Truly Living

Fun experience the other day:

6am. The butt crack of dawn. And I’m in a cab to the airport.


And the driver is blaring some Caribbean reggae music.

Like I think he was trying to seance Bob Marley or something because this iswas loud.

But honestly, while a lot of other people probably would have been annoyed, I frankly loved it.

This guy was just so all about it.

He was like jammin’ in his seat, dancing, singing along sometimes. It was really entertaining.


I have never seen someone with so much life, – so much joy ­­– especially not at 6am.

And ever since seeing the life that guy had in him, I have been more observant. More aware, more in tune with those moments that I’ve felt truly alive in my own life.

I was just on vacation in the middle of nowhere up by the border of Canada. Deep in the woods. On a lake. No cell service. Barely any internet. Just my family. The lake. And the bears.

I mean, this place is remote.

We’re talking, you search it on Google Maps, and there isn’t any data on it.

I know — how this place escaped the government satellites that curate that shiz is some high powered ninja stealthiness.

But I digress.


I was whizzing across the empty lake on the jet-ski with it going full throttle and I felt it. The wind crisp in my face, reminding me that I’m alive. Life.

Watching my little niece splash in the water. Hearing her squeal with joy as she swam and was delighted in by her family. Life.

Sitting with my mom under the stars, in awe at the magnitude of the universe and God’s incredible imagination. Life.

Laughing with my brothers around the pool table and getting a side ache from the non-stop laughs. Life.

Hugging my dad on the dock as the sun was setting, hearing him whisper that he’s proud of who I am, and that he loves me. Life.

These were moments this trip that I just had to take a mental picture of.

They were times that I was all there. Just like my cabbie – I was in the moment, soaking it all up.

And it made me remember that there were definitely times — even at this very lake house that we’ve had since I was a little girl — when I was not truly living.

When I was a shell of myself, trapped in my anorexia.

And it’s remembering that time of just barely existing, that makes me truly appreciate living abundantly. Living and grabbing onto life with both hands and squeezing out all the juice.

I think a lot of times, we feel that in order to be living life in abundance, we have to be hitting the hottest nightclubs, or driving the swankiest car, or wearing the most expensive kicks, or throwing the most Pinterest-worthy birthday or bachelorette party.

We think that living is tied to the material.

But I was talking with my sweet little three-year-old niece at the end of the trip, and I asked her what her favorite part of the trip was.

And without hesitation, she said it was building rock projects with us on the beach.

Not the fancy Wii game. Not the latest and greatest toy with all the bells and whistles.

But just quality time with her loved ones. Literally playing with rocks. #FlinstoneStyle

I think living in NYC has really awakened in me a deep gratitude for the time I do have with my family. We have been through a lot together, obviously, and there is no one else that knows me the way they do.

And living in the city, I have had a lot of exciting experiences. Once in a life time, really. But no matter what, the moments when I feel like I’m truly living are when I am with my family.

Maybe it’s laughing up a storm over some beer pong in the basement, or maybe it’s just a quiet cup of coffee with my mom when we’re talking about life.

It’s the people that you share life with, that enrich your time here on earth and allow you to truly live. That’s what living means to me.

At the end of the day, everyone experiences that rush of life differently. Maybe it’s through music like my cabbie. Maybe it’s through dance, or art. Maybe it’s through playing sports or running, or taking care of kids, or being with family.

Whatever it is, when you find it, hold onto it. Because that’s how we’re supposed to live.

I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10

So thanks, Mr. Cabbie, for so exuberantly demonstrating living. I applaud your joyful existence. Especially when I was zombie eyed at 6am.

You reminded me to truly live. To be alive.

How do you feel alive? 






175 responses to “Truly Living”

  1. Great Post — I’m assuming you were nowhere near the west end of Canada, because our summer weather has not been nice so far this year, lol. I feel truly alive when my little puppy wakes me in the morning with her little kisses xo

  2. “How do you feel alive?”
    In a word, loved. Just like you described about your trip. It all about family, friends, relationships, wherever in the world that may be.
    And I think that cabbie makes God smile. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us (and for the great reminder of what’s important).

  3. I love this phrase so much: “Like I think he was trying to seance Bob Marley” It just makes me laugh out loud with how perfectly descriptive it is.

  4. Been thinking about this a lot lately… like when years pass by and they aren’t real but surreal… trauma can do that. It feels good to remember what it feels like to simply be alive. xo

  5. I absolutely loved this post! I’m in the middle of a project with a deadline rapidly approaching thus swore off reading any blog posts but couldn’t resist when yours popped across my screen. I’ll try and be brief. I know exactly what you mean about how another individuals attitudes can affect us. I’m full of life and wild ideas but when I’m out and about I’m rather stoic or perhaps introverted ~ who knows? However when my path crosses that of someone who’s gushing with enthusiasm and zeal I can’t help but be entranced by it. If they’re bee boppin then so am I! It’s absolutely contagious and I love every moment. I can also spin the wheel of emotion and be adversely affected when in the presence of a caustic personality, not behaving like them but rather I become somber. I’ve had a few friends that I’ve had to walk away from because they were so negative and unpleasant that I found them toxic.

    I love how you subtly juxtaposed the time spent at the lake house because you clearly differentiate between the great times and the not so great. You amaze me ~ truly. Ending on a rather wistful note, I envy you because you are in NYC. I was born there and later moved across the river to NJ however I spent many of my college years (and some later ones) bopping around between Lex and East 57th Street. Whenever I get a particular type CT scan the whoosh sound reminds me of riding the IRT. I make such gleeful noises that the tech always asks if I’m ok. Hahahaha

  6. I feel most alive on a motorcycle, riding out in the country, up in the mountains, or out on a long road trip. I feel a transcendence, an intimacy with my Father, that I don’t experience in many other places. I worship so easily from the back of a bike.

  7. My gosh, you write well!
    I love how the cabbie showed you ‘life’ and prompted you to consider what makes you come alive. In turn, you’ve helped us ponder the same. It’s so true that we each feel “the rush of life” differently, and part of the joy of the journey is finding out where and how we are most fulfilled.

  8. What a beautiful, uplifting, inspiring, wonderful post! Loved it. I feel alive near water or in the mountains. When I’m at one with nature, and with the people I love. Hugs to you from across the ocean. xo 🙂

  9. I love this! Our joy is in the moments! I adore the picture of the cab driver with the blaring music at the “butt crack of dawn.” You go, girl.

  10. Hi once again a superbly wrote post, I like the bit about gods imagination I see you either share my view or have taken it onboard 😉, what truly makes me feel alive? On a adrenaline perspective downhill mountain biking, but from a life perspective helping people achieve things that they couldn’t do alone. I think nature brings me to life I love old woods I feel at home in them, I feel like they have a magical protective aura around them, which seems to boost meditation especially with grounding I feel like I can become one with my surroundings above and bellow the ground. I don’t feel connected in the urban jungle. With love ❤️xx

      • There something about nature that appeals to me I don’t like big city’s they go against nature I pray that one day humanity and nature will coincide with each other, complementing each other as a pose to destroying each other. We should take what we need and give the same amount back like the animals do, I would love to live ecologically off the grid xx

  11. As usual, your timing is impeccable! I’m on the road again this week, eating dinner alone as I always do. Well, I had my book. The waitress was of those who don’t just “process” you, but engages with you. She was…ALIVE!!! So you’ve inspired another post for me to work on!

    Rocks?? So cool!! When my girls were just little toddlers, I wen to the local appliance story and got as many empty laundry machine boxes as I could fit into Julie’s 2 door Monte Carlo (this was when it was still a REAL car. 4 barrel carb, rear wheel drive, a BIG! But I’m dating myself, so back to…).

    I took them to our basement, opened them back up, then took a box cutter to make doors and windows and openings between the “rooms” of their playhouse, all taped together with duct tape. What a great memory!! 🙂 Thank you for bringing that back!

  12. This post is so wonderful!! You have to find joys in life. You have to take a break from where you are everyday and find other places that make you feel those chills that when they touch you, make you feel soooo good. Its funny because I live up in a more secluded area of NY. What particular lake did you go to? I MAY know of it, even if I’m a bit away from it. I am near the western side of The Adirondacks. I’m actually just like that cab driver. When its warm out I love to drive with my windows down and crank out not Reggae, but for me its Musica Latina (Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton). I actually like to do the opposite. While I live in a more quiet setting, I LOVE to get away from it and be in the city. I am always touched so deeply by its vibrancy, its colors, its culture and its people!! I actually went away to Long Island this weekend!! You are so wonderful!! xoxoxoxo

  13. Insightful, as always…

    I had one of the moments the other day. It is beyond blazing hot in the south right now. I mean crazy hot. One of our 4 month old sons was crying. I stepped out on the back porch, despite the heat, because he quiets outside. We sat on the porch overlooking the trees behind the house, when a rare rush of wind blew through the trees. It felt wonderful and the sounds of the dancing leaves was calming. My son’s attention quickly turned to the movement of the leaves and the sound of the wind. That’s when it occurred to me, my son had heard the sound of leaves dancing in the wind for the first time. It was a special moment and I felt alive.

  14. So love this ….. one of my life lessons is learning how to truly ENGAGE in life. Doing my very best. My affirmation – or one of them – is “I choose life, trusting in the grace of my heart.”
    Go for it, girl. Thanks for this post, my friend xo Blessings. Hey – one of the times I feel truly alive is when I’m working on my blog, 🙂

  15. Nature…the majesty and serenity soothes my soul. It doesn’t get much better for me than sitting out by the lake under a starlit sky. Unless I’m visiting mountains, because mountains duh.

    Staying up late talking life with good friend(s), sharing hopes and fears with someone that cares. Seems to be a rare experience but worth every second.

    That emotional connection with music that reflects and inspires life, that makes me laugh or cry.


  16. This is such a great reminder to me on how important our family is to each and every one of us.
    Just believing how much my family loves and cares for me, and how I love them back, is something I’m reminded of every day. It makes me appreciate the blessings God has given me, and makes me feel complete.

    Beautiful post! 🙂

  17. “Sitting with my mom under the stars, in awe at the magnitude of the universe and God’s incredible imagination. Life.” Beautifully written, brought a smile to my face. I truly live in the “off” times that I’m not at work soaking up my granddaughter and kids; even just a day at the beach watching her revel in the joy of a simple day, splashing in the water and listening to her wild stories 🙂 Great post, so happy you found your “happy place”.

  18. I’m really glad we found each other on here. I’ve been depressed and discouraged a lot lately, and reading what you write always makes me feel like there is hope, which is something I really need to hear these days…

      • Don’t be sorry. I’m going home soon! Just loved your descriptions of stars with your mom and whispers with your dad.

        When I see my dad, I hope to get the Father/ Daughter dance that slipped away at my wedding 17 years ago. It was a small outdoor wedding and we forgot to do it.

        As a special request for one of my blogging friends, we’re going to record. I’m so excited!!

  19. I just had a week a little like that…a choir camp. I went off there a little frazzled. I’ve come back happier, I think, for a few reasons…Connectedness between friends one of them.

  20. Another beautiful post! For me, I’m alive when I’m with my family, having fun with music, and of course being with God – whether it’s going to church, adoration or simply just praying in my bedroom under the covers with the lights turned off. Being with the Lord makes me feel truly alive! 🙂

  21. Oh, great question! I’d say that I remind myself of what I like to play with to become alive. It’s so easy to forget having fun and become boring. When I become playful and mischievous, I become alive. 😀 That guy played with his music, what do do like to play with?

  22. Lovely! I feel alive when I’m riding my bike and getting past the point of going “ugh, why did I decide to start riding a bike anyway?” and suddenly find myself on that endorphine high, sweat and energy oozing from my face and slowly riding among green trees. 🙂

  23. A truly wonderful post! You are so right – we do often forget all the beauty life brings us, simply because we are so busy with “other things”. But isn’t it the best feeling, knowing that your life, and everyone and everything in it, brings so much joy and such great experiences 🙂 And quality family time is the best kind of time!

  24. Your posts always, without fail, make me think. They make me reflect on my own life.

    I know what you mean, in a way. My husband and I closed on our first home almost a month ago. We won’t be getting our Internet until later this week. To be honest, it’s been immensely refreshing. I’ve dug through our boxes and found a bunch of old magazines from months ago. I’ve been gleefully reading through those. We’ve also wrapped up re-watching the Harry Potter films. I’ve loved this little slice of togetherness that my husband and I have enjoyed, sans Wi-Fi. It’s really been wonderful.

    Thank you, again, for putting my world into perspective with your words. Happy Tuesday, friend!

    Laura Beth

  25. I heard a little story once, this man was travelling the world and visiting all these churches as he went. And the first church he went to he noticed on the wall near the door there was a gold phone with a sign that said $5/min. He wondered at this because as he travelled all across Europe and then on into America he saw that same phone in all the churches and cathedrals he went to. Finally at one of his stops he asked the priest about it and the priest said, “Well son, that’s a direct line to God’s throne in Heaven.”
    Well the man continued his journey, and the next church he came to, there was that same phone. But the sign under it only said 5cents/min! Well the man had to know so he asked the priest there, “Everywhere I’ve been I’ve seen this same gold phone, but everywhere else was WAY more expensive; how do you keep the rate so low?” The priest just smiled with an understanding nod and replied, “Son, you’re in Canada now – it’s a local call!”

    But jokes aside (though that one makes me feel pretty alive 😉 ) I so know what you mean and three years ago something happened that brought parts of my family a lot closer, and I realized then just how important they were to me – since then I’m all about family. Family is who you are, it’s your first and closest Church circle (if you’re lucky enough to come from a believing family) and there is so much potential for strength in a family. God so knew what he was doing. I know that barely scratches the surface, but for once I don’t have a lot of time to write a long comment ;D

    Just one more thing too on generally feeling alive, that’s something else that shifted for me a few years back, because I started noticing the life goin on around me, and how alive people were. I’ve started to look a lot more beyond the surface of appearances because of that.

    Anyway, lovely blog, again!
    Happy Tuesday, friend!

    • Hahaha oh my gosh that’s hysterical! You’re right-family is so precious. God definitely knew what he was doing. So glad you stopped by, Carson! Hugs and love xox

  26. 1. Dancing – anytime, anyplace, any music.
    2. This one I miss: going in to watch a sleeping 1-year-old. There’s just this incredible sense of peace and trust in their little bodies. As a parent, it made me feel as though, in spite of all the struggle, I must have been doing something right.

  27. I hear you.

    Right now, it would be so easy to put a downer on those people enjoying Pokemon Go but I remind myself that this is all harmless fun. If anyone is enjoying themselves and harming no-one else then who am I to mock or judge?

  28. How?
    Most people realize the moments of the past and our choices after those moments, have a way of shaping our future. The journey here is the journey of past and present. Nope, this is not the twilight zone

    When we truly LIVE in a moment, that moment is etched.

    If I may, I will share and potentially start something here that can add to the positive moments you have brought to light.

    • Walking through a prayer labyrinth with a collage student that I and my kids befriended.
    • Listened to my youngest daughter of 15 years of age incessantly talk for over an hour non stop on the way back from picking her up from school.
    • Strike up conversation with a stranger on the 6 a.m. Northeast amtrak line on the way to the airport after my prior evening flight was canceled.
    • Make eye contact and hug one of my sons for 2 straight minutes while he struggled with depression.
    •Eating breakfast on the plane while watching the sun come up over western Europe. That means I was eating breakfast at 3:30 am my sleep time.
    • While biking with me, hearing one of my sons at age 5 say, I am glad God created me and that Jesus loved.
    • Run like the dickens off of that short train trestle near my home in South Carolina because I did not judge how close the train was when I heard it-all the while my wife and I laughed.
    • Watching my wife smile as she accepts my apology for something I was not mindful of (even if it took her a few days to come back around ; )

    After your moment of today, revisit in the mind that which you covet.

    Who’s next?

  29. Those moments are far too few and far more numerous than we see. Too often we focus on splinters and miss the forest of logs.
    You made me think of “oyster orphanages” that my daughter and I made at the beach 13 years ago, showing her “Who’s on First?” for the first dozen times, singing “Swing Low” to her at bedtime.
    Maybe we just don’t realize the abundance when it’s in front of us…..singing Reggie at 6am. 🙂
    Nicely done. Thanks 😀

  30. BBB: I know that I am alive when I feel loved, but more often that feeling is illusive and I find myself trying to earn that love. Love is truly a gift and cannot be earned, so falling into this illusion always ends badly. I have accordingly learned the hard way to turn to God in such moments and ask for forgiveness. Stephen

  31. Not sure if this comment went through the first time, so here goes again, lol! I felt incredibly alive yesterday roller-blading on a path surrounded by a pond with two swans that were the most dazzling white you could imagine. Canada geese and ducklings nearby, the sun was shining brightly and I don’t think the endorphins could have gotten much higher! I looked around, I only had twenty minutes to myself that day and I thought,”My God is awesome to have created this! Thank-you!” Your blog posts are beautiful and from the heart. Love them!

  32. Man! Seems like you had a nice vacation! I myself find when I am in nature (even if it’s at a regional park) I find myself in peace. It’s like I am not depressed and anxious anymore. Being around nature helps negate the “noise” of the world.

  33. This post really hit me in the feels. <3 lol

    It's interesting how each of us have these demons that keep us from living. Like you, I have demons and a past that kept me from living. I was there, but my mind was always somewhere else. Just the past week have I experienced a few things that have made me think "Wow. I'm really happy. I hope this never ends."

    Those moments, family. My sister turned 14 this week and we decked out our pathfinder and deemed it the "Birthday Wagon". We picked her up from a camp she was staying at and kidnapped her for the day. I lived in the moment with my sisters, my mom and my nephew the entire day. It's not just my family, but my boyfriend's family, too. His mom has shown me the kind of love that my own mom shows me and it helps me live in the now. I spent a lot of time fantasizing what it would be like to be married, have a big family, have a boyfriend with a family who loved me. It's honestly an answer to prayer. I feel like instead of fantasizing, I am living exactly what I dreamt of for so long.

    Beyond all of that, what keeps me living is my passion to share my story so that God gets the glory for who I've become and what I am in spite of all the crazy things my family and I have endured.

  34. It’s inspiring to see how you’ve turned things around. I struggle sometimes with how to help people close to me. A few years ago when I was going through some tough times a therapist strongly recommended I go on anti-depressants for a short time. They said that if you’re in a funk for more than two weeks, the brain starts to re-wire itself to stay in the funk. So they’re pro-meds to help people keep the funk from being permanent. I resisted because I felt like I was already turning it around, because I’ve always been against those mood/personality altering meds (sometimes irrationally), and because I felt like I had a good reason to be in the funk, something had triggered it, I’d spent a life-time avoiding feelings so this time I wanted to experience it.

    But I have friends who are so negative about things and have problems being happy and seeing the good and the possibilities before them. And some are already religious, so I can’t help by introducing them to Christ. At this point, I do start wondering if more isn’t needed. Lots to think about, but thanks for this post.

  35. Yeah, how true..! Each one of us has this capacity to live to the fullest of our capabilities as given to us by our maker, but most often than not, we get bogged down by what’s happening around us, to us or even within us…..but then something comes along, though very insignificant, that has the power to lift our sagging spirits and make us appreciate this thing called life…
    Really enjoyed reading your post..thanks!

  36. Oh beautiful post…
    It gave me all ecxitement, freedom, calmness , positivity and hope at once. All in one.
    I have a question; the pictures in ur blog..are they designed by you or from the web?
    I feel alive by writing and sipping blacktea, it gives me mental peace more than anything. Plus i really enjoyed reading about your family time and you having fun with them.lots of love to your dad.maybe you can write a post on your family also? What say? We’d love to read if you have got one already. Your posts always bring my inner happiness ya 🙂

    • Oh thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I do create all the quote art pictures! And thanks – you may enjoy my posts “dear mom” and “to my father” Hugs and love xox

  37. I purchased a bike a little less than 2 weeks ago and I’ve felt so good about it. I go out and ride for an hour every evening once I get home from work. It brings me back to childhood and it’s just great. I can’t wait to ride at the beach this weekend. Going to leave the electronics at home and just enjoy.

  38. Hi! Thanks for dropping by The Escritorium recently, you’re hilarious and heartwarming. 🙂 So great to see you taking a great big bite out of life and making the most of it despite, maybe even because of, the tough times, Stay strong, stay smiling. ~ P ~

  39. Reblogged this on Unmeasured Journeys and commented:
    I love this post so much, that I’m just going to let you read it. This is how I feel about my own family, too.

    PS Mom, you’ll love the videos she has on it!

    Thank you, Beauty Beyond Bones, for being such a beautiful light in this world, and for letting me share this post!

  40. In nature, when I take a step out of society and I can reflect on all that I have been blessed with. When I am alone with God, I feel truly alive. Great post!

  41. Great post 🙂 Once one gets out and does a lot, they really truly begin to understand why life is so joyful and more than worth living. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

  42. I could almost have written this post. I’ll be on my own remote lake in Maine in two months. Vacation. One week of solitude with my dog. Hiking, camping, swimming, canoeing. I feel
    most alive outdoors. Day or night.

  43. Loved reading this. Thanks for sharing! Also we have a lake house in the middle of no where and going there always clears me mind, it’s so nice

  44. Just stumbled upon your blog and this post, and I love it! So much inspiration and good feels!
    I totally agree gratitude is the root of joy. Since practicing daily gratitude I feel so much happier about where I am at in life.

    And to answer your question, I feel most alive outdoors. In any beautiful outdoor setting, I feel absolute bliss.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kendra |

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much Kendra! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your time on my blog! oh yes, gratitude really puts things in perspective. Thanks for stopping by! Sending massive hugs to you friend xox

  45. Its really an awesome post….Thank you for sharing your thoughts…I feel you have pen down all my thoughts into this post….Really are we “Truly Living”??
    I am staying in a metro city away from my family.Whenever I go home I feel like I am having great quality time with my family , I dont feel this in my metro city.All I feel is I am running 5 days a week.
    I can feel the difference between the Metro life and my home life.
    Its really a great post…

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. Yeah, i know what you mean – family is definitely a place of comfort and rest. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

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