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Berdine's Corner


by Deborah E. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

Life is short, and every moment of life is worth a celebration. If you have not appreciated life and its precious moments, it is time to do so. Berdine Dillard Dennard knew this fact and lived her life by this creed. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so take time to celebrate you, your family and others.

Celebrate you. The most important person in your life should be yourself; therefore, try to be happy. Celebrate you by actively doing things to be happy. This could be as simple as taking yourself out to lunch, shopping for a new blouse, spending time in a garden you planted, going to visit with family and friends, or even dancing to your favorite song. One of my fondest memories of my mama was her love for dancing. She wasn't the best dancer, but you couldn't tell her that. Almost every morning, she would put in a CD or her iPod and exercise an hour by dancing. She wouldn't just dance, though. She would dance in front of the mirror, and she would have the biggest smile on her face. This is important because not only had she found something free of charge to make herself happy, but she also was celebrating herself because she was looking at herself as she danced. As many of us age or gain weight, we don't spend time in the mirror just looking at ourselves or loving on ourselves. We have to learn to celebrate and love ourselves in whatever place we are. This is imperative because you cannot make others happy unless you are happy with yourself.

Celebrate your family and others. If nothing else, we should always find refuge in our family. Although we should celebrate ourselves, we shouldn't become so self-centered that we cannot lift our own family members up. Many times in life people get caught up with work, meetings and other things, missing important events like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and activities at school for the kids, thereby forgetting what is truly important. These people miss celebrating significant events in their loved ones lives for other stuff that isn't important at all.

My mama was my biggest cheerleader, but I wasn't alone. She was also my brothers', my daddy's, and my extended family members' biggest fan, as well as a supporter of her co-workers, church members, and friends. We were always telling her about our lives because she had the uncanny knack for making us feel so proud of ourselves. We were also excited about telling her what was going on our lives because she was genuinely happy for us. She listened to us, and supported our dreams by asking valid questions, and then telling us that she knew we could do it.

We each should be that person in our family or circle of friends that everyone wants to call because they respect our opinion. We certainly shouldn't be that person that everyone avoids. There are some people who are always negative. People don't like telling them anything because they know that these people are going to do nothing but shoot down any ideas other than their own. Listen to your family and friends and celebrate with them.

Oprah Winfrey once said, "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." Make the choice to be happy. Celebrate the happiness that family and friends are always giving; make every day a holiday and celebrate just living.

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