Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Unexpected Storms by Patti Shene | Guest Post


Resolutions. I quit making them a long time ago.

The reason? I just don’t keep them.

The older I get, the more I realize life just doesn’t work that way. You don’t go to sleep on December 31st and wake up a completely different person on January 1st, with new habits, a new mindset, and a life that goes just the way you plan.

I often fall short of accomplishing the goals I set the previous night for the next day!

Why? The answer is simple.

Unexpected storms.

The Christmas program our church had planned was scheduled to take place at Sunday morning Worship Service on December 18th. Snow was expected for Friday evening, “trace to one inch” the weatherman predicted for our area.

We woke up Saturday morning to a blanket of several inches, and with the whipping wind, four-foot drifts kept some people prisoner in their homes. The program, along with our Worship Service, was canceled that Sunday morning.

We had to postpone our program until January 1st. Despite the delay, we accomplished the same goal of spreading the message of God’s great gift of His son to the world.


Storms rush into our lives in many forms and at the most inopportune times. An unavoidable home repair needs attention, the car breaks down, illness strikes, a death occurs, a job is lost, the list goes on.

All of these circumstances and much more disrupt our writing schedules and force us to crunch deadlines, beg for extensions, or back out on commitments. Add to that the frustration of computer issues, Internet connection failures, and the worst onslaught of all – writers block!

I’ve been frustrated for the longest time (years!) with the goals I don’t reach in a day, a week, a month. So, this year, I’ve started using a new system to track exactly what I do accomplish.

All it requires is a simple Excel file.

I make a list of the previous evening of tasks I want to complete the next day. This includes household chores, writing commitments, even reading goals.

The following evening, I go over that list and check “done” next to the items I can cross off.

If some task is accomplished that wasn’t on the list, I simply use the insert feature and add it, then check it as “done.”

Tasks that don’t get completed as planned are moved down to the next day.

I don’t delete anything, which allows me to a) see how many days a certain task is moved before it is accomplished b) track what I have accomplished over a period of time.

I’ve only been using this system for a few days, but I’ve already learned from it.


I accomplish more than I think I do

One project often leads to another. Even though the original task may not be completed, others that have been on the back burner are added to my list and checked off as “done.”

Interruptions are essential

These usually come in the form of phone calls from a friend, an unexpected visit from family, doing a favor for someone, taking care of responsibilities to church or organizations. I can’t sacrifice my relationships to accomplish my goals.

I don’t feel guilt about what I don’t get done

I’m learning to take pride in what I do get done. Putting away my Christmas decorations was delayed because I took the time to organize the room I store them in. It’s a win-win!

I don’t compare myself to others

God made me unique. My friend can watch her grandkids, do farm chores, and be active in several organizations and still keep her house tidy. I struggle to do the routine housecleaning, keep up with organization commitments, complete a couple of blogs posts and add a few pages to my manuscript. I work at my own pace and give my best in all my endeavors.

I pray over my day

God has plans for me that may not even be on my radar (tweet this). I try to stay open to opportunities to serve others, share the gospel, stay connected with family and friends, and accept the challenges He places before me. I pray those experiences make me a better writer!

How have you weathered the unexpected storms in your life?

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Patti Shene enjoys reading, writing, and encouraging other writers. She maintains two blogs, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer, where she promotes the work of authors on her website, www.pattishene.com. She hosts Step Into the Light, a weekly interview format Blog Talk Radio show, where guests share their journey from a time of darkness in their lives back to the light of hope and God’s peace. Connect with Patti on

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