…because life is a celebration.

it was kind of dichotomous, you know? celebrating life and mourning death. the excitement of being together with family and friends contrasted with sadness for the circumstances that brought us there.  a little girl and an elderly man.  i paid attention to their hands.  the way hers were tiny, small, soft, and always grabbing.  and i watched his–weathered and cracked from years of hard work. they were clasped together, holding one another. i went to wyoming last weekend when my grandmother passed away; and although we were gathered outside facing white mountain because of her death, i recognized that we were all actually all there because of her life.

 

among other things, this weekend came down to lessons from a conversation with a little girl and an elderly man.

 

two pig tails and a tiny little voice. those piercing blue eyes and endless enthusiasm. it was a weekend of pretend soup made out of wooden blocks, barbies, and completing puzzles. i watched my niece run on her little bare-feet over to my dad.  all giggles. she wrapped her hands around his leg, her head barely reaching above his knee. a blue and white striped dress with a mustard-yellow bow. and in her tiny voice she said,  “i’m so very glad you are here grandpa,” and then she scurried off to play. i hadn’t seen her in way too long– so of course i expected my niece to be adorable, smart, and funny. and while i know she is being raised to become a wonderful little being, i didn’t expect her uncanny sweetness and sincerity. her ability to string just enough of the right words together that made your eyes water up.

 

IMG_0297we spent one evening playing in the yard, bare-feet and a bag of purple grapes. it’s no exaggeration when i say we held hands and walked across a wide piece of wood over twenty times.  back and forth. the first time we made it across she looked up at me, smiled her biggest smile that revealed her baby teeth growing in, “we did it! we really did it!!” she said.  and when we walked back to the other side she squeeled with excitement, high-fived me, and said, “we did our very best!” more excited and proud every.single.time.

and in the midst of playing with magnets on the fridge, learning colors and reciting the alphabet, she looked up at me and said, “you are my very best friend. i love you much.”

 

lessons from two year olds turn out to be some of the very best ones.  what she taught me is to say it now.  and to say it the way that you mean it, with every ounce of love. she showed me how to be appreciative of someone else’s time.  to express a grateful heart before the moment escapes me. she reminded me to ask questions every chance i get. and then to ask more. to stay curious. i taught her about different colors, and she taught me to look in amazement at everything there is to learn. and like most two year olds do, she reminded me that it’s okay to say ‘no’ sometimes. she showed me how to celebrate small successes with pride and a sense of accomplishment. and she encouraged me to remain excited, to see everything as brand new. and she taught me to stop and recognize a moment for how wonderful it is. 

 

and then it was my grandpa, sitting in his wheelchair, cracking jokes every chance he got. a reminder that sad days can be beautiful and wonderful too. at the funeral, i watched my grandfather’s reaction. he smiled a lot. and on this day, i imagine he was as strong as he has always been. i believe challenging times and difficult situations always reveal your true character. he showed me that sometimes, you just need to sit and take it all in. i asked him how he was doing.

“i can’t complain,” he said.

“well, i guess i could, but it wouldn’t make a difference.  it’s a beautiful day.”

 

 

the funny thing about death is that makes you think about how you are living. and if you’re making the most out of this life.  this one chance.  it makes you think about the legacy people have created with all that they leave behind.  it makes you think about how you’ve spent your time and if you’ve used your energy in all the right ways. and i keep thinking about how we all gathered around, sharing our favorite memories of my grandmother and wondering about how many times i’ve passed up an opportunity to tell someone how much they mean to me while they were there, right there. i stopped to wonder how many phone calls i didn’t make, the questions i didn’t ask and the stories i never heard.  how many cards i didn’t write. and how many chances i’ve passed that i’ll one day hope to get back.  but the thing about lessons is that you can’t go back.  only forward.  

 

 

here’s to no longer putting things off for tomorrow.

because all we really have is today.

 

 

 

 

do it now. say it now. be it now.

 

 

 

what will your life say about you, and what will it say to the world?

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27 thoughts on “…because life is a celebration.

  1. Jessica, your posts are always a refreshing breath of fresh air. I really enjoy your writing and the passion that drives it. Keep it up :) If its worth anything, you always make a positive impact on me when you post!

    1. i cannot tell you how much your comment means to me! :) it brightens my day every time someone takes the time to read and comment on my blog. thank you for being such an inspiration for me to continue to write :) and thank you for brightening my day :) i hope to hear from you again soon!!

      1. You most definitely will. Additionally, if you need any help with any social media or analytics, feel free to let me know! I would be more than happy to be of any assistance :)

  2. I’ve spent a lot of time not sharing my true feelings with people. I’ve been working on that recently. This is just a reminder that drove it home. Thank you for your beautiful writing and thoughts.

  3. That’s amazing! You have a wonderful mind that can see a positive and enlightening perspective on a situation that others may see completely opposite and sometimes selfish. Along my road I’ve went from having a positive mind to having a selfish and negative mind but this is only the second post I’ve read of yours and I think it’ll help me get back to the old me. You really remind me of how I used to think but I probably should have wrote it down lol to remind myself of how thankful u should be for what I have. Thank you! You have helped me more than up know and I hope you continue with your great attitude. I’m sure this blog will take you to great heights. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Amazing post! I admire the wonder and passion that young children have- how they could get so happy or upset over the smallest things. Sometimes, I think its because they don’t know better, but now I’m not so sure if thats so wrong. To live in the moment and truly experience it.

    Your post, at least for today, will remind me to do just that!

  5. Ahh!! So emotional after reading this, but it is very refreshing at the same time. Very inspiring. I really enjoyed reading this this morning. Thank you for the great post!

  6. I remember when my family had a similar reunion last fall, after my grandma’s death, and you’re so, so right… it was the most beautiful example of contrasts, finding so much joy in being together in light of the circumstances <3

    Glitter bless you hard for bringing such beautiful words and perspective into the world!

  7. Dang Jessica, this is good stuff. It reminds of a night I had sitting at home around 3am hammered and watching Bob Ross. He was talking about a tree he was painting, how it was in the background of his painting. He talked about why it was there all alone and a little out of focus. He described how the other trees outcasted this tree and that one day maybe this tree will make a be lucky enough to have another grow beside it and they could grow together and become pals. It made me wonder what it would look like if Bob painted my life and how he would describe it. Im glad I met you all in OK, you all had an impact on my life in just the short amount of time I was there. Keep it up.

  8. Hello – I just want to say this is the second blog I have read from you and I love them. My friend a few weeks ago sent me a blog written by you about the mid 20’s crisis. It almost brought me to tears because I could relate to every single sentence. It felt so good to know that someone else feels the way I do at this age of 26. :) Honestly it was right on target and completely relatable. I am moving at the beginning of the year to Houston to live with family and look for a new opportunity. I have never taken this big of a risk in my life, I have always had my next “job” lined up and it’s time to scare myself and grow in many ways without having an exact plan sketched out. I will look forward to your next blog. I agree that it’s your life and ignore all of the expectations as to “where you should be and what you should be doing at a certain age”. All the best, Chelsie

  9. I don’t know how I found my way to your blog but I’m glad I did. The way you write and the topics you write about have a cool way of tearing me AWAY FROM the daily minutia and BACK TO thinking about life on a macro level. Sorry about your grandmother. I’m sure she was proud to have a talented granddaughter. Great work.

    1. i am so glad that you stumbled across my blog too! i just wanted to let you know how much your comment means to me. thank you for taking the time to read my blog and to leave such kind words. i hope you will continue to read my posts and that they will keep helping you think about life on a macro level :)… you really made my day, and i just wanted you to know. thanks for that!

  10. beautiful story:) I’ve just started reading this blog and it’s always a great start to my day. I really related to this story, but your words made me really put everything in perspective. Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Lizzie! Thank you for reading my blog post! I am so glad that you can relate to this post and that it offered another perspective. I hope everything is going well in your world :). I hope you keep reading the blog posts and finding them useful… I would love to hear from you again! :)

  11. Jessica,
    I hope that one day I can have an outlook on life that is similar to yours. You see life the way that every person should see it. I have a ways to go, but every time you post something on your blog, your words give me encouragement to keep moving forward and they help me so much. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to write about your experiences, you inspire me and a lot of other people.

    1. You are so kind and thoughtful, thank you for taking the time to write such encouraging words! I am so grateful and honored that you find my blog posts to be encouraging and that it has helped you to keep moving forward. Words really can’t express how much that means to me. I am sooo excited about your motivation and journey to become a better person! I hope you continue to read my posts and keep in touch, I would love to hear how you are doing! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to brighten mine. :)

  12. Thank you for sharing your thoughts will all of us. I truly enjoy reading your posts and thinking about how it affects me and my actions. Your writing always holds so much enthusiasm, passion and power. I share most of the same thoughts and attitudes towards life and the way we should live it. It’s refreshing to find someone who appreciates the chance we have to live our life and utilizes said chances to explore everything around us. And to let it inspire us. Continue to write; it’s beautiful and truly inspirational.

  13. This is amazing and so refreshing. Toddlers unlock incredible lessons and lots of laughs at the most difficult times. Thank you.

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