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Lilacs and Bubbles

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Bubbles, lilacs and children invite wonder, hope and joy. Lingering and delighting in the simplicity of the moment. Light, fragrant and awe without question or doubt.

Bubbles burst, the sweet aroma of lilacs fades swiftly and children grow up. Yet, the invitation, the calling remains within. A soft voice whispering us back to our most pure selves. To an acute awareness of the brevity of life and the promise of daily joy beyond our worries, our circumstances, our past, our future.

Our capacity for joy is far larger than we allow into our realm. Float like a bubble released into air, breathe in the fragrance of summer, leap with great abandon.

Dream BIG. LIVE BIGGER!

Lilacs and bubbles.

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Life While You Live It

“Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you.” – Orison Swett Marden

Chaos, busyness and circumstances eclipse gratitude, awe and joy. We put off living fully to the illusive someday. When you can dance and sing amidst difficulties, you have triumphed and achieved “a peace that passes all understanding.”

Don’t lose days, months, years waiting for perfect timing to start living. Today is the day to begin anew, to be present in each moment and see what’s right in front of you for the very first time. Hold your gaze a bit longer and witness the greatness in a mere petal of a flower, the solace in an embrace and the ease that grace offers.

In Act III of Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town, Emily views moments in her life after she is dead. “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute? Emily asks this question of the Stage Manager after she has revisited her twelfth birthday. The Stage Manager answers that humans indeed do not realize life, except for perhaps the “saints and poets, maybe.”

Realize your life fully each day while you live it – the sacred poetry.

Pursue with Confidence

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thorton Wilder

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thorton Wilder

My niece Jenna graduated from law school yesterday. What a wonderful moment for her and for all of those in her life cheering her on. When we truly love, we share in each other’s struggles and triumphs.

As with all lasting victories, it was achieved through hard work, diligence, uncertainty and long hours. There are no short cuts and the daily journey is the substance of a meaningful life. So as I see this young confident woman, wide-eyed and enthusiastic, in the beginning of her career as I am on my 30th year of my own, I tell her and all other young women to keep up the hard work, never let your enthusiasm and optimism be depleted and keep diving in no matter what others say or think. Be your own person and be kind. Return to yourself again and again anchored in deep faith that you have a purpose here and be gratefully aware that God is behind you, aside you and ahead of you every single step of the way.

And on this day that we honor mothers and those who have given love like a mother to others, feast on your life now as you are in it and know that your love has carried so many to find their own journey. Pursue your life with confidence and light.

Love After Love by Derek Walcott

“The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.”

The Rain before the Bow

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” – Lord Byron

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” – Lord Byron

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou

As we move through life’s many difficulties and worries, it’s often hard to see beyond the struggle, the light behind the clouds. And then suddenly, a brilliant bright rainbow breaks through the clouds and offers the gift of hope and the promise of grace to make our way through to the other side the only way we can. A day at a time.

Life goes both fast and slow as does death. We spend much of our time waiting and longing for what’s next, what may be easier. Even amidst the clouds and rain, we can give ourselves permission to find joy and light, if but for a moment. The bow after the rain comes when its purposes is complete, whether we understand it or not. When you are in the clouds, hold on and when you are not, be the rainbow.

Loaf

“I lean and loaf at my ease… observing a spear of summer grass.”― Walt Whitman

May you find loafing and ease each day to –

Be grateful
Be joyful
Be silly
Be relaxed
Be settled
Be kind
Be empathetic
Be light
Be present

To just be. Let go of doing. Quiet both the outside and inside voices and listen to stillness for clarity. Observe where and what you are paying attention to. It is when we are in the vast wilderness that we return to discover who we are and always have been. Observe a spear of grass.

Honor Thy Father

“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.” – Branch Rickey

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Dad’s passing. Missing him is a daily occurrence that I don’t expect will ever change. But rather than focusing on what is lost, I am choosing today to focus on all that I am grateful for including what he instilled in me and my family.

A quiet unassuming work ethic, give your best and the outcome will take care of itself;
Love of family and friends, help others and expect nothing in return but the gift of generosity;
Have a sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously, the only way to joyfully get through this life;
Finish what you start, be resilient and find your grit;
A deep faith and pursuit of God, not so much through words but in our actions.

So Dad, I miss you every single day and thank you for remaining in all of us as we continue on our journey. And the best way I can honor you is living out what you have instilled in me. Be kind, humble, celebrate the wins, accept the losses gracefully and never underestimate the power of hope and faith. Cast Light.

Run with Joy

“Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude… Don’t complain; just work harder… Never give up.” – Randy Pausch

When we were young, we were light on our feet, untethered. Each day a new adventure filled with delight and awe. Naïve, they say. So we grew up and got “real.” We traded possibility and fun for rules and limitations. We allowed other voices in and proceeded to become “wise” by over-complicating it all. “Yes!” was swiftly replaced with “no.”

My great nephew Liam was born the same year that my Dad and my two dogs Molly and Lily passed away. He was and still is a bright light, an oasis in the desert. And he just keeps getting better by the day.

"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." – Mark 10:15

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” – Mark 10:15

He runs with joy. Uninhibited, pure sweet joy. And he invites me in to his world to be silly, to dance and sing like no one is watching. And if they are, who cares, they can join in too. I enter his beautiful, innocent world filled with wonder and all of the stuff that clutters and distorts life floats away with the bubbles he chases into the sky as he yells “bubbles!”

Each of us has the capacity and the calling to run with joy, to chase bubbles and to see the world through the eyes of our inner child who keeps asking us to come out and play.

Enjoy your life unbound and with splendor. And by doing so, you give others an invitation to join you and if but only for a moment to find solace in difficulty and the rainbow after the rain. Run with joy.

You Never Know

“I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift.” – Steven Pinker

“Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.” – Vanessa Paradis

“Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.” – Vanessa Paradis

Two years ago on this Sunday, I backed out of my parents’ driveway after spending the day with them as I often did every weekend. Molly and Lily in the front seat with me and my Dad standing looking out with his hand in the air waving and watching until I reached the end of the driveway.

It turned out that this would be the last day I would see him alive. He died on Thursday while I was stuck on a plane coming back from a work trip. I didn’t make it back in time to say good-bye. We spoke everyday and nothing was left unsaid, so no regrets. Only deep loss and missing him every day since and until I see him again. This coming Saturday on the two-year anniversary of his passing, I will be back on a plane for another work trip. Flying has never been the same since that day two years ago.

In a moment, life changes. And then we are reminded again of that which we so often forget. Each day is a gift and joy is found in simply spending time together.

Be present, grateful and profoundly aware of all that surrounds you each and every single day. We have no guarantees of what is to come. Love fiercely. Hug longer. Forgive often. Laugh hard. Soak it all in.

Today was a beautiful sunny day as the 60+ degree temperature slowly melted the late snow away and spring softly enters a bit late. There are many doors and seasons we pass through. Each one has its own gifts. Open them all.

Shake It Off and Smile

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver

GOOD NEWS! You are in control of you – your thoughts, moods, assumptions. So carefully and mindfully make right choices each day. Change your thoughts, change your world. Get beyond the “why me” and worrying mindset and meditate and take action on what is most important.

It is a guarantee – we will all have setbacks and disappointments. Everyone of us. And when we move through the grief and frustration of often times deep loss and change, there will a pivot point when you must move to what is new and next.

And when defeated by the cumulation of little things, pause, take a deep breath and push the reset button. Each day is a brand new opportunity to start again. Stop carrying all of that stuff that is dragging you down and shake it off. Gratitude and a hearty smile will change your world.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

Cutting the Lawn in Winter

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” – Albert Camus

Mid-April and 17+ inches of snow in Minnesota this past weekend. No doubt, it has been one long winter that continues on. Circumstances, other people, the weather take up too much of our time. We lament and try to change things that we can’t change. In the midst of this effort, we are missing out on our life.

It’s pretty simple, yet we’ve made it hard. We either hibernate or we find the invincible summer inside and burst out into the world, regardless of what’s in our peripheral vision. Our ability to focus our attention and time on what’s important and of meaning has never been more important.

If 17 inches of snow can defeat us, we need to work on our resilience and more importantly our sense of humor needs some exercising. Flex your joy muscles today and bring summer to the winters that surround you, even in July. However, I am not convinced that snow is not possible in July based on this past winter. Bring it on!

Sometimes, you need to get the lawnmower out in the snow.

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