That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.
Emily Dickinson

My brother, Alan, lived in California and used to send me the most wonderful birthday cards. This quote was on the front cover of a card he sent to me ten years ago- during one of my most difficult times ever.

My first reaction frankly was… frustration and sadness. “Great, it will never come again, and it’s not good. I’ve missed the chance to make it good. I will never get to do this time over again.”

But then, I realized that it didn’t say it was sweet because it was good. It was sweet because this was the only time for this time.

My thought changed again: “If it won’t come again, I better make it as good as I can- even though I’m struggling. I better make it as good for my children as I can- even though they are struggling. How can I make it sweet?”

Last month, I sent you some ideas for enjoying the holidays. I started doing some of these things at the end of my first marriage when I was so miserable. And then, my husband and I developed some of them when we were struggling so much in our stepfamily. (I’d love to hear from any of you if they were helpful.)

One of my favorites is to give up perfection- and just count all the sweet moments you can find. Our time is precious with our children in stepfamilies and single parent families. Stop counting the days you have with or without your kids, and count all the wonderful moments. Stop trying to have the perfect holiday or weekend, but keep track of all those great moments over one weekend.


The same is true for your partner, other family members and friends. Don’t let one more day go by without making sure you are “up to date” with all the people in your life that you love– yes, even if you are having difficulties or problems with them.

Take some pressure off yourself and enjoy the present minutes with your kids, family and friends.

This practice of intentional living can be a great source of comfort to you no matter where you are in your life- happy or sad, frustrated, lonely, or heartbroken.

Practice it, and find those sweet moments in every day- just waiting for you to see them.

eatingfruit A few ways to “practice living the sweet life“:

Make a gratitude list, and count 5 things you are grateful for every day. Don’t just count the big stuff. Count the sheets on your bed, the sun in the sky, a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and the flowers.

Measure your time with your family by the things you do or have done together, not the number of days you are together.

Remember where you are is better than you think. The grass is never greener in anyone else’s life. Everyone has problems and difficulties you don’t know about. Be happy in your own yard.

Be “up to date” with all the people in your life that you love– yes, even if you are having difficulties or problems with them.