Life

Living Your Best Life

Copper is living his best life

Living Your Best Life.

What does that mean? Living your best life? What does that entail? What do you need to have in order to live your best life? A new house? A lot of money in the bank? A spouse and 2.5 children? Do you need to be at the top of your career to enjoy your best life? Do you need to be retired? Sunbathing on a private island? Traveling and full-time RV living? All of those things sound wonderful, but not everyone aspires to them. What does your best life look like?

And how do you know? That’s my big question. How do you know that you are living your best life? You have a picture of what you think it is, but what if you get there, and it’s not what you thought it was going to be? Your new house has a house payment you can’t afford. Your bank account is full, but your heart isn’t. Your spouse and your children think you nag too much. Your career doesn’t afford you much time for anything else. Retirement is boring. Your private island is lonely. Your RV finds you missing community. 

Too much of one thing can literally be too much. For me,  living your best life means living a balanced life. You have enough, but not too much. You have a house, but you aren’t house poor. You have a little emergency fund, but not enough that everyone is asking you to give them money. You have a spouse and 2 (adult) children who still love you enough to put up with you. You have a career, but are content to let the younger generation claw their way to the top. You aren’t retired, but you get summers off (or vacation time). No private island, but you have a little corner of the world that is all yours. You’re not a full-time RV status yet, but that pop-up camper is ready to go for the first camping trip of the year in a couple weeks. That’s what my best life looks like.

Do I wish that I didn’t have to get up and go to work on Mondays? Absolutely. Am I counting down the days until summer break? You bet I am. Do I dream about winning the lottery and quitting my job to take up traveling? Some days more than others. But the truth is, toward the end of summer break I am wishing for that familiar routine and my work people. My best life is one filled with all the things I love– my faith, my family, teaching, camping, reading, photography, etc. And there is room for so much more as I go! My best life is a full life with room for new people, things, and animals (always room for more cuddly animals). My best life is a balanced life with just enough of everything.

gratitude, Life, Uncategorized

Tornadoes & Rainbows

tornadoes and rainbows

A little backstory on the name of the blog:

I teach preschool and work with children ages 3-5 years old. Last year one of my students drew me a picture. If you’ve ever seen the art of this age group, you know that mostly it is straight lines and some circles. You can’t tell what the picture is unless you ask. And, for future reference, it’s best to ask in this way: “Tell me about your picture.” When you ask “What did you draw?” or when you assume and say “You drew a dinosaur” when in reality they drew a picture of their mom, well, it could end badly. So say things like, “Tell me about your picture.” Just trust me on this.

On this particular day, a five year-old girl brought me a picture that she drew on a half piece of construction paper. There are linear scribbles and what looks like a squiggly line. I said, “Susie (not her real name), tell me about your picture.” She said, “It’s tornadoes and rainbows.” I said, “You drew tornadoes and rainbows.” She then launched into a story about a storm recently when she was afraid of a tornado and at the end there was a rainbow.

And then it hit me. It’s all tornadoes and rainbows. Some days the storm clouds form and we might worry. Some days there are ligit storms that we must go through. And some days are rainbows. A beautiful, colorful, peaceful rainbow.

I’ve seen many tornadoes and rainbows in my life, as I am sure that you have as well. I’ve had storms. I’ve had emotional storms, health storms, financial storms, relational storms. As a mom and preschool teacher I’ve had days that feel like I’ve walked right into the path of a tornado. As a woman I’ve faced the storm of cancer. And I’ve rainbows. Rainbows like that friend who took my kids for an afternoon so I could catch up on housework. Rainbows like a hug from a preschool friend at just the right time. Rainbows like a friend who took every Tuesday off to take me to chemotherapy appointments. Rainbows like a day-trip to a baseball game with my adult sons. Rainbows like a peaceful Saturday spent with my husband. I could go on and on, but you know what I’m talking about and can fill in your own.

That day in preschool I learned something profound. Life is all just tornadoes and rainbows. Embrace them. The tornadoes help you grow, the rainbows give you peace. Without the tornadoes, you won’t appreciate the rainbows.