The Best Thing Ever When You Want To Count Your Blessings

There probably aren’t a lot of folks out there at this point who haven’t heard of Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University professor whose “Last Lecture” has been viewed online a couple million times. If you don’t know about him, click here for more information.

If you want to watch his lecture, here it is: get comfy! (this is the whole lecture from start to finish!)

Last Wednesday night, there was a Primetime special about Randy on ABC. Jim and I watched it together and boy, was it a tearjerker. At the same time, we couldn’t get over this man’s attitude. We are unsure if, faced with the same circumstance, we would handle things as seemingly well as Randy and his wife Jai. I called Borders the very next morning and asked them to reserve his new book for me.


This is a fabulous book. It’s very small in size, but huge in message. It talks about his lecture and various bits of background information. It is a quick read, with short “chapters” (perfect for a busy person to carry with them and read while waiting to pick up a kid or something!).

In the lecture and the book, Randy talks about how you should let your kids draw things on their bedroom walls if they want to, because his parents let him do that, and he appreciated that they didn’t stifle his imagination. He drew/painted things like the quadratic equation and an elevator that went to the third floor (even though he lived in a house with only one floor).

That anecdote reminds me of what happened when we asked the fifteen-year-old, then nine years old, what color he wanted us to paint the walls in his room. He said, “Blue. Bright Dark Blue.” Bright Dark Blue doesn’t sound like it would exist, does it? But it does. While Jim was dwelling on how long it would take us to paint over it when we sell the house someday, I was thrilled to do something radical, and it seemed like such an easy request to grant. Being the kind of person who takes ideas and runs with them, I consulted with the boy on the rest of the decor. We decided to paint the ceiling a color on the same paint sample strip, just lighter, and the room accents would be in silver. All the while, Jim was trying to convince us that just ONE blue wall would suffice, but we told him we were going all the way with it, and he finally jumped on board.

That room took us an entire weekend to paint. The ceiling, which was an absolute pain, ended up looking purplish, but I loved it. And so did the boy.

I found light strings that respond to sound, and we attached them at the top of the walls against the ceiling. I made a window treatment out of CDs. We painted the letters of his name in silver. When we were done, this was a room that our older son absolutely was in love with.


And, now at fifteen-years-old, the walls, the lights, the CD window treatment, and his silver name are still there, and he still revels in the uniqueness of it. I am so happy we did that.


  • House of Jules

    Hee hee hee… remember when he was THAT little? Sheesh! You should take an updated photo of how bachelor-ish that corner looks NOW! You guys are great parents. 🙂
    House of Jules

  • Colleen

    Sweet. Not in the “aw, shucks” kind of way, but the “SWEEEET!” kid type way. I’m sure it was also a project that gave you two a lot of time together. They should make a Mastercard commercial!

  • SpAzzGiRL

    we watched that too last week and man, what a tearjerker, I was sobbing. The book is on my list too and so not my kinda book at all.

  • Kat

    I can’t bring myself to watch the vid right now if it really is a tearjerker.

    I love what you did to the room. Color of any kind is good and I love the idea with the CDs.

  • Sue

    I love letting my girls pick the colors/decor of their rooms. One picked hot pink walls with orange accents and the other has yellow walls with a cloud/sky ceiling. I, too, am so glad that we let them do it. I’ll have to add that book to my list!

  • Melisa

    Doozie: I know, I should take a comparison photo! How fun! I’ll have to be stealth about it so he will smile for the photo…

    Colleen: Yes, priceless! 🙂

    Simone: I know, I don’t normally buy that kind of book (anymore) either, but he is just so darned inspirational…

    Kat: The speech is really good though; worth watching!

    Sue: Julie and I had cloud wallpaper growing up! It was awesome!

  • Mom24

    I’ve made it almost all the way through, I’ve got about 10 minutes left. The natives finally wore me down and convinced me I needed to make their supper–they were staarrrvvviiiing! Sheesh! I can’t wait to see the end, but it truly is such a sad story.

  • Dea

    Beautiful! Both ideas – the seize the day, and the trying-not-to-stifle. In a similar vein, we let the kids help us rag-paint the walls in their tv room this weekend. The sections they did aren’t how I would have done them to start with – but now they’re my favorite sections, and I just want to frame them!!!!