There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.--Thomas Aquinas

I am incredibly fortunate in the friend department. I have old friends and new friends. Several groups of friends who all get along. Generous friends, funny friends, smart friends, kind friends, far-away friends and quite a few who live within walking distance. I even have a friend that I'm married to.


I discovered recently that this is not the case for everyone. Not long ago, Alaska Airlines had a Facebook contest that asked you to tag three friends in the comments section. Once you did, you'd all be entered to win a trip together. My immediate thought was: how would I choose just three. So, I started scrolling through the comments to see what others had said and what I saw caught me off guard.


The most common comment was: I don't have three friends. 


What the heck? How is that possible? And then came one of those shifts that happens when you realize just how lucky you are. In that moment, I felt instant gratitude for my friends far and wide. For the friends who cheer me up when I'm down, who bring me food when I'm sick, who encourage me when I have yet another idea, who make me laugh until I cry.   


We all need these relationships--more than we sometimes realize. So, today, my unsolicited advice is this: cherish your friendships. Whether you have one or 100, realize what a gift each one is and cherish it.


Know what to overlook

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." William James



This is not about ignoring real problems. Those you probably need to deal with. But, I've noticed that some things that seem like problems will actually work themselves out if you leave them alone.  


So, focus on whatever absolutely demands your attention and look the other way for a while when it comes to the other stuff. You just might find that when you look back, there is nothing there.


Creating yourself

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. --George Bernard Shaw

Oh, how I love this bit of wisdom. I love the freedom in it. I love the possibilities. And, I even love the responsibility.

This is why I pick up trash when I see it. This is why I hold the door for people. This is why I smile at strangers even though some of the recipients look at me as though I'm a total oddball.

It's why I read every chance I get. And, laugh every day. And, embrace the fact that I cry more than my fair share.

And, probably more importantly, it's why I'm OK when I make mistakes. I recover when I fail. I try to do better. I try to be better.

If George Bernard Shaw had it right, every day is a new chance to decide what we want to create.


Summer list

"In the space between between yes and no, there's a lifetime. " Jodi Picoult

As summer approaches, I've been thinking about how I want to spend my days. I have a lot to get done this summer (I suspect this will always be the case) but there's something about the longer, warmer days that also makes me determined to be really intentional with my time. I definitely don't want to miss out on the opportunities that only summer offers.

With that in mind, I've come up with an absolute yes list as well as an absolute no list for this summer. I'm hoping this will help keep me focused on what I want.

This summer, I will say yes to:
  • fun
  • fitness
  • quiet time (mostly reading)
  • family time (outings to the beach, bike rides, walks)
  • lazy time (unscheduled days or at least hours)


I will say no to:

  • rushing
  • doing things for the kids that they can do for themselves
  • over-scheduling
  • guilt
  • stress over things that really don't matter


Spend a few minutes today making a list of your own so you can have the summer fun you deserve. It's pretty amazing what a difference it can make when you articulate what you want--and also what you don't. 


Learn to let go

Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it." --Ray Bradbury

This is all about learning to be in sync with the ebbs and flows of life. If you're like me, you start to feel guilty if you aren't in go, go, go mode all the time. But, if we step back and pay attention to our natural rhythms, we'll soon see that there are times to be productive and there are times when we need to just be.

I challenge you to put this into practice. I challenge you to allow for some unstructured down time today and every day. I'm not sure why taking time to do nothing is so difficult for many of us but I can promise you that it's well worth your time.