Value Every Moment

Getting everything ready for Christmas, I pulled down the box of ornaments ready to hang many of the same ones for the 24th or so time – the tiny painted handprints, the bead wreaths with a kindergarten picture tucked in the middle, the snowflakes cut by safety scissors with preschool hands.

Each and every one of these precious memories bring a tear to my eye. Partly a sad tear but also a proud tear. Sad because there aren’t any new handmade ornaments getting hung in the tree, those days have passed, but proud that almost 25 years later, my boys still love the traditions. They still make the time to help us trim the tree, now taking over the duty of stringing the lights. They look forward to seeing a candle in every window as they pull up to the house, and this year, we were fortunate enough to bring back an old tradition of heading north to choose and cut our own tree.

My heart is full – my empty nest was crowded for a fun-filled 24 hour journey to find the perfect tree. Lots of laughs, lots of connecting, and new adult memories that I will cherish just as much as those handmade ornaments.

Take the road less traveled

Everybody has their errands to run, the places they need to get to, and the people they need to see but, sometimes you need to make the trip about the journey not the destination. Don’t have a plan!

Googlemaps or Waze help everyone to “get there quick”.  Have you tried using the setting that allows you to avoid highways or avoid tolls? Have you ever taken a wrong turn on your way to some where you always go just to see what’s down that road you’ve never explored? Do it! Do it, but be sure to stop along the way; you’ll be amazed at what you find.

Directions to the Lowe’s far outside of our area were plugged in. The item we were looking for was completely sold out everywhere near us so we were off to get what we needed AND to explore. We joked about what was the worst that would happen? We’d find nothing new, nothing exciting, and make it to Lowe’s 20 minutes later – no harm, no foul.

About 15 minutes from our destination, I spotted a brightly colored balloon arch set up on the edge of the beach. There were small crowds of people gathering so, we pulled in, trying to figure out what was going on.

We had stumbled on to something called the Turkey Plunge.  Every year for the last 13 years, the local Salvation Army has coordinated this event, raising more than $150,000 in that time.  It was about 34 degrees outside but there were smiles all around.  People of all ages – in bathing suits, in costumes, in running clothes; people were outwardly happy – chatting, laughing and dancing to the music playing in the background.  That small town feel was everywhere; the sense of community was so present.  I felt like I was a part of their world even though my home was miles and miles away.   

I am a firm believer in the fact that you are brought to places for a reason.  That the events of your life are set up for you from the moment you are born.  For years, I have thought about ways I could give back to my community; what could I do that makes a difference?  I have found it.  My challenge is now on to coordinate an event like this on the shores of one of our local ponds; to raise money for my community; and to bring that small town feel feel back to the place I love.

Take the road less traveled – the journey is eye-opening.

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