This weekend was a good one. Friday evening we hosted Nicholas’ medical themed housewarming party and it was a good night. I had so much fun working on the preparations (white balloons with red crosses, candy as ‘prescription meds’, sangria as ‘type O negative’ wafers as ‘tongue depressors’, medical wristbands for guests) and I think people appreciated the thought (and even if they didn’t I still had a blast). It got a little hectic right before, we were running around trying to get everything together right until the first person showed up; but the chaos, if a little stressful, was also exciting.
Saturday was more relaxed, we attended a recital for the Charleston International Music Festival where I played with a chamber music group. It was a really good concert, I was so impressed with these high school and college students who play at a professional level!
Later we had a barbecue with the players and teachers. Sunday we went out to lunch with my brother and one of his friends and then enjoyed a laid back evening before the work week started.
Not every weekend is going to be super exciting, but I think a little thought and planning can help us make the most of those two precious days. I hope yours was a good one too!
Regardless, Monday’s can be tough so here are a few things that might help make it a little more exciting!
This TED talk
Recently I’ve been trying to listen to more podcasts. I love music, but I think podcasts can offer a good alternative that is a little more informative and gives you something to think about. This TED talk I heard was certainly thought provoking; given by a doctor who had lost her husband (also a doctor) to cancer, she talks about what makes life worth living in the face of death. One of her key points I thought was very important was the idea that living fully includes accepting suffering. And suffering together makes it more meaningful and less painful; or as she put it: “it makes it okay; even if it’s not.” I enjoyed her refreshing perspective on what is really important in life and how to persevere during difficult times – definitely worth a listen!
Last year I won a key chain that had the miniature images of saints Louis and Zelie Martin – the first married couple to be canonized. I thought they were so adorable and have love having them on my key chain since. I looked them up and was even more excited to find that they are only $5! With shipping it comes to about $7. I think this is such a good gift idea, they are so cute and inspiring! They have a ton to choose from so there’s really something for everyone.
I think photographs are so important. While having pictures on your phone or computer can be helpful, to me sitting down and looking through photos is one of the simple joys in life that I think can also be really fruitful. That’s why I decided to print a bunch of pictures and put them in a scrapbook. I bought a photo album but instead of slipping them in the plastic sleeves, took the sleeves out and glued the photos directly to the paper underneath so I could write quotes around the edges. On the sides I wrote the date and little comments about the photo (like what we were doing, the context, fun memories) and then around the margins I wrote quotes that pertained to what was going on and that were also inspirational. It has been such a fun project and there’s something really beautiful about flipping back through the moments while reading quotes about why they matter.
When I think of endurance, I think of someone who has run a marathon (or even more than 2.5 miles) or a Gatorade commercial. But I think endurance is also really important outside the context of sports. When you work out, your muscle fibers break down because of the stress, but instead of collapsing completely and leaving you incapacitated, they build back up stronger than they were before. In life we often encounter strenuous challenges; these can feel like they’re breaking us and leave us weary and disheartened. But just like those squats or an uphill run, that strain actually makes us new…it makes us stronger. Strength isn’t an absence of weakness, it’s the result of enduring suffering or strain. I think this is really important to keep in mind as we face the various difficulties -some worse than others- the tough times are preparing us to be more…and they don’t last forever.
More and more I’ve been realizing the importance of surrounding yourself with inspiration. The music we hear, the words we speak, the movies we watch…they all have an influence over us, whether we’re aware of it or not. That’s why I’m becoming such a big advocate of keeping a stash of good quotes around that you can refer to frequently. I have a notebook, in addition to the ones I put in the scrapbook and the snapshots I have of quotes I come across on Instagram. Reading them often gives me a little dose of truth and beauty that reminds me what life is really about and why the things that stress me out aren’t worth it.
Hope your week is full of inspiration!