What Will You Do With the Time That’s Left?

Part 3 of My Life Plan

I sometimes wake up thinking of this phrase, “What Will You Do With the Time That’s Left?”  A while back I had a dream.  I had a brain tumor.  The tumor was the worst possible kind, in the worst possible location.  I was given 24-48 hours to live.  I am hurriedly trying to tell my kids and Robert.  My friends come to visit, even our closest friends from Kansas are there, all while a tornado is headed straight for our house.

While this was just a bad dream, the dream was real for the mother of one my sons-in law.   His mother woke up one day with some chest pain.  Her husband decided they needed to seek medical attention.  It wasn’t her heart.  It was a broken collar bone.  It broke because she had a tumor wimg_4741hich was Stage 4 Cancer.

A little more than two years later she was gone.  The phrase had tangible meaning for her.  Her death at 59 brought a renewed reality to me of the fact I do not know the days that are left for me.  It also challenged me to be more intentional in several areas of my life so that while I am here, I am the healthiest I can be and the most engaged I can be.

Last week I mentioned that Robert and I had recently written our Life Plans after reading the book “Living Forward” by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.  The main part of the Life Plan involves identifying your Life Accounts.

Most people have somewhere around nine of these accounts.  For instance mine are:  Health/Self Care, Career, Hobbies,  Self Development, Parental, Spiritual, Finance, Marital, Social/Relationships.  In each of these areas I haclockve identified my purpose and envisioned my future and then come up with specific steps/goals to achieve my vision.

Why would I want to have such a detailed plan at this stage of life?   I am less than two years from an empty nest when busy school schedules are out the window.  Well, that is precisely the reason.  Time is flying by and if I want to keep living like I want to be remembered,  I need to stay focused.  The world offers so many distractions and many of them are good, but I cannot experience all the good things. I want to experience and accomplish the best things.

So I am on a journey.  A journey that has me re-reading my plan, tweaking it as needed as I discover what is really important to me.  It is a flexible plan.  Life changes and as we age we often get amazing clarity.  As my own vision has maybe decreased my life vision is becoming 20/20.

As I close this three part series out I want to conclude with the lyrics from the Mark Shultz song, “Time That is Left?”

What will you do with the time that’s left?
Will you live it all with no regret?
Will they say that you loved till your final breath?
What will you do with the time that’s left?

Oh hallelujah, oh hallelujah
Hallelujah, amen

And what will you with the time that’s past?
Oh and all the pain that seems to last?
Can you give it to Jesus and not look back?
What will you do with the time that’s past?

Oh hallelujah, oh hallelujah
Hallelujah, amen

And what will He say when your time has come?
And He takes you into His arms of love
With tears in His eyes will He say, “Well done”?
What will you say when your time has come?

Oh hallelujah, oh hallelujah
Hallelujah, amen

(If you prefer to hear it click here.)

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So the question remains, what will you do with the time that is left?
Comment and let us know your life plans.



Why I Have Already Written My Eulogy

Living my legacy

Last week I discussed the importance of learning to say no as mothers (and fathers).  I promised I would tell you why I have already written my eulogy and here is the short answer:  I want to live like I want to be remembered.

At the end of July my sweet hubby and I were able to escape for a few days to a family member’s lake house to rest, read and to write our Life Plans.  We had read Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy‘s book “Living Forward:  A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want” back in the spring, following its release.  We had yet to set aside time though for the book’s big assignment, which was to write our Life Plan.  The Life Plan is really the answer to the three powerful questions that Hyatt and Harkavy pose:

  1.  How do I want to be remembered?

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    Our view while writing our Life Plan.

  2.  What matters most?
  3.  How can I get from here to where I want to be?

The Life Plan really charts your course for accomplishing question number three.  But why begin with writing your eulogy?

The authors liken it to planning a vacation.  The first thing you plan is the destination, once you have chosen, it determines everything else.  So it is with your life.

Where do you want to end up?  What do you want your friends and family to remember about you?

What do you want to have taught your children, and others, for that matter?  What is really important to you and will that be obvious to others at the end of your life?

Life is so busy, especially in our American culture.  It is easy to just go through the motions of life and wake up one day and realize all the years you lived without really living consciously.  This is an easy trap to fall into and frankly, it is a trap set by Satan.  He loves to lull us into thinking we have plenty of time to make a difference.  The truth is, we may not.  None of us know the days we have left.  None of us knows the days our loved ones have left.  That is just a fact of life.  As the Apostle James wrote,

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14*

So what did I write in my eulogy?  I wrote about my closest relationships.  I wrote about what I cherished in those relationships.  I wrote about why I dreamed of having four children and how God blessed me with that dream.

I wrote about my salvation.

I wrote about the relationship with my nieces and nephews and then wrote about what I see that being for the remainder of my life now that they are grown.  I recalled my grandmother’s relationship with her nieces and nephews when imagining what this might look like in the future.

I wrote about causes I am passionate about but right now am not able to help with.  While I was writing in past tense, I was looking to the future of what I might accomplish if I am granted the days to do so.

I finished with some of my greatest enjoyments in life.

img_2632When we had finished the task of writing these eulogies, Robert and I shared them with one another.  We each read our own and we were barely able to finish.  It is very sobering to read your own eulogy.  To read about your life and what is has been and what you hope it will be.  It is an exercise I highly recommend everyone endeavor.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”     Psalm 90:12*

We all will leave a legacy, whether we like it or not, whether it is for good or for bad.  I know what kind of legacy I want to leave, do you?

Have you written your eulogy?  Share with us what you would want others to say about you.

Next week, “What Will You Do With the Time That is Left?”

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



Tired Mamas

How to know when to say no

Hi!  This is “Senior Mom”.  Project Grad co-chair resigned and they need help with the Christmas open house.  I am helping to organize.  We are in desperate need of homes for the tour.  Would you be willing to put your house on the Christmas tour?  Thanks, “Senior Mom”

It’s that time of year for those of us with school aged children.  This is the text I received two weeks ago from a mom of one of my son’s friend.  It was so tempting to say, “Sure”.  For the past six years, my husband and I have made a date out of the Christmas home tour featuring homes in our neighborhood and surrounding ones all benefitting the Project Grad senior night party, giving our high school’s seniors a safe place to celebrate graduation together.   Several times I have said that we would host one year, but probably not until our baby’s senior year.  This year I just had to say no for many reasons, the least of these being the upstairs carpet is a mess.  No, I mean really a mess.  Not only is it stained from the previous owners (yes seven years and it hasn’t been replaced) but it has a big cut in the hallway effectively making it two pieces where my hubby had to pull it all up to re-wire our kitchen below to insert my double ovens when the single oven died unexpectedly two years ago. I have worked to overcome my idea of a “perfect house” before people come over.  It still bugs me, but I try really hard to not let it stop me, but we could not have people tripping all over the upstairs!   It is on the list to replace but other household improvements keep relegating it to the bottom of the list.  You know things like refrigerator and hot water heaters failing.  Priorities, right?

54ff15ded377f-ghk-scheduling-secrets-02-s2-2This is exactly my point.  Priorities are important.  Priorities are important to the mother that gets frequent requests to do and attend and participate in many “good” projects and events.  The carpet wasn’t my only issue for saying no to the tour request.  Hosting an open house in December this year was simply not good for me or our family this year.  Thankfully, I have become much better in being slow to say, “yes”.  Today, I want to share a few thoughts on why you do not want to be a “do it all” mom.



“All the Pretty Things”

Choosing to let fire refine you, rather than consume you

I recently finished Edie Wadsworth’s new book “All the Pretty Things” as a part of her launch team.  While I had hoped to be feeding you snippets along the way via social media to entice you to be ready to order this book, it turns out that Amazon released it early and now you don’t have to wait to order your copy.  Wait!  Read on my friends so you will know why you need to order this

I have followed Edie’s blog Life{in}Grace off and on for years, first finding her through a Pinterest picture, I think.  She has an eye for design that is fascinating to me, even if it isn’t my own personal style.  She has amazing soup recipes and a desire to promote homemaking following a career as a physician.  I have to admit that I have not read all of her posts through the years, and while I knew there had a been house fire, I never knew how much fire was a part of her entire life.

 “That afternoon fell into a dark Appalachian night–the kind of night that carried with it a strange sort of loneliness that mountain people knew all too well.  Alone with the night.  Alone with the poverty. Alone with a low-grade hunger that was impossible to fill.”                                                                                              –Edie Wadsworth

Edie has been in the fire and emerged from it, smoky but with a smoke that isn’t awful like burning weeds but rather a pleasant one like what I smell when my husband is smoking a brisket.  She has the “aroma of Christ” from her battles with living in the fire, choosing her own “fires” and walking away from others.  Her smoky smell leaves me with a hunger not unlike the brisket smoke, only this hunger is to be more like my Savior.  A hunger to be more compassionate and understanding and to continue to look for ways to care for the innocent children in this world who have broken families, and these days, who doesn’t have some form of broken family?

Edie’s book begins when she is just a youngster growing up in Appalachia in Eastern Tenneessee.  It ends with her current station in life.  The story takes on a journey of heartache, neglect, love, family, abuse, redemption, perfection, failure, and grace.  It gives us a view of an extended, dysfunctional family from the eyes of a young girl whose heart cannot do anything more but love them despite their failings.  It also gives us a view into the heart and mind of a child victim and what both motivates and sabotages them throughout their life.

13895169_10206993784222328_7146079867776200123_nHaving just finished three years being “mom” to two teenage boys who have similar stories, (only theirs involves water not fire), my prayer was for forgiveness for when I didn’t understand and failed to give them the appropriate response or help to meet their deep needs.  I don’t think being given the opportunity to be on the launch team was accidental.

I finished the book this weekend.  The same weekend as the younger “son” left for college.  He had left our home earlier this summer due to his choices, and while we have no longer been helping with his daily care, we still have had an active part in his transition to independence.  This weekend his “village” of church family who have helped him for years moved him away to another city where he will try and be the first in his immediate family to finish college.  While we have be more than frustrated this past year by his repeated “forgetting” and failures to achieve benchmarks, I read Edie’s book and realize that many of his issues have to be tied to the “demons” in his mind.  All the negativity, all the heartaches, all the abuse, all the hungry nights, all the water trying to drown out his dreams.

What I also was reminded is, that no matter how great your childhood was, as children of God, we all do things we know God does not like, and then we do them again, and then we do them again.  We are human.  HE is perfect.  13920422_10206993787022398_8072257265791258696_oWe don’t have to be, we just need to keep reaching out to him, seeking him, striving to help the children he has placed in our paths, no matter their age.  Read the book, then read your favorite passages of redemption, grace and hope (if you don’t have any Edie does) and then praise your Father through prayer and afterwards through your life.

“May the Friend of sinners, the Father to the Fatherless, the Fourth Man in the fire, and the Finder of lost sons and daughters be our constant joy and peace.  He who became one of us to experience the depth of our struggle is right there in the dirty midst of it all–making all things new and raising what’s dead to new life.”                           –Edie Wadsworth

It is raining here, again.  I think I will go make some soup.  If you read the book, let us all know what you thought of it.



Check this out!

I am excited to tell you that I am 13882654_10153743208480423_2888243565121718030_na part of the launch team for Edie Wadsworth’s soon to be released book, “All the Pretty Things”.  I just started reading it and after the first chapter I am hooked.  I feel like I am there with Edie, as a young child, smelling and hearing and tasting all that is around her.  This book promises to be a book of heartache and heart healing.

Look for more posts from me in the future on this amazing story from deep in the heart of Tennessee.



Yikes! It’s Back to School Time

Some of our favorite school things

Today I realized school is on the horizon.  Not because of the usual signs.  One son is working all day and the other one comes and goes to work and various other activities  so the “end of summer” sibling fighting is, thankfully, not happening.  What did make me wake up to reality, was the fact the boys could get their parking permits for school today.  I know many of you are a long way off from high school, but these are the kind of details that come up when you get to this level.  At our school it involves a couple of forms, copies of their licenses and insurance, and of course, cash.  Oh, and their preference for where to park, west lot or parking garage.  Yes, I said parking garage.  I don’t know this for a fact, but I am pretty sure we might be the only public high school with a parking garage.  Anyway, that was our school task for today.

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After all these years of school children, our “back to school” shopping sprees are slowing down.  Now I usually purchase some of our favorite supplies ahead of time, and then (unfortunately) go with the mob to the local office supply store on the first night of school picking up all the things the teachers requested on their syllabi.  When you are in high school, you don’t get those nice little lists in advance.   After 23 consecutive years of sending children to school, 14 of those with high schoolers, I am getting fairly good at knowing what to have on hand.  On Friday I had to pick up a baby shower gift and since it was “tax free” weekend for school supplies, I stocked up on a few things.  I realized that with four, and sometimes six kids, we have had a bundle of back to school experiences.  Today I am listing some of our favorite supplies and systems.  It isn’t earth shattering or anything, just our favorites.



He told me that I am who HE is. Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, I have full access to all the characteristics of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. He took all the labels I’ve given myself through my circumstances and the voices of other people, and he changed them out for labels of His own.

CARRIEBETHDAVIS.COM
August 4, 2016

Check out this inspiring post “My Name Is…” on names I call myself and the names Jesus gave me.



Fishing and Watermelon

A short little summertime story

Well, you gotta love the carefree days of summer where the schedule seems to go out the window.  As a mother though, I have always enjoyed the change in routine that the summer provides and then, of course, sometime in August, I begin craving a set schedule and a return to routine.  I have always been opposed to year round schooling because I love this change so much.

I said all that to explain why I didn’t post last week again and why I am still not quite back to my Monday postings, try as I might. I did write this last week while I was able to spend a couple of days at the lake with my husband, but since I didn’t have much internet time, I didn’t post it.  I did a bunch of other writing too, but more on that in a future post. (Check out LivingFowardBook.com if you want a hint)  For today, during these hot, “dog days” of summer, just get a glass of iced tea or better yet, some watermelon and enjoy this little flashback of mine.  Happy reading.

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When I was a young girl, maybe about five or six, I was visiting my cousins in Central Oklahoma, as was usual for us in the summer.  My grandparents lived just “down the pasture” from my cousins’ two story farm house on the hill.

It was hot July day and that morning my uncle pronounced that we were going to go fishing later.  We spent the early morning walking through the pasture collecting grasshoppers for bait.  This was a hot, sticky and yucky job, but we did it none the less.  I wasn’t as skilled at catching as my cousins Larry and Shari were.  Larry kept warning about the “tobacco juice” which the grasshoppers ejected as we caught them.  It seems as we walked across that pasture that it was like an ocean where the tide of grasshoppers kept going farther and farther out to sea just beyond my reaching little fingers.



There is Hope for Haiti

A week with the future of Haiti

I have been trying to write this post for over a week.  I have found it much harder to sum up my experience in Haiti in mere words.  Any words that I try to use to help you understand what I saw and felt and smelled and heard will be inadequate.

Haiti is a dichotomy between beauty and ugliness.  Its people, landscape and produce are beautiful.  Its streets, its poverty, its health is ugliness.  How can an island surrounded by ocean be so dry and rocky and barren in spots?  How can a country who is constantly looking for it’s next meal, have residents who have no clothing or shoes or steady employment, be drowning in trash?  How can it’s people who suffer with such basic needs of running water, a clean food supply, and employment seem so happy and content?

A little over a week ago, my husband and I, along with one of our youth ministers and his wife, had the privilege of accompanying sixteen teenagers to the Hope for Haiti’s Children Orphanage in Thomazeau, Haiti.  It was a week of  new sights, sounds, and smells.  It was a week of hand holding, child holding, hugs, and laughs.  It was a week of singing and hammering and walking.  It was a week of beans and rice and pasta and creole sauce and goats.  It was a week of bouncing in a school bus, sweating like you never had before and drinking gallons of water.  It was a week that you would not want to trade with any other week.

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