As we are coming up on a year since my sister's death, I realized that I've learned a lot of life lessons that are, perhaps, beyond my years. I love that I've learned them, I'm not thrilled that I've had to travel this road, necessarily, but the picture of my life has painted itself beautifully in front of me. The valleys have been deep. The peaks have been astonishing. The day to day is enchanting, despite the routine of life... I'm seeking to live intentionally and fully. So... without further ado... some of my life lessons... so far.
* Never accept a brownie when the person offering is grinning ear to ear. Just trust me on this one.
* If we live in fear of the storm, we will miss out on the aftermath. Even the aftermath can be horrendous,
but if we have faith and patience and wait to see the outcome, it will be better than we could have imagined.
So, link arms with your loved ones and forge through the storm. It is worth it.
* That obstacle that seems insurmountable might just be the starting block for something big.
* Asking for and receiving help doesn't hurt. People who offer to help truly want to. (When the twins were
babies, I had to put aside the notion that I could do it all. Learning to accept help graciously was a huge
life lesson for me. I've never not been the mom of kids with special medical needs. Sometimes, things come up. God has blessed me many times along our journey, bringing people into my life who understand some of the challenges we face, as well as people who know that sometimes, sending people who can ignore some of the crazy sh*t my kids do, is exactly what I need to feel that I have a sense of belonging within a community. I'm grateful beyond words for these relationships, as well as for the help.)
* Relationships Matter More. (more than things, more than stuff, more than emotions, more than logic. Relationships matter more.)
* Some people need to cause drama. My reaction to the drama (you know... THAT reaction...) can perpetuate the drama, a most unintended consequence, to be certain. I've learned that breathing through it
helps a lot. My over-reaction can cause as much drama as the original drama. Also, my calling out drama can be the start of an overly dramatic situation that can be entirely avoided. Walking away from an emotionally-charged drama-rama situation is the best thing one can do for themselves.
* It is OK to be afraid of some things. A healthy fear of damaging things or circumstances never hurt anyone... and has, in fact, protected people. I'm not talking about an un-Biblical all-consuming fear that keeps you awake at night... I'm talking about those little things that you just don't like... Admitting my fears, saying them out loud, has always been embarrassing to me. Because, frankly, I'm not afraid of the big stuff. I try not to be a worry-er, so the big stuff will all work out in the end. The little stuff, though... a little embarrassing. BUT - NO MORE! My name is Jennifer Therese Hansen Zahm and I am afraid of splinters, snakes, the ball, hockey pucks and flash floods. And - I. OWN. IT. (a few things for you to peruse - in case you don't share these fears - Livestrong article about getting hit by baseball This is what can happen at a basketball game Just putting it out there - It can happen! And... OH MY GOODNESS... I am going to spare you from the pictures I just found of splinters... but I have a whole new, healthy fear of them... my fear of splinters has been confirmed as a real fear - Deep Breath....and...exhale)
* It doesn't matter what other people think. You've got to do what is best for you, your family and your situation. It doesn't matter if it doesn't look like what everyone else is doing. Doing your own thing can be scary enough without naysayers... Move ahead, do what you know to be right for you.
* Encourage your kids to explore and think for themselves. Alone and with peers. (ERMAH GERD - HOMESCHOOLERS HAVE FRIENDS?!?!)
* Don't spend so much time worrying. It doesn't do any good. If that worst case scenario in your head actually comes to pass, you've had to live it twice. Trust me, once is enough.
* Smile. It probably isn't that serious. And if it is, then smiling will help you feel better anyhow.
* Get enough sleep.
* Say 'no' to your kids... it won't hurt them and it will teach them good life lessons.
* Follow your dreams. Don't let others tell you your dreams are "good" or "bad".
* Let your kids pick out their own clothes.
* Let your kids pick out your clothes.
* Play in the dirt. Let your kids play in the dirt. Getting dirty never hurt anyone.
* Don't take people for granted.
* Love, above all else.
* You don't have to agree with everyone. Not everyone has to agree with you.
* Allow a certain amount of stupidity in others. They might think you're stupid, too... and you'd like them to extend the same courtesy.
* Be kind at kids' sporting events. They're kids. Let them have fun.
* Let your kids be who they are. Even if it is weird and kind of smelly sometimes.
* Tell those you love that you love them, even if they're getting under your skin, aggravating you and annoying you. "I love you." were my last words to my sister the night before she died and I'm so thankful that I said it. Never regret saying it.
* Laugh at yourself.