It’s crazy what we can all take for granted.
Every day, we go through daily routines and find ourselves complaining about the silliest things: traffic, red lights, having “nothing” to wear, deadlines, spilled coffee, long work days, being tired, etc.
We are all guilty of it.
It’s funny how one big storm or event can bring us back down to Earth and put all of life’s silly challenges into perspective.
As I sat down to start uploading and editing pictures from my trip down to Florida, I had every intention of sharing some fun things with you today. When it came time to write, I just couldn’t do it.
Effects of the horrific tornado that hit Oklahoma consumed my thoughts, and looking through my recent happy times made me feel guilty. Here I am celebrating my life, when all of these poor communities of people are mourning the loss of their friends, family, pets, homes, businesses, and lives they built for themselves.
Since I was flying home during the storm yesterday, I missed all of the live news coverage. I heard about there being a tornado last night, but had no idea how incredibly devastating it turned out to be.
I spent the majority of the morning looking at news articles and watching videos and became speechless. What can you say?
I took Roadie for an extra long walk around the neighborhood. As I opened the front door, I got a new feeling of appreciation for everything in front of me. Before I left for Florida, there were only branches on this tree in our driveway, and now there are flowers and leaves.
I have always loved dogwood trees, and to me this looks like a giant white one. I could be completely wrong on this, but to be honest it doesn’t really matter. Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous and I am delighted it has a home in our front yard.
It also makes a pretty decent size mess across the drive way, in the garage, across our yard, and onto our front porch. Before today, that might have been something I would complain about.
Instead of complaining, I feel blessed to have flower pedals as my “mess”.
As we walked down to the lake, our neighborhood became prettier and prettier to me. The one I am used to seeing has been covered with slush, mud, and the remains of snow since we moved in last November!
When we approached the lake, I let Roadie go crazy. He stayed on his leash, but I let him explore and sniff anything he wanted to.
He even got to go after the geese I always pull him away from.
Have you ever taken the time away from your busy day to just stop and smell the roses? It doesn’t have to be literal, but instead a suggestion to take a second to appreciate where you are, what you are doing, and everything you have going for you.
Today my stop and smell the roses moment turned into sit and look at nature. Right in front of me are all of these beautiful trees, flowers, and animals surrounding me every day. Instead of noting nature’s beauty, I have spent the last few months complaining about cold in the air and snow on the ground.
I took so much for granted.
Something like this beautiful white butterfly bush (again, I could be completely wrong on this!) would have gone unnoticed.
Although it was still a bit chilly when I left Michigan, there were signs that spring was coming, and all I kept thinking about was how long and miserable the winter is up here. I often told friends how anxious I was to get down to Florida and finally enjoy some sunshine.
Where was my appreciation for what I have right in my own neighborhood?
When natural disasters happen, the first thing we do is mourn. We become horrified at the news and images we see, and feel awful for the people, cities, and communities affected.
The second thing we do is find appreciation for what we have. We start thinking about how lucky we are to have dodged the bullet that so many others took. At least for a while, we take a look around us and give thanks for the people and things that make our lives.
What happens next varies. We go about our lives with as much normalcy as we can, and eventually everything seems to fall back into place undisturbed. We push the images out of our minds and start complaining about traffic again.
What You Can Do
Instead of just talking about how bad the storm was with your friends, there are so many things we can do to help!
The first step is to stop and smell the roses. Take time away from your day and just give thanks for what you have. Notice something that irritates you and think about if it is really worth being worried over. Most of the time, the answer will be No.
Tell people you love them. Hug your pets. Did any of you see this tearjerker interview of the tornado survivor who lost her home and found her dog under rubble during it? I was a mess after watching that.
This point of this post is not to make you sad! Of course, we are all dealing with different levels of emotions surround this disaster, and some people are more directly affected than others. At the end of the day, any one of us can help!
• Donate: Whether it’s time, your money, or your blood there is something you can do to help those victims who lost everything.
– Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.
– Donate online or text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts or make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
– Read other ways to contribute to relief organizations, via USA Today.
– Pray hard and spread the word on social media, using the hashtag #PrayforOklahoma.
I am spending the rest of my day trying to catch up on some work, but it just didn’t feel right to do before sharing my morning with you.
Part of me felt bad even posting pictures of the beauty I found in my neighborhood, after seeing what the remains of other neighborhoods look like in Oklahoma.
I am sharing this with you in hopes that you too will stop and smell the roses. When you get a break from work, when you are going for a run, when you are eating dinner with your family, when you are getting ready for bed, when you are ready to complain about doing laundry… take a second to look around and appreciate what is around you.