Thoughts on my birthday~

 

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Often while driving I’ll tune my music to the “oldies” channel; within seconds of hearing the first few notes from a song by America, Fleetwood Mac, or the Beach Boys, all the words come rushing back. All the memories come to mind!  For a little while I’m 16 again!!  I’m 16 years old  sitting on a beach in Northern California anticipating what my life would be like in the years to come.    I remember that girl ~ there are still bits and pieces of her inside of me but there are changes too.  What advice would I give that 16 year old Dianna?

  1.  I would tell her that her parents were right! The faith in God that they instilled in her was real and it would be that faith that would carry her in the changes and challenges she would face. As I look back over my life I have seen God intervene is creative, crazy, and amazing ways.  I have felt His comfort, I have experienced supernatural peace.
  2.  I would tell her to try extra hard to be un-offendable.  After getting stuck in hurt and offense many times over the years I have learned that the only one that it hurts is me.  Relationships often have a way of coming full circle over time if we apply grace and forgiveness to the situation. Hanging on to hurt and anger is exhausting and unfruitful!
  3.  I would tell her to be brave!  I remember many anxious moments where I agonized over situations I experienced from job changes, to relationships, to raising my children, etc.   Looking back I recognize that my worst fears never came to fruition.  We were always taken care of.  My boys turned out to be great men.  All that time being fearful robbed me from being hope-filled and confident. Be Brave!
  4.  I would tell her to be herself in every environment; that she is uniquely created! As a young woman I found myself supporting my husbands ministry placements and in doing so I had to adapt to many different churches, environments, personalities, and “rules of the club”.  There were many years where I saw myself “disappearing” to fit in.  The nuances of my personality were hidden, many times, to be that “perfect pastors wife”.  No one asked me to, I put that pressure on myself.  As I have become more authentic over the years~ my quirks, my weaknesses, my hobbies, my dreams~ I have found a greater kinship with people than ever before.  If I had it to do all over again knowing what I now know, I would just be myself!
  5.  I would tell her to take good care of herself.  For so many years I put all my energy into my family, my church, my home, and my outside relationships.  I kept my schedule so wound up that I rarely took time to take care of me; excercise, rest, boundaries, and free time were lost in a well intended, but over-packed schedule.  There were many times when I found myself exhausted, moody, over weight, and anxious.  Over the past 15 years I have learned to take care of myself physically, relationally, spiritually, and activity-wise. I’m certainly not perfect but I make a real effort to keep these areas vibrant.  Truth be known, if we women are not applying self-care, if our cups get empty, everyone around us suffers.

I do love the season of life that I am in.  I have no desire to be 16 again! In this season I understand what matters, appreciate the sweetness of relationships, and I am incredibly grateful to be a Mimi! 🙂 So, happy birthday to me! 🙂

Things we might regret~

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This past week I had the privilege of traveling with my mother and her sister on a road trip to see one of their lifelong friends a few hours away.  This would be a 3 day trip full of laughter, meaningful conversations, shared memories from days gone by, and lots of reminiscing.   I enjoyed the time I had with them all; each of them are so precious to me.  One of the comments was that “time has just gone by so very quickly”, I even see this in my own life as I am celebrating 30 years of marriage this week.  Life does indeed move forward quickly.

Since I returned from the road trip I have been looking at my own life and asking the question, “am I doing all I can to live this life well, with purpose and meaning?”  As I think about that question my answer is “yes, some of the time.” I could do better.

I began to ponder the question, “What might we all regret when we get into our twilight years?”  and I came up with a list of things to consider.

1.  Not stopping to appreciate the “moment”.  Living life so busy-minded that we miss so many amazing moments all around us.

2.  Not traveling when we could have.  Seeing and experiencing other cultures makes a huge difference in our world view and can create memories to last forever.

3.  Holding grudges.  How sad to live life as a hostage to hurt feelings! Gotta let it go!

4.  Not having taken time to get to know God~ to invite Him into our lives. He gave us the very breath we breathe; how amazing to have a life knowing and trusting in Him.

5.  Not having taken time to volunteer.  Life is so much richer when we take time to come alongside those wanting to make a difference!

6.  Not spending intentional time with loved ones.  It’s a sad truth to realize that we don’t know how long we get to have those we love in our lives.  It’s best not to put relationships off “till tomorrow”.

7.  Caring too much what others think.   We will never please everyone all the time.  As much as we may try, there will always be those who see us through a filter that we cannot control.  Care more about being the best YOU that you can be!

8.  Working too much.   Decide when then work day needs to be done.  Disengage and fill your life with life-giving activities and people.

9.  Never having taken risks to pursue a dream.   Do you have a dream in your heart? Are you playing it so safe that your dream will never be realized?

10. Worrying too much.   Life is complicated and uncertain.  All of us could focus on areas of concern and find ourselves consumed with fear and worry.  However, worry robs us of joy.  We will regret having spent our days burdened and concerned.

It was fun to hear of all the ways my mom and her sister intentionally built memories from childhood till now.  When life was hard for them; they created space for joy and laughter.  When life has been joy-filled they have intentionally celebrated those moments with gratefulness.  No matter what stage of life you may be in; ask yourself if there’s anything on my list that YOU may regret someday.  If there is there’s no time like the present to turn it around! 🙂

Will you really be here for the holidays?

I love this time of year as I gear up for all of my favorite holidays in the coming months.  I anticipate celebrations with friends and family, parties to host and attend, gifts to purchase, wrap, and deliver, & lots of food to prepare. I know it will be a full season of wonderful variables.

However, in the midst of a busy holiday season I am still working, writing, and carrying on with all the responsibilities I normally have on a day to day basis. I face the question; “How can I be fully present in this season rather than being so task driven that I actually miss the valuable moments that come my way? Every year I hear myself saying, “Goodness, the holidays went by so fast!

Whether you’re feeling totally overwhelmed or slightly frustrated as you anticipate the holiday season ahead, it’s easy to lose perspective about what’s most important and valuable to you–your relationships!

Truth is we all spend most of our time in the past or the future, rather than the present moment. What we end up doing is passing through today’s moments on the way to somewhere else and, in doing so, we miss the present moment. That’s how these meaningful memories can end up passing us by!

Benefits of Being in the Moment

  1. Increased enjoyment: We will find that we enjoy life more if we’re fully present rather than having our minds elsewhere. Food tastes better, I have more fun with my family, work is more enjoyable, and laughter is sweeter when I experience them UN-distracted!
  2. Reduced stress. Worrying about the past and future can give us stress. Choosing to give ourselves permission to slow down and focus on “Today” can alleviate the stress of past regrets and the uncertainties of the future.
  3. Better relationships. When we really commit ourselves to being with someone, to listening to them,we are being a better family member, friend, teammate, and even spouse. We have better conversations. We bond with those around us!

“Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories.” — Cathy Allen

Enjoy the coming months to the fullest. Slow down and intentionally choose not to be so “busy-minded” but rather give yourself permission to be fully present each day!

…and may this be a very special Holiday season for you!