Yes, But

I think this phrase could be banned from the English language.

“I lost 20 pounds.” “Yes, but you have another 30 to lose.”

“I got my assignment done and turned in on time.”“Yes, but you only got a C on the paper.”

“I got a job!”“Yes, but it’s not full time and only pays $x”

People also do this to themselves:

“Yes, I lost 20 pounds, but still have 30 to go.”

“Yes, I got the assignment done on time, but I only got a C on it.”

“Yes, I got a job, but it’s only part time and doesn’t pay well.”

While the phrases after the “but” may indeed be true, they negate or cancel out the positive first part.  Can’t we/you/I just skip the “but” part?  Do we need to mention that?  Maybe it does need to be covered, to do it at another time might be better?

For example, later on , maybe the next time an assignment is due, discuss with the student what they might be able to do to earn a grade better than a C.  Think about what has worked to shed 20 pounds and how you will continue to lose the remainder you need to lose.  And so on.

Think about this the next few days.  How often do you say, “Yes, but…”

Does it serve you/others well?



Boys are our lives cluttered!  Mine is anyway, and most people around me have cluttered lives.

We have physical clutter.  Things.  Stuff.   Papers.  Clothes.   Gadgets.  Toys (kids toys and big kid – adult-  toys.   We need to keep track of, organize store and sort all that clutter.  Some of it may indeed be necessary and valuable.  I have noticed that when the piles on my desk get too high and I go through and sort them, a good many (that I “thought” were important can now be tossed, 2-3 months later?)

My son got us a new toaster for Christmas.  The old one worked, kind of.  (It DID work, just set off the smoke alarm a lot.)  So really the old one could have been tossed.  Instead hubby put it in the basement.  WHY????

We have “social busyness” clutter.  This and that obligation (our own, or our children’s).  Maybe good things, or some good things, but they still clutter up our lives.  Does doing X really serve you (or your family) best?

And mind clutter.  So many things on our minds.  Some people are quite overloaded in that way.  One thing most helpful for me is to make list.  Once I write it on the list, it doesn’t have to stay in my mind any longer.

I find that when my physical space is decluttered, I can function much better.  My thinking is clearer, I am more efficient, and simply happy.  Same with my social schedule.  Being free from “having” to do xyz is quite liberating.

So think about the clutter in your life- any kind of clutter.  Think about if it serves you (or are you a slave to IT)?  What can you do to improve things?



What gets in the way of your acting the way you want to act?

I think about my 9 yo daughter, Rosemary, who has Down Syndrome.  She is a joyful, happy free spirit.  She loves and expresses herself as she feels.    New Year’s Eve she heard someone say something about a party and began jumping up and down, totally excited.   Every week after Mass she gives Father a hug.  She gives anyone a hug who she thinks needs one.

Why do we not act in ways we might like to?  I think a big key is that we worry about what others will think of us.  This never crosses Rosemary’s mind.

Would it not be better to act as we feel is best, and not concern ourselves with what others may think?  Yes, we need to abide by social norms, but I think often we fear demonstrating emotions: giving someone a hug, crying at a movie.

Perhaps it would be good to evaluate some of our choices, and be more open.

Even if we are afraid.  I recall once (twice actually) when we once did a door-to-door mission.  We are Catholic, and as a family (as part of a larger group) we went door to door in a community inviting people to Easter Week mass and services.  Part of our :script” was to ask folks if they had anything we would like us to pray for- any intentions.  Some people did.

Twice over the 3 days period we did this, I felt called to ask the person if they would like us to pray with them NOW for this intention.   They said yes, and I/we did.  Now I am NOT an expert pray-er.  I am NOT used to praying with complete strangers out loud.  I am not sued to praying out loud, period (except prayers like the rosary and Mass prayers.)

Yet I choose to follow through and pray with those people and they were very powerful experiences, both for me and for them.  Was I afraid?  You bet!  Was I glad I did it?  You bet!

Be not afraid, step out and act in the way you want, the way you are called to.  Forget about what others may think of you.

Actions and your Heart

I saw this quote the other day:

People can only see what is in your heart through your actions.

Think about this.  What are people seeing with you?  Is it the way you want to be?   Sometimes we think we are one way, in reality we are not what we imagine ourselves to be.   I do think our actions (and words) reflect what is in our hearts.

Challenge: spend some time consciously paying attention to your actions- see what picture you are presenting.  Analyze if you want to change or not.

People are good, people are generous

Back in 1987, my husband and I and our 3 children (at the time) worked as missionaries in Venezuela.  Before we left for our 2 ½ year journey, and while we were there, we asked friends and family for financial support, for ourselves, but also (and mostly) to run the children’s home we were in charge of.  There was some local funding, but it was pretty meager, not enough to do the job well.

People responded most generously.  We had enough funds to support ourselves, hire 3 local people to help run the home, and even enough left over to help the other children’s homes in the area (drastically underfunded).

The other day, Jan. 8, there was an accident and the 4 yo son of a woman I know was badly burned.  He ended up far from home in a specialized burn center.  His mom is with him, leaving 5 other children at home.  Her husband was also burned, but not as badly as the child.  He did not need to be moved to the burn center.

Someone (a relative I think) set up a donation center/ fundraiser to help with costs.  It looks like the child will be in the hospital 6 months plus.  I cannot imagine what that must be like for the entire family.  But what impresses me greatly is the outpouring of generosity.  The current fundraiser goal is $25,000.  It has been only 4 days since the accident as of this writing, and already they have gotten over $16,000.

Now, this is an ordinary family.  They are not celebrities, not famous, they don’t have thousands and thousands of friends.  Just ordinary folks.  Yet there has been a  tremendous outpouring of support- prayers and financially.    I suspect that many of the donors have never met them.  I posted on my facebook page about it, and asked folks to support them, with prayers and/or financially.  Others have done the same, I’m sure.  (And this is not a “close” friend, just someone I know.  I only met her once through a Catholic moms group we both belonged to.)

The money will continue to pour in, and if they raise their goal, I’m sure folks will keep giving until it is met.  As I scanned the donations list, there were some $10 donations, but also a fair number of $500 ones, and even more.  And I suspect some of those donors have never met the family or heard of them until they read the appeal.

People are good, people are generous.  Even in these supposed times of a lousy economy.

Thank you, Lord.

PS Should anyone like to read more or contribute:  Fulton Poppe Fundraiser