An Easier Life – #10Thankful

Life is hard.

My daughter tells me of things she thinks are hard: Homework, carrying a heavy school bag, and waking up early for school are hard. Sometimes math is hard or getting along with other kids. She’s right; those things are hard. We talk about why they are hard and how to make them more bearable or easier to do. And I always tell her the same thing in the course of the discussion: “Life is hard.”

Because it is. And I don’t think it’s wrong or discouraging to be honest with our children – or ourselves – and acknowledge that fact. Life is hard for every one of us in myriad ways, and it just makes sense to be prepared for that fact, because I sincerely doubt that we are meant to sail through life unscathed.

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In his General History of Virginia, Captain John Smith writes that “everything of worth is found full of difficulties…” and life itself is no different. We will all struggle with something at some point in life. We will all need help to solve our problems or to simply get through the day, just as those early settlers did.

I wonder, though, if the challenges and difficulties we find along the way are what give life its substance and meaning. Is there truly anything in life that we find “easy” that doesn’t also contain some struggle or pain? Do those struggles help to define and enhance the victories we experience? Think of anything you love, anything you do and ask yourself if it is truly something that comes easily, without effort, without any setback or imperfection.

I’m willing to bet you can’t name one thing. I know I can’t.

There are dinners that have been burnt, drafts of stories crumbled into the trash can, relationships ended, unplanned career changes, and so much more. Disappointment, struggle, and failure may all be simply part of the process of living, learning, and becoming who we are.  We’re all operating without a handbook, doing out best to figure out this thing called life as we go along, but maybe that’s the beauty of it.

 

Somewhere in the preface material to his History, Smith also says, “Let no difficulties alter your noble intentions.” Maybe we’re meant to experience a balance of easy and hard, good and bad. Maybe we need to face problems and challenges so that we can learn how to solve them and pass on the knowledge we gain to others. Giving up when life gets hard won’t make things better, so maybe those hard times are ultimately the best path toward becoming more than we are today.

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Just over two years ago, I left my full time job to work for myself, to be at home to raise our daughter and do the things I had dreamed of doing for so long. I left a known quantity for something definitively unknown and uncharted, much like Smith and his fellow colonists. It was terrifying. Some days it still is. I left behind circumstances that were indeed difficult and frustrating, but this new life I’ve carved out for myself isn’t “easy” either – not by a long shot. In fact, it’s pretty tough and full of a whole new set of challenges and frustrations.

I worry about finding work and bringing in enough money. I worry that I will never publish the words I’ve been working on privately; and I worry that I will. Many mornings it is a challenge to get all of us organized and out the door and to our respective responsibilities on time. It is nearly impossible to accomplish everything on my to-do list(s), and I still struggle daily with how to strike the correct balance between work and family life, especially now that I work from home.

But what makes this life easier, or perhaps better than the version of life I lived before, is that I am living the life I was meant to live. I am being true to myself, embracing what I know is right for me and for my family, despite the difficulties along the way. There were difficulties before, so what’s the difference, really?

The difference lies in the fact that it is much easier to be who I was meant to be, rather than fitting into some imposed idea of who I should be – for whatever reason. I am ever thankful for the nudges the universe provided, telling me it was time to go, and for the people who encourage and stand by me each step of the way.

And so I’ll stay my course. Because even when life is hard, my intentions for myself and for my family are indeed noble; in fact, I would say they are necessary in order to create a life of true happiness and fulfillment. The early Virginia settlers had to leave much behind in order to find what they believed would be a better life. Perhaps sometimes we do, too.

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This week’s Ten Things of Thankful post is doubling as a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “My life is so much easier due to…”

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#10Thankful – The Show is Over

Is it wrong that I’m in my pajamas at 8:00 PM?

Today has been an exciting and tiring day and honestly? I really kind of want to go to bed. Like now.

But first, I need to slip in a few items of thankfulness…

First, I am so grateful to have been part of the Listen to Your Mother show’s Lehigh Valley cast today. What a tremendous experience this has been in so many ways. I’m sure I’ll write more about it at some point, but for today I’m just going to say I’m glad to have added this to my list of awesome things I’ve done.

 

LTYM Cast

These are wonderful people who shared wonderful stories and I’m thankful to have crossed paths with each of them.
Continue reading “#10Thankful – The Show is Over”

#1000Speak April Link-Up: Compassion and Vulnerability

Somehow, another month has passed and here we are at the 20th of the month – time for another 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion link-up!

I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it in with a post this month, but at the very  least, here is your avenue to link your own post and check out the words of others!

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a focus on Compassion and Vulnerability.

Write a relevant post and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below.

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Visit the 1000Speak blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

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TToT – On the Mend

I was really prepared this week.

I had my TToT drafted and pretty much ready to go on Friday morning already. FRIDAY MORNING, people! That never happens.

I said to myself, “Self, you can post this quick later tonight. You need to grab your keys and get your butt out of here.” And then…stuff started happening. We got busy doing things. Which I suppose can be my first item on the list, right? I can be thankful that my life is full and busy and happy to the point that I forget to get on the computer.

 

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And I guess item number two can be that I am finally starting to feel better after nearly three weeks of this respiratory nonsense I’ve had going on. I ended up miserable and coughing and sneezing AGAIN all week this week. Good grief.

But let’s get to the list that I had prepared and ready to go, shall we? Continue reading “TToT – On the Mend”

TToT – A (Sick) Day of Rest

I don’t know if I’ve had the everlasting upper respiratory cold or several one right after another.

Either way, I’ve been dealing with this nonsense since about New Year’s Day and I’ve had just about enough. I figure I’ll finally ditch the winter cold junk just in time for the spring allergy nonsense.

I’m trying not to be cranky about that…

 

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So let’s turn our thoughts to ones of thankfulness instead.

Continue reading “TToT – A (Sick) Day of Rest”

TToT – Catching Up, Transitions, and Change

I can’t help but think lately that life is a constant string of transitions.

We spend most of our lives moving from one phase to another: from youth to adulthood, from school to work, from one relationship to another, from one job to another…our movement is constant and sure. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy each phase as we live through it. But eventually, we have to pick up and move on. We cannot stay in one place forever – at least not if we intend to grow and develop as human beings. Standing water only becomes stagnant and the path not traveled is a lonely one indeed.

 

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These transitions often seem to crop up just when we’ve gotten comfortable where we are. But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s best if we don’t let life catch up to us for too long. Maybe it’s best if transition and change happen before we’re quite ready to move on. I have a mug here on my desk that tells me “Life begins outside your comfort zone.” Maybe it does. If we aren’t prompted to move along through life, it is much to easy to settle into the right now and see it as a final destination, rather than a stop along the journey.

And life really must be a journey.  Continue reading “TToT – Catching Up, Transitions, and Change”

Celebrating One Year of Compassion – A #1000Speak Post

I want to tell you a story.

It’s a simple story – very short, truly sweet. It’s the story of a little girl who saw someone in need and acted with compassion. This little girl was on the school recess yard with a friend, playing whatever things little girls do on the school recess yard at lunchtime.

It was one of those days in the very late fall where some people feel cold and others feel warm. The second little girl had left her coat in the classroom and was cold. And so the first little girl removed her own coat and gave it to her friend to wear until the end of recess.

 

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That little girl – the one who gave away her coat – is my daughter.

My husband and I learned what she did from a teacher who had witnessed it firsthand. The whole thing took seconds. There was no debate, no pretense; she just saw a need and acted upon it. It very nearly brought me to my knees and most certainly brought me to tears. Continue reading “Celebrating One Year of Compassion – A #1000Speak Post”

TToT – Wants, Needs, and Practicality

It is not always possible to do or get what you want.

Sure, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? To be able to do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it? To be able to have anything you want right when you desire it? Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Maybe.

But then again perhaps having everything on demand isn’t the best scenario. Maybe it’s true that the best things come to those who wait.

Continue reading “TToT – Wants, Needs, and Practicality”

TToT/FTSF Mashup – For These Things We Are Thankful

It’s Sunday night and my link-up posts aren’t finished.

I’ve spent the last several days alternating between wishing I could come up with something terrifically profound and hoping I just get something on the page and completely forgetting that I need to write the thing in the first place.

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It’s not that I don’t feel grateful right now. It’s just that I have many other things on my mind. Which is not to say that at any moment I forget the things in my life that are worthy of gratitude, or that I am in any way unaware of them in the first place. I just really have many many things on my mind.

So maybe there’s a list of thankfuls in there somewhere… Continue reading “TToT/FTSF Mashup – For These Things We Are Thankful”

TToT – Best Day Ever and Bedtime

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a TToT quite this late in the weekend.

I’ve been doing all the things this week and through the weekend and like this awesome camouflaged Rotten Cat, I’m pretty tired. I need to wrap it up and get some sleep.

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But I’m here and I’m doing it but it will definitely be short and sweet. Follow, please… Continue reading “TToT – Best Day Ever and Bedtime”