Were you lucky enough to see the pure joy reflected on the faces of the US Women’s hockey team when they won gold at the Olympics? Or Shaun White’s reaction when he won gold on the Halfpipe? If you didn’t, go find the video. You don’t want to miss it. I guarantee it will make you smile.
The Olympic Games bring tremendous highs and tremendous lows. Are those emotional extremes part of the appeal for the millions of people tuning in to watch? Where else can you find almost 3,000 incredibly dedicated individuals all in one place, pursuing what is likely one of their biggest life goals? Many have given up literally years of their lives for the potential to win a medal and have a few minutes of fame. Of course some will enjoy the spotlight for much longer, but there are 102 events in 15 different sports, some of which I’ve never even heard of until this year. If they win, the eyes of the world will be upon them as they stand on the podium, but few will remember their names when the games conclude.
We were amazed by the magnificently talented women ice skaters as they competed their long programs on Thursday night. We felt their pain when they fell, sometimes more than once, and know they had to feel shattered inside. Despite the pressure and crushing disappointment, no one quit. Think about that for a minute. Every single one dug deep and finished her program. That takes a level of commitment and, let’s be honest, sheer guts that most of us could only dream of possessing. I admire the ones who give their all and come up short as much as the ones that take home a medal. They are all winners. Women’s figure skating is only one example. You will witness both the elation of winning and the devastation of defeat in each event.
My hope for the athletes is that every single one of them, regardless of how their competitions turned out, goes home with a sense of joy and wonder to have had the opportunity to represent their countries and thousands of athletes back home.
Most of us will never be any closer to the games than our televisions, at least I know I won’t be! So what can we take away from this experience?
So if you stumble and fall in the pursuit of what makes your soul sing, get up, brush yourself off, and keep going. Don’t quit. Don’t worry if you shed a few tears. What matters is you don’t quit.
Stay patient and trust your own journey, Kim
I consider myself an introvert, but the trouble with labels like this is they can be too constrictive. I love solo work. Writing requires stretches of uninterrupted “alone” time. A large portion of my day job is also solitary work.
This week felt different for me. I was blessed to take part in many different types of conversations and enjoyed them all.
I had the opportunity to give a book talk at a local retirement community on Monday afternoon, something I enjoy doing and a great example of where a label I’ve given myself doesn’t always fit. I enjoy speaking in front of a group, especially when the topic is something I’m passionate about. Afterward, I spoke individually with some of the attendees. One delightful woman shared how she’d been writing devotionals for years, inspiring many through her ministry. She admitted she doesn’t do much writing anymore. I encouraged her to start again. The world needs more positive inspiration. Another woman warned me reading is losing its appeal in today’s world of movies and computers, insinuating I’m wasting my time writing books. I didn’t take offense. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but I did feel bad for her. It can’t be fun, going through life feeling inclined to dim other people’s light.
On Tuesday evening I was treated to a delightful dinner and conversation with two new friends. Their book club read my novel and wanted to discuss it with me. While I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion about the book, I was inspired by the stories they shared as the conversation evolved. They each talked about the stages they are at in their own lives and shared some inspiring projects they and their grown children are pursuing. It was a reminder to me of how much we all have in common but, at the same time, how unique everyone’s individual stories are when we take the time to listen and to share.
Sticking to my goal of taking a bit more “me” time in 2018, I spent Thursday afternoon at a local event called “Beyond Possible” hosted by an incredibly talented and motivating speaker and coach by the name of Teresa Lewis. Teresa led us through an afternoon of lively group discussion coupled with quiet reflection time. A few people knew each other, but for the most part, it was a room full of strangers. Sharing was encouraged and I could feel the positive energy rising in the room as the afternoon progressed. This was my kind of group! Despite challenges and setbacks, all of these people felt compelled to make some part of their life better. Find people like this in your own local community. Spend time with people that understand life can be hard but it is within our power to do things to make improvements.
Teresa shared many wonderful ideas and concepts, too many to mention here, but one list related to mindset really resonated with me. She talked about a team that embarked on an extensive study to try to determine what sets happy and successful people apart. Their work resulted in the following seven key mindsets:
If you have the opportunity to attend local events meant to inspire and encourage, please do so. The small investment of your time and money will be so worth it. If you would like to find out more about Teresa and her journey, check out her website at the link below.
In addition to my book related work and self-development efforts this week, I was also lucky enough to spend time with friends on two different evenings. It is amazing how the conversation flows when you get a group of women together, whether it’s around the dice tables at Bunco or following a nice dinner when the guys are out in the garage making deer sausage.
Connecting with others feeds our souls. My post today isn’t meant to be a rehash of a full week but rather a reminder to us all to make time for real conversations, those that go deeper than the superficial small talk. Remember:
“Sometimes the greatest adventure is simply a conversation” by Amadeus Wolfe
The world is full of wonderful people out there, find the time to get out and visit with them. Kim
“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world.”
The elderly gentleman visited his wife in the memory care unit every day, without fail. He would arrive at eleven and bring one photograph. Sometimes a picture helped give her back a memory. He would always find his Sylvia sitting in the hallway beside an intricate birdcage, in front of windows overlooking the courtyard. She loved to sit in the light and watch the lively birds.
“Good morning, Sylvia,” the man would say, taking a seat next to her. “How are your little friends today?”
“Hello,” Sylvia said, glancing briefly at the man, her eyes drawn quickly back to her birds. He would sit quietly beside her, appreciating her calm presence.
“Do I know you?” she would sometimes ask, as she did on this day, clearly wondering why this stranger sat next to her.
“Yes, Sylvia, we met a long time ago,” he said, reaching into an inside pocket of his top coat and pulling out a photo. He handed it to her. “Today is February 14th. It’s Valentine’s Day. Today is also our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Here is a picture of us on our special day. You are as beautiful today as you were in your wedding gown.”
He no long asked if she remembered things. On the good days she did, if only for a moment.
“Oh yes, Henry. I gave you my heart when I was very young,” Sylvia said as she studied the picture before handing it back to the man. She squeezed his hand and smiled into his eyes. The moment passed quickly. The focus in her eyes dissipated and she turned back to her birds.
Her smile was the best anniversary present he could have hoped for on their special day.
Relationships are difficult. There will be challenging days when giving up and walking away would be easier. Sometimes walking away is necessary because the other person doesn’t deserve our love. But in the grand scheme of this thing called life, when a relationship is worth saving, push through the dark days and put in the work to make the good days outweigh the bad.
The idea of Valentine’s Day, a day of flowers and chocolate, is mocked by many. Some see it as a marketing ploy by greeting card manufactures and candy companies. Some dread the day because they’re single and wish they had someone to send them flowers.
Instead of being cynical about Valentine’s Day, what if we used the day to celebrate the love we do have in our lives? In a world full of misery and bad news, use it as an excuse to send that silly card, buy a heart-shaped box of chocolates or send flowers. Don’t focus on what you will receive but rather what small gestures you can make to remind the important people in your life how much they mean to you.
Nurture your relationships with all those you hold dear - a significant other, family, and friends. If you want more romance in your life, keep an open heart and be open to new relationships. With luck and hard work, there will be someone like Henry beside you as you journey through this life.
Make someone’s day on Wednesday and your heart will thank you for it. xoxo, Kim
Come along to the tropics with me. Close your eyes and feel warm sand between your toes, taste the salty breeze on your face and soak in the warm sunshine on your shoulders. Inhale air perfumed with a heady combination of tropical blooms and ocean seas. Hear the crash of waves and screech of gulls.
Where has your mind taken you?
My mind takes me back to Maui. It was a gift of the tropics for our family. The adventure began early with planning and the excitement of keeping it a secret from the kids. The sheer joy and shock on their faces when they opened beach-themed ornaments and travel books for Christmas that year made it all worth it, and we hadn’t even left yet.
Heed the sage advice to collect experiences, not things. Some say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
In Maui, we experienced the raw power and massive beauty of killer whales in their natural habitat. We snorkeled on Kapalua Beach. When our eleven-year-old struggled against the strong current and couldn’t figure out how to breathe through a snorkel, a kind woman named Nancy Drew stepped in and helped, saving the day. We mustered up our courage and went on a zip line adventure, riding on cables among the tree tops. The day was February 29, 2012, leap day. I can’t make this stuff up!
Some afternoons were spent lounging on the beach, soaking up rays and searching for sea shells. We spent an evening sitting cross-legged on the ground at our dinner table, mere feet from the performers at an authentic luau in Lahaina. I still feel the pulse of the music and see the beauty of the bright flowers and costumes.
Even after returning from our trip, our adventures stay with us. A mere whiff of the scent of coconut takes me back. I treat myself to coconut scented lotion or shampoos, especially when the snow is falling and the tropics are far away. If I want an extra special treat, I find a coffee shop that can make me a dark chocolate, coconut latte. I didn’t even like coconut before our trip.
If you give yourself the gift of travel, take lots of pictures so you can go back to those special places anytime, forever. As I write these words, a photo album is at my elbow, giving life and color to my memories. It has only been six years since our trip, but the kids have changed so much in that short amount of time. Take a little time and get the photos off your phone or camera and into books. You’ll appreciate your visual diary of your travels for years to come.
You never know when you will draw upon memories and experiences from your travels. The tree outside our hotel room was home to hundreds of birds and their early morning squawking served as our daily, unwanted alarm clock. This vivid memory weaved its way into my first novel, years after I experienced it.
I realize travel is expensive and it takes time to plan and then actually go on a trip. But there’s no better way to spend your time and I’d gladly drive my old car for one more year in exchange for another week in paradise.
After all, some of the best memories are made in flip flops.
It’s a wonderful world out there, take the time to explore it. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!