Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘devotionals’

They’re All Carrots


They’re All Carrots

orange carrots on table

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In My Devotional Today

Rick Hamlin likened our act of praising God to the act of munching on a handful of carrots.

Rick said he ate carrots as a kid not because some adult said they were good for his eyes or his health, but simply because he liked them.

“Whoever said the things that are good for us
have to be hard or come as a result of great struggle
or simply taste yucky?” Rick Hamlin asked.
“Think of… the carrot, not the stick,
about how people are motivated by rewards
rather than threats or punishment…
Praise, thankfulness, enthusiasm,
kindness – they are all carrots, not sticks.”

Carrots in the Classroom

When I was in my last two years of teaching, before I retired (from public education, but not from working) in 1999, I had a group of second graders that I had taken on from first grade.

Our classroom “Discipline Plan” was a set of rules with rewards. They were as sweet as honey! Our classroom theme was a garden. Bees (with the students’ names on them) flew above, in, and around the bulletin board garden. In the soil were listed rules such as “Bee Courteous,” –  “Bee Honest” – and  “Bee Helpful.” A favorite one was “Lettuce Carrot for One Another.”

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Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

If a student was caught BEEing good, exhibiting one of the characteristics mentioned in the rules of conduct, their bee would “fly” into my apron pocket – the pocket with a heart on it. A heart would be drawn on their bee’s body. At the end of the day, the bee flew back into the paper garden, and the thoughtful child added a paper seed to their garden plot on the bulletin board. At the end of the week, all bees that had hearts on them would have their seeds traded for a plant – a vegetable or fruit or flower to “grow” in their plot. (I wore a different colored apron each day of the week – inspired by Patricia Mckissack‘s book, “Ma Dear’s Aprons.” It’s one of my favorite children’s books.)

 

Just that little act of recognition – taking the bee down, tucking it into the heart pocket, and saying, “Thank You for BEEing ________,” – encouraged more students to do likewise.

Carrots in Our Daily Walk

If we “carrot” for one another on a daily basis, we will find ourselves munching on praise, thankfulness, enthusiasm, and kindness. Our gardens of compassion will grow, and we’ll bee happier people. Guaranteed!

We need to carry lots of “carrots” – and eliminate the “sticks”  – on our daily walk. Thank and praise God for the acts of kindness and compassion shown to us each day. Bee caught BEEing good!!

 In today’s devotional in Guideposts,
Rick Hamlin went on to say,
“God likes us to praise Him because it’s good for us.
It feels good.
The words are sweet in our mouths,
nourishing, crunchy, and satisfying. Irresistible.
Like munching on a handful of carrots.”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Praise God! And thank Him for His wonderful blessings.

Then go out and pay it forward.
Remember you are blessed to be a blessing.
It’s all a bunch of carrots!
Meant to be shared…

Munch on love!

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See ya tomorrow!

Your Heart NEEDS This:


Your Heart NEEDS This:

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Hmmm…

What keeps your heart beating?

What makes it beat faster?

What calms it down?

What does your heart NEED?

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Have you checked your pulse lately?

What’s it telling you?

At the root of my “heart need”
is the longing to be loved,
to be valued,
to be needed.

Victoria+X on 4 wheeler @Xander's2nd

Like my little grandson NEEDED a friend
to help him learn to get his new four-wheeler moving,
my heart needs to be needed.
Does yours?

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In today’s Guideposts devotional, the message said,
“Emotional needs can be every bit as acute as physical ones…
the Lord hardwired into human beings the desire for
love, acceptance, and a sense of safety.
These necessities are what cause us
to seek out friendships, marriage,
and , ultimately,
a relationship with God.”

What’s Your “Heart Need”?

Is it something that can be satisfied with the things of this world?
A friend, a spouse, a large bank account, a satisfying job?
Those “needs” are real… but they are not the “heart food that lasts.”

Heart Food That Lasts

Love and acceptance, a feeling of being valued, cannot last if it only comes from worldly things. A solid sense of self-worth is critical to heart health. We cannot fully receive love and acceptance without a sense of self-worth.

If you are uncertain about your own innate, precious value, you will project onto family and friends the “God-sized task” of proving you are valued. And, the problem with that (as stated clearly in the Guideposts devotional today) is, “No human being can be an inexhaustible emotional resource.”

Heart food that lasts comes from God’s unconditional love. So, accept it. Dine on it daily. Let it fill your plate – and satisfy your heart. Do not be anxious about anything!

Proverbs 12:25 says,
“An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.”

Have an Open Heart

God wants to be your unlimited source of sustainable heart food! Let your self-worth be based on His love in you. You are a Child of God, beloved, holy, worthy. Open wide the heart doors and let that knowledge seep into your soul.

What keeps your heart beating?

What makes it beat faster?

What calms it down?

What does your heart NEED?

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Dine at God’s Table of Love today.
YOUR HEART NEEDS LOVE!!

Have a Blessed day, my friends.

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SEE YA TOMORROW

 

Trap Time in a Tale


Welcome back to the A-Z series
devoted to ideas for
Adding Meaning
and
Finding Greater Purpose
in Life

Today’s Letter is “T”

Trap Time in a Tale

 

woman reading a book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Trap Time in a Tale

It’s not a tall tale! It’s not a fish tale or a fairy tale.
It’s YOUR tale!

In These Days, Daily Devotions for Living by Faith, today’s devotional said,

“Sometimes in order to thrive,
we need stories more than we need food!”

I thought about calling this blog post “Thrive by Telling Tales,” because I think it’s true: some days we DO need stories more than food!

Some days I thrive on writing (and coffee), do you relate? Writing gives my life meaning and purpose.

I CAN Trap Time in a Tale.

You can, too. You probably do – every time you sit down to write!

Do your tales help add meaning and purpose to your life?

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Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

I decided against,”Thrive by Telling Tales,”
when I thought of the Jim Croce song,
Time in a Bottle.” Do you know it?

“If I could save time in a bottle,
The first thing that I’d like to do,
Is to save every day
’til eternity passes away
To spend them with you.”

We may not be able to save time in a bottle, but we can Trap Time in a Tale!

The devotional I referred to in These Days is titled, Remembering Your Story. The author, Jan McGilliard wrote, “Stories can greatly expand our understanding of God, others, and ourselves… No matter your age or stage in life, remembering your own story is sacred work.”

Memoir or Autobiographical Tales

Each of us has a story to tell. It is sacred work! When we write our own stories, sometimes they are called autobiographies. They are focused on us, as the writer, the tale teller. Sometimes they are called Memoirs. What’s the difference?

LifeRich Publishing on the web says,

“The fine line between memoir and autobiography is a fuzzy one, especially in this modern literary era where writers are constantly blurring the boundaries between genres to create a new, exciting one. Like an autobiography, a memoir is a narrative that reveals experiences within the author’s lifetime. But there are obvious and practical differences between the two genres.

In essence, an autobiography is a chronological telling of one’s experience, which should include phases such as childhood and adolescence, adulthood, etc., while a memoir provides a much more specific timeline and a much more intimate relationship between the writer’s own memories, feelings, and emotions.”

Among other distinctions, LifeRich Publishing pointed out
Memoirs are:

  • less formal
  • more concerned with emotional truth toward a particular section of one’s life and how it makes one feel now
  • less obsessed with actual events

while Autobiography is essentially:

  • written by the main character (or at least drafted with a collaborative writer)
  • made up of detailed chronology, events, places, movements, reactions, and any other relevant information that inhabited the life of the subject
  • focused on facts – fact, above all, is its foundation

Memoir Writing

Gore Vidal gave his own distiction when he wrote his memoir, Palimpsest.

He said, “…a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while an autobiography is a history, requiring research, dates, facts, double-checking.”

I have written a memoir. It’s titled, “All My Marbles.” It is definitely less formal. It is concerned with emotional truth from my emotional perspective. It reflects how I feel now about my life’s people, events, and places – as well as how I feel about myself. It does capture Time in a Tale.

I don’t know if I will publish it in my lifetime or not. I finished it about three years ago. There are chapters about my grandparents and Bob’s. About my parents and his. About our marriage and children. And (to focus on its essential purpose) there is a chapter about and for each of my seven grandchildren. I want them to understand their Grammy better – – – know where I came from – – – and see how I responded/felt about each of them when they were born and as they grew into and through their teen years. They are now 23 to 28 years of age. Two have children of their own. One is about to have a second child, and one is about to get married.

Time in a bottle? No, time rushes on. But I trapped a period of it in my tale! It sings to me.

beach bottle cold daylight

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

“All My Marbles” sits here in my computer.
I have it saved to the cloud
in case my computer crashes.

All My Marbles

Because I love my JanBeek readers, and I respect your opinions and enjoy reading your posts, I want to share the foreword, the introduction to “All My Marbles” with you. Tell me what you think.

I’ll be 80 this July. My prayer is that for another decade (at least) I can keep all my marbles in place, and working. But, if not… I have Trapped Time in this Tale.

Here is the Introduction to “All My Marbles”

I want you to know that I am a rather strong-willed, sometimes too outspoken, retired career woman who intends to live to be ninety-plus with all my marbles in place. Right up to the last, I want to smell good and wear dangling earrings that match my outfit for the day. I hope my children will get the message that there’s no need to get twitter-pated about getting older. As long as you keep your eyes on the NOW, your sense of humor tuned, and allow your style to be uniquely YOU, it’s likely that (unlike my cantankerous mother), you will wear your shirt right-side-out and still “give a shit” at 89!

My mother was a real spitfire! I knew she was not long for this world when she headed out one afternoon to a doctor’s appointment with her blouse inside out. When I brought it to her attention, she barked, “Oh, who gives a shit?” See, that’s where that quote originated, and sure enough, it was one of her last appointments before she departed our company.

Mom wasn’t always so contrary. Back in the early sixties, I got my first job in the states as a result of my hometown superintendent’s interview with my mom. I was in Germany teaching first graders on an army base. He liked what Mom said about me, so he agreed to hire me sight unseen. Before school started, I returned to California and popped in to visit the superintendent.

“Why do you want to work?” he asked. “Why don’t you just stay home and take care of your husband and start your family?”

Even though it was not illegal in 1962 to make that rash assumption and ask such questions, I realized his inquiry was sexist and inappropriate.

“Why should I choose when I am able to do both?” I answered his question with a question of my own.

More than five decades later, I still am averse to making either/or choices. My two children assure me they never felt neglected even though they had a working mother. I loved them, scolded them, laughed with them, played with them, read to them, and spanked them when they needed it. Spare the rod and spoil the child. I believe that! I did the SuperMom/MasterWife stuff while volunteering at Sunday School, teaching primary children, getting my master’s degree, earning an administrative credential, being a principal at a year-round school, and supervising student teachers at the college level.  Why do only one thing when you can do six? I was part of the generation of women who knocked loudly at the glass ceiling.

Now, in my senior years, I know it’s important to keep my mind active. “No day is complete,” my mother-in-law always said, “unless you have learned something new.”

On this bumpy road of life, I am learning something new every day. Certainly it is not a smooth ride on a gravy train. You need to keep a sharp eye on the muck ahead, remember to glimpse lovingly at those around you, and listen for that still small Voice to guide you. Life is a constant learning adventure.  All your marbles must be shined and put in place to survive and thrive. The bottom line is love. If it’s not unconditional, all hell breaks loose.

Let me introduce you to my family members and share some of my favorite life lessons with you.

 

So, my blogging friends, what do you think?
Does the introduction invite you to the memoir
in a way that would cause others to be interested?
Or should I just self-publish ten copies
(one for each of my children,
one for myself,
and one for each grandchild)

… and call it a day?

See you tomorrow.

31 Daily Take-Aways


Happy 31st of March to you!

How do you start your day?
I read “A Spirit-lifting Devotional” each morning called “Daily Guideposts.”

Each morning as I meditate on the day’s message, I summarize the “Take-Away” for that day in one to seven words- and write it on the blanks provided on two pages at the end of each month.

I also use that page to pray about what God wants me to do that day. I plan the day out at the top of the page. Sometimes it happens just like that. Other days, God intervenes and unexpected things happen. Here is today’s plan:

I write the chosen words on the page provided and review the messages for the month. These are the 31 “Take-Aways” for this month of March:

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Prayer for Today:

Today I am praying to keep a humble spirit.
I ask God to help me see the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

I remember that Jesus hears and answers us every time we pray.
He may not always say YES, but if we pray with a humble heart,
and ask Him to put a right spirit in us, and we pray in His Will,
we are more likely to get a positive response.

What is your prayer for today?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Have a blessed Sunday, my friends!

Keepers of the Aquarium


Are you a Fisher of Men
or
A Keeper of the Aquarium?

person in blue long sleeve shirt and black pants using fishing rod

Photo by Kong Ruksiam on Pexels.com

“Too many churches have stopped being fishers of men, and have become keepers of the aquarium,” said Pastor Ray at Bayside Church in Sacramento, CA in his Refuel devotional today.  http://baysideonline/devotionals/refuel-2018

(Go to today’s refuel: 3/28/19)

Check it out.

Pastor Ray suggested that as “Keepers of the Aquarium” we miss the chance to reach out beyond our own to help others. He suggested ways we might be effective “Fishers of Men.”

Our Aquariums

The imagery of us church-goers just swimmin’ in our own little tanks and feeding off of one another and keeping to ourselves tickled and troubled me. Tickled, when I realized we, like these jellyfish, all look about the same – very little diversity – and we’re swimming around in our own little circles, taking care of each other. Troubled, when I see that even in our own little space, our feelers are not quite touching most of the time!

jellyfish inside an aquarium

Photo by Nguyen Tran on Pexels.com

 

Be Inspired

The devotional (I hope you clicked on the link and heard the message) inspired me to look again at my servant/service role.

Oh sure, Bob & I are teaching a Sunday School – – – three darling little 3 to 6 year olds – – –  they feed our souls! But, how are we being Fishers of People? How are we reaching outside our aquarium to spread the Good News to others in the world?

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One way is by the messages we post on our blogs. JanBeek is all about “Loving One Another.” Not just those in our aquarium, but in the lakes and rivers and big blue sea, too. I love my growing list of followers. I love that you represent countries outside the USA and states outside Montana! I hope you find inspiration here. I aspire to inspire and increase your belief in the grace of God, your faith in our fellow human beings, and the desire to reach out in love.

How Do We Show Our Love?

Yesterday I heard on FaceBook a fantastic message by the founder of https://www.charitywater.org/  I joined (with a small monthly pledge) the “Spring” to help provide clean water to more people in the world. Hopefully, the message of the Deliverer of Living Water will accompany the new wells provided by the teams who go to care for and share with these needy folks. Look at their website and see the teams of young people who are traveling to impoverished areas and bringing new hope. It’ll warm your heart!

So far, the statistics for CharityWater reports these successes:

35,281

Water projects
funded

 

9,562,163

People will get
clean water

 

37

Local partners

 

27

Countries

All donations (100%) go to the clean water projects. Salaries and administrative expenses are paid by companies, partners, philanthropists who contribute for that purpose. My little amount each month goes directly to the intended purpose: to fund clean water projects and delivery to those in need. Yay! That’s one way to swim outside your aquarium!

 

Find a Need Beyond Your Aquarium

Maybe you’ll look at ways you can improve your service to others, too. Reach out to your neighbors, your local Food Bank, Medical Center, Senior Living facility, Library, etc. There countless “fish” out there in your local sea of troubled waters who need what you have to give.

Reach Beyond Your Borders

Look for world-wide worthwhile projects that touch your heart. I am a follower and advocate of Bob Goff’s Love Does project. Another of my small monthly pledges helps this international project that touches my heart.

Bob Goff says, “We have been fighting for human rights and providing education to children in conflict zones for over 15 years.”

You’ll see him on his website – smiling his goofy smile and inviting you to get involved.

 

Bob Goff

Bob is a New York Times best selling author (Get his book titled, Love Does, if you have not already read it). He was a recognized lawyer for over 25 years. In 2001 he saw a need in India and founded what is now known as Love Does.

 

100%

Bob promises, “We understand it can be daunting to know where to give your time and financial resources. We promise that 100% of every dollar you give will go directly to fund our international programs.”

 

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I promote LoveDoes.org because I have confidence in the work it is doing to improve the lives of countless people in need. Especially his work providing educational opportunities for children is near and dear to my heart. I receive regular updates.

Bob Goff says, ” At Love Does we strive to be transparent.  We have years of a proven track record and we want to invite you in to be curious. Ask questions! We want you to feel comfortable with where you are investing.”

Search Your Heart

Find the places, the people, the needs that touch your heart. Act today to reach out. Don’t get stuck in your aquarium!

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Photo by Guillaume Meurice on Pexels.com

 

Be a Fisher of People – not just the Keeper of Your Aquarium!

Creating Hope in a Conflicted World


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Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

 

How to Create Hope in a World of Conflict

 

Today is the day Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed for a life-time appointment to the Supreme Court of the USA.  It is a day of deep national divide. Many are feeling relief that our right to be “innocent until proven guilty” has been affirmed. Others are feeling emotional despair. On this day of huge chasms, how can we create, maintain and foster a spirit of hope?

Here are three ideas for creating hope in this, our own personal, world of conflict:

1. Let Go

In a heartfelt article in this month’s Daily Word, a devotional published by Unity, I was encouraged today to “let go of trying to change things…, take some deep breaths, and rest in tranquility for a while.”

The devotional referred me to Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I really need that gentle rest for my soul today!

I decided to look and see how that passage was translated in The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.  His Study Bible often gives me an insight that the King James or the NIV (New International Version) don’t. Sure enough, in our more modern vocabulary, The Message in Matt. 11:29-30 begins, “Are you tired? Worn out?”

Wow! Yes, after a few days of being drawn into conflicting testimonies, angry shouting, accusations and denials, and crowds protesting, I am tired. I am worn out. I am deeply troubled. I am looking for harmony!

The Message version goes on to say, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythm of grace… Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

That’s what we all need! We need to live freely and lightly. We need to enter each day in an unforced rhythm of grace. We need live each day with a renewed sense of hope. Let go!

2. Be Nuts!

This month’s National Geographic magazine had a timely, pertinent article by Anne Lamott titled, “Despite Perils, Decide to Hope.” Her beginning sentence reads, “You would almost have to be nuts to be filled with hope in a world so rife with hunger, hatred, climate change, pollution, and pestilence, let alone the self-destruction or severely annoying behavior of certain people.” But she goes on to tell us that she lives in a state of “boundless hope” most of the time. She must be nuts then, right? How does she do it? She says she lives in hope by being optimistic, trusting, and confident that those she loves will be okay, no matter what.

That’s what we all need! We need to be more optimistic. We need to be more trusting. We need to be more confident that everything is ultimately going to be okay. Let go of what we cannot control. Focus on what we have the ability to change. Start with our own attitudes.

3. Take Action

In this week’s Guideposts magazine there is an article titled, “Heartfelt.” It tells about a Salvation Army crafts project – sewing red hearts. Called “Others,” it began in Bangladesh in 1997 with the goal of helping single women become financially able to support themselves and their children without prostituting themselves. Since its onset, “Others” has helped 1600 women in Bangladesh come out of human trafficking and step into a brighter future. The article was so compelling that I went to the website: guideposts.org/hearts-for-others and donated to the cause. For $10. or more, OTHERS will send you two handmade hearts. My donation will help other women find hope where there is despair.

With the internet and its world-wide reach, there are literally millions of places we can reach out to take action for causes in which we believe – issues for which we feel a deep compassion. Additionally, within our own communities there are dozens of places we can volunteer to offer our services.

Volunteering was one of Ann Lamott’s thrusts in her National Geographic article. She said, “Create goodness in the world and that gives us hope… ” Her examples include helping with school labs, with building water wells, cleaning up estuaries and water sheds. She said by volunteering, we wake “to the momentousness of life – the power of loving hearts.”

In my little town of Ennis with less than a thousand people, I volunteer at our local Food Bank (distributing food to the less fortunate), our Senior Center (working as a sous chef to prepare meals for folks 55 and over who come for nourishment and camaraderie), and at the Madison Valley Medical Center (greeting, answering phones, guiding patients to needed services, fund raising for needed hospital equipment, etc.).  Volunteering does indeed give me the opportunity to make a difference where I can … and focus on the areas where I have the power to create goodness.

Creating Hope in a World of Despair

So, how can we adopt an attitude of hope, of optimism, trust, and confidence in a world of conflict? We don’t do it by pointing fingers. We don’t do it by accusations and finding someone else to blame. We don’t do it by closing ourselves in a closet and avoiding exposure. We don’t do it by looking out for #1 and to Hell with the rest of the world! We do it, I believe, by following the greatest commandment. It is the sub-title of my JanBeek blog: Love One Another.

Look for the good. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Emulate it. Praise it. Tell people how much they matter. Treat others with respect. Listen. Value one another. Give others hope and encouragement. Serve with kindness. Focus on being compassionate. Find your niche. Let your cup overflow. Love One Another. Spill out HOPE!

Tell me one thing you can do this day or this week… just one thing…  to create HOPE in our desperate world. Let Go. Be Nuts. Take Action. How will you reach out?

95 Years of Life Lessons


Living Fully Every Day

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My 95 years young friend, Carol, was in the hospital. Her face lit up when I walked in. It was a joy to see her. We chatted about her recent birthday, the family who came from far and near to celebrate with her, and about my trip this year to visit our daughter and grandkids in Switzerland. I shared that one of my grandsons may come to live with us for a time – and how Bob & I look forward to sharing life with him for awhile.

I told Carol, “With eight decades of living under our belts, we find joy in sharing some of the pearls of wit and wisdom we’ve picked up along the path.”

I asked Carol if she would share some of her life lessons with me. I don’t think I was prepared for the depth of her sharing. But, as soon as she began, I knew I was in for a treat. I grabbed a paper and pen and asked her if she would mind if I took notes. Carol used to be a writer, too … but she finds it hard to set pen to paper these days. So, knowing I love to write, she grinned widely, and nodded.

“Here are some things I have learned as I’ve grown older:

  1. Life softens.
  2. Things aren’t so urgent.
  3. I can fall in love at all ages.
  4. Life constantly changes – be open!
  5. It takes judgement to realize the possibilities life holds.
  6. We’re happier if we count our blessings.
  7. Our lives become more dimensional with years.
  8. Love is huge!
  9. We all must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
  10. . Life comes together in a natural and beautiful way.”

I read her list of life lessons back to her – choking up more than once in the process of doing so. Such wisdom! Such articulation!

“I want to be you when I grow up,” I told her. “I hope I can learn and internalize those lessons as beautifully as you have done.”

Carol and I hugged – and as I left her, she called after me, “It all comes down to living fully every day.”

May you, my dear blogging friends, live fully every day, too. Reach out to a loved one and ask, “What have you learned as you’ve grown older?” Their answers may surprise you.

Share one of your life lessons with me today.

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