Valuing Our Time, Energy, and Life


time management quote by Thoreau

I’m paying more attention to how I use my time these days. Sometimes that means saying no to things that might be fun for some people, but not really my cup of tea. I’ve scheduled time to write on Friday mornings and work on de-cluttering most Tuesdays. These are things that can easily get crowded out. When I don’t hold firm, my writing, art, and de-cluttering projects tend to get pushed out into the zone of  no end in sight leading to despair and frustration.

It’s important to consider the value of our time and energy with each potential activity and how that activity will affect our life force. Will it drain us or inspire us? It’s okay to say no to things that take away too much life. After many years of service, I now choose not to add unnecessary stress to my life. Today, I choose activities that are meaningful to me.

The  volunteer work I do with children and community art projects inspires me. Singing at church energizes me. Working in the yard feels good when I don’t over do it. Swimming in the ocean gives me joy. It’s okay to do things that give us joy.

joanne in the ocean


joanne painting God

Singing Taize at GSC


What gives you joy?

What energizes you?

What inspires you?

Make time for the things that add life to your life!



Highly Sensitive

Coming to understand the value of sensitivity.

Anything is Possible!

Touch lamp

I’ve been writing about my mother lately (maybe for a Chicken Soup story) and found this post by Trini Lind about highly sensitive people which made me realize that my mother was a HSP, too! It helps me appreciate her more, even though she’s no longer in this world.

“Overly sensitive,” was the phrase back when I was a kid. I fought against my sensitivity my whole life. I didn’t’ want to be like my mother who had nervous breakdowns and migraines. I loved my mother, but I wanted to be strong like my father. Since I couldn’t fix my mom, I watched Star Trek and developed a huge crush on Mr. Spock. Calm, cool, logical Spock. Someone had to stay calm. So I suppressed. I did well in school, drew pictures, and made up stories in my head. And I watched a lot of Star Trek.

Somehow, I managed…

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Should I Get an Armageddon Bucket?

Worry. My old hand-wringing companion. I try to comfort her and tell her stories about all the times we worried for nothing. Excessive worry isn’t good for us. So, I aim for healthy optimism.

But them my friend showed me her armageddon bucket with a toilet seat she bought on line with supplies for five people for x number of days, and worry says, “Yes! You need to order one of those!”

I have not ordered it yet. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Hope.
  2. Procrastination.
  3. I’m trying to de-clutter, so where would I put it?
  4. I’m a peacenik. Would a peacenik have an armageddon bucket?


Peace on Earth News

May peace prevail.


Sharing this beautiful poem by Sue Vincent. I love the ending in particular which helped me realize all the strength of our experience.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

nicks 11362

I dreamed you last night.

You were the heart that listened to my fears,

Comforting the pain with tea and tissues

And attentive ears.

You were there with me as I faced them,

Slaying them one by one, with logic and laughter,

And a belief in me that I had forgotten,

Lost in the morass that pulled me down.

I saw you sitting there, hands around the cup,

Eyes holding me steady, as I remembered

All that I have been, all I can be,

All I will become.

But you were many things.

And I saw father, mother, sibling, every lover,

Playmate, teacher, every friend, I ever knew,

And so much more, that in the end I realised

That you were I, and I was you,

A mirrored soul, both one, yet two,

And then you shared my joy.

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Recovering from Burnout

blue butterfly

Thirty years is a long time for an empathic introvert to work in the field of addiction and mental health and in an environment of constantly expanding bureaucracy. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful to have served. I learned a lot. Parts of it, I even miss. About 20%. But that job took a lot out of me.

A couple weeks ago, I was driving down the street near my old office. The same street I used to drive Monday through Friday. The same street I drove to get home at 9pm on Thursday nights – my late night when I did my group. I liked doing groups, but the paperwork had increased to overwhelming proportions. I often prayed for deliverance as I drove home in those last years when I was a single mom, especially on Thursday nights.  Deliverance came in January of 2017 when the love of my life made it possible for me to “retire.” It felt more like an escape to freedom after years of captivity.

I don’t go to that side of town much anymore. It had been months since I’d driven down that street. As I approached the turn to my old office, I felt tension in my gut. How many years had I just sucked it up with deep breaths? Then, I passed by the turn and felt relief, gratitude, and defiance wash over me as I realized, I don’t have to go there anymore.

Could it be that I’m still coming out of survival mode? When I started my career in the 80s, I was eager and excited to help. After about twenty years, when the bureaucracy mushroomed, survival mode and being a single mom,  kept me there for another ten years. I think I’m starting to come out of denial, starting to realize how burnt out I was.

I used to think burnt out people didn’t care. But I still cared the whole time I worked at that job. Maybe I cared too much sometimes. I still care now. But I’ve learned to care about myself, too.

Maybe burn out isn’t so much about not caring as running on empty.

I’m still drawn to articles and memes about self-care. I’m protective (sometimes defiantly) of my time and space. I’m learning to say no to things that drain me like committee meetings and anything with a hint of bureaucracy or supervision, so I can say yes to what energizes me like helping first graders read, painting community murals, and organizing books at the mission thrift store. Now, I have time to say yes to the creative work that nurtures me.

Maybe this is what it’s like to be an assertive person with a healthy sense of self worth.

glass of water being filled


Do I harbor resentment? Perhaps. In time, I hope to let it go. Wouldn’t it be nice if resentment just faded away? That would be easier than letting it go. But right now I’m still feeling the need to protect myself.

I’m still putting back what was lost.



Being Assertive

Be assertive. Feed your soul.

Anything is Possible!

SOC winner 2017

Hey, it’s good to be back home again. That line comes from a John Denver song. Speaking of John Denver, I just spent five days in the mountains. The Appalachians. Sort of got lost, but that’s another story. I need to get to the prompt for today’s Stream of Consciousness, which is “passive/aggressive.”

It’s a loaded prompt. Loaded with possibilities. The safest thing would be to go the clinical route. In my old job, I learned that passive/aggressive behavior is taking a dig or doing harm to someone indirectly, like putting something nasty in their food without them knowing it, or saying something mean and saying, “I was just joking. Can’t you take a joke?”

I am rarely passive/aggressive. But then often we don’t realize we are. Oh, I’ve had thoughts – fantasies about doing such and such… haven’t we all? But I usually catch myself and recognize that…

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