"Celebrate Life" is a phrase I picked up from a friend and then I followed the bunny trail. It began with my friend (Tom we'll name him) who got diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Tom told me this story:
His boyhood friend, Donald(also re-named. We will just re-name everyone unless they happen to find this and don't mind me sharing real names:) got diagnosed with cancer in high school. When Donald thought he was going to beat the cancer, he and his dad had a "Celebrate Life" night-I guess very simply celebrating the fact that he was still alive and very, very grateful. Just a few years later while Tom was in college he was also diagnosed with cancer. As soon as the cancer was removed, following in Donald's footsteps, he also had a "Celebrate Life" night with his dad. To this day, Tom shared with me, he remembers to thank God he is alive.
I became intrigued with the idea of Celebrating Life.
Shortly after hearing this story, a dear friend of mine, younger than I, passed away from cancer last year. His friendship has been a shining example of what it means to Celebrate Life. His life changed mine for the better. And for that I will always be deeply grateful. I didn't learn until after his death that the phrase "Celebrate Life" was also a part of his story:
My friend had gone through a year and a half of chemo and radiation at the young age of 17. After being declared in remission for one summer, he was excited to finally be able to serve a mission for the LDS Church. He was sorely disappointed, however, to learn that 6 months later the cancer was back. His family had been planning a remission celebration cruise for the following month, but upon learning of the terrible news, taking it in stride as they always do, they changed the theme to "Celebrate Life". The bunny trail continues.
The summer after my friend's death, I found the story of a man named Randy Pausch on youtube. I was glued to the screen. I watched his "Last Lecture" and then proceeded to watch as many interviews of him I could find. Randy was a Carnegie-Mellon professor who passed away in 2008 from cancer. His journey to death and impressions on life were highly televised. I was struck by the similarities between him and my friend, and then I found one more similarity. He also mentioned the phrase "Celebrate Life".
Now my path was sure. I was on to this phrase and I wanted to know what it meant. I wanted to find a way to improve my life and live in such a way, that what I had learned from my friend would be carried on in me.
I thought about it, and I thought about it. And then one day it came to me quite simply. Life is simple really. In my mind, it came down to 4 simple Pillars: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun. I figured if I covered these bases in my life, the most important areas in my life would be covered and the rest would work itself out. Afterall, nothing matters more to me than God, my family, my friends, and enjoying the life God gave me. In the end, I think it will all come down to that, and how we treated others.
Part of the reason my friend inspired me so much is because I fall short so often from living the truth I know. This little challenge or program I have put together for myself is my effort to strive to be a little better everyday and to achieve my dreams.
It goes like this: For 30 days, I pick a goal within each of the 4 areas of Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun. I find a way for me to help mark my progress and help me stay accountable. Part of the reason for marking my progress is so that you see the blessings, the DIRECT blessings that come into your life because of this challenge and making these small changes. I believe God always blesses us when we move in the direction of eternal life.
Second, after choosing these four goals, I pick and impossible dream I want to see come true in my life. I don't plan on it happening in 30 days, but I am going to continue my goals and work toward it. My impossible dream: To sing at Celebrate Life Night at Disneyland on my birthday, with Justin Bieber opening for me:D. Sweet onions, that would be cool.:)
I consider this challenge as a way to test the Lord. If you decide to commit, be prepared for a challenge, but also be prepared for miracles.
"Think not on how I died, but on how I lived."
Faith: Read BoM every day, 10 pgs. (BoM challenge)
Family: Asked Andrew what I could do for him. He asked me to help him follow-up on his Celebrate Life goals. Also doing a Seeds chart for Andrew-I write down what I appreciate about him every day. Keep keeping in touch with my family.
Friends: One act of service a day. This blog.
Fun: Go outside and do something active or fun everyday.( rd a bk outside, run, or SOMETHING).
Some of these have two goals because I did a challenge a few months ago. On day 3 of that challenge I knew I was going to marry Andrew. I believe that is a blessing from doing this challenge. What will be the blessing for you?!
My current progress:
Celebrate Life Challenge Day 12:
Faith-When I read my scriptures, I have gained emotional strength and peace to deal with the challenges in my life.
I didn't journal or read today yet. I will do that before bed.
Family-Andrew...I need to follow up with him. Need to call my fam.
Friends-I'M DOING THIS BLOG. I am very proud of myself for doing this tonight. I have been meaning to do this forever, so yeah, my other goals can kiss it tonight haha.
Fun-played with Ainsley outside. did a cartwheel on the sidewalk. I played!
My impossible dream? Moved forward:)