Life

Life is very interesting, to say the least. We start out with very simple needs – food, warmth, safety. And it just gets more complicated from there.

As we grow, we need more, use more, give more, interact more. Simplicity becomes complexity and we adapt to the changes as they slowly or rapidly occur. Each decision, each experience, leads us down a unique path, which we have never seen before. Each moment will be different and will have a significance all its own.

It is hard to be prepared for such unknown events. They will always be surprising. Sometimes in a joyful way. Sometimes in a sad way. But good or bad, happy or sad, cheerful or sorrowful, life is always a gift. A gift to be treasured, shared and learned from. It is certainly not to be abused, wasted or hoarded.

Life constantly speaks to hope for the future. It is forever producing young to encourage growth and evolution in the world. Adaptation is equal to survival and so life goes on. It is an ever-changing new way to begin again, try a different idea, explore a unique concept for existence, see what might work. And if that fails, try again.

Life is a teacher of perseverance, strength and love. Ask any elder in your family and they will tell you how they have learned and played by the rules of life. They will also be glad to explain to you what they have learned about winning, losing, laughing, crying, loving, hating, living, dying. They know because life teaches everything. It is up to us to pay attention.

We also transmit life to others. We teach what we know and pass it on to the younger ones. We do this mostly by living our best life and being the best example we can to those who watch us. Whether we know it or not, life flows through us in everything we do, usually in the most simple things.

Life is a conundrum. It can often be at odds with our dreams and hopes. It is often difficult, hard, seemingly unlivable even.

We can be confused as to the purpose of our life – what is it all about anyway? Is our whole destiny simply to live out our years as best we can and then die?

Should it not be that we act today in such a way that tomorrow we are a much better person? I certainly hope I can do that every day of my life. Life gets messy, which makes it hard, but that is my hope.

Getting Ready

A party that lasts five hours can easily require weeks of menu planning, invitation review and labeling, decoration selection, gift purchasing and wardrobe try ons. By the time the guests arrive, the hostess can be exhausted from the preparation activities or she may be thrilled with the process of sharing her home with others. She may need a nap instead of being able to gleefully greet each invitee at the front door and welcome them in. Passing the hors-d’œurves and keeping conversation going may be the last thing on her mind or she may be the queen of the ball the entire night.

Preparing for any event demands organization, thought, care, certainly a love for the event and maybe a bit of creativity. Oh, and don’t forget time. It does take a bit of time, the most precious commodity.

It’s best to think of the preparation time as part of the event itself. When planning for a vacation, for instance, tell yourself that all the time spent organizing the trip is part of the vacation, and enjoy it!

Wear you bathing suit and have a piña colada while making hotel reservations for your trip to the beach. Play Hawaiian music while choosing your wardrobe for a trip to the Islands. Make a roaring fire and sip hot chocolate while you choose the best ski resort for your winter getaway.

It can all be fun, enjoyable and make memories, just like the vacation itself (or any event you are planning). Getting ready is half the fun of anything. The other half is doing the great adventure planned for. This formula can take a lifetime. At least, I would hope so.

Even the big one that never works out well. You know, the happening that practically breaks up families before the event which is supposed to bring them together. The happiest time in your life preceded by months of pure misery, to the point that the bride and groom are often not speaking.

The dreaded WEDDING, with the accompanying one year of organization, requiring many months of decision-making, tasting, comparing, shopping, writing, labeling, dance lessons, dress fittings, mock table settings, name card placements, flower arranging, music selecting, musician deciding, toast practice, and gift buying for maids and ushers.

Then there is the planning for the honeymoon, an experience unto itself. Should it be where the bride wants to go? Should it be a surprise? Do you want donations from family and friends toward the trip? Are you getting a little frustrated? Perk up, sweetie. Things are looking good. The wedding is one month away!

Invitations have gone out already and RSVP’s have begun returning. Gifts have started arriving at the bride”s home, one by one. It’s ALL supposed to fun! This is the start of a marriage. Don’t let it be misery and frustration. Be sure your memories are joyful and worth remembering.

A year of preparation for a thirty-minute ceremony and a big party. Make it worth your time, money, effort and care. Remember it’s only a day, one day. The first day of the rest of your lives together. Start out right. Start out happy, smiling, in agreement, surrounded by your village (whatever size that is), comfortable and still in love.

The preparation should always be as remarkable and as memorable as the event itself.

Now get ready because life is coming and it is worth being prepared for!

The Golden Girls Had A Good Idea

I know I’m showing my age here but “The Golden Girls” was a sitcom back in the late 1980’s. It featured four previously married elderly women living together to share expenses.

But as we saw the relationships develop, they shared more than expenses. The four women supported each other during good times and hard, they encouraged growth and bravery, they challenged bad behavior and forgave mistakes. In other words, they became true, close, devoted friends for life.

They lived full rich lives because they had each other in their lives, not in spite of having each other in their lives.

The presence of girlfriends in a woman’s life is almost essential. Especially during those years when we live alone.

Let’s face it. Statistically we will outlive our husbands/boyfriends or we will be divorced. We will more than likely live our senior years as a single. And we will need our women friends more than ever.

It would behoove all of us to develop those relationships earlier in life and have good strong friends already in place as we age. I know I depend on my gal peeps now.

We share our love of quilting, embroidery, applique and of course, lunch. We trade secrets, jokes, recipes and patterns. We visit sick sisters, go on road trips, get matching T-shirts and of course, do lunch. We sew together, retreat together, watch movies together, take classes together and of course, lunch together.

I couldn’t survive without my besties now, much less in my later years.

Definitely, the Golden Girls had a great idea.

Learn from it!!!!

Aunt Ellen’s Legacy

Our sweet Aunt Ellen passed away last year at the grand age of 97. Because of the pandemic, we could not have a funeral for the whole family. So this year, the family had a memorial service at the church she helped found in Tennessee.

The service was lovely. We sang Aunt Ellen’s favorite hymns, read her chosen Scriptures and heard great stories of moments in her life. We met friends and heard new stories never told before.

We saw the columbarium where Aunt Ellen had been interred next to Uncle Gene. It all came full circle. Complete.

But at the reception, where four generations were gathered, I began to see the real legacy of Aunt Ellen.It was children living out the ethics, strength and humor of a dramatic mother who made a difference. It was grandchildren mirroring the teachings and remembering camping and paying cards with a very involved grandmother. It was great grandchildren running around the restaurant, playing with cousins they hadn’t seen in a long time, and hearing stories about a great grandmother they knew but maybe not very well. It was nieces and nephews making plans with cousins to keep newly revised relationships alive and well.

Family — that was the real story of Aunt Ellen. The story told over years and generations with ups and downs, laughs and cries, rain and sunshine, as all stories are.

The story was visible in one room but could not be contained in one lifetime. A legacy is very complicated and takes time. It takes commitment, love, planning and a lot of joy.

I think Aunt Ellen did a good job. Looking around at her legacy, I could see evidence of her love, commitment, humor and ethics. I saw good people laughing, telling stories, making new memories, making plans, developing their own legacies.

Aunt Ellen would be proud.

I think Aunt Ellen did a good job. Looking around at her legacy, I could see evidence of her love, commitment, humor and ethics. I saw good people laughing, telling stories, making new memories, making plans, developing their own legacies.

Aunt Ellen would be proud.

comcomplicated and takes time. It takes commitment, love, planning and a lot of joy.