Why are you here?

If you’ve ever used the “Yelp” app, it’s pretty handy. We use it a lot when we travel, to find places to eat. There are reviews from customers & usually some details about hours, price, menu etc. When we went to St.Louis at the end of last summer, we used it to find IMO’s pizza. We took a break from our BBQ coma and tried something different. It was a small little pizza joint in a strip mall, but there were a few of them around the city. We ordered a couple of different kinds so we could try them out. (This was my first experience eating eggs on pizza)

We must have asked some silly questions & we obviously had an accent compared to St. Louis, so the ladies asked us where we were from. When we said MN, they all looked shocked. “Why are you HERE??!,” said one of them with a confused look on her face. We told them that we had gotten some cheap airline tickets and had never been here before, so we thought, “What the heck?” They thought it was so cool that we were from that far away & asked a few questions about the Midwest.

Why did we take a random trip to St.Louis? Because I want my kids to know that their world can be bigger than 1 or 2 states. I remember growing up in ND and several of my classmates had never been to the state capital city of Bismarck (3 hrs away). When our family would take trips, they were usually small day trips around the state. Because we had cattle and sheep (& they like to eat every day), our choices were limited. I went on several trips for school or 4-h as I got older. I’ve never been to any place too extravagant, but I still enjoy the experience of traveling. I want my kids to have those experiences too. Lately, it seems they would rather have a snowmobile instead of a trip, but they still enjoy the trips. Those memories and experiences are something they will always carry with them. So, we will go on another random trip to Nashville for spring break. Instead of going somewhere tropical, we’re going to Nashville. Why? We’ve never been there, the flights were cheap… so, why not?! Maybe someone in Nashville will ask us why we are there.

Whatever journey you’re on, take some time for something new. If you have kids, go places with them. Go to a state park or learn how to make maple syrup or take a random trip to Nashville. While they may not remember specifics 10 yrs later, they will remember that you went… and that will be enough.

1 and 8 A+

1 in 8 women get breast cancer. I’m one of them. 3 years ago today, I found out that I wouldn’t need chemo for my breast cancer treatment. There was an 8% chance of it returning based on the tests that were done. Doing chemo would reduce that by 1%. The risk didn’t outweigh the benefits so they strongly suggested no chemo. I remember being relieved and excited but also cautious. One friend had said to me, “wouldn’t you feel horrible if you didn’t do chemo and it returned?” That stuck in the back of my mind, but I had to look at the numbers. I recently tried to Google what 1% chances there were but that didn’t come up with easy results. I’m my head, I thought I’d have a 1% chance of pretty much anything else happening to me, so it didn’t seem worth the risk.

Today, on this “anniversary” of sorts, I gave blood. I’m A+ blood type. I didn’t correlate the dates when I made the appointment, but I think it’s cool. A (+) positive thing to do that could make a big difference to someone I’ll never meet. There is a lot of negative going on, so if you’re able to donate blood – do something positive. It takes less than an hour of your time & could make a surgery go smoother or an ER visit a life saving one.

Peace be with you today, with whatever is going on in your journey. You’ve been equipped for whatever it is. I hope you know that you are loved, and you are enough.

Just show up…

I spent part of Friday at a funeral. My uncle passed away, so I drove down to the funeral. I wasn’t the only one. There are 10 kids on my mom’s side, and 8 of the 9 living siblings showed up for the funeral. The one who couldn’t make it felt very bad, but they weren’t able to change travel plans. My mom’s sister passed away several years ago with breast cancer. It was her husband who passed recently after a stroke. As our family filled the fireside lounge, I looked around at how many aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids had made the trip to pay their respects. But mostly, they wanted to be there for my cousins. Although they are adults with kids of their own, I imagine it’s still difficult to lose a parent. This is something that has always struck me as special about this family – and I doubt many of them give it a second thought… they show up. They show up for weddings and funerals, graduations and parties. They show up for each other without thinking it’s a big deal. But it is. Especially to the people they show up for.

I think people get hung up on the right thing to say or do, when sometimes we just need to show up. A hug or a smile or a kind word goes a long way. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. They just need to know that someone cares. Regardless of what you do, it will be enough if you show up.

A few years ago, we had a family reunion on this side. There are around 100 of us, and that’s just the “immediate family.” We laughed and played games and ate & drank too much, and we were there for each other. I like to think that my kids learn more about family when this huge group is together. They learn how to be close even when miles separate them. They learn how to pick up where they left off. They learn how to play cards and laugh until you cry. Another reunion is in the works, and I’m honored to be planning it.

My aunt who passed was a neat lady. Red hair and a soft smile, she was also a planner. She was the glue that brought the family together. She planned events and parties but she really knew how to make people feel special. In the small North Dakota town where my grandparents lived, there used to be a Dairy Queen. I remember my aunt taking me there for a treat. Mostly, she made me feel seen, important & special. I was probably a pre teen at the time. That memory stuck with me. When someone compares me to her, I am extremely honored. I felt her presence at the funeral. I pictured her sitting next to me in the empty chair, and she was grinning. She was so glad her family had come together to honor her husband. She was glad they showed up.

So, I hope this will remind you that however you decide to show up, it will be enough. Visit the person who is lonely. Bring a meal to someone who is struggling. Just show up. Don’t worry about it being a big enough gesture. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you know that God can dwell within you, and when we show up for each other, we are sharing that love.

PS- this beautiful necklace was given to me by my thoughtful niece… my saying and my birthstone. I’m so thankful.