Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Children Do Not Define You – You Do

I recently saw a facebook post from someone I know that said, “before I was a mom, life had no meaning”. My first thought was “I feel sad for this person!”

Having children is amazing, but children do not define you as a person. It’s important to maintain a sense of self. Your life.

There is so much meaning in life, and sometimes finding meaning or happiness can be difficult, but if you say children are the only thing that gives you meaning, what happens when they grow up, create their own life and leave the nest?

Does that mean your life will have no meaning again? Does that mean people who choose not to have children have no meaning?

Now, I know this was a personal remark for the person that posted it. I’m not judging and I haven’t walked in her shoes.  Life can be really hard and maybe having children is where she found the most joy and stability. But I couldn’t help and feel sad because life has so much meaning, more than you know at times. You may not see it, or feel it, but the people you spend time with do. Think about it, when you go to a funeral everyone is sad, they talk about the impact this person had on their life, the memories, the good times, the meaning they brought to each individual.

I’ve always believed that people come into your life for a reason, whether it be for a short while or years of friendship, positive or negative, you learn from them, you grow, you change, you come into your own. We are always evolving. When you’re a teenager, you do the some of same things as your friends, you want everyone to like you, but then as you get a little older and know what you want and who you are, you stop giving a shit about what others think or what’s considered “in”. Your experiences cultivate your growth.

This comment really intrigued me, it made me think about my own life.

As a mother of two children, whom I love dearly and put most of my energy towards at this point in my life, I don’t believe they are what defines me as a total person. Yes they gave me new meaning, and yes life revolves around them now because they are young, but that will change. They are a part of me and bring me joy, laughter, pride, stress and a vision of being a kid again. But my life has other meaning too – being a wife, a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a listener, a teacher, an inspiration.

I make sure that I have time for me, to do what I love. My husband and I make sure we have time for us. I’d love to do mission work later in life when my kids are grown. Since I am not able to now, I’m a blood donor – that “means” something to me. Doing something good for mankind and for someone else that means life or death.  I enjoy thinking of the memories we built before our children and I believe that is what helps us teach them, and share with them some pretty amazing things. What you put into life, is what you get out.

Before kids, I went to college, traveled, hung out with friends, shopped – I did whatever I wanted when I wanted. After I had kids, I still do all those things I enjoy (but now shopping is food shopping) and maybe a little differently. I chose my path and that is what makes me – ME. I continue to grow and learn each day. The old things I did then are less important and new things are more important, and this cycle will continue through my whole life.

Life goes through a series of phases pretty much with each decade, according to the people I talk to (20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc…) If you have kids they will be a big part of your life, but they will become independent individuals and begin their own journey. I recently heard someone give this advice “enjoy your spouse, make them happy, because that’s who you’re with when the kids are gone”.

If you don’t have a significant other, than it’s you. Love yourself, do what makes you happy. Children are a part of you, but they don’t define you, if anything, you have helped to define the beginning of their life.

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The Road

The Road
by Jen Burns

There once was this road
I don’t know where it was leading me to
But I kept going straight
Because I felt it was right.

Every day on the road I’d see beauty – trees, animals, flowers
Then one day, I got tired of the same straight road
I was comfortable with that road
But something was missing.

So I turned
I was afraid
I was courageous
I was free.

I found obstacles
I found determination
I found fulfillment
I found me.

(dedicated to my friend who is taking the turn)

How Will You Live Your Dash?

People will remember you by what you did, not by what you had.

How many times times have you gone to a funeral and during the eulogy, people talk about the amount of money that the deceased made, or the big boat docked at their million dollar shore home, or even the fancy car they drove every day?

None.

When you go to funerals, people talk about who you were, and the qualities you possessed that made them feel close to you. They talk about what you did to help them and to help others. They talk about how good you made people feel and how your energy could light up a room.

I went to a few funerals last year and two of them really stood out to me. The sermons were almost identical. The meaning behind the words were so powerful, at least for me.

Each of these sermons, the ministers talked about “the dash”. When I say the dash, I mean the gravestone dash. Every gravestone has the date you were born “-” and the date you die.

That dash represents Your Life.

When you pass, the people closest to you and those whose lives you touched, are the ones who know what that dash represents. What that little line is worth. And they will remember you by: your qualities, your adventures, and most importantly your actions.

The minister said, “when was the last time you saw a hearse with a U-haul attached to it?” It was meant to make everyone giggle, but a powerful message lies behind it.

I get so wrapped up in the day-to-day and long-term goals, that I don’t stop and enjoy what is right in front of me. I need to remind myself to be happy with who I am and what I have already achieved.

All of the material things you collect along the way, work hard to attain — is just stuff. And when you pass on, all that stuff gets left behind, and it doesn’t matter anymore. Unfortunately, in some cases, all that stuff creates turmoil in families. It breeds deceit, greed, envy and tears people apart.

But having all this stuff, is the pressure of our culture. There’s a burning desire to consume more, and compete to have nice things, a good job, a nice house, more stuff, giving us a false sense of status, whether it be to “fit in” or “be superior”. This stuff gives us a sense of security – but for what?

We lose focus on what it all means in the end.

To live a full life.

To be kind.

To help others.

To make a difference.

Money can buy you a lot of things, but it can’t buy you a new reputation when you’re gone.

Actions speak louder than words.

Those who knew you and loved you, keep your legacy alive.

They talk about “your dash” and the reflection it made on “their dash”.

Here is the poem, The Dash, if you are interested in reading it.
The message is beautiful as well as powerful.

Magic vs Miracle

I was hanging with friends last night, and I was telling a recent story about my son, who’s 8, and his sudden interest and inquiry into the “real” Santa Claus.

About two weeks ago, my son came up to me and said, “mom if we have a chimney but no fireplace, how does Santa get in?” I said to him, matter-of-factly, “oh, he comes through the front door.” He looks at me puzzled and says, “but how, the door’s locked, he can’t just come in?” I smiled at him, and said “his magic, that’s how he gets in everywhere.”

He stares at my husband and I with his innocent, big brown eyes and says “wait, you guys believe that too?”

Without hesitation I say, “Of course!”

After he walks away, my husband and I look at each other like, did that really just happen? Wow, that was a close one…wait did he just say we’re too old to believe in magic?

Then I whine “no, don’t I get at least two more years?”

Since this incident, I’ve got to thinking…when do we stop believing in magic? Or do we stop? Maybe we just call it something else – a miracle perhaps?

As adults, we understand that a magician’s trick is really an illusion. Magic is not real. But children relate magic to “an unexplained occurrence where the outcome is good.”

Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, The Great Pumpkin (had to throw that in there)

As we get older, we stop believing in magic. However, nearly 80 percent of all Americans, say they believe in miracles. (This statistic was taken from both a CBS news poll and a study “Religion Among the Millennials.”) What each individual’s true definition of a miracle is – I can’t say – but that’s a significant number.

So back to the analogy, magic vs miracles, do we really stop believing?

I can say for myself, I don’t believe in magic and I haven’t since third grade. But I do believe in miracles.

A divine intervention? A supernatural force? A break in the law of nature? Or is it just having hope? I don’t know, and I can’t explain it –  small miracles happen everyday – it’s just magic!