Making Each Moment Count


making each moment count at lake tahoeLooking at life from a “One Month” perspective has really made me think about the decisions I make every day. And I’m realizing more and more that it’s often the littlest choices that can have the greatest impact.

Like the other night with my son…It had been a busy night and my husband was working late. I’d been rushing around making an early dinner and helping the kids with their homework before heading off to take my daughter to cheer practice.On the way home from dropping her off, I looked at the time and sighed. It was already 7:30pm and I still had a lot to do…

“Mom?” my son asked as we drove into our neighborhood. “Since it’s just you and me, can we go for a walk when we get home?”

I looked at the darkening sky. It was a school night, and he still had to take a shower and finish his reading homework and…

I was about to say no.

But then I stopped and thought, If I really had one month to live, would I pass this up?

It’s not often that my son and I go for walks together, just the two of us.

So I changed my mind.

“Sure,” I told him.

As we headed out, there was only a faint line of sunlight left on the horizon. The neighborhood was quiet and the air was warm. It was beautiful.

My son looked up at me and smiled. “Thanks for saying yes about the walk, Mom. I thought for sure you were gonna say no.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and smiled back. “You’re welcome.”

And I thought, how many times do I miss opportunities like this and not even realize it?

We headed across the park to the school playground. “C’mon!” he called, running ahead of me, “Let’s find a ball!” (There are usually one or two left over from the school day.) A couple of sprinklers were running and the grass was soaked. He ran across it anyway.

Not the grass, I groaned inside. It’s wet…

But I kept my mouth shut. Because if this was my last month, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t care if he got muddy.

“Look!” he called a few seconds later, proudly pulling a ball out of the bushes. He splashed back across the grass, beaming. “I’m gonna teach you how to play wall ball, Mom.”

He served the ball hard, sending it sailing. It hit the wall and bounced back toward me.

Let me just say that, as someone who usually closes my eyes when a ball is flying at me (and hopes it lands elsewhere) it took a little effort to jump in and hit that wet thing and act like I was having fun.

But that’s what I did.

And before I knew it, I was having fun.

Back and forth, we played. Our wrists and arms (and my t-shirt) got filthy. But I didn’t care. What I cared about was the smile on my son’s face. And the sound of his laughing.

After a few minutes, he stopped and held the ball on his hip. “Okay, Mom. Now I’m gonna teach you my specialties,” he said. I never knew that there were so many different kinds of serves in wall ball. Or that hitting the ball up over the wall is called a tree-top.

By the end of the night, I felt like a pro. And I might’ve even impressed my son a little because when we were done, he asked, “Did you play this when you were a kid?”

We had a great time together, and I’ll never forget it.

I hope he doesn’t either.

And even though he ended up getting to bed late that night, and he was tired the next day, it was worth it.

I’ve already decided that the next time either of my kids asks me to go for a spur-of-the-moment-walk, I’m going to say yes without a second thought.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even surprise them and ask them first.

From the book One Month to Live:

“Time once spent cannot be reclaimed. Once an hour, minute, or moment is over, it’s gone forever. However, we can redeem the remaining time we have.”

And a quote by Diane Ackerman… “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”



  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful.Maybe tonight I’ll take the kids out for a walk…

  2. Oh my! I was just reading your post..and there I was! Thank you for the book…I am so excited to read it!!!!I am so guilty of out crazy schedule and rushing my kids here and there. So many days I think this has to change!Have a great weekend!-Sandy toes

  3. Carpe Diem! Good for you! I’m the same way – it’s so easy to be too tired for all those awesome things our kids want us to do. My post will go up next week.Hey, it’s my husband’s 40th birthday today, care to come over and wish him well? We’re all making him dinner tonight. Carpe diem may cause a messy cake, but what the heck;))

  4. Time spent together is truly priceless. What a perfect way to spend an evening. It’s a refreshing kind of tired. Thanks for reminding me how beautiful it can be.

  5. What a great memory you created that night with your son.It is interesting to know that he though you would say no. It sometimes becomes automatic to say no when we are busy with our own ‘to do list’.So glad you took the time. I am working on my own post for your ‘one month to live’ challenge.Blessings, Cindy

  6. Genny, this was absolutely beautiful. What precious memories you are creating. This past week has been special for me as well as I’ve embraced all of life and said ‘yes’ to impromptu opportunities. Thanks for encouraging us to take this challenge and make each moment count.Blessings,Joy

  7. I love this post. What really got me was when your son thought you would say no. Your thought was then how many opportunities have you missed and not even realized it. That hits home with me. Gosh, how many more times would I say yes to something and have the opportunity to completely enjoy someone or something because I was willing to let my priorities, my schedule, my desires above everyone else’s. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

  8. I love this post. What really got me was when your son thought you would say no. Your thought was then how many opportunities have you missed and not even realized it. That hits home with me. Gosh, how many more times would I say yes to something and have the opportunity to completely enjoy someone or something because I was willing to let my priorities, my schedule, my desires above everyone else’s. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.

  9. I am thinking of all the times…even things that have happened today…when I put my daughter off, because I was too busy, or too self-centered, or too…whatever. This puts a whole new perspective on things…thank you.

  10. I LOVE this story!A priceless moment for you and your son. I am sure he will always remember when mom learned how to play “wally ball” with him! What a great way to take advantage of your 30 days! Love it!

  11. Beautiful! I got tears in my eyes…thank you! Even though we don’t have kids yet, I just think about all the times I put my job, cleaning, blogging, favorite tv shows over my sweet hubby. This really puts life into perspective. Thank you!!Kelli :)

  12. I love this post… I too feel rushed a lot with the responsibilities of four kids and often I am sure I am focused on the wrong things, or at least the things that feel like duty rather than actually engaging fully with them and being present.Thanks for the book. I am really looking forward to reading it!Laura

  13. This was such a beautiful post. Sounds like yall had a great time! It is easy to get caught up in all you have to do and not take the time.

  14. Lately I have been trying to say “Yes!” more often to my kids. I want them to know that I know how to have fun with them, too.

  15. What a powerful statement! Whoa if I ever said how many times I’ve said no to my precious gifts! Thanks so much for the thoughts and wake up call!

  16. From one list making goal oriented mom to the next – yes sometimes we have to shove our internal list of things to do – to seize the moment great great great Post thanks

  17. This post brought tears to my eyes. I have been making choices to say yes instead of an automatic no. Life is more fun this way.

  18. I love your blog! I just wanted you to know that your posts make me strive to be a better mommy, wife, daughter,and sister. I do not know how I missed your giveaway but I am going to pick this book up as soon as I find it. Thank you for your beautiful posts…I have one month to live starting today and I can’t wait! You are an amazing mom and though I don’t know you personally I feel like everyone in your life is blessed to have you in theirs. Thank you for reminding me to live…I needed that message today especially, Smiles and Hugs, Paula

  19. tears formed in my eyes as I read this, because I know that I am on the giving end of those “no” answers all too often. Today, though (and even before I read this!) I said yes to my son twice, when my first impulse was to just say “no.” Yay! I’m making progress…

  20. Every time you get a lump in your throat, I get one too. This was such a sweet story. What a special treat to go for a walk together :) Thank you for the reminder.

  21. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. I think we are a lot alike when it comes to this sort of thing. Schedules, bedtimes, staying clean. What a freedom though to get dirty and start to have fun after the fact. (That is also very much me not enjoying it on the front end). You wanna keep track of who can get their kids to the park the most? heeeheee

  22. Sounds like a great time. My boy is only 10 months old. I am trying to slow down and just enjoy it as much as I can. It all goes so quickly.And as he gets older, I hope I can remember to do the same, to put away memories for the both of us.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing that. I think I’m off to go spend some time with my daughter now!

  24. I’ve been trying to think like this more, lately…thanks for this post reminding me to do so!

  25. You post is exactly what I needed today. Thank you for the reminder about reality and the refresher about true priorities.

  26. Pingback: Living with a one-month perspective :: Genny Heikka

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