the test of time.  These things are certainly “celebration worthy!”

However, there are those who walk into a very romantic holiday alone either by singleness, divorce, sickness, or loss!  I can only imagine the loneliness that is experienced by those facing these particular situations.  Valentine’s Day can, frankly, be a sad and lonely day! 😦

I am sensitive to the seasons of life that others may be in. I don’t have all the answers….solutions…or wise words. BUT I do know that in the midst of sadness or loss during a very Hallmark Holiday: I would wish all those feeling lonely or sad the HUGE knowledge that they have a Saviour who loves and adores them!! That they are fearfully and wonderfully made; they matter!!  This is my heart today.

imagesAppreciate and be thankful for what you have; be mindful and sensitive to those who are challeged~~reach out, include, invite! 🙂