Life Narrated

Making a list, checking it twice


I’ve always been a list maker. As a kid, when I went on trips or to camp, my packing lists were pretty intense. Not only did I determine that I needed four pairs of shorts, I pre-determined on which day I would wear each pair, and with what shirt. That continued into my children’s early years. A week at camp meant mom had to package up entire outfits, down to the socks and underwear, in gallon-sized Ziploc bags, labeled with which day to wear each outfit. I doubt they ever wore them in the right order but it made this mama feel better to know they went prepared.

In my earlier mom years, during those days when showering is almost impossible and cooking anything fancier than a bologna sandwich is unheard of, my lists kept me sane. For a long time I would make a daily to-do list and include simple, mundane things on the list just for the sake of having the chance to cross it off. I often added things mid-day that I had finished, crossed them off, and then looked at my list with admiration – enjoying a list of things I had been able to get done that day. It might seem crazy but it gave me a sense of accomplishment on days when I felt like I was spinning my wheels and the walls were closing in on me and my crew of Cheerio-munching mess makers.

As the years have gone by, I still find myself making lists. My kids are older now and can keep up with their own chores and such, but for me, I still need to keep a running list of things I need to get done before bedtime. These days, however, my lists are less about that sense of accomplishment and more about memory loss. If I don’t write it down, it likely won’t get done. I joke that if I don’t write an event on my brain (the paper calendar on the side of my refrigerator), there’s a good chance I won’t remember to show up. I think these days my family, like so many others, is so busy that we quickly over-book and over-schedule ourselves and lose track of time and where we need to be.

My lists and reminders have gone high tech these last couple years. Having a smart phone that can do everything for me has helped a ton! I have reminders that I use every day of the week. Reminders to pray or call someone, reminders to meet someone with an item I’ve sold, reminders to go somewhere or to stop and pick up bread. I literally set new reminders on my phone every single day. At 1:00 p.m. every day, a reminder buzzes that signals time for me to pray for my husband. I never mind seeing that one pop up, even if I’m busy and can only spend ten seconds whispering a one sentence prayer for him.

As the days go by, I am sure that we will come up with some other more sophisticated way to keep track of all the things we need reminders and lists for now. Who knows? One day we may just raise a finger and write mid-air on some sort of virtual tablet that hasn’t even been invented yet. Are you a list maker? Do you need to be reminded of things frequently? Email and let me know at

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