Use Your Words - Blogger Premiere

Today’s post is a writing challenge that I hope you find as much fun to read as it was to write. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 
I’m using:
  • Inspire
  • Create
  • Love 
  • Joy
  • Celebrate
  • Reflect        
They were submitted by: Juicebox Confession - Thank you for another great assignment!

Those words made me immediately think of Christmas. And even though I am dying to include this picture of a miniature Christmas / snow village for which I rediscovered my love this season,

I want go a different direction today. How about a review of 2013?

I could tell you about my lovely Valentine's Date with three younger guys, or how felons created a rainbow for our St. Patrick's celebration. You could learn about Colin's joy when he got the chance to attend Ice Hockey Day Camp for Kids in summer. I could show you how I got inspired to do a laundry detergent craft for Halloween. Boooo! Finally I could re-share how I reflected the choices I made in my life so far.

But I won't serve any warmed-up leftovers from last year. You'll get something freshly made from my new 2014 book:

Last weekend we were invited to two birthday celebrations. My Godfather's 70th and Toni's 80th. Toni is the father of hubby's business partner who died in 2011. I wasn't overly motivated to attend, but in retrospective, both gatherings inspired me to reflect on life in general and how to make sure to make the most of the time we are given on this planet. 

Cocktails, food, speeches, gifts, more food and memories from the past are integral parts of a traditional family bash.

As the speakers reach a certain age they will mention how nice it is to meet extended family members not only at funerals but occasionally on joyous occasions. And right they are. 

They conclude jokingly that they are looking forward to the next birthday party in ten years' time. 

Are they - at this moment - aware that neither the birthday person nor a couple of guests and not even the speaker might be around by then? Don't get me wrong, I hope they all will be around, and they will be happy, healthy and ready to party! However, chances are they will be fed their birthday lunch by a nurse and not even realize it is their birthday. 

Like when my grandfather turned 90. He didn't feel like celebrating, didn't want any guests, he was weak and just wanted to die. A couple of weeks later he actually passed away. 

"You come into this world with nothing and you leave with nothing."

 I thought when I saw him in his casket.

That man whose family arrived in Austria as fugitives from Russian progroms only to get away to Palestine some 25 years later. He fought for the British army and was part of the first steps the newly founded state of Israel took. He lived in a tent and worked hard. So did my grandma who arrived with her brothers from Germany. They met, got married and had two kids - one of them is my mom. 
Granddad with his daughter = my mom
He studied, worked, built a home but decided it wasn't a safe place to raise the kids. Went to Switzerland to complete his studies, got a job and had the family follow. Always did the reasonable thing.

Assembling my playmobil ambulance
His 60th birthday (yellow socks, really?)
Mid 1980s
All of his life he was all about stability, safety and keeping it low key. Can't blame him for not approving of my brother's emigrating to Israel of all places 20 years ago. 

That night in September 2007 my mom and I sat with him after ha had been washed. Although he wasn't a religious man, he spent the last years of his life in a Jewish nursing home, and all the rituals were being performed. 

Was he aware that this was going to happen? 

They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. 

I hope that when the end credits stopped rolling, he could close his eyes and say to himself "it was a good life".

What if we watched "our movie" today? 

In our life, did we

  • Inspire others?
  • Create something useful?
  • Love unconditionally? 
  • have / bring Joy?
  • Celebrate successes, birthday, anniversaries, "just because"?
  • Reflect on our doing? 
Do we regret (not) having done certain things? Is there stuff that we want to do once we have more time, once the kids have moved out, once we paid off that mortgage..? 

What if that time never comes? 

We are friends with a family whose oldest son suffers from Nieman Pick Type C disease. They know that they only have so much before his condition is going to deteriorate, so they try and soak up every moment. They take trips and make his wishes come true as long as he is able to travel and enjoy. 

Sometimes I think "what about his younger brothers?" "What about my own son?" Just because they are not diagnosed with anything, we can't know for sure how long they will be around. Kids have accidents, develop cancer.  

My grandfather's advise for life was to save money, have a plan, try not to depend on others. When my grandparents were in their mid-60s they didn't purchase new mattresses. It's not worth it, they said. 

Not worth. 

Just like the nice clothes that we never wear because it's not for the usual Thursday. Or the precious wine - special occasions only. Having dinner in the living room? Why, we don't have any visitors?

Now I am not saying we should live every day as if it were our last - certainly not spend money like there is no tomorrow. Nursing homes are expensive, and we don't want that our kids have to pay for it. 

But it doesn't hurt to think about it. What would we do, who would we want to see? Apologize to? Say "I love you" or "I am proud of you?" 

Do yourself a favor and do some of it today! And if something is stopping you, find out, what it is, and why. Deal with it as long as there is time!

"You come into this world with nothing and you leave with nothing." 

Today I don't agree with it anymore. 

When a baby is born, he doesn't own anything - but he has all that he needs to make sure he is being taken care of. He is vulnerable, and he trusts you to hold him, love him, feed him, protect him. 

I guess when you die and reflect on all that you have done, not only can you say that you held, fed, loved and protected a number of people, but that you have created something, inspired others to do and celebrate great things and brought joy into people's lives.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado