Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's Not On The List and Because It's Thursday

Since I was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks I left my husband a to-do list - not a long one but there were a few "vital" things on it. Like 1) Put the leftover brisket in the freezer, 2) throw out the leftover lasagna, etc. You'd have done the same thing, right? Left a list I mean? When I got home he had very carefully done every single thing on the list. However, there was one thing he hadn't done that seemed critical to me and when I asked why his answer was, "You wanted me to do that? It wasn't on the list!" Now this particular thing I thought he should have done isn't important (though for heaven's sake any woman would have done it!) but the list is important.

Every few days I make myself a list of things I need to do. On Tuesdays it's generally a pretty long list because that's the day I am a chaplain at the local hospital and after leaving there I do all the errands I can squeeze into the day. It reads like this: 1) allergy shot, 2) post office, 3) Walgreens, 4) Kroger, 5) Hobby Lobby, 6) WalMart, 7) Manicure, 8) some order not necessarily this one. And out beside each one I have another list which includes what I'm supposed to do there or buy there. And I try to put them in order of location so I don't waste gas but that depends on whether or not I have to buy cold items at WalMart and what the temperature is so they won't ruin. I know...obsessive compulsive disorder screaming here!

Even on days I'm at home I'll have a list.....thank you notes or get well cards to send, labels to print for a quilt I'm working on, phone calls I need to make, a closet I need to clean or magazines I need to go through. I'm continuously working from a list.

And routine...I could go on for days about routine! Every single day that I'm at home I get up, get a glass of chai tea latte, go back to bed to read my Bible and do my morning devotion, get up and make the bed, straighten up the bedroom, clean the kitchen, shower and dress, etc. In order. I allow myself until 9:30 to read blogs but then it's time to either start whatever deep cleaning or whatever sewing I plan to do that day.

But here's the question - if I'm continually working my life from a list or staying in my routine, where's the room for spontaneity (that's a very hard word to spell!). How much am I missing by working from a list? I'm looking outside this morning and it's the most gorgeous day I've ever seen. Not a cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze, the yard covered with falling leaves, the water sparkling, and I'm in the house doing laundry. Because it's Thursday.

So even though it's not the beginning of a new year I'm making a new resolution today. I'm going to add in between the lines of my lists lots of small moments to enjoy the gifts God has given me - I'm going to go for a walk or call an old friend or read a book or e-mail a grandchild or browse in an antique store. I'm going to break my routine and even though it's Thursday I'm going to plant some herbs or sit on a bench by the lake or take a drive in the country. But first I have to wait for this load of clothes to come out of the dryer so I can hang them up. :)

Seriously, I'm breaking up with my list (even though breaking up is hard to do). How about you...can you break up with your list?


Tracy P. said...

When you break up with your list, it might turn to me on the rebound. Because when it comes to lists, I'm single. ;-) (Not that I don't have one, it just doesn't always bear much resemblance to the eventual reality of how I spend my time.)

Grammy Linda / Behind My Red Door said...

I break my list all the time! Maybe too much??

Jacquie said...

I only do the list thing when I have too much on my plate. Other than that, I wing it.

paula, the quilter said...

Just about the only list I keep is a grocery shopping list. I used to keep more lists, but then I'd lose them, so I figured it was a total waste of my time. I have a small DayMinder calendar (week at a view) that I put the appointments in and maybe an occasional item to pick up after work. Works for me.

Memaw's memories said...

I'm not much of a list maker unless it's for groceries or a menu. Which may be the reason I don't get much done.

I probably need to be a bit more obsessive compulsive.

Julie in the Barn said...

My system has evolved to "list days" and "non-list days". My "list days" are deadline driven such as company expected or when the laundry basket is full and the fridge is empty. That way I stay ahead of the total chaos in the house but still have many days when serendipity rules. Oh yeah,and the "list days" are allowed to shift and are not set in stone. I don't want to find myself at the last moment of life vacuming when I could have been reading a good book instead. My kids can always hire a service to clean my house before they sell it after I'm dead.

Susannah said...

I work from a list all of the time...but that doesn't mean that I ever finish that list. What fun would that be!


Lea and her Mustangs said...

I make lists, put them on the front of the frig and forget to look at them. If I do, I get sidetracked and end up reading, or walking around outside talking to the animals or just watching the clouds. And the list is still there.

Lindah said...

I dunno, Marlene. I have always felt like lists free up my mind to think about othere things... like the blue sky or the falling leaves. On the days that I have big things to do... like vac/dust or til the garden... I carry that list around in my head. But on the days that are filled with a million details, those need to go down on paper... so I don't strain my brain. And routine is good because it can be broken. I can stray from the plan in a second... as long as it doesn't yell too loudly. By all means, build in some me stuff. Daily. But not too routinely. :-)

Michelle said...

I make lists when I am at work. I'll be working along, think of something and have to take off my oily gloves to run and write down something I have thought of. I throw the list in my lunch bag and it usually doesn't get any further than there. Sometimes, I email myself so what I want to remember, or do, is right in front of my nose when I get home from work, because if there is one consistent thing with me,'s me at my computer. LOL!

I say if you feel happy working from your list, do it. If you want to stray from your list, do it. If you want to burn your list, that's ok too.

Be spontaneous. Enjoy life. God gave it to us to LIVE. Don't miss something and have regrets.

Be blessed my friend!

Sandy said...

I definitely like routine and sorry to say (ask my husband) I am not spontaneous! The older we get, the more we should try to be...I truly believe that and am trying to work on it! Habits are hard to change....

Rose Mary said...

I have those lists, too! Breaking a routine has always been hard for me because if I don't have them, I'm quite unorganized. Still, I've started breaking my 'rules' a lot lately~and ya know what? It's fun, LOL! I still have my moments of 'guilt', though~but I'm working on it!

Teresa said...

I don't keep a list, but I really should. So many times I know there is something I need to do, but I can't remember what it is.

Love Bears All Things said...

Since I was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks I left my husband a to-do list
I got this far and then I said "Ut Oh".
I think you should have some flexibility in your routine so that if it is going to be gorgeous one day of the week, you'll be willing to get outside and enjoy that one day.
I do make lists but not religiously. I am the same as you with the errands, trying to do them all while I'm out but sometimes, I get tired or hungry before I'm finished and one or two have to wait until another time.
I suggest you keep a flexible cooler in the car and when you're going to be picking up cold items but have other places to go, you can add some Blue Ice packs and off you go. You can put the cold items in there and still make your other stops. This is what I do.
Now, I'm wondering what was the item,not on the list, that Hubby forgot to do.
Mama Bear