Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

November 26, 2014

I am writing this today straight from my heart, I am THANKFUL.

Thankful for the beauty of family and the complexities of it too.

I grew up in a small cluster, My Mom, Dad, Sister and myself.

Even as I write this I find that my sentences are short and small.

A symbol of the tight and tiny unity that we shared.

Growing up on a farm in Idaho, far removed from the rest of the world,

I was sheltered, protected, and nurtured.

My sister grew up.

I grew up.

We left the safety of our parents and our home.

I went on to marry and have a family.

My sister moved away and married.

My sister went on a boating trip, she never returned from that trip.

Only one of the four people who went boating in Puget Sound that day did.

He was not alive.

That was 38 years ago.

Naturally, there is not a day that goes by that Sandra is not in my heart and thoughts.

I always wonder how different all of our lives would have been.

I wonder who and what her children may have been like.

I miss her.

This tragic experience forever altered my little family's  response to situations, attitude, expectations,

mind set and behavior.

We were forced to focus on what we had, because what we had lost was so great.

We became increasingly aware, with a deliberate mindset, of what we had to be THANKFUL for.

We prayed, we read, we prayed some more.

We worked, and continue to work on learning how to cast aside-

sweating over much of the small stuff.

Now we are in full Holiday mode and there are many sentimental triggers for most of us.

We are swinging into Thanksgiving, and then Christmas is just around the corner.

As much as we embrace these times of gratitude and thankfulness, it is very easy to become

overwhelmed with family expectations, old hurts, sweet and sad memories and loss.

"To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest

ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being."

~John Lubbock

During my usual morning routine, while drinking my coffee and folding clothes.

(This darling tin apron, which hangs on my laundry wall, thank you Samantha!)

Got me to thinking about how all of us, every single one of us...has a messy life.

Those of us who are buying Turkeys, making pies, chopping celery for the stuffing.

We are all a mixture of our messy life experiences, but we can change ourselves and the scars

in our memories by going with a deliberate and conscious mindset into each day.

We have the beautiful opportunity to create new experiences, new memories, and stronger

bonds by choosing to live a life with thankfulness, inspiration, forgiveness, and letting go.

"Experience is not what happens to a man.  It is what man does with what happens to him."

~ Aldous Leonard Huxley

Today I am thankful for all of my family, for those who have gone to be with our Heavenly Father.

For my beautiful children, grandchildren, and step children.  Your lives have enriched mine.

I am thankful for having the complexities that go along with  having you all, to call you mine, to be

with you, to walk with you, to love you.

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Ones, with all of my love.


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  1. What a beautiful written post my friend. The holidays sure bring a mixture of happiness and sadness. I miss the big Thanksgivings I had as a child and then when my boys were growing up. But my hubby and I cook a wonderful meal and give thanks for what we have. Sending you hugs for being my friend. Happy Thanksgiving, Diane

  2. You touched my heart with your heartfelt words. Yes, we do all carry hurts and pains from the past but you are so right about being thankful for the present gifts both in people and things that make up our lives today. Growing up in a very dysfunctional family where holidays were hard, I now strive for family members to feel love and acceptance as we make memories when we gather to celebrate all God has done for us...

  3. Words would not do this justice, my friend.
    I am grateful for you, this Thanksgiving and always.

  4. What a beautiful post and so well said. I'm so sorry about your sister. Life is a gift we need to be mindful of that. I'm thankful for so many things but these days I focus on my mom since she's 92 and I'm thankful she's still with us. Happy Thanksgiving Jemma!

  5. So beautiful and heartfelt, Jemma. No matter the situation, our family is everything. May you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving with those you love.

  6. Such a beautiful and poignant post, Jemma. The pain of such a profound loss never goes away, but is surely different for those whose hope rests in Jesus. My husband lost his 18 year old older brother when he was a kid. It changes life forever. Such a thought provoking post. Reminds me to reach out to others. We never know what sadness others are going through.

  7. Oh Jemma - your post is so beautiful. I never knew that about you. Did you know I lost a brother when he was 51? It is so hard to lose a sibling - one less person in the world that just loves you so much. We will never forget but we will move forward. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. That you were surrounded by love and family. Hugs, sandie

  8. Beautiful, dear Jemma. I loved all of it.

    your blog sister,

  9. A lovely, heartfelt post, Jemma. Thank you for sharing it with us. I lost a sister {she was 3 years younger than me} when she was 47...due to cancer in 2000. It was such a shock! From the day the Doctors told her til the day she died, was less than 3 months. We'd celebrated 47 birthdays together {mine is Oct. 8th and hers was Oct 12th} and then she was gone. Birthdays, especially, hold alot of memories and haven't been the same. I still miss her too. Hugs to you...♥

  10. Sweet Jemma,

    You are a communicator. Yes, you do pretty really well, here on your lovely blog, but you have a talent for, with all its colourful, sometimes messy, as you mention, moments. I am so very sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your beloved sister, Sandra. You are an amazingly strong individual, and I know that through your faith, your family, and your friends, you have managed to create a happy and secure place in which to grow and prosper and pray. Thank you for sharing your unique story of your beginnings, and a little bit about what makes you such a beautiful person, inside and out.

    Hope you had a peaceful Thanksgiving.

    Happy December!


  11. Oh my heart was so touched by your life story of losing your sister...I have sisters and I know how amazing that relationship is. Beautifully expressed.


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