Our Stories


February 20, 2017

“If you LOOK the right way,

you can SEE the whole world is a garden.”

-The Secret Garden

It’s all about perspective.

My parents came home recently from a long trip to a back porch full of dead plants that had frozen in bad weather while they were away. As my mother began describing the carnage and devastation in detail, I quickly chimed in,

“But how exciting is it going to be to pick out new plants!” 

She rolled her eyes a bit…realizing I wasn’t going to let her wallow for long saying, “You always finding the positive side don’t you?”

“Yes, it’s my gift,” I beamed.  Well, it is…most of the time.

But I have to admit, some days, I approach my To-Do list begrudgingly at best…without my internal sunshine blower turned on high.  And when my list begins to expand, I can become overwhelmed by the mass of little boxes…fretting about which ones will be checked off…and which will continue to shame and taunt me at the end of each day. And since making my To Do List’s so long it buries me is one of my specialties, (see my blog called Unfinished Business: 5 Steps to Recovery for proof), I am rarely able to accomplish all that my heart intends.

I continue each day to fight the good fight against “busy”ness, but when a friend posted something similar to this below(but with a few more curse words), I laughed so hard I nearly shot coffee out of my nose.

THIS is my TRUTH some days.

“I call it a TA-DA List because most days it’s amazing that anything ever gets done on it!”

The Author is Unknown, but I just somehow know that we would be GREAT friends.

How fun is that? A TA-DA List! Perhaps I need of perspective shift when it comes to my lists.

My confirmation of this “ah-ha/ta-da moment”, came just 5 days after the “plant carnage and destruction” conversation with my mother, when she was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pains. At almost midnight, as Dr. Ross was wheeling her back for emergency exploratory surgery, my mother told him,

“Do good in there.

I still have LOTS To Do.”

I grinned, realizing that despite the morphine in her system, she was still laser focused on getting stuff done. She was in this to win this, and that put me at ease as she left our view for the operating room.

You see, I come from a long line of DO-ers. Frances was a big-time DOer, writing more than 60 books, 1000 short stories and 15 plays in just 56 years. That is more than 1 book and almost 18 short stories per year AND she wrote the all by HAND!  In addition to that hectic schedule, she was socially and politically active, married twice, and had two kids.

“I am devoting my mornings to my book (The Shuttle)

and the rest of my day to keeping in working order the wonderful complicated machinery of life….

In each hour of my life I have quite 120 things to do.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett-December 1900

It’s in my blood. I DO things. It’s what I Do.

Once we had the all clear from the surgeon, I finally crawled in bed at 1:30am the next morning, where I began downloading what had happened into my half asleep husband. And when I repeated these words again to him, tears began to fall down my face.

“Do good in there. I still have LOTS To Do.”

The reality of how bad the night could have been washed over me as I let myself feel for the first time my fear of her life’s To Do List being left undone.

Now my Mom wasn’t talking about her laundry, or needing to go do her grocery shopping, but even those are a luxury for those who can no longer do those things for themselves.

It’s truly is all about perspective…and I am in need a fresh perspective.

“If you LOOK the right way,

you can SEE the whole world is a garden.”

-The Secret Garden

It’s clear to me now, that I need to look at my to do list in “the right way.”  And as I sat watching her sleep as she just began her long road to recovery, I realized that my daily list isn’t just a To Do List, or even a Ta-Da List.

It truly is a “GET TO DO” LIST.

-I GET to pick my kids up every day from school.

-I GET to go to the grocery store and cook healthy meals for my family.

-I GET to write today and share my heart with each of you.

-I GET to drive 2.5 hours away to watch my son play basketball.

What a blessing this perceptive shift has been for me. There is nothing like being knocked on your butt by fear to remind you that this life is a precious GIFT….and something we GET TO DO just once.

I now GET it and plan to cherish every little box that gets checked…and even those that don’t…because those empty boxes mean that I too “still have LOTS”, that I will GET to do.

Until next week friends,

FHB and Especially Me

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What do you GET TO DO today?

I get to smile and check off a box…because this blog is DONE! 🙂