I said to a friend of mine several years ago, “You are so busy planning the future that you are missing today!” I wish I could recall the circumstances of that conversation, but I vividly remember that comment.
As I was writing this I just got a call from my grandson. Everything stops when his name pops up on my phone. Being in the mindset of writing this, it occurred to me that children are always in the moment. He was telling me everything he was thinking and excited about in that exact moment. I savored every word. We talked about Nerf guns, ducks, trumpets, some chef he met at school, and the upcoming ball game. How amazing!
When we were finished I had two thoughts. First, I wish I could have called my grandmothers and spoken to them every day; back in the dark ages, paying for a long distance call was akin to buying a car, so every long distance call was carefully planned and measured. Second, when did we shift from now to later? Let me say I am a planner with a mile-long wish list of things I want to do. But when is the last time we had a conversation where right in the present moment we talked about what was currently in our thoughts?
For me, enjoying the moment means putting everything out of my mind and concentrating on what is happening right in front of me. That sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Our minds start thinking of what’s next or what we have scheduled for later.
I just stopped writing for a moment and sat at my desk listening and watching to what is going on around me. There was lots of background noise, but I focused on one thing. The sky was gray, and the wind was blowing the few brown leaves that were left on the trees. The bare trees are beautiful against the gray sky. It was very refreshing to do that. I see that view every day, but today I studied the details.
That’s the way it should be in our everyday life. We should study the details around us, especially in the people that are essential to our lives. It changes your day when someone comments on your new haircut or new shoes.
Today I have plans to have tea with a friend, so I’m going to concentrate on every word of our conversation. I am going to notice her eyes and expressions as we talk and share. I bet it will be a better experience that I anticipate just by being totally in the moment.
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I looked for your blog today because I remembered that you are a follower of Christ and I have had something on my mind that I want to share with you.
I used to subscribe to Victoria back when it came out the first time. I was in college and Victoria so matched my dreams , old fashion values and ideals. I received Victoria well into the ’90s. When I stopped my subscription it was after several years of noticing that it was no longer giving me quite the thrill I used to get. My life’s reality just was not living up to my dreams. I don’t mean that to sound bitter , it’s just the way it is. Looking at it’s pages promoted feelings of discontent. The focus in each issue seemed more and more focused on material things. I think I was changing but the magazine was changing too.
Now, I still appreciate the beauty and some of the ideals and I buy a copy of this current Victoria publication from time to time . I keep looking for a magazine that reaches out to women who enjoy the finer things but can barely afford the subscription let alone live like the pages of this magazine depicts. The woman who picks up a pretty teacup at the local food pantry and clothing closet. The woman who is not a high powered entrepreneur because that’s just not in her makeup and \ or she chose to be a full time homemaker and mother – -at a cost. A woman who is dealing with special needs kids and a house that is too small, more shabby than chic, too cluttered and in need of many repairs and a husband who works hard at his job but is not super handyman .
I think there needs to be a publication (maybe Victoria could do it) that doesn’t just cater to a high society Lady. It should recognize the Lady in every woman whether she be rich or poor. The gracious homemaker in each woman even if her home is old and drafty. The literary woman , the creative “starving” artist woman . . . Just something to lift up and encourage in a deeper, lasting frugal way… with that sweet old fashion charm not found in other contemporary magazines.
Looking back on previous comments I realize that my “comment” goes off the topic a bit but then it also fits. As the last commenter said … the “small, ordinary things that make up the important moments in our lives.”
Thank you for your comments. I started reading Victoria when it first came out many years ago. I was on a very tight budget too. I never look at magazines as catering to rich or poor. I look at magazines for inspiration of how I might use what I have in a creative way. Magazines allowed me to visit places that I would never visit, they showed me beautiful flowers and gardens, and inspiring stories of women who started businesses to support themselves. All magazines try to beautiful.
I dont look at them as materialistic as appreciate what I have and use it. One of my favorite sets of dishes costs $20 and I love it. So please dont think we are trying to cater to the rich. There are better magazines for that than the ones we produce.
I dont have any suggestions for other magazines for you. Please know our magazines are intended to inspire us to appreciate the beauty in the world around us. Thank you again for your comments.
This is really for Phyllis….thank you for starting this blog and for the topics you have put forth. We need to remember the simple things in life and learn to enjoy the small things each and every day. It is so easy to get caught up in the mundane, routine tasks of each day and forget that it’s important to take care of ourselves and try to be all that the Lord has wanted us to be.
Phyllis, I love “Southern Lady” magazine and I have to tell you that your Ribbon in My Journal makes you and your magazine and blog seem so much more personal…as though you could be my neighbor next door. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and creativity in the media world.
Thank you Bev, I feel like we visit each week with each other. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated so much.
Connie Rogers, what a powerful lesson. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.
Oh what all on this blog have said is so true, My husband and I are visiting an elderly friend with dementia.
We are staying with him at his home, going to Dr visits, arranging care etc., and all these things are necessary. However, much of the time has been just listening to whatever he wishes to talk about. Many times it’s memories that he can still remember. We’ve laughed together… and cried together. But mainly just ‘been together’ in the moment.
Thank you as always, Phyllis, and ladies.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful moments with us.
Connie, you have captured so beautifully ” love your neighbor.” It’s not always easy but by GODs grace we can extend the same grace to those around us. I’m so glad you were able to love on your mom. And to be intentional, to embrace the folks around us and help however we can, is sacrificial love. As Phyllis has reminded us, we need to slow down a bit to appreciate life’s gifts as well as to be a blessing to others.
I have a young friend named Hannah who recently spent some months in Mozambique, Africa in a school that Heidi Baker started that teaches about “Stopping for the One”. Taking the time to love and listen to the one person who is in front of you…not thinking about anything or anyone else but this person. Hannah came back so changed in how she viewed ministry…and this difference is plainly seen in her life. I was taught to be kind to others but now I wanted to be more intentional about it. I started with my elderly mother who I went to see everyday but now I was more focused in just sitting with her and being with her…trying not to think about all of the issues and concerns going on or anything else…but just touching her and loving her and listening to her when she still talked and joining in with her when she sang…then when she no longer talked and sang and wasn’t able to hear, I just rubbed her back…which she loved…and just looked into her eyes and tried to convey to her how much she was still loved. She left her weary body a few days ago and I miss her so much, but there is not one regret for the time that I slowed down and stopped to really be with this precious mother who gave me so much with her love and devotion to God and family. Every person that we meet during each day needs to know that they are a person of worth and were lovingly created by God Himself to be ‘one-of-a-kind’. If it is just a smile and a look into their eyes…or a God inspired comment…I want to be more aware to pass on what I have been so blessed with in this life…God’s amazing grace. Those who seem the most unlikely to want it are often the ones who need it the most. All this reminds me of Father Tim’s prayer (Mitford series): “Father, make me a blessing to someone today, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” And really, that’s where it all starts.
Connie thank you……that is simply beautiful! It is every tiny moment that counts.
For 2018, my husband and I actually discussed this very topic, being in the moment, making time for little things that mean a lot, and having more fun, because both of us are great planners and multi-task way too much. Thus we have made some changes! We do not get up as early as when we both worked. He often brings me a cup of tea in bed and sometimes a bagel or sweet treat. We also sit and read a portion of a book or a devotional together and discuss how it may apply to our lives or friends and family. We cook more together, which is a delight in itself. During the day, we have individual projects, but sometimes work on one together. Then before going to bed in the evening, we often discuss the days events, or whatever we deem interesting conversation. I think we are both happier and feel less stressful. Interesting that so many who commented are also trying to slow down just a little!
Jody i think slowing down is the beginning of this. You are so right. Thank you for sharing your moments with us.
Another wonderful post- thank you. If we can in some way slow ourselves down and encourage others to do the same, we begin to stand in awe of the beauty around us and the million wonderful things that are within the reach of each and every one of us. By doing so, this makes us a kinder people. And, we see what is truly important.
Many blessings to you, Phyllis. Your blog is wonderful and a much needed voice in our world.
Silly as this may sound, my husband and I sometimes like to just sit with each other and just ” be.” We may talk or we may listen to music but it’s a good way for us to slow down and decompress, even if we’re doing ” nothing” but watching birds from the front porch. When I feel frantic or anxious about life’s demands and schedules, I pray and often sing that hymn, “Be Still My Soul.” And my husband reminds me to breathe. 🙂
When my husband and I enjoy a meal at one of our favorite restaurants, we always leave an extra-large tip because our servers are so kind and because we eat and enjoy our meals slowly as we converse and visit together — and as we look around, we can see that other tables turn over twice as fast, so this only seems fair to our servers. It seems we are the exception rather than the norm these days — everyone is always in such a big hurry to move on to the next thing or place. (One server told me once that she wonders why some people even order a meal when she clears their table and finds nearly all the food left there) Taking time to look around and really savor and enjoy each moment is so important!
I heard a quote before Christmas that has stayed with me – “I opened up two wonderful gifts this morning — my eyes.” What a blessing to be able to enjoy the beauty God created just for us!!!
Two gifts….that is so right. Thank you.
I try to enjoy the day. I love to watch the birds in my back yard. They are so entertaining.
I try to take time out and smell the roses.
Yes,challenging to be sure. I too am a planner,every moment is accounted for.Thank you for a great reminder.
At times I am so busy thinking so far ahead before I know it the day has passed me by.
Enjoying the moment and learning to be flexible so that you are able to enjoy the moment certainly is a goal. We should enjoy the little things in life that can bring much pleasure and create wonderful memories.
I too have been practicing on appreciating what is going on around me at the moment. It has really slowed me down but I love being more appreciative, grateful, and enjoying life’s peaceful moments. I often think what it might be like not to be able to be free, or not being able to see the beauty, hear the songs, or smell the flowers etc. I still plan for things ahead but it doesn’t consume me. Thank you for your insight and enjoy even the darker days!
I have been studying mindfulness meditation for a few years to help with staying focused on the here and now, which eases my anxiety. One of our recent classes was a mindful tea tasting which made me aware that I often drink my tea too quickly, barely tasting it sometimes because I am too busy thinking about the next item on my to-do list. It has inspired me to take some time each day to carefully brew a cup and sip it slowly while focusing on the smell, taste, and temperature. How fortunate that I just read the new issue of Tea Pleasures and now I have some lovely recipes to go with my tea.
Having just finished chemo in October and radiation before Christmas, my vow for 2018 is to have more “fun.” So much of my life up to now has been very focused on life’s demands, not on having fun or enjoying the moments more, as you describe in this blog. With the new year, and medical woes behind me, I plan on really trying to do just that-have more fun in my life and enjoying each moment more, and less on the demands of our busy schedules and jobs. One of the VERY best ways I do get pleasure, is by reading all your wonderful Hoffman publications and reading your blog. The pictures are stunning, the articles always interesting and thoughtful and all of it together is so very inspirational! Thank you for making life better for all of us!
I loved this! I have the attention span of a gnat, so being in the moment is a challenge for me! But I will pray that I can. And will.
Oh, my, you have hit us with a big one..staying in the moment. I have really tried to put this into practice and I am getting more and more successful. Most of us try to do too much so our minds are inandated by how, when, and how to get it all done. We are multi-taskers. We have to use that “no” word we discussed last time. I think we need to be organized. That makes us less anxious and can enjoy ourselves a lot more and stay in the moment. I think we must be mindful and grateful for all of life’s little pleasures. Staying in the moment takes practice and the more we do it the happier we become. We have to stop worrying about the future because we know Who holds the future.Nothing can make me happier than my 7 year old granddaughter. I hang on to her every word and every expression. I think if we learn to do this, it is an investment in our well being and can be life transforming. Thank you for bringing us these important topics.
Thank you for your thoughtful blogs about the small, ordinary things that make up important moments in our lives. Beautiful, challenging.
Wonderful and Amen!