Monday, November 06, 2006


The thought of "mailbox by mailbox" keeps me going in the morning when I want to extend my course a bit farther. It's easy for me to get near the end of my run and feel as if quitting is completely due me. My mind and body begin working together so that when my feet go past the designated mailbox, I'm slumping, holding my side, leaning over, and walking slowly the short distance home.

However, these days, the idea of persevering through the process of discipline is enough to motivate me to try another mailbox. Anne Lamott expresses the idea in her wonderful writing book called "Bird by Bird" which talks about setting short-focused goals to help move you on a longer path. Don't think of the whole novel, think about the next paragraph.

I can apply this idea in much in my life! Here are a few for fun:

church service by church service ==> at times, I just want to skip the whole irrelevant relevant sermon my pastor preaches, yet I know its helped me before, and I know the discipline of going to church is a small act of worship.

tea bag by tea bag ==> I have way too many boxes of tea on my stove. Some boxes I've dipped into for at least five years now!

chapter by chapter ==> when I'm stuck wallowing in the lovely abstraction of a Thomas Merton book (and put it down to never return because I want to be stuck there without closure in the loveliness), I know there are a few more chapters from which I can learn from if I keep going.

lesson by lesson ==> at times, it's delightful, other times excrutiating ... the homeschool life can be both, and I need to keep planning and believing in the choice for my son.

beef by beef ==> we have about one package of beef left from my parent's farm: it is neck bones. Do I really wish to see this project to its final end??

political ad by political ad ==> November 7th cometh! I'm grateful for the political process and its deadline!

toilet paper roll by toilet paper roll ==> is it possible to create a mammothly big roll which lasts at least a week?!

forgiveness by forgiveness ==> okay, I'll try better.

kiss by kiss ==> an essential gesture to the loved one, even when it doesn't cross your mind for days!

pie by pie ==> that thought makes me happy.

Do you have any by-ies to keep you going? Please share if so!

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

Make beef braley soup with the neck bones! Don't throw them out. :)

I think the mailbox idea is a great one to keep running. I used to do the same thing with telephone poles!

Rebecca said...

Oops. That should say "Beef Barley Soup".

Lazy Susan said...

Bit by bit...

Chore by chore on my to-do list.

Meal-by-meal for eating right.

Problem-by-problem for dealing with the things that come up when co-ordinating a weekly activity for 50 families.

Lesson-by-lesson for my personal lessons about living right and thinking right and doing right.

Step-by-step for reducing waste in our home and lives and being better stewards of not only our money but all that God has blessed us with, remembering all the time that the more we have the less others (somewhere on this world) have.

Day-by-day in Bible study.

Opportunity-by-opportunity to pray with friends instead of just chatting and/or complaining.

And today we are going through chore-by-chore to create a room for the 12 yr old, a very hard but exciting project!

Fieldfleur said...

Thanks for the soup suggestion, Bekky. I've never made anything with barley before!

Susan, you're an inspiration with your wise priorities. Thanks for sharing!

Teri