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Friday, April 11, 2014

Don't Miss Out on the Beauty of Your Life...

I love flowers, especially spring bulbs.  I find great joy in seeing the tiny green leaves pushing up through the ground.  It signals to me that I made it through the winter and spring will be here soon.  Jake died in January and for the last 10 years I have suffered with seasonal depression.  I love warm sunny weather!  I have found a lot of different things that have helped me learn to cope with the seasonal depression so it has gotten easier each year.  The sign of the spring tulips and daffodils in my front yard always bring a sigh of relief that it's over, and I will soon be outside again!

A few years ago I planted literally hundreds of bulbs in my front yard.  Several shades of pink tulips intertwined with yellow and white daffodils.  They were my favorite thing about my flowerbeds.  Well, about 18 months ago in the fall I started noticing dirt mounds in my flower bed.  I didn't know what they were coming from.  After a few weeks though I realized it must be some sort of animal doing it...and not my 3 year old.  The mounds started following the path of my bulbs.  Within days there were mounds of dirt lining the entire length of my flower bed right where all my bulbs were planted.

The next spring I waited anxiously to see if any of my precious bulbs started to break the ground.  I was thrilled to see the green starting to come through in early March.  I was however sad to find a month later that it was only the daffodils that survived the thief in my flowerbed.  An entire row of hundreds of bulbs mixed and the rodent had eaten every one of my tulips but not one of the daffodils.

I had put so much work into those flowers.  I spent hours on my knees planting them and placing them perfectly so that they would have the perfect mix of color.  I was happy to have the daffodils, but also defeated at the thought of trying to plant more tulips to replace the last ones...especially if the underground thief came back!

This year when my daffodils were in full bloom I had a life lesson to learn.  We were pulling up to the house and my son said to me, "Look Mom, all your flowers have bloomed, they look so pretty."  I am ashamed to admit to my response, "I can't even appreciate them; all I see is the absence of the beautiful pink tulips that should be in full bloom too."  It wasn't a day later, or even an hour later that I learned this life was literally the moment those words left my mouth.

When I looked at hundreds of white and yellow daffodils (one of my very favorite flowers) I didn't see the beauty in them.  They were perfect and beautiful just the way they were.  All I saw was what was lacking.  I had a "plan" for my flowerbed.  I planted them, took care of them, and then watched helplessly as something stole them from me.  I wanted them back.  When I looked at my flowers I wanted to see what I had envisioned, what I had worked for, and what I had planted.  I was focusing on what I thought I should have instead of seeing what I did have.  The flowers in my front yard looked fantastic.  When I removed the thought of what should be there and stood back to look at what was there, it was perfectly beautiful.

How often in life do we overlook the beauty of what we have been given, because we are only focusing on the beauty that was taken from us?

When life throws us a curve ball, (death, divorce, loss of a child, trials, tragedy, or even everyday changes that we didn't plan on) it can change the way our life looks.  It can change the people in our life, change our family, change our hearts, and change our plans.  We can find ourselves with a completely different life path.  I've said before, one of my favorite quotes is- "We can't choose our trials in life but we can choose how we deal with them, we can become better or bitter."  We have a choice on how it changes us.  If we allow ourselves to change with it, we can be humbled by it, become better because of it, and grow in faith through it then we will find ourselves in a beautiful life.  It may not be the life plan you had thought about, taken care of, or planted.  But that doesn't take away from the beauty of it.  If we allow ourselves to only look at what we should have had, what was taken from us, and become bitter because of it, we could miss out on the beauty that is right in front of us.  

I had planned for a perfect little life, raising my family with Jake on a cattle ranch in a small town.  For over seven blissful years I enjoyed that life.  The last 10 years has been full of ups and downs, devastating realities and awe inspiring miracles.  My life is far more beautiful than I had ever planned or hoped for, even with the knowledge of what was taken from me.  The lessons I've learned and that my children have learned are priceless.  We are becoming the people we need to be.  We have more love and compassion for people.  My relationship with my Savior and Heavenly Father is far stronger because of the need to rely on them for survival.  My happiness now far exceeds anything that I could comprehend when my life was devastated and changed forever 10 years ago.  I am so thankful for all I have and the pure beauty I see in my life.

This week try looking for the beauty in your life.  Appreciate what you have been given instead of focusing on what was taken from you, or the things you want that have not yet come.  Allow yourself to find happiness during times of trial by seeing the beautiful life you have been given.

*A note to those grieving.  I am in no way saying that things are easy.  I believe that grief is real, hard, heavy, and excruciating.  It is something that comes in waves, you will be doing great and then it will come out of nowhere and knock you down again.  Allowing me to work through my grief, riding the good waves and enduring the times it crashed down upon me is how I have found peace and happiness.  I get better and stronger with each wave that comes.  I will grieve for Jake my entire life, but I will also have happiness, love and hope throughout my life.  Seeing the beauty in your life now doesn't diminish the beauty of your life before the loss.  I would never say I have "moved on" from my loss...I say that I am moving through my loss.

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  1. Beautiful post and a great life lesson. I'm with you, I would have been so disappointed/discouraged to have the squirrels/chipmunks eat all of my tulip bulbs. All that hard work (and money!) but at least you still had the daffodils bloom so it wasn't a total loss.

    I've enjoyed reading your blog since I read your "My name is Julie" post several months ago. I know how much I always enjoy getting comments from my readers about how my posts have impacted them and what they think about what I've said, so I thought I would do the same. You have quite an interesting story and I love your way of writing about your life. I was in a car accident in 2003 when I was 19 that's left me paralyzed from the neck down, and I always say that your reaction to the things that come your way have the ability to make you bitter or better. Unfortunately too many people focus on the negative and choose the latter.

    I love your family picture, by the way, especially your little girls' dress! :)

    1. Thank you so much! Your life is beautiful! I haven't ever read your blog...and I loved it! You are right it feels so great to get messages left on the blog, so thank you:) Good luck with everything you are doing, and I look forward to following your blog. Your strength and attitude is amazing!