Do what you can…

November 7, 2021

It is all too easy to fucus on things that you don’t have or to create reasons why you aren’t doing anything with your life. We tend to blame circumstances for our inability to be satisfied or lament that if only we were somewhere else things would be better. Just stop it. Instead heed the advice of Squire Bill Widener – “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Squire Bill was a prominent community figure in Widener’s Valley, Virginia, who served not only as a miller but also as a millwright, Confederate soldier, teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Justice of the Peace, and spiritual advisor. It appears that Squire Bill followed his own advice and served the community as provider, teacher and friend. Widener’s quote is often mistakenly attributed to Teddy Roosevelt.

Wrapped up in that little quote are several important thoughts:

Stop wasting time thinking about not being able to solve world hunger or worrying about global warming and feed one needy person in your neighborhood or make one personal change to your lifestyle to lessen your negative impact on the environment. Use what you have and give what you have. Remember the story that Jesus told in Mark 12: 41–44 of the poor widow in the temple who gave her last two copper coins as an offering and how that was more than the lavish gifts of the rich. She did not sit there wishing that she had more, she just did what she could do with what she had. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

The one thing that you have that is more precious than money is your time. Giving of your time to volunteer at a local community non-profit is often worth more to them than dropping a few bucks in a bucket or writing them a check. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that needs to get done to turn those donations of money into actions that help the disadvantaged in the community. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

While we see nightly stories of disasters elsewhere or pictures of starving people in foreign lands there are many homeless and hungry people right in our own neighborhoods. You need not travel to find places where you can help; just look around you where you are. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

At the end of your day or the end of your life, don’t sit there lamenting what you coulda, woulda, shoulda done. Instead – Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Have an impactful and meaningful week ahead. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Don’t be selfish with your time

August 4, 2021

A recent quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog caught my attention this morning – “There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, because none of us know how much we have, and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more.”  (Mitch Albom)

Jack went on to write that the Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle” is a favorite of his. I suppose that we all wish there were moments that we could capture and put in a bottle, to be enjoyed again and again as we wish.  Maybe the bottle is our mind, and those moments are stored there as memories.

What Mitch Albom was alluding to is not wasting or hoarding our time here on earth by assuming that we’ll always have more time to do the things that we are putting off sharing with others. The “I’ll see them tomorrow” mentality was put to a big test over the last year when too many people realized too late that there would be no tomorrow. Now instead of memories of that last visit with someone who has passed, they have only regrets that it never took place.  

Even if we have nothing else, we all have time that we can give to others. In some cases, it may be time in service to them, but in many cases it is just sharing time, acknowledging them and engaging with them.  As humans, we may have fond memories of event that occurred when we were alone, but our strongest and fondest memories always involve time and events that we shared with others. Search back through your memories and see if that isn’t true.

So time that you hoard to yourself actually ends up being blank spots in your memories, sort of like those times when on TV some commercial message is missed and the screen is just blank for s few seconds – no picture, no sound, no nothing, just a blank screen. Did you ever notice how long that seems to last to you?

It’s not that we all don’t need some breaks, some time to ourselves; but that is what sleep is for. Spending time by yourself while awake is just lost or wasted time when you could be interacting with others. Now, there are forms of interaction that may not involve spending face-to-face time with another person. Reading is one such form of interaction. Whether you realize it or not, you are interacting with the author while reading. You are trying to figure out what it is that they were saying when they wrote that story or article. You may carry out a complete mental dialogue with them in your mind while reading what they wrote. The same may be true when viewing a work of art – what were they thinking when they did this piece?

So, never assume that there will always be a tomorrow. Don’t be selfish with your time.  Make the best that you can of today. Interact with as many people as you can, get to know as many people as you can, help as many people as you can.  Give of yourself by sharing your time and you will receive some of their time back. Now that’s a good use of your time. God will be happy with you. Maybe He will give you more time to spend tomorrow. Don’t be selfish with it.

It’s time to get busy…

August 10, 2019

I keep a collection of quotes, most of which I get from the Jack’s Winning Words blog, as a source of inspiration for writing my own posts here. Sometimes a few quotes on the same topic build up in that collection, as was the case when I decided to write about time. Here are three good quotes from Jack’s blog –

watch“Time is more valuable than money.  You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”  (Jim Rohn)

“Time only seems to matter when it is running out.”  (Peter Strup)

“One thing you can learn from the clock is that it passes time by keeping its hands busy.”  (Unknown)

I agree with the first two quotes, but it is the third quote that I want to focus upon here. Iman rushing think that the most important things that we can do with our time is to use it to be doing something. I find that when I’m busy time passes relatively fast and I’m not concerned about that, because, well, I’m busy.

I visit a number of retirement homes in the area in my role selling newspaper ads for the Spinal Column. During those visits I have observed that the residents who are busy doing something – volunteering within the facility or participating in one of the groups or clubs that the facility runs – seem to be much happier than those who just sit around watching others. Certainly, one’s health dictates the limits of what one can do, but I think it is also a matter that those who want to be active find a way to keep doing something.

With two jobs – selling real estate and selling ads for the paper – I have things to occupy multitaskermy time. Add to that the volunteer work that I do for the Chamber of Commerce, my church and the Milford Historical Society, and I really have little time left to be bored. Like the clock, I pass my time by keeping my hands busy.  So, rather than worry about how much time I have left; I focus on using that time to get things done. My time is too valuable to waste. You cannot get more time, but you can get more done in the time that you have.

There are lots of churches and non-profit organizations in every community across this land that need volunteers to get work done. They are usually doing good things to help others; so, you get the side benefit of feeling good about what it is that you are busy doing. Even if you aren’t physically able to do a lot of things, there are jobs at thosesewrving soup organizations in which you can help by doing what you are able to do. You may end up making phone calls to shut-ins to see if they need anything or perhaps you can read to someone who can no longer see well enough to read. Maybe you can schedule other workers who are more able or perhaps enter data into a computer. Maybe just being there to greet and talk with visitors is what they need. So, look around your neighborhood or area and find those volunteer jobs that need to be done. Whatever it ends up being; you are doing and not just being. You are busy.

How are you passing your time? Maybe it’s time to get busy.

Give the most precious gift of all – your time…

February 4, 2019

This little bit of wisdom comes from a recent post to the blog Jack’s Winning Words – “Waste of time is the most extravagant of all expenses.”  (Theophrastus)

It would follow then that the gift of your time to someone else would be the most extravagant gift that one could give.

It is not unusual for older people (especially dads) to look back over their lives and regretworking against time not having spent more time with their children when they were young and at home. Too many dads see in hindsight that the long hours at work that they put in, trying to earn more for their family, were also missed opportunities to spend time with the children when they were growing up.

Missed ball games, or dance recitals, or school plays were precious moments that cannot be made up later. Whatever the extra money bought is long gone, along with those opportunities to be there as they grew. It gets worse for two-earner families where both parents miss all of the events of childhood.

grandparentsMany adult children also have regrets about not visiting more often with parents, or other family members, before they were gone. You hear it all the time, “I wish I had the opportunity to tell him/her that I loved them before they passed.”  You did have that time, but you chose to spend it elsewhere.

So, consider those things before you waste that most precious of all commodities in your life – your time. Is there someone that you can give that time to by spending it with them? Is putting in that extra time at work really more important than seeing that ball game or attending that recital? Is working on your home projects to-do list more father-daughter danceimportant than stopping by to see how mom and dad are doing, or maybe just giving them a call to chat. And, is collapsing in your chair with that after work beer really as important as taking time to talk with your spouse about how their day was?

Memories in life are not filled with the recollections of possessions that you managed to accumulate; memories are made up of snippets of time, some happy, some sad; but all well spent and mostly spent on and with others.

family grroupThe bottom line is that all you really have is your time. Don’t waste it; but, rather, spend it wisely on and with those that you love. Be there for the game. Be there for the dance recital. Be there at the end of the day to talk with your spouse. Don’t just do it – just be there – give the gift of your time.

In his post, Jack referenced the famous Jim Croce song “Time in a Bottle”. Listen to it and consider this –

How will you spend your time today?


Please Stand By…

September 9, 2017

Every now and then I’ll pause to think about the fact that I haven’t posted to my blog for a while and realize that I got consumed by life again. Things happens, life happens and we get swept along with it, spending our time reacting to the events of life rather than working against timeproactively pursuing the things that we might wish to do. That’s life.

So, when I do get a spare moment that is not already committed to some other activity or reaction to life, I savor the moment and take the time to think about the things that I want to do, the posts that I want to write and the points that I might want to make. I sometimes also reflect on the reactions that past posts have elicited.

I write a lot about dealing with life and about the role of one’s faith in life and in managing crises. That seems to resonate with a large percentage of the people who follow my blog. Perhaps it is what they hoped someone would tell them or perhaps it’s because they agree and have found strength in their own faith. For whatever reason, I have noted that if I mention God in a post it gets more “Likes” than those with no mention of Him. Imagine that.

Recently, I’ve been consumed by work that I’ve been doing to get sponsorship’s for our annual Milford Home Tour. I’m a member of the Milford Historical Society (see our web site, which I also maintain) and I’m on the board of directors of that organization. The Society is a non-profit that raises funds to run a little local museum – the Milford Historical Museum – that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of our local area.

The Milford Historical Society has run a tour of local historic homes for 41 years as its primary fund raiser. I go around and solicit sponsorship money from local businesses to help support the operation of the museum. That has been an all-consuming job for the last month and a half. The Home Tour is next weekend, so I’ve pretty much done all that I can on that. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to get back to blogging after that.

I’m sure that we can all identify with the ebbs and flows of life that can temporarily consume one’s time so completely that one’s normal routine is totally disrupted. In fact, I’ve started to conclude that there really isn’t any “normal routine” any more, just a few things that we seem to do more often than others. One only has to watch the nightly news (which I do as a part of my “normal routine”, when I have time) to see that “normal”clown car has taken on a new and twisted meaning under the current political environment. I guess when one lives within the theater of the absurd, one should expect surprises from the clowns who are in charge.

So, stay tuned. I will get back to a more regular routine of posting here, just as soon as I regain some level of control over the things that I choose to spend my time upon. In the meantime, if you live near Milford, Michigan; plan on going to our Home Tour on September 16 & 17. Read all about it at our web site.

Please stand by…our normal programming will resume momentarily.

What time is it? Life time!

February 21, 2017

“Time is free, but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”  (Harvey MacKay) – source: the Jack’s Winning Words blog, of course. Jack went on to mention that there’s a famous Walter Payton quote: “Tomorrow is promised to no one.”

As I get older, time become much more precious and much less taken for granted. That’sworking against time why I often write about not wasting time on regrets about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. That is time that you could be using to do something today. As today’s quote says, time is priceless; it is more valuable than money, but it is also fleeting. You need to invest your time wisely. If you do, you will get a return on it and that return will be the good feelings that you end the day with, having done the right things with your time.

Like a good investor, you need to do some research first, to see what things there are out there in which to invest your time. You have no charts or weighty market studies to read, but you do have your Bible and perhaps spending a little time with it and maybe with the Arthur will help you see what you need to spend your time upon. reading-bibleThat’s not to say that you won’t end up going to work and putting in your hours there; but a few moments of quiet reflection each morning might help you remember why you are putting in those hours and the important people in your life that the money which you make supports. Sometimes it’s hard to see your daily job as being God’s work; but it can be if you see it in the right light, as part of God’s larger plan for you.

So, take a few moments of your time each morning to thank God for giving you another day and think about how you will invest the time that you have been given. Yohelperu may have to give 8 hours to a job and you may sleep for another 8 hours; but, that still leave you with 8 hours that are totally yours to invest. If you choose to do nothing with those 8 hours, you will likely get nothing in return. However, if you find a way to use that time helping others, serving others or volunteering for others, you may find that the 8 hours you need for sleep come more easily and the feelings that you have at the end of the day transcend just being tired, because feeling satisfied makes being tired feel better.

Tomorrow is promised to no one, so make the best use of today. Got to go. I’m out of time.

What time do you have?

December 30, 2015

“Time is more valuable than money.  You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”  (Jim Rohn)  – from the Jack’s Winning Ways blog. Jack went on to write: I read last week that ½ of 1% of Americans have as much money as the lower 90%.  So…?  They all have 24 hours a day, and no amount of money can buy more.  Steve Jobs said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.” 

chasing moneyIn general, people do seem to be more fixated upon money – the making of it, the collecting of it and the spending of it. One can make the case that if one runs out of money, there are still ways to live. One could sleep on a park bench, for instance. However, when one runs out of time there is only one place that they end up sleeping – forever – and no amount of accumulated money can do anything for you then.

While money is certainly important, how we spend what time we have seems to be a bit more important; largely because no one knows how much time they actually have. If we spend all of our time heclockhead manads down and working to earn more and more money, are we spending our time wisely? I think not. There are so much more rewarding ways to spend our time, enjoying the world around us with family and friends.

Perhaps we should begin each day with a little thank you prayer for having been given another day and a period of planning on how to make the most of this time that we’ve been given. Practicality may dictate that a certain amount of the day be devoted to working to earn enough to house, feed and clothe ourselves and the family; but that is never the whole day and even in the midst of that work there are family grroupopportunities to enjoy life and those around you. More importantly there is always time after work to do the things that really make life worth living.

Perhaps you have discovered the joy to be found in helping or serving others and the new day will present you with new opportunities. Spend your time wisely. Perhaps you have been blessed with loving family all around. Give of your time unsparingly. Perhaps you have discovered how alone at sunsetto be happy and content just being with yourself. Cherish your time alone. In all cases, at least be aware of and thankful for the time that you have and treat each day as if it may be your last; for you really don’t know if that may be the case.

Maybe, if you’ve lived a life in which you’ve recognized and celebrated each day as a new gift of time, you can join Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes in the theme song for the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

Are you having the time of your life? If not, why not? What time do you have? Make sure that whatever time you have is spent in such a way that at the end you, too, can say, “I had the time of my life.”

Spend your time wisely, my friends.

Give it some time…

September 18, 2015

From a recent post on the  Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this interesting little quote – “Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may be actually falling into place.”  (Spirit Science) Jack went on to advise that we all let things play out and give them time, because most of the time things work out if you give them time to.

panicHow many of us know a drama queen or king for who every problem is a crisis, every rejection the end of the world and every setback seems to be the end of life as they know it? It’s easy when in the midst of bad things happening to see everything as disastrous or threatening. The world that you were comfortable inhabiting can seem to be falling apart. It is hard to see any good coming out of something that you believe is bad.

Things can fall apart in the business world, too. Sometimes it’s best if they do. There is a concept called creative destruction in which the old order is systematically destroyed to make way for a new way of doing things. That may involve blowing up an old organizational structure in order to put in place a new organization that is better suited to deal with the markets of today. It could even mean getting rid of the very products that got the company to where it is now, because it is obvious that they cannot carry it into the future.

I suppose in our personal lives the act of divorce is a form of creative destruction, since it clears the way for new unions that might serve both parties better. It’s certainly a case of things falling apart that quite often lead to things falling into place for both ex-‘s. If there are children involved it is hard on them, but most times works out for the surrounded by sharksbetter in the long run for them, too.

I suspect that the main thing that we dread when things seem to be falling apart is that we aren’t in control; or, we don’t seem to be anyway. That’s because we focus on things that never were within our control instead of the one thing that we always have control over – our reactions to events. We tend to look for someone to blame for the things that we can’t control and failing that we blame ourselves for not seeing the disaster coming and doing something to avoid it – again something that we likely had no control over.

Instead of spending a lot of time and emotional energy fretting about why things have happened or wondering why you couldn’t or didn’t avoid it, maybe you should focus on helping things fall into place by figuring out how to make the best of the situation that you find yourself in. The destructive phase has already occurred, so maybe it’s painted into cornertime to focus on the creative part of the process. The old is gone, no matter what or who it was; focus now on the future – making the best of what or who is next in your life. It’s only when you can let go of the old that you can embrace the new and get on with life.

Sometimes taking a moment to reflect on past disasters from the perspective of time will help you realize that you lived through them and you will live through the current one, too. Sure it may have hurt for a while – all of life’s boo-boo’s do – but eventually the pain subsidies and is replaced by new joys. For those who turn to their faith in times of crisis, there is helpful guidance in the Bible –

2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a prayingglory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

For all of us, there is ample proof all around us that the crises that we hit in day-to-day life do not mean that things are falling apart. They are changing. You are changing. Give it some time and things will fall into place, albeit a new place. Things will be different but you will still be here. Be creative with the new you that will result. Have a great new day.

Tell me where to get more wax…

September 16, 2015

“Don’t tell me not to burn the candle at both ends…tell me where to get more wax” – recent Frank and Ernest cartoon

burning both endsI love the daily newspaper cartoons and increasingly find that I can identify with a few of them, like Frank and Ernest or perhaps Pluggers. Today’s little quote came from the Frank and Ernest cartoon in one of our local papers. I suspect that many of us share the feeling every now and then that we are burning the candle at both ends and need to find more wax. Time seems to be increasingly fleeting as I age. Perhaps that is because I have shortened the day a bit to get to bed earlier; but I think it is also that the pace of life has quickened, though without any particular cause that I can discern. Tell me where to get more wax.

I have the suspicion that one major culprit in the seeming loss of time is the demanding little thief in my hand (or pocket) – my smart phone. If the candle wasn’t burning at the other end before, it certainly was ignited by the constant need to feel connected and to react in real-time to the happenings, messages and information that isphone with msg there on my phone. Sneaking a peak at the phone to see if there are new messages or emails is a national pass time. In fact the ringing and buzzing usually are occurring all around us, no matter where we are. Even in times of relative inactivity, we have become so used to the constant demands of our phones that “phantom buzzing” has become a shared phenomenon for many.

We have reached the point where it seems no event is too important not to be interrupted to answer our phones – weddings, funerals, whatever, give way to the demands of the phone for attention.  So, that is certainly one way in which we are burning the candle at both ends. Tell me where to get more wax.

Another issue demanding of our time and attention is the fact that so many are now forced working harder or longer or at multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Many young couples don’t have the time or energy to have working against timechildren because both are working one or two jobs, just trying to pay the bills. Quite a few of these younger couples would also like to have their own homes, but the crushing debt of college loans prevents them from even considering it. Tell me where to get more wax.

For many, in what should be the prime of their lives, the lure of having it all has put them in another debit-ridden hole. The big house, the country club membership, the new cars, the latest technologies and paying for the children that they finally had mean that they too must burn the candle at both ends – working extra late or on weekends, traveling often or perhaps just trying to be the perfect parents by getting their kids involved in all of the sports and activities that are trendy or expected. Soccer (or baseball) moms and dads give way to hockey (or basketball) or perhaps dance or gymnastics in a never ending effort to give their children what they never had. In reality, whatwomen looking at watch the children often want is the time with their parents without planned activities – something that they promise themselves they will give to their children. Tell me where to get more wax.

What is the answer to this dilemma? I think it is more about learning how to deal with life than trying to slow life down or seeking more wax for the candle. It is about learning to have a sense of satisfaction with what you have, rather than spending all of your time and energy chasing what you don’t have. It is about understanding and accepting that you really can’t change anything except how you react to everything. It is about getting your priorities straight and pursuing them instead of the attractive distractions that beckon from just beyond our reach. For many of us that begins with having a solid foundation of faith upon which to build our lives. If you have that, you will no longer be saying tell hand reaching for heavenme where to get more wax; but rather will find joy and satisfaction from making the best use of the wax that God has given you. In the end your earthly candle will always burn out; but, your light need never be extinguished; it will just move to a new place; one where there is no darkness and endless wax.

So, slow down, take the time to get right with God and then burn happily the wax that you have been given, secure in the understanding that you don’t need more wax; you just need to make the best use of the wax that you have. Have a great and bright day!