Posts Tagged ‘The List’

#10 Get Lost

January 31, 2011

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” ~ Robert Frost

For many years, my father drove from our small village to the big city to work or visit friends and family.  At some point, he started to think about all the roads and neighborhoods he passed along the way, and he decided that he would begin to explore them on his drive home. I thought that was pretty cool of my old dad, and it often comes into my mind when I am driving on Route 116 or 30.

Which brings us to goal #10: take the road less traveled.  In retrospect, this was an underlying theme of some of my goals for last year. Get on the bus.  Go to the pow wow. Attend services at a mosque or a synagogue. Take a yoga, tai chi, mindful meditation class. Learn a new language. Get lost in the neighborhoods you pass every day.

J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Not all who wander are lost,” but I think I might get lost sometimes this year.


#9 Just Do It

January 28, 2011

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~ Aristotle

This year, I am not going to let the fear that someone else will think what I am “not good enough” stop me. I will submit the Oz and Tai Chi posts. I will audition for the community choir. I will continue to ask the questions that I want answers to.

Goal number 9: Noreen-It

“Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.” – Tallulah Bankhead

#8 Accidental Tourist

January 25, 2011

“At dusk the three of us encountered an elderly lady and her beagle hiking toward us. Teetering along on a walking stick, she wore a motoring cap and held a bunch of wildflowers. I said hello and asked her where she was going. She replied in Welsh, “Rydw i yna yn barod.” We looked to Erica for a translation. “She said, ‘I’m already there.’” -“A Ramble in Wales,” from National Geographic Traveler

Gettysburg is a favorite destination for 8th grade classes and amateur historians. When we first moved here, I thought it was strange that the locals didn’t seem to take advantage of the numerous tourist opportunities. I think I’ve become a local! Ambling through town, I have noted all the museums that I have not visited.  This year, I am going to visit them. I’ll write reviews for you!

So there you have it.  Goal number eight: experience my hometown as a tourist.

#7 It’s Not Rocket Science

January 24, 2011

I’ve been wondering how to describe goal number seven, how to tell you all the changes in my life that this implies, then I read these words of Albert Einstein:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

#7: Simplify

#6 The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

January 19, 2011

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” – John Burroughs

Don’t say you don’t have enough time.  You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Goal number six: find the time.

#5 A Crooked Kind of Perfect

January 17, 2011

Goal number five: Get Organized!

I often feel like my life is out of control, and I am not sure what to do about it. I am pretty sure that being more organized is the answer, so I picked up “Organize Now!” at the bookstore the other day. It had pages and pages of ways to organize every second of your life. I think it’s what they call “org porn.” It kind of made me feel nauseous.

I put the book down, with the realization that I will never be organized in the ways that the book recommends. My house and car and office will never be a featured glossy photos in a home improvement magazine. I just can’t codify, classify or catalog my messy way of thinking about things.

But then Sarah made this comment on goal #2: “As I was watching the ground from the air today, I was struck by the difference between God’s creation and human creation. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it was interesting to see the twisting and turning of a river next to a rigorously straight road, and the majestic folds of a mountain next to a meticulously laid out housing development. Maybe resting from creating for a day could give the opportunity to regain the joy and playfulness that we see in God’s creation!”

And it made me think, maybe my organization doesn’t have to be meticulously laid out, maybe it can be a crooked kind of perfect!

#4 Apply in Person

January 12, 2011

“Teacher seeks pupil. Must have earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.”

This is how Ismael, Daniel Quinn’s novel about a telepathic gorilla, begins. (It’s a really interesting book, once you get past the didactic writing.) But this post is not about that. 

What it is about is goal number 4 for this year. I think we all have something unique to contribute to the world, but we have to show up with intention, with earnest desire,  in order to do it. And that’s my goal: to show up.

Be attentive to those around me.  Go to where I am needed.  Seek the best in everyone.  Listen for God’s voice.  Apply in person.

Show up.

#3 Love and Homegrown Tomatoes

January 11, 2011

Goal number three for this year’s list is to grow enough tomatoes for a whole year, and learn how to can and freeze them so that we will have homegrown tomatoes through the winter.

I know, I know.  I failed to meet this goal last year, but I learned a lot that I think will be useful in trying again, and we did grow some very delicious tomatoes last summer.  Best of all, I rediscovered my all-time, favorite co-worker in the garden.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Where we love is home.” And that’s the best place to grow tomatoes.

True love and homegrown tomatoes – you can’t buy ’em. But if you find them in the garden, be sure to nurture them!

#2 Don’t Step on Bugs

January 11, 2011

He said, “The Sabbath is the center of our week.”

I was sitting with Chris and Jamie (although not next to either one) in a crowded fitness room at the YWCA listening to a Jewish couple share information about their faith.  They spoke about a day dedicated to God, to family and friends, to rest — and it is the CENTER of the week, not the beginning or the end.  They were talking about a day that can transform all our days into days of wholeness, days of holiness.  Wow!

So, goal number two for the year: Reclaim the Sabbath.  I am not sure exactly what this will look like, it is a goal in progress, but I think it will make our lives and our home more happy and grace filled.

The work that’s forbidden [during the traditional Jewish Sabbath] is any work in which you interfere with nature and act as if you are master over it. You are not supposed to pluck a single blade of grass… You could think it’s all sort of crazy and too much, but I can see how giving one whole day a week to doing all these things, or rather, not doing all these things, could actually change the world. All week you step on bugs, you trample grass, you ignore, change, destroy, use, exert your force all over the place. But on this day you pay attention… you pay attention to every living thing, and you allow it to live.

…It would be good for the world to have to observe the Sabbath, a day of rest where everyone tries not to exert their force on the world, and is grateful to God, and tries not to squash any life, not even bugs, and all the malls and the fast-food restaurants and TVs are shut down. It seems like the world would be about a thirty-thousand-times better place.

(Debbie Blue, From Stone to Living Word)

#1 Come to the Party

January 11, 2011

If God

Invited you to a party

And said,


In the ballroom tonight

Will be my special


How would you treat them

When you



Indeed, indeed!


And Hafiz knows

There is no one in this world


Who is not upon

His Jeweled Dance




Goal number one for this year’s list: be radically hospitable.  Treat everyone like a guest.  Make my home a haven, especially for my husband and children.  Embrace my role as home-maker.