Day 3 – What do you believe in?

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

(Author: Buster Benson)

Sadly, I probably don’t have a strong belief that isn’t shared by my closest friends and family.  My husband and I are passionate fans of Dave Ramsey and pretty much none of my family is as passionate as we are.  Some members of his family are, but not all of them.  People get a little tired of us saying “What would Dave do?”, or talking about his baby steps.  But living a debt-free lifestyle is something that is important to us and that we are looking forward to living.  We don’t have to have the same debt as everyone else.

Also, we tend to be more conservative than most of our friends, and some of our families.  We just believe that certain things should happen – our girls should wear modest clothes (no bikinis, etc.),  our country should get it’s act together, and that government doesn’t need to be involved in every decision – people have to be free to live their lives.

I can’t say that we go around pushing our beliefs on others.  We will defend our beliefs and argue our points as needed, but we don’t push them onto others.  People just need to try to get along and even if you don’t believe the same, at least try to find common ground.

Day 2 – Today

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence?


Today is the accumulation of my yesterdays, yet still an opportunity to make a new start.

Day 1 – 15 Minutes to Live

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

(Author: Gwen Bell)

Dear Jennifer –

Just to let you know – you have 15 minutes to live.  You need to be ready.

See you soon!


Yep, that would be a “great” way to start the day.  What do I do?  There’s no time to read the Great American Novel, no time to say goodbye to EVERYONE – unless you would count the mass email that I would probably send out from my BlackBerry.  Seriously, how do you face the hour and minute you are going to die?  It’s got to be the same reaction that those who died in the September 11th attacks had.  At a certain point, you get in touch with those who love you and do your best to say your goodbyes, all while trying to stay calm and keep them calm.  How do you tell a 3-year old and a 6-year old that you won’t be there to see them grow up, but that you know they will grow up to be beautiful girls and wonderful women?  How do you tell the man you have known for over 1/2 of your life that you will always love him, and that it’s ok for him to move on  later?

How can you make up for all the things you didn’t do right?

I talk a lot about living without regrets, but when push comes to shove, regret is a part of life.  I regret not listening to my sister-in-law several years ago and getting out of debt.  I regret all the fights that I have picked over stupid stuff.  I regret all the stupid things I have said/done.  I regret not being more confident about me.

So with all these regrets, what am I thankful for?

I am thankful for many things.  I am thankful for the phone call we received 3 years ago that there were 2 little girls waiting for us.  I am thankful for all the pain and heartache that comes from being a parent, that comes from dealing with infertility, that comes from dealing with the foster care system.  I am thankful everyday for the man who has stood by me for 20 years (since we were 16), never flinching in his love and support for me, no matter what.  I am thankful for my family – even with all of our faults – who has stood by me and allowed me to make mistakes.

Where do I go from here?

All that I can do at this point is to live the life I was given.  I can make the changes that are in my power to make and try to live the life that should be lived.  Yeah, that won’t be easy, and it definitely won’t be an overnight change, but I think it needs to happen.

Dear God,

Thanks for the warning.  I’m looking forward to it.