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Sometimes "One More Thing" Can Wait


Each morning before I leave for work, I aim to do one more thing.  "One more thing" always starts so simply.

I choose to empty the dishwasher -- an entirely sensible morning task -- but handling the dishes triggers me to think about dinner and whether I have that one ingredient.  I check the pantry, jot down a quick grocery list because I do not have that one ingredient (so glad I thought of it!), and then walk down the hallway to put the grocery list in my work bag. (Clearly, I wouldn't want to forget the list and get tonight's dinner off track, would I?)

While in the hallway I find a single sock belonging to one of my children.  I carry the sock up the steps, wondering why socks are never found in pairs, why they prefer to exist in balled-up, isolated states, and load my arms with other odds-and-ends left behind on the stairs as I make my ascent.  Once I distribute the items from the stairs to the appropriate bedrooms, I start a load of laundry because, if I know anything about socks, it's that they're never balled-up on a hallway floor when they're clean.

After loading the washing machine, I walk down the hallway again, this time noticing that one of the kids left the bathroom light on and a glob of semi-gelatinous toothpaste is hardening in the sink.  I wipe up the toothpaste, perhaps touch up the mirror with Windex, and head downstairs to go to work, but not until I pack my lunch from last night's leftovers, store the remaining leftovers in a Ziploc freezer bag for another meal (such foresight! I'm so smart!), throw away the lettuce that had wilted behind the leftovers, and then take out the trash.

Don't let the phrase deceive you.  "One more thing" rarely is one more thing.  It multiples and spreads, tentacle-like, leading us to different rooms, different messes, and different to-do items that hadn't even crossed our radar.

My twenty "spare" minutes before work get filled to the brim, making me feel more behind than ahead.  And that grocery list I jotted down after my initial morning task of putting away the dishes?  There's a 50-50 chance it never made it into my work bag, that I'll find it on top of the washing machine when I transfer the clothes into the dryer after dinner.

Now, I'm all for hustling and making the most of my time.  But sometimes one more thing can -- and should -- wait.

Sometimes it's enough to do just one thing -- like getting ready for work -- and not tack one "more" thing to it.  Sometimes it's smart to show restraint, acknowledge that rest of the work will be there when we return, leave it as it is, and learn how to be at peace with what we got done, even if it wasn't all of what needs to get done.  To put our heads on our pillows at night and trust God that tomorrow can be a safe space for the overflow of what couldn't fit into today.

We all have seasons, whether from our nature or out of necessity, when life is marked by greater intensity and hustle.  But I don't want this to be my continual norm.  I don't want my life to be characterized by rushing.  Efficiency?  Sure.  Hard work?  You betcha.  Foresight?  Yes, please.  But I don't want to become a slave to always completing "one more thing."

It'll be there when I return, after all.

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Do you ever get caught in the "one more thing" rut?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Never Underestimate Small Gestures


The other night as I got ready for bed, my husband said he was going downstairs to watch football since he wasn't tired yet.  I said goodnight, continued brushing my teeth, then stepped out of the bathroom and noticed our bed.

Joel had set up the heating pad for me.  I use it every night after my evening physical therapy exercises, and before he had gone downstairs to witness Clemson upset Alabama, he took time to plug the cord into the outlet behind his nightstand, turn it to its highest setting, and prop it near my pillow so it would be ready for my shoulder when I laid down.


This was more than a plugged-in heating pad.  It's a statement that he notices and cares.  It's one of the dozens of things he does each week that keeps the "I do" alive nearly 18 years after we first pledged it to each other.

Let's never underestimate the power of small gestures with the people we love the most.

Every Semester, Do This First

The spring semester begins tomorrow.  I'm not ready for a semester until I do one final task.  It's not creating and photocopying the syllabi, or setting up my course websites, or even printing the rosters to review the names of new students before the first day's roll call.  These are important task, too, mind you, but in my heart, I'm not ready for the semester until I visit my classrooms and pray over them.

I walk up and down the aisles, touching each desk and the back of each chair, and pray for each student.  I pray for their protection, for peace to fill our classroom, and for God's presence to infiltrate our shared space.  I pray for wisdom to teach and evaluate their work, for positive connections to be built, and for their academic, social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

Then I linger in the classroom in the stillness just a moment or two longer, preparing my heart for the semester ahead.  Then, and only then, do I feel ready.

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