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Life

— Life —

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I feel great today. Yes, I slept like a baby last night, and today is beautiful and sunny. Yes, the days are getting longer, harkening spring, and this morning I opened my back door and inhaled the fresh scent of pine woods. Yes, I have a lovely arrangement of purple lavender and periwinkle flowers on my breakfast table, but none of these things are why I feel great. 

Today, I feel refreshed, renewed, relaxed, and re-energized, but why?

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— Life —

Photograph by Jennifer Denton
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The late fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy said, “Life has different stages. You must realize that in life what you want more and more is simplicity: a simple room, a perfect bed, one nice table, a few objects that you really like, and a good book. 

Givenchy’s comment has me thinking about not just what happens when we downsize after our children leave home, but when we’re forced to downsize even further if we move into an assisted living or memory care facility. 

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— Life —

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Oscar de la Renta once said, “A woman makes an outfit her own with accessories,” and over the years, I’ve given it my best shot. Maybe not always with good taste and flair, but I’ve tried to elevate my outfits with accessories and make them my own. 

Truth be told, my fashion choices have sometimes been geeky, trendy, and awkward.

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— Life —

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I am grateful to Brenda for posting her interview with Lee Woodruff: A Woman of Strength. Grateful because of the wisdom Lee shares with Brenda. And grateful because it’s just what I needed to hear this week when life – “in an instant” – presented me with an “opportunity.”

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— Life —

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In 2006, while at Disney World with her four children, including five-year-old twins, Lee Woodruff got a phone call no spouse wants to receive. Her husband, Bob Woodruff, journalist, and co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight, had been critically injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Shrapnel to the brain. In their 2007, #1 New York Times Bestseller, In An Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing, Lee and Bob write with raw honesty about his injuries and the healing and recovery process for all of them. 

This week I interviewed Lee. Their story is a powerful reminder that families can heal and thrive after life-altering moments.

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— Life —

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Remember all those times you were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Maybe it was by your fourth-grade teacher. I remember sitting at my wooden desk with the ledge for pencils and each student, going around the room of desks arranged in tidy rows, being asked this very question. For many boys, the answer was, “When I grow up, I wanna be a fireman.” Other boys responded, “An astronaut.” “A policeman.” “A farmer.”

The girls in my classroom answered, “I want to be a nurse.” “A teacher.” Those were the days when career paths were so very narrow.

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— Life —

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This is the time of year we look forward to being with friends and family, but in this second year of Covid, many of our reunions have yet to materialize. It’s also the time of year some of us feel the longing and loss of loved ones who are no longer with us. On the bright side, because of what we’ve collectively been through, I think we’ve come to know ourselves better, and we’re stronger than we were before this virus.

We’ve separated the things that matter from the ones that shouldn’t have counted in the first place.

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— Life —

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Standing in my kitchen with mixing bowls, measuring spoons, my Black and Decker hand mixer, springform pan, and ingredients spread out over the counter, I’m ready. Ready to make one of my favorite holiday desserts. Pumpkin tiramisu. 

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— Life —

6,000 feet above sea level, Mexico. Photograph ©Brenda Coffee
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Not everyone decides to follow the same path in life, and that’s okay. When many of my high school and college friends were having children and climbing the corporate ladder, I chose to explore the jungles in Mexico and crawl through abandoned silver mines in the Sierra Madre mountains. While I have no regrets, the road I chose made it difficult to make new friends: I had no parent-teacher meetings or soccer games to compare notes, and my potential gal pals couldn’t identify with being an adrenaline junkie. 

Last week I saw a list on Facebook, and the instructions were to put a check mark beside the things you’ve done like had kids, been to Disneyland and sung in a choir. The list underscored how different my life has been from almost everyone I know. It also prompted me to put together a list of my own. 

My list may give you an insight into why I’ve written a memoir.

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