July 31, 2012 by Lillie
If you live in Texas like I do, you’ll recognize the scenes and music. If you don’t live in Texas … you can see what you’re missing!
July 27, 2012 by Lillie
We often hear about rude people, unhelpful staff members in business, and negative individuals. But I’ve been noticing recently that more often than not people are polite, staff members in businesses I frequent are helpful, and individuals I encounter are positive.
Many people practice random acts of kindness, but Jack and I are often the recipients of acts of kindness that are not random at all. The people who perform these kind acts do them regularly, not randomly. I want to express my appreciation for all the acts of kindness that people do for us.
Here are some recent examples (in no particular order):
- Vicki, the cashier at WalMart, loaded my groceries in a shopping cart rather than in the basket of the scooter I was using, took the groceries to the car, and transferred them from the cart to my car.
- Every time she sees that I have a deposit slip made out, our home helper Betsy volunteers to go to my bank on her way home to make a deposit to save me a trip.
- Peter, a friend who is a plumber came over to help us get a bi-fold door back on track … and brought dinner as well.
- Elizabeth, the secretary at our church, calls us weekly to check up on us.
- Our priest, Father Chip, brings Communion to our home since we aren’t able to attend church regularly.
- A nurse at our doctor’s office, Victoria, brings a chair into her cubby so I can sit while she’s taking Jack’s vital signs.
- Both our physician’s assistant, Carly, and the home health nurse, Eddie, write out prescriptions for us to keep at home to help Jack remember their instructions.
- When my computer was infected with a virus over the weekend, Rainer, our computer tech, came to my office on Saturday afternoon to pick up the computer and take it to his shop to start running scans so I could have it back Monday morning so I could meet a deadline.
- Jan, my associate, checked my email daily while I was recovering from surgery.
- Several people, including my client Shawne, our friend Peter, and fellow parishioners Tracy and Christie, brought meals to us following my surgery.
- My sister Nancy went with me to surgery and stayed with us several nights during my recovery to help, in addition to bringing food and helping us whenever she visits.
- Jack’s brother David stayed with Jack while I was in surgery and helps us whenever we need assistance.
These are just a few examples off the top of my head–I know I have not remembered everything.
My vow is to do more acts of kindness for others and especially to notice and appreciate the acts of kindness others do for us.
Have you experienced or performed random or not-so-random acts of kindness lately?
May 31, 2012 by Lillie
Hard as it is to believe, Jack and I have been married 45 years today. I wrote about our life together on our anniversary last year, and I invite you to read Happy 44th Anniversary to Us! We still enjoy our weekly dates to grocery shop at Walmart and have breakfast at Denny’s. However, when we get home, we put away only the perishable items and leave the rest for our wonderful home helper Betsy Gonzales. She’s a treasure and takes wonderful care of us.
Happy anniversary, Jack! I love you more today than I did 45 years ago.
April 3, 2012 by Lillie
Recently, Jack and I were out running errands. On the way home from the post office, Jack said, “Does he need help?” I hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t know what he was talking about. Jack backed up a few feet to the entrance to the parking lot of a restaurant not yet open for the day. There on the sidewalk lay a young man with his wheelchair overturned beside him. He had tipped over going up the steep incline and fallen out of his chair. Fortunately, he wasn’t injured, but he was helpless to get back into the chair.
Jack and I got out of the van, righted the wheelchair, and tried to lift the man back into the chair. Although he was light and both of us are large, neither of us is strong and both of us are unsteady on our feet. I had to lean against the van to keep myself upright, and between the two of us we couldn’t lift the man.
Fortunately a young woman walked up, taking the same shortcut through the parking lot that the fallen man had taken. With her help, we lifted him back into his chair and checked again to make sure he wasn’t hurt. The young woman pushed his wheelchair across the parking lot and to the convenience store where each had been headed before our encounter. We drove to the store and made sure the young man purchased his soda and started home safely.
We read the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible and wonder if we would stop to help or cross by on the other side. The man we helped hadn’t been attacked by robbers. He wasn’t injured, and we didn’t have to take him to an inn to care for him. But I hope he thought of us and the young lady who helped him up as his Good Samaritans.
Often we think that we have to do something large and important in order to make a difference in the world. But sometimes we called to make just a small difference in the life of one person. And it’s easy to overlook those opportunities.
I remember an incident from long ago. We had a small fire in the back seat of our car on a busy highway. Jack pulled to the side of the road, and we had to remove the back seat to put out the fire. Cars whizzed past at the speed limit (or faster), but no one even glanced our direction. We were able to get the fire out and the seat back in the car, but it would have been easier if someone had helped us.
When we were out running errands, I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, and we would not have helped this young man if Jack hadn’t noticed him lying on the sidewalk. I’m going to keep my eyes open now. Who knows what opportunities I’ve missed by not paying attention?
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed help? Did someone give you aid? Have you been the one helping someone else?
December 21, 2011 by Lillie
Recently, I read The Red Suit Diaries: A Real-Life Santa on Hopes, Dreams, and Childlike Faith.You can read my review of the book on Goodreads. The author is a Christian who considers being Santa a mission to show God’s love to children. I loved the stories of children who had sat on his lap through the years. Those stories made me think about my experiences with Santa Claus.
One year a group of us from an organization of businesswomen gave a party for mothers and children who were in transition from the Battered Women’s Shelter. There were twelve families in the program, with a combined total of about twenty children. One of our members had played Santa many times, and she agreed to be our Jolly Old St. Nick.
As an afterthought, I grabbed my Polaroid camera on the way out of the office, but I didn’t have any film. Santa and I stopped to buy film, and you can imagine the line of children following Santa through the drugstore. Santa had to smile and wave and speak to kids so we could get out of the store after making our purchase.
We arrived at a party location to find that the women and children were waiting for us because they had to arrive very early due to inconvenient bus schedules. After we served the guests cookies and punch, Santa sat in a large chair in the middle of the room and invited the children to come sit on “his” lap and get their gifts and have their picture taken. None of the children came forward. I walked around the outside of the room where the children stood with their mothers, encouraging them to go see Santa. They looked down at the floor or smiled and nodded, but no one moved. Finally one of the mothers spoke so low I had to lean closer to hear her. “How much does it cost?”
“Oh, it doesn’t cost anything,” I answered. “It’s free.”
The mothers smiled and motioned their kids toward Santa. The children swarmed around Santa’s chair, eager for their gifts. We took a Polaroid snapshot of each child, then we took pictures of the child with his or her siblings. One of the mothers shyly approached me. “Would you take a picture of me with my kids? I’ve never had a picture of my kids and me before.”
I’m sure the women could hear the emotion in my voice when I said, “Of course, we’ll take all the pictures you want!” The smiles on those faces lit up the room, and the happiness on the face of each mother when she saw the first picture of herself brought tears to the eyes of the six volunteers.
The children were excited to get their gifts, which they took home to open as the only gifts they would receive on Christmas Day. The mothers appreciated the gift certificates and the food, which they carried home on the bus. But the best gift of all was those pictures, which seemed to be an afterthought on our part.
An afterthought to us, maybe, but like all unexplained coincidences, another example of God choosing to remain anonymous.
For several years, the employees of my interior landscape company volunteered for the Elf Louise Project. The 100% volunteer-operated organization collects donations of toys, which are wrapped and delivered in person to needy children. Nearly 20,000 toys are given to children in almost 6,000 families. The parents must request the gifts for their families, and Elf Louise tries to match gifts as closely as possible to what the children want. Volunteers, close to 6,000 of them, collect toys and money, buy toys, wrap the gifts, and deliver them to the families. The toys are delivered by teams with a Santa on each team. Each year, my company fielded several teams to deliver gifts.
The teams were warned that most of the neighborhoods where gifts were to be delivered were high-crime areas, and the driver should be careful to always park in such a way as to be able to make a quick escape if necessary. Our driver knew that, but in a neighborhood of run-down, dilapidated homes, the street suddenly ended, and he had to turn around and go back. When he turned the vehicle around, a carload of teenage boys—guys who certainly looked like they could be members of one of the notorious gangs frequenting the area—pulled in front of us and slammed on the brakes. Big, rough-looking guys poured out of all the doors. We started to panic as the teens ran toward our vehicle yelling.
Then we realized what they were saying.”Santa! Santa! Santa!”
Fortunately, Elf Louise provides each team with a large bag of candy to hand out to children who aren’t on the gift list. That night, all our candy went to the “gang” of guys who looked like young toughs but who acted like children. After each boy got a big handful of candy, the young men said, “Thanks, Santa!” They smiled at us and each other, high-fived, piled back into the car, and drove away.
Women in Business gave many more parties to the women in transition from the Battered Women Shelter, and our employees volunteered a number of years for Elf Louise. Each of those experiences was moving and meaningful, but none was more special than the experiences I’ve just described.
This Christmas, I hope you are a Santa like Ed Butchart, the author of The Red Suit Diaries—reminding everyone on your gift list that you love them and God loves them. I pray that you remember that the value of a gift lies in the love with which it is given and the meaningfulness of it to the recipient.
A handwritten note telling a parent or spouse how much you love them, an offer to help a young mother with childcare or a senior citizen with household chores, a box of homemade cookies—these cost little or nothing but are likely to mean more than an expensive item purchased from a fine store.
Of course, gifts that you buy can be as meaningful as gifts that you make if you choose them with love and care. Selecting an item the recipient has been wanting for a long time or choosing something that perfectly matches their tastes and interests can bring joy to the recipient, and their joy will make you happy.
Naturally, as a writer and a reader, I love books. For the book lover on your list, a book in their favorite genre or a gift certificate to a bookstore can be the perfect gift. Although I’d like to think my books are perfect for everyone, I know better. You can give the perfect gift only if you take the time and effort to discover what would make the recipient happy.
May God richly bless you in this holy season and may the gifts you give and the gifts you receive bring joy.
July 6, 2011 by Lillie
Table of contents for Time Management
I always know what my overall priorities are, and each day I know my specific priorities for that day. If I have appointments, they are recorded on my calendar. If have deadlines to meet, they will recorded in my tasks list. Everything else I need or want to do that day is likewise in the tasks list, prioritized.
Now, I am going to depart from conventional time management advice in several things I do that work for me. You can certainly get ideas from other people, but in the end, you have to decide what works for you.
Many experts recommend following a strict schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, and start and end work at regular times. If you have a project to finish, they say, don’t just put it on your to-do list—actually put in on your calendar in a specific time frame. If you work well following a strict schedule, by all means do so. I don’t like to follow a strict schedule; one of the reasons I freelance is so I don’t have to report to a job at a specific time each day. In my current situation, it’s not practical for me to follow a rigid schedule. My husband’s needs don’t adhere to a time frame, so I make myself available to him when he needs me and fit other things around his needs. It works best for me to know what I need to do but work out the details of when and how I do those things—except for scheduled appointments—as I go along. My work hours and the order in which I accomplish tasks varies from day to day. That may not work for most people, but it works best for me.
Another piece of advice experts usually give is to do your most important work early in the morning and leave tasks that don’t require as much thought and concentration for later. That is the exact opposite of what is most efficient for me. I have always had a hard time getting started in the mornings. Several years ago, I wrote a two-part series on how I decided to begin my work day an hour later than my employees and the beneficial effect it had. My best thinking time is NOT early in the morning or when I first get to the office. Generally, I’m most productive in the wee hours of the morning. Unless scheduled appointments interfere, I’m asleep when most people are doing their most productive work before noon. I start work in the late afternoon or evening and tend to routine tasks first. Then after everyone else is asleep and I have no interruptions, I get my most important projects done. I find it difficult to concentrate for the first few hours after I wake, and I’m also distracted if I have a lot of unread emails or unheard voice mails. If you are most alert early in the morning, then follow the guru’s advice and finish your major projects first thing. Save email and phone calls and social media until you’re winding down. You are the only person who knows when your most productive time is and what you need to do to focus best.
I tend to personal items such as feeding the cat and cleaning the litter box before I come to the office, which is a small portable building in the backyard. I do my devotional and Bible readings online and my journaling on the computer, and I usually do those before anything else in the office. Then I go through email—handling each message only once whenever possible, make phone calls, moderate blog comments and write posts (which I usually schedule in advance), and check my feed reader and Facebook. After that, I work on major projects. In between all these, I take breaks to spend time with my husband and help him as needed. Although the way I work is contrary to what most experts recommend, it is effective for me, and I’ve been using the same productivity tips for a long time.
Whenever I change activities, I record the time in my Outlook calendar. As you can see in the image, I color-code different activities so I can see at a glance if I’m spending an inordinate amount of time in certain categories. Sometimes people chuckle when I tell them I record everything I do, but I bill my regular clients in quarter-hour increments, and if I don’t put it on my calendar if I do a small job as I’m going through email, I could easily forget it. And if there were large blank spots in the calendar, I could easily forget (no, I don’t trust my memory) whether I was eating lunch and visiting with my husband or working on a client project. By writing down everything, I know the important items are recorded.
Of course, there are variations in this based on the schedule and priorities of the day. If I have appointments—client meetings or, more likely, doctor’s appointments for my husband—or am on tight deadlines for a major project, I may not open Google reader or Facebook for several days. More likely, if I’m really busy, I will just mark most of the blog posts read and skim through only the top news on Facebook. Knowing I’m getting behind distracts me when I need to be most focused.
I hope this short series has given you some ideas on how to most effectively manage your own time. Your system probably won’t be anything like mine, but it should be fit your natural rhythms, as well as your personal and professional situations.
Share your own time management ideas or ask question in comments, and we can continue the conversation.
July 1, 2011 by Lillie
Table of contents for Time Management
In the last post, we talked about what I believe is the most important element in time management: prioritizing.
Now, let’s talk about getting organized. As I have said, I’m only sharing what I do, not giving expert advice. So I won’t cover the various time management tools that are available. You can keep a paper-and-pen to-do list if you find it helpful. You can use very sophisticated time and project management software if you need it to stay organized. Or, most likely, you will use something in between. Find what works for you—and use it.
I use Outlook as my primary organizer because I can integrate my email, calendar, and to-do list in Outlook with documents. For example, I receive an email from a prospective client asking about my editing a book manuscript.
- I reply to the message with a PDF document with information for clients, explaining what I need to give a quote: pages for a sample edit, a synopsis or chapter summary, and answers to a few questions.
- I drag and drop the message into Contacts, creating a contact file with the author’s name and email address along with the message.
- I create a mail folder for the prospective client as a subfolder of “prospective clients” and drag and drop both the original message and my response into the new folder.
- If the prospective client replies with questions or incomplete information, I respond and store the messages in her mail folder. If she sends some of the requested material, I create a new folder in My Documents, as a subfolder of “prospective clients,” which is a subfolder of “clients” and save any attachments there.
- When the prospective client has sent all the information, I drag and drop the message into Tasks and assign a due date. Depending on the client’s needs and my work in progress, I try to do sample edits and quotes within a few days.
- When I work on the quote, I drag and drop the task into Calendar and record the time I spent.
- I continue to file messages and documents in the prospective client’s folder until she is moved to “clients” or the “not accepted” subfolder of prospective clients.
- If the client does accept my proposal and hires me to edit her manuscript, I continue to keep her records (both email and documents) organized in the appropriate folders, to schedule the steps of her projects in Tasks, and to record the time spent in Calendar.
Here are some of the key elements of my organizational system that make it work for me:
- My office is virtually paperless, so I don’t spend time filing or looking for paper documents. Most of my work is electronic, and when I receive paper documents (such as contracts), I scan them and store them electronically.
- My files—both email and documents—are organized in categories with main folders and several layers of subfolders: My Documents/Clients/John Smith/Book 1/Drafts, …/Book 1/Cover ,…/Book 1/Layout, …/Book 1/Promotion, etc.; …/Book 2/Drafts, etc.; …/Website/Design, …/Website/Backups, etc.
- With rare exceptions, my email inbox is emptied daily. When I check email, I try to process it at the same time. Unless I am in a hurry because of a scheduled appointment or deadline, I read and delete or file messages in the order they are received. If I need to do something in response to the message, I create a task for it as described above and file the email. Determining whether to save or delete a message can be challenging. Sometimes I think I should have a current subfolder under each client to file those iffy emails that I really don’t need to keep permanently, but I do need to keep while I’m working a specific project. But I haven’t done that, so I have more emails in file than I ideally should.
- I have created documents with information on my services (a general document covering writing and editing; a document for editing clients with instructions on what I need to give a quote; and documents for self-publishing, formatting, resume, business, and website clients) as well as information for blog guests. When I get a query about work or guest posting, I reply with a very brief note and the appropriate document. I also have template emails that I use to cut down on the time and thought required to respond to similar emails.
- My task list includes everything I need to do—phone calls I need to make as well as major projects. I don’t depend on my memory for anything—and if I do try to rely on memory, I’m reminded very quickly that it doesn’t work.
- I record everything on my calendar–and I mean everything. There are two reasons for this: 1) I charge an hourly rate for most of my clients, because I do a variety of small jobs throughout the month, and it’s not feasible to give a flat fee quote for each one. If I don’t account for all my time, it’s easy to overlook a quarter hour here and a half hour there of billable time. By keeping track of all my time, I don’t forget those small jobs. 2) I can see how I spend my time. When I start feeling unproductive, I can look at the calendar and see large chunks of time marked Personal, which generally means I’ve had to help my husband more than usual. Or I may see large blocks of time marked Email/Blogs/Facebook and realize I need to be more selective in my blog reading. If I didn’t see that time written in my calendar, it would be easy to say–and believe—that I don’t spend much time online. I categorize and color-code every activity, so it’s very easy to tell at a glance the amount of time I spent on client work compared to the time spent personal activities, social media, and everything else.
- In addition to the Outlook Calendar, I also maintain two separate calendars in Word documents. My blog editorial calendar has my posting schedule—all the holidays and special occasions/events I want to blog about marked on the appropriate date, guest posts and reviews or interviews I have scheduled, and ideas for topics to write about. Although I have major deadlines in Outlook Tasks, my project calendar contains more details about large jobs. Those details include deadlines throughout the project for other people—the author, an associate who does a round of edits, the cover designer, beta readers, and others—and interim deadlines for me—first/second/third round of edits due, interior layout, upload file to online printer, review printer’s proof. I find this much detail clutters up my Outlook calendar but is very easy to see when laid out in a one-page monthly calendar with nothing but deadlines on major projects visible.
This describes the tools and system I use for organization. You may prefer a different tool and another system. It doesn’t matter how simple or complex your system is. What matters is whether it works for you. If it is effective for you, it is a great system.
Next time we’ll talk about what I do on a daily basis.
June 28, 2011 by Lillie
Table of contents for Time Management
- Time Management 1: Prioritizing
Like the last post, today’s post is the result of a request—or in this case two requests—in comments.
Dominic Faith from P/S Public Storage wrote:
Well Lillie, after reading your posts and comments, I feel that you should write a post on how to manage time. Many people want to know how you are so active with the blogs without compromising on your personal life and other routine things. May be a few tips would help us as well because I grow frustrated when after a week I check my blogs and have a huge number of comments to reply! Please share your strategy with us. Thanks.
Gareth Brown from Bentley Walker followed up with:
Dominic has said right what I wanted to. I understand this because I too have a blog and I get stressed out in checking it every now and then and moderating queries followed by answering questions. I want to know how can I manage time and give adequate attention to my blog while performing routine activities like office, family, travel etc. Thanks.
My initial reaction was that I’m certainly no expert on time management, so anything I would write on the subject wouldn’t be very helpful. However, after giving it some consideration, I decided to tell you what I do for two reasons:
- Perhaps something I do will be helpful to someone.
- Maybe some people will feel less guilty to know they aren’t alone in feeling overwhelmed with so many things to do and so little time to do them all.
The most important thing in managing time, I believe, is determining what is most important to you. None of us will ever get everything done that we want to do or that we feel we should do. The key is to spend most of our time on things that matter most to us.
I was blessed to have a wake-up call that made me realize I had to take action on my dream if I ever wanted to make it happen. It’s so easy to drift through life and put off for tomorrow what we want to do so we can do what we think we have to do today.
I’m not advocating anyone fail to fulfill their responsibilities or honor their commitments. I started writing shortly after I had a stroke, but I didn’t become a full-time writer for several years. I owned an interior landscape company, and I took the time I needed to sell the business to a company that promised to keep my employees and to serve my clients the same way I did. Though I realized I couldn’t continue to delay my dream, I didn’t recklessly abandon my current obligations. What I did was put writing high on my list of priorities. I changed my schedule so I could spend all day Saturday working on my novel. That meant I had to give up some things I had been doing on my weekends. Writing was more important to me, so I made time for it.
You’ve probably heard the saying you can have anything you want in life, but you can’t have everything. Only you can determine what you want in life…and what you are willing to give up to get it.
A woman I know told me that writing is her first priority. “I figure I can do less important things—like eating, bathing, and sleeping—when my book is finished.” Most people probably wouldn’t give up eating or sleeping, and most of their friends wouldn’t want them to give up bathing. But her hyperbole emphasizes how important writing is to her.
Priorities will shift over time and through varying circumstances. After Dream or Destiny was released, I started writing a novel about a secondary character (Bonita) in Dream or Destiny and expected to finish that novel and another one based on a different secondary character (Tess). However, my circumstances have changed. My husband now needs more help and attention, and I am gladly giving him my time, attention, and assistance. At this point in my life, writing fiction has moved far down in my priority list. Jack is my top priority.
Meeting my clients’ needs is also high in importance. I honor the commitments I make to the people who trust me to edit or write for them, so client work gets done before projects of lesser importance.
I have always volunteered many hours each week to my church. Over the last couple of years, I have turned many of my responsibilities over to others. Although volunteering is important to me, it has moved down the priority list as family responsibilities have moved up.
Everyone needs down time—time to relax and recuperate. Reading is my favorite pastime, but I don’t get many opportunities to sit and read for hours. Instead, I have a book on my Kindle at the dining table so I can read when I’m eating a meal or having a snack without Jack. I have another on my Kindle for PC so I can read a few paragraphs while I’m waiting for a file to download. I have another on my laptop for the weekend or holiday occasions when I can sit in the den with Jack and read for hours. Reading in snatches this way, I’ve read 26 books and reviewed them on Goodreads so far this year.
My other hobby is blogging.The two commenters asking my advice were impressed that I had time to reply to every comment and to post the monthly thank-you post. Interacting with commenters is important to me, so I will choose to moderate and reply to comments rather than do something else that is lower on my priority list. I don’t get everything done, but—because it is a high priority—I usually do a good job of keeping up with comments on my blog.
When you look at managing your time, first establish your priorities. Only you can decide what is most important to you, based on your individual circumstances, values, obligations, and interests. You will never be able to do everything, but you can do anything.
In the next post, I’ll talk about the tools and systems I use for organization.
June 24, 2011 by Lillie
Although my love affair with writing started in high school, I never expected to be able to make a living as a writer. So I worked in government jobs for a few years, then started my own business—first a plant shop, then an interior landscape company. I always planned to write “someday”—when I had time, when I could afford to retire … “someday.”
Then I walked into a chiropractor’s office for a routine treatment and had to be carried out after suffering a stroke. I spent months in rehabilitation learning how to walk again, learning how to function again. I wondered, Would I ever be normal again? Would I be able to run my business? Would I be able to take care of myself?
Would I be able to write—or would I even be alive—when that mythical, magical “someday” arrived?
I realized “someday” is today. I was not—and you are not—promised anything beyond this present moment. If I wanted to fulfill my dream of writing “someday,” I had to start.
Realistically, I couldn’t start immediately because I was too incapacitated. However, I made the commitment that I would work as hard as I could to become functional again and that as soon as I could, I would start a novel. Nineteen years ago when I was in rehab, there were no computers in the therapy area. The rehab hospital allowed me to use the office computer in the therapy department as part of my occupational therapy to learn to type again. I worked as hard as I could every chance I got to practice typing—one letter at a time until I mastered them all, then gradually increasing my speed.
“Someday” actually arrived several months after my stroke when I returned to work during the week. I didn’t have a computer at home, so I went to the office on weekends to write my novel on my work computer. That first novel was Stroke of Luck, a romance novel about a woman who had a stroke similar to mine. The writing was not only the culmination of a lifelong dream, it was also beneficial to my emotional recovery. Writing itself can be therapeutic, but so can achieving—or even taking steps toward achieving—any dream.
I’ve written other posts about my stroke wake-up call, but a recent comment reminded me that few people—or maybe no people!—were reading my posts in the early days of the blog, so maybe it’s time to re-visit the topic.
Rhys from How to Preach left a comment on my post Stroke Awareness Month 2011:
Just reading one of your posts where you make this quite momentous remark; “After the stroke, I realized that ‘someday’ is today”.
It took me many years to discover this, and I think you could well write more emphatically on just this point.
It is tragic when we discover we didn’t do something, and it is now TOO LATE because that person is no longer there!
Do you have a dream that you’re putting off for “someday”?
Are you delaying a family visit for projects at work or putting off starting your own business until you feel financially secure? Are you waiting to reconcile with an estranged loved one until he apologizes to you? Are you postponing learning a second language until you have some extra time or avoiding returning to school until you aren’t so busy? Are you deferring your art while you focus on your career or suspending a career change until the economy gets better? Are you procrastinating on something you really want to do because you’re afraid you won’t succeed?
Are you putting your dream on hold until that mythical, magical “someday” that may never come?
Someday is today! If you have dream, start on it now. Maybe all you can do is the equivalent of my sitting at a computer and hitting one key to type a single letter. But that single keystroke led to more keystrokes and faster keystrokes and more accurate keystrokes—until the keystrokes turned into pages of text and eventually a novel.
Make that first keystroke. Take that first step. Today is “someday”!
May 31, 2011 by Lillie
Today we carry more pounds and wrinkles, and we move a little slower. Some of our laughs today come from what Jack thinks I or someone else said, which is often very different from what was actually said. His hearing is poor, and he says he’s filled his brain up in seventy-eight years of living so he doesn’t have room for more. So sometimes his misunderstandings are pretty funny.
Jack used to do all the grocery shopping and the laundry. Now, the laundry is my job, and we share the shopping. Our trip to Walmart at 2 AM is a highlight of our week. I’ve always been a night owl, and Jack sleeps off and on through the day and night, so the middle of the night is a great time for us. We don’t do well in crowds, so we enjoy shopping when there are few customers around.
But what makes our shopping so special are the people at our local Walmart. Jack used to shop at a local grocery store, and we ended up at Walmart the first time because it happened to be close by on my way home from an emergency room visit. I was having myoclonic seizures in the car while Jack went in to get a prescription filled, and four Walmart managers came out to the car and stayed with me, comforting me the entire time. So Jack started shopping there and got acquainted with the store general manager, Al Slavin, a fellow Texas Aggie.
After shopping became too difficult for Jack to manage on his own, we started our wee-hours-of-the-morning shopping schedule. We realized the store would be full of stockers replenishing the shelves, and we knew we could ask questions if needed help. But we didn’t know how helpful and friendly the staff would be. I would love to name each one individually, but I don’t even know all their names.
Both of us use the store scooters, and everywhere we go in the store, workers ask if we need help. If we happen to arrive when some of the stockers are taking a break in front of the store, a couple will go get scooters and bring them out to us. The guys cleaning the floor stop to greet us and ask how we are. The checkers and managers joke with us and go out of their way to be helpful. I never enjoyed shopping before, but now Jack and I both look forward to our Walmart outing.
After we finish shopping, we head off to breakfast at Denny’s at San Pedro and Bitters. Brittany sees us pulling into the parking lot, and she has our table ready and my decaf brewing. She’s always upbeat and enthusiastic and remembers what we like.
If anyone had told me forty-four years ago that we would look forward to a weekly date of grocery shopping and breakfast, I wouldn’t have believed it. But anything I do with Jack is fun, and the people at Walmart and Denny’s make our date even better!
Jack has a doctor’s appointment today, then we’ll have lunch at Mr. and Mrs. G’s Home Cooking, a little hole-in-the-wall cafeteria-style restaurant that has the best Southern home cooking you can imagine.
Happy anniversary, Jack. I love you!