I think one of the statements I hear myself saying more and more as time goes by is, “I can’t believe it’s already _________ (the current date).” My parents and teachers were so right all the years ago: time flies, and the older you get, the faster it goes. I needed to pick up a few items for a “Lips and Sips” party last week, so my son and I ran into Hobby Lobby to get what we needed. In mid-August all the fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving AND Christmas and New Year’s decorations and party supplies are already fully stocked. In August, y’all!

Pumpkin SpiceAs much as I love a good Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’m not quite sure I want summer to come to a close just yet. (Good thing I live in Coastal Georgia where we can play summer for quite a while longer!)

I woke up with a Christmas song in my head this morning. I LOVE Christmas, but I’m not ready for it yet!

I heard someone say recently that our generation is more able than any previous generation to fight the power of the changing seasons through inventions like central heating and a/c and with lighting that allows our “days” to remain long even when the sun begins setting earlier; but that even with these modern-day conveniences, we’re designed to live through changing seasons. Fighting them too much can cause problems for us in the long-run. (But, even with that, I don’t plan to give up central heat or air!) Some of the problems that come, for example, because of electricity is not getting enough sleep because we can trick our brains by using light and the technology of computers, smart phones, TV’s, tablets, etc that keep our brains active long after the sun has set on the day.

Years ago, when Church 4 Chicks was still meeting in Atlanta, I loved inviting other speakers to come share from their wisdom to the ladies attending. One of my favorites was a friend who is also a clinical psychologist. I’ll never forget the power of her statement that we are designed to be “present” — we have one body that only can be in one place at any given time. We have the boundary of time as well. There is only so much time in which to live out our days and our lives. It’s so easy to get caught by the drifting tide of life that takes us to places we never set out to go: overly busy, overly scheduled, or the other extreme of boredom and laziness.

On a mission trip in 2000, I found myself in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a whole bunch of teenagers. I was about to turn 26 and had just started getting serious about a guy named Stephen Hendrix. I also had two little girls at home that I was missing terribly. Being in another continent was freaking my mama heart out! Throughout the trip to the Atlanta Airport, then catching a connecting flight in Miami, and all throughout the plane ride and commute to the school where we’d be staying for the week, I had a MAJOR battle going on inside of me. I just wanted to go HOME. The first full day we were there, a man from another group got up to speak and I don’t remember much about him or all of what he said, but ONE thing he said really got my attention. He told us that because we only have the ability to be in one place at a time, and because this is where we were, it was now our choice whether or not to fully engage right where we were. He invited us to trust God with our loved ones at home and to be present right where we were or we’d miss out on something really special.

This is a life lesson that has never left me. I am grateful for a trip that took me to another hemisphere if for no other reason than that I learned the power of practicing being PRESENT.

In learning to live a more beautiful life, I’m practicing the power of being present even now as I’ve entered the second half of my life. With so many changes through our move to the coast, starting a counseling, coaching and consulting practice with Stephen, and even starting this new life theme that I’m now sharing with whoever decides to join me on the journey, I’m enjoying a more beautiful life by choosing to find the beauty in where I am on the way to wherever it is I’m going. If I’m not intentional with this practice, I can easily fall prey to living in the past with regret or longing for what youth I no longer have. If I’m not careful, I can easily get so caught up in the hopes for tomorrow while missing out on what the joys of today bring. And, in all honesty, if I’m not careful, I can also miss out on being present through the sorrows and hurts of life by numbing myself to them and missing out on the healing God offers through authenticity in my own soul and in my relationships.

We had a nearly total solar eclipse just yesterday. Everyone chose how they wanted to make the most of that unusual event. I decided to treat the day like a holiday, to meet with friends, to be present with people I love and to celebrate each little sighting we got to enjoy through the cloud cover. Even with the rain, it was a beautiful day. Moments enjoyed became memories to treasure.

I’m curious about how you’re learning to live a more beautiful life. What practice have you cultivated that you find is making your life a more beautiful one?