Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Addicted to my TO DO List

Priorities have always been a mystery to me. I’m always making “to do” lists, but I can never do all the things on my list.

As a young mother I was constantly reorganizing my “to do” lists according to priorities. My hope was that if I got my priorities in the right order I could somehow make it through my entire “to do” list. It never worked.

Eventually I learned that priorities were a tool to help me weed out the non-essential items on my “to do list” so that I could focus on the truly important things. There is so much I want to do, but there are only twenty four hours in a day, and I have to sleep sometime.

Wives and Mothers often put themselves last, because so many people are depending on them. You wouldn’t expect your car to run without gas, but sometimes this is what we expect of ourselves. If people are depending on us, we need to take special care of ourselves, for their sake as well as ours. When we allow ourselves to get drained, it is hard to serve anyone.

I admit it. I’m just like you. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and sometimes I forget that taking care of me is my first priority. Here is a fun reminder for all of us. I hope it makes you laugh.

Life Is Just So Daily

A model Mom was Mary Lee,
amazing for her friends to see.
She cleaned the house and fed the fishes,
Walked the dog, and did the dishes.

She drove her kids, plus neighbors, to school,
and lectured about the golden rule.
She wiped half a dozen runny noses,
And always took time to smell the roses.

She was a savvy grocery shopper,
and never gave up. No one could stop her.
She was always busy, and on the run.
But she was happy. Life was fun.

She volunteered at the old folks home
and later took time to write a poem
to go with a home made birthday gift.
She hoped it would give her neighbor a lift.

Her to do list was scary; her calendar? Filled.
She didn’t have time to clean up milk, if it spilled.
But she was organized, and life was a blast.
She knew how to work hard, and run fast.

Then one day… the visiting teachers came…

“…and Mary Lee, the Prophets say
We should read our scriptures every day.”

“I can do that,” thought Mary Lee.
“I’ll stay up half an hour later, gladly.”

The scriptures were awesome. They filled her with joy.
She pondered them often while picking up toys.
She read about service. She read about love.
She wanted to store up her treasures above.

She tended the baby for her best friend.
and gathered her ragged clothes to mend.
She cleaned out the fridge and made friendship soup,
while answering emails to stay in the loop.

She changed the baby again and again,
and paid all her bills with her favorite pen.
She made extra dinner for the sick and afflicted.
Mary Lee loved serving others. She was addicted.

While ironing, she listed to the radio, and heard:

“Daily exercise is a must
If the experts we can trust.”

“I can do that,” thought Mary Lee.
“I’ll get up an hour earlier, GLADLY.”

Jogging is easy, thought Mary Lee.
She jogged through the neighborhood daily.
When her alarm buzzed, she jumped up in the dark.
She jogged past the church. She jogged past the park.

Could anything slow down Mary Lee?
She kept on going, like the energizer bunny.
She still did her service and cheered up the sad.
Once a week without fail she called Mom and Dad.

At Relief Society one Sunday she heard:

“You MUSN’T neglect your kindred dead.
Please do your genealogy,”
the teacher said.

“I’ll do it. I’ll do it,” cried Mary Lee.
“I’ll stay up later than ever. GLADLY!”

A miracle woman was Mary Lee,
amazing for her friends to see.
She filled out pedigrees one by one
and family group sheets. “Hey this is fun.”

She diligently worked on her family tree,
and learned New Family Search, and Temple Ready.
She went to the temple for those deceased
and sealed them together, piece by piece.

At PTA meeting, one evening, she heard:

Children need to see their parents read.
“It’s your job”,
said the teacher, “Now please, take the lead.”

“I can do that,” said Mary Lee.
“I’ll get up earlier. I’ll do it GLADLY.”

She went to the library and brought home books.
She stacked up those books in corners and nooks.
She read the classics. She read history.
She even tried (gasp) romance, sci fi, fantasy.

She read lots of picture books to her small ones,
and shared current events with each of her tall ones.
She read the newspaper. Some news made her shudder.
She, of course, read the Ensign, from cover to cover.

And then, the home teachers knocked at her door:

“Prepare for the future,” they said. “Are you ready?”
“How is your food storage? Be sure to have plenty.”

“I must get prepared,” said Mary Lee.
I’ll fill all my shelves, diligently.”

“I’ll can, and I’ll freeze, and I’ll dry, and I’ll store.
I can do it. I can. I can always do more.
but where will I find the time,” said she.
“I can go to bed later,” she sighed. “…gladly?”

So Mary Lee bought fruit by the bushel.
She kept her stove humming. Food storage is crucial.
She planted her garden in the pale moonlight.
She watered and weeded, night after night.

She made sure to cover all of her bases,
and brought home more food, by the cases.
She gazed at her bulging shelves with pride.
I knew I could do it, she tiredly sighed.

One day in a magazine she read:

Develop your talents to give your life zing.
She had always wanted to learn how to sing.

So, she got on the phone that very day
and arranged for a teacher, You know what they say…
Don’t put it off, just do it TODAY.

The lessons were great, but there was a quirk.
When could she practice her new singing work?
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said tired Mary Lee.
“Get up earlier, I guess,” she said miserably.

That night when Mary Lee dressed for bed
and set the alarm, and laid down her head,
just ten tiny minutes and the alarm was heard.
You’d think she’d jump up, but she never stirred.

This part of the story, you may find boring,
for Mary Lee lay there exhausted and snoring.
How long did she sleep? No one knows for sure.
The next several days are simply a blur.

When she finally woke, she stretched and she yawned.
A brand new idea had finally dawned.
“I can’t do it all, though I wish that I could.
I’ve tried, and I’ve tried. I did more than I should.”

I’m only one person. Some things, I can do.
I don’t have to be good at everything. Nor Do You.
I like serving, and doing, and being, you see,
But I forgot one thing, taking care of me.

Linda Garner

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