1. Create Heaven and Earth…check
2. Divide Light and Dark…check
1. Rotate Laundry
2. Rotate dishes
3. Plan menus for the week
4. Clean out frig
5. Go Grocery shopping
6. Put away groceries
7. Rotate laundry again
8. Take out garbage
9. Set out garbage cans (Yes. That gets a separate check off)
10. Think of something to write about tomorrow.
11. Call and check on friends
13. Quiet Time
15. Pay bills
16. Balance checking accounts
17. Fix dinner
18. Make sure tween practices her music
19. Clean bathroom
20. Rotate laundry
21. Set coffee pot for tomorrow
22. Make “to do” list for Tuesday.
(Problem with “To Do” list….too many little things, not enough miracles
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded. (Attributed to Emerson but never confirmed)
With this as my definition of success I can say withou reservation that my life has been a success. Everything that follows is bonus!
Last night as we were coming home from the airport, traffic on the other side of the freeway was almost at a standstill from being forced from four lanes into one due to resurfacing the road. Normally at that time of night on a Friday traffic is moving freely and those who were not aware of the roadwork being done found themselves unexpectedly delayed. Cal Trans, the department responsible for road maintenance in California, had planned ahead, posted notices, scheduled men and machinery and were intent on peeling the top 5 or 6 inches off Highway 87 and replacing it with new paving. They didn’t do it just to annoy people, although I am pretty sure in the 5 mile back up there were some annoyed people. They didn’t do it because they had nothing better to do than upset traffic. They did it because it needed to be done. I did the math and removing just 6 inchs of top pavement created a hole equivalent to just over 19,000 TONS. A shallow hole but the impact was huge.
This morning I attended the memorial service for my real estate agent. I know, who is that close to their real estate agent, right? This particular woman I actually met almost 6 years ago. My daughter and her son were in the same class in the second grade. The school our kids went too was very heavy on parent participation and I got to know Melissa working with her. She always had a smile and was genuinely glad to see you. There are a rare few people who have the ability to make you feel like you are the only person they see. Melissa could make everyone in a crowded room feel seen. At the end of second grade our interaction came to an end but when it was time to list a property we wanted to sell I thought of her. For the next 3 years we had the property listed off and on without success. Melissa did everything she knew but the timing just wasn’t right with the market the way it was. Melissa never gave up.
Then two years ago she let us know she would be having some help with her listings because she had been diagnosed with cancer. We began praying for her. We took her to one of her chemo treatments. We took her homemade chicken noodle soup. We read her blog and we waited. The chemo was working and she was beating the cancer. Then last year it accelerated and spread to her brain. Subsequent treatments were aggressive and she fought hard. A week ago Wednesday she had her last chemo treatment, went home and fell asleep. She woke up in heaven on Saturday morning.
Today more than 500 people came together. Most had other places they could have or should have been this morning. Moving around the aisle of the church was slow and people waited to sign the guest book, offered their condolences and stood around looking at strangers wondering what to do or what to say. What we all felt was the huge hole. What brought us together, what touched each heart and life was missing.
Home now reflecting on why I went and wondering where all the others went after the memorial I can’t help think about the hole I will leave one day. Is my life a pot hole that just needs a shovel of asphalt to fill in or will I back up traffic for miles? For Melissa’s husband and children the Grand Canyon opened last Saturday and there is no filling it. Melissa left a hole in my life. I need a new real estate agent for one. But more than that, a loving graceful woman is gone and I will miss her. I wonder…who will miss me. Who will miss you, dear reader?
May you live well, love abundantly and leave a really, really big hole.
I was cleaning my kitchen this morning. Not a quick unload, load the dishwasher cleaning but a move everything and wipe down every surface kind of cleaning. I was zipping right along with my Green Works natural cleaner when I got to my stove. I use a different cleaner for it because of the cooktop surface. I cleared everything on the cooktop into the sink and did a nice job of cleaning, if I do say so myself. I was washing the outside of my tea kettle with nice warm soapy water when I noticed something else in my sink. I had placed it there just moments before. It had come from my stove top and has been on my stove top every day of the 9 years we have lived in this house. I remember placing it there the day we moved in and I unpacked the first box in the kitchen looking for a coffee cup.
This is not a spoon rest from the amazing trip to Hawaii we took just two weeks before moving into the house. It is not even something I chose for the house. It belonged to my mother-in-law. I do not know the story behind it and today I desperately wish I did. I don’t know if it meant something special to her or if it was just one of those silly touristy things people tend to pick up on vacation.
But what I do know is that at some point somebody decided that encapsulating some sand and shells in epoxy resin and selling them to tourist was a good idea. And they did it. Then someone else thought buying them for their shop was a good idea so they did. Then someone paid hard earned money to buy this spoon rest from the shop and haul it home from Hawaii. And after, who knows how many years, at my in-laws home this thing made its way to my home where it came to rest on my stove top.
Locked in the epoxy is a moment, a memory, the smell of the ocean and the feeling of the sun and breeze. It all comes to mind. Maybe not their vacation but our own. It connects us once again. I remember walking hand in hand with their son on the beach and wonder what they talked about when they walked hand in hand on their beach.
The past few weeks some of my dear friends have had the warm sand of happy memories turn to quicksand under their feet. Things and people they thought they could count on have betrayed and abandoned them. Relationships, circumstances and even life itself have ended abruptly. Some saw them coming, others had no idea. But in each and everyone I have seen the same foundation hold. Under the shifting sand has been the Solid Rock. And that Rock is firmer than any epoxy ever was. That Rock has been there everyday. That Rock not only reminds us of yesterday but allows us to stand firm today and step out in faith again tomorrow.
May you find yourself standing on the Rock of Ages.
This is where today’s post would have been if I could have thought of anything worth posting.
I am a Stay At Home, Homeschooling mom who does all the SAH, HS things and a few extras on the side. I like to write so I work on a couple dozen book ideas. I like to read so I try to stay current on the blogs and books that keep my mind from turning to mush. I like to teach so every year or so I lead a class on Monday nights at my dinning room table. I like to be creative so I spend some time in my craft cottage making various crafty things.
This Saturday I am going to a social gathering with my favorite person in the whole wide world. We went last year and it was fun. He knows many of the people attending from his years in his highly technical profession. Yep. They are highly technical professionals, too.
Is it any wonder I am already trying to formulate my pithy response to that standard conversation question? How much of our self image is wrapped up in being able to answer that question and hoping the answer is the gateway to continued conversation and not met with the polite smile and “That’s nice” response before they suddenly need to refresh their drink or see someone more interesting over your shoulder that they haven’t seen in maybe hours?
Now, don’t get me wrong, It’s not this group of people. It’s any circle where there is a strong commonality and a few scattered non-regulars. I remember being part of a singles ministry years ago that used to get together for a potluck after church on Sundays. Three weeks in a row one of the guys would realize he was the last man left in a room of women who were discussing their experience with child birth.
So the question today isn’t so much about your profession or your hobbies or even your life experience. It’s more about what do you do when you are the odd man out? After today I have a simple response….Smile.
For years I built a Franklin Daytimer. It had everything in it. It was about 4 inches thick. Every year I would stay up all night Labor Day weekend watching the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon , addressing my Christmas cards and transferring important dates to my new daily calendar for the next year. It was something I started doing (gasp) 31 years ago.
This year Jerry Lewis will make his final appearance on the MDA Telethon and it has been shortened from 24 hours to only 6. As I write that sentence tears begin to fall. An era is coming to an end. I stopped carrying my Brain Book a few years ago when it became so easy to have all my important dates on Google calendar and set them up as annual events. My Ipad has replaced my Brain Book and holds so much more than I ever managed to stuff in a book bag and throw over my left shoulder. My Christmas Cards got lost on my desk last year instead of being mailed on the way to the cabin for Thanksgiving.
I used to think I was just keeping track of information but as I look back now I was chronicling my life. The time I spent each year going through the pages gleaning phone numbers and notes of importance was an unintentional look at how I spent my year and what I wanted to carry forward into the next one. Now it’s all just a blur as it rushes from one into the next. Until yesterday I didn’t even know Jerry Lewis was making his farewell appearance this year. I thought he would keep going until his last day.
All these years I thought it was my Brain Book but now I realize it was my Heart Book. I kind of miss it and I will miss Jerry.
A very wise woman has reminded me that it takes 21 days to get a new habit firmly rooted in your personal pattern. She has set a personal goal of adding blogging to her positive habits and issued a challenge to her blogging friends to step it up as well. Today is my day 8. I am 1/3 of the way to a new positive habit.
Facing the little white box each morning is much more challenging than I ever imagined it would be. I love to write. I have ideas and thoughts I like to share. But putting them “out there” is still a little daunting. At least it was until yesterday. Yesterday I watched another TED talk and there was a line that really caught my attention.
”Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do?” – Elizabeth Gilbert (TED, 2009)
My answer, especially following the TED talk from last week, is “No”. I am not afraid to write what I think or feel and to put it out there. It was my fear of what other’s would think or not think that keeps me from writing what I want to say. It’s trying to arrange the words in just the exact order and combination to make someone see things the way I see them or feel them the way I feel them that makes me second guess every word, every thought, every idea. If I just write what I think and let you be free to think what you will about it then I can spend more time on what I think and less on what you think. More than 20 years ago a writer wrote a whole book on just one thought… “What you think of me is none of my business”.
I can’t read your mind. I have no idea what you think of me. If you never leave a comment I have no idea what you think of my writing. But I can’t let that stop me from writing. I can’t wait around for my site hits number it increase and try to guess what people want to read. I can write what’s in my head and in my heart and live from that. And as much as the act of writing is a good habit to incorporate, I think the lesson for me is to stop waiting and start moving forward knowing full well I could be wrong, I might not be wildly successful or brilliantly original but not afraid to write my story whether anyone reads it or not.
Looking out the window of my office, just above my computer screen, I can see five sets of windows. There are two on the house immediately next door and three on a house behind them and over one lot. With very little effort my window can be seen from all five sets of windows as well.
There are shear curtains on the windows next door. The screen on one window is bent at the top. The window is open and the curtain moves ever so slightly when the breeze pushes against it. Looking directly out that window I’m guessing they have a view of the common wooden fence that separates our properties and of our cherry tree stretching 20 feet into the sky. Not bad as suburban views go. The other window next door is on the second floor and other than a clear view of my roof I’m not sure what they can see. I’m guessing it’s the blank side of the house on the other side of us.
The TED talk I mentioned yesterday has really gotten me thinking about perspective and just how limiting it is. I think I know what the view is from my neighbor’s house because I know what my view is and I have a general understanding of the neighborhood. But it’s all speculation. Sure I have some facts. But do I see it the way my neighbor does? No. I cannot see through the eyes of the 80 year old Russian woman who has lived in that house for the past 30 years. She’s seen that cherry tree planted and grow. I am the fourth neighbor to live in this house, while she is the original owner of her home.
Our windows face each other. We have lived side by side for 10 years. I couldn’t tell you her last name. I don’t know her story. But it’s so easy to think I know what she sees. I think I need to wash my windows.
There I said it. It’s not as hard as you might think.
Yesterday via a rabbit trail on G+ I stumbled upon a TED talk that gave me a very interesting perspective and a new freedom. It was about being wrong. I have given this some thought over the past 24 or so hours and have come to these conclusions.
I thought an afro perm was a good idea….I was wrong.
I thought my acne would clear up before my hair turned grey…I was wrong.
I thought if I held on to fashions long enough they would come back in style and I would be current twice…I was wrong.
I thought if cars came with turn signals people would know what to do with them…I was wrong.
I thought every question would have an answer…I was wrong.
I thought I knew…oh, boy, was I wrong.
I had a pastor once who “reserved the right to be wrong”. I am considering putting a sign up in my office to that effect.
I think someone will read this and heave a sigh of relief. I may be wrong…