In 2010, Phyllis Crawford’s daughter-in-law Leah Peterson asked her to contribute to a book about the lessons learned in life. These are what she shared.
I believe we were created by God and when we get to the end of our life he won’t be concerned with our job title or financial status. I think he will ask us if we became the best that we could be and did we help others to grow and become better. Did we give each and every person the respect and dignity they deserved. Every single day is an opportunity to love one another. It is a joy to stand in awe and wonder at a persons beauty, goodness and uniqueness. We are all different and can never be replaced. We all have different fingerprints. No two are alike. I think that is amazing.
I have stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma and I don’t know how much longer I have on Earth but I see God in Everyone. Spending time with my Family and Friends is all that matters. In the past I did a lot of volunteering and didn’t have much time for my Friends and now with my illness I have the luxury of spending more time with them. I have been nurturing my relationship with a few close friends. I am closer to my Husband and Children than I have ever been. To me that is truly a gift. I am so grateful for everything, I have learned to be thankful in good times and bad times. It’s just great to be alive and I take nothing for granted.
I truly believe our bodies are a temple of the holy spirit and we should take good care of it. We should exercise, get plenty of rest and eat nutritiously every day.
I always see the glass half filled not half empty. This life is a beautiful journey and God is not finished with us. Each day we are becoming. God is the God of surprises. Life is a mystery and grace filled. It is a special gift and it goes fast so enjoy every second of the day. And I do.
Many years ago Mr. Pigeon a psychology professor my Son encouraged me to take would consistently say “Be here now.” I was always looking ahead or looking back. It is good to plan for the future but one must be present and enjoy today. Bring out the good china and entertain your Family and Friends today. When I was in Italy one spring I ordered a diet coke and the man looked at me and threw up his hands and said, “Oh you Americans.” “You are going to die anyway why not have the real thing.” He was right, Life is short. When in Rome.
When I was in Rome with my children and husband I ordered coffee with my dinner and the waiter said “No no no you ruin your meal you must have wine with your meal. He was so right wine does improve a meal.
I remember my Father talking about moderation in everything. He was such a wise man and I loved him so much and really miss him. When I tend to go overboard on something I can still hear him say, “moderation in everything.” “Too much of one thing is not good.”
I have learned to listen intently to others. Sometimes I agree to disagree. And sometimes they can change my mind. I try not to be so rigid in my thinking. To be open to new ways of seeing is a good thing.
I have relationships that are life giving. Those that aren’t I let go. Some people have drained me and I just let them go.
There is beauty all around us. I live near the mountains and the scenery from my home is awesome. The deer sit on the lawn and come up to the bird feeder. Every day I look out and it is always new. For years I would take a long walk outside and every day was different. Look out at Nature every day and you will be nourished.
Set aside time to be silent. I am so happy to live in a quiet and sleepy little town. After my quiet time I read the Bible and I have learned so many gems. There are too many to count. I love Matthew 5 (the beatitudes) and Matthew 6 (about worry). I am like a sponge, I can’t seem to get enough. Every day I learn more and more how to live a better life. And my very favorite passage is from proverbs 3:56 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
While I was raising my children, I would allow them to make small decisions and give them good choices to choose from. If they were in the kitchen cooking, I would allow them to do it their way. When they were teenagers I was given great advice by a friend. She told me to zip the lip unless of course they were hanging out with the wrong crowd or getting into trouble. It is best not to probe them with questions. Instead, do a fun activity with them and they will confide in you.
I have enjoyed a great life with so many blessings. All I ever wanted was a beautiful life. I have memorized this passage from scripture and think it every day. It is from Philippians 4:8 Finally , brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, Whatever is right, Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.