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Lessons Learned from my Sister


My sister is amazing

Ok, this one isn't so much about sticks and hooks and string, but it is life lessons learned from one of my most favorite people.

My sister Beth has been here with me a lot recently, and I am so lucky and blessed and thankful. She was here in October, and when I needed to downsize and move to Little House, she offered to come and help out.

That's what the very best people do. They come, with their big giant hearts and baskets full of talents and they jump in and help out. If it was grocery shopping, or laundry, or caring for sweet guy, or moving and pitching and packing and purging, my sister Beth was here. And in the time we spent together I learned a lot of good lessons that I am walking forward with. So I'm sharing, because maybe you don't have the greatest sister in the world, so I'll share mine.

This fall, as my world shattered into a million pieces, my sister Beth was here to hold my heart and be by my side. She is amazing. The day she arrived from Wisconsin she did 6 loads of laundry. (I had gotten behind...) Keeping busy under stress is her coping thing, so my house was the cleanest it had been in ages. We worked side by side to take care of sweet guy at the very end. She is amazing. We didn't learn everything the easy way, but we were a team and if you have a person by your side who is amazing, you can do almost anything.

So lessons I've learned from my sister.

- Give the world your best self every day. My sister is a cancer survivor, double knee replacement, double hip replacement gal. You can't tell a minute of that when you meet her. Because every single day, she brings her very best Beth out into the world. She doesn't wallow or complain, she just shows up with her very best self and asks, "What can I do to help?" Bring out your very best self, every day.

- Be brave. Go bravely at the next task. You can do nearly everything you decide you can do. So, go bravely. You've got this. If it is cables and lace or your first dishcloth, go bravely. Rewiring a new light fixture, you've got this. You can do nearly everything you put your mind and heart to.

- Be bold. Laugh out loud, pick the color you love the most. Be bold. The only person who has to live with the boring choice is you. So go ahead, paint the wall purple, wear red, knit a fantastic thing with a million colors. Be bold. Laugh out loud in the restaurant and don't look around to see if you are being watched. Be bold.

- Be kind. Kindness is free. It costs us absolutely nothing to be kind. Hold the door, pay a stranger a compliment, use soft words when you talk to those you love and the rest of the world. Be kind. Walking with my sister and doing what we needed to do, and knowing her battle with cancer, I am reminded every day. Be Kind. We can never know the path the person next to us is walking, cancer, grief, pain, but a little kindness goes a long way to soften the hurts.

- The gift of someone's time is more precious than all the money in the world. My sister is married to an amazing guy, they have two great kids and a host of grandkids that are a part of their lives every day. But when I needed help, my sister came. She gave me the gift of her time and her compassion. Time away from her people to be with me and my person, and then to just be with me as I transitioned to the 'next'. There is no price tag on a person's freely given time. Give someone the gift of your time. Fix the dropped stitch, teach the next skill, help pack up the assortment of years of life, offer to be a care giver, give people your time.

- Together is always better. I may be fierce, but my sister is a force to be reckoned with. Put the two of us together and we were unstoppable. Beth and her sweet guy are the embodiment of better together. If you have the choice of being together with someone who makes you stronger or more clever or more brave or makes your heart sing, go be with  that person. Being together with someone who makes you more amazing is always better.

- Hug like you mean it. My sister Beth and her sweet guy give the best hugs. Not little polite, 'bless your heart hugs' big giant hugs that let you know that they are really there for you. Give big hugs.

- Paint and a steady hand may be magic. Little House was and is perfect in every way, except it was green. Really green. Every room the same color of green and the rest of a 5 gallon bucket in the shed in case we needed more. Really green. Beth can cut in paint free hand and is NOT afraid to tackle bold colors and 3 coats. She has a steady hand in paint and in life, and she's pretty magical.

- A pair of blue jeans that actually fit and look good might be worth the effort of trying on a million pairs. But, you MUST have reinforcements for the shopping. I'll leave the details out, but I'm wearing jeans that for the first time in many years fit well and I feel like a rock star in them.

- Love on a good dog every chance you get. Beth has her Lulu, but she was more than happy to love on my Abbie girl while she was here. Lucky Abbie!

- Tell people you love them, every time. We don't know what might happen around the next corner, do not have regrets and wish you had said the words. Tell people you love them. Really.

- Make your bed. Yup. That's the last best lesson. Make.Your.Bed. There is something wonderful that I realized when I was in the middle of all the scared and sad and panicked: crawling into a crisply made bed at the end of the day really is a comfort. The first couple days Beth was here in October I came home and she had made my bed. (I was a sloppy covers person.) But at the end of the day and whatever challenges we navigated crawling into a crisply made bed made me think I could do it all over again the next day. Her grandpeople have been schooled in making beds, and now I have to. I'm making my bed everyday now. (But not with hospital corners, don't tell...)

So there you have it. Lessons learned or re-learned with my amazing sister. I am blessed. Go be your best, be kind, be brave, be together, go boldly. And make your bed.

In hooks and sticks and string.



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