Celebrate Life

It’s NANO time – National Novel Writing Month.

This month in Tuesday Tales I’m taking a break from romance. Since I’ll be lucky to get to the 50,000 words I need for Nano by the end of the month, I’m doubling up and using this work for my Tuesday Tales prompts also. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘flower’.

Victoria and Toby will have to figure out their own way for a few weeks, without me handing them their script. We’ll be back to them after November ends.

My NANO work is a nonfiction, inspirational tentatively titled: A BETTER LIFE: A TO Z. Today I’m sharing the C excerpt – CELEBRATE LIFE.

Enjoy, then head back to TUESDAY TALES here, for more story snippets from a creative group of writers.

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Celebrate Life!

Celebrate-lifeCelebrate life. This too can be a hard lesson to learn. I thought I was living a full life. I’d grown a lot in the past twenty years. My world had expanded. I was learning to speak up for myself. I became less afraid of rocking the boat. I was less afraid of living a life of my own choices and not simply following what was expected of me. I was happier than ever. I thought I truly appreciated the goodness of life.

I discovered I was wrong.

I also unequivocally thought I was going to live to the age of 85. I was wrong.

Eighty five seemed the perfect age to me. I’d live long enough to have a full and complete life. Of course, this was long before I’d run across the Barcroft TV video of the world’s oldest yoga teacher – Tao Porchon Lynch, 96 years young and still teaching yoga classes – more limber than I ever remember being.

But 85 seemed perfect. I want to die at home, not in a nursing home, unable to fend for myself and unaware of the world around me.

I had it all “planned out”

My plans went awry on October 21, 2010. I had a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

I was on an airplane. We were thirty minutes away from landing in San Francisco for a paranormal conference.

I was 52. It was unplanned. It was not on my agenda for the day – or the year for that matter.

It took about two weeks for the reality of what happened to become real to me.

Finally, when I acknowledged the truth about my unplanned event, I also realized the synchronicity of the incident and how I got a second chance at life.

If I were at home, I would have been sleeping soundly. At the time this would have happened, it would have been about 15 to 20 minutes before the alarm sounded for the first time. By the time the alarm rang, I wouldn’t have hit snooze. It would have been too late.

Instead, I was on an airplane, sitting next to Lisa who began immediate CPR. Three doctors, oxygen, and a defibrillator were all less than 20 to 25 feet away from me, available for immediate use. Now, what’s the odds of that? Not being a gambler, nor a mathematician, I can’t answer that. I just know that it’s a huge number. And this time it was in my favor.

I thought I had a good life before. I did have a good life ‘before’. I discovered that it could be better. It could be more meaningful. I had a second chance. I realized that I was not celebrating life. I did not appreciate the good things in my life as fully as I could. I was letting too much drama and minor irritations could my life with its incessant gloominess.

There’s a reason I didn’t die that day. I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences. Now, it’s up to me to discover the ‘why’.

I’m sure there will be many more discoveries along my journey. But one that I know is that I want to celebrate life. It sure beats the alternative.

Yes, it’s said that only two things in life are unavoidable – taxes and death. Maybe a select few have figured out the way to avoid taxes. But death, that’s one final moment that will come to all of us.

But until it does, for its final call, I plan on reveling in my life. Even if I have a few aches and pains – and hot flashes. I’m here, I’m breathing, and I’m alive. I want to celebrate – EVERY day!

celebrate lifeNorman Cousins, well known for his book Anatomy of an Illness, about the positive effects laughter has on healing, says, “The greatest tragedy in life isn’t death, it’s what we allow to die inside ourselves while we are still living.”

What a tragedy. To be alive – yet to not be fully alive.

Joan Borysenko echoed the sentiment, “The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live.”

Begin today to celebrate life.

What is in your life that is good?

What do you appreciate in your life?

Celebrate your life. Rejoice in the moments that have value – both small and large.

On New Year’s Day, just after my SCA, I went out back to deliver bird seed, and some stale bread and crackers, to the bounty of birds eagerly awaiting a treat. It was a beautiful Texas day, clear blue skies and a pleasant 60 degrees, a much appreciated unseasonably warm winter day. I stood listening to the myriad avian songs. I delighted in watching a mockingbird chase the sparrows while the cardinals flitted to and fro around the edges of the yard. A pair of doves cooed as they landed, thankful for the feast.

Several lone dandelions lie sprinkled in the yard like golden confetti – a winter day’s pleasure. My jubilation that day was the enjoyment of the brilliant yellow flowers and the birds, being alive to rejoice with them. And you know, this merrymaking didn’t break the bank. It didn’t cost a cent!

International Quality of Life Month

something fabulousHooray! January is a month long celebration for International Quality of Life Month.

Sounds great. We all desire a quality life. Somehow a ‘quality life’ seems to always be a life just a little bit better than the life we are living. The quality life you envision for yourself may be one with more money, a better job, a nicer house, a newer car, more free time, more vacations, less free time …

Everyone’s idea of what components make up a quality life will differ. Most probably, each person will have a different definition of what their quality life is on different days, or during different phases of life.

Someone may be thinking a quality life is one with more money than what they currently have. Life will be better with fewer bills, more disposable income, or more financial security. Then a child or spouse becomes ill, or hospitalized, or worse. Suddenly, money doesn’t seem all that important. The life and health of your child or spouse becomes top priority.

Our defining characteristics of a quality life will change, sometimes day to day, sometimes year to year. But for today, for this moment in time, treat yourself to finding twenty or thirty minutes for yourself this week. Find a small slice of time where you can sit and contemplate your life, what is in your life, what isn’t in your life and what is important to you.

Make a list. Make a list of the blessings in your life that you want to keep. What would you like to bring into your life? What can go? What’s a low priority and what’s a high priority? Not according to what the world, your community, your business or your family thinks your life should be like. What is important to YOU for a quality life?

Jot some notes down. What steps can you take to move towards the quality of life you desire? You don’t have to have a massive overhaul of your life. Baby steps, that’s all you need. Take small little consistent steps that you can take one day at a time. A half hour here, an hour there. A phone call here, a date night there, a play date with your child, an hour writing the book you wish to write, an answer of ‘no’ to something you don’t wish to spend the time or energy on. They all add up these baby steps, by minutes and actions at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have the quality of life you desire, one created to your own desires that is YOU.

Celebrate life; celebrate Quality of Life Month!

Choosing to Celebrate Life

A Reason to Celebrate …. Who needs a reason? As Robert Brault stated, “There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.”

The opportunities to celebrate life surround us with their infinite possibilities. We simply don’t always see them clearly. Life happens; and, when life happens, life gets busy. We become blinded by the tasks, chores, and errands that infiltrate our daily lives. Laundry, cooking, dishes, yard work, birthday presents, lost dogs, kids to practice, dance, games, not to mention working to keep the family fed and sheltered.

We wait for preordained occasions to celebrate; birthdays, anniversaries, Thanksgiving or Christmas. What about celebrating the thousands of special occasions that don’t come printed on our calendars?

For starters, we woke up this morning, we’re alive. Yes, the day may be packed from morning to night, there may be conflicts, arguments, tough meetings and not enough time to complete what we need to do. But, as a friend reminded me last night, it does beat the alternative, doesn’t it?

Is the day beautiful and sunny, filled with glorious blue skies and fluffy white clouds? Is there rain when the state needs it? Do you have the absolute best spouse, children, grandchildren or family in the world? (No, sorry, I have those!) Did a gorgeous blooming flower greet you when you walked outside? Are your cupboards full? Do you have more clothes in your closet than you can possibly wear through the rest of your lifetime?

I challenge you to take five minutes, sit down and make a quick list. What are you grateful for? What can you see from where you’re sitting that is a blessing? Add to your list through the day, or the week. Let’s celebrate the bounty in our lives. What do you choose to celebrate today? There are countless reasons to celebrate, if we examine our lives in closer detail. Celebrate life today!

WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

Thursday, June 14th: Give the gift of life. June 14th is WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY.

Can you help out? Can you help saving lives?

From their web page, World Blood Donor Day explains: “On 14 June, countries worldwide celebrate World Blood Donor Day with events to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. The theme of the 2012 World Blood Donor Day campaign, “Every blood donor is a hero” focuses on the idea that every one of us can become a hero by giving blood. While recognizing the silent and unsung heroes who save lives every day through their blood donations, the theme also strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly.”

http://www.who.int/worldblooddonorday/en/

EAT WHAT YOU WANT DAY

Friday, May 11th: I’m ready for today’s celebration! It’s EAT WHAT YOU WANT DAY. Mmmmmm … I have my menu for the day all planned out. I just don’t know where to start. That Magnum Double Caramel ice cream bar is faintly calling my name. Oh, so are those macadamia nuts. The guacamole in the fridge; that’s a definite candidate for first bit also. Ohhhhh, so many choices! I’m not sure where this holiday started, but it seems pretty popular. Google the day and you’ll find countless blogs, articles and mentions about the day. I guess we all like a day where we can forget the diets and food restrictions we deal with on a daily basis. Let’s celebrate life and celebrate the gastric goodness surrounding us. (Food allergy sufferers, sorry, you can’t totally celebrate this day. Enjoy the delicious food offerings – within reason, of course.)

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Jan 20-26, 2011)

Friday, January 20th: January is a month of many “National” celebrations. One of January’s observances that fits in with new beginnings is NATIONAL BE ON PURPOSE MONTH. What do you want out of life? Are you living your life to its fullest? Take charge of your life. Determine what you want out of life, and who you want to be. Don’t live a life of reaction and merely rolling along “going with the flow”. Sit down today and spend a few minutes thinking about what actions you can take that will put in line with the life you want to live. Celebrate life by being on purpose, this month and the rest of the year.

Saturday, January 21st: “Hugging has no unpleasant side effects and is all natural. There are no batteries to replace, it’s inflation-proof and non-fattening with no monthly payments. It’s non-taxable, non-polluting, and is, of course, fully refundable.” ~Author Unknown. I wish I could meet ‘Author Unknown’ and give them a hug. It’s NATIONAL HUGGING DAY. First celebrated in 1986, Kevin Zaborney, created the day for family and friends to hug often and freely with one another. The day has grown tremendously since then, now being celebrated internationally. Here’s a day we should celebrate everyday!

Sunday, January 22nd: Today is a day dear to my heart. It’s CELEBRATION OF LIFE DAY! Following my cardiac arrest a year ago last October, I am truly grateful for my “second chance” and celebrate life everyday, not just on special days. Celebrate life and find joy in little ways and big. Use your good dishes for your family dinners. Wear the colors that make you feel good. Stop at the park and swing away to your hearts content. Enjoy a vase of fresh flowers to brighten your life. As Tim McGraw sings, “Live like you were dying.” What brings you joy? What can you do today to celebrate life?

Monday, January 23rd: Gung hay Fat Choy! (Or, ‘Happy New Year’ in Mandarin Chinese, if the translator is right). Today marks the beginning of the CHINESE NEW YEAR. We can celebrate two New Year beginnings. Commemorate by wearing red and gold, the traditional Chinese colors of wealth and good fortune. Decorate your home with flowers and blooming plants, symbolizing rebirth and new growth. Mandarins with their leaves still intact bring happiness for the New Year. Fill bowls of mandarins, in even numbers (uneven numbers bring unhappiness), and place around your home. Of course, my favorite part of the celebration is …. Chinese food for dinner!

Tuesday, January 24th: You gave such a nice presentation; organized and well thought out. That’s a beautiful color for you. Your flower arrangements are beautiful and natural looking. Today is NATIONAL COMPLIMENT DAY. Celebrate the day by complementing at least five people. Lift the spirits of those around you. Make their day. And you’ll feel good too.

Wednesday, January 25th: Time … we all have the same amount – 24 hours a day, 60 minutes an hour, 60 seconds a minute. So, where does it all go? We blink our eyes and the day is over, the week flies by, the years go faster and faster. This week is NATIONAL TAKE BACK YOUR TIME WEEK. What nonessential tasks and activities can you give up with the intent of reclaiming valuable time? Target specific chores, errands or social obligations to delegate or skip completely. Use this new found time to recharge your batteries and boost your energy and enthusiasm for life. Keep some available time for yourself by saying ‘No’, committing to fewer activities and building some down time into your schedule. Celebrate life, celebrate your own time!

Thursday, January 26th: A Celtic candied treat, an American Colonial concoction, or an 1890 accident by a New England housewife; I saw sources citing each of these as the beginning of peanut brittle. Despite the debate of how this candy came to be, it’s yummy! Today is NATIONAL PEANUT BRITTLE DAY. Months of Edible Celebrations has a peanut brittle recipe ,complete with directions, in rhyming form, on the December 18, 2007 post (www.monthsofedblecelebrations.com.) However, in the interest of ‘Take Back Your Time Week’ that is also this week; I’ll most likely be buying my peanut brittle to celebrate with!

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Jan 13-19, 2012)

Friday, January 13th: “Rubber duckie, you’re the oneeeeeee …” memories of the past with visions of Sesame Street’s Ernie clutching his beloved Duckie. Today is RUBBER DUCKIE DAY. (Singing is optional. However, a ring tone is available if you so desire.)

I like rubber duckies. There’s something appealing to many of us that are clearly too old for theSesame Streetcrowd anymore. I have a few myself. The adorable one sitting in the jack o lantern was supposed to go to my grandson. It just never quite made it in his Halloween box.  (Next year Mark!)

These buoyant bouncing baby toys are also popular for hundreds of fundraisers every year. Enthusiasts amass unique collections of these little rubber toys. I’ll celebrate the day and add a new one to my “flock”. I don’t think I’ll come close to the 2007 Guinness World Record of 2,583 though. Happy Rubber Duckie Day!

Saturday, January 14th: Sweaters, bandanas, hats and more. It’s DRESS UP YOUR PET DAY and the cats go fleeing. The dogs usually cooperate better; some seem to actually enjoy it. Others, well, maybe not so much. The outfits available are simply amazing. But you don’t need to go hog wild to party with the pooches. A nice little bandana will do the trick. And maybe a dog treat to sweeten the pot for the participants in today’s celebration.

Sunday, January 15th : Three tomatoes, one stalk of celery, two potatoes, one large onion, eye of newt …. oops, wrong recipe! The cold, brisk days of January makes it the perfect month for NATIONAL SOUP MONTH. Certainly not a new food, documentation shows that as early as 600 BC, the Greeks sold soup on the street, using peas, beans and lentils as main ingredients. This hot meal in a bowl packs a nutritional punch too.  Hmmmm… now just to decide: tomato basil bisque, beef & barley, green chili chicken, mushroom, chicken noodle … there’s so many soups to choose from!

Monday, January 16th: Do nothing today. No celebrations, no commemorations. It’s NATIONAL NOTHING DAY. (Pending your boss’ approval, of course.  Which means, I may be un-celebrating the nothing day.) Newspaper columnist Harold Pullman Coffin created National Nothing Day, first celebrated in 1973, “to provide Americans with one national day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything.” Harold died in 1981, leaving a legacy of an un-holiday that would outlive him for more than thirty years. Thank you Harold, for ‘nothing’!

Tuesday, January 17th: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit gather together to help us celebrate this week. Maybe joined by a splash of lime. It’s NATIONAL FRESH SQUEEZED JUICE WEEK. Fresh squeezed juices are healthy and nutritious, packed with vitamin C, which helps combat the dreaded winter cooties. They taste delicious and have the added benefit of no additional sugars and preservatives.

Wednesday, January 18th: “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” This sage piece of advice is only one of many credited to a much beloved Winnie the Pooh. Today celebrates POOH DAY, the birth date of A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie-the-Pooh. Although most of us know the Pooh that Disney made so popular from 1966 to now, the original Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926. He looks pretty good for a bear so old, doesn’t he? Grab a balloon and a jar of honey, don a red shirt and celebrate Pooh Day.

Thursday, January 19th: Pop, pop …. Pop …. Pop …. Hold onto your seats, it’s NATIONAL POPCORN DAY!  Not to be confused with National Popcorn Month that takes place in October, mind you. Here’s a day where popcorn reigns for the day only. These cold January evenings make for the perfect night to snuggle up with the family and a movie … centered around a huge bowl of fresh popped popcorn. See you after the movie!

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Jan 6-12, 2012)

Friday, January 6th: I’ll buy a vowel. Today celebrates …. The Wheeeeeeel of Fortune. Debuting January 6th, 1975, WHEEL OF FORTUNE is the longest-running syndicated game show in theUS, with over 5,000 episodes aired. From its humble beginnings as a television show, the ‘Wheel’ quickly branched out to board games, then spread to computers and the Internet. Tonight, I’ll celebrate with the ‘Wheel’. I’ll pop some popcorn and watch Pat and Vanna host another episode. Hmmmm, too bad you can’t win a car or cash from the living room sofa!

Saturday, January 7th: That’s it! I’ve had it. Today is I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE DAY. I haven’t discovered the origin of this day, but it’s a perfect day to start the New Year out with.  A new year, filled with aspirations of new beginnings and change, is also a time of letting go of things that no longer serve you, be it habits, people, jobs or other bothersome issues. What is in your life that you’re not going to take anymore? Celebrate life by letting go of something today.

Sunday, January 8th: Forget the computer today. Pull out a pen and an old-fashioned piece of paper. Today marks the beginning of UNIVERSAL LETTER WRITING WEEK. Write a personal note to someone and drop it in the mail. You’ll make their day. Feeling ambitious? Try a letter a day for the entire week!

Monday, January 9th : Mmmmm …. Chamomile, green, pumpkin spice, Earl Gray, Chai, oolong, vanilla …: so many teas, so little time. January is HOT TEA MONTH. As we head into the coldest part of winter, these are the perfect evenings to sit and relax with a cup of hot tea. Have a ‘cuppa’ and celebrate the day.

Tuesday, January 10th: Who would have thought a little 48-page pamphlet would have such an impact on our country (USA) as we know it? On January 10, 1776, Thomas Paine anonymously published COMMON SENSE, a call for independence from British rule. Immediately popular, Paine’s pamphlet sold 150,000 copies in the first few months. The moving words inspired colonists and propelled us into the fight for freedom and into the birth of a new nation. And here we are, 236 years later.

Wednesday, January 11th: “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun,” says Mary Lou Cook. January is INTERNATIONAL CREATIVITY MONTH. This month take fifteen minutes a day to create. Write, draw, paint, or play with paint, glass or sculpture. Look at an obstacle or business challenge through a different view. The creative possibilities are limitless. Celebrate life, celebrate creativity.

Thursday, January 12th: “Roll out the barrel … we’ll have a barrel of fun …” (remnants of oom-pa-pa echoing in the background) It’s POLKA MUSIC MONTH. FromPrague, in 1835, this European dance craze swept throughVienna, toParis and beyond, eventually finding its way to theUS. Displaced as a popular dance by ragtime in the Twenties, the polka has become relegated to the occasional Oktoberfests. Let’s put on some polka music tonight and celebrate our musical roots. Now, if I just had an accordion!

A Reason to … Celebrate, Remember, Have Fun! (Dec 23-29, 2011)

Friday, December 23rd: Happy Pffffer … happy pfeeee … Happy German Christmas Cookie Day. It’s NATIONAL PFEFFERNUESSE DAY and you won’t catch me saying that twice! These small gingerbread treats, covered in powdered sugar, look like Russian Teacakes or Mexican Wedding Balls, but don’t be fooled. They have a bite of black pepper in them, not the vanilla or almond flavoring used in the others. Lore has it that Saint Nicholas placed these tiny, spicy treats in children’s boots left out on the night of December 5th. I’ll celebrate the day and consume my fair share of these bite-sized cookies, as long as I don’t have to pronounce them.

Saturday, December 24th: Millions of people worldwide are celebrating Christmas Eve tonight. Many will also be celebrating another lesser known holiday, even if inadvertently. Today is also NATIONAL EGGNOG DAY. Traditionally, eggnog is a blend of milk, sugar, raw eggs and spices, usually nutmeg. The cup is commonly topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon, chocolate curls or a dollop of whipped cream. For the older crowd, the cup may be a bit more ‘spirited’, containing whiskey, rum, brandy, bourbon or cognac. I even saw a Pumpkin Eggnog in the store last week. Whether you celebrate Eggnog Day or not, Merry Christmas Eve to all!

Sunday, December 25th: “It’s about time … it’s about space … it’s about time to …” Wait! That’s an old childhood song. That’s not a nice song to sing on Christmas Day. Today is also the beginning of IT’S ABOUT TIME WEEK. According to Chase’s Calendar, this “Innovative week encourages creativity and honors ideas and pilot programs for ‘A Better Way; A Better World’.” What a great idea. Let’s celebrate and borrow their idea. What is it about time for in YOUR life? Put on your thinking caps. This week, once a day, fill in the blank: It’s about time to _________.

Monday, December 26th: Danke, Gracias, Merci, do jeh, dank u wel, mahalo, arigato, wado, Pilamaya aloh, Ahéhee’ … however you say it, it means the same thing – Thank You! It’s THANK YOU NOTE CARD DAY. Maybe it’s not as exciting as Boxing Day or National Whiners Day, but it’s a celebratory day on its own merit. Thank you notes are losing their status in today’s world. We’re talking the good-ole-handwritten thank you card here; not an email or a Facebook post. Celebrate the day; write a thank you note or two. Write one for a gift received, or to tell someone how they’ve touched your life. No note cards? Fancy, formal note cards aren’t required. A simple piece of paper will do. Try one out; I think you’ll be surprised at how much the recipient enjoys it.

Tuesday, December 27th: Here’s a whole day celebrating a cake with a bad rap. It’s NATIONAL FRUITCAKE DAY. We’ve all heard the jokes at the expense of this maligned dessert. We joke that there’s only one fruitcake in the world, and it gets passed along from family member to friends and back. We tease that they make the ideal gift … because the Postal Service is unable to damage them. Or, what about everyone’s favorite fruitcake recipe? It’s nuts, dried fruit, eggs, brown sugar, salt and a couple of bottles of bourbon – for the chef. Fruitcake is a typical tradition, and you either like it or you don’t. I’ll admit, it’s not my favorite holiday dessert. But, I’ll still celebrate the day; it’s another way to celebrate life.

Wednesday, December 28th: Christmas is over and the hustle and bustle has died down. The mess is picked up (maybe). Schools out and the kids are already bored. It’s a perfect day to play. It’s CARD PLAYING DAY. Fish, War, Old Maid, Crazy Eights … there’s so many games to choose from. Poker, rummy, bridge: the list goes on. Plan an easy dinner tonight and sit around playing cards with the family. Invite a few friends over. Slow down, enjoy life, and celebrate the time spent with family and friends.

Thursday, December 29th: Tick, tock … tick tock … So goes the clock, counting down the hours till 2011 ends. December 29th is TICK TOCK DAY. Any goals you haven’t met yet? Errands or tasks not completed? Better get on it, times running out. Two days to go till 2012. What would you like to accomplish before the year ends? Is there anything you can check off your to-do list before the New Years bells start ringing?

March 2021
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