In less than four weeks now I will be on a plane to Ecuador! I check the countdown clock on my computer every day – sometimes several times a day – and the little Naranjo girls call or e-mail all the time asking, “What’s the countdown now, Grandma?” As of this very moment it says, 26 days, 21hours, 50 minutes and 13…12…11…seconds until I leave on that bus for the airport.
I am excited, and at the same time a little scared. Can I possibly get everything done before I go that must be done? I’ve already accomplished two of the biggest things. In the last few weeks I wrote “The End” on two of the three books I needed to finish before I leave. Gabi, Melissa and Katie are expecting new books from Grandma when she comes and I could not bear to disappoint them. Melissa’s and Katie’s books are done. Whew! I seriously asked the Lord to help me with Gabi’s – to give me good ideas, ease of writing, fewer interruptions and so on. It is coming along very well, and I know it is because the Lord is helping me. I now feel that I will finish it in time, but the question is, will I have the time left over to cross off everything else on my list of things to do?
Or should I say lists? I have a list of lists! There is the “Writing Projects to Finish” list, which includes not only the three books, but a message for the ladies in Laurie’s church, a skit for a seniors’ Christmas luncheon at our church, printing and binding the books and a couple other things, my weekly blog, etc.
Then there are the shopping lists – and I have a list of shopping lists, in itself! “Laurie’s List of Things to Buy and Bring with Me;” my “Christmas Shopping List for the Naranjos;” the “Supplies for the Ministry Outreach Projects I Want to Do in Ecuador” list; a few things for myself; necessities for Bob and Robbie while I am gone; etc. Of course, then I have to get everything into a carry-on and two fifty pound suitcases so I have a Packing List – my personal clothes, hand-me-down clothes for Matthew (which I still have to go through and compact into space bags), toiletries, prescriptions, gifts, supplies, books, passport, tickets, money and on and on…
Another list of lists is the “Things to Do to Keep the Homefires Burning List” which includes “Meals to Prepare Ahead of Time for Bob;” the “Suggestions of What Bob Can Fix for Himself” list; the “Bills to Write Out” list; “Prescriptions to Call In” list; and the “Things to Do to Get this House Back in Shape After being Sorely Neglected While I Wrote My Fingers To the Bone and Did Everything Else on the Lists” list. That one may not be accomplished, I fear. It is at the very end of my list of “Priorities” and I pray if it does not, that Bob will not only forgive me, but take mercy on me and clean it himself while he has two weeks off to stay home with Robbie! Sure would be wonderful to come home to a nice clean house!
To round things off, there is my “Project List for Pastor.” Most of the things that were on that have been crossed off, praise the Lord! Missions Month is over, the International Dinner is over and the few upcoming things (that I know of – there may be more to come for Christmas) have been pushed back until January. All that remains on this list are the Powerpoint presentations for Pastor’s messages for the next few weeks.
Do you know how much time it takes just to write these lists? I suppose it is time well spent, though, since these days my memory is shot and if I didn’t have them I would probably forget half the things on my lists. Oh, that reminds me – I need to write a “Things to Remember” list so that I don’t forget to confirm and print my boarding passes 24 hours prior to my flights, transfer money to different accounts, program the DVR to tape my shows, show Bob how to use Skype so he can webcam with us — what am I forgetting?
Those are just the lists that I need to fulfill before the trip. I also have a shopping list for while I am in Ecuador – small Christmas presents to bring home with me, a few souvenirs for people back home, a few gifts for people down there, and so on. Laurie and the girls and I have our list of things to do while I am there, too. It includes a tea party for my birthday with all the Naranjo women and girls; a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner with the entire Naranjo family so they can see how it’s done in the USA; speaking to the ladies in their church; passing out goodie bags and tracts to the very poor Indian children and their mothers out in the mountain villages; going up to Paccha (Fernando’s family getaway in the country); visiting the Inca ruins and other sightseeing spots; and lastly, but most importantly – just spending time with my kids and grandkids – shopping with the girls, reading books and playing games together, celebrating an early Christmas and so on. The two weeks I will be there will disappear in a flash! I hope we can squeeze it all in!
Then when I get home, it is time to get ready for Christmas and the Sanchez family’s visit here! More lists to come, I am sure!
All this preparation! It is good to work towards a goal. The Bible commends the ants who work hard in preparing for the winter. “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” (Proverbs 30:24, 25) “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:” (Proverbs 6:6) A big part of my preparation in working toward a goal is in making lists and being organized. The lists do no good, though, unless they are followed up on and accomplished. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see, one by one, each of the things on my list crossed off! This often takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and determination.
Proverbs 31:10-31 gives us the account of the Virtuous Woman. What a hard worker she was! She was prepared and thought ahead and she worked hard to accomplish the goals she had set for herself and her family. There is no mention of list-making in this passage, but you can definitely see her organizational skills here as she moves through her tasks wisely and with strength and purpose.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to
****her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the ****needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
I would not begin to compare myself with the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31 and all that she seemed to accomplish, and yet there are principles and characteristics here that I think we modern women can glean from her example. She abounds with qualities like wisdom, strength, kindness, endurance, perseverance, preparedness, faithfulness, willingness, industriousness, good self-esteem, charity, fearlessness, honor, and trustworthiness. How many of those same qualities can we say we share?
Making lists is only one tool that helps me accomplish the things the things I need to do. Other people may have different ways of doing things that work equally well for them. The important thing to remember is to work hard and do the best we can in all things to the best of our ability. This brings honor to God and blesses all those around us. It also brings us a feeling of satisfaction in our own souls when we know we are doing what is right and good.
One final thing – having said all that, my lists are not set in stone. Who knows what a day will bring forth? All my big plans and little details may not be on God’s agenda. He is in control of my life and my day, and I can make all the lists I want to, but in the end, it is He who enables me to accomplish them – or changes the path I was set upon. Lists are great, but being flexible and willing to accept God’s will should it be different than our own, is far more important. “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:31-34)
My countdown clock now stands at 26 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes. My lists are written and I have my work cut out for me! Will I finish everything on time? The Lord knows and it is in His hands. Now if I can just remember that and try not to stress…

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