A Little Something to Reflect On

Before you speak, listen.

Before you write, think.

Before you spend, earn.

Before you invest, investigate.

Before you criticize, wait.

Before you pray, forgive.

Before you quit, try.

Before you retire, save.

Before you die, give.

       ~William Arthur Ward

I saw some version of this quote in a high school class room tonight. In a world where so much is available instantly, there are a lot of radical ideas in this quote. How many of these things do we just go through the motions of and do not even consider?

Before you speak, listen. This first line of the quote is so very profound. How often are we so busy telling everyone all the wonderful stuff that we know or have seen, that we never take the time to listen to what they have to share with us. Speaking without listening hinders learning. The people around us are full of interesting tidbits to share but if we are so busy talking and not listening, how can we learn from them?

Before you write, think. In a world where what we write, can be seen by others instantly, this is even more important. This goes for notes, emails, posts, and texts. So often, in the heat of a moment, we can hit the button and send words out into the world that we never really wanted there.

Before you spend, earn. Today credit cards are a way of life. They are a trap that I have fallen into over and over again. Living within your means is an important step to overall wellness. If you don’t have the cash, don’t do it. Taking a good hard look at “our” finances has taught us a lot about how to have a better overall financial health.

Before you criticize, wait. Judging someone is easy but not always accurate. Waiting will give the ‘other’ time to reveal themselves to you. You may learn the rest of the story which may change your viewpoint. That thing, that seemed worthy of you criticism, may turn out to have been a heroic and selfless act. It’s amazing what a little bit of time and distance from an event can teach us.

Before you quit, try. I can’t even count how many times people have said they are not going to try something because it won’t work out them anyway. They are assuming an outcome and quitting before they even get started.

Before you die, give. What does this one mean to you? What is the legacy you leave the world? How can you give? It may not be money or things that you are giving. It may be sharing information. Giving the gift of your time. So many wonderful organizations really need volunteers. Did you know hospices are required to have a certain percentage of volunteer hours? Children’s sports teams, pet rescues, shelters, community initiatives, and so many other groups would not be able to do the good work they do with out the gift of loving people’s time.

I felt like the words in this quote have so much to say to us as autumn turns to winter. Winter is a perfect time to reflect, learn, and grow. How can you better embrace these principles in your life? How can reflecting on these lines help you be the best version of yourself?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your mark on the world send ripples of hope to every corner, as if by magic.

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My Grandmother’s Hands

I love this picture of my grandmother’s hands holding her new great great granddaughter. This was the last great great grandchild she would get to meet, for she passed later that same year. I love how this picture shows the legacy that her hands started so long ago. 

My grandmother’s hands scrubbed floors and took care of her siblings as a young girl. She grew up on a farm in rural North Dakota. She was the oldest child in a large Catholic family. As an adult, she worked hard to care for her own family and keep her house clean. She taught me to work hard.

My grandmother’s hands baked bread and cooked big meals. As a farmer’s wife, she fed the farm hands and neighbors who came to help with the harvest. She would take meals to the sick or sorrowful neighbors. She hosted large happy holiday events. She taught me to take care of others.

My grandmother’s hands raise two children. She would have liked to have more, but it wasn’t meant to be. She mourned the loss of two still-born children.  She was crazy proud of her son and daughter and the successful careers they would have. She taught me to be proud of your family.

My grandmother’s hands instructed 5 grandchildren. I was the oldest of those 5 grandchildren. She fostered in me, a love and respect of nature. She showed me how to experiment and express myself through cooking. She modeled for us the best way to accomplish many tasks. She taught me how to learn from others’ examples.

My grandmother’s hands held on to my grandfather’s while they danced. They loved to dance and did it often. They belonged to a round dancing club and had many friends and much fun doing it. She taught me how to embrace life and do what you love.

My grandmother’s hands painted. It was something she started as a hobby. Her beautiful landscapes and floral paintings decorated her home. She taught me the value of art and being artistic.

My grandmother’s hands held a passport. Her and my grandfather loved to travel and they did not wait until they were old. They went and explored the world. She gave me my adventurous spirit and she taught me that wanderlust is a wonderful thing.

My grandmother’s hands played. She loved to play cards, other games, and was not one to be left out of the odd squirt gun battle or ballgame. Throughout her 80s she played and kept up, never saying she was too old. She taught me to always embrace your inner child. 

My grandmother’s hands prayed the rosary. She was Catholic and her faith was important to her. I saw how God held her following my grandfathers death. She was open to learning about others spirituality, but for her faith, she made no apologies. She taught me that even though my beliefs were different from hers, it was safe to be who I am and have my own faith.

My grandmother’s hands tried new things. She rode jets skis and tubes behind the speed boat well into her 80s. She was the queen of the kayak. She even let me give her Reiki (healing touch) with my hands. My grandmother taught me that it is important to always try new things.

My grandmother’s hands read. She was hungry for knowledge and loved politics. She felt bad that she didn’t go to college but she still learned through reading, traveling, talking to people, and being open to it all. She taught me to never stop learning. 

My grandmother’s hands hugged 11 great grandchildren and 4 great great grandchildren. She never met a baby she didn’t love. Some of her great grandchildren lived further away then the others and she did not get as much time with them as she would have liked, but she loved each and everyone of them for their individuality. She taught me how to love.

My grandmother’s hands cheered people on and congratulated them. She was always happy for other’s accomplishments. She celebrated right along with them. My grandmother made a room brighter by just being in it. My grandmother taught me that a positive attitude will raise the spirits of others.

My grandmother’s hands held a telephone. She loved to chat on the phone. She was always ready to listen to what was going on in my life or something new I was learning. She talked to many people, every day. She truly loved people and sharing their lives with them. She taught me how to listen.

My grandmother’s hands held me when I was broken. When bad or sad things happened in life, I could always count on my grandmother to comfort me and help me see the silver lining. She taught me how to keep going.

I miss her everyday. I still often go to pick up the phone to call her. Her legacy will go on and on. The people who knew her will never forget her and those who carry her blood in their veins, will carry her bright light into the future. I love you grandmother and I was blessed to have your influence in my life. Thank you for all you taught me.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you be an inspiration for others, as if by magic.

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