What is it that you know for sure?
The sky is blue.
The grass is green.
Life is short.
It’s cold outside.
What I know for sure is life is full of ups and downs — gives and takes — not just rainbows and butterflies.
Last weekend, I went to the library to browse for a new book. I wanted something “mindless,” something that wouldn’t require a lot of thinking, something to help me fall asleep faster. One of the books I checked out did the exact opposite.
What I Know for Sure is a book by Oprah Winfrey. It includes all the columns she wrote for her magazine over a 14-year period. In the introduction, Oprah describes how she felt when she went back and read each column she wrote:
“As I read, what I was doing and where I was in my life when I wrote these pieces came flooding back…I remembered searching my soul…all to figure out what I’ve come to understand about the things that matter in life, things like joy, resilience, awe, connection, gratitude and possibility.”
This is where the light bulb went off for me. I thought about everything that mattered to me throughout my nearly 40 years of being on this planet!.
I got out of bed, grabbed a notebook and started to create a list of things in my life from A to Z that matter to me. Here they are:
- Appreciation – the older I get, the more appreciative I am of the little things. I appreciate quality time with family and friends instead of gifts. I appreciate a phone call instead of a text message; a letter instead of an email.
- Bubba – that’s my nickname, don’t wear it out. My dad can’t remember why he started calling me this years ago, but it stuck.
- Christianity – four years ago on Nov. 13, I gave my life to Christ for the second time. The first was in 2001. I was a young mother, blessed with a beautiful daughter, and was hungry for a relationship with God. Back then, I didn’t fully understand what giving my life to Christ meant, so it wouldn’t be until 2013 when I truly understand the significance.
- Divorce – been there, done that. I went into my marriage promising myself and my husband that we would not get divorced. In the end, I did everything I could to fix it, to forgive, to move on, but it was too late. I will say this about divorce — it helped me to understand myself more and what I need to do to become a better partner for my future husband.
- Enthusiasm – not necessarily about my divorce. 🙂 I am a “the glass is half full” person. I tend to find the good in just about every situation. I’m a “we’ll worry about that when we have to” person.
- Family and Friends – I have a somewhat non-traditional family made up of both blood relatives and close friends. There are times where I wish circumstances and relationships were different, but I’m grateful for the times we get to spend together (when I can get them off their darn phones).
- Grandma Libby – I could write pages upon pages about this amazing woman who passed away in 2009. The older I get, the more I feel like I’m becoming like her which is the biggest blessing I could ask for. She was a very strong, independent woman who put God first. She was the glue in our family. She always encouraged me to start my day with scripture and would give us anything we wanted when we spent the night. I miss her terribly but am SO grateful for everything I learned from her.
- Henry – I have the sweetest neighbor named Henry. Three days ago (Oct. 27, 2017), he celebrated his 66th wedding anniversary with his wife, Anita. What I know for sure is Henry loves his wife with all his heart. He is extremely patient with her and takes her on tractor rides around their yard. Henry is resourceful and spends hours fixing things, where the rest of the world will just throw something away and buy a new one.
- Independence – I learned a long time ago that I don’t need a man to make me feel whole or to take care of me. Do I like sharing my life with someone? Absolutely! I will not stay with someone just to be with someone. I can take care of myself. My independence is something I learned from my mother and one of my biggest strengths. Ladies — if you’re single and reading this, don’t ever put yourself in a situation that you can’t get back out of. Make sure you can afford the car you drive, the place you live in, etc. I allowed a man once to pay for everything, and when that relationship failed, I got stuck with a house I couldn’t afford to live in and a car I couldn’t afford to drive. I thought I was living the dream, but it was a painful process to get out of.
- Jobs – I’ve had my share of jobs over the last 22 years – customer service, telemarketing, public relations, promotion, purchasing, insurance, etc. I’ve learned a lot, and feel it’s extremely important to get experience in as much as you can before you pick a career. This is something I try to explain to my daughter who gets comfortable and often is afraid to step outside that comfort zone.
- Karma – you know what they say about Karma. She can be a handful. The older I get, I have removed “Karma is a b**ch” from my vocabulary and given all the control to God. I believe in the Golden Rule, even when the person on the other end doesn’t. You do the best you can do and stop worrying about everyone else. This is easier said than done sometimes.
- Lauren – my beautiful daughter. While I’m her mom first, we are best friends. We’re often told we’re like the Gilmore Girls. I’m so blessed to have the relationship I have with my daughter. At 16, she still misses me and wants me around! I couldn’t say the same thing about myself and my relationship with my mother at that age.
- Marriage – Something I’m so excited about. While it will be a while before this happens again, God is preparing me for my future husband in many ways.
- Nature – being outside is one way I worship. This morning was the first true frost of the year and it was absolutely beautiful.
- Oprah – There are people in the world like Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres who I do not see eye to eye with on political views, but what the world needs now is LOVE and lots of it! These ladies spend their lives doing good, spreading love and helping other. We could all learn a few things from them.
- Patience – over the years, I have had to be extremely patient with all things – family, friends, relationships, jobs, God. The struggle is real.
- Quality – I’m a firm believe in quality over quantity.
- Relationships – Another topic I could write pages upon pages about. Personally and professionally – I’ve learned there are good ones and bad ones. Quality comes into play here.
- Strays – I have a big heart and sometimes that gets me into trouble. A year ago, a cute little black kitty showed up and never left. We call her Dirty Diana (yes, after the Michael Jackson song).
- Tattoos – never have I ever, but I tagged along to watch my niece get one earlier this year. I had her fingerprints on my hand for a couple of hours afterwards from her squeezing my hand so hard. She was a trooper!
- University – I sent my first payment off to a university last week to pay for my daughter’s first dual-credit class. I can’t believe she’ll go to college in a couple of years.
- Vacations – I’ve been blessed to go to awesome places like Washington, D.C., Mexico, Paris, Space Camp and a couple of beaches with my family and friends. Next year, I’m planning a trip BACK to D.C. with my mom and daughter.
- Wade – Nearly four years ago, a guy walked into a bar and would soon become one of my closest friends. He’s 96-years-young now, but someone I see and talk to on the phone multiple times a week. He’s my buddy and another HUGE blessing in my life.
- X-rays – had a few of these in my life, most recently to figure out all my back issues. Good news is, there’s nothing going on, but I need to stretch more.
- Youthfulness – today I turn 38 years old. There are days when I still get carded for alcohol and days when I can’t get out of bed because my back hurts so bad, but in my mind, I’m young. I’m not one of those people who worried about turning 30. Turning 40 might be a different story, but I thank God for the body he gave me and I plan to take good care of it.
- Zebras – At birth, mothers separate her newborn from the rest of the herd. Do you know why? Zebra stripes are as unique as our finger prints. When a baby zebra is born, the mother leads her foal away from the rest of the heard to complete a very important tasks – learning the strips on the mother’s face. Stay tuned for more on this…
After writing my life out from A to Z, what I know for sure is I’m extremely blessed. There are days where I feel “meh” and days where I would much rather stay in bed and eat a pint of ice cream, but this is my life. Everything I’ve gone through and everything yet to come has molded me into the person I am.
Now that you’ve seen my life from A to Z, I encourage you do write out your blessings. You might be surprised what makes the list.