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.

OK, EVERYONE, SCREAM WITH JOY!

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.