Angels and Airbags~

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I have always wondered what it would be like. I have always been cautiously curious about what a person experiences in a significant car accident. Other than a few fender benders in my life I’ve been incredibly fortunate that I’ve never gotten the chance to explore my curiosity, until last week.

We had done all the right things to be sure that we were traveling safe as we drove over the pass to see family on the 4th of July.  Most of the traffic was heading towards our hometown so as we headed out we could see that traffic in our direction was smooth sailing. The days spent with family were truly treasured days; we don’t regret having made the effort.

We headed home as a reasonable hour; making sure we would have daylight for our entire ride home. Thirty minutes into our drive we could see that there were a great deal of folks making their way home from the Central Oregon area after having enjoyed hearty celebrations there. My husband and I had just discussed the fact that we would need to really watch how others are driving as they were coming fast and way too close together.

Then it happened.   The driver of a large truck had been distracted by something he saw along the road. This distraction caused him to fail to see that the car in front of him had put on their breaks. In a knee-jerk reaction the driver over-corrected and plowed straight into our vehicle at 55 miles an hour. I saw the truck, let out a scream, there was impact, and airbags deployed which felt like having lightning strike right in front of us. Windows broke, smoke flooded our car, and we scrambled to safely get out of the car on the only side that was usable at this point.

As I stood shaking alongside the road I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I watched my husband make his way out of our vehicle and it was obvious that he had some injuries and was in a daze. Within minutes the paramedics and police came to our rescue. It all seemed very surreal. The driver of the oncoming vehicle had crashed into a ditch alongside the road behind us; his truck was totaled due to the impact as well but gratefully, he was not injured.

I stood off to the side as a flurry of helpers and well-wishers made incredibly kind efforts to support us; my husband had sustained the major portion of the impact and so it was vital he had the paramedics working with him. Now I know what it feels like to experience a significant car crash; to be in a setting where you have absolutely no control. If someone were to ask me what my thoughts were in those few seconds as I watched this oncoming vehicle slam into our truck, I would say there was just an odd sense of quiet. A sense of helplessness without the sense that this was something I could fight.

Many folks have faced various car incidents and I am so grateful that Greg and I did not sustain the kind of injuries so many others have had to endure. Bumps, bruises, and strange new pains are the extent of our woes ( and the loss of a new well-loved and well-used truck).  It could have been much worse.

Here’s the piece of the story that has left me asking the right questions. It could have been much worse; we could have perished. That begs the question “what would I have regretted?” What would I have wished I had made a priority? “ Where would I have wished I had put the bulk of my time knowing that day could have been my last?” For me, there were numerous areas of priorities that I have worked hard to keep over the last few years, people who I’ve kept at the top of my “to do” list, and activities I have maintained that I felt happy about. Most people in my life would not have to second-guess how I feel about them but I am sure I could do better at this.

As I look at this accident in hindsight I am filled with gratefulness that our lives were spared, the other driver included. I am grateful for the help we received. I am grateful that there “just happened” to be a turnout right where there was impact and we were able to get off the fast-moving highway. I am mostly grateful, however, for another chance to take a good look at my life and once again, evaluate my key Life Accounts, priorities, and the use of my time and talents.

Certainly, I’d love nothing else than to never have to experience this ever again; I am not longer curious. My hope, in sharing this blow-by-blow narrative, is that you might grab this opportunity to evaluate your life. Where might you have regrets? What ought you change today? Who needs to know how you feel about them?

We went from calmly driving while listening to 70’s music to being slammed by airbags in a period of seconds! No warning!   Life can change just that fast; let’s use the time we’ve been given to build a legacy of love and impact; no regrets!

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What really matters~

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Today I had a nostalgic moment today when listening to an old Carpenters “album”.  The song  “Sometimes” came on and it made me a little weepy.  In this crazy season in our world the words reminded me of what really matters.

Don’t lose sight of what really matters!

“Sometimes” ( the Carpenters)

Sometimes not often enough
We reflect upon the good things
And those thoughts always center around those we love
And I think about those people who mean so much to me
And for so many years have made me so very happy
And I count the times I have forgotten to say “thank you”
And just how much I love them…
🙂

Is your “Culture” killing you?

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I spent time, recently, with a multi-talented friend working in a key role for a large start-up company in the silicon valley; her job offered lots of opportunity and monetary gain.

“What a GREAT opportunity!” she had been told over and over again.

Behind the scenes she was working 11 hours days while commuting for 2 more. The culture of the company praised those that were available 24/7, those who worked weekends were rewarded with a strong pat on the back, those who gave all they had for the company were the ones who gained greater influence~So the entire culture serves the company without  any guard rails.

Here’s the reality~ my friend worked very hard and used her time efficiently and intentionally.  She would continue to answer email and texts long into the evening; she was never off work. No matter how well she used her time the work was simply never done!

Parkinsons law reads like this, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.  If we continue to make time “available” the time will continually fill up!

Through her exhausted tears she honestly expressed that she had lost sight of her own priorities for the sake of her work culture.  She barely saw her daughter and husband, never took time for exercise, ate on the run, and had no energy filling activities at all! She didn’t look like the vibrant lady I have known for so long; she looked tired.

Doesn’t seem like a good trade off to me.

It was amazing to see her resolve as we discussed creating a plan for her personal/work life where she intentionally communicated that she would be leaving working at 5:30, she would stay off her phone in the evening, and she would incorporate exercise into her morning routine. She clearly recognized that the company culture would kill her if she didn’t set the guard rails needed to survive.

What about your work culture?  Have you lost sight of your personal values to embrace the values of the company?  Have you become consumed with being available 24/7?  If so, has there been a cost? Honestly access your situation and ask yourself this question:

Is it time for you to set some guard rails for yourself?

In an article written by Angel Chernoff she says that after conducting a study she found these to be the biggest regrets people expressed when nearing death:

  • “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  • “I wish I didn’t work so hard my whole life.”
  • “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Thoughts worth considering. 🙂

Please remember me!!!

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” ~ Steve Saint

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Have you ever thought about how you would like to be remembered?  We only get one chance to LIVE a life that will be remembered so considering HOW we want to be remembered is important!

I suppose it would be considered morbid to think about what you would like your obituary or gravestone to say. However, if we consider that now, I can only imagine our behavior could be shaped by it!

Do you want to be remembered ? for your kindness? Your creativity? Your leadership? How about your family?  When people think of you, how will they express who you were in their life?

A Legacy is built year upon year.  As you respond to the changes and challenges of your life; you are building your legacy! As you choose your priorities and expenditures; you are building your legacy!

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A great expression of how to build a legacy is this:

“To focus on leaving a legacy ultimately reminds us that life is short.  Whether you get 40 years or 95, it is your responsibility to do the most with what you have, and leave this world a better place than you found it.  To do this, you need to discover and cultivate your gifts, take care of yourself to ultimately take care of others, and seek to impact as many people positively as you can.  A great goal is to leave this world and the people in it with a little more than when you got here, and never to rest until you have fulfilled that task.”  Training for Warriors

What do I hope for?  I hope to be remembered as someone who loved her family and friends. A person who loved God and made every effort to seek peace.  I pray I will be remembered as a woman who was “real” and allowed others to be real also. I pray that I will be remembered as a woman who cared for the hearts of women, young and old, and  I also hope that I will be remembered as a girl with “blingy clothes” 🙂

( I just added that!!)

Fortunately I still have today to make choices to have a legacy that matters! What about you? How to you want to be remembered?  Think about it, pray about it–then make choices towards your desired legacy!

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