The Last Normal Day, Part 2

I had written a post back in 2013 called “The Last Normal Day.”  Recent events in my world having me pondering this again.  Everything changed for my family about 10 days ago. Changes that have us on quite the roller coaster ride. The good news is that we should have a positive outcome — but our world has changed. There is no doubt.

It’s time to revisit the post from 2013. The question at the bottom is an important one: What will you do with today? Here’s the original post:

What if today was the last “normal” day of your life? What if everything changed tomorrow?

It happened earlier this year with the devastating tornadoes in Moore and Shawnee, Oklahoma.

It could happen to me when it’s time for my annual cancer screening (MRI, Mammogram, Sonogram day). What if I don’t get the “all clear” words that I’m praying for? What if there’s a recurrence?

Any recurrence would be scarier than the one before. Because cancer comes back. It really needs to just leave me alone!

Back to today — how am I going to spend today?

It really is true that time, friends, family are all so precious. Even after having cancer twice, I still take so much for granted, although I try to hang on the special moments.

It’s too easy to get back into the groove and grind of daily life.

But we all need to take a moment and ask, “what if this is the last normal day? What if everything changes tomorrow?”

What will you do with today?

For a Limited Time

We’re surrounded on a daily basis with advertisements that say “Act Now,” only available “For a Limited Time.” The goal is to make the consumer believe they can’t live without the product or that your life will be enhanced if you have this product RIGHT NOW.
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All of that got to me thinking about our life here on earth. Most of the time we walk around with the attitude that we have plenty of time (at least I do). Even after two bouts with cancer, I still feel like I have a long life in front of me. And maybe I do. Only God knows how long I have here.

But most of us also know of someone we lost way too soon, whether it be to cancer, an accident or any other cause. Thinking about a life gone too soon makes all of us not want to take our own lives for granted or throw away the time we have to spend.

We are all on this earth “for a limited time.” So, what are you doing with your limited time?

There are days when I feel like I’m wasting time, throwing away those precious days. If we truly believe we are here for a limited time, then what’s stopping us from achieving our goals? Calling a friend? Telling a family member that you love them?

Our life is precious — let’s make it count, for our limited time.

A New Perspective on “One Word” for the Year

If you’re like me, you know several people who choose “one word” for the year and try to live by that word. I’ve done it myself. Many are talking about it now as we’re preparing to go into the new year.
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This has got me thinking (always a dangerous thing! :)) There’s a song out now that keeps echoing in my head:

“When you don’t know what to say, just say Jesus. There’s power in the name….”

Last year, my word was “shine.” I wanted to shine Christ through me and shine in all I did, I wanted to make sure my focus was on Him.

And every time I felt like I was failing, or when I was having a bad day, I would pray. And the first word out of my mouth was “Jesus.”

I had already picked out my word for 2015, which was “time.” You know, time for God, time for others, better time management at work. You get the idea. The thing is, none of that can be accomplished without Jesus first.

While it’s great to ponder whatever word is on your heart for the new year, or if you don’t utilize “one word”, let’s not forget to name the most important: Jesus. Nothing we want to accomplish in the new year can be done without Him.

So perhaps, every year, every month, every day, we already know what our “one word” should be: Jesus.

Wishing you many blessings for 2015.

Stay focused on the one who saved us.

Being Positive, Even on a Bad Day

I’m feeling like a bit of a louse recently. Whether I can cite the excuse of the holidays, or how busy work is, or whatever, those reasons don’t excuse poor behavior.

I was unintentionally sharp with someone, who didn’t deserve my attitude, and who happened to be on the receiving end of a bad day.

We’re all guilty of snapping at someone who was just in the way of our bad mood. But because we all may understand that doesn’t make it right, and now I feel like a heel.

I’ve done what I can to rectify the situation. But that impression of me and my actions are still out there and still affected this person.

No matter how nice I will be going forward, does this person I treated poorly have a long memory or will my actions always be part of how they treat me going forward?

I can’t take it back.

What lessons can be learned?

First – the golden rule still applies: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. In other words, treat others with kindness. In fact, I love the phrase “kill them with kindness.” If someone is being rude and having a bad day, the best way to diffuse the situation is to stay calm and treat them with kindness.

I’ve found the yelling or matching their level of rudeness only escalates the situation.

Second – the other lesson I’ve learned is to be forgiving. It is true that if you hold a grudge against someone, even if they are in the wrong, you’re the only one who continues to be hurt. You’re not hurting them by holding that grudge and by remaining angry.

We all need to “Let Go and Let God.”

God needs to work through me to make me aware of my actions and how those actions affect others. My thoughts, actions and words can have a positive influence or a negative influence.

When I had that bad day recently and exhibited poor behavior to someone else, I may have hurt them, but I’ve also hurt myself.

The whole conversation would’ve turned out different had I been able to hold my tongue, answered their questions and moved on, instead of lashing out at them.

Taking a deep breath, not having a snap response, especially when it’s not a good day, can make all the difference…not just to someone else, but to myself as well.

To the person to whom I snapped, I hope they forgive me. And I hope I show that same spirit of forgiveness the next time someone else has a bad day and snaps at me.

How do you handle your bad days? What do you say when you do have a bad day and have hurt others?

How do you show a spirit of forgiveness?

I’d love to hear from you so maybe we can all help each other be a positive influence.

Tripping Over Today

“We’re looking so forward to tomorrow that we’re tripping over today. God has placed you where you are, right now, totally on purpose.” 31 Days to Thrive, Day 24, from Casting Crowns.

Those words particularly struck me this morning. I was wide awake the night before last, tossing and turning at 3:30 in the morning, with my mind going 90 miles per hour over my to-do list for work.

I was angry at myself for thinking about all of these things, when I really couldn’t do anything about them at that moment.

Even through my frustration, I was praying for God to settle my mind… I knew He had things in hand, yet there I was, wrestling with my thoughts in the middle of the night. Did I really have faith?

Yes, I have faith, I just have weak moments.

So, this morning’s devotional about tripping over today hit home a little bit. All of my concerns were about an event that’s a month away. And while there is preparation and planning to be done, my focus needs to be on one item at a time. Plowing through my list and knowing God is in control. My panic about doing everything right, making sure everything is done, took over and God took the backseat.

Time to change that. Time to focus on today and the blessings and challenges and the plans God has for me TODAY.

I remember an old saying that stated: God is my co-pilot. Well, that needs to change.   God is my pilot and all I need to do is focus on today.

How about you? Are you tripping over today worrying about tomorrow? How do you focus on today?

Being There

As I write this, the world is talking about the shocking passing of Robin Williams. As the TV talking heads are going through his television and movie credits, I realize how many of his movies I’ve seen… and loved.  It is incredibly sad to lose such a great talent.

But through all of this discussion, this man who is being heralded as a comic legend, who entertained millions, has suddenly become very human.  Yes, we tend to put celebrities on a pedestal, forgetting that along with their immense talent, they are human beings, going through this life of ups and downs, marriage, children and everything else.

Obviously, Robin Williams was battling more.  He was always open about substance abuse, but did many of us realize he struggled with depression?  Severe depression.

It’s almost inconceivable that someone who was so loved and admired was in such a dark and lonely place where he was driven to take his own life.  He brought such laughter to everyone else, but couldn’t find the joy for himself. It’s tragic.

I’m almost embarrassed with my last post, when I talk about “wallowing” in my own sadness of recent events in my life.  Thankfully, I haven’t been to the darkest place where I’ve thought of a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  I always knew I’d pull out of this and things would get better.

But I didn’t share with many how sad I was feeling.  I don’t always share, because I don’t want to burden others, I don’t want to come across as a whiner, and I don’t want to be considered a negative person.

Was that mindset preventing me from getting the support and encouragement I needed at the time?  How do you balance reaching out without being a whiner?  How do you invite people in without pushing them away?

Hopefully, more discussion will come from this awful passing of Robin Williams about depression, about how to help others.  One thing I heard this morning was just be there. You may not be able to solve the problem, but you can come along beside someone and just remind them that they mean something to you, that their life has value.

Maybe this is a reminder to all of us to hug your family and friends and say “I love you.”  I hate that we have to be reminded, and that we’re usually reminded when someone else has died. We need make this part of our daily lives.

Life is short.  Reach out to someone.  Touch base.  Just be with someone today and hold their hand, give them a hug…. heck, just smile at someone and wish them a wonderful day.

What a difference we could make if we all did that every day.

Being Thankful in the New Year

I’ve talked about gratitude before in a post from September, and I’m going to recycle part of that post again today.  I think it’s especially fitting as we face the New Year.

Thankfulness should come more than every November.  We need to live our lives with a spirit of gratitude.  Imagine how your attitude would improve if you approached everything with an attitude of thankfulness: your job, your commute, your family, your health…

We all have stressful days and frustrating times with friends, family and co-workers.  But what if, in the midst of that frustration, you took a deep breath, and said “Thank you God for this job,” “Thank you for the abilities you’ve given me” or “Thank you God for my family, friends, co-workers.”  We know there are others in this world who suffer much more than we do. So, our gratitude for our lives should be an every day occurrence.

I’m beginning 2014 with new challenges and responsibilities with my job.  I’m excited and nervous and praying I’m up to the challenge. And I’m also grateful for the opportunity.  I hope God uses this for His purposes and by doing that, it will only benefit me in the long run.

So, to repeat words from my September blog:

Romans 12:1 from the Message says:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:  Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” 
Do your work with a spirit of gratitude…thanking God for your abilities and thanking him for what he’s going to do with your story…. Place it before God as an offering.  The audience of one!
Walk Worthy of Your Calling.
Whatever we’re called to do in this life — we need to walk worthy.
While it is trendy right now to think of your motivating “word” for the year (and yes, I have mine), I think everyone’s motivation should be to “Walk Worthy.” No matter what we’re doing in this life.
Happy New Year!

The Simple Things and a Positive Attitude

Last week, I talked about finding peace during the holiday season.  Well, as the saying goes, be careful what you ask for.  In this case, it’s all positive.

I live in the Dallas area, and last week, the great ice storm of 2013 hit. The picture below is the view outside my living room window.

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So, with the ice storm, hubby and I were stuck inside. No way to venture out when there’s 3″ of ice on the ground. It seemed the entire area shut down for the weekend.

We were fortunate. I had shopped ahead of time, so we had plenty of food. (How come all I want to do is EAT when I’m stuck inside!) We never lost power either.  We turned the weekend into relaxing time together, watching Christmas movies and basically unplugging.

Several friends of ours lost power during the storm. One couple in particular lost power for about 21 hours.  Remember, the temperatures were in the 20s outside, with wind chills in the teens. Even inside a house, it gets cold quickly.  But our friends were amazing. They had such a wonderful attitude.

They posted pictures on Facebook (while they still had battery power) of their roaring fire in the fireplace, they talked about catching up on their reading, playing Scrabble by candlelight, and making s’mores!

I’m sure it was an uncomfortable, and maybe a little scary for them. But they accepted the day with grace, humor and a wonderfully positive attitude.  They focused on the simple things and got through the day with a smile.

And when the power was restored, you can imagine the celebration!  They were thankful to the power crews who were working hard and late into the night, instead of complaining.

I think the lesson here is clear. Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in the busyness of our lives (especially during the holiday season), and we’re so “plugged in” with our smart phones, tablets, computers and more, that we’ve forgotten how to slow down, unplug and enjoy the simple things.

Scrabble by candlelight?  Sounds delightful to me!

Don’t wait for an ice storm to force you to slow down.  Take a day, unplug, and revel in the simple things in life. As a Christian, our day of rest is suppose to be Sunday.  But even that day can get busy.  We need to make the conscious choice to just stop and enjoy a quieter day.

So, tell me, how do you unplug? How do you slow down to notice, and more importantly, partake in the simpler things around you?

Stop the Negativity!

There are times when I get down on myself and I get in my own way of trying to accomplish what I need to accomplish.

How do I get in my own way? With negativity!

Take this past week, for example.  I have been an eating machine!  After losing 85 pounds recently, it seems like I’m trying to negate all of that by just how much I’ve been eating.

Truth be told, I should have lost more than that 85 pounds by now, but I’ve slacked off a bit with my exercising, and I’ve increased my eating.  That’s not a good combination.

So, I started beating up on myself.  I focused on everything I was doing wrong, instead of the things I was doing right.  Last week, I increased my workouts, partly because I knew I was over eating. I took the first step to turn the tide.exercise

Did I give myself credit for taking that step, and increasing my workouts?  No… I only focused on what I was doing wrong.

Finally, with a little bit of prayer, with the weight of  all the negativity bearing down on me, I woke up determined that “today is a new day.”  I can’t go back and change what I did yesterday… or not eat all the food I ate yesterday.  So, it was time to focus on what I could do right today!

So, being that it was trash day, I went into my pantry and my refrigerator and threw out the unhealthy snacks I had started buying again.  It was time to start fresh.

I had a good week with exercising, so I was going to give myself credit for that, and then have a good, better day with food.

It was time to get out of my own way.  And when I took those unhealthy snacks to the trash — I realized how empowered I felt.  Instead of surrounding myself with all of the negativity and beating up on myself for what I had done in the past, I took charge of today!  It was up to me to change what I was going to do… only for that day.

So, the lessons learned:

1. Every day is a new day.  A new opportunity to make better choices.

2. Stop the negativity and give yourself credit for the positive.  Get out of your own way.

3. If you screw up, learn the lesson and move on.  Tomorrow will be a new day and a new opportunity.

4. Pray! Every day!

It’s time to stop the negativity and take one small step toward the positive.

What about you?  What ways do you have to stay positive?  I’d love to hear how you stay motivated.

The Last Normal Day

What if today was the last “normal” day of your life?  What if everything changed tomorrow?


It happened earlier this year with the devastating tornadoes in Moore and Shawnee, Oklahoma.

It could happen to me when it’s time for my annual cancer screening (MRI, Mammogram, Sonogram day).  What if I don’t get the “all clear” words that I’m praying for?  What if there’s a recurrence?  

Any recurrence would be scarier than the one before. Because cancer comes back.  It really needs to just leave me alone!

Back to today — how am I going to spend today?

It really is true that time, friends, family are all so precious. Even after having cancer twice, I still take so much for granted, although I try to hang on the special moments.

It’s too easy to get back into the groove and grind of daily life. 
 
But we all need to take a moment and ask, “what if this is the last normal day?  What if everything changes tomorrow?”

What will you do with today?