Losing Track of Time by Noreen O’Brien

Work, for me, is a holy place—a place in which I can easily get lost and completely out of touch with the world. It’s important and valuable that I have this ability at times, because all too often I can be distracted so easily by any shiny object.

On this particular day, I was behaving as my typical efficient self. I had done my usual litany of “stuff.” I opened the windows to the morning, completed a few household chores, prepared and popped into the oven a broccoli-cheese quiche, before the outside temperature soared in the blistering heat of August’s dog days, and a fresh cup of tea was sitting at my elbow as I sat in front of the computer in my home office.

Off I go, into work mode, getting deeper and deeper into the tangles of the World Wide Web as I sought ways to market books for a new project I had begun with a new client, a publisher of spiritual books. After a while, I pulled out my folder on thoughts I’d been noting for creating a flyer for each book I was to market. As I mulled these things over in my mind, I tried to remain present and keep an eye on the big picture, knowing how easy it can be for me to get bogged down in that scenery, in the place where it’s easy to omit an author’s name or the date or location of a book signing.

Every once in a while I could almost see a chem trail of delicious aromas float across the room and into first my nose, then my line of vision, just as we see in cartoons. Mmmmm, I’d think, someone’s got something good in the oven! Then I’d fade back into work mode, while the flyer began to emerge on my computer screen as I navigated the page using the tools in the desktop publishing software. Several times, during a couple of hours of work, I’d had a hint of aromas tickling my nose and sending signals to my belly. At least once, I thought, hmmm, someone’s doing a fine job of burning something!

Eventually I dragged myself away from the computer and found my way into the kitchen to set the kettle to boil for a fresh pot of tea, evaluating in my mind the progress on the morning’s work. When I reached for the kettle to fill it with fresh water, I was brought a little closer still to the present, and then even closer to a conscious thought about that burning smell. As I turned on the burner, bringing me closer to the oven where I could feel the heat of it, I knew. I had done it. I burned my quiche. So thoroughly, it was fit only for the compost bin. And the heat thrown from the oven over the span of that couple of hours heated up the house long before the summer weather temperatures could.

Yes, I’m quite capable of losing track of time. As well as being the most productive among us. But I can also be the one to be so focused, all I can cope with is the view and awareness of what is inside the tunnel with me. Nothing else exists outside of that space—not the timer going off, not even the alarm clock I later tried because I thought it would pierce my focus and help to lead me out of my near stupor. I simply must learn to accept that I can’t do certain things at certain times.

Oh, and by the way, the quiche may’ve been burned into oblivion, but my flyer was a big hit with my publisher client.

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Remember When? by Estelle Cade

As busy parents it was hard to just get through the days sometimes, let alone take notice of those special “small moments” of tenderness or joy. Yet as we live out our lives, those small moments can pop up seemingly out of the blue, but no doubt just waiting in one’s subconscious to be enjoyed anew.

My daughter, an only child for her first five years, was thrilled to know that right after her 6th birthday she’d have a baby brother or sister. She would put her eye to my stomach and tell us: that’s my baby brother in there” – and she was right! She loved being a “Helper” and would happily bring me a clean shirt or some little item. I’ve never forgotten the day I looked into the baby’s room and saw her standing by the crib, singing “Rock a bye Baby” to her brother, as his blue eyes watched her so intently. A tender moment to cherish. Continue reading

Cajun Pancakes, Anyone? by Janet Keyes

One time when our kids were enjoying a week-long visit from their cousin Jeffrey, we decided to have pancakes for supper as a special treat.  We always had maple syrup and butter on hand so this was an easy choice.  Whenever we made pancakes we usually cooked a few, then allowed the kids to start eating while more were cooking.  This time was a little different.  While I was cooking pancakes, a bout of nausea and intestinal cramping pounced upon me.  I had to run to the bathroom, where I would have to remain for several minutes, tending to the needs of my troubled gut.  Allan, who in those distant days never did any cooking, meal preparation, or serving, stepped right up and took over responsibility for the grill.
Jeffrey, who was about eleven years old, nervously asked, “Do you know how to cook pancakes, Uncle Allan?”
Allan, always being Allan, confidently answered, “Of course. I just cook them on this side until smoke comes out, then turn them over and cook the second side!”
Because of the great power of suggestion, to this day Jeffrey remembers having burnt pancakes for supper that day.  Everyone else remembers that Allan saved the day by taking over and using his old Boy Scout skills to make absolutely delicious pancakes in a true labor of love. Even I remember that, because later on, when my stomach had settled down, I also had a couple of those mouth-watering treats.