Sometimes ordinary is pretty great

Jul 24, 2014 By Betty Starks Case

We'd all do well to celebrate the basics more often

"We're all so busy chasing the extraordinary that we forget to stop and be grateful for the ordinary."

These wise words were spoken by Brene Brown, American scholar, author and research professor at the University of Houston.

Do the words somehow seem to fit your life right now?

This is not meant to take one second of the magic from our recent Rendezvous in the Park, balloon rally, car and bike show, fireworks, etc.

Each event brought its own fun, excitement and huge crowds.

And the CWC water tank did not lift off to join the hot air balloons as I always suspect it might. Instead, it stands there alone, looking ever so much like the beautiful orbs, yet not quite able to join them in their early morning flight.

With that illusion, you may think it's about time I see if I can find something more ordinary in my life.

I can. And there's still wonder in it.

To begin, I drank my coffee this morning as I almost always do, from a mug I bought long ago. As I sip my one daily serving of java, my mind wanders through the cup's placid country scenes to the words, "Save a space for sunshine, rainbows and dreams."

I love the cup and its reminder to slow down and appreciate uplifting things I've been given to sustain me when I forget to shift out of high gear.

For years, I've clipped "quotable quotes" from print publications, like the thought of Brene Brown at the beginning of this column. They challenge my thinking, often lending a chuckle and a word of wisdom at the same time.

When busy summer days demand a slow-down, I renew myself with reminders from my philosophic coffee mug and people like Ms. Brown.

Summer anniversaries of family and friends, birthdays, weddings, visits of relatives we love to see, all contribute to the busyness of our lives. Somehow, we manage to work them all in. They are no less important than the other activities.

In fact, their ordinariness often saves us from ourselves.

Recently, the family decided to combine our many annual observances and enjoy one big celebration together in a popular dining place.

But my mate's and my wedding anniversary occurred the day before the combined event.

"It's our day," he said thoughtfully. "Shouldn't we spend an evening alone at the place where we began so many years ago?"

Touched by his thought, I quickly agreed. The evening was special and lovely.

By the way, do you recall a friend once warning of potential disaster for the local male population if I continued to share such events in this column?

And yet -- such thinking on the part of the male half of a marriage might explain the longevity of the relationship.

We could settle the matter with another quotable quote, this one from the ever-practical Barbara Bush: "You don't just luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it's friendship or opportunities."

I would add, "Or marriage."

Our family celebration continued as planned the following night -- same place, same delicious food, made joyous by my wonderful brothers who learned long ago to make something fun out of whatever they could imagine. Or bounce off one another.

That's a lesson worth nurturing in this life. You never know when rejuvenating laughter might be needed. These guys must carry it in their pockets.

But the "not so ordinary" remains to be experienced by us in this lively Wyoming summer.

Two nephews we haven't seen for years will arrive this week from more southerly states on their way to Cheyenne Frontier Days.

The last time we saw one of them I noticed his conversation was often begun with, "My dad always told me..."

Their father Leo, my mate's older brother, passed on long ago. I'm thinking these dear men may find themselves searching, consciously or otherwise, for family expressions, a twinkle in the eye, a chuckle, or some sign of their loved father in this last living uncle.

And because they've known me their entire lives as an aunt, I'm hoping they might catch a glimpse in me of some trait perceived as "ordinary" by this good family.

I'm grateful and proud to have been a part of it for so many years.

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