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Amazing Life: How to Have an Extraordinary Life

Three days ago, Sam was playing basketball in the gym at our church — one congregation against another. The other team forfeited so a pick-up game ensued. The scheduled referee, probably in his late 50s, jumped up to fill out the losing team. A while later, as he was dribbling down the court, without any warning, he dropped to the floor. It seemed like a joke.

After 20 minutes of CPR, the ambulance finally arrived. Last word, he was in a medically induced coma. Stable, but very critical. He is on a ventilator and having his body temperature artificially cooled. We won’t know his condition for perhaps days.

He left to spend a couple of hours helping with some basketball. We are praying he will come home.

A number of years ago I was talking to a dear friend of mine who was dying from brain cancer. He was almost exactly five years older and so I was teasing him on his “advanced age” and approaching 39. Robes was the consummate joker and the silliness was not lost on him. Still, he looked at me with a slight grin and said, “You know, Alison, 39 looks pretty good right about now.”

Indeed, it did. And doesn’t it make those of us dreading every new decade look rather foolish?

[Update: The day after I wrote this post, Clay Anderson died. He had just turned 55.]

Some ideas on how to make everyday life more joyous and extraordinary

Take time to smell the roses.

Take a nap on Sunday afternoon.

Trust in God but lock your car.

Never deprive anyone of hope. It may be all they have.

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.

Eat inspiring food. Be thankful for every meal.

Don’t take good health for granted.

Wear outrageous underwear under the most formal business attire.

Enjoy your job and you’ll never work another day in your life.

Turn to the person next to you and say, “You’re great!”

Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.

T.G.I.T. Thank God it’s today!

Judge your success by the degree to which you are enjoying peace, health, and love.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Be generous. Be honest. Be romantic.

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.

Be gentle with the earth. Be gentle with others. Be gentle with yourself.

Never interrupt when someone is complimenting you.

Just take a deep breath and say, “Thanks, please tell me more.”

Don’t be an a-dull-t. Allow your child to come out to play

Take your dog to obedience school. You’ll both learn a lot.

Don’t nag. Don’t gossip. Don’t tailgate.

Say thank you a lot. Say please a lot.

Think of the most difficult people you know — and learn to love them.

Don’t postpone joy. There’s no time like the present to be joyous.


Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every part of your life.

Never give up on anyone. Miracles happen everyday.

Remember the two things that people cannot take away from you: Your dignity. Your birthdate.

Laugh your head off.

Seriously, let’s laugh our heads off!!! Okay, let’s put our heads back on again.

Do more than is expected and do it cheerfully.

Live life with passion and give others the permission to do the same.

Wake up every morning and say, “I am so happy to be alive!” (Even on Mondays.)

Learn to put love into everything you do.

Take care of your soul.

Breathe — deeply and often.

Life is short; play hard; pray hard.

Remember that on one can make you feel bad without your permission.

Attitudes are contagious — is yours worth catching?

Embrace all your feelings. And choose what to do with them.

Be a friend to money — not a slave.

You will at times forget these suggestions. You can remember anytime you wish.

Remember to remember. Notice and adjust. Enjoy the journey. The choice is yours.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Sara January 23, 2011, 4:53 am

    This is such a powerful message. Your friend (is his name Robes?) was right. May he RIP.

  • CXZ January 23, 2011, 2:04 pm

    We really do need to be grateful for our time here.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 23, 2011, 3:35 pm

    Sara, thank you. He did have it right. Amidst all our work and worry, aging should be recognized for the blessing it is!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 23, 2011, 3:35 pm

    Amen to that, CXZ. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Sibyl - alternaview January 23, 2011, 8:46 pm

    Wow…what a powerful post and message. We really do have to always be grateful for all the great things and people we have in our life. There is always so much going on around us and we can really get caught up in all the things that come our way. But, this post is a great reminder of how important it is to really live and experience every moment and appreciate the beauty of life. Thanks for a great post.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 24, 2011, 2:41 am

    Sibyl, thank you for the kind words and for stopping by. It’s a lesson I seem to have to learn again and again.

  • Jason from Skyward January 24, 2011, 1:28 pm


    This was very touching, very real. And man, that was a killer list too!

    Just becuase of you, I’m gonna find me some crazy draws for underneath my church suit (tmi…I know)

    Great post!

  • Alison Moore Smith January 24, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Jason, thanks so much. Sometimes mortality just jumps up and hits you in the face. Kind of shakes up our whacked out priorities.

  • Esti January 24, 2011, 6:46 pm

    Hopefully a speedy recovery.

  • SS January 25, 2011, 5:05 am

    This is the best article on life for me, I am sure these words will create a huge impact on my life!!..
    SS recently posted…SEO for the Keyword Web HostingMy Profile

  • Amie May 17, 2011, 11:43 am

    Alison, these are beautiful. Such a sad story with the referee and I hope he healed quickly. I believe we take each day for granted, and these sayings that you listed are something we should try at least one a day. You listed at least 40 or so? I think if we could do 1 each day, this world could become a healthier and happier place. Thank you for this 🙂

  • Jen May 23, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. We really don’t cherish what we [or someone else] loses it, huh? RIP.

  • Marge February 7, 2012, 5:14 am

    Thank you, thank you. This is what I needed today. We know these things but we forget. Bless your heart!

  • Mama March 11, 2012, 9:38 pm

    I know a mother whom the 4 years old lost her hand in a car accident. She is so crushed. I hope this will help her at least a bit! I love it!
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  • Herbert Keegan July 14, 2012, 7:39 am

    This story makes you quiet and encourages people to value their life every day. I hope to motivate people to follow a healthy lifestyle.
    Herbert Keegan recently posted…Are there any good diet plans for men?My Profile

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