Life is Simple

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucious

Why do we as human beings live our lives bound and determined to make everything harder than it needs to be? Why aren’t we better at walking in a little bit of faith and really living in a way that “lets go and lets God?” Even for those who aren’t necessarily religious but work to live their lives in a way that lets life unfold before them, just to take firm control at a moment’s disruption. We’re the ones who make life so darn complicated.

Today, my goal is to continue to put one foot in front of the other, continue moving forward along the path I have set for myself, but to do so with mindful steps. While I am talking with my children about their first day of the new school year, I am going to be present with them rather than distracted and thinking of 10,000 other things. While I am sitting at my desk designing beautiful pieces of jewelry (which takes the form of staring at tiny details on a computer screen for hours at a time), I will focus completely on each detail of the design. While I am fixing dinner tonight or running on a trail, I will be there, then. For me, this is the first simple step in getting out of my own way, and allowing life to be a little more simple.

So, here I am with you now, encouraging you to also focus on being a smidge more “present” today, to get out of your own way and work on going a day without muddying the waters of life with stuff that doesn’t really matter or that will resolve itself in time if you will just insist on allowing life to unfold naturally.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

What I Want to be When I Grow Up

Sure, I’m 38 years old, but it’s never too late to think about the future.

When I grow up, I want to encourage people everywhere I go, every person I meet. I want to bring smiles to faces and pep to their steps. I want to live my entire life being everyone’s Head Cheerleader!

When I grow up, I want to dig into each one of the 50 states. I’ve lived in a hefty handful of states, already, and I’ve traveled to and through many more, but I’d like to live a life that allows me to spend real time in each state, getting to know the state, the people, and sharing joy as I go.

When I grow up, I want to read more than I watch. I want to feed my mind with positive messages and dig into learning opportunities though classic, tried-and-true philosophies and techniques. I want to remain a bit old-school.

When I grow up, I want to attend seminars! I want to travel to exotic places to sit for 12 hours a day while learning and growing and honing my natural skills with some expert in the field (think Tony Robbins, or the late Zig Ziglar and Dr. Wayne Dyer). I want to spend the big money these sorts of seminars cost and soak in all the knowledge I can!

When I grow up, I want to be outdoors more than I’m indoors. I want to be out exploring, camping, enjoying campfires, watching clouds and sunsets, running, cycling, and playing!

When I grow up, I want to live in a community where everyone is within walking distance, where I know everyone, and enjoy going and doing with the people I live life with everyday. I want to live in a community that enjoys the outdoors and maximizes life experiences.

When I grow up, I want to never stop looking forward to tomorrow. I want to never regret yesterday. And, I want to always treasure today’s lessons.

When I grow up, I want to have a space in which all are welcome and comfortable. Where people from all walks of life can come in, sit, visit, share, and be encouraged. Where we can enjoy hot tea, hot coffee, fresh pressed juices, and maybe a baked good or two. A place where people gather and become friends.

When I grow up, I want to continually look at my life and know that I am doing the most of what I can with the toolkit I was given. I want to maximize and enjoy life to the fullest, while also being productive, encouraging, and serving others.

Comparison Really Is The Thief of Joy

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”  -Theodore Roosevelt

This famous quote is so easy to spout and so difficult to follow.

I can have  perfectly lovely day, spent exactly the way I would have wanted to spend my day with exactly the people I would have chosen to be a part of my day, but five minutes on Facebook can wipe it out and turn me bitter.

Why?

My mind starts going through all of the various comparisorial (yes, I make up words…but if it make sense, who’s to say it’s wrong?) joy-stealing monkey mind talk of:

“How in the world can they afford that vacation?”

“Another new car? Are you serious?”

“I can’t believe they’re still together. Everyone thought they’d be the first to split up.”

You know the comparisons you make as you scroll through the newsfeed.

It’s joy-stealing!

So, we have one of three choices to make:

  1. Keep doing what we’re doing and keep getting what we’ve been getting.
  2. Stop the judgmental monkey mind and learn to scroll without the constant stream of caddy self-talk.
  3. Stop looking at the newsfeed…at least, stop looking at the newsfeed without first going through some hearty preparation.

John 10:10 speaks of the thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (ESV) When we compare, we are not only judging others (see Ten Commandments), but we are allowing ourselves to believe that what we are or what we have is not enough.

If you choose in this digitally socialized world not to completely excommunicate yourself from the rest of the world, I don’t blame you, I’m no social leper, either. But I do encourage you to take a moment’s pause before opening that app or clicking over to your browser. Take a moment to arm yourself to be genuinely happy for your friends, to not grumble that they’re doing this or that and you’re doing something less thrilling or expensive.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2, ESV) Don’t be dissatisfied with your own blessings just because you didn’t spend the day on the beach, read the latest best-selling novel, teach an art class, and learn a new language today. As you look through your Facebook feed (sorry to be seemingly picking on FB today…it’s just the most convenient for this purpose), make a list of all you “wish” you could have done in that day, then look over that list and realize how incredibly impossible and non-at-all relaxing that “perfect” day would have been.

Maybe you’re in a rough patch right now. Please resist the urge to compare your current rough patch to another’s moments of bliss. They’re not comparable. You may or may not see the rough patches when others go through their own. But either way, “count it all joy” when those rough patches come because that’s when the growth happens. And in going through these kinds of times (and not internally punishing others for not going through their own at the same time), and “Rejoicing in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4, ESV), you will thrive through this stage and have your own fun to post on Facebook soon enough.

All in God’s time, my friends.

Let’s be vigilant together, and not allow anything steal what God has blessed us in having.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

There’s Just Something About That First-Born

Yesterday, my youngest decided to sign up for her first triathlon. She’s 9 and feelin’ sporty! Her big brother and sister did tris for years around this same age, so she’s ready to have her go at it. And, she figures she has three (including ME!) built-in coaches to help her train and prepare. I might add, just to be on the safe side, she chose a race that’s still four months away…nothing like preparation!

So, after her first official training run, we did some stretching. My oldest son–the cyclist who is just about the sweetest big brother any little girl could ever have–told her he’d teach her how to massage her legs to keep them fresh. It was dinner time, so they didn’t jump right into that, but just as our little sports girl was ready to crawl into bed, she realized they hadn’t done this, yet, and it couldn’t wait another moment! (she’s very literal)

Even though my son was already settling in with his own evening routine of reading cycling news on his phone and reading about cyclists in his books, he stopped everything to do what he promised his little sister he’d do.

As I stood there watching my son take as much time on his baby sister who had run less than a mile at an average pace she could have walked the entire course in, taking such care and telling her why to massage these muscles this way and those muscles that way, etc., I did what I tend to do when I realize how old my oldest is getting…I got choked up. Dang those motherly hormones and sensitivity! I get choked up because I’m so proud of the young man he has become, because he’s still growing and maturing, and not yet a man but certainly no longer a boy.

wp-1465564028173.jpgI got choked up, and although I thought I was keeping it reigned in pretty well, my daughter saw the tightness of my face and understood immediately what I was thinking. Then, the sensitive youngest got chocked up…and didn’t worry with the annoyance of keeping it held in. She went from relaxed bliss to bursts of tears and hugs. She cries because he is going into his senior year and will be going away soon to pursue his own dreams. She cries because he’s her biggest ally and is always willing to drop everything for her. She cries because, like my step-sons who have gone before, my oldest son will move on with his life, building a family of his own some day and their relationship will change. She cries because she doesn’t like change.

And, what does my oldest son do but take it all in patient stride!

He takes it in stride when we’re crying over him getting older. He takes it in stride when he’s drowning in estrogen, surrounded by sisters and me! He takes it in stride when his friends are being crazy, angry, aggressive, competitive, or just plain silly. He takes life in stride, which is probably the quality I am most proud of in my son.

So, here’s to your senior year of high school, Morgan! May this year hold so much possibility, not just for what’s to come this year, but for the ways you’ll continue to learn, grown, and develop for the lifetime to come. Expect more things you will need to take in stride…but I know you will with the same confidence and care you do, now. I am so proud of you, my oldest!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Remember You Do Have a Future

You can have everything you want.

You can do everything you want to do.

You don’t have to have it all or do it all this week.

Plan for the future.

Allow detours.

Plan for a long life, then go live your life like you fully believe you can achieve everything on your bucket list and more!

Start now, but remember you do have a future…you don’t have to start ALL at once!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Secret of Life in the Balance

Today, when absolutely every bit of information we could ever need is likely a few moments away via our handy-dandy cellular device, what does the term “balance” even mean?

Plugged-in but engaged. Not a social leper who refuses to acknowledge any form of social media, but also not the extreme pendulum swing of always in that phone up, head down stance we all know so well. So plugged in that the present real life experiences going on around us matter very little.

I have a tendency to justify social engagement in the name of sharing the real life experiences in real time. The problem with this justification is that those “real time” shares steal real time from the here and now, and from the real people who are right there with me. Slowly, I am training myself to be O.K. with posting those pictures later (or not at all), and the world hasn’t screeched to a halt over it, yet!

Take the pictures! Have the profound thoughts! Celebrate that day! Live it then, and once the moment has passed and you have some time to yourself, if those pictures, memories, and thoughts are really that good, go ahead and share. Then, you’re using your time, but not wasting moments with others.

Strive for balance, my friends!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

You Do YOU

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Some mornings aren’t so pleasant in our little household. All it takes is one person to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, having not slept well, running late, or stubbing a toe to begin the snowball effect of cranky that can turn an otherwise pleasant, productive morning into a kickstart of silent treatment, brooding, and angst-induced pouting. Yep…doesn’t take much, does it?

However, the longer I practice living among others (and I’ve been practicing for almost 40 years, now), the more I see these mornings as ways of proving to myself and others that only YOU can decide what kind of day YOU are going to have.

Getting angry or upset is a choice to be upset.

Hearing hateful things aimed at you allow you an opportunity to choose to find the good and get ahead of the hurt.

In the same way, seeing the best in people and situations, understanding that others you encounter are  fighting internal battles you know nothing about, and choosing to make the most of every single day you are granted, are all choices.

My hope is that you choose to allow significantly more positive than negative happenings or people effect your world every day. My hope is that today And every day, you…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn