I love to blog about others, issues, education, and things that inspire me, but while I love to tell a good story, blogging about me is not something that comes easy to me, or a subject that I would imagine most people would want to read about. But today's my birthday, so I am taking this opportunity to say some things that are near and dear to my heart.
I could talk about the things I love to do, the passions I have for the teams I cheer for, the places I love to visit, or the place I call home. But today I will focus on the intangibles...those things you really can't measure or touch in terms of how they make you feel. As the saying goes, the best things in life are not things.
I am blessed by a wonderful life. I have a husband of 35 years, children, and parents that love me and support me in all that I do. I am also loved and surrounded by siblings, in-laws and extended family. But no one plucks my heart strings quite like my grandsons. They bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart that is unequaled. I am interested in things they do that I never thought were interesting before. I want to come to their rescue if there is a problem, and have found strength and patience I never knew I had as a result of being bestowed with the title of "grandma." Once when my oldest grandson slammed his fingers in the sliding door of my daughter's van at a KSU football game, I carried all 50 pounds of him to the ER at the hospital that was conveniently located across from the stadium, but still quite a distance from where we were. On a normal day, I can barely carry in the bag of potassium for our water softener from the garage 20 feet into the house. Yet on that day I carried him without a thought, and I wasn't even tired until I put him down. The youngest grandson often greets me, running at full speed to give me a big hug, saying, "Graaaannndddddmmmaaa!" Whose heart would not melt at that greeting? Those boys inspire me to feel more and do more than I ever thought I could.
I am a collector of many things - blue glass, Santas, and moose to name a few, but I also collect "friend" items and quotes because friendship is important to me in ways many do not understand. A quote by Vincent Van Gogh kind of sums it up for me:
“Close friends are truly life's treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.”
Friends improve the quality of one's life and I am lucky to have many really good friends who make me laugh, and who appreciate and support me for who I am and what I aspire to do. They have enriched me both personally and professionally, and some have helped me achieve my dreams of owning my own business and making a difference in the lives of others. I am also fortunate to have a few very dear friends who I can rely on for just about anything. Their love and support get me through the trying times, provide me the opportunity to get things off my chest and experience gales of laughter. No matter the distance between us, we still get each other. Mostly we can just share the everyday things without any fanfare or pretense. I have enjoyed a week of lunches and good times to celebrate "my day," but in reality, it is just friends being friends.
I have also been blessed to have a career in education that has been fulfilling and continues to provide me ways to feel relevant and engaged in life. I have made countless friends and acquaintances because of my educational experiences. I love the interaction with students no matter what their age, seeing them grow and gain new understanding before my eyes. This week I have had the additional blessing to be reminded by some former students, now adults, that I did make a difference in their lives along the way. I am humbled and grateful that they take the time to share this with me. It is also endearing that some still call me "coach" despite the years that have passed. I have so many fond memories of the times spent in the gym or at the track. Those are bonds sealed by sweat and tears and will never be forgotten.
Finally I know that without my faith in God that none of this would be possible. The life I live is part of a plan that I cannot begin to fathom. I know I'm here to make a difference some how, some way. I know that people cross our paths and situations happen that seem insignificant at the time, but alter the course of our lives. I know that I often plan and hope for things that never happen and while I am disappointed, I know that there is a reason - something bigger in the grand scheme of things - that I just don't see yet. But when I look back later, I will see why something did or didn't happen and the result of that action. I believe God supports me when I can't do it alone, but also has a sense of humor and winks at me to let me know He's with me. I have a wooden cross hanging above my desk - a gift from one of those dear friends - that says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." I love this and what it represents. And it is from Proverbs (3: 5-6), my favorite book in the Bible, because it's full of God's locker room slogans for life!
My wish for you as my birthday comes to a close, is that you identify and celebrate the blessings in your life. Find the good; focus on the silver lining, and see what a difference it makes in your life so that you may make a difference in the lives of others. Enjoy your year - I know I will!