Why so Serious?


It’s 2 am and I’m lying under the covers wide awake.  My mind is swirling with the challenges of the day, concerns of tomorrow, fears of what “could” happen in the future, and the nagging knowledge that I must get to sleep.  At 2 am everything can feel bleak, imminent, and larger than life!    When I wake up I can hear the birds in the trees, see the signs of a beautiful sunrise, and feel a breeze of fresh air brush over my face; somehow my anxiety in the darkness of night fades and I wonder why I was so overwhelmed.

I imagine you have had these same feelings in the darkness of night from time to time. When I experience this I wonder why I am so serious?  Why have I piled the concerns of family, business, community, and the world on my own shoulders; shoulders that cannot bear the weight?

Why am I so serious?

I had a great opportunity to attend TedX in my hometown where one of the 15 minute talks addressed this very challenge.  The speaker talked about how he found himself looking at life and business so seriously that he was heavy-hearted, angry, and reactive. Knowing himself to be a normally happy spirited person he assessed his thinking.  The speaker gave himself two questions to ask himself in every challenging situation:

  1.  What am I grateful for?
  2. What is funny about this?

The speaker expressed how this simple daily practice turned his perspective around.  He had become so serious that everything was heavy and bleak, by looking for opportunities for laughter and gratefulness his spirit was lifted.

In the world today there are thousands who fight depression, chronic stress, and adrenal failure because of the stress they feel about life–life feels very serious to them.  I often wonder if  it changes us when we walk in heaviness over an extended period of time. Taking life too seriously is extremely stressful.  All the expectation and pressure feels like wearing a heavy backpack.  Stress drains our energy, dampens our enthusiasm and makes us sick.  Lightening up takes the stress away and helps us live and enjoy life.

Are you too serious?  Do you filter your days through life concerns?  Do you bear a backpack of stress on a regular basis or have you allowed yourself to find the humor in life?  Do you allow yourself to lay your burdens down and spend sweet time with the children in your life? Enjoy nature? play games?  read a book that transports you to new places? enjoy great food with friends?

Life does have concerns, but it also has rich joys, opportunities for fresh memories, children to love, sites to explore, and most of all pockets of rich humor if we are looking for it.

Today–may your heart find joy. 🙂


Going the distance in your Marriage~

Two days ago I returned from a spectacular Anniversary celebration on the Island of Maui with my husband of 30 years ~ it is a trip I am very, very grateful for.  To be able to celebrate 30 years of marriage; to still enjoy time together, to laugh, to adventure, and to love, makes me feel so fortunate.


Marriage takes work, relationships take work.  That being said, it’s not ALL work.  Marriage takes a whole lot of different elements to go the distance. Here’s what I’ve learned in my marriage “journey”.

1.  Communication~ It was lack of communication that almost caused an ending to our marriage almost 15 years ago.  Both of us spent our time reacting and talking over one another. We would  offend one another and one of us would always shut down.  Obviously this was not fruitful.  With the help of a wonderful counselor, Greg and I learned the art of active listening.  Learning to actually listen, hear, and learn empathy–even if we didn’t always agree–made all the difference.  We are still learners but we have come a long way!

2. Having a relationship with God and sharing it with one another~ In marriage you learn early on the your partner cannot meet every need in your life, fill every hole, fix every challenge. It’s simply impossible. To know that there is One, our Saviour, who knows you deeply, and loves you, absolutely makes such a difference in the area of expectations and personal confidence. Sharing that rich faith together helps to bind your hearts and values. Together you can take your needs, concerns, and difficulties to Him. A shared faith makes a huge difference.

3.  Laughter ~ Life can feel very serious; often time it IS serious.  It’s super important to remember to laugh. Allowing yourselves as a couple to grab times of light-hearted playfulness makes a huge difference.  Greg and I have learned to play games together, listen to 70’s music (singing along, oh my!), and many other activities that allow us to focus on simply being friends.

4.  Ask for help ~ over the years Greg and I faced challenging turning points that could have stolen our 30 year anniversary from us! There is a trail of amazing people who stood with us, encouraged us, challenged us, and walked us into greater relational health.  We are eternally grateful! We couldn’t have made the changes that were needed without the love and support of good people!

5. Making an effort to be the best version of yourself ~ None of us are perfect. However, I believe that if we are taking care of our health, emotional well-being, and spiritual depth, we will be a healthier life partner.  Challenges come in all of these areas without being invited, BUT if we are living a life where we are personally addressing these key areas we will walk through the uninvited challenges better.  Insecurity, exhaustion, and fearfulness can play a real negative role in our marriage relationships.

6.  Build a good posse of friends/family with strong marriages ~ Having couples around you who are growing in their marriages, who are honest about marriage challenges, and who value their spouses makes a big difference in your ability to go the distance in your marriage.  As couples we can learn from one another, stand with one another, pray for one another, and celebrate with one another through the season of life! This has been key for us!!

7. Dream together ~ if you can’t dream with one another WHO can you dream with?  It’s fun to think about the future, consider ideas that are “out of the box”, share your crazy ideas, and even take risks to make that dream come true! Life can feel awful dull without dreaming…….. 🙂

There are so many elements that go into a marriage that can stand the test of time; to go the distance.  I’m sure I’ve left some out.  But these are my thoughts as I ponder our 30 years of marriage.  I’d love to hear your ideas too!! 🙂 and perhaps you’ll celebrate YOUR anniversary look out at an amazing sunset just as Greg and I did last week! Best to you and YOUR marriage.




4 Keys for a Joy-Filled Life~~


Life is unpredictable.  Life has challenges.  Life can sometimes steal our joy; let’s just be honest about that.  We cannot control everything that comes our way, even if we wish we could! This is why we should be compelled to maintain some key elements in our lives that will help us keep our balance and joy even when faced with uncertainties.

Here are 4 keys that I believe to be essential to maintain a joy-filled life:

1.  LAUGHTER:   There’s just nothing like laughter to release the tension that builds up in our daily lives. A good belly laugh can turn our day completely around! Kathryn Hepburn was quoted as saying  “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”  I have to agree! Laughter takes our minds off our “to do” list, our sadness, or our anxieties and allows us to catch our breath!  Ignoring the need for laughter will cause us all to become very serious and introspective.  So plan to lighten up a couple of times a day~~LAUGH!

2.  FORGIVENESS: Martin Luther King said; Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” This means forgiveness is a choice.  I “choose” to be unoffendable yet when I am offended I will seek to walk in forgiveness as a gift to myself! Walking in unforgiveness can change us.  Walking in unforgiveness is draining. Walking in unforgiveness steals our joy.  In an article written by Charles Stanly he said that  “It’s probably not surprising to hear that resentment impacts the mind and spirit, but you may not have realized what a physical toll it can also take on us. An attitude of bitterness ratchets up tension and anxiety, which can affect everything from muscles to chemical balance in the brain. Over time, that kind of mayhem weakens the body.”
Therefore If we seek reconciliation when we can and choose forgiveness always, we will stand a greater chance of experiencing a consistent joy-filled life.

3.  Quality Relationships:  Quality relationships are those that bring energy to you as a person.  I’m talking about the deep, unreserved relationships you have within the circle of family and friends that you have. Who are the people who know you and have weathered storms and joys alongside you?  Who are the people who love you unconditionally and call just to see how you’re doing?  Who are those who would never indict you but would have your back in any situation? Isolation is a joy stealer, we all need a handful of people who will lift our spirits when we are down, laugh with us when we need to unwind, and celebrate with us when we are experiencing even a small victory! These are the relationships that deserve to be placed on your calendar and nurtured!  Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
George Eliot

4.  Times of Solitude:  Unplug.  Turn of your phone. Back away from the computer. Breathe.   Take some time to be silent.  To read or reflect. Take time to pray or journal.  Don’t see this as a waste of time, but as an integral part of your day. We all need periods of solitude, although temperamentally we probably differ in the amount of solitude we need. However, some solitude is essential; It gives us time to explore who we are and how we feel. Solitude gives us a chance to regain perspective. It renews us for the challenges of life. It allows us to get (back) into the position of driving our own lives, rather than having them run by schedules and demands from without. Times of solitude are also a time to connect with God, giving you time to listen to what He may be saying to you. Making times of solitude a priority in your life will help you to find joy; even in the midst of a busy, or challenging season of life.

Begin to practice these 4 Keys on a regular basis and you will begin to see how valuable they are right away!  I want you to live a life that is Joy-filled. THAT is my hope for you! 🙂

Swing Dancing~

Last night Greg and I had the pleasure of joining some special friends for a Swing Dance class followed by 2 hours of music and dancing.  Dancing well is not something Greg and I have shared in our 27 years of marriage.  Having been in our teens in the 1970’s our real experience with dancing came from dances and Proms where large groups gathered in rooms moving around independently to the sounds of rock music. A very different experience than what we were exposed to last night.

Swing Dancing is the synergy between partners where you have a point of connect at the hand but where the man leads and the woman follows his lead.  The teacher in the class brought out the differences in how we, as partners, respond to that structure, saying that it is hard for many women to “wait” until her male partner leads her to the next step in the dance.

This was so true!!  Greg would take steps for me to follow and since I thought I could anticipate what his next step would be I would simply move into a new move only to find that it was not the step he had chosen!  We experienced frustration as we both tried to “lead”. 🙂   As the evening went on we began to practice and navigate this new experience and managed to come away from the evening with our own “signature move” and a lot of fun and laughter.

Interestingly enough, this experience completely related to how I respond to my own life and the “steps” I take each day. I can start my day asking the Lord to lead and guide my steps; fully committing to wait for Him to lead me through the motions He would like me to take as I navigate the season I am in.  Often, I find myself down a trail or on a mission that He never led me to….I just anticipated that He was so I moved on ahead!! To learn to truly “WAIT” for Him to lead me in the same way I needed to “WAIT” for Greg’s steps to be the mirror for my own in our Swing Dance lesson takes real patience, real trust.

I am going to ponder that this week as I think about my day through the filter of my Swing Dance experience.  Isn’t funny how God can teach us about ourselves through these simple experiences?  I love how He does that!

Have a good week of “following His footsteps!”  🙂