Hug Like it’s Your Last

Joes grandma

We can learn a lot from this sweet lady pictured above.  Her name is Donna.  She is my sister’s husband’s grandmother.  Great grandmother to my nephew and niece.   When I think of the definition of “Fun Grandma”  she fits the description perfectly.  My sister’s picture captures her character as you can see.

How many grandmas do you know that play volleyball into their 80’s?  She is the only one I know.  Donna played volleyball regularly unless her health held her back here in these last months.  She even played up to about a month ago.  Donna is a cancer survivor having battled cancer in her 40’s.  It took another 40 years before it reared it’s ugly head again.  In the meantime she LIVED.

Being a distant non-relative  I know her from just a few family gatherings, the stories, and the impact she has had on my sister and her family.  Living 9 hours away she was able to make one last visit back in early November and was present at my niece’s birthday party.  As she was leaving that evening and saying her good byes she stopped right in front of me.  What she did next has truly made an impact on me.   Donna turned looked me right in the face and in the eyes and said the sweetest most sincere good bye.  She then hugged me so very tight.  This 87 year old volleyball player could squeeze tight let me tell ya!!!    I knew she was saying her goodbyes to everyone and she made this “non-relative” even feel significant by her sincerity.

A few weeks ago while she was still physically able she wrote in a card for my nephew’s birthday and the family waited to mail it for her so it would arrive on his birthday.  She passed just the evening before Ben’s birthday.  What a treasure her sweet words of love and encouragement in that card will forever be.

Donna has got me to thinking “What if we lived everyday like a cancer survivor?”   “What if we treated every good bye and every hug as if it is our last?”  We don’t always know when our life on this earth is coming to a close.  None of us know when our last breath will be.  None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

This Christmas hug your family tight.  Look each other in the eyes and say kind and sincere words of love and encouragement.  This Christmas have fun and laugh!!  We just never know when it is our last.

What is Beauty?

picture of camera

Reaching my fourth decade now in life I have come to the realization that as women “beauty” and its definition will be thrown at us from every angle our entire life. There is a new thing going around Face Book to post five pictures that make you feel beautiful. There is a stubborn part of me saying “I do not like any pictures of me and I really just don’t want to!” My wedding day I felt beautiful, I felt beautiful when my children were born (even though completely “water logged”), I felt beautiful while breast feeding them in the rocking chair in their bedroom, I feel beautiful with my family, I feel beautiful on a quiet morning reading my Bible and sipping my coffee, I feel beautiful when a patient remembers my name and says “thank you”, I feel beautiful when what I do or say makes someone laugh, I feel beautiful writing, and I feel beautiful taking a quiet walk in the beautiful surroundings of God’s creation. Each time I see a picture of myself I think “ewww is that what I look like?” When I look in the mirror it is not the same as what I see the camera reflecting (cameras must always get my bad side). God created us exactly the way He wanted us. Everything He made is “good” and beautiful. The bible says in Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Growing up I struggled with having a big nose. I definitely still don’t “love” it. It serves its purpose to provide filtered moistened air to my lungs. It sticks out plenty to get sunburned and produce freckles. Just yesterday I wacked the bridge of my nose with my locker at work and saw a few stars. Note to self; “step back from the locker when opening it”. Early on I came to the acceptance that it is the nose God gave me and any other nose would look out of place on my face. As a kid I was a fan of Michael Jackson. He was a handsome guy before any plastic surgery. Quite frankly by the time he died at age fifty he looked like an alien life form from all the plastic surgery. Nothing is ever as beautiful as in its original God created form. A ninety year old woman who has taken care of herself, but allowed the natural aging process to happen is very beautiful.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Wearing fun things and having fun hair is ok, but should not define us. We should not allow the media to define what it is we need to be beautiful. This must be where my “selfie” conviction comes into play. What do I want the world to see? Do I want it to be my physical appearance or the beauty God created within my life and my soul?