Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Not-to-Do List

I love this meditation from Rick Warren, who sends these out daily from his Purpose Driven Life connection. I was at dinner last night with three well-connected (2 i-Phones, one something else) family members, and I remember thinking (with a grin) that we spent the entire dinner in conversation, and no one was occupied with their phone.

Choosing a simpler life
by Rick Warren

. . . a time to embrace and a time to refrain. Ecclesiastes 3:5 (NIV)

You’d think that living in Southern California means I’m surrounded by people who live a laid-back lifestyle. The truth is just the opposite: Most of the people I know are trying to cram more and more into each day.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I was with a group of friends driving down the interstate. At one point, I looked around and realized most of us were engaged in some activity other than talking to each other. Two people were on their cell phones; another was working on his BlackBerry; and a fourth was focused on his laptop computer.

As a joke, I declared I felt left out. I called the driver, who was sitting right next to me, and we chatted together on our cell phones for a few minutes! The point of our traveling together in the van was so we could grab time to talk face-to-face! Yet we felt pressed to get it all done.

That’s when I realized the truth – we couldn’t get it all done, and God never intended for us to make completing a to-do list the purpose of our lives.

The fact is, there are many things we think we must do that really are not worth doing. My point is this: You won’t simplify your life by getting an electronic organizer. You won’t even find it by convincing your neighbor, who makes Martha Stewart look like a sloth, to give you tips about coordinating your activities while still wearing a perfect dress and pearls like Beaver Cleaver’s mom.

Simplifying is really about choices – prioritizing what is important – and then sticking to those choices no matter how tempting it is to add more to your to-do list. In fact, take those tempting activities and put them on a list of things not to do.

You are the only one who can assume responsibility for your time and clarify what’s really important to you.

Now maybe you’re thinking, “But I have to take care of the kids,” or “I have to get this report done by Friday.” I’m not naïve about the pressures many people feel today, but it may be that those things – your children, your work – are the priorities you keep on your to-do list, and you move other things to the not-to-do list.

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Generational, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Spiritual | 4 Comments

Tropical Storm Bonnie On the Horizon

Yesterday Little Diamond and I headed out to Fort Pickens, a long spit of land out on Pensacola Beach where there are old forts and batteries, campgrounds and hiking trails. The campgrounds looked heavily occupied, and there was a heavy surf – not to far from the road. In fact, although I am usually courageous, I felt uncomfortable about how close the surf was to the road. Out on this long, isolated spit, the land isn’t that much above sea level. It wouldn’t take much to wash right over the spit, and were that to happen, there is no place to run.

Personal security sort of becomes a way of life. It becomes second nature; you don’t even know you are constantly surveying your surroundings, looking for escape routes, keeping your back to the wall, facing the door, watching cars around you, etc. You don’t even know you are doing it, until you get that sort of choking sensation, knowing there is one way out and if that way is compromised, you might be sunk – in this case, literally.

On our way out and back, we saw mysterious activity, involving tents, lots of workers, surveyors and GPS systems. We speculated it might be movement of turtle eggs to avoid contamination from the oil spill, but we didn’t stop and ask – they seemed very intent and focused on their task.

We quickly toured and left for a nice lunch at Crabs – We Got ‘Em. DELICIOUS! We had the crab and spinach dip – oh Yummm. I had the crab cake sliders, which were so big I could only eat the crab cakes. Little Diamond had the Crab Ceasar. All in all, we were greatly pleased. Although yesterday was another hot hot hot and humid day, we ate outside in the shaded area, fanned by fans and Gulf breezes. Another day in Paradise. 🙂

(For those of you in the area, here is our review of our first visit to Crabs – We Got ‘Em several months ago.)

This morning, looking at the front page, we had confirmation of our fears – under the headline Bonnie Flies Over the Sea is a sub-headline “Ft. Pickens evacuates campers as storm enters Gulf, regains steam.”

A second article, above the line, is Sea Turtles Changing Shores and you can see a photo of a sea turtle nest full of eggs being moved to avoid damage from the oil spill.

Pensacola is actually just outside the projected path of Bonnie, but those storms are often known to veer from the projections. I have water and candles and matches and blankets, peanut butter and crackers stored in the closet of what Little Diamond calls the Fantasy Guest Suite. She is, as has become tradition, our first visitor. 🙂

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Eating Out, Environment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Food, Hurricanes, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | Leave a comment