Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sidetracked by the sun

Do you ever have so much to do, you end up doing something totally different than the things on your to-do list? That's what happened to me yesterday. My husband left for his part time job and I headed out back to enjoy a little bit of sunshine and warmth before going up to my office to work. My workload is heavy right now. I'm currently working on some biographies for first graders that will be published on the iStoryBooks app. So far this month, I completed books on Margaret Brown (the unsinkable Molly Brown), Rachel Carson, and Princess Di. Today, I'm working on a book about Sacagawea and I'll finish up the series with a biography of Jane Goodall. Five fascinating women.

In addition to the books and miscellaneous other work, I'm also preparing workshops for 4 upcoming writing conferences. I'm on the faculty for the following conferences in Pennsylvania: The Write Stuff conference in Bethlehem, Lancaster Christian Writers Super Saturday in Lancaster, Writing Success 25 in Stoneboro, and Pennwriters Conference in Lancaster. Lots of traveling and lots of preparation. Of the 9 workshops I'm presenting, 4 of them are brand new. Brand new = work!

And then there's tax day, which is quickly approaching and I'm totally unprepared for. Yuck.

But I digress. I started out by mentioning spending time not doing any of the above. Here's what happened:

It was a beautiful day here in Western PA. The sun was shining. It was in the 60s, or maybe low 70s, and I just seemed to need some fresh air. I looked around at all the spring yard work waiting for my husband. Everything is popping up earlier this year, following the warmest winter worldwide ever on record. Flowers are blooming, plants are emerging from their winter naps, and nothing is waiting for us to have time to clean up all the leaves and debris leftover from autumn. 

One of my favorite things about spring and summer is the sound of water flowing in our pond. Usually, my husband doesn't get around to preparing the pond until late April. Sometimes, not until May. That was unacceptable for me this year. So, for the first time ever, I decided to do it while he was at work. And that's exactly what I did. 

I started by cleaning up all the leaves and twigs on the hillside surrounding the small pond and filled 6 large trashcans full of debris. We have a woods and a compost pile bordering our yard, so I hauled it all back there and dumped it. Again and again. Sweat was dripping down my back. My hair was soaked. And I felt fantastic. 

I cleaned the leaves and debris from the pond itself and was elated to discover all 5 of our goldfish had made it through the winter. They swished their tails and seemed genuinely happy to see me again as they swam up and nibbled on my fingers. 

I was also elated to see the bees returning to the bee house we hung up for them. At one point, I saw 10 of them making their way in and out of the round bamboo openings. Hooray!

By the time I was done, I couldn't wait for my husband to get home and see what I'd done. You see, with my fibromyalgia and Epstein Barr Virus Syndrome, I'm physically not able to do much of this kind of work. But yesterday, I did it anyway. Am I paying for it today? Of course. But it's good pain, if you know what I mean. Pain that's worth it. As I struggle to get up from my chair, I smile. The look of gratitude on my husband's face makes it all worthwhile. 

By the way, here's what it will look like in a month or so:

I might be a day behind on my work, but a day of hard work in the sun just might be what I needed to make it through the next two weeks until conference number 1 begins. 

So, what causes you to throw aside your own to-do list?


  1. That's a beautiful pond! It's good to work outside when the opportunity presents itself.

    1. Thank you. It's a sweet place of refuge when life gets harried!


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