free hugs

So in the midst of a week it is kind of amazing all the different posts you see on social media. Some are encouraging, others are not but I find it a good example of life. We get to choose what we take from it just like we get to choose what we take from daily life.

Many things that happen in our lives feel so out of our control. I don’t know about you but for me, having certain things under my control makes me feel better. For instance, being able to walk to the kitchen sink without stepping on twelve different toys makes my day a little smoother. I am all for toys and the joy that they bring, but I do not enjoy prolonged periods of total chaos in my house. Having at least a sense of order brings me peace throughout the day.

Yet sometimes after I have made a less than jovial announcement to my children about my disdain for a messy area, I’ll see a post online about something that makes my desire for a clean room seem more than trivial. It stops me in my tracks.

I just saw a post today about a mother who was killed by a drunk driver less than a mile from her home after visiting her preemie twin daughters at the hospital, like she did everyday. She left behind four more children and a husband. Unthinkable.

We are all creatures of habit and this wonderful mother was just following her normal routine, going to love on her children just as she always did. And out of nowhere, her life is lost. Our family came close to that, but coming close and having it happen are not nearly the same and I can’t imagine the pain this family is in.

Posts like this remind me to take all I can get out of each day, because I know there are days that I don’t. I let something small like a mess distract me from a bigger picture, a picture that should be focused more on the routine of love, like this mother was exemplifying.

I also realize, sadly, that all the order in the world cannot always save us from heartbreak. We cannot control tragedy but what we can control is the way we will be remembered. This mother will be remembered, in my eyes, for her dedication and love.

It has been amazing over the past few weeks as my book is prepared to be released to get messages from former students of my mom about what a positive influence she was on their lives. I don’t even think she knows how much she meant to some of them. But just one of  the many things I learned from her is that she chooses to take the best of this life, to be someone who is encouraging in the lives of others. And it shows. She has left a legacy in her wake, one of positivity.

After writing this book and seeing the way people who didn’t know Mom’s story have reacted with such passion and thankfulness in hearing that she survived, it makes me think about my own life. If someone writes a book about me someday, what will they have to say about my legacy? That IS something I can control through my actions.

I have read message after message about the way my mom made a lasting difference in the lives of others. How something she did or said or the way she treated them guided them in a certain direction or gave them strength through troubled times.

I have known from the start God saved her for a reason, but the past few weeks just keep strengthening that idea as I hear from years of former students. My mom has so many more lives to touch and God will continue to pave the way for her.

So as we are inundated each week with what seems like a whole lot of negative and just a sprinkle of positive on social media, let’s decide to be people who will be remembered for the positive influence we’ve had on others.

Like I said, we get to decide what we take from each day and today, I am going to take the advice I saw from a friend, who said her goal for this year was to “LOVE A LITTLE HARDER.” Seems like a win-win idea to me so why not make it a goal, because who knows if someone will write a book about you someday.


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