Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Story To Live By

Celebrate - Lacy Slip

(This story was shared by my friend, Mrs. J., at her birthday tea last Sunday. It touched my heart and I wanted to share it with you. You may need a tissue or two!)


My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is not a slip. This is lingerie.’ He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. ‘Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least eight or nine years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.’ He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. ‘Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.’

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life.

I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden.

I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I’m not ‘saving’ anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event – such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out twenty eight dollars and forty-nine cents for one small bag of groceries without wincing.

I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends.

‘Someday’ and ‘one of these days’ are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted.

It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them.

I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is. . .a gift from God.

Written by Ann Wells in the Los Angeles Times

Celebrate Each Day


  1. That is a very important message to remember.
    Thanks for sharing it today.

  2. I so agree with this ~ every day is a day to savour ~ my mother used to say "I'll do it when I retire"...she never retired. We lost her at a young age of 56. I live by this myself.

  3. I have seen this before Adrienne and I agree wholeheartedly that we need to live each day to the fullest. As much as we all love finding our vintage treasures, I have often wondered about the women who owned these lovely things so many years ago and never used their precious linens and dishes. You can tell they didn't use them because they are 50 years old and pristine! I can understand not wanting to ruin these beautiful things, but what good is something beautiful tucked in a drawer? So I create usable things with those beautiful old things and some I even use. I get pleasure every day from using my prettiest dishes to set the table for the most important people in my life, my family! Have you used those fabulous yellow dishes you just got yet?;>) Imagine how lovely they will be on your table!

  4. This is quite lovely and thought provoking. I remember reading it when it appeared in the LA Times and thinking...all so true. Thanks for sharing.

  5. A very important reminder of what is really important. Love this!

  6. Beautiful and convicting story! I also thought the tea room looked so cute.
    Love to you!

  7. Time is passing by quicker than we realize. Lovely post!

  8. beautiful and poignant story, ad. :o) hugs.

    a few years ago we were at a destination spot (devils tower in wyoming) on vacation. while rocky and lizzie did some hiking, i sat on a porch bench at the information center - along with a number of retired ladies on a tour. we got to talking and one of the parting remarks by the lady closest to me was ...

    "don't wait for retirement to live your dreams or just live - do it now while you can."


  9. Very touching and definitely worth remembering. I think of this as I get older and realize if I don't use it give it to someone that will love it. That way I can experience the JOY of giving it away or using what ever it is.

  10. So so true! I sometimes fall into that rut. That outfit is for a special occasion etc....I'ver never used my sterling...never. Not because I don't think I'm special enough though....I just don't want to have to polish it! *winks* Vanna


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