When Beauty Becomes A Background, It’s Time To Pause

Years ago, I had a very sad conversation with an elderly lady. We didn’t talk about loss or tragedy, instead, we talked about beauty.

The woman’s sister lived in one of the most scenic parts of the country that comes with harsh winters. When I asked her if the stunning mountains and lakes make up for the cold, she replied, “My sister says it all just becomes the background.”

I forgot about that exchange until recently. I was driving my youngest to school and the panoramic mountain views that normally make me gasp when we reach the top of the hill – didn’t.

The beauty became the background. It was a wake-up call. A warning sign. Something was off.

Life is complicated. There are schedules to manage, deadlines to meet and laundry always in need of folding. And when our calendars, our minds and our hearts get too cluttered it’s easy to miss the beauty all around us.

When our kids giggles don’t make us pause and say a quick prayer of thanks,

when our spouse touches the small of our back and we can’t feel that quick burst of love,

or when we can’t see the presence of the Divine in the nearby wheat field, the swaying palm trees, or the mountains,

it’s time to create a pause. It’s time to look inwards and upwards. It’s time to start paying attention once more.

Because there is no line between the secular and the sacred. It’s all intertwined. The finger prints of God mark it all.

Our job is to recognize it. We are meant to recognize the Divine within our selves and in each other. In nature and in all the good things He inspired people to create.

And so in between pick-ups and drop-off’s, in between assignments and loads of laundry, I will create pause. I will sit in awe and thank God for life’s beauty. I will slip up at times. But I will keep trying.

Because I don’t want to become an old woman who let the beauty of her life become the background.


Content Written by: @jillianbenfieldblog

We Are Not All We Wish We Were, But We Are Here

A journalism professor in a long gray sweater taught me the difference between a story worth writing and a public relations stunt:

A real story still has meaning even if no one ever hears it; a PR stunt only matters if people are watching.

And that became a new item on the list of promises to myself: That I would never let my life become a public relations stunt.

My life would have meaning, even if no one ever knew it. I wanted to write a story I was proud of, even if nobody read it.

I used to dream that I’d grow up and dazzle the world. But time and disappointment chipped away at me until only the real stuff was left, and it wasn’t very dazzling. I just had some sad stories and a sack of regrets, and a new reverence for the pieces of me that survived.

All of these shipwrecks have stranded me in desolate places where I stared at my hands and realized that I couldn’t offer the world what I had hoped to. Dreams shatter and eyelashes fall out, and lungs aren’t big enough to carry the song sometimes.

But I still wake up in the morning and draw my hopes on the sidewalk. And every time so far, they’ve been trampled over, or hosed off, or the rain rolled all of it over the curb.

But I pick more flowers, write more stories, dream more dreams. After all that’s been destroyed, maybe it’s foolish to still be speaking this way, but at least I’m a fool with a soul alive. I swing open the doors on my chest and I offer to the world the only thing that I can: myself. I get it now.

We are not all we wish we were, but we are here, and we are trying, and we are awake.

We are not public relations stunts.

We are stories worth hearing, even with no crowd in the stands for us.

We are the heroes. We are the poem, we are the song, we are the gift.


Written By Jane “Nightbirde” Marczewski

Image Source: Feature Image Daily News and Image Below: Nightbirde Facebook Profile


How Avoidance Robs Your Life

There is nothing that gets in the way of success more than avoidance. We avoid hard conversations. We avoid certain people. We avoid hard decisions. We avoid evidence that contradicts what we think. We avoid starting a project until we’re certain of the outcome.

To justify our avoidance, we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we’re noble — we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We tell ourselves we don’t want to offend others. We tell ourselves that things will get better. We tell ourselves that things will get easier. We tell ourselves that we can avoid the real issue without any impact. We tell ourselves we’ll start when the time is right.

Sometimes we muster up half the courage. We have half the conversation we wanted to have. We do half the hard thing. We acknowledge the evidence but convince ourselves this time is different. We see the person we’re avoiding but don’t really talk to them. We start but don’t commit to the project.

And here’s the interesting thing.

Half-efforts tend to make things worse, not better.

When things don’t get better, it only reinforces that we shouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Avoiding isn’t better, it’s just easier.

Not only does avoiding today make the future harder, but it also almost always makes the present harder.

Avoiding puts you on a hair-trigger, anything will set you off. We all do this.

Who hasn’t entirely avoided a hard conversation with their partner about something only to find themselves in an insignificant argument over something trivial? Of course, the petty fight isn’t about the trivial thing, it’s about avoidance of the hard thing.

Everything becomes harder until we stop avoiding what’s getting in the way.

The longer you wait the higher the cost.


Content Source: Unknown post on social media

Are You Running From Death or Towards Life?

If you’re reading this, this fu$king brain cancer probably got me.

But let me be crystal clear while I’m able: I did not ”lose a battle” against cancer. This is a ridiculous, steamy pile of horse shit that society has dumped on cancer patients. Western medicine, and Western culture, especially, is so uncomfortable talking about death that instead it created this “battle” analogy that basically shames people who die from cancer.

News flash: None of us gets out alive from this rodeo called life.

There is no shame in dying from cancer – or any serious illness. And it doesn’t need to be a battle. It’s a transition that each of us will go through.

I was asked by a shaman, whom I spoke to after my second brain surgery, “Are you running towards life or running away from death?”

Whoa! That got my attention.

There’s a BIG difference. I got it wrong more often than not.

Don’t let fear fuel your choices. Live fearlessly. Run TOWARDS life. Don’t worry about what people will think. Trust me, it doesn’t matter.

Focus on you. Be true to yourself. Be your own best friend. People who tell you you’re selfish are not your people. If the voice in your head says these unkind things, get a new voice. Honor your mental health and seek out a good therapist with the same vigor you’d search for a romantic partner.

Speaking of, be intentional about cultivating friendships that lift you up. As those friendships grow and change, don’t overlook them while you search for that “great love of your life.” (No, I’m not suggesting you sleep with your bestie. But you do you!)

Another unhelpful message that we get from society is that we need a “love of our life,” as a romantic partner.

Single and childless when I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I looked around my life and came up sputtering and sobbing from the wave of grief washed over me. I thought I’d be doing this alone… no husband, no kids, no “great love.”

How wrong I was. At the first appointment with my neuro oncologists, one of the nurses diligently hauled in chair after chair for the great loves of my life who came with me that horrible day and many days after that.

I sat and listened while the doctor explained the 12-month treatment plan, focusing on my breathing, then looked around the room…. filled with great loves of my life: incredible women friends whom I had met at various stages of my life.

Surround yourself with people who contradict that unkind voice, people who see your light, and remind you who you are: an amazing soul.

Learn how to receive these reflections from your people. Because they are speaking the Truth.

Love yourself, no matter how weird and silly it might feel. Every morning, give yourself a hug before your feet hit the floor. Look deeply into your eyes in a mirror. Say to yourself, out loud, “I trust you.” That voice in your head might say you’re a dork. Ignore it.

As I prepare to leave this body and embark on this mysterious journey of my soul, I hope these observations from my deathbed are somehow useful.

What I know, deep in my bones, is that learning to love myself has led me to be able to say this: I’m so proud of how I lived.

May you, dear reader, feel the same when you head out on your soul journey, too. Until then, enjoy the ride. And always eat dessert first, especially if there’s pie!

Source: Written by Kerri Grote before she grew her wings

Image: Kerri Grote Facebook page

Rest in peace beautiful lady and thank you for your courage and words of wisdom.

Lessons In Life

The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short.

When you first have children they talk about the challenges of parenting….the struggles of a baby waking in the night, the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, injuries from sports…

Having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a messy house, the never ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches….

You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning….and try to soak in the magic of those moments.

You coach them in sports, rushing to practices and ballgames…and tote them all over the country to let them play the game they love…no matter how exhausting or expensive it becomes.

Life is just so busy that you rarely even stop to think what the end of those days look like.

In fact, it’s not really even something you can wrap your mind around.

You go into it thinking that 18-20 years sounds like a long time….

Then suddenly hours turn into days…days into months…and months into years.

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