The Definition of Sacrifice

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“He who never sacrificed a present to a future good, or a personal to a general one, can speak of happiness only as the blind do of colors.”  ~ Olympia Brown

After I read this quote, I asked myself what constitutes a sacrifice.  The very definition of the word is giving up something valued — a subjective generalization, in my opinion.  It can range from new parents giving up sleep for the present good of their baby, to single parents forgoing time with their families in order to make ends meet.  For some it means going without their Monday-through-Friday mocha cappuccino no fat no whip in order to feed a homeless child for a month.  And with Memorial Day around the corner, it also signifies those in the armed forces who have surrendered their very lives, and those who continue to do so, for the good of our country.

When I contemplate on the kinds of things I forfeit at any given time — although a few have notably been on the larger side — I realize they pale in comparison to the sacrifices lived out daily by others.  I’m humbled by this knowledge and like to think whatever it is I’m asked to part with today, it will be for the good of someone else’s tomorrow.  ~ cs

Making Time to be Flexible

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As the title suggests, I’m realizing it may just be necessary to carve out a chunk of the day in order to be open to new possibilities.  Since recently buying a second home, dealing with a major remodel (think Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in The Money Pit), preparing another property for rent and a myriad of other projects, my Franklin (day planner) is seriously maxed out.  And although I have the best of intentions, more often than not each day is overbooked with more tasks than the time required to complete them.

But this week included one of those go-with-the-flow kind of days—the kind where, for whatever reason, I was not able to schedule my plans to the exact nanosecond.  Wednesday my daughter and I had a couple of hours to kill between appointments so we popped into her dad’s work and he surprised us both by treating us to lunch.  Mother’s Day was another one of those days.  On that particular Sunday, she and I enjoyed breakfast and a movie, but the rest of the day was wide open.  Not only did we end up shopping and encountering all sorts of new treasures, but most importantly, we discovered a newfound camaraderie. 

When my time is not fully occupied, there’s room for unexpected wonders.  It serves to recharge my battery and allows me to stop and smell the proverbial roses.  And I’m fully able to invest my energies in others through a spur-of-the-moment visit or by lending a helping hand.  It also frees me up to add “contributing beauty blogger”  for InWithSkin to my weekly schedule.  I don’t think I would like an unstructured day on a regular basis — at least during this season in my life — but flexibility is a quality I hope becomes a habit over time.  I’ll simply keep making plans in pencil, just in case. ~ cs

Read All About It!

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Bear with me as I toot my own horn a bit this week.  I’m thrilled to share a few of my clips from InWithSkin’s online and print magazine where I interned for the past three months.  My contributions to the May/June “beach ready” issue include a blurb for We Love (page 19), a section in the beauty and lifestyle publication in which beauty editors share a few of his or her favorite things. 

Also featured is an article of mine entitled Eat Your Way to Staying Hydrated (pages 60-62; 65), which shares tips on foods to eat to ensure you’re consuming enough H2O as temperatures continue to soar.  On pages 40-41, read about Global Beauty and discover symbols of beauty in other cultures.  Finally, on pages 43-45, learn what to do about Spider Veins to prepare for short-short weather.

Happy reading.  ~ cs

Practice, Practice, Practice

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I remember when I was a kid, Mom cajoled me to run through my daily drills on her old upright piano by saying, “Practice makes perfect.”  I even used that maxim on my own daughter to encourage her to play her flute.  But I think it was she who told me (probably to get out of practicing!) that no one is perfect and practice will only make you better.  And ultimately, isn’t that the goal? 

I think about Olympic competitors who practice countless hours a day prior to the big event only to receive a final score of 8.9.  Or the poet whose work isn’t published until after their umpteenth submission.  Even with all this time invested in their respective art, neither is perfect.  Considering there is always room for improvement—in whatever it may be—I believe expecting the standard of perfection may automatically be a recipe for failure.  And frankly, I don’t want to be perfect.  Better yes, perfect no.  

Right now I’m practicing several things: patience as my family readies for a move and starts a business; perseverance as I return to the job market following my three-month editorial internship (and a thicker skin each time I’m rejected); discipline as I make better choices revolving around fitness and nutrition; and, faith that my life will someday exceed my dreams. 

In a note written to me by my former managing editor at InWithSkin she says, “I believe you have a true writer’s soul…stick with it!  Practice will make you better and better.”  Thank you, Kim, for your confidence in me and for the reminder to keep plugging away as I continue to pursue my heart’s desires. ~ cs