“What we hope ever to do with ease, we may learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson, Pope, (Lives of the Poets)
Somehow I think I should be able to do everything perfectly–the first time. If not the first time, then the second. If not the second time, well then, definitely the third. If I still don’t get it, there must be something wrong with me, right?
I have the above quote on my computer. Almost every day I read it and the message I get is this: I need to be patient with myself, give myself grace and space to get used to doing new things. I am not mechanically inclined; I get confused easily when working with even the simplest tools to do the simplest chores. Anyone unfortunate enough to be working with me needs a lot of patience.
Samuel Johnson’s words now serve as a guide and learning plan for me.
Author’s note: This is repost of an article from 2014.
Originally I intended to post this for the Christmas season. However, since I am an expert procrastinator, it’s not reaching the “big screen” until now! But there are more times for giving gifts than just Christmas, so I am offering these ideas in the hope that someone will find them useful. While they are not original with me, I’ve used them, and they’ve been well received. They do cost you in time/money, but you can easily adapt them to your resources. (Please note: these ideas work best if you are familiar with the recipient’s age, circumstances, and likes/dislikes.)
1. Is the recipient someone who doesn’t drive or someone “who has everything” and you’re stumped on what to buy him or her? If you are close enough to the person to know what kinds of everyday products the person uses–facial soap, body washes, facial tissue, for example–buy some in bulk and wrap the items. Let your creativity come into play when you do the wrapping.
Some years ago I came upon this idea for gifts for my mother. It made such a hit with her that this is my “go-to” idea for Christmas and her birthday. I buy products she uses and put them in a basket. I hide gift certificates for restaurants or stores among the items. Depending on the time I have, I either wrap each item or just wrap the basket. My mother enjoys opening her customized gift basket and finding each item hidden among the tissue paper.
True, “everyday stuff” isn’t glitzy. But you know the recipient will use it. If the person comes into a situation where money is tight, the person will appreciate having those everyday items to fall back on even more!
2. Give the gift of time. If the gift recipient needs a certain project done and you have the skill and the means to do it, consider scheduling a time to do whatever the person needs. Your time is worth as much or more than the money you would spend on a gift for the person. You may be surprised at how appreciative the person is!
There’s my gift-giving ideas. Nothing fancy, nothing particularly new about them, but they work. They are flexible and adaptable to your situation and the recipient’s.
Have fun giving gifts!
For those of us who don’t have garages for our vehicles, winter can bring challenges that people whose cars sit in garages don’t have to face. With that in mind, here’s a couple tips to make life a little easier on cold mornings :
- If possible, park your car so the engine faces the morning sun. Even in very cold weather the sun warms the engine, making it easier to start. This tip came from a co-worker of my mother.
- Many newer cars have a more aerodynamic design. For instance, the doors of my car are even with the body. There’s no overhang to protect the door seals from the elements. That presents a problem in winter when a storm hits: depending on the direction the snow or ice comes, the doors freeze shut even though unlocked. For awhile I sprayed cooking spray on the seals. That was a bad…
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This afternoon I felt restless. After I threw a couple loads of clothes in the washer I couldn’t get settled down to doing anything else constructive. I almost went grocery shopping, but I was just shopping yesterday. Thoughts of being in a store today weren’t appealing. In fact, the longer I was in the house the more restless I felt.
What did I do? I prayed about my restlessness, grabbed a coat and headed out into the bright sunshine. I fed the birds, then walked on a nearby nature trail. Spending time outside is relaxing to me because nature has no agenda. It just is. The trees don’t try to get me to buy anything; the boulders don’t bellow any propaganda; the gurgling and babbling of the creek as it rushes over and around the rocks doesn’t contain any hidden messages. Nature is, and that simplicity and the beauty of the woods brought a peace to me that hours later I am still enjoying.
If you’re inside, longing for the outdoors, and can’t make it there yet, here’s a mental “getaway” for you.
Photo credit: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash.com
I’m finally admitting it; I am a writer! How do I know that? Well, besides typing these words onto a screen, I do and experience things like this–
- I take a notebook and pen with me everywhere I go. When ideas come, I need to write them down fast, lest I forget!
- I write down ideas (like ones appearing in this blog post) on break times at work.
- I make up stories about strangers I see–where they are going, what they are like, where they work at, who they know,etc. I don’t really know any of that, so I make it up!
- I read a lot.
- I can’t not write. If I don’t write for awhile, I get irritable and anxious. Something important is out of sync when I don’t take the time to write.
- I invest in writing. I buy books about writing and purchase online courses that fit my time and money budget. I spend money and time that could be used elsewhere in an effort to get better at this activity. Lord willing, I plan to do more of the same.
- I encourage other writers. I collect encouraging, motivating quotes and pass them along. One day a writer friend and I talked about wanting to write and yet letting life get in the way of that passion. Soon after, I spotted a colorful cup that read, “Don’t quit your daydream”–a play on the words writers often hear: “Don’t quit your day job”. I bought the cup and mailed it to my friend, who uses it everyday. Writing is a solitary passion; writers can easily fall prey to those wolves of discouragement, disillusionment, and despair, so we need to encourage one another.
- I find joy and fulfillment in it. Writing is work. No, I’m not digging a ditch by hand, but pinning down exactly the right word, trying to put the words in the right order, and fighting the self-doubt that comes along is mental wrestling. Yet mixed in with all that is a joy that sings and fulfillment that relaxes. Yes, writing is work; I may never get paid much for it, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
We had some sunshine today, but also some clouds. Guess I’m focusing on the clouds more so than the sunshine–if that’s true of you, too, and you need a quick pick-me-up–enjoy these displays of vibrant yellow, courtesy of our Creator!
The area where I live is experiencing summer temps, for sure. If you are too, here’s a couple photos to help you cool down!