"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul." (Matthew 16:26).

My wonderful daughter made me a red velvet birthday cake this year using her own special combination of creativity and love. It was huge and I cut myself the biggest piece. With the first bite I closed my eyes and smiled. It was so moist and sweet. The butter cream icing on top was delightfully thick. It had countless calories and it was so delicious without being necessarily nutritious. I didn't mind, though. I savored every bite and added a few scoops of ice cream as well. My sons and I polished off every bit of it. When we were done our bellies were full, our souls were satisfied, and dinner was still four hours away. We had followed that wise saying of a happy existence: "Life is short. Eat dessert first!"

I have spent way too many years of my life putting off the desserts I was given until everything else was done. Like far too many people in our society, I thought that work came first, duty came second, and joy was somewhere way down the list. It took me a long time to see God's simple truth that: "We work to live but we live to love." Without love, without laughter, without joy, without goodness, without all the simple pleasures life can bring, our existence becomes a dull and miserable journey.

Thankfully, I finally realized that when you put love first in your life, everything else tastes so much sweeter. Don't put off the simple joys that life can bring. Don't put off the beautiful love that you can give. Eat dessert first! Give your kids hugs before homework. Jump in the leaves before bagging them. Dance on the floors before sweeping them. Do random acts of kindness and goodness. Play with your dogs. Pet your cats. Watch the sunset. Give thanks to God. Shine your smile. Spread your sunshine. And share your love with everyone. You will be amazed at how wonderful life will be when you "Live to Love" while you "Work to live."

By: Joseph J. Mazzella