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Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith


Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

Maria Robinson



Today I chose two quotes, because they both speak of making the most of your life right now. They’re about living in the present moment, and breathing in all that life has to offer. As the Maria Robinson quote says, we can’t really change the “Once upon a time…” part. But we can change the “And then…”

Life is precious or people wouldn’t fight so hard for it. Think of all the people in the world fighting to live–engaged in a battle against cancer or some other disease. They are willing to go through a lot just to have one more day. One more day with their loved ones, one more day to sing and dance and laugh and cry. And most of us just take it all for granted.

Yes, life is complicated; life is messy. You can’t jump in its mud without getting dirty. But then there are those refreshing showers of grace that wash over us, and those moments (just moments) when all is right with the world. God must have put that will to live within us–the determination to fight for our time here on earth. As we get older, we begin to wonder where the time went. Didn’t we have the rest of our lives to do all those things? To say the things we needed to say? And then someone close to us dies, and we realize that there are no guarantees at any age. We truly only have this moment–this priceless, never to be had again moment. What will we do with it?

This generation is one of the first to have children still at home, and aging, sickly parents to care for. Until our daughter moved out recently, I fit into that category. My stepdad (who was like my father, since age 7) suddenly died, almost 3 years ago, from complications of triple bypass surgery, and it was a horrendous way to go. (On a ventilator, gasping for breath, unconscious and unable to communicate, for the most part.) And all we could do was be there day after day, praying that he wouldn’t die, but feeling woefully certain that he was going to. (And sadly, he did.)

At that moment, I lost myself. No, actually I lost myself about 16 years ago when I adopted a beautiful 3 year old daughter. It was not at all what I had imagined, but I learned some of the greatest lessons of my life, and suffered some of the deepest pain. It was never easy or comfortably predictable, but I gave her my love and my life.

I thought that perhaps I would now retrieve it (my life, that is), but silly me, I should have known that life was going to throw me another crazy curve ball, and it certainly did. Suddenly I was more or less responsible for my mother. I thought that I was responsible for her happiness, and for keeping her alive. It was an awesome burden to bear, and I finally had to learn that I could not give her immortality or happiness. Her length of life would depend on God, and her happiness had to come from within. I really struggled with that, and almost drove myself crazy for a couple of years, until my body pleaded with me to give the job back to the Lord, or die myself. I reluctantly at first, (and then with great relief) surrendered my cargo, and a great deal of my anxiety. It felt good not to be God, and to just be myself again.

I came to terms with the fact that when my mom does die, she says she is ready. She still wants to live on her own, and even if it is risky, it would be my wish also. (She is an insulin dependent diabetic, who sometimes goes low.) The sorrow I carried for her, at the loss of my dad, was so heavy that I almost could not think of her without getting a piercing ache in my heart. (Often, I still do.) And having gone through all that with her, it did leave me with fears of my own, which I continually have to battle, and try and shake off.

So that brings us to the topic once again. Life–such a gift, such a treasure–and we throw so much of it away. So many days spent angry at things that have no significance, worried about things that rarely happen, and procrastinating about truly living our life.

The first quote says to “fight for your dreams.” Fight for them. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You have a dream. Don’t pack it away in an old, musty suitcase. Take it out, and shine it up, and fight for it. Modify it if you have to, but keep on dreaming it. Don’t lose yourself in the monotony of everyday living. Be unselfish and giving, but take care of yourself also. How can any of us give what we don’t possess? We have to find that place within that is real and genuine. The place that validates our uniqueness, in a dime-a-dozen world. Express who you are in writing, in singing, in dancing, in art, in fashion, in poetry, in style, and in your surroundings. You are a gift, and a gift needs to be opened, in order to be enjoyed. Open yourself to life’s possibilities and opportunities.

Find the beauty, and not just the beast. (Or find the beauty in the beast.) Don’t stifle your personality, don’t hide your light, and don’t conform to things that take away your ingenuity. Be creative, be childlike, and be a seeker on a journey. If others won’t dance to your song, dance by yourself. But never give up dancing.

It’s true that you cannot change your “Once upon a time…”, but you can start today, and make it a happy ending…

Please see other articles that I have written here:





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