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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Just for Today

Today, I haven't been able to shake off the parts of the poem "Just for today" that I know. I thought that since it's affecting me, I'd look it up and post it here for all of you.

In putting on my research hat, I found the original "Just for Today" poem that has sparked many others. I'm going to post the original and my favorite adaptation--written by a mom--for you.

The original "Just for Today" was written by Sybyl F. Partridge in 1916 and printed in "How To Stop Worrying, And Start Living" by Dale Carnegie, copyright 1951.
  1. Just for today I will be happy. This assumes what Abraham Lincoln said is true: 'Most folks are about as happy as they make their mind up to be.' Happiness comes from within; it is not a matter of externals.

  2. Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is; not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.

  3. Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse or neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.

  4. Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.

  5. Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do someone a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two chores I don't want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.

  6. Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, speak diplomatically, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate or improve anyone.
  7. Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
  8. Just for today I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests: hurrying and indecision.
  9. Just for today I will have a quiet half hour by myself and relax. In this half hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.
  10. Just for today I will be unafraid. Particularly, I will be unafraid to be happy; to enjoy what is beautiful; to love; and to believe that those I love, love me.
Imagine my surprise when I learned the above is the original. It's not the one I was thinking of, but I found it to be incredibly true. In 1916, Sybyl Partridge was already trying to take care of her body, live for today (instead of letting the future pile up on her) and trying to spend more time with God while choosing to be happy. Huh...sounds like so many of my own thoughts and prayers a full 94 years later. I love this original version. I'm posting it up for myself.
Then, fully confused by the poem, I kept searching. I just knew there was a "Just for Today" aimed at moms. And I found it. Let me share the poem and then what I discovered about it.
Just For Today
by Sally Meyer

Just for this morning,
I am going to smile when I see your face...
and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning,
I will let you wake up softly in your flannel p.j.'s...
and hold you until you are ready to stir.

Just for this morning,
I will let you choose what you want to wear...
and I will say how beautiful you are.

Just for this morning,
I will step over the laundry to pick you up...
and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning,
I will leave the dishes in the sink...
and let you teach me how to put your puzzle together.

Just for this afternoon,
I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off...
and sit with you in the garden
blowing bubbles.

Just for this afternoon,
I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you
scream and whine for the ice cream truck...
and I will buy you one, if he comes by.

Just for this afternoon,
I won't worry about what you are going to be
when you grow up...
I will simply love you for the joy you bring me.

Just for this afternoon,
I will let you help me make cookies...
and I won't stand over you . . . trying to 'fix things.'

Just for this afternoon,
I will take you to McDonald's and buy us both a 'Happy Meal'...
so you can have two toys.

Just for this evening,
I will hold you in my arms and tell you the story of how you
were born...
and how much we love you.

Just for this evening,
I will let you splash in the bathtub...
and I won't get angry when you pour water over your sister's head.

Just for this evening,
I will let you stay up late...
while we sit on the porch swing
and count all the stars.

Just for this evening,
I will bring you glasses of water...
and snuggle beside you for hours...
and miss my favorite t.v. show.

And tonight when you are sleeping safe and warm in your bed,
I will think of the mothers and fathers
who mourn for the children they have lost.

I will remember the parents who sit by hospital beds,
watching over the little ones they love.

I will weep for those parents whose children are cold,
hungry and suffering,

and .... this evening,
when I kneel down to pray,
I will simply be grateful for all that I have

and not ask for anything...

except just one more day.

© copyright 1999 Sally Meyer

Want to know the most amazing thing about this poem that speaks to me and haunts my days? It's the little things she writes that I often feel I'm going through daily. Part of it is every mother's struggle for balance...I'm sure all mothers feel this way from time to time.

But after a very long afternoon and evening with it's challenges and tears, I read one phrase in parenthesis after the copyright 1999 Sally Meyer. That one phrase spoke to my heart because now I know that Sally Meyer knows where I am at--and has it even worse than me most of the time. Here's what it said:

(written for her autistic son, Dhylan)

And so as I go to sleep tonight (yes, I write these the night before), not only do I pray for one more day, I pray for Sally. I googled more of her poetry and her precious Dhylan is fairly severe on the autism spectrum. And I pray that someday she will hear the precious words that I heard from all three of my children tonight..."I love you, Mom."

My tip today--grab life by the horns and enjoy every minute of the ride. Be thankful for what you have--even when it doesn't seem like much. And no matter which version speaks to you more, choose to follow one or more of the principals or thoughts given. Just for today, I choose to improve my smile and kind comment at a time.

Nathan & Me, Oct. 2008,
My Gifted and Autistic "Twice Exceptional" Wonder

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