Marriage and Term Limits

I have said a couple times lately that I think the fine institution of marriage needs term limits; like at year 15, you both could yell “SWAP”. Ha! What that vision would include is that somewhere during year 12 when you fantasize about pinching their nose clean off their face because they continue to leave their crap all over the house for you to clean, you could just tell yourself, “don’t do it, just a few more short years”. Ha! (I feel the need to insert “just kidding” right here. Hopefully that wasn’t necessary, but either way, just wanted to be on the safe side. Ha!)

I do have something on my mind though about this very topic. Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk when a new co-worker comes around to meet you. The both of you hit it off nicely and after a week or so of brief office chit chat, you go for a quick lunch one day. After several quick lunch dates that go fairly well, you decide to go out for dinner and a movie one Friday night. It gets to where you start noticing increased heart rate; a little excitement when you see this new interest round the corner to your office or when you see their name pop up on your phone; you feel your cheeks blush with certain eye contact or simple touches and just the thought of a kiss makes you giddy with anticipation. You begin hanging out more and more, determine that you are now going steady and get to the moment of saying those precious three little words, “I love you.” After that, you are attached to the person…feelings of possessiveness come into play, they are yours…your special person. You feel safety when you’re with them and seek them out while in a crowd. You’re just naturally drawn to them.

Typically the next step would include meeting the families, later getting engaged and finally marriage…Lord willing and the Creeks don’t rise. Right? So which part is the love part? All those mushy feelings or the part where you say “I love you”…which to me signifies that you will love them or continue the act of loving them for an undetermined amount of time? With this comes the question of today…is love a noun or a verb?

I’ve come to realize that we have a very skewed view of love when we see love as the noun…those mushy feelings if you will. Let me just tell you, feelings come and go as quick as Aunt Sally’s Homemade Banana Pudding or Uncle Fred’s Scratch and Win Lotto money. (insert eye roll)

Marriages have been thrown away for the sheer fact that one or both spouses don’t feel like they love the other any more. If love is a feeling, then yes, you probably don’t love them anymore. If love is an action (verb), you can choose whether you do or not. I think real change happens in a failing marriage when you come to view love as an action and not a feeling. You can make that choice to “act” all day long, but feelings, you have no control over; they come and go with the wind.

When we vow to love someone for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part, do we really know what we are promising? I’ve posed the question before…if we knew what til death do us part meant for us as a couple, would we still walk that aisle?

As a hospice Social Worker, my eyes are wide open as to what that phrasing means. We are saying that we will love our spouse until they take their final breath; that we will wipe their behind when they are unable to do so themselves; that we will make difficult decisions about nursing home placement; that we will spend some lonely years when the kids move out to live their own dream; that we will possibly lose our ability to help our mate when they experience a decline in health because we ourselves are experiencing a decline in health; we may look at each other from one wheelchair to another and chuckle at the fine situation you both find yourselves in this time.

Of course, all of this time from the aisle of the church to a spouse’s final breath is riddled with bad but also with much good. Funny memories are created from eating Ramen Noodles and dented-can-mystery-meat from the clearance bin because diapers and formula are super expensive; moments spent on the back porch after the babies are down for the night; sweet moments spent on the couch under a cozy blanket while you watch television…or while the television watches you cuddle and smooch; moments of pride as you see your children grow and chase their own dreams; grandbabies being born…just so many good times also.

I find myself back to the difficult question of how can one couple make it to the final breath and some make it only to ten years and a divorce attorney? I’ve decided it’s all in your perspective. You can make that choice to love or you can hit the road the moment the mushy feelings flee the scene. But I can assure you, the next relationship you run to will entail all of those same feelings initially but they too will finally dissipate. How many times do we change partners to chase those feel good mushy lovey dovey feelings that accompany new love? How many is enough?

Sipping some delicious warm soothing “muddy water” as a friend recently called it and thinking to myself that after 26 years of marriage…and no term limits…I might better view love as an action because those mushy feelings have been g-g-g-gone for a minute now. Ha! ~paula

For Whom Do You Sing Harmony?

I adore singing in the choir. I have some of my most carefree moments of each week…goofing, laughing, singing, harmonizing and practicing with my fellow choir members…who just happen to be some of my closest friends.

I sing alto, as did my sweet little mama. She managed to teach me that I would love choir…or else. Ha!

During my early years in choir, she was my choir director. Let me just tell you, when your mama was the choir director…you sang in the choir. Needless to say, I can’t say I always had a passion for singing or harmony, but it is now as much a part of who I am as my skin color, eye color, hair color and my facial features. I LOVE TO SING.

But to say I love to sing, is not really the full picture of what I love about this topic. I do sing pretty much all day long…in between patients, on the way to church, in the shower, while I listen to music on the beach… I even have to school myself NOT to hum while I’m in a conversation with someone because it could be construed as inattentiveness to what is being said. I have it bad. Ha! But the truth of what I love about singing is the harmony.

When I sing to the radio, I’m full on harmonizing. I sing alto in the choir which is primarily harmony. I feel a little disappointed when the alto line has to sing the melody and the sopranos have to bust out the harmony.

Sidenote: I realized recently that Sopranos don’t typically like to sing harmony either…so music writers…stop that. Ha! On second thought, maybe you should keep doing that occasionally so we are forced out of our comfort zones more often. But that’s a whole other topic.

Google depicts harmony as a noun that is: 1- the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions that have a pleasing effect. 2- agreement or concord. Synonyms: accord, agreement, peace, peacefulness, amicability, friendship, fellowship, cooperation, understanding, unity, rapport, like-mindedness. Basically, in music, harmony is a note that compliments the main note, the melody.

As you have gotten to know me…you knew I wouldn’t be able to let this go, right? You knew I would have to take this a step further. I couldn’t just let the definition of harmony be the end, right? There are so many life lessons all wrapped up into this one little topic. (#deepthinkerprobs)

I think that in life, we have to be the harmony to our fellow man’s melody.

As a Social Worker, I must be the harmony to my patient’s melody as I work along side them as they make decisions. I absolutely can not be the melody for my patient or families. They are the melody. I am the harmony. I accompany them as they make decisions they will live with for the rest of their lives. They are the lead. I provide necessary accompaniment.

As a wife, I must be the harmony to my husband’s melody. In this day and age it is frowned upon to say this, but he has the task of leading and I have the task of accompanying him as he accomplishes that task. Do I always play perfect harmony with him? Like, a big hell no to that. He makes me angry and crazy and absolutely nuts at times and I purposely turn that harmony right into a ‘dissonant’ chord. (Fellow music folks, do you see what I did there? Ha!) But luckily, dissonant chords are a ‘thing’ also. When a dissonant chord resolves itself into beautiful harmony again, life is good, right? That means kissing, folks. And kissing is good, right? Ha!

Moving right along. As a mother, I must be the harmony to my children’s ambitions in life. They have so many decisions to make along the way. I can’t run their lives for them. As much as we want to stop them from making the same mistakes we made, they have to live their life on their own. We can educate…harmonize, if you will…but we have to let them be their own melody. At the end of the day, they are the ones who have to lie their head down on their own pillow at night and live with their own thoughts. Not us. We live with our own thoughts.

I should probably revisit my earlier comment “we have to be the harmony to our fellow man’s melody”. What does that really mean? If we are always the harmony for others, when do we get to be our own melody? Almost always would be the answer. If everyone learned to compliment other’s melodies, there would always be someone available to be your harmony as well.

“Your true character is most accurately measured by how you treat those who can do nothing for you.” – Mother Teresa

Just sipping some Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée Coffee and thinking about puttin’ on a kitchen concert. Where’s my spatula mic??? I’m about to bust out some major harmony…whose gonna tackle the melody for me??? ~paula

Haiku! Bless You! I Didn’t Sneeze.

I have always secretly loved a good Haiku. You know…5-7-5? I’m not so much in love with reading Haikus as I am with writing Haikus. I come up with these little suckers in my mind if I’m bored or if I see something funny or if I’m especially impressed with something or if I’m especially annoyed with something. I do this pretty much all the time. I have never once written one down nor have I ever shared this with anyone. Some things are better left unsaid. (Ha!) But seriously, the more I write, the more I realize I am definitely a literary geek…and I’m okay with that…so I decided to get a few of these on paper. Hope you enjoy!

HAIKU

To write a Haiku.

Lines 1-2-3, 5-7-5.

Syllable counts, rock!

>>>————>

<————<<<

COCKROACH

Oh cockroach, oh roach.

I ate you when I was three.

Your legs were crunchy.

>>>————>

<————<<<

BEACH

Waves, larger than life.

Your sound clears all of my thoughts.

Breeze, therapeutic.

>>>————>

<————<<<

CAT LITTER

Thank God for your help.

But I hate your smelliness.

These cats gotta go.

>>>————>

<————<<<

HALLMARK CHANNEL

You let me space out.

Love will always win on here.

No stress for my brain.

>>>————>

<————<<<

SKITTLES

So sweet in my mouth.

I love colors of rainbow.

Happy when with you.

>>>————>

<————<<<

GIRLS

We smell super sweet.

“The taste of cherry chapstick”

Katy Perry likes.

>>>————>

<————<<<

COFFEE

Warm deliciousness.

Trickling into my throat.

Keeping me happy.

>>>————>

<————<<<

DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY

You make me so sick.

I wish you would go to hell.

You make me so sick.

>>>————>

<————<<<

TO KISS

You can close your eyes.

Passion and fiery desire.

Never kiss too fast.

>>>————>

<————<<<

CHRISTMAS

Lights that sparkle bright.

Children’s smiles are everywhere.

Family gathers.

>>>————>

<————<<<

MY HOUSE

It never stayed clean.

Minimalist lifestyle now.

Keep the clutter gone.

>>>————>

<————<<<

WEINER DOGS

They love to burrow.

Quirky personalities.

Annoying but great!

>>>————>

<————<<<

MUSIC

I can’t live without.

It speaks deeply to my soul.

I get that from Mom.

>>>————>

<————<<<

TELL IT LIKE IT IS

I speak my own mind.

Can I use cuss words sometimes?

I get that from Dad.

>>>————>

<————<<<

KETO

Bake, bake, bake bacon.

Omelettes and yumminess.

Shrinking fat rolls now.

>>>————>

<————<<<

MARRIAGE

Can be wonderful.

Can be very annoying.

Make me a sammich.

>>>————>

<————<<<

RAIN

Rain cleanses my thoughts.

I am a pluviophile.

Rain showers are nice.

>>>————>

<————<<<

Sipping coffee and assuming this attempt to entertain myself has you guys pretty bored right about now. (Ha!) But writing Haikus is totally mind clearing. I encourage you to try. ~paula

We Can’t Continue the Madness.

I began writing this particular entry some time in April of this year but shelved it for a while. I pulled it back up tonight to review what I had written. How strange that I chose today to pull this particular rough draft up and read it when I had just had similar thoughts while driving around today. Fate? Possibly.

Incase you didn’t know, I’m an absolute SUCKER for a good romance novel. Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a younger version of myself would have only been caught reading trashy romances capable of sizzling your panties right off. Well, being the classy, reputable, upstanding, good Christian lady that I am, (stop laughing, all you folks that know I can still drop a cuss word faster than my, once Naval, husband) fast forward to present day, when I read only Christian romance…or at bare minimum, romance without as much juice. Did I mention I am an absolute SUCKER for a good romance?

Moving right along; I remember a particularly well written book by Francine Rivers, “And the Shofar Blew”. The fictional story of the struggles of Paul Hudson, a young pastor who had just taken on a new church and his wife Eunice, who tried to find common ground as her husband poured heart and soul into building God’s Kingdom…but oftentimes at the expense of marriage and family. One Sunday as my own pastor shared from the pulpit of removing some of the excess from our chaotic lives, I immediately thought of this book. As I sat and compared his sermon that day to what I remembered from the fictional Hudson’s, it seemed that you could be too busy, even doing what naturally seemed to be God’s business, to truly be working toward God’s business. Let that sink in. You could be too busy doing what naturally appeared to be God’s business to truly be working on God’s business.

Picture this…a young mom missing her baby girl’s t-ball games for the singles prayer group every Tuesday night and women’s ministry every Thursday night…a pastor constantly working late in his office on the next sermon while missing dinners with his wife who eats alone most nights…a deacon who constantly visits church members in the hospital but doesn’t have enough time to take his wife to her doctor appointments…a dad who teaches Sunday school, facilitates a small group and works on the ground crew but is unable to locate the time for family devotion and prayer with his wife and kids. Man, all sound like wonderful tasks that are very commendable, but when there is an expense to family or our own well-being, does it continue to be God-breathed? I’m leaning toward a negative.

Why do we keep up the church charade? Why do we feel like it’s better to keep up appearances than to truly live the Love of God, show the Love of God, share the Love of God or give the Love of God? If we are not showing this love to our family including church family and other humans in our paths, are our priorities correctly aligned? Again, I’m leaning toward a negative.

How do we get ourselves so loaded with so many things to do that we lose our focus on the why; our relationship with a God who loved us so deeply and without restraint that He sent His only Son to die for us, and to share the love of Christ with others so they can have that same relationship. I think we have such good intentions when we start our walk. Somehow we get overloaded and all of this service turns into struggle.

How can we keep from being overloaded with “service” in the church? It mostly happens so gradually we don’t see it coming, until one day we wake up and realize we don’t even have time to sit with God’s Word and just listen for that still, small voice. The voice we should long to hear.

Please don’t misconstrue what I’m sharing tonight. You can’t stop working in the church. Often a small handful are stuck doing many jobs because of the inactivity of others. If we all shared equally, things could be so much better. We can’t stop working, but we can make certain we have time for what are the only important things; time spent in God’s Word, time spent in prayer and time spent sharing our faith with others. I’m pretty certain time spent in prayer while actually listening to God’s voice and direction would provide the wisdom to know what services are for you and which are not.

I think my desire for less chaos has forced me to evaluate all areas of my life. My cluttered home, that I’m proud to say is slowly becoming less cluttered (still looks like hell because it often gets worse before it gets better, but I see improvements weekly, guest bedroom is next); my cluttered schedule, that still needs a good spring cleaning but has clearly shown mild improvement lately; and, my cluttered mind that often has too much to think about, but even that is regularly getting spruced up now thanks to Coffee with Paula.

What areas do you need to clear out, de-clutter? We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and be about God’s business. We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and raise healthy, well-adjusted children. We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and maintain our own physical or mental well-being. We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and maintain healthy relationships with children, family, spouses or friends.

Sipping coffee and wondering how I managed to combine panty sizzling romance novels, a minimalist lifestyle and our relationship with God all into one entry in this little spot I call my happy place…and hoping it encouraged some thoughts tonight. ~paula

I See You for what You are.

Dear Depression and Anxiety,

I truly despise you with every ounce of my being.

You steal joy and replace it with an empty, colorless void. You freely create disinterest where interest should be full. You cripple. You ostracize. You create a sense of hopelessness. You rob marriages of happiness. You steal parents from children. You make spouses lonely…even when they sit so close their hands are touching; lonely. You make co-workers see lazy when lazy is the farthest from the truth.

Most can’t see the two of you. Some see both of you; as vivid as if you were both entities of your own; living, breathing entities. Some see the symptoms you create but can only speculate as to the cause of those symptoms. Some see the absent friend, spouse or parent and assume they don’t care enough to show up to some special occasion or event. Because of you, negative thoughts and comments are exchanged such as “how could they miss this”. Even those that understand the why, can’t control the emotional response of anger and hurt from that missing family member or friend who just couldn’t make themselves leave the house that day…because of the two of you!

Depression and Anxiety, you are both truly disgusting and because of you, moments of intimacy for couples can be so few and far between they wonder if they ever had a sex life or what it would be like to actually have one again? Because of you, friendships are ruined by unanswered calls/texts and countless declined offers for lunches, movies, bowling, fishing, shopping. Because of you, jobs are lost when absences outweigh days present.

Depression, how revolting you are to me…you can make a person that is so full of love, willing to do some of the most seemingly selfish things…miss important events, leave bills for a spouse to deal with, not answer a call/text on purpose, not plan a spouse’s 40th birthday, miss family trips, leave children wondering why you missed their track meet, stop dying patients from spending precious time with family, stop adult children from attending their parent’s retirement dinner, make a spouse drink so many beers before bed on an anniversary night that they fall asleep in the recliner before any intimacy was shared. You’ve even made a parent miss their child’s baptism.

Anxiety, how revolting you are to me as well…you can make a person that is so full of love be grouchy and cranky and snippy toward the ones they love because you make them so worried about being worried that they are distracted with figuring out what the worry is, making them easily annoyed when approached with even the simplest of topics…because it adds more for them to think about. You also rob of restful sleep that could help them deal with you more effectively. Very low blow anxiety, very low blow. You sir, are no gentleman!

Just so you know, not that either of you care, but it must be said…Being married to a person with depression and anxiety can be the loneliest place in the universe. On the flip side of that, being married to a person who doesn’t have depression and anxiety, while you do, can also be the loneliest place in the universe.

Depression and Anxiety, you remind me of Satan. You sound like the biblical description of Satan. Let that sink in. You fit the Bible’s description of Satan. 1 Peter 5:8-9 …”the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”. John 10:10…”the thief comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy”. Depression and Anxiety, you both walk around like roaring lions, seeking whom you may devour; you come to steal, kill and destroy…but I want you to know that I am on to your ways. I see you for what you are.

I attribute the growing suicide rate to you both! I firmly believe you are the demons who whisper to your victims that suicide is the only way to freedom and true peace. You lure your unsuspecting victims toward you with a siren’s song of peace and tranquility; straight into the clutches of your death talons! I see you for what you are.

What a loathsome duet you both create!

As a Social Worker, I’ve heard countless tales of your effects; day in and day out; countless tales. As a Social Worker, I feel helpless at times as the tricks of the trade I teach are only minimally effective. The medicines prescribed are also only minimally effective and come with side effects that are often more distressing than just dealing with the original problem; you two! I see you for what you are.

As of right now, Depression and Anxiety, you are winning the battle but you will not win the war! This letter needed to be written so as to leave no room for doubt as to my loathing your existence, as do countless others. I pray daily that the two of you go back to the depths of hell from whence you came…and one day you will. I see you for what you are.

Angry inside for the millions effected directly and indirectly; sipping coffee like Kermit, but mad. ~paula

How Do I Have an Affair? (Asking for a Friend)

I sat down at the dining room table the other day and started making some notes. I decided I wanted to have an affair and I needed to make a check list of who I might want to start with. You know, make a list of who I wanted to have an affair with, places we could go together and ways to keep it on the down low…said no one ever…in the history of the world. (I had you going there for a minute, didn’t I? Ha!)

Comments such as “Hayden and Cameron are getting divorced because Cameron had an affair with the assistant coach” and “Reese and Taylor are getting divorced because Taylor had an affair with the secretary” are becoming so prevalent. The list goes on and on.

Who walks that magical aisle on their perfect day assuming they will one day have an affair? Who picks out honeymoon locations thinking in the back of their mind “Oh, in just 29 short years, I’ll be picking out my affair partner”? No one. No one does that.

It is often said in disgust, “they made the choice to have that affair, now they have to deal with the consequences”. Really? Did they make that choice? Did the guilty parties ever sit down and mull over the specific question…to have an affair or not to have an affair? My guess is no. My guess is that specific decision never ran through their minds.

Well, if that decision never ran through their minds, how did it happen? How did an affair occur? How could she agree to sit with him at that bar for two hours while they shared marriage woes? Because he had been coming into her office at work to chat most afternoons and they had developed a friendship. How could she decide to meet him for a scheduled and planned drink? Because she had accidentally ran into him at the pub two weeks prior, had fun and had gotten the attention she craved with two hours of conversation before going home to a spouse that is disengaged. How could he decide to buy her that single rose and place it on her desk at work? Because he knew she loved roses, she seemed very appreciative of the drink he bought for her the other night while his wife no longer shows appreciation for his gifts. How could she decide to meet him at the beach for the day? Because they had already met for drinks (one accidental, one planned) she was given a rose which was so romantic and she was getting the attention from him that she used to get from her husband and by this point, probably felt the proverbial butterflies with all of the attention. Why did he ask her to meet him at the beach for the day? Because he wanted to be more intimate and cozy with her, away from prying eyes, eyes that might recognize what was going on between them.

If he had invited her to the beach for the day without all of the initial chatty afternoons, chance meetings and romantic gestures, would she have agreed to it? Probably not. Would he have ever asked her for such a bold step? Again, probably not. Would either of them have moved past an accidental meeting for drinks if their needs were being met at home? Why would they need to? So nope.

The baby steps we take to the edge of that cliff aren’t as noticeable as the huge leap over. Casting Crowns is a band known for their song Slow Fade that sums up the descent so nicely. Excerpts are as follows:

Be careful little eyes what you see. It’s the second glance that ties your hands, as darkness pulls the strings…

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away. It’s a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray. And thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid, when you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day…It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade…

The journey from your mind to your hands, is shorter than you’re thinking. Be careful if you think you stand, you just might be sinking….

Basically, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

So, how do we guard our hearts against an affair? How do we make our marriage a priority when we wonder if it’s even worth it to bother?

For all of us who have been married more than 20 years…or over one year for some…we all know what it’s like to feel ignored, unattractive, undesired, unimportant to the one person who vowed to be our person for all time. Gosh, we all get lazy in our pursuit of this person we chose to be our mate. We get complacent in our quest to win this mate because we already won that race, right? We already have our prize, right? We have their hand for all time, right? Wrong.

I’m pretty certain this “pursuit” should continue until “death do us part”. If not, you both are destined to have a fairly miserable life. We all want to feel loved, cherished, respected, sought after. If not, it’s very easy to be tempted by the first set of eyes that give a little attention. Slicing-through-warm-butter easy!

Spouses, you better be flirting. You better be setting up appointments to date your mate. You better be intentional about making your mate feel as if they are your priority. You both had better be attentive to intimacy needs…out of the bedroom as well as under the covers. You better be giving compliments to each other…in front of others. You better be putting your marriage before your kids, they are moving out one day, your spouse is not. (Settle down, I don’t mean neglect your kid’s true needs.) Spouses you better be seeking ways to serve others together. Spouses you better be constantly setting goals together, working toward them together, then setting more once they are reached.

Sipping coffee at midnight, thinking about our date tonight that was planned 100% by my honey as a surprise…feeling loved and cherished. Do I always feel loved and cherished? Nope. But do I tonight? Yep. ~paula

Shut the “bleep” up and Reroute Already!

Has google maps ever sent you on the quickest route? But that “quicker route” required you to do 6 u-ey’s and 3 loop-de-loops into approximately 42 lanes of oncoming traffic? As in, it’s definitely going to get you there quicker…assuming you’re not killed in the process…but it may not be the simplest, least stressful route.

Often in my workday (Social Work) I find myself driving to crazy locations and needing some navigational assistance to get there. I don’t always want to follow the specific route google plans, so I may take a side street over to another side street to get back onto the specific path google has laid out. During that time, my google lady is repeatedly saying “make a u-turn”…”make a u-turn”…”make a u-turn”. I find myself saying so often during the work day, “Would you just shut the hell up and reroute already?!” (I say other things in traffic as well, but I’ll leave it at that for now as all of my other “traffic related” sayings are for another entry…another day…another more adult rating. Ha!)

But why is it necessary for us to always follow the directions to a T? Aren’t there always a few different ways to arrive at a specific destination? Some routes are more simple, more direct, more carefree, while others are more stressful, more lengthy, more difficult. You still arrive at the same destination. Right?

I must admit though that different days call for different paths. For instance, if I have only 3 patients for the day, I want to take the path of least resistance, the path that takes me down two lane roads where I can enjoy the scenery through open windows, radio blasting and hair whipping. (And quite possibly the occasional cigarette if the mood strikes, but I swear to God if you tell anyone I’ll deny it. Ha!) But for a day when I really need to see 62 patients, I want the interstate, 26.7 u-ey’s and a couple loop-de-loops to get to each patient in a super quick manner.

But as I ponder trips, routes and destinations, I can’t help but think of the many road trips I’ve taken since I was a child. Some with parents and grandparents, some with my parents and baby brother. As I got older, some with friends, some with the hubby and some with my hubby and kids. (I have a lot of trips under my belt folks because I quite literally always sit on ready.)

But what was most important about all of those trips…the destination or the journey? Some, like my husband, might assume the destination is the highlight. He can literally only see two things on a road trip: point A and point B. Nothing, I repeat, nothing in between those points are important to him…so unimportant that I suspect he would be quick to debate their actual existence. He tends to be a stickler for departure times, arrival times and sticking to the discussed and pre-approved itinerary. Now don’t get me wrong, Disney World is phenomenal, the beach is divine, the mountains so majestic. But the most cherished part to me is the journey itself.

Intentionally driving through small towns off the beaten path just to try a quaint little locally owned restaurant with savory dishes that have never before graced your taste buds. Spending an afternoon walking the streets of a huge city you’re passing through to experience sub-cultures not your own that open your mind to thinking outside your comfortable little box. Gazing through car windows at scenery you’ve seen only in print. Laughing at jokes told by friends to pass the time until the next stop. Ragging whoever missed that last turn while determining whose fault…the navigator or the driver. Singing to the top of your lungs while an old favorite plays on the radio, taking you back in time to some other road trip…another set of shenanigans. And last but not least, the perfection of bladders syncing and all who are along for the ride needing to stop at the same time…the journey.

Make time to intentionally enjoy the moments given; force google maps to chill out and redirect already…it’s simply a must. We are each given one life on this earth. I choose to use each moment to savor the goodness…especially sips of this steaming nighttime cup…or am I cheating and drinking ice cold sweet tea? I’ll let you decide.

Til the next pot…or pitcher. ~paula