Monday, September 5, 2011

Lessons I Learned Over Labor Day

This weekend was a very welcome and much needed chance to get away. It is no secret that I love to travel, but it is not often that I get a chance to relax. This weekend in the mountains was a VERY relaxing vacation with very dear friends. 

It is almost always impossible for me to not think about work. I live for work, and love my job. This weekend, I allowed myself to completely forget about all obligations and enjoy the exact moments I was living. I spent the weekend with three amazing mommas, one husband, two high school teenage girls, my sweet Sammy love, and five children under the age of 10. There was never a dull moment! 

Friday night, we had fajitas waiting for us when we arrived at our newly remodeled cabin. We put the kids to bed, and the adults relaxed on the back deck under the stars. The married couple (17 years and counting) danced in the moonlight as if they were newlyweds again. Saturday brought with it cool temperatures and sunshine. I heard the most wonderful story of a widower's new found love. It was absolutely enchanting to watch her sweet face light up with every word. It doesn't matter what age we are, all women want to be cherished. 

Later that day, I took the high school girls to get ice cream. Oh, high school relationships...just as I remembered. These girls, too, had stories to tell. Mainly of disappointment and confusion. I gave the best advice I could, but secretly I was glad to be past that stage in life. And, then, the little girls told me of their 'boyfriends'. It's amazing to me they have gone through so many at such a young age. They are still at the 'cootie stage', but boy crazy none the less. 

Every story I heard was different, but the emotions were all the same. I've learned love comes in many different forms at every stage in life...the trick is being open to it. Sometimes, I think it's easy to look around and think it can be so easy for other people. But, we don't always know all the details. It may be better right where we are. 

Which brings me to the map...
Of course, I found this on pinterest...I mean, where else would I waste/invest countless hours of my time?? 

I think often about the future, but it is also imperative to look at 'the now'. After all, it is the now that gets us to the future we someday would like to see. I've learned, these moments that add up to become days in our lives are valuable. We can remember them forever, but we cannot relive them or change the way they happen. It is up to us to be diligent with our time and spend our moments wisely. Cherish the days we are given, both good and bad, for they are our lives. 

I've seen the value of working hard for that in which you believe. Sometimes it is easier to get busy with other things, and let the important stuff move to the back burner. But, it can be dangerous to let that happen. 

I stepped outside in the crisp mountain air multiple times this weekend. As I looked off into the vastness of greenery, I realized how much for which I have to give thanks. I also had to reevaluate where I am going. I know where I want to be, I'm on my way there. But, I can't miss the opportunities right before my eyes just because I am lost in the fantasy of my future.

I think of life like a race. From the minute I start training, all I can think about is the finish far it is, how hot I am, how tired, beat down, and thirsty I am becoming. The whole way through, I keep telling myself 'You can do it!', 'you're strong enough!' 'Keep going!' When I get to the end, I am so proud of my accomplishment. I am pleased with the payoff of my hard work. At the end of the road, it's great to be proud, but all that really matters is the crowd of people I have to surround me...the ones who have supported me all along and experienced the ups and downs of the run.

I have come to appreciate relationships so much more over the past year. I have a great group of friends, but I keep them at a distance. In all honesty, I like to be alone. I value having time to think, and I appreciate privacy. But, life is about more than that. Life is about being open and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I will be the first to admit I am AWFUL at that, but I am working on it. I am finding it is better for me and for all those I share with to know the true emotions of my heart. It makes the thrills of life more thrilling and the struggles in life less painful.

My challenge to you this week is to look at your life. What do you  need to work on to get the most out of life? Where are you going and how will you get there?

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