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The Day You Are In

Greetings! As we enter uncharted waters, as a twelve year 3x Cancer survivor, I wanted to offer several insights and experiences I thought folks might find useful in navigating their day.

“One spring I hand painted my ZEN BOAT canoe.”

“Oar and Paddle Blades Too!”

Many, if not most of us, are at home now. Some feeling isolated, some unemployed, many with children, some frightened, many angry or annoyed at present circumstance, a few just plain lost.

Many suddenly find themselves with an abundance of one forgotten resource; Time!

“The Day You Are In”

“For many years Softball was my shared day with our daughters”

That does not necessarily have to be lost”

“Pitching backyard BP COUNTS!

Over the past decade plus, I have spent a great deal of time at home, alone, with Time on my hands. Navigating through Time has proven to be my greatest challenge.

“One on One Pitching Lessons COUNT!

“So Does CATCHING for her out in the yard!”

Time can be both blessing and curse. It can eat you alive, or be put to good use. Here is the simple way I have learned to manage this resource. It has worked well for me, helped set my course, given me strength.

“Don’t Manage Time- Marshall Time!”

“Throwing a football in the yard with your son COUNTS!

Focus on the Day you are in. THIS moment. THIS day. Plan for the long term, of course, but LIVE IN TODAY!

“Okay- But How?”

Pick out ONE tangible, concrete, activity, action, or task. Something you can see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. ONE thing, large or small. Something you did not have done yesterday. It does not matter what it is. Let mood, resources, and circumstance decide.

“Some days I cut new trails. Some days I build trail signs.”

“Each sign might take one day to construct, one day to install.”

“Cutting in a new trail can take WEEKS!”

Mundane daily chores do not count. “I took out the garbage”, “I did the dishes”, “I made the bed”. These don’t count. Longer term NON STANDARD tasks DO.

Pick ONE task that will define THIS day.

Build a birdhouse. Read a book. Write a story or song. Paint something. Split a stack of firewood. Prepare or plant a garden or tree. The list is infinite. Just pick ONE THING.

“One Winter I built 8 Wood Duck Nesting Boxes”

Each Box required one day to build, one day to paint, one more day to mount, 24 total sub tasks. Now ducks love them!”

ONE THING that will set this day apart, differentiate it from all others.

ONE THING that will answer the question:

“What did I do TODAY?

Then ACCOMPLISH that thing.

Do not let a SINGLE DAY slip by! When I was at my sickest with cancer, my days were frighteningly black. I measured seconds. I was truly uncertain whether each day might be my last. So, every day, no matter how sick I was, how weak or frightened I felt, I went outside with my splitting maul. I split firewood. That became my focus.

Some days I split only one or two logs. Some days I stacked them too. Some days I did not. But I made myself split at least ONE LOG EVERY SINGLE DAY! All winter long. As I split each log, I would tell myself:

“If I die tonight, my family has one more log to feed the wood stove, one more hour of warmth by the fire.”

By spring, I had split six full face cord. I was stronger. Splitting wood gave me a tangible focus. It helped keep me alive.

Splitting firewood is still my personal “Go To.” Nearly any day of the week, folks can see me out there in my yard, cutting, splitting, stacking firewood. To this day, when I am stressed or lost, I split wood.

Find Your “Go To”!

Some additional guidance I have found helpful in following my own advice through the years:

Be Flexible!

The ONE THING you set out to accomplish this day may morph into something unexpected, something entirely different. That’s OKAY! Let it! I don’t know how many times I set out to plant a few trees, and ended up hand digging a new drainage or pond. Life has a flow. Follow the prompts.

“I am, after all, THE SWAMP THING!”

Multi- Day tasks are fine. Just be sure to COMPLETE THEM!

“Bit By Bit. One Day At A Time!”

“RJ & I planted over 500 tree seedlings one spring!”

“The whole project took us TWO WEEKS!

Many of my projects take more than one day. I may not complete one during consecutive days. I simply break it down into manageable sub tasks. Each one then counts.

Shared Tasks Count TOO! Frequently they are the BEST!

“An ongoing shared tree planting project with our son RJ”

A shared family venture COUNTS!

One task per day does not sound like much. But at the end of a week, that is seven concrete tasks done. At the end of a month- THIRTY! A year… even with multi days- 300 or MORE!


Additionally, with all those tasks complete, when something unexpected DOES arise, (and we all know it will), I find that I feel less overwhelmed, because I have a lot of other concrete stuff done.

So, without belaboring the point further, that is my experience and advice. I hope folks find it useful during these trying times.


Until Our Trails Cross Again:

“Do ONE tangible thing.”

Each Day You Are In

P.S. This Blog Post Counts!