The phrase 'an acceptable time' has been popping up lately on the fringes of my consciousness. There's a Bible verse about "an acceptable time" which refers to salvation, and a Madeleine L'Engle book of that name, which I've been intending to read for years, but still haven't yet.
But I finally finished a book that Gary Keller wrote called "The One Thing", about how important time-blocking is to accomplish the high priority items in our lives.
You figure out what one thing is most important to achieve your goal in any area of your life, then you block time for it, and most importantly, protect it from all distractions.
For example, if your goal is to get in shape, then it's really important that you work out a certain number of days for a certain amount of time. So I'm getting a lot better about turning off my phone in the mornings when I walk Belle and say my Rosary, as well as during the hour I work out. I know (from experience) that if I take the call or answer the text, I won't get back to my workout.
I also know that, whatever the issue is, it can wait until I'm finished.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
There's more to the book than that, of course, and he writes it a lot better than I can, so I encourage you to read it, even if you're not in the real estate business. It applies to all areas of our lives, and addresses how to maintain balance in those areas.
Even in the blogging area. I decided tonight was an acceptable time to publish a long-overdue blog post. It's important to me to keep blogging, for my own pleasure, therapy, whatever...
But like most things that are put off too long, it becomes harder and harder to get started the longer you put it off. Writing a blog post takes longer than anyone other than bloggers can imagine. For me, anyway.
It requires a big chunk of relatively uninterrupted time, so I'm ignoring emails and to-do lists to do a brief catch-up over the past couple of crazy months. I plan to block time each week or so for a post.
It's important to me and, therefore, worthy of my time.
Sometimes they are pretty subtle, though, and that's been the case here in central Texas this year. Summer was pretty distinctive (100+ degree days!), but Autumn, Winter, and now Spring have all pretty much blurred together, temperature-wise. Mostly a rollercoaster of warm and cool.
There are other seasons in our lives that change, too, though. Just a few years ago my kids were in college, still mostly dependent on us. Besides my family, I was focused on photography, writing, and blogging.
Now my kids are grown, and even though two still live at home, they are paying rent. They have real jobs with their own insurance (thank God) and I can enjoy having them here, because I know it's temporary.
These days, I use my phone for photography more than my Nikon, and my writing consists of a rare blog post, marketing materials, and my daily summary of 'sweets'. I haven't been faithful at posting them here, but this week marks a year of writing them in a journal every day. Yay!
If you struggle to keep a positive attitude, I encourage to keep track of your 'sweets', too. It could be a bird singing, a warm fire, getting enough sleep one night, a friend calling, or maybe taking advantage of an opportunity to help someone else. Pay attention and write them down, if possible. I bet you find your list grows longer each day.
One of the best parts of my job is helping friends get what they want.
In all honesty, by the time we get to closing, I consider all of my clients to be friends, since I've been so focused on their needs.
But I've been blessed to help several long-time friends with their real estate needs, most recently ShiShi, in the photo above with her husband. We were the only two girls in our high school physics class. After that, we lost touch. She went on to become an architect, and, well, if you read my blog, you know what I've done since then.
Until we started viewing potential properties for her and her husband Ike to buy, I hadn't seen her since 1977. It was so awesome to reconnect with her and get to know Ike and her sons.
I was almost sorry when we finally closed on a property. But now that we've reconnected, I feel sure we'll see each other again.
A recurring theme right now for my peers is aging parents. A dear friend recently left her life in Texas to live in California and help care for her aging parents. We sent her off in style with a farewell party in a local restaurant overlooking Lake Travis.
Her own real estate career had just begun to take off; she plans to continue it in California, so if you know anyone who has a real estate need there, let me know and I'll connect you.
Last weekend I attended a bridal shower for a beautiful young woman, one of my older son's friends I've known since their elementary school days, along with her family.
The shower was held in her cousin's home... a home I helped her and her husband buy this past summer. I can't describe the joy of still being a part of these "kids'" lives, helping them buy their first homes and celebrate the milestones in their lives.
Also attending were other mothers... friends who supported me and my kids, and who share many of the same memories of their growing up. I am still so grateful we moved to this small town, where my kids have so many 'other mothers' who love them almost as much as I do, just as I love their kids.
Yes, seasons change. It seems like yesterday that I was their age. But my joy and excitement for them doesn't leave room for any wistful, rose-colored-glasses wishes to be younger. I haven't forgotten the challenges of that season. Despite the challenges that come with age, I'm enjoying the one I'm in at any given time.
The next one will be here soon enough.
Every season hath its pleasures:
Spring may boast her flowery prime,
Yet the vineyard's ruby treasures
Brighten Autumn's soberer time.
So life's year begins and closes;
Days, though shortening, still can shine;
What, though youth gave loves and roses,
Age still leaves us friends and wine.
~Thomas Moore (1779–1852), "Spring and Autumn"