“Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.” -St. Teresa

“Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.” -St. Teresa

Leave a Legacy

There’s a lot of talk these days about leaving a legacy. What does that mean? Donating millions to your alma mater or beloved charity? Leaving your kids with some money to live a little? Having a tree planted or a bronze statue placed at your favorite park for many to see?

We each individually have to answer the question “How do I live longer than my body?”

I believe living longer than my body means having people remember how I made them feel. Sure, I’d be privileged to donate millions and leave money to my kids, but my true legacy is making an impact. If even a small one at times, an impact on all the people I’ve encountered in my life. St. Teresa of Calcutta said it best “Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.” That has been my life’s mission statement.

I first saw that quote on a calendar in my Dad’s medical office. When I was a kid I would work there in the summer. I remember thinking to myself  after I read that quote “Yeah, that’s how I want to live.” For years that meant being accommodating and not sticking up for me. As I’ve matured, that’s changed. I’m not a doormat, but I’m not aggressive. I try to be someone people can talk with about anything. I work on being compassionate and empathetic.

The crazy thing is I’ll never know if making people feel better and happier after being with me will be my legacy. I won’t be around at my funeral  to overhear what my family and friends are saying about me.

Or will I? As I move onto the other celestial place (prayerfully,) will I see all the ways I’ve made others feel? Will I feel their happiness? Their joy? Their disappointment? Their anger? Their belief in themselves? Their love? Wouldn’t that be incredible?

What if?

Let’s think about that for a moment…what if when we die we could feel the feelings of the people we’ve encountered throughout our life? Maybe it will be those feelings that lift us up from our physical body and carry our souls to heaven?

One of my dear friends got the news today that her close friend from college doesn’t have much time left. Pancreatic Cancer. When my friend told me the news, I cried on the phone right along with her. Because I too have been through the death of a close friend.

My friend, Genevieve died just 4 years ago from Mesothelioma. I was in complete denial. There was no way she wasn’t going to get better. Her adopted boys were only 7! She had beaten breast cancer and multiple miscarriages, this is just another blip. But it wasn’t meant to be. She was gone and we were all devastated. Yes, she was no longer in pain and in a better place but I wanted her here. Her family wanted her here. Her boys wanted her here. Why? Because of how she made us all feel. She was incredible. So funny. She  always made me feel good, either by a compliment or by just being hilarious. She made my life better and happier. And although she didn’t leave millions behind, she has lived and continues to live longer than her body. What a legacy!

Live Longer Than Your Body

I hope all those I encounter over my however many years on this earth will remember how I made them feel–hopefully better and happier. That is how I will live longer than my body.

“Quotes Really Speak to Me” -Oprah

“Quotes Really Speak to Me” -Oprah

Oprah said it. Are you surprised? Of course not. She uses quotes all the time. She shares quotes. Posts quotes. Repeats quotes. “Tweetable moments” she calls them on her SuperSoul Conversations podcast. Oprah actively listens to the people she talks with, then she shares their wisdom and words of advice. Oprah relays their life experiences through words. She does this for the “soul” purpose to help us live better.

Let’s Live Better

We hear these quotes from famous people – Rumi, Churchill, Brown, but we all, yes us–YOU AND ME — all say some pretty damn good stuff that needs to be remembered, saved, and shared. When we remember a quote, it takes us back to that moment; that place in time when we were with our college buddies, our dad, our childhood best friend, or our beloved Grandma. It’s like what a scent does when we smell it again years later. It’s ingrained in our brain, deep in our senses, taking us right back to that moment in time. Words can do that too. And we won’t remember all of them, unless we save them… quickly & easily. Save them and it will help you travel back in time to that very spot.

How many times have we heard something that made us pause? Made us laugh? Struck a chord? Hit a nerve? Quotes are always there for us….

“I gotcha!”

“If at first you don’t succeed, do it like your mother told you.”

“Are you feeling it?”

“God says ‘I’ll take it from here.’”

“The only thing to look forward to is…me!”

“There’s no anaphylaxis, so it’s a win!”

“Live in this moment. This moment is your life.”

How many times did we only sort of remember (but really wanted to remember) something that was said? Hurting our brain to remember some words of wisdom, but not recalling all of it. The QuoteYa app is the place to save all those words you want to remember.

Preserve Your Words

“Quotes really speak to me.” Oprah is right. They speak to her. She is validated. They do that for us too. They speak to all of us. They connect us, keep us going, guide us so we know we are not alone. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Preserve Your Words. Keep the quotes. Today.

“Don’t Put Your Junk in my Backyard” -Don Morgan

“Don’t Put Your Junk in my Backyard” -Don Morgan

I bet every single person who just read that above quote smiled. Every. Single. One.

Well, that’s how Don Morgan made everyone feel. He had this effect on everyone he met. No one was a stranger. He always made them smile. That was his style. He had a quote for everything. And he meant what he said. He was wise. He was true. He was authentic.

Other People’s Junk

When my friend Marla Morgan was growing up, she remembers hearing her dad say “Don’t put your junk in my backyard.” He offered advice with that too. Don’t let their problems be your problems. The thing that throws us all off, is carrying around other people’s junk. If you don’t have their junk, then you have the clarity to do what you are meant to do on this earth. It makes sense… It just makes sense…

Marla entered the child care business. Taking care of 6-week old to 6-year old children is her passion and she does it extremely well. As she was getting her business up and running the kids loved listening to a song called “Don’t Put Your Junk in My Backyard”. The irony! We don’t need another person’s rake, toys. dirty smelly socks, old tires, or rotted out cars. That’s theirs. Not ours.

When someone starts dumping their junk on us, we need to say “Not in my backyard!”. All that junk can trigger reactions, emotions, feelings, some we may not even be aware of. I’ve got my own junk! I’m working on my junk through therapy, reading, talking, meditating, quiet times, walks, friends.

Work Hard, Don’t Dump

I work hard, so I don’t dump it. You go do the work on your junk. Don’t put yours in my backyard anymore. I don’t want it and obviously neither do you.

 

“I really like riding a bike because when you ride a bike you feel like you’re free.” -Maeve

“I really like riding a bike because when you ride a bike you feel like you’re free.” -Maeve

What is it about riding a bike? Is it the beautiful monotony of the wheels going round and round? The pedals powered by your own legs? The speed? The breeze? The glide?

Maeve is right. You do feel free.

You’re going on your own power. That is freedom. It’s faster than walking. Sure you could run. But why run, when you can sit on a bike and get there faster?

Sometimes you’re coasting with the wind at your back, thinking you can go on like this forever.

Sometimes you’re going uphill, putting it in granny gear and pedaling with all your might.

Sometimes you’re going downhill, truly feeling the wind on your face – smiling big – thinking “This is fun!”

Whichever example above is your ride, you still know you are in control. You can steer that bike anywhere you want to go. You can shift the gears. You can pedal the pedals as slow or as fast as you want. You can sit back and coast and enjoy the ride.

Sound familiar? How many times in life are we pedaling so hard, revolutions going round and round, we shift the gears and do anything to get up that hill?

What about those times when we’re on the downhill? We worked so hard now we can let the decline take us for awhile.

And those moments when we are on the straight away maybe pedaling for a bit then coasting…is that the time we are doing what we need to be doing, but also wondering… looking… for what’s next. Or realizing that all is well?

Those are moments. Just moments. At least in my life, they are moments. I never seem to have a long period–months or years–of coasting. Never. But for that I’m grateful.

Between kids, work, life, and husband, there is not much coasting for me, but I have to not let that stop me from coasting, sitting back on my seat, taking one side of the handlebars, standing up straighter, looking around, and enjoying the ride. That’s when you can feel confident in thoughts and feelings.

You know you can compete against any obstacle you come across.

“Having a good attitude doesn’t mean you are going to live. It means you are going to live well.” -Wendy W.

“Having a good attitude doesn’t mean you are going to live. It means you are going to live well.” -Wendy W.

Coming from a woman who has cancer. Brain tumor. Glioblastoma. It keeps coming back. They keep operating. She has deficits here and there. But none that are debilitating. And the tumor is not your typical Glio. It doesn’t have the customary tentacles that invade the brain in the intricate spots, which typically makes it one of the most deadly type of brain cancers. Wendy’s (pictured above on the right) is special. It is somewhat encapsulating, so when it grows back they can go back in and take it out.

But why do we have to have cancer or a devastating life event to make us realize it’s all about the attitude? We know teenagers have a bad attitude. And look how fun they are to be around.

Living Well

Living well doesn’t mean having nice clothes, a large home, or a fancy car. Living well means living with contentment, peace within, authenticity. Living from a place of love not fear. Being connected.

If we look at our situations from a place of love we see it in a whole new light. Wendy isn’t living in fear that this cancer might take her life. It probably will. Wendy is living in love. She shares her story and faith with others. I tell her she needs to get out there and speak. She needs to go “on the circuit”. Her story is incredible. Her faith is unstoppable.

Her third child die of SIDS. Her fourth baby, shortly after delivery, was found to have a twisted intestine and was miraculously saved. A doctor happened to stop by Wendy’s hospital room to see how she how she was fairing, since he knew about her losing her last baby, and figured it out. Years later, she went through a divorce. Raising five kids wasn’t easy, but she had a good relationship with her ex.

The Diagnosis

Then one day, she felt confused and had a severe pain in her head. Something wasn’t right. Wendy went to the doctor and her symptoms warranted that an MRI be ordered that day. She was called immediately after the test (unheard of normally) to go talk with the MD. She knew it wasn’t good, but when they asked her to bring someone with her, she got a pit in her stomach.

Her ex was worried about her. During the MRI, he waited at a nereby Target, just in case she needed him. And when Wendy got the call, she immediately called him and asked him to accompany her to the doctor’s office for the results.

“Sure. I’ll be right there.” He quickly replied.

“Where are you?” she asked.

“Across the street.” he answered.

He came. They heard the news together. He pulled his wedding ring out of his pocket and asked her to marry him all over again. She said yes. And today they are going through this journey together. Doing the chemo. Raising the kids. Helping their daughter get married.

Live Well

Wendy continues to have a good attitude. She will claim it has gotten her this far. She is part of a “LiveStrong” group that exercise together, and get together for breakfast once a month.

She isn’t speaking “on the circuit” yet, but she does give talks locally, sharing her good attitude and faith. She asks for signs. She looks for signs. She gets signs. She knows she is not alone. Her life is FILLED with family, friends, kids, kid’s friends, love. She willingly shares her smile and stories of hope. Wendy knows she is still here to keep others going. Wendy lives well.

“Wheels up!” -Annette G.

“Wheels up!” -Annette G.

The first time I heard that quote I laughed OUT LOUD.

“What did you say?” I asked my friend Annette at our kid’s basketball game.

“You know ‘wheels up’. Get on an airplane. Go.” she said.

I put it on my QuoteYa Board immediately. That one I wanted to remember. It spoke to me.

Daily Routine

We get so caught up in our daily busy-ness, which is valid mind you. The hum-drum rhythm of our routine is very important. It’s how we build bonds. Earn trust. Get things done. It’s how we care and take care. Our daily to-dos are vital. But we can get so caught up in it.

Have you ever just said “I need a break,” and you were gone? It’s OK to put our responsibilities on hold for a little while and take care of ourselves. Not only is it OK, it is vital!

Head West!

When the kids were little and I couldn’t bare the tumult, not one more second, I did just that–I took off. I got in the car ALONE and drove west. West just sounds so pioneer, doesn’t it? Well, I thought so… I went west. Now I didn’t get very far. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and made it to just outside of Lincoln (less than 50 miles). Not far at all. But I did it. And I needed to do it. And then, because the kids were little, I headed back. I had to get back to them.

But I did it again a few years later. I had enough of feeling under appreciated, undermined, and devalued. I had enough. Let go of the responsibilities. I needed a break. I threw clothes in an overnight bag, made sure everyone was OK, fed, and taken care of… and once again, I headed west.

Benedictine Monks

This time I drove just a little farther – to a Benedictine Retreat Center I had heard of. I went to the front desk and asked if they had any availability.

“Could I get a room and breakfast in the morning? I won’t be a bother. I just need some sleep. I need some peace.”

It was the best 30 hours I had had in a long time. Reconnecting with myself, and feeling a little peace and quiet was exactly what was needed.

Today I Went a Little Farther

And today, several years later, I did it again. This time though, the kids are much older. Like years past, I went west. This time to Colorado. I am taking a break. With the demands of married and family life and my first born going off to college, I needed to go.

I found a clean, small, affordable one-bedroom condo with a breathtaking mountain view from the deck. There’s a bike path across the street, a Farmer’s Market in the morning, a yoga class at the park, and within view an amphitheater hosting a free concert the next two nights. I didn’t know any of this when I booked this spot. I am alone. I can breathe.  I am taking a break. I had to tell myself and others: “I’m taking a break ALONE and IT’S OK.”

Why do we feel we have to validate what we NEED to do? Are we not good enough? Do we not deserve some time, some space, alone? Do we not crave it? But we tend to stuff it down like other uncomfortable things in life. Some of you may be uncomfortable being ALONE. But try it. Start small – go to a movie by yourself. Go to a coffee shop or out for dinner by yourself. Get acquainted with you. Then before you know it you’ll be taking a trip ALONE. Maybe you’ll head west and start to find some peace and quiet.

So “wheels up” it is!

Not only do I like the sweet no-nonsense simplicity of the quote. I like what it demands.

“Wheels up!”

Go do it. Get in that car. Get on that plane. Let it take you where you need to be. Usually we only regret the things we don’t do.

 

 

 

“The grass isn’t greener, there’s just a different light shining on it.” -Anonymous

“The grass isn’t greener, there’s just a different light shining on it.” -Anonymous

Let’s think about this a second. We always think it’s better on the other side. The Joneses, yeah, they got it right. They got it all together. But we know better. They don’t have it all together. Actually it’s probably close to falling apart. But we don’t want that to happen either, do we? NO, we really don’t.

Be authentic.

No spin doctor here. Listen to this news. The Joneses DON’T have it all together. Stop worrying about the Joneses. Be authentic. Live your life. The life YOU were meant to live. Things in your life can change but in order for that to happen you need to change. You need a different light to shine. That light is your perspective. Your thought process.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I could also add the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Stop comparing. Live the life you were born to live. YOU. You are a Child of the Universe. YOU. Comparing is insecurity. Pure and simple. Be grateful for who you are and what you have. Even the simplest of thank you’s will carry you.

“Thank you for my legs, so I can walk to the bus to get to work.”

“Thank you for my ears, so I can hear the beautiful music in the elevator.”

“Thank you for my mother who shows me how to be compassionate.”

“Thank you for the friend who has shared her life with me.”

They will find you.

If you need to change something, change it. But after you change it, live in it for awhile where you’re at. Our behavior is only our habits… which we have formed… on autopilot. If you move on before changing your behavior, your troubles will follow you. They know your address. They WILL find you. Because they are YOUR troubles. Remember the definition of insanity – “Doing the same thing but expecting different results.”

The grass is greener because a different light is shining on it. Your light. Your refreshed and renewed light.