“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded (Emerson).

When we spent time together in “We All Need to Do a Little Unpacking” (Part I), we looked at the simple definition of unpack: let go and leave behind the unnecessary load.

It can also mean, “to remove the contents of; to unburden or reveal.”

I wrote, “Every time we left a place, I unloaded a little something.” It was critical that I unload or unpack my suitcase, because it was so heavy.

Traveling Light


For goodness sakes, one taxi driver asked, “Do you have a corpse in here?


Something magical happened every time I unloaded my burden, i.e., the suitcase. It was lighter.

Sometimes, we need to unpack or unburden our mental or emotional suitcases.

I did a lot of that while away, as well.

Time away opens opportunity for time to think.

Today, I celebrate my 54th birthday. All week, one dominant thought has continued to cross my mind.

I am so grateful for all the people in my life who have loved me, helped me, supported me, and allowed me to “unpack” my heart with them.

People who, in Emerson’s words, “helped me breathe a little easier.”

Earlier this week, my daughter, Candace Rose, brought Emerson’s words to me. We spoke the day after I sent in a book proposal I’ve been pouring my heart into for months and months. It was a down day. Pouring down rain, chilly. There’s always a little let down after finishing a project, right? She was encouraging me that what’s most important in life is to make someone’s life better.

So today I am thinking and praying for all the special friends I’ve had over these 54 years who have shared their strength with me and loved me through some real tough times.

I honor you and hope that I can help others breathe easier this year. It is what I most love to do.

Maybe you know someone today who needs a little “friend oxygen.” Take a minute to listen. Take a minute to love. It will make all the difference.

penguin quotes

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