F is for Fun

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.



Be Happy

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. FullSizeRender (27)

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

To Do

My weekly “to do” list is as long as it was on Monday.  I’ve checked some items off but added others. I have ongoing projects at work and my plan to complete them hasn’t happened. The business letter I need to write is only half written.

At home the garage is still unpainted and the new garage door opener hasn’t been installed.  My closet is still a mess and some of the pretty plants I bought to put in my front flower garden are still in the pots I brought them home in.

I did other things.  Things that aren’t on the list.

I cooked homemade chicken noodle soup for my family and helped my oldest daughter with her Geography homework Monday night. I planned to be in bed early but had a nice conversation with my kids instead.

The next evening, my daughters and I did a 2 and 1/2 mile walk on the country roads around our home.  We talked with the neighbors when we returned.

I ran into a friend this week and visited with her.  Played in the yard with my youngest daughter and the dog and stayed up late one night talking with my husband.

And something I rarely do….I watched a favorite TV show.  It was splendid.

Sometimes our plans don’t happen when or how we want them to.  It’s frustrating.  This week I chose to be flexible instead of staying irritated about thwarted plans.  With three kids, full-time jobs, and all the other things we have going on…..I have to.

I will check those things off my “to do” list eventually.  I have more important things to do first.

What if the choices you thought were small, were actually the ones that mattered?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”


Remember the theme song to the hit TV show “Cheers”?  Part of the chorus is, “You wanna go…where everybody knows your name.”

What the song and the show captured so well is something called community.  Community is living in vital connectedness with others and it is what you and I were created for. 

In his book, “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them” , John Ortberg writes about the need we all have for deep relationships, or community.   

Nothing can substitute for the life-giving benefits of connecting with others.  We were created for relationships.  And not just the “Hello, how are you-I’m fine” kind.  No, we all have a deep desire to know and be known, to love and be loved.  This can only happen in relationships.  And there is no substitute.  Not money, not a career, not achievement, not busyness, not books.  No substitute will fill the need in you for human relationships.  Edward Hallowell (Sr. Lecturer at Harvard Medical School ) says that connection or community is the sense of being part of something that matters, something larger than us.  

In fact, this may be a life or death issue.  A very thorough research project on relationships headed by a Harvard social scientist, called the Alameda County Study, tracked the lives of 7,000 people over nine years.  Research showed that the most isolated people were three times more likely to die than those with strong relational connections were.  Even people with unhealthy habits (such as smoking or poor eating habits) but strong social ties lived significantly longer than people who had a healthy lifestyle but were isolated.  

People who seek to live for themselves alone, according to Deitrich Boenhoeffer, “plunge into the bottomless pit of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair.”  And obviously don’t live as long either.

But our society is becoming more and more disconnected from each other.  According to some research, the level of community in this nation is at its lowest point in our lifetimes.  The results are lower performance in education, more teen pregnancy, greater depression, and higher crime rates. 

Our need for community is to the human spirit what food, air, and water are to the human body. 

So, how do we build these kinds of life-giving friendships that we all long for?

 I’ll write about that in my upcoming posts.