“Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years.” ― Abraham Lincoln
I ran across this quote when looking up quotes from Presidents yesterday. As I read through quotes by Presidents, I was quite amazed and fascinated. I almost got lost in reading them. This quote has been on my mind since I read it, and felt led to this challenge – PREPARE to PUT LIFE in the YEARS!
Live a good life… Everyone will define “good” differently. For some, it will be to have no children, a house, a car, and a job. At one point in my life a good life would have been 4-6 children, a large home, a couple cars, and being a stay at home mom. But, the Lord didn’t bless us with 4-6 children, we do not have a large home and I am not a full-time stay at home mom. I bring this up only because I believe my definition of “good” was not God’s definition of “good” for my life. He gave me exactly what I needed – 2 incredible children (when were told we would not have any), a roof over our heads, and jobs that allow me maximum time with/for my family… For me it is a “GOOD” life (but I am learning God wants more than a “GOOD” life – He wants us to have a GREAT life).
It is not the years in a life…. As a cancer nurse, I have watched many people die before our timeline for them would be over. But within their powers they put extra life within their remaining days, weeks, and months! My mother was only 54 when she passed away. But I do believe, other than the last frustrating years of her life when she lost her independence, she would say overall she had a pretty “GOOD” life – she experienced being a mom of 4 children, a roof over her head, a devoted husband, enjoyed grandchildren, and loved the Lord. I think of Ed and Robin – I smile when she tells of their memories – the glasses of wine, the dancing… definitely sounds like life in the years (just wish there would have been more years together)
BUT the life in the years… Now this is where I really started thinking! As I said before I have a GOOD LIFE – but I am not sure I am always putting life in the years! I know I often don’t even put the life in the months, the weeks, the days, or even the moment! I think often I go through life by routine, by merely existing. I get caught in the same routine – get up, take the kids to school, fix supper (rarely even new recipes despite a cookbook collection), work, go to bed too late, etc. That is sad and inexcusable! Every day I wake up I am given another opportunity to put life in the day… and many days I blow it!
PREPARE to PUT LIFE in the years – what would I like to be doing and what have I let get in the way of putting “life in the years”? And I don’t think it is about all BIG things, I think it can be putting life in EVERY day but changing little things…
1. Mornings – I am NOT a morning person BUT my husband is! After 19 years of marriage this has not changed (: But for the greater part of those years, I have missed out on getting up and kissing him goodbye! What is stopping me – laziness (and staying up too late)! Could I add more life to my years (and his) by sending him off in the morning and then giving me a little quiet time before getting the kids up… instead of rushing?
2. Supper – I love to bake and cook, but by my menu selections you would never know it. Often it is the ultimate recipes of “I don’t know”. “It’s up to you”, “I don’t care”. As a result every day it becomes “routine”. Another thing is our mealtime routine on how we don’t have one. Growing up we always ate together and my mom cooked everything up with love… Could I add a little life to our family with a different supper routine – I can guarantee you YES (and Mary would agree) – What is stopping me – laziness in changing “routine”
3. House – I would love to have a routine to my house, be able to invite people over without worrying what they will think about me, and have calmness when I walk in the door. I always hear Nate Berkus say your room should “rise up to greet you”. Our rooms rise up to BEAT you! I have pictures from several years back and some things haven’t changed much – despite my constant verbal resolve. What is stopping me – procrastination and pride and clutter!
A few things that could add life to my month
4. ROUTINE DATES with my husband – It will be 20 years in September since we were married and 25 since we started dating. I could probably count on two hands the “intentional” dates alone we have had since then (not counting the work Christmas Party). Last year we went to a concert with a group of people – but the BEST part was waking up early on Sunday morning and walking along the river atStation Squaredrinking coffee and holding hands! Definitely dates with my husband belong on the list… What is stopping me – having to ask someone watch the kids, work and Jim’s volunteering!
A few other things that are not daily, but should be at least yearly…
5. ROLLERCOASTERS – I use to LOVE roller coasters and Jim loves roller coasters!!! Our kids not so much ): Jim and I love Kennywood (especially potato patch), but we stopped going because the kids really do not. Also, by having to watch the kids, I couldn’t go on the coasters… BUT, the other limiting thing for me is my weight! Man, that hurts to admit it – but you can’t face something until you acknowledge it! I don’t want to be the person who gets to the coaster and can’t fit… What is stopping me – my weight – which is a changeable choice!
6. RUNNING – I admire the people at the beach who can jog along the water! I often think I would love to be able to do that – it just seems so liberating. I don’t necessarily want to become a runner full-time, but would love to say I could run a marathon or on the beach. Maybe a good place to start is even walking that far (: What is stopping me – my lack of exercise and discipline (and weight).
So what is stopping me – EXCUSES, EXCUSE, EXCUSES!! Would the above list add life to my years – definitely! And it would add life to my everyday – definitely! And would it add life to my family – definitely! I guess I better step it up – it’s time to PREPARE for LIFE in the YEARS (and months and days and moments)!!!
Psalm 39:4-6 (NLT): “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” 6 We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing…..