Sunday, May 29, 2011

Making Memories on Purpose

All at once, I have had so many thoughts relating to the topic of how I am living my life. I have not finished the book (One Month to Live), but I HAVE made many efforts and changed things about my life. Living life purposefully matters.
That sounds like a no-brainer, but I have noticed that most people live their lives more nonchalantly than intentionally. Sure, people are doing important things, but sometimes not much thought goes into it. It is a simple “going through the motions” ritual.
The little things DO matter. Here’s the topic:
MAKING MEMORIES … The truth of the matter is that death is imminent, as depressing as that sounds. But, removing the dark cloud and getting to what is next is a great life insurance policy. Many of us have purchased a monetary life insurance policy and when we leave this earth, our loved ones will be financially set … or at least not have to pay for our funeral expenses. That is all fine and good and I do have mine in place; however, I have a more important concern. I want a life insurance policy that lasts longer than the evaporating mighty dollar. Money is not the mark I want to leave behind … The good news is that my policy is FREE!
I began thinking about the energy that radiates from me. Do I change the dynamics of my environment or leave it undisrupted? If I do cause a ripple in the water, is it pleasant and good or the opposite? I want to be like a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. It is easy to recognize that something good is going on from the first whiff of its scent … and a smile always appears.

Ultimately, MY main focus is who is answering those questions. It would be added icing on the cake for my extended family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers to give me a good review regarding their thoughts. However, there is only an audience of 2 that REALLY matter to me; my daughters.
I am always thinking through what I am doing with them and realizing the mark I am leaving. I intentionally etch the legacy of their mom, and us as a family, every opportunity I get. Here are some things I can think of off the top of my head:
·        When they were little, if I had to go out of town, I left a small paper bag for each day. One for each of them. I wrote the day of the week on each one and inside I left little treats and a note for the day. I didn’t spend a lot of $ on the gift, but for some reason they always liked the gum, socks, little earrings, chap stick or whatever was in that bag better than when I just gave it to them in a regular situation. I wrote a short little note for each day. I always left a written mark of love and then said some mom thing like, “Don’t forget to brush your teeth.” Or “You look so pretty today!” It helped all of us get through the separation anxiety … to the point that they WANTED me to leave so they could look forward to their bags! J I love that memory and so do they… {Thanks to my friend for giving me the idea years ago. You gave me and my children a little life insurance policy.}
·        Fruit snacks in a Tupperware bowl … in the bathtub. I have not done this regularly, but it was a happy, memory-etching thing for my youngest daughter just like it was for me. When I was little, my Nanny would prepare my bath water and put slices of fruit in a plastic bowl. It would float around in my bath water with me and I could snack like a little princess in the bathtub. I have done that for my little girl. My daughter loves knowing that I am doing something special for her like my grandmother did for me. Nanny passed away when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. Somehow, that involves my Nanny with her great-grandchild who I know she would adore. I feel certain she smiles.
·        “Wonderful Wednesday.” We started doing this last fall and need to pick it back up because it was a win/win situation for all. Each week, we invited someone over for dinner on Wednesday night. The planning process was always great discussion for us. We asked our guests what THEY would like, we went to the store and got it and then learned how to prepare it TOGETHER. I cannot begin to explain the doors this opened. For us, we learned to try new foods, we formally sat at the table to eat, we learned about being a servant and catering to others wants besides our own and we made others feel special. The responses were shocking when we invited people because that doesn’t happen too much anymore. Most said, “Oh, well I will bring something or we can just order pizza.” We explained what we were doing and why. We WANTED to do it all and wanted to learn to make their favorite dish. My girls even loved that we gave the day a name, “Wonderful Wednesday.”
·        Travel: I wanted to introduce that exciting world to my kids and I did. They have not been able to do the 5 star traveling, but they have traveled. I made/make it a priority. I had never been on a plane until I was almost 30 and I could not believe the change in my perception of the world. God made more than Tennessee and I want to see it! I took each one of my daughters on their 1st plane rides before they were 10 and they have been to 2 foreign countries. (Hint: make friends in other countries and experience free travel for you and them when they visit your country.) We also travel to the beach/ocean each year, even if I can only afford 2 nights. It is worth the drive. They love waking up and hearing mom say, “Hey girls, how about us going to the beach today?!” Last minute deals are everywhere and those trips typically go smoother than the planned ones. My kids have only lived with spontaneity. We plan, but the spontaneous spice always flavors our life.
·        Glitter: This one is my signature mark. My children will ALWAYS relate glitter to their mom. I have taught them well about the power of glitter and they have seen its effects. No one could convince them that glitter is NOT great. They know EVERYTHING is better when glitter is involved. I cannot imagine anyone being disgusted by the sparkle of a diamond, and glitter is in that family.
·        White teeth: This is simply important.
·        We all 3 take instant, mutual notice of anyone in a wheelchair, or with any disability as seen by the world. We love elderly people … especially little old men with ironed jeans. Both of my girls have a soft, precious spot for the people I have taught them are ESPECIALLY important. We know, “The 1st shall be last and the last shall be 1st. The weak shall be strong and the strong shall be weak. The rich shall be poor and the poor shall be rich.” They have an innate sense to give honor to those the world overlooks. Though I do not mean to boast, that is one of my most treasured accomplishments. They have always seen me humbled before someone less fortunate and they naturally do the same. Both of my girls will be the one to reach out to the outcasts of the world that are rejected by their peers. They know, “Different is better.”
·        I try to make accomplishments that may seem out of reach. I do it not only for myself, but to give my daughters confidence. No matter what anyone says, we feel security by our parents’ success ... and by watching them overcome failure and adversity. We feel that if we came from success, we have a smoother paved road. Granted, sometimes we must pave our own roads, but other times we don’t. For example, I am not athletic, but because I knew my father had participated in many races and triathlons, I had the confidence and courage to enter a 5k race and my sister ran a marathon. We at least had the thought, “If Daddy can do it, then maybe I can too.”  We didn’t win, but we ran …..  Because I have owned and operated a business for over a decade and written a book, those types of things will seem less out of reach for my girls and possibly they may go beyond. My mother was not a coddler, but she made it clear that I needed to depend on myself and work hard for what I have. My dad always said to get into a profession I love and grow in my talents. He explained that my happiness in my occupation would surpass any paycheck. We spend too much time working to not enjoy what we do. I pass all of that along to my kids. They have learned that taking trash out and cleaning toilets must be done by someone and we are not too good for that someone to be us.

Hopefully, their minds will hold on to some good things and they will learn to make the negative memories positive for their children!     
Paying closer attention to memory making,

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