Stop and Smell the Roses

According to Mayo clinic and John Hopkins University, unrelenting stress harms our bodies. We all know that, yet we let it continue each day.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Slow down, stop and smell the roses? “ This was something I always heard from my mother-in-law at every visit for over twenty years. I always thought, “What does she know? She should mind her own business. I’m doing the best I can.” Holly and I owned three 24-hour restaurants. Our children were all active in school and sports. Holly and I wanted to do our best for them. Many would say our family was living the American dream. However, there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

It was the fall of 1997 when I received a call from the basketball coach. It was the first day of basketball practice and Landon didn’t show. Both Landon and Chad had been playing organized basketball from the third grade. Chad was a junior and he made it to practice. The coach wanted to know why Landon hadn’t arrived. I said I didn’t know. But I would ask when he came home. When Landon came home, I asked why he didn’t show for practice. He said, “Dad do you think I’ll ever play professional basketball? I said, “No.” Landon said, “Do you think I would ever get a college scholarship?” I said, “I doubt it, but maybe.” Landon then said, “Dad, I would rather go deer hunting.” What could I say? I could tell he had given this a lot of thought. I reluctantly said, “OK.” I’m so thankful I respected my son’s wishes. On December 17, he died in a car accident.

Now fast-forward to Thanksgiving Day, 1998. I started work early so I could arrive home early to have our family Thanksgiving dinner at 4 o’clock. We gave thanks and ate our meal. Then, I retired to my chair and fell asleep. When I woke up two hours later I asked Holly, “Where did everyone go?” She said, “They left. You were sleeping.” This was my “aha” moment. I did not want to be remembered as always being asleep in my chair. I realized things had to change. I had been using my margin (how I use time) just to get by. The only way to improve my margin would to get rid of the clutter (spending time on things that don’t matter) in my life. I am thankful for the margin I now have and would like to share the benefits of “slowing down and stopping to smell the roses.”

“Four benefits of putting margin in your life”

  1. Peace
    When you’re not hurrying and worrying all the time, you have time to think. Less hurrying and worrying means more time to relax, more time to enjoy life, and more time to stop and smell the roses.
  2. Better health
    When you’re not pushing your limits, you have less stress. According to studies by Mayo clinic and John Hopkins University, unrelenting stress harms our bodies. We all know that, yet we let it continue day after day. Many times the only margin time in our lives is when a heart attack almost happens or does. Why do we wait until our health plummets before we make a new choice? The truth is our bodies need downtime to heal. Racecars make pit stops in order to get repaired. You can’t fix anything going 200 miles an hour. Yet we try to be repaired while we’re still racing through life. Margin builds in time for better health.
  3. Stronger relationships
    Relationships take time, and margin provides the time to sit and talk, to listen and enjoy one another, and to provide the comfort we each need. When we don’t make relationships a priority and make time for each other, our relationships suffer.
  4. Leaving a legacy
    Prioritize your life. How do you want to be remembered?

I am thankful to my mother in law Margaret Hillstrand (8/11/1920-8/29/2012) and her persistence in helping me to “Slow down and stop to smell the roses”.

Psalm 90:12 (The Living Bible) Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.

Larry Lukens is a successful businessman and spiritual expert in the e4e community who uses his life experience to bring comfort and counsel. To contact Larry, call him at 740.294.9740 or write him at


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