On this gorgeous Sunday morning, I’m sitting in my living room listening to James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” album on the turntable and drinking coffee. Just like that, without any real intention or contemplation, I am transported back 32 years to a Roanoke farmhouse in fall 1980.

My sister Julie sits at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, playing Yahtzee, smoking a cigarette and singing along in her beautiful soprano voice.

Her cats Pooty and White Kitty sit on the table watching the dice roll. My brother-in-law Mike plays along on the piano, picking his way through the notes, pausing to sip his own coffee and take a drag from his cigarette.

I was 16 then, a junior in high school, and had just moved out to Roanoke to live with Julie and Mike and go to school at Northwest High School. My bedroom was upstairs in the little farmhouse, and I’d wake on weekend mornings to music filtering up the narrow stairwell to me in my double bed with the antique headboard. I could hear the rattle of dice in Julie’s Yahtzee cup and knew she was playing a solo game while Mike sat at the piano.

It was cold outside but my room was cozy warm, the blue flame of the Deerborn heater doing its job. The bed felt so nice, but I was eager to get up and go downstairs.

I was already in love with the Sunday morning tradition of coffee and music that would follow me all the days of my life.

This past week, I’ve been getting a message from the universe. It took a few days for the message to get through, because I’m a stubborn, complex individual.

My own convoluted thoughts often cloud the simple truths of my world, and that is quite frustrating. But the message I’ve been getting is this: Embrace the now, be grateful for what you have in this very moment, not looking at tomorrow or yesterday. Find the beauty and wonder in every experience, small or large, and rejoice in it.

It’s a challenge to me, which is awesome. I respond very well to personal challenges. Thus far, I have not been completely successful yet at embracing this challenge, but I’m trying.

I have to keep reminding myself to focus on the message instead of my everyday problems, real and imagined.

My husband, Chuck, has pulled his LPs out of the garage, and we’re now listening to Carole King’s “Tapestry.”

I’m singing along with a full cup of coffee by my side, my cat Hobbes sprawled across the carpet in the middle of the album stacks.

Chuck is immersed in his own love of music, and I am writing.

I wonder, what came first - the memories of my sister’s farmhouse or this moment that stirred me to remember them?

That’s pretty deep, I know, but it gives you an idea of how my mind works. Sometimes I get so caught up in remembering the past that I fail to appreciate and enjoy the present.

That can be good or bad, depending on the situation.

Looking back at “yesterday” and feeling regret or hurt or anger is not good for me, and it’s definitely a stark contrast to my message from the universe. But remembering sweet moments from the past that make me feel good, that make me realize that I’m actually living those same moments right now, right this minute, is very, very good.

Carpe diem. Message received.

Contact Kristi Johnson at kristij@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548


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