Bad List, Good List

A few weeks ago, I watched a special conference for my church; basically a biannual worldwide broadcast letting the members know what they need to be doing to live better, happier lives. I love it because it gives me that needed boost to keep doing what I need to., yes, you can do this and be happy and be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. It’s really good advice for anyone, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to live better and be better.

That’s my plug in general, but I also have to say that certain talks stick out from each broadcast, and one of them was by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an amazing speaker. He gave a talk about need for creativity a little over a year ago that reaffirmed why I create, and I think of it often when I feel any doubts about what I do and why.

For this recent church conference, he gave another powerful talk that has been in the back of my mind for the last two weeks,  and I keep going back to it whenever I’m feeling a little stressed out with my upcoming deadlines and due date. The whole talk can be found here, and I think everyone should read it. But here are a few points that stuck out to me:

“When stress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be.

One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of turbulence or obstacles.

Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules.”

This is a pretty accurate description of my life right now. Ask my husband; he’ll tell you no matter what projects I”m working on, I’ve got at least 4 or 5 more that I’m planning on starting as well, usually before I’ve finished the current ones. This blog is a testament of that, since I hardly ever post a finished project, just works in progress mostly. Wouldn’t be nice to have something done (all the way) for a change? Can’t promise it will happen soon, though.

Anyways, I think I do all this over scheduling subconsciously; I don’t try to beef up my to-do lists just for the fun of it. Nevertheless, it seems to happen to me pretty often: I start writing lists of things I need to do, and before I know it, I have 13 months of 25-hour day, 8-day weeks for the next year of my life filled up. Does anyone else do this?

Some other important points that struck me were the following:

“Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.

It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.”

That kind of hit me, is this what I’m doing? Am I doing this to myself? Something to think about.

“There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.”

“We would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.”

“Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.”

Since hearing this talk, I have tried  to slow down a little bit and move at the optimum pace for me right now (which is extra slow given my swollen feet and low energy levels). And I’ve left off with my lists a little bit.

Well, all my lists except one. For better or worse, the one list that I have stuck to is my “Dessert Countdown to Baby” list (yes, that really is the title, and yes, it really is posted on my refrigerator door). My pregnancy cravings this time around can easily be summed up in one word: sweets. Anything with ample sugar and fat content have been my constant desire these last nine months, and towards the end, I decided I had to take action or I would never get a chance to eat all the yummy things I wanted to before indulgence time was over. (Disclaimer: I know that eating right during pregnancy is really important, and I did try to maintain a well-balanced diet outside of my sweet-tooth cravings.)

Well, with four weeks left, I came up with a list of about 9 things I really wanted, and I have to admit that there are only three things left, plus one more that got added later. Now it’s just a race to see which comes first, the end of the list, or the end of the pregnancy. At this point, I’m actually hoping for the baby to win, because I don’t really have the energy for baking that I used to, but I wouldn’t mind getting some honeycake, donut muffins, or alfajores in the meantime.

Two of my favorites from the list, which both came from Martha Stewart’s Cookie of the Day site—warning: don’t go there if you, too, lack self-control when it comes to sweets. On the left, mint chocolate wafer cookies, and on the right, lime meltaways. Both, sadly, are gone now, since I’m not the only one in my house enjoying the dessert countdown. Fortunately, I still have 4 pounds of homemade chocolate peanut butter fudge in my freezer to tide me over for now. . .


2 thoughts on “Bad List, Good List

  1. Pingback: New Year, Fresh Start « There Is Beauty All Around

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