Thursday, December 20, 2018


"You always do what you want most to do."

At least that's what my husband tells me.

I started the day with high ambitions. And, I have checked several things off my to-do list: wrote an article; cleaned at Catherine's; ironed my work uniforms; answered a few emails...

But there is so much more that I wanted to do that I simply did not do!

Apparently, more than washing windows, submitting a query, or fighting the pre-Christmas crowds in search of a few last-minute gifts, what I REALLY wanted to do today was...

Work a jigsaw puzzle.
Drink hot beverages.
Visit with my kids.

So, yeah - what Steve said.

Sometimes I want to do the things I need to do. Yesterday, for example, I genuinely wanted to mop the floors and clean the bathrooms. (Actually, I wanted clean floors and bathrooms, and doing the work of mopping and scrubbing was the only way to achieve that.)

But what if my need-to list and my want-to list don't match up? In this season of life - I am loving the 50s - more and more, I find myself skipping the I-need-to list in favor of the I-want-to list.

Giving want-to precedence over need-to comes easily for some folks. Not for me, not for someone with an overwhelming compulsion to try to meet the perceived expectations of others. For me, the transition from need-to to want-to has been a slow, sometimes difficult process.

Thankfully, it seems to be getting easier with practice.

* * *
Quote of the day, an excerpt from a meme shared by a friend: " is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket."

Sunday, December 9, 2018


I tend to stay so busy when I am at home - start a load of laundry, cook the next meal, wash dishes, check off another chore, do the next thing, and then the next, and then the next - that I often feel disconnected from other people in the house. It is very difficult for me to STOP. To make matters worse, when I get on the go-go-go treadmill, and others don't, I begin to resent the fact that I am always working while they get to rest.

I tell myself - and then begin to believe - two lies:
1. I have to do all of this work myself.
2. Others do not appreciate what I do. (If they did, they wouldn't be so chill, right?!)

Now, I know better...I really do. Nobody in my family insists that I go-go-go. And nobody is going to get upset if I stop.

I create this stress myself, and then I get irritated with the others because I'm so stressed - that makes no sense, people!

So this weekend, I did a little exercise: instead of getting on the go-go treadmill, and then getting irritated with those who chose not to get on the go-go treadmill with me, I decided to ignore my natural tendencies and follow the example of those more chill than myself.

Instead of jumping up right after dinner and tackling the dishes in the sink, I followed everyone else to the living area.

Instead of doing laundry, sweeping, or cleaning the bathroom while others were working a crossword or scrolling through Pinterest, I read a book.

When the rest of the family picked up their cell phones, I pulled out my laptop.

I do not have words to describe how difficult and uncomfortable this has been for me.

Do I feel all chill and relaxed after an entire weekend of chilling and relaxing? NO. I feel like I'm developing an ulcer. This not-working thing is wearing me out!

I need some encouragement, folks. Learning to chill - does it get easier with practice?

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Thanksgiving is behind us, and now we are hurtling headlong toward Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I had a full house Thanksgiving weekend. Full, as in wall-to-wall air mattresses and pallets on the floor at bedtime. Full, as in take-a-number for a shower in the morning. Full as in “Is this the third pot of coffee we’ve brewed this afternoon, or the fourth?”

I love a house filled with family and friends. I love crowding elbow-to-elbow around the table. I love long conversations over coffee. I love the kitchen weave of many cooks preparing a meal together.

I had a full house for Thanksgiving, and it was awesome.

But then, everybody left.

As Thanksgiving weekend drew to a close, I stood on the front porch and waved goodbye as the last set of red taillights headed down the driveway.

Now, the beds have been remade with fresh linens. The air mattresses are deflated and put away. Floors are vacuumed and swept; mountains of towels, washed and folded; ginormous baking pans, stored until needed for the next family gathering.

The great big chaotic fullness of a family holiday has been replaced by a great big empty quiet. I already miss the conversations on the porch swing, the long walks on the farm, the laughter over dinner, the snuggles on the couch with the grandkids.

I don’t know about you, but for me, the shift from noisy to quiet, from full to empty is a little traumatic.

Perhaps it’s the physical fatigue: a house full of company is a lot of work! Perhaps, like a Sunday-evening child haunted by the thought of Monday-morning school, I am reluctant to return to life-as-usual. Perhaps the noise and chaos distracted me for a season from unpleasant realities in my day-to-day, and now, those realities once again clamor for my attention.

Whatever the reason, post-holiday emptiness and quiet settle over my heart like a shadow, like tears at the end of a beautiful love story.

Don’t you wish the fellowship and feasting could go on and on forever?

This droop in spirits as I transition from a packed-full house to lonely ol’ me at the computer is a gift, though, because it makes me mindful of Glory. It stirs in a me a longing for that day when family and friends will gather together to celebrate…and never have to say Goodbye again.

This goodbye shadow over my heart reminds me that I was created - indeed, all of us were created - for unbroken fellowship with our Creator.

C. S. Lewis, in They Asked for a Paper, put it this way: “A man’s physical hunger does not prove that man will get any bread…But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating…

“In the same way, though I do not believe…that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will.”

The goodbye shadow that comes after time spent with people I love makes me long all the more for that great day when there will be no more goodbyes. So, I’ll take today’s shadow: it points me to the sunshine.

(This is taken from one of my first "Porch Swing Perspective" articles, written just over a year ago. Has it really already been a year? Time flies!)