Have you ever seen the movie "Message in a Bottle" or "A Walk to Remember" or "The Notebook"? The author of these books is Nicholas Sparks and he is one of my favorite authors. Matt will give me a look of "why are you torturing yourself" whenever I read one of his books because they usually have a sad ending, but I like the stories and I think Sparks is a good writer. I just read "Three Weeks with My Brother" A Memoir by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks and it explains a lot about the other books I have read. He draws upon his own experiences in his own life as inspiration for his books, and his life has not been an easy one. I really enjoyed this Memoir. The last chapter is where I really started to think about my own life. Am I enjoying what truly matters most to me...my family? I have been so blessed to have everyone close to me still living, my parents, my sister and her family, my husband, and my children, plus all of Matt's family who I love just as much as my own family. Here are some things I read last night that I am still pondering today:
"After our sister's death, Micah changed. It was as if he'd suddenly become intimately aware of the fragility of life and how precious time really was. As a result, he made a conscious effort to simplify his life, with the goal of eliminating unnecessary stress. No longer interested in society's definition of success, he began purging his life of material things. Life, he decided, was for living, not for having, and he wanted to experience every moment that he could. At the deepest level, he'd come to understand that life could end at any moment, and was better to be happy than busy."
However, Nicholas Sparks went in the opposite direction. He wanted to get things in order for his family in case anything happened to him. He kept a very busy schedule working and taking care of his family:
"I was taking care of all that I needed to. The schedule, though, had begun to control me. Little by little, I forgot how to relax. Even worse, I began to feel as if I didn't deserve to relax. Not until I finished ___________(fill in the blank).
But nothing was ever finished. There was always one more page to write, one more novel to finish, one more city to add to a tour, one more interview to give. My children continued to need my attention, no matter how much time I spent with them the day before. There was always another chore around the house...Where once I was doing all those things because I wanted to, it gradually came to feel as if I had to, as if I had no other choice."
It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day living, that we forget to enjoy what we are doing, to enjoy the family and friends that are around us.
We think we can only be happy after __________(fill in the blank) gets done. Lately I have been focused, focused, focused on us getting out of debt. And I have found myself asking the question, why is it so important for me to be out of debt. Yes, getting out of debt will eliminate some stress and get our family into a nicer home, and we'll be able to go do fun things, but it's not going to change who I am and the family I have. I need to CHOOSE to be happy now living in a condemned trailer, living paycheck to paycheck, surrounded by the people I love. Because the people I love DO matter most.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Janet!