Celebrate and Enjoy Life

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

If you’re lucky enough to be alive, you should use each birthday to celebrate what your life is about.” – Mary Steenburgen

Each year, my husband Ken and I host Easter and a couple of Marriage Encounter meetings. That’s about all the entertaining we do. But this year we both turn 60, and we decided to throw a party. We are in good health. We’re blessed with beautiful grown children and the ability to travel. Life is good. Why not celebrate?

For a few weeks, the party was our top priority. We spruced up the house and yard and arranged for a tent and for a caterer to bring dinner. We bought decorations and party goods. I made desserts ahead of time, froze them, and picked recipes for appetizers.

I had some anxiety, as I often do. I worried about who to invite—we couldn’t invite everyone we knew. Where would we put everyone if there was a thunderstorm? We’ve lived in the area for decades and are blessed with a lot of family and friends. I was also stressed because we sent out invitations by email, and several people said they never received them. I laid awake at nights worrying.

Then Ken showed me a photo album he had created of our 40th birthday party. So many of our guests at that party are now deceased—all four of our parents and some close friends. Other friends and relatives have moved far away, and we rarely see them. This put the party into perspective. We would celebrate no matter what and enjoy the people who came. I put the party in God’s hands and relaxed.

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We held our party on a beautiful evening in August, and it was nice to see so many friends at a happy event. Ken and I had a lot of fun and were glad we did it.

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Daughter Mel, my sister Mary, daughter Katie, son Jim, me, Ken, my sister Nancy

 

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A couple of other recent incidents helped cement my resolve to enjoy life while I can. An older friend, Carol, passed away a couple of years ago, and her husband recently moved to assisted living. The family held an estate sale. Carol was a great cook and owned a tea shop for many years. I looked at her knick knacks, kitchen goods, and cookbooks priced at 25 cents, and thought, “Is this what life is reduced to when you’re gone? People haggling over your treasures?” This was true when my parents passed away too. We put many of their goods out to the curb when the town had a free pickup day.

But no, the stuff left behind is not all that’s left. What’s left behind, the real treasure, is the love our dear ones had for us and the love we had for them. At the sale, Carol’s daughter had tears in her eyes when we spoke of her mother. And so, when I wear Carol’s scarves and look through her cookbooks, I will think of her smile and how nice she was to me and to everyone. I will remember seeing her at parties, celebrating.

I often run a route along a river with a friend, Kristin. Most days, we see a woman with a rolling walker who struggles to take each step. We run past her with a cheery “Good morning!” I have often remarked that she is a good role model, because walking is difficult for her, yet she keeps at it.

The other day, Kristin spoke with the woman after our run. The woman struggles to speak. She is 80 years old and had a stroke two years ago. She has been working hard to walk and straighten out her arm. She said, “You never know when something might happen. Never give up.”

What inspiring words for us! What inspiration to enjoy our lives now. Run while we can, walk while we can, speak while we can. Celebrate while we can.

What have you celebrated recently? How are you enjoying your life?

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About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: http://www.WomenMakingStrides.com/ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1
This entry was posted in Celebrate, Friendship, Inspiration, Proactive, Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Celebrate and Enjoy Life

  1. Sarah says:

    Another good post, Sue! Happy 60th to both you and Ken!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy Birthday(s)!
    What an uplifting post and meaningful way to honor your birthdays.
    I DO treasure the memories of those who have passed away as well as some tangible pieces from their lives. Just a few minutes ago, dusting, I felt my grandmother as I moved the doily she crocheted decades ago and I put some tomatoes in a bowl that was Tom’s great aunt’s. What I cherish the most is the time spent with others and the memories from them.
    My cousin’s 50th wedding anniversary in June was a wonderful gathering, as was my Greek family’s reunion in July. Both were balms for my soul. 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your birthday with this post, Sue. Many more for both you and Ken.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Thank you, Penny. I agree, it’s nice to have reminders of our loved ones that are gone. I made a Sanctuary Corner in my bedroom that has my Mom’s bookcase and my mother-in-law’s lamp and end table. Add a homemade afghan from my sister-in-law (who, happily, is alive and healthy), and it’s a soothing spot. I also like making the old recipes from loved ones occasionally. I’m glad you had two happy occasions to celebrate with others this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dawn Herring says:

    Sue,
    Celebrating life cannot be overstated. I appreciate your take and examples of how you chose to enjoy and celebrate important times like these. I love to encourage folks to celebrate their wins every day, no matter how small. Enjoyment of all of our blessings is something we cannot take for granted and when we take action to really make time for it, it can make all the difference in how we feel.

    Here’s to JOY in our daly lives as we celebrate what is right in front of us.
    Happy Birthdays!

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Krishna says:

    Sue, as always, very well written and expressed. It seems like life is far too short to ever standby or take for granted. Keep on celebrating Sue (& Ken) and we hope to catch up soon. We miss you guys.

    Krishna

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Great reminder, Krishna, that life is short and not to take it for granted. It’s better to be aware of that rather than to think we have lots of time left. We miss you and Bev also.

      Like

  5. Happy 60th! So glad you did a party!
    And “Never give up!” is stellar advice along the lines of Winston Churchill’s words.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful looking party. And you’re right – you have to enjoy life while you can. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, enjoy what today has to offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I really enjoyed this post. Thanks so much for sharing. We recently celebrated taking our oldest child to college. Of course, we had mixed emotions — he’s now a two day drive away — but we chose to celebrate this exciting time in his life, even if we shed a few tears, with a fabulous road trip that included a visit to the Grand Canyon and a shopping spree for him in his new city.

    Liked by 1 person

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