What Would You Do?

If, at some point, your own government ceased to function, to protect you, to provide some sort of “unalienable rights,” putting you in a situation of compromise, maybe forcing you to take a journey you are physically and temporally unprepared to take, what would you do?

If, at some point, you pondered the blessed and happy state of your large house which gave heat and cool air on demand, and you thought about your stocked pantry and adequate bank account, and your chest wrenched because your country was founded upon these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and your chest perhaps heaved because of the abundant space you could give others if they could but get to your home, if your national and local leaders would allow them to come, and your tear ducts filled because you felt powerless to help, what would you do?

If your son came home from school, claiming he heard from a friend that the problems in our world, especially in Paris, were the fault of a religion–one to whom your good friends and neighbors and students belong–a religion of peace and of opening your home and sharing the blessings from the same Creator I believe in, and you knew you needed to say something because what he said wasn’t true but that you knew in other homes that the same philosophies of fear were being taught, down the street, and across the country, what would you do?

What will you do?

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This Non-stop Life

I sent an email to a family member recently who was sending hope and positive energy toward me during yet another large transition. My response went something like this:

“Life doesn’t stop…and when it does, we’re not sure we want it to….”

(Pardon my dangling preposition, please, while you think about that thought for a moment or two.)

Those who are faced with life ending, (or anything ending, really) tend to look back nostalgically on where they’ve been, what they could do better, and where they wish they had spent more time and energy.

I encourage you today, on this Happy Cinco de Mayo, to take an inventory of your life. If your days were numbered (and they are, only you don’t know the number), what would you do TODAY? Would you order out (or cook) Mexican food and have a fiesta or celebration? Would you make more time to write? Would you read that book that you’ve been meaning to read? Would you take a class? Would you learn a new skill? Would you take a step toward greater trust in a relationship? Would you hit the beach? Would you throw out all the clutter? Would you organize something? Would you dance in the rain? Would you have lunch with a child or a lover or your favorite book? Would you visit your grandparents? Would you sing? Would you smile more? (I would.)

Think productivity! Think positivity!

We don’t really have all the time in the world…we just have today.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

I was driving in my car down a long stretch of road pasted between lights and buildings, parks and restaurants. My destination was sure, though I was a few minutes behind schedule. I turned on the radio for company, listening to favorites and switching stations often.

When I heard the first few beats of Elton John’s music, I immediately recognized it as his song from Disney’s The Lion King, and I reached to change the station.

Sorry Elton John fans. I recognize his talent as one of the music greats of all time…but his songs just don’t usually speak to my soul.

The closest I’ve come to being moved by his music was his ballad to the late Marilyn Monroe, “Candle In the Wind.” That is, at least until this recent drive.

As I touched the button to change stations, I had a thought to listen to the song.

(I’ve come to recognize that little thoughts like that one are often valuable.)

I settled into the seat, cautious of my speed, as my breathing slowed in time with the music. I began to sing of “kings” and “vagabonds” along with Elton’s smooth vocals.

But, what meant more to me was the way I felt.

I felt love. I felt assurance. I felt that the many pressures, responsibilities, and decisions that rest upon my shoulders were known and recognized by a Higher Power. I also somehow felt that all would be fine.

I wonder if Elton John could have ever known that his song would mean so much to a thirty-something mother and writer while driving her car down an almost-too-familiar road. I could honestly answer yes to his musical query. I did, indeed, feel love that night…and I have tried to carry that feeling of love with me and share it along this road I’m still traveling. ❤

When do you feel love? How do you share it? And what have you created and shared, like Elton John's song, that has become meaningful to others you may not ever know?

Beyond Blessed

Today I am feeling overwhelmed with joy…and I wanted to pass some along in your direction.

I have a place to sleep, and it’s filled with people I love.


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My kiddos don’t notice if I cut my hair, much less if I “do” it or put on any make-up. They don’t want me airbrushed in photos. They love me for who I am.


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My husband is one of the most patient men on the planet. I’m convinced. Don’t try to dissuade me. We’ve stood together, ready to tackle the ups and downs of life for many years–and I’m looking forward to an eternity of more.

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I have a cupboard full of food, cabinets overflowing with pans, and a recipe box stuffed with the roadmaps to create our favorite foods. Plus, if I don’t feel like cooking, I have frozen pizza in my freezer or a car with gas to grab take-out.


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I have amazing friends. Need I say more?

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I can listen to favorite songs on demand. Wow. That is so cool.

(See the Spotify Playlist in the sidebar.)

Clean running water, warm showers, and painting my toe nails rock my day. 🙂

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I can smile…anytime. Anywhere.

Karin

What are your favorite blessings right now? How do you celebrate gratitude in your everyday living?

Invisible Battles

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Jesse Owens’ words strike a chord of truth. What battles are you fighting within yourself? Maybe you struggle with making ends meet, as Jesse Owens did later in life. (For a brief biography on Jesse Owens, watch here.) Maybe you find you are not living up to your potential. Maybe you feel threatened by someone. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin. Maybe you are dealing with loss that others have forgotten.

As you consider the invisible battles you fight, please be aware that others around you are fighting their own invisible battles.

Everyone struggles. Struggling is part of life, and–as we work through our struggles, we become stronger.

Still, the struggles are hard. They can seem never-ending.

I heard recently of a middle school student who chose to take his own life due to the weight of his invisible battles. I was saddened by his decision to take his precious, young life from this world.

This morning, I heard of a dear friend’s passing following a three-year battle with cancer. She was an angel to many–always concerned with strengthening and uplifting others. Personally, she supported me with a listening ear and a loving heart through my busy and exhaustive years of child-bearing. I mourn for the loss of the beauty she brought into the world and am grateful for the joy that I feel because she was part of my life. She seemed to be sensitive to those who were fighting invisible battles themselves, lending a helping hand even when she wasn’t well herself.

Working through our own invisible battles–whatever they may be–allows us to grow from our struggles. Let us remember to have hope, to carry on, and to count our blessings. Though we may struggle, we can find the supporting hand of others to help us. We can reach out to help, which lightens our own loads that we carry. We can be honest with ourselves and others regarding the way we feel.

As we face and work to win our invisible battles, we will be strengthened with a victory more precious than gold medals, more powerful than fame, more valuable than anything monetary.

We will feel whole.

In All Your Forms

As we continue to celebrate love during this Valentine’s Week on the blog, here is a tender clip from a movie that teaches about love:

I love the line in his vows that says, “I vow to fiercely love you, in all your forms.”

Anyone who has been in a relationship for just about any amount of time has learned that people do change in many ways. For those seasoned couples who have been together through decades, through health challenges, through childbirth or infertility, through loss and renewed love, this line may be particularly poignant.

In my own life, I have watched couples endure in love through physical changes. We lose hair. We gain wrinkles. When a woman undergoes the decision to have a child, her belly grows, her breasts become enlarged, and her form changes. When a baby is born, skin and tissue and stretch marks can change her form from what it once was. When a partner undergoes treatment for cancer, he or she loses hair, color, and can lose or gain weight. Love endures these changes.

When one or both partners are stressed or undergo the difficulties of life, they can experience emotional changes. Maybe they are not as stable as they once were. Still, love presses on through these challenges.

When we vow or promise or covenant to love each other through life and beyond, we stand by each other–in all our forms. I know my husband sees me at my best and at my worst. I took a long time to fully let him into my heart, misled by the screaming thought inside me that if he really knew me he wouldn’t want to be with me. Thankfully, I was wrong. And he has been faithful to me–in all my forms–over many years and many struggles. He continues to strengthen me, and I hope to do the same for him.

In the film The Vow (based on a true story), the main character suffers a brain injury where she doesn’t recall the past three years (years in which she brought about pivotal changes in her life and relationships–including relocation, changes in her studies/major, and her marriage). (SPOILER ALERT) As her husband tries to help her remember, she continues to struggle. She ends up going back to her old life that she remembers, leaving her husband alone. At the end of the film, she makes the same decisions on her own that she did years ago (leaving law studies to continue her work as an artist, moving from the suburbs back into Chicago). They meet again and the end credit song begins to play as the couple head out to eat at “someplace new.” The true story couple is then pictured with their two sons, and viewers are left to assume that they remarried and are now living happily.

I am touched by his determination to love her in the way she needed to be loved, to give her some space to heal without taking away his love. He truly lived up to his vow to love her in all her forms.

🙂

“You were my new dream.”

I woke up in the early morning last week, when the house was quiet. As I lay there, sandwiched between covers of cotton and down, I thought about dreams…not the kind that were evading me at the moment, but dreams of life and love and achievement.

Remember the moment in Tangled when Eugene is about to die and he utters these words to Rapunzel: “You were my new dream.”…?

She gently and ever-so-quietly replies, “And you were mine.”

In my marriage, my husband is my new dream every day. As we have changed together over the past several years, we have created new dreams that always include each other. I do not think of life without him. He is my new dream…and each day that we wake up together, we get to know each other–in whatever forms that day may bring.

What is your dream? Does it change? Does it include anyone special?

Sending you love as we begin this Valentine’s Week here on MiddleofMyStory! xoxoxo