Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Battles within Battles without

I moved to Florida to avoid cold weather as did many others. A few nights ago we had the coldest night on record, and our power was out for almost four hours. This would have been a piece of cake when we lived up north; but now that our blood has thinned, we felt that cold like a knife.

Sitting by candlelight wrapped in blankets does have its advantages. If nothing else, it helps put your life into perspective. You think about and pray for those who are less fortunate, for those who experience cold and hunger on a regular basis; and then gratitude sets in to warm your heart like a furnace.

Let's face it, life is hard; some of the time if we're lucky, and most of the time if we're not. The one thing we can change is how we perceive it. When we try to face our problems head on, and tackle them all at once, they can overwhelm us. They can beat us down in a minute. But if we tackle "one crises" at a time, we eventually "see the light at the end of the tunnel."

The first house I owned after I left home had a cement floor with tile on top. In the winter that floor was freezing cold. The kitchen and hallway had black and white squares that were so yellowed with age and wax build up I was afraid we'd have to tear it up. Instead, I decided to scrape the yellowed wax off which turned out to be a daunting task.

I used a razor blade, and hand scraped each tile in the 12 x 16 kitchen and extended hallway. Overwhelmed can't describe how I felt. I decided not to worry about how long it took or when it might be finished, and focus on the task at hand. I set a goal of scraping four tiles a day -- that was about one square foot. On good days, I tackled more. Using that simple formula, I completed the kitchen and hallway in just a few months.

That lesson has always stayed with me. When you tackle one crises at a time and you focus on a goal, a blank canvas doesn't seem so daunting. A child's wedding or a community program for which you are responsible doesn't have to overwhelm you. One day, one hour, one moment, one piece, one square or four; the work gets done, not just talked about, and a nasty habit or addiction is overcome.

Find out how the real Inez Ibis (photo above) overcame her difficulties.  Ebook at or for Picture Book