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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"What Are You Busy About"

“It is not enough that you are busy.
The question is, What are you busy about?”

Lately, I’ve been on a Downton Abbey kick due to buying the first four seasons for a pittance on Boxing Day. As an aside, do you think of “small things” like paying little for such pleasure as blessings? I certainly do for in the evenings, when I’m holding down the sofa after a day of, seemingly, endless activity, to escape into a beautiful world that was and, probably, will never be again, a pleasurable blessing. 

During the night, should the dogs or I need to get up, that’s a time of prayer for folks on the prayer list, family, friends, my country, me and the list is endless. One recent night, I got up in the wee dark hours and found myself praying for Cora and Robert Crawley, Tom and his baby and his status as a new widower...then, caught up short, I thought, “Wake UP you crazy woman! These are characters in a television drama, stop wasting prayer on them!” Thus the power of JulianFellowes and his wonderfully crafted script, Downton Abbey and another favorite Gosford Park.

~ borrowed photo ~

When I asked a friend if she watched Downton Abbey she retorted, “I tried watching it but it’s nothing but a soap opera and I’m not wasting my time!” But, isn’t most of television, outside of game shows, soap operas? They may not sell soap but they have a cast of characters whose story goes on and on and on, week after week after week. I think it comes down to choose your crazy...I mean soap opera aside, Downton Abbey has captured me, heart and mind, if I admit to praying for them during the night when I’m half awake/asleep...crazy woman!

During the daylight hours, I am busy about a lot but find I’m too scattered and disjointed to be always effective.  I’ve always been a great list maker, much to Dave and my MIL’s amusement, but if I don’t have lists, I get less done. Time management studies say “focus, focus, focus” and my question is, “How does one focus where there’s SO much to be done?” I’ve pared down, especially since Dave’s death, and no longer do volunteer work off the farm. Instead, I knit orange hats and scarves to give to shelters as well as orange hats to give to neighboring hunters but say ‘no’ to everything else. (And, I say ‘no’ with absolutely no guilt whatsoever!)

I’m thinking of assigning different days of the week to different tasks but that’s not a great solution. Farm work has to be done on sunny days while house work can be done any day and I keep Sabbath on Sundays except when there's a "have to' situation.

Some say writing down the __ (fill in the number) most important things you must do today and focus on those things and that’s where I get off track. When you’re flying solo, everything is important and there’s no sharing of tasks so I choose the 5 most important areas and chip away at those making sure to leave some porch sitting time because personal renewal is always important. Along with porch sitting time, Bible devotions are done in early morning but neither porch sitting nor devotions are on the list.

This morning, walking to the barn, I spent thirty minutes taking photos of an eagle; there's always time to squeeze in the important! 

And more time taking photos of Kit Carson:

So, to answer Thoreau’s question, what am I busy about? 

I am busy about the task of life and am blessed to be able to have this as my business. So many people are on the “career treadmill” and some are caught up in a daily grind that chips away at personal satisfaction and even life itself. When I see bloggers who are making a living blogging, I raise my cuppa in salute! It’s wonderful when people are able to schedule their lives in a manner that enhances their life, the lives of their families and making money to pay bills is an added plus. Well done!

How do you handle “time management”? Are you a list maker? How do you handle the many hats you wear? Do you find you get a lot done or a little done about a lot? 

What are you busy about?

Blessings ~ fresh air ~ eagles ~ Kit Carson ~ time ~ Kensington Station, such memories! ~ Downton Abbey and Gosford Park ~


  1. I think I've spent the winter being busy about eating whole packets of biscuits and now my clothes don't fit! Life is better when I have a list, preferably coloured in and that gets done in porch time- well, the Irish equivalent- with a cup of tea and I am being busier at getting that renewal time because it really works. Irish equivalent means sitting inside at the table unless it's sunny when it means sitting inside at the table with the door open...

  2. Aw, I love that Mags!
    I heard/read that we should just "do the next thing" and I forget who said it, but I think I read it quoted on Gumbo Lily's blog.
    Even almost a year after my last day in the classroom, I feel compelled to stay busy and I can't help but think of the things that I could be doing, but I really do enjoy down time and want to continue to be thankful for it.
    I think you are like me in that you have a million interests and you like to tend to happy things. Downton Abbey is FUN and interesting. Have you watched Lark Rise to Candleford? Doc Martin? Good BBC stuff, for sure.

  3. I'm a list maker and a multi-tasker, so I don't leave a lot of time up for grabs. I do take time for a quick nappy in the afternoon, just close my eyes and relax for a few. Right now we have lots going on, but it will slow down again, and we have a great vacation coming up in July.

  4. Downton Abbey isn't real!!?? I'm shocked! *lol* Yeah, we're hooked too. Bought the first Five Seasons. Now anxiously awaiting the Sixth and final one. Another excellent English show is "Call The MidWife". It takes place in the mid-1950s (I think) or at least starts then. It's been really entertaining. Comes on PBS Sunday evenings here. I enjoy just about anything English. Dislike American "entertainment" greatly. Yuck.

    I once was an avid list maker. Now I work when needed, rest in-between. My philosophy is now "whatever ...." *grin*

    I pray your lovely farm sells soon, even though I know this was a heart wrenching decision to have to make. Prayers from here.

    May The Lord Bless And Keep You ~:)

  5. Hi Sandra, As a younger woman, I was organized and checked things off my to-do list daily. These past 20 years of caring for loved ones, I have learned that each day can and will bring unexpected priorities. Plans can change in an instant. I'm learning that the house doesn't have to be perfect and a frozen dinner now and then won't kill us!!! Like you, I wake very early and spend time in prayer. Just today, my sweet friend told me of her 5 yr old daughter being bullied in pre school to the point that she cries each a.m. Please pray for little Mia to make it through this school year.
    I pray for you, too. I enjoyed your lovely photos today. I appreciate your friendship.

  6. I AM a list maker. LOL- I am such a list maker that I almost have to assign a time slot for list AND if I do something that is NOT on my list- I add it and then cross it off...crazy? yep- that's me!

    I love Downton Abbey, too...and if you love that-then when you are done you need to find the Call The Midwife series. I like it almost as much as Downton Abbey- different setting and later time period but altogether wonderful.

    By the by- I love the size of font you are using now. I had such a hard time reading your blog before. This is wonderful.

    Happy "get'er done" rest of the week. xo Diana

  7. LOL! You praying for Downton Abbey characters made me roar! How FUNNY! I love Downton Abbey! But I'm waiting to buy when there is a complete series set of dvds with lots of extras. I may be waiting a looooong time! But I know that the series's last year is next year. Still, it might be awhile.

    Like Diana, I make lists AND also write down things that I did but didn't write down originally just so I can cross them out! lol And I agree with her that you should check out Call the Midwife. Excellent series!

    Great post!

  8. As I age, my hats have changed and I willingly don't wear so many….most the time I'm letting my hair just blow in the wind! No hat.

    I like to make lists every day. Helps to keep me centered.

    After years of being way too busy being busy, I crashed and called it quits. I have slowed way down and it's a blessing to have time to think, read, study and pray.

    God bless,

  9. We LOVE Downton Abbey, too!!! It's a gerat story and certainly NOT a soap opera! :o)
    Time management? Well...sometimes I wish that the days were longer! Not just 24 hours...:o)
    But I like the IS important what we are busy about!

  10. Great, Thistle!!

    And again you speak directly into my life here (like in your last "Sabbath-Keeping").

    Yesterday I spent a lot of time waiting for my doves to go home, and cat Puma also was interested in the doves :))) - but I did not make a photo of him :))))

    Your thoughts teach a lot!

    Funny the joke - the true joke - about praying for the film-characters! Sometimes film and reality flow one to another, and a film-person can be a mirror of a real person in life - God recognizes it :)))

    Greetings from over the ocean with flying eagles and doves!

  11. Oh! Sandra -- your tale about praying for the Granthams (esp. as a late-night-groggy type of praying) just made me L A U G H !! Classic! Yes, almost everything on entertainment is soap-operaish, we just all have our preferences. And like you, I prefer my soap operas to be decorated with beautiful things :) Glad you still find time for photographing and resting on the porch. Those are JUST as important as the work.

  12. What am I busy about . . .
    Right now . . .
    For the past few weeks . . .
    And then there is some
    Relaxing . . .
    Bike riding
    Great grand celebrating
    Reflecting . . .
    And that about covers it . . .
    Thanks for asking . . .

  13. I love Downton Abbey! Even my husband got into it. We watched every episode. I am so bummed this next season will be the last.

  14. Hi Sandra, Oh I am a list maker too and even add the extras I do each day and cross those off as well. LOL
    I may not get everything done so then I carry it over to the next day. I've always been an organized person.

    We are hooked on Downton Abbey too and I hate that the next season will be the last. We also watched the series following DA Chesterfield I think the name is. It has not been on so I miss that one. It is so good about a minister who helps a policeman solve mysteries.

    I am always busy with just life in general and of course my little shop on etsy keeps me very busy fulltime.
    Now it's gardening added to the mix and the list goes on and on!!

    Loved this post and also the larger font you used this time.
    We are having lots of rain and bad storms. Just got a flood warning so better turn off the computer.

    Sending hugs your way. Have a nice weekend sweet friend.

  15. What a timely topic! I suspect that most people (based on casual observance and results) fly by the seat of their pants and don't do any planning to accomplish tasks. I have always used to-do lists, but I've been frantically using them ever since Jim took his quick downward spiral in late November. I use steno pads and write up a daily task list. If keeps me on track and focused. I generally have lists that go a week or two in advance, and I add to them all the time. The lists have helped immensely. I'm flying solo too, as you know, and it isn't easy to run a household that way. (And I was essentially flying solo during Jim's long illness.) You have an even bigger job running a farm. I don't beat myself up if I don't get everything done that I intend. At least I get the essentials done, and I don't give myself any flack for carrying items over to another day. Thank goodness I am retired and have sufficient financial means. I shake my head in wonderment and haven't a clue how some people even get themselves dressed in the morning. Eventually, their lives will turn topsy turvy too and they will have no skills to cope.

  16. P.S. And I am a Downton Abby fan too!

  17. I have many hats too and if I make a list, I tend to accomplish more. If I don't, I still accomplish, but it is not as focused as I might like. I always feel as though I'm flying by the seat of my pants most of the time.

    Downton Abby....not a follower, but I do like all of the BBC flicks of Jane Austen's. And I like North and South and then there's Wives Daughters. Check those out! Excellent films.

    I'm just busy "doing life" wherever that takes me. Doing the next thing (as Pom Pom mentioned) comes from Elisabeth Elliot. That's where I heard it anyway.

  18. This is a delightful post! I am a list maker. As a person with just a small touch of ADD, i have to make lists or else everything just becomes too overwhelming and nothing gets done!

    As far as small pleasures... every little thing that gives me pleasure is a reason to thank God. My goal is to say thank you to the Lord all day long, for everything! That's my idea of living intentionally.

  19. I like list. Keeps me on track for sure. I also find that I will toss random things into the list at random places. Of course with critters around they tend to bounce, for whatever reasons, everything else into rearrangement often. But I make time for a bit of this and that. Meaning everyone or thing gets some attention daily except perhaps the house. That would oh dear be another story. Prayers come when I have each Pyrenees out in the morning for their "mommy time" walk. Yes I am one of those sappy humans who gives her dogs even the working ones a two legged mommy. But I do find walking about the 42 acres just after sun up seems to beg for prayers and a good talk with God. And almost everyday I leave some spinning, knitting , weaving or quilting time on my list too. And now I guess I have to check out Downton Abbey!

  20. Happy belated birthday! And yes, "Downton!" I am making my mother-in-law, another fellow "Downton Abbey" fan, a sign that features a quote from Carson that you will appreciate: "The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that's all there is." ♥ Enjoy the rest of the show. :)

  21. Your buddy HDT also wrote, "That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest." :)

    I do make lists and am thrilled when I can cross something off. But right now the working part of every day is spent dealing with a string of new and unforeseen priorities of the "let's keep everyone alive please" type. And the rest of the time is spent flattening my back and cranking up a heating pad. And stoking the stove! It's been in the 20s and low 30s here every morning recently!

  22. First, thanks for coming by The Marmelade Gypsy! I love it when people come and leave comments that make me smile!

    I'm a Downton fan, too -- so sad that next year is the last season, yet it's probably wise to end on a good note when all are still in fine form. You're right about all tv being soap operas (more or less). But Downton is so well written and with such attention to period detail it stands above the others.

    Time management. You know, when I have to, I can be very well organized on using my time and the list helps. It's all those things I'd really rather not do and the world won't end if I don't... if you figure out the perfect solution, I hope you'll share!

  23. Lovely post Sandra. I do keep lists. I find when I do I get more done. Right now I am too busy stitching and need to get out in the yard and also catch up in the house but I find that I would rather sit at the sewing machine. I am off to make a list, perhaps it will spur me on...

  24. I have been a list maker in the past but could benefit by starting to do so again. I have several things that should get done today and the rest of the weekend and making a list would help me focus. I do have a birthday party to attend for two little three year olds and that is at the top of my list.

  25. Mags, eating biscuits sounds like a good occupation, especially as I don't have any right now. If it ever gets warm, I'm going to sit outside.

    Karen, I've done the "next thing" since Dave died and am now getting the urge to do a tad more...that's not all Yes to Doc Martin and Candleford and Foyle's War and Selfridges (to be watched after DA) and other BBC productions.

    Yeah, crazy woman here apparently, in the deep of night, thought Downton Abbey was real! LAM. Found Midwife to be so overwhelmingly sad, just couldn't watch it.
    God bless you and yours, Pam...stay safe.

    Mildred, I'm slowing down but the list gets longer. Stouffer's is my go to frozen dinner and find ready made meatballs a good buy.

    Diana, I find the whole font size to be a problem...I can't seem to find one that's a good size both when writing the post and when posting it. As to the Midwife...found it incredibly sad and couldn't watch it.

    taking a quick bow...glad I could provide amusement. when I woke more I *really* had to use the bathroom from laughing so hard at myself. Midwife made me so very sad, couldn't finish it.

    Deanna, there's much to be said for taking it easy as we age. I certainly have slowed down even though I've not wanted to, I've had to.

    Linda Kay, a great vacation sounds wonderful; God speed on your plans and your travel.

    Timi, it's been such a treat for me, watching Downton Abbey in the evenings. Yes, you're right...we need to be about our Father's business.

    Dori, it's so true...when I watch Downton Abbey I see so many types of people I know. Also, watching how they speak and act is an education and I miss that gentility.

  26. MK, it was funny...laughed until I really had to use the bathroom! No porch resting recently...too dang cold and raining...ugh. It's Dogwood Winter, that's for sure.

    Lynne, life is never ending...thankfully! It's back to cool weather here with rain and low temps...Dogwood Winter is here.

    Donna, there's no use beating ourselves up; life will do that for us. Care giving or nursing is such a full time occupation and, when it's over, leaves us like an empty balloon. It takes so much time to get over death, especially the death of our other half. I'm still working on it and Downton Abby helps!

    nice to know it's an EE statement...and doing life is what I daily do and am blessed to do it. God is good.

    the thing about HDT is he went to the woods on his mother's dime. when I learned that I was rather disappointed in

    yay, another DA fan...although sometimes I spell it Abbey and sometimes Abby...crazy woman! thanks for visiting me back; it's very kind of you.

    Jane, lists are invaluable and couldn't live my life w/out them.

    TC, walking 40+ acres sounds divine! Just be safe.

    Oh yes...the birthday party plans are Most Important! Hope you have a wonderful time...and the little ones as well.


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