Category Archives: Life reflections

Time is of the Essence – –

Jack uses a time management tool to get his post up on time –

When I was first promoted (to everyone’s surprise, including my own) to head of the construction department at Lauder College in Scotland, I was immediately overwhelmed by the tasks I was faced with. But eventually two things saved me.

The first was learning how to delegate, which more or less happened by accident. What I learned was that, given half a chance, people will take on tasks if it’s something they enjoy and if they feel competent to do them well. As long as I remembered I was still responsible it worked.

The second is really what this post is about –

A member of the senior management introduced me to a time management tool that has stuck with me ever since. I later discovered it’s called ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’ and many variations have evolved over the years. The closest to the one I used is pictured above.

I used this tool so much that eventually I didn’t have to put it on a white board on my office wall – it just sat in my head.

After I retired I continued to work as a self-employed training consultant, so the matrix continued to be my fundamental template for organizing my work. Even when we moved to Big Stone Gap I was running a bookstore, organizing a Celtic festival, an annual group tour of Scotland and still gigging – so time management was still important.

You might think that after closing the bookstore, the Celtic festival and moving to Wytheville that I wouldn’t need a time management aid, but I still find it hovering – even with everyday domestic tasks.

The only thing is that I’ve no one to delegate to anymore, although when it comes to looking after our vegetable gardens Wendy tells me I’m management and she’s labor.

Finally – I am and always have been a serial procrastinator. So given the choice between vacuuming the floors or checking FaceBook  – – –

Leave a comment

Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Dear Pro-Lifers

TW: this is an intense blog post.

Dear Pro-Lifers,

Now’s your chance. For decades, generations, we’ve been crying that all life matters, that God’s will for us is to be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it (which is the Old Testament maxim by the way, the NT says go preach the gospel and Love one Another as God has loved us).

Pro-life progressives

I know you feel persecuted, that we as Christians are coming in for that cursing and reviling that is supposed to signal we’re blessed. But, team, bad news: we’re getting cursed and reviled because we’re acting like asshats. Coughing and walking around unmasked, unvaxxed in public spaces crying “freedom over tyranny” is not preaching Jesus, crucified and risen to bring redemption to every human who chooses New Life. It’s being asshats.

NOW IS OUR CHANCE. Mask up, to prove you love people in Jesus’ name, and so the predictions of 150,000 deaths per day in August’s peak can go down to 1500—as the best modeling math says it would.

Vaccine is the gift of a loving God who created science so we could learn the rules. We don’t fight gravity on a daily basis, declaring it tyranny from the Satanic underworld (even though it pulls down). We thank God for a sense of right, wrong, balance, and even fun, as we buy our kids trampolines, knowing they’ll come back to us after they launch squealing with glee into the air. It’s part of God’s natural laws. It’s freaking science. An awesome gift from a loving God.

Time to prove we are Pro-Life: value the life of my 79-year-old husband, who could get sick because Walmart is full of Right to Lifers. Value the lives of your neighbors as yourselves. Prove the things we’ve been saying for so long about how much God values individual lives. Not the thing a Pro-Lifer sent me in a long Facebook diatribe, that sacrifices of the non-innocent must be made for the greater good of Freedom.

Don’t try that “we meant innocent lives” argument, because the next step in that dance is turning the “why we shouldn’t abort” argument back on you: a child born into poverty in, say, India, where poverty means not eating rather than eating crappy commodity food, cannot be aborted to avoid starvation, because who made us God to judge what could happen to that child over the years. That child could grow up to cure cancer.

But we have Freedom to judge adults, perhaps like my husband a senior citizen who devoted his life to making the world a kinder place, and other adults who have tried to follow God’s laws their whole lives? Because “they’re not innocent lives?” Why, because they don’t go to your church— or, at this point, live in your theological encampment?

Pro-Life is so easy when it’s the Unborn. They don’t demand things, and once they’re safely out of the womb, we can dismiss the situation—we’ve been doing it for decades. Our work there is done: no safety net, no soup for them, because, work for it. Except we just said have that baby or go to Hell, so working for it is not exactly an option, ‘cause, see, not everyone lives in the nuclear suburban lifestyle some preach God ordained, so friends and relations can’t watch the baby.

These days, when someone asks about my beliefs, I say “New Testament Christian, not Republican Christian.” And they laugh. But this isn’t funny. The NT maxim does say “the gospel is preached to the nation, and then the end comes.” This “my freedom over your safety” message isn’t good news, that Jesus loves us and made a path to redemption for us. It borders on prosperity gospel; God loves ME and neither one of us cares what happens to you. It is a nasty message full of briars and thistles choking out True Life, all about how we can cause the deaths of others with impunity because, Freedom.

We’re doing it wrong, pro-lifers. Mask up. Vaccinate. Preach the Good News. And then the end will come. We’re not going anyplace swimming in circles in this stew of useless vitriol. God loves you, and I ain’t wearing a mask. God loves you, and the virus is fake. God loves you, but I don’t.

Please, please, get this right, Pro-Lifers. What Life do you stand for: the one you believe God wants to give everyone, or the one God wants to give you, full of preferential treatment and favor because you know God personally? You know that was the plan for all of us, right, to know God and make God known, and enjoy the knowing along the way?

Pro-Lifers, we are fond of scriptures. Try these: Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” Expand the definition: Pro-Life isn’t supposed to mean, cannot realistically mean, unborn only, and be a message of love for humanity. Not in a pandemic, kids

Matthew 18:6, Luke 17:2 – don’t make the little ones, the ones who don’t know God, stumble.

And Mark 16:15 – go into the world and preach the gospel to EVERY LIVING CREATURE.

Please, Pro-Lifers, last chance: get this right. There’s a world out there that needs to know the Loving God we know. Not the hissing representatives between God and them.


Filed under Life reflections, small town USA, Wendy Welch