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Thursday Swap

March 26, 2009

todays post swap is with mary from giving up on perfect. i almost got to meet her when i was in nashville in february. unfortunately a last minute effort at this failed 😦 but it is a goal of mine to meet this creative wonder! she sent me her post below yesterday afternoon and it was like medicine for my spirit. it was so timely! i pray it is for you as well!

when youre done here, you can check me out *watch it!* at her place 😉


Be a work in progress” is not on my list.

Travel to Europe.

Learn to dive.

Sing professionally.

Have a Martha Stewart home.

Write a book.

Wear a Wonderbra.

I’m a big list-maker. I love me a good list. Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, just the act of writing everything I need to do on a list relieves my stress. Seeing my life in words – accompanied by bullets, glorious bullets – is enough for me.

So it’s no surprise that, back in high school, I made a list of the things I’d like to accomplish in my life. In case you’re wondering, the lofty goals above are just a few of the items I have not yet accomplished.

What’s funny about this list – and for the record, I actually have two, one dated 1996 and another I believe was written a couple years later – is that I can look at the things I wrote down and acknowledge just how ridiculous some of them are.

But that doesn’t stop me from still wanting to do them or expecting myself to accomplish them.

Learn to dance, travel to New York City, earn a doctorate degree, solve a mystery. These are things I still think I could – and perhaps should – do. (Yes, solve a mystery. After reading and watching, literally, hundreds of suspense novels and cop/detective shows, a small – delusional – part of me believes I could do it. I mean, really, with the help of a good crime lab, who couldn’t?)

I know. It’s ridiculous. But it’s who I am.

And it’s who I’m not. At least for now. When I look at those lists, or even my 2009 Goals (also known as resolutions, but I call them goals because “resolutions” is so cliché), I see the person I want to be, the life I want to live. I see potential and possibility.

When I look in the mirror, though, I don’t always see that potential. And it’s those times that I have to remind myself that God’s not finished with me yet.

I may have gone to my class reunion overweight and still reeling from the news that I would soon be losing my job. I may have started a family before finishing my master’s degree and establishing a career, any career. And I may have a layer of dust insulating my entire house, the tiny house that is not as nice or new as any of my friends’.

But I’m still here. I’m still breathing. And God’s still working out His plan for me. Because I am a work in progress.

He who began a good work in you

will carry it on to completion

until the day of Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 1:6)

Mary blogs about an imperfect life at Giving Up on Perfect. She talks about family, faith, books, diet-friendly and fiber-filled foods like granola bars and nachos, celebrity look-alikes and chick flicks. You know, the important stuff.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2009 6:06 am

    great post mary! i LOVE lists too. and i have to admit that more often than not i’ll add stuff to my list (that i forgot to write down) after it’s done just so that i can cross it off.

    great thoughts for a day in which i hope to make a lot of progress…. 🙂

    • March 26, 2009 11:08 am

      Thanks, Erin. I definitely do that, too – writing it down just to cross it off so I feel productive! I hope you make lots of progress today!

  2. March 26, 2009 8:04 am

    “Have a Martha Stewart Home” I laughed out loud considering this for myself. I have solved many mysteries myself though. Where is my lighting McQueen? Found. How do you get hangers out of a pocket door, when they are wedged behind it? Check (by the way you do it with some wire and other hangers and lots of time).
    By the way I am a list lover too.

  3. Heidi permalink
    March 26, 2009 8:47 am

    Mary, I am SO NOT the list maker, I’m sort of spontaneous. (okay alot spontaneous) BUT now that I am 42 and have a teenage daughter graduating in 3 months, I found myself scribbling on bits of paper about life, things yet to accomplish.

    The way you closed this was with such grandeur, a bullet point to the heart.

    ” I’m still here. I’m still breathing. And God’s still working out His plan for me. Because I am a work in progress”

    • March 26, 2009 11:10 am

      Ohhhh, Heidi, I can’t imagine how busy you must be. I remember how hectic my senior year was, and I know my parents were behind the scenes working just as hard! Remember…you and your daughter will BOTH get there. You’ll survive!

  4. March 26, 2009 9:12 am

    “I know. It’s ridiculous. But it’s who I am.”

    As I always say. Be who you are, it is after all who God made you.

    Peace and Love..

  5. March 26, 2009 10:17 am

    (i’m not 100% sure where to comment) 🙂

    mary, what a great post! you’re such a witty writer, and i loved reading.

  6. chelleybutton permalink
    March 26, 2009 10:26 am

    How long do you need to wear this Wonderbra? Because you could always just try one on at the store and then scratch it off the list. Or is that not the point? 😉

    I really liked this part of your post: “When I look in the mirror, though, I don’t always see that potential. And it’s those times that I have to remind myself that God’s not finished with me yet.” That’s SO true of me (the mirror being sometimes literal, sometimes figurative:), although sometimes I unfortunately forget to remind myself of that. Good thing He’s not finished. 🙂

    • March 26, 2009 11:13 am

      Chelley, that is SO not the point! 😛 Maybe I should’ve worn one last Saturday at the party…just kidding, that probably would have put me (and the girls) over the edge!

      Oh, sorry, Tam. Feel free to censor my wonderbra discussions. 🙂

      • chelleybutton permalink
        March 26, 2009 11:14 am

        Literally! Haha! (OK, sorry…:)

  7. March 26, 2009 11:04 am

    Mary, this is wonderful. I have never seen you not being an encouragement. Thank you for this post.

  8. March 26, 2009 11:30 am

    id like to say here that i think mary is stinkin cool! seriously, lady, you are one classy lady. so glad to know you! thanks for being apart of the swap. it means a lot to me 🙂

  9. March 26, 2009 12:15 pm

    GREAT post. i totally want to go check out her blog. i can relate.

  10. March 26, 2009 2:58 pm

    Mary, looking at you list of six things the only one I can check off is learning to drive. I am not sure if there is a male equivalent of a “wonderbra”, perhaps “amazing shorts” that enhance a man’s “profile”. 🙂

    I use to make lists because it gave me the illusion of control. Since I have retired the only thing on my list is to check all my body parts when I wake up to see they are working reasonably well. Anything else I can do is a plus.

    Your are 100% right, we are all a work in progress. Physical growth does slow down, especially on the top of my head, and some say inside it. 🙂

    We need to continue to feed our souls until the day we are planted in the ground.

    • March 26, 2009 3:29 pm

      ed – i would LOVE to just sit and hang out with you some day. you always seem to make me laugh! i love your love for life and your perspectives. thanks for adding so much around here!

  11. March 26, 2009 5:38 pm

    Tam, thanks for letting me hang out at your place! This was fun!!

  12. March 26, 2009 8:49 pm

    OH that was a beautiful post swap! LOVED IT!! and now I’m getting nervous of swapping.

    This post ironically was too perfect. ha, giving up on perfect? I think not! :o)

  13. March 26, 2009 9:18 pm

    Mary, that really was very good, and I already knew what a talented writer you are. I too, am a list maker, but my lists are for every day tasks, not life-long goals. Sad to say that I don’t have any at the moment, but I love your reminder that God isn’t finished with us yet.

    This post swap is a fun idea, but it feels messed up like one of those movies where two people mysteriously switch bodies, sort-of like in Freaky Friday!

    • March 26, 2009 10:39 pm

      mary IS a great writer, isnt she?! i learn something from her each time i read her stuff. (bet you didnt know that did you mary?)

      • March 27, 2009 5:38 am

        Tam, I’m not sure I even want to know what you learn! 😉

        Brenda, you’re right – it’s totally Freaky Friday-ish, just on Thursdays!

  14. March 29, 2009 7:50 pm

    That was SO great, Mary… you have such an easy writing style it makes me feel like we’re just chatting in your living room. I love that… and your lists. If you need help solving the crime, I watch a lot of CSI and Criminal Minds. I’m pretty sure between the two of us we could handle it. 🙂

    • March 30, 2009 10:29 am

      Thanks – I would love to sit and chat in my living room! (Or yours, as the case may be!) I’m questioning my mystery-solving ability, by the way…I went to a murder mystery birthday party a couple weekends ago and did NOT know who the “bad guy” was! 🙂

  15. April 12, 2009 4:49 pm

    all too often, my lists make me realize all i’m not.

    i need to create an “all i am” list. although it may have just one item:


    or possibly:


  16. April 12, 2009 9:54 pm

    i’m thinking of both of those as possibilities for ink #2, by the way…

    FIL still around?

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