Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Life Chapters – Appreciating Life

Have you been stumped?

Have you ever been stumped asking yourself “What do I have to be grateful for?”  I know there have been times that I was stumped and I am certain you have experienced the same at some point.  When was the last time you stopped to consider the everyday things you take for granted, overlook, minimize, underestimate or under-appreciate?  Do you hear more complaining and blaming or more praise for things and others in your life?  Do you spread thanks, cheer and good will or do you contribute to your own doom and gloom?  Even though life seems like it’s a constant uphill battle there is much to appreciate about life.

Life Changing

Being grateful is life changing.  It will lift your spirit and change your mood along with those around you.  The problem seems to be people get sidetrack, often thinking more about what they don’t have than the things they do have.   When you get stuck in the rut of wanting and needing you miss being grateful for what you already have.  There are times when things, people or situations might not measure up to expectations – your expectation is the problem.  Many times too much have been put into expected results and not enough in appreciation of them.  By doing this you allow things, people and situations to take over your life by not placing value on what is important.

Not Always Greener

How many times have you heard “The grass is not always greener on the other side” or “I didn’t realize what I had until it was gone”?  Many times in those cases it wasn’t the things you owned or the things you considered important it was what you missed along the way.  Setting your sights on wanting and needing blurs your vision of the world.  When you appreciate and are grateful for what you have you understand what will be missed when it is gone.  Family and loved ones should always be appreciated and cherished – you don’t want to learn after the fact what someone meant to you.  Let them know every day how much you appreciate them and how important they are to you.

Precious Gifts

We all have been given precious gifts.  The problem is many fail to receive them.  By noticing the everyday ordinary things like the birds singing, the butterfly on a flower, the sunrise and sunset, the gentle breeze on a hot day, fresh snow, your parents, children and grandchildren,  and so much more it’s easy to see how blessed we are.  Taking a closer look will help to reveal that the grass is not really greener on the other side.  When you begin to appreciate the simple gifts life has to give you begin to live and enjoy a fuller life.  Be grateful for the things you have and the gifts the world gives you.   Certainly there will be days that you get stuck in the wanting and needing rut but all you have to do is take a closer look at the world around you.  Realizing what you already have will help you appreciate life for what it is.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
- Voltaire

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Chapters - Change

Chapters in Life

What life chapters have you been writing?  One chapter I would like to share took place a few years back.  It was the day my youngest son left to go play college football.  It was the same day my wife and I realized there would be no more children at home.

No more Football

My wife and I had been looking forward to the day we would have our lives back.  No more running to this practice and that practice.  No more school meetings or private school tuition.  No more Friday nights at the football field followed by dinner in the local diner. No more pestering about homework.  We thought life would be grand.  I remember telling my wife how much fun we were going to have.  How much of our time we would be getting back. 

Last Game

I remember vividly that last game.  It was at the state finals and we had just lost.  I remember how I felt – I wanted to cry.  I would learn quickly that I would miss it all.  I remember how proud my wife and I felt when our son received a scholarship to play college football.  We were so proud; he would be the first in the family to play college football.  But, I felt terrible inside.  I will never forget the day my wife and I pulled away from the dorm.  I remember thinking my life as I have known it to this point will never again be the same. I felt the same way when our oldest finished his last football game and when our daughter ran her last cross country race.  When my youngest child left his life changed and so did mine.


What’s interesting is I had been preparing him for this event.  Long hard days of practice and camps but never even gave it a thought that dad needed to prepare himself for the day his youngest child would leave for college.  It took time to overcome.  The year after he left I worked with his old team, taking pictures of the game at every game.  I no longer wanted to coach but I still felt connected to the team.   

Not all Bad

The ending is not all that bad.  My wife and I have grown.  Unbeknownst to me, I had gone through a life chapter with its full glory.  I worked through the lost feeling I had from no longer being at the field or in the field house – there is life after football.  My wife and I now travel more.  A sense of stability has returned to my life.  I have gone full circle.


Change happens to everyone and most times comes unexpectedly.  What have you done to prepare yourself for life changes that may come your way?  I have come to realize that life is really just a series of stability, instability, change and transition states which bring you back to a new beginning.  Knowing this has made the thought of dealing with the next set of life challenges much easier to accept.