During the summer a friend and I took an overnight trip to Nashville. It was long overdue. We needed the time spent talking and laughing and moving slowly through wherever we were.
We stopped in a few small towns on our way to Nashville. One of them was here in Elkmont, Alabama. My friend was very excited about me seeing this place called Belle Chèvre. She treated me to lunch and it was splendid.
I just couldn’t get over this quaint little town. It isn’t too far from my own small town but it had a different feel.
The day we were there the town was hosting its annual tractor parade. An old gentleman we met at one of the small town shops beamed with pride as he told us about the festivities that surrounded the event.
We saw part of the parade of tractors as we drove on country roads to get back to the interstate. There were big green tractors, old red ones, shiny black and brown ones. We even saw a yellow tractor. They were in no rush to get where they were going.
I felt at home in that small town with my friend and goat cheese and tractors.
In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Local and the Daily Prompt Rube.
“Educated in a small town Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town Used to daydream in that small town Another boring romantic, that’s me
No I cannot forget where it is that I came from I cannot forget the people who love me Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town And people let me be just what I want to be.”
After months of training for a race like I’ve never run before…..I ran the course and finished.
And I finished well.
The race was 4.22 miles with 22 obstacles and it was amazing.
It was the teamwork. The encouragement. The ability to do more than I thought I could. It was strangers offering a hand or a knee to help and me offering one in return. It was how I pushed myself. It was conquering fears and obstacles and it was watching others conquer fears and obstacles. It was hard and eye-opening. It was humbling and heart-opening too.
Running a Spartan Sprint was a good thing to do on a Saturday morning.
I almost missed it though. In short, a wrong map took us to the wrong place. We turned around and took the right map to the right place and finally arrived at the military base where the race was held. But 100,000 slow moving vehicles were between me and where I needed to be (not really that many but it seemed like it). I jumped out of my husband’s truck, sprinted a mile to the registration tent, picked up my racer’s pack and made it to the starting line in time.
This race was more than just a race for me. I learned a great deal about myself and others. I learned the importance of doing new things and taking on challenges but two things really stand out.
Training made a significant difference in my race. And not only my race……but getting to the race in time. I ran the mile to make the race with no problem because I was prepared. I trained with other women every Saturday morning for months leading up to the race but I worked out on my own 5 times a week. Our Saturdays were great but not enough to prepare me adequately. I was consistent and disciplined in my own preparation and it made all the difference in my race…..in my confidence going into it and in how I performed.
The other major lesson learned is that we are better together. The women I trained with were a constant source of encouragement as we prepared for the race. We lifted each other up on our bad days, cheered our victories, and talked down our fears. We held each other accountable.
I made it to the starting line on time because two friends helped me get my gear and chip timer on and made sure I was hydrated before we started.
And I could not have finished the race well without my racing partners. We stayed together throughout the entire race. They pushed me and lifted me (they literally lifted me at one point). We laughed. We strained. We cheered and helped each other. We cheered and helped other racers. We joked at all the mud and we raced with all our hearts.
The encouragement from these women…..the help, the drive, the smiles and laughter were vital to my race.
Life’s that way, too.
We are better together. We just are.
And being prepared is better than not being prepared. It just is.
Try something new and do something hard. And help others do it.
And let them help you.
Because it matters. Live like it matters.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Alphabet.
This photo was taken in a hurry. I barely stopped to take the photo because the people on Beale Street were moving at a certain pace and I felt the need to keep up. BB Kings Blues Club is where we sat and listened to some of the best music ever, ate a wonderful meal, and laughed our faces off. Well not off…..we still have our faces, but you know what I mean.
Last weekend my husband and I, with two other couples went to Memphis, Tennessee for a night. This was out of the ordinary for all of us because sometimes we let the responsibilities of life crowd out the “just for fun” part of life.
All of us have full-time jobs and families. Juggling work, raising families, running small businesses, renovating a home, and all other sorts of happenings in our lives, cause us to forget the importance of spending time with friends.
Last weekend we got away from all the “must do’s” of our lives and enjoyed some time together. We enjoyed the music and food. The lights and activity on Beale Street were exciting. But the laughter we shared was the best part of all.
Laughter is like a balm for a wearied soul. It’s healing and soothing. I encouraged it in my Live Like it Matters Challenge a few months ago in my post called Laugh.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 NIV
Laughter can also be contagious.
Do yourself and all those around you a favor today and laugh.
Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
I didn’t plan to skip a week on my Live Like it Matters Challenge but the busyness of getting ready for an estate sale kept me from me posting one last week.
Last night I thought over and over again about what challenge I would issue this week, then I remembered a recent conversation with a friend and it hit me.
This friend shared some good news with me. She just landed a great job that will mean a significant salary increase and an easier schedule. I told her how happy I was for her. Then she told me how happy it made her that I was happy for her.
Hopefully we’ve all experienced someone being genuinely happy for us when good things happen. Unfortunately we’ve probably also experienced another reaction. Instead of sharing in our happiness, we may sense disappointment, jealousy or indifference from the other person.
Let me add this. If you’ve made a quick decision about something important such as quitting a good job to audition for American Idol even though you’ve never even hummed a tune in front of another human being, or marrying someone you’ve known for three weeks, expect some push-back from those that care for you. That’s love and concern. The happiness from others may take some time to be revealed. They might wait to see how it turns out first. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about when your friend loses 50 pounds and she’s worked her butt off making it happen. Don’t be jealous. Be happy for her.
Or when you find out your neighbors are building a huge house and will be moving in soon. Don’t let your heart be filled with envy. Be happy for them.
Or when your co-worker was promoted to the position you really wanted. Yes, it hurts. Still, be happy for him.
Don’t assume that your friends or family or coworkers know you’re happy for them when they share good news.
Tell them. Say the words, “I’m so happy for you”. And if you’re not happy for them………figure out why. It’s normal for a first reaction to be disappointment or even a bit of jealousy in some situations. You can be disappointed you didn’t get the promotion and still be happy for the guy who did. But if it’s been 6 months and you can’t get past it; find out why. This isn’t a counseling session so I won’t go there but if you have a hard time sharing in others’ happiness, you won’t be happy. You just won’t.
This week, when a good thing happens to someone tell them you’re happy for them. Even if you’re not at first tell them anyway. Then work on being happy for them. Because it matters.
And we’re learning to live like it matters.
Happiness makes a person smile, but sadness can break a person’s spirit. Proverbs 15:13 NCV
Last week I challenged you to write a thank you. A real thank you note and mail it.
Who did you send your note to? I thought of several people I could thank, like teachers that influenced me more than they know. I looked up Mrs. Guthrie who led TOEC (Tennessee Office Education Club). I couldn’t find her anywhere. She would be glad to know what I’m doing now.
I thought of Dale L. Buchanan, Attorney at Law. He gave me a job when I was a high school senior. I was a co-op student and got to leave school early every afternoon to work in his office for a few hours. I received my first office experience there and was thrilled to be paid $3.50 an hour. I found him and he has several offices throughout the southeast now.
I thought of my family and friends and parents of friends. Coaches, team members and colleagues and bosses from long ago. Pastors, camp counselors, college classmates, professors, and mentors. And I was thankful. So thankful.
I’ve been encouraged and supported and taught and inspired by so many wonderful people. They’ve given me so much. Some of them know…….but most of them don’t.
A kind word spoken at just the right time. A hug when I felt the most discouraged. A new opportunity. A smile. Another chance. Guidance or advice. Sometimes nothing more than a listening ear. But it mattered. It all mattered.
And that’s why we should thank someone. We all have those people that touched our lives significantly and we hope they know it….we think they know it……but they don’t. So tell them.
I wrote my thank you to a couple I met 18 years ago. I think they know they’re important to me, but just in case…..I wrote them a note. I hope it brought a smile to their faces knowing how much of a difference they’ve made in my life.
This challenge made me realize how wonderfully blessed I am and has motivated me to thank others. In other words, take another week and think about all the people that have influenced you in some way. Face-to-face over lunch, in a note, email, or text. Just thank someone.
I’m going to send a note to a certain big time lawyer that may have forgotten all about a high school senior that worked for him decades ago. But I’m going to do it anyway.
“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets, even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
For a long time I’ve felt a tension between what I have to do and what I want to do. Not because I don’t enjoy the “have to” part. The “have to” part is really good. It just doesn’t leave much time for the “want to”. I have a divine discontent deep within and I desire with all my heart to make a difference. To not waste my life.
What if I never get to do what I really want? Will my life matter?
Yes. Because I choose to live like it matters.
I will love and take care of my family and friends like it matters. My sisters and I were with Dad in the hospital when he passed and it mattered. Especially to Mom, because she couldn’t be there.
And we were with Mom at home when she took her last breath. That mattered to all of us more than we even know now.
I will do my best at taking care of all things financial for the construction company where I work because it matters to my boss, my coworkers, our vendors, and all the people who enter our buildings.
I forgave the friend who betrayed me because it matters. It matters to her and me and our families.
The day to day living matters. What you think is the mundane may be someone’s most meaningful moment. The random conversation in the grocery store. Finally having that couple over for dinner and good conversation will matter to them more than you know. The time you spend talking to your kids. Serving a meal at the local homeless shelter. Calling your parents. Smiling at the weird looking guy at the gas station. It all matters.
There are no small lives. You matter and what you do matters.