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Monday, June 1, 2015

LIVING AND LOVING LIFE....... By Gail L. Jenner

This has been a hard week.

My sisters and I had to rush south to visit our aging "second mom," whom we call aunt, and to whom we are "her girls!" She fell and broke her hip and femur and is in rehab now, trying to get back on her feet. It was a terrifying event but she has always been strong and independent. She has inspired many over the years and has been a faithful friend.

In some ways it wasn't a "convenient" time, but it was imperative we go, and we are so glad it worked out. We raised her spirits immeasurably and her smiles were electric. Hopefully she will continue to heal. She has been very important to us and to see her energized by our visit was deeply touching.

On the way home I reflected a lot about what lessons we can all learn about living and giving when life hands us the tough times. These are some of those thoughts....

I think, no matter who we are or what we do--one thing is certain: As writers we are always looking DEEPER into life.

So here are some of my THOUGHTS ON LIFE.....

1. Try everything twice.....if you can! On a tombstone was this epitaph: "Tried everything twice...loved it both times!
2. Surround yourself with cheerful and encouraging people: The grouches pull you down (keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches).

3. Keep learning: Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Or take up a foreign language and get your mind working on new pathways and vocabulary.....Never let the brain get idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop."

4. Enjoy the simple things. Especially sunsets, sunrises, books or music, children, a walk in the sand or in the woods or a park, or even down the street. Look for people to smile at and bring a smile to......And, think on things that make you smile!

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with HIM/HER. Or listen to children's contagious and absolutely PURE.

6. The tears happen:  Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with you your entire life, is yourself. LIVE while you are alive. Know that God gave us rainbows as a way to look back on the rain and realize that life is a promise and a gift.

7. Surround yourself with what you love: Whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge, and if it's not, find a place of refuge -- or make it a place of refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help. As we age, it's even more important.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, even to a foreign country, or to a friend's house, OR to some place where YOU can help someone ELSE get through something...but do not NOT go to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Tell them when they least expect it and when they least deserve it. If you think they won't appreciate it -- think again. Perhaps it's good to remember that even God loves us -- no matter how many mistakes we make!

11. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance. It's terrible to live with regrets......For me, I had to remind myself that God chooses to forgive me when I don't deserve it.

A simple list, and certainly not complete, but a list that might give us all pause to reflect on those who are important, those who have inspired us, those to whom we might even OWE a little -- or a lot of -- gratitude!


Author of the WILLA Award-winning ACROSS THE SWEET GRASS HILLS

For more on Gail, check out her website:
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  1. I do like your list Gail. I'm sorry for to hear your aunt is in ill health, and send thoughts that all will be as it should. TImes like these are the best times to review what we have, our gifts, and the lessons we have been given. Thank you for sharing your story and your list, a very good one I might add. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines

    1. I think Aunt Mary (we call her that although she's not a 'blood' relative) will recover, if not fully, hopefully enough to enjoy her life. She has been such an active woman: a college counselor; a marine biologist who traveled the world; our mother's best and dearest friend and our surrogate mother since Mom's passing.....makes you stop and realize how quickly things can change! Thanks for stopping by, Doris!

  2. Hi Gail, so sorry to hear about your aunt, may she continue to improve. I love your list, you know its a list that I could have sat down and written, everything on it really chimed with me, especially 'Keep Learning' We are never too old to learn something new are we?

    1. Thanks, Jill! It's probably a list most of us can put together, but often we forget a few of those things in our haste to get things DONE!! Taking time to take care of relationships is really important. Yes, and the 'keep learning' is one I reflect on now, too --- we are never too old to learn :-)

  3. Gail, I love the list and the little cartoon characters. This reminds me so much of my grandparents. They scrimped and saved every little penny. Their whole life was centered around work. They kept saving and working until they felt they had enough... but when they finally had all they needed their health went. First my grandfather and then a year later my grandmother passed away. With Grandpa it was emphysema, but grandma, I think it was from a broken heart. Needless to say they left enough money and treasures for their children to fight over. So I lived my life a bit differently. I made sure we had a family vacations a couple times a year, my husband and children hear I love you on a daily basis. I hope my grandkids will remember me as the grandma who lived life.

    1. Wow -- yes, we need to live our lives being aware of who and what is most important! I pray my grandchildren remember their "Nonna" as someone who put them ahead of having things! Thanks for stopping by.....

  4. Hugs to your Aunt Mary, she sounds like a wonderful woman. I hope she is on the mend and up and around soon.

    1. Actually just found out she has pneumonia! But she is a fighter.... and the doctors do think she is still on the mend. Moving around is critical to counter the pneumonia. That's hard with an injury like this! Thanks again!

  5. Good advice, Gail. Some of the grumpy, sour people in my life are my family. I surround myself with my magic bubble when I have to go forth into that land. LOL I'm so glad your Auntie was happy to see you and I hope she continues to have a smile. All the best to you.

    1. Yes, I've also had experience with that magic bubble over the years. LOL....I need to remember that :-) Thanks for coming by --