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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Open your eyes

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."
 Charlie and I were having lunch on our weekly Wednesday date day yesterday when I mentioned that I would love to take the boys to see the Grand Canyon via road trip. 

He said he would like that too because looking back, the things that he has found to be the most memorable and enjoyable had little to do with the destination and everything to do with the small moments along the way, like traveling with his family when he was a kid and stopping at a rest area to eat fried chicken his mom had packed for the trip.

I agreed wholeheartedly. 

We recalled our trip to Spain in 2009 with some of our very best friends and while we greatly appreciated the breathtaking scenery, architecture, and culture, the fondest memory we both hold was of the night we bought pizzas at the market only to get back to the house to find that the oven didn't work and coming up with the ingenious idea of grilling them on the open flame of a charcoal grill, only to then discover that the charcoal was wet.  

The hysterical belly laughter brought on by our antics of gathering dried palm branches out of the yard to get the fire going will go down as one of my most precious and priceless memories.

I have been guilty, as most of us have, of continually searching for the one big thing or the one big trip that is going to "complete me" or make me feel like I have finally arrived when in reality, if I died today not that I'm planning on it or anything I am pretty confident I would arrive at the pearly gates feeling that I lived an abundantly full life and that my main regret would lie in the fact that I should have spent more time appreciating my blessings and spending more time with the special people God has placed in my life.

There is nothing wrong with striving to reach goals or dreams, as long as we don't forget to live in the process.   

My first husband, Darin, who died in 2003, once said something in passing to me that has stuck with me all of these years and I am constantly reminding myself of it.

He said, "Diane, there's beauty all around you.  All you have to do is look." 

So simple, yet so very true. 

Opening our eyes to the beauty of everyday life is, in my opinion, the key to a truly happy existence. 

Not to say that is always easy.  Lord knows, I know it's not.  I get stressed and angry and catch myself shouting and overreacting on a pretty regular daily basis.  But having lost a spouse so suddenly and unexpectedly, I am able to imagine and know with much certainty, how it would feel if someone I love was no longer in my life and it's the best eye opener and snap the heck outta this funk you're in fix imaginable. 

There's a quote I stumbled upon once that I think is the absolute best advice.  Not always easy, mind you, but so deeply wise and introspective...

" Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time."  ~Betty Smith

I think if we could just all remember to do that from time to time, and to imagine how different, and perhaps empty, our lives would be with just that one thing or person missing, then we'd never feel unblessed or unfulfilled...

Happiness truly is a state of mind. 

This post was written in response to Mama Kat's writing prompt number five: Read and Respond: “If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” ~J.M. Power

Mama's Losin' It


  1. Great post! I found you through Mama Kat's. I love the quote from your 1st husband, as well. It's SO true!

  2. Happiness is a state of mind is absolutely RIGHT ON! We can choose to be happy. Love this post!

  3. Now that you mention it, it's not the destinations of my trips I remember so much either! It's the funny little things that happened along the way...those are the memories!

  4. I totally agree. The best memories come from the long drives and the entertainment you find on the way.

    (Found you through a link on Twitter.)

  5. Being able to appreciate your loved ones and the beauty around you is awesome. Great post.

    Thanks for your visit today!

  6. Remember those valuing family trips in the white station wagon? What about using the CB's once we were old enough to drive? What about they "short cuts" your dad took? And, never forget, "starjet #1.

    However, I think I've seen "RV" one too many times to think that would ever be fun:)

  7. Road trips were all that we could afford when I was little - and they are some of my best memories. Great post!

  8. you are so right. I like the idea of looking at something like it's the firt time or the last time I'll see it.

  9. Your husband sounds like he was a wise man. I'm glad you remember to listen to him. :)

  10. Love this post! Life is those little rest stops along the way. 100% agree with you!