Stop and smell the roses


It’s a popular saying. Others insert coffee instead of roses, but I don’t drink coffee (though I do love the smell). The point is, of course, to stop the breakneck speed at which most of us travel through life.

I had a wakeup call last week. While sitting at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, enjoying a late breakfast with my husband, I suddenly felt strange. Lightheadedness overtook me, tingles ran down both arms, and my chest tightened. Now, I’m not new to panic attacks. I first had one about 19 years ago, while driving home from dropping my daughter off at school. My poor son got to take an ambulance ride with me to the hospital.

The episode I had last week, however felt different. After several minutes, it seemed to be subsiding, only to return again. So, my husband drove me to the emergency room. Twenty-five hours, and many tests later, I was released. I had not had a heart attack, nor did they detect any heart disease.

So, what caused the episode? My guess is that it likely was an anxiety attack. After 15 years of not experiencing one (at least not to that extent), I was taken aback. At this point in my life, there should be no stress or anxiety. I retired from teaching in January and we paid off our mortgage in March. Within the year, we had a new roof put on and a new air conditioner installed, and we haven’t had a car payment in years.

The only thing I can think of is that I’m allowing myself to stress over getting my first book published. I’ve had to learn a lot in a short amount of time. I’m the sort of person who gives 100+% when it comes to my responsibilities. Unfortunately, I often feel inadequate when I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. Instead of stopping, I push and push and push. Now, pushing through is a good thing. I’m all for stretching and learning, but all things in moderation, which is my downfall. 

My problem is that I get too focused and I ignore my other responsibilities. A week or so ago, I sat on my couch for 12 hours, researching blogs to pitch for reviews. I didn’t clean house, make my bed, play with the dog, or fix supper for my husband. A few days later, I spent hours categorizing the blogs I would pitch, after that, more hours crafting the pitch. My entire focus was on my job. I didn’t take time to smell the roses, coffee, laundry detergent or a roast in the oven. I obsessed, for fear of letting my publisher down. Which is silly, because my publisher has been nothing but wonderful.

When it all comes down to it, I realized that I not only put my family on the back burner, but I put God there as well. I put my trust in me and not in my Savior. Whether or not my book is successful, and I go on to write more, I will always thank Him for bringing me to this point. The words in the book are His words, the message His message. What right do I have to stress over what He has given me?

My husband and I were supposed to take a walk on a nature trail today. We’re starting a photo challenge which I will add to this blog. We got up, dressed, and were about to head out when it started raining. Staying indoors made it a perfect time for me to “work” on getting my book noticed. It also made it a perfect time to sit back with a good book. I decided on the latter, beginning with the Good Book. 

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9 Responses to Stop and smell the roses

  1. Larry Baden says:

    I think you’re seeing things pretty well. Stress does a lot of unhappy things to us. And a first novel coming out is certainly a reasonable suspect.

  2. Cheryl Hutchens says:

    Words cannot describe how this blog has touched me – a gentle reminder of what is truly important in life. Thank you, my friend, for being you – one special lady!

    • Lucie says:

      Cheryl, I’m so glad you read and responded. There’s definitely something cathartic about exposing one’s weaknesses.

  3. Pamela Knopf says:

    What a great lesson for us all – to stop and smell the flowers that God puts before us!

  4. Jan Kaess says:

    Lucie I agree with every thing you said. I think that was the point of the story of Mary and Martha’s story. We are so busy working and doing what we “think” God wants us to do and we get so involved that we forget to be like Mary and just be still and know he is God. I think this is a lesson we need to keep reminding ourselves. Thanks for reminding all of us.

  5. I’m right there with you. I retired from a 30 year career in education last June. I have been working on a book ever since. If I had my way I wouldn’t leave my house, eat, or have any human contact. I have had to very purposefully force myself to live a normal life and I find that I am truly relieved every time I stop to smell the roses. Best of luck with your book.

    • Lucie says:

      Thanks, Sharron! I know what you mean about forcing yourself to have a life. Guess it’s a thing with writers. I’m excited that you’re working on a book. Fiction or non fiction?

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