Thursday, June 21, 2007

Living With a Smile

This Friday Angela and I are driving to Tyler, Texas to pick up our daughter from Camp Deer Run. It’s about ten hours round-trip, and I came up with the brilliant idea of renting a “premium” car both for the fun of it and to save wear and tear on our car (note how I find some practical justification). We’ll bring great music cd’s, tapes, and make it a fun road trip. Yep, this is what passes for wild and crazy stuff in the Soper family. But seriously, it seems to me that this is a tiny example of ways we can add a little spice to the routine of our lives, something I do far too seldom.

Some dear church members in California noticed that whenever I visited their house I remarked about a framed list of “Life’s Little Instructions” in their breakfast room. I enjoyed reading that list and resolved to buy it if I ever found it in a store. Well, when I left Los Angeles they gave me the framed list (they couldn’t find a copy to purchase so they gave me theirs). May it fill you with happy resolve as it does me. And thank you again, Reuben and Rosa.

Life’s Little Instructions

Sing in the shower. * Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated. * Watch a sunrise at least once a year. * Never refuse homemade brownies. * Strive for excellence, not perfection. * Plant a tree on your birthday. * Learn three clean jokes. * Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full. * Compliment three people every day. * Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. * Leave everything a little better than you found it. * Keep it simple. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. * Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. * Floss your teeth. * Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it. * Be forgiving of yourself and others. * Overtip breakfast waitresses. * Say “thank you” a lot. * Say “please” a lot. * Avoid negative people. * Buy whatever kids are selling on card tables in their front yards. * Wear polished shoes. * Remember other peoples’ birthdays. * Commit yourself to constant improvement. * Carry jumper cables in your trunk. * Have a firm handshake. * Send lots of Valentine cards. Sign them, “Someone who thinks you’re terrific.” * Look people in the eye. * Be the first to say “Hello.” * Use the good silver. * Return all things you borrow. * Make new friends but cherish old ones. * Keep secrets. * Sing in a choir. * Plant flowers every spring. * Have a dog. * Always accept an outstretched hand. * Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. * Wave at kids on school buses. * Be there when people need you. * Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter. * Don’t expect life to be fair. * Never underestimate the power of love. * Drink champagne for no reason at all. * Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. * Don’t be afraid to say, “I made a mistake.” * Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” * Compliment even small improvements. * Keep your promises (no matter what). * Marry only for love. * Rekindle old friendships. * Count your blessings. * Call your mother.

Not overtly spiritual (though you can read some of this in Ecclesiastes), but pretty good instructions for counting your blessings and living with a smile.


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