Monday, October 25, 2010

Coming into focus.

[photos by Jelly Pop Photography]
"We're all called. If you're here breathing, you have a contribution to make to our human community. The real work of your life is to figure out your function--your part in the whole--as soon as possible, and then, get about the business of fulfilling it as only YOU can."

- Oprah Winfrey

One of the Hubby’s favorite pieces of advice to me is “Focus”. He has many examples from his past where he claims success was insured by his commitment to “focus” on only the task at hand. For example, something that impressed me when I first heard him share this....when he was studying for the bar exam, he unplugged the TV at his apartment and turned it around facing the wall for weeks. For the last few weeks leading up to the dreaded exam, he practically ate, slept, drank –bar exam study. He was very “focused” and as a result, he passed with flying colors.

And so it is, when I lament to the hubby that I can’t get it all done, he will usually just simply say-“You need to Simplify and Focus”. He also reminds me that, “Success comes to the most committed, not the most talented.”

So here, my friends, are some things I have been pondering here lately....{bear with me}:

Thought 1: Simplify. Sometimes, there are not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished. Therefore cut down the “To Do” list. Take off the non-essential items and pick only those that are most important.

Thought 2: Focus. If you were shooting a gun (remember here...I’m from Texas-- gun analogies are common in the Lone Star State) at a target and wanted to be successful, you would have to close one eye, put the target in the cross-hairs or the gun sites, keep your concentration on only the target and carefully pull the trigger. So it is in life. If you want to “hit the target”, you have to “focus” on the target.

A few years ago, I heard a church talk about the concept of choosing...

Good, Better, and Best.

I share a portion of this talk here:

“We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good it is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.

Jesus taught this principle in the home of Martha. While she was “cumbered about much serving” (Luke 10:40), her sister, Mary, “sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (v.39). When Martha complained that her sister had left her to serve alone, Jesus commended Martha for what she was doing (v. 41), but taught her that “one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (v. 42). It was praiseworthy for Martha to be “careful and troubled about many things” (v. 41), but learning the gospel from the Master Teacher was more “needful.” The scriptures contain other teachings that some things are more blessed than others (see Acts 20:35; Alma 32:14-15).

As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all.

Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.

[Case in point]....The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home is the strongest predictor of a child's academic achievement and psychological adjustment.” Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children’s smoking, drinking, or using drugs. There is inspired wisdom in this advice to parents: what your children really want for dinner is YOU.”

And so it is that I have been re-evaluating how I spend my time. Are there “good” things that I could replace with “better” or “best” things? My self-reflection has led me to make some tough and personal choices. I have decided that for me Facebook is one of those good activities that I spend a significant amount of time doing. And, as you obviously know, I blog, too. I love blogging. It is my little piece of solace and corner in this world where I can express and share bits and pieces about my life, my dreams, my disappointments and what matters most to me. Yet with all of these, I find that I am spending an ever-increasing amount of time on the computer.

As I have taken a step back to look at this, I’ve decided that I could use a portion of my computer time (the good) elsewhere for my personal (the better) and family's (the best) benefit.

Now to my real point here folks...I have decided to say Adios to Facebook. I choose to keep my blog and “focus” on some other priorities. I want all my Facebook Friends to know that you are still my friends. I’m not rejecting you, I’m making a choice on how much time I spend on the computer.

And my choice, is just that... a personal choice.

We don’t have to be connected electronically to be connected. We don’t have to post a comment to comment. True friends don’t let time and distance get in the way. I was reminded of this here recently as I spent time with a dear friend of mine. Milinda (or as I fondly call her to this day, Mili-da) and I grew up together. She was one of my best friends...really more like a sister to me. We had not seen each other in quite some time. When we met up for a lunch date the other day, we seemed to just pick up where we left off all those years ago. I was so touched by this.

As I carve out Facebook from my life...what will I do with some of this new found time? Certainly, I’ll spend more quality time with the Hubby and Little Man. And maybe I’ll do more. Learn Spanish? Make a quilt? Write a novel? Learn the art of graphic design? Try out more challenging recipes? Adopt more children? Pursue that Ph.D. I have always dreamed of ?

Time will tell as I continue on my own personal journey of coming into focus…..




  1. oh jennifer, you are the cutest, SWEETEST girl. what a beautiful post. i love that your husband says "simplify and focus" - i think that is noteworthy of a quote to be put up in my house...haha! love that. you sweetly explained what i wasn't so good at putting into words when i closed my facebook account - it is a time thing, not a lack-of-love thing to friends on facebook. your pictures are BEAUTIFUL! they made me smile, e.v.e.r.y. single one of them. lots of love... rachelle

  2. love the pics jen!!!!! can't wait to hear about what you decide to do, very exciting!! :)

  3. Awww...thanks Rachelle--you actually were the one who gave me the push to move forward with what I had been feeling in my heart I should do. :-)

    Joyelle--thanks girl! Hope you and your family are doing well. :-)

  4. Super cute pics! I was wondering who deleted me. lol. Good luck, Jennifer!

  5. love the pictures! i love how you stated that it's us as parents that kids want for dinner! very pivotal. we tend to rush our evenings so much. thanks for reminding me to slow down and focus!


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