“I Just Need a Little of Your Time”: 3 Ways to Give the Gift of You

Have you ever felt so strongly that God is trying to tell you something?

You know the feeling I’m talking about? I’m referring to those times when He puts it in your face until you get the recurring theme.

I had just such an experience this week.  It took me three times to realize what he was saying very clearly.  As you continue reading, see if my lesson becomes clear to you.

Clue #1 came when I attended a Memorial Service for the mother of a dear friend.  I enjoyed hearing stories about their frequent phone calls to each other.  I was a bit envious that she was able to see her mom multiple times each week and mine lives out of state.

My tears fell not only because I felt empathy for my friend, but I now realize I was also jealous of her joy.  I have a wonderful mother, whom I love with all of my heart.  I am fortunate to see her as often as I do considering she lives out of state.  I realized I was jealous that my friend has no regrets and I wondered if I will be able to say the same.

Clue #2 was on the following day when I went over to visit my Grandma.  Due to my hectic schedule I usually combine one of her doctor’s appointments with our visits.  My heart sank as I entered her apartment and watched my ninety-eight year old grandmother hurry to put on her jacket and grab her purse.  It didn’t even occur to her that I was just coming over to visit.

We spent nearly three hours together.  I offered to take her out by the pool to get some sunshine.  She said she just wanted to visit.  We sat and talked about everything from her friend who has been in the hospital to her great grandmother who had nineteen children and visited them every summer.

I could tell she did not want me to leave.  She continued to ask me questions as I headed toward the door.  Again she broke my heart when she said, “This was the best visit we’ve ever had. I know you are busy, but I wish we could do it more often”.  I held back my tears as I promised her that we would.

I went on to my appointment and stopped to grab dinner afterward at my favorite local spot, Casa Ranchero.  As I sat at an outdoor table, I could overhear a conversation between an adult son and his mother.  He told her he had to get on the road before the traffic got any worse.  She kept telling him she didn’t want him to leave. Clue #3.

It was as I sat and finished my meal that I had my epiphany.  The three scenarios swam around in my head. “I’ve got it! Spend morequalitytime with the people I love! I hear you loud and clear, Lord.”

My mind continues to wander back to my friend who had such a great relationship with her mom.  What a marvelous feeling to have “no regrets”.  It is not too late for me to change and make myself more available.  I could have that same satisfaction of having almost “no regrets” when the time comes to eulogize my mother and grandmother.

I have come up with the following 3 ways to commit and give the gift of my time:

1. Make & keep personal appointments

2.  Avoid being rushed or preoccupied when spending time with loved ones

3. Fill the time with love and kindness

 

Who do you need to make and keep personal appointments with?

How will you make positive changes in order to have almost “no regrets”?

Have you had similar wake-up calls like the one I had?

Lori

About Lori

I was born in Long Beach, raised in Cypress and ventured to South Orange County in 1999. I’m a member of Saddleback Church and through volunteering in the Memorial Ministry I was introduced to Neil O’Connor. Neil decided to bring me on board even despite my endless badgering at our first meeting. I am the Director of Care Coordination and also fill the roles of Memorial Marker Design Specialist, Weekend Receptionist and Blog Team Member. Never did I expect a mortuary would be the place I would find my dream job. I feel extremely blessed by the relationships I have formed at O’Connor with the team and the families we are privileged to serve. I now live in Aliso Viejo with my beloved pups Max and Bella. Free time, though often hard to come by, is mostly spent with friends. The Bible verse I live by – I can do everything through him who gives me strength Philippians 4:13

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  • Hi Lori –

    I love the fact that you are listening to God and the messages are coming to your loud and clear! The more you listen the more you will hear, if you stop listening you will go deaf to the messages.

    Ever since Jesse came into my life, I have been shifting what I thought was important to the back burner. I have been making more time for family than ever, between Lisa’s family and my family. Life is very short, we all have to take stock of where we spend it.

    The messages are out there everyday, the saddest most profound event happened in Aurora Colorado last week. We never know when it is our last day, thank you for this great reminder.

    Neil

    • Lori

      Neil,

      Children sure have a way of putting this concept into perspective.
      I usually try to fold laundry or get things done around the house on the days I am watching Malia.
      Last week she wanted me to lay down with her during her afternoon nap. She would scream each time I thought she was asleep and tried to get up. I finally thought, “How often do I have this opportunity, embrace it”.

      You are right about us never knowing when our last day may be.

      Thank you for your comments!
      Lori

  • Anne Collins

    Lori
    Well, that sure struck home with me. The message I get a lot is “Make time for Me First, and I will guide the rest of your day.” I find when I do that, I do better with the rest. At work, one of our mantras is “Relationships first, Tasks second.” When we carry that over into our non work hours, it really helps.
    The first thing it made me think of was this: I have a dear sister, who lives in another state and who is quiet and was never one to pick up the phone and call me. A few years ago I found out her daughter got her a cell phone which gave us the same carrier. I began calling her every Wednesday on the way to Rotary. Now it is a sacred thing and we have become so very close because of our standing Wednesday appointment. We both look forward to it.
    I plan to make more appointments with loved ones.
    Love you

    • Lori

      Anne,
      It is funny how the most basic of concepts sometimes escape us until they are repeatedly put in our face.
      You have modeled my plan of scheduling and keeping personal appointments. It is crucial for us to have peace in our hearts.
      I need to remind myself not to focus so much on time to myself. I will get much more out of giving my time to others than I would doing something on my own.
      Like you, I plan on making and keeping many more appointments with loved ones.
      That includes you! We still need to have lunch together.
      Love you

  • Carrie Bayer

    Lori, this really struck home with me. I am often guilty of not setting personal appointments with friends & loved ones, occasionally canceling when I do set those times or being distracted when I’m with them. You have done an excellent job of reminding us to dedicate our time & be all in the moment- for we may not have the opportunity again, as we know all too well in our profession. Thank you so much for reminding me of what is important! XOXOX Carrie

    • Lori

      Thank you for commenting Carrie and admitting you too are guilty of not keeping your personal appointments.
      I think when our work time is scheduled for us and we cannot change that we tend to change what we have control over, which are the personal appointments.
      Let’s hold each other accountable to spending more time with our loved ones!
      XOXOX Lori

  • Jeff Turner

    Lori,

    Thank you for this perspective. You mention “quality time” and I recall someone saying that you cannot manufacture or create true “quality time” without spending “quantity time” with someone. The quality moments seem to happen in the midst of some of the most mundane and unexpected times. The other idea reminds me of Neil’s earlier post regarding being in the moment. Shutting the cell phone off, closing the computer, turning off the television or radio. My daughter’s favorite verse at the time she was baptized is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…” . This literally means, “Drop your arms to your side…” or “Cease striving…”. The modern vernacular might be “Take a chill pill.” or “Take the BIG chill pill”. At any rate, I appreciate your heart and being willing to listen to that still small voice when a “theme” begins to develop.

    Thanks for reminding me that people and relationships are the most important and precious things of life. I wish at times that I didn’t have to learn this over and over again. But I do. Hopefully the interval between discovery grow shorter with age.

    Blessings,

    Jeff

    • Lori

      Jeff,

      I agree that you have to be willing to put in the quantity of time in order to experience the quality moments.
      We live in a fast-paced, busy world and your suggestion of “taking a chill pill” is crucial.

      I am making every attempt to listen to that voice. I have scheduled another “appointment” with my Grandma this Thursday.

      I am glad that you were reminded of the importance of the people in your life. I have to remind myself constantly. It is so easy to blow off those personal appointments.

      Thank you for your comments,
      Lori

  • Lucky you! Not everyone gets the things being put in front of them every day! That being said, my family and a lot of my friends are on the East Coast. Obviously, trying to find time with them 3000 miles away is mostly impossible. However, I have a phone, and I need to pick it up and use it more often. And skype!

    • Lori

      Hi Annette,

      Yes, I was blessed to have such an epiphany!
      I am glad you made a connection with this post.
      Thank goodness that we have the technology for you to be able to schedule long distance appointments.

      Take care,
      Lori

  • GREG FORSTER

    Lori,

    Congrats on your awakening and your courage to acknowledge a shortcoming in your time planning. I think it’s great that you don’t waste energy on a “poor me, I’m doing the best I can” mentality and instead are putting your personal plan of action into place. From personal experience, I can tell you that yes, death is final. We all know that in our minds, but “YES, IT IS FINAL” takes more time for us to own in our hearts because we protect our hearts a lot more than we protect our minds. Our hearts can hurt and we don’t always have an adequate response to that hurt, For our minds, well, there’s always aspirin and if that doesn’t work, there’s denial and keeping busy as useful tools.

    Today, a LIFE and the possibility of communication with that life in a variety of forms is possible.

    Tomorrow, there is MEMORY and REMEMBRANCE, somewhat hollow, no matter what we try, but the more effort that we have put into LIFE, then all the more satisfaction we will own in our memories. We have the right to own this satisfaction, and not be burdened by guilt in witnessing this satisfaction in others while we sit on the sidelines, wishing for something that can no longer be possible.

    You ask for personal examples, like in a previous blog about parental loss when a kid moves out, I too went into one of my boys rooms, still decked out with all his trappings of growing up, now like a museum of theirs and my parental investment of time and effort and emotion. Yes he would visit, but the kid was gone, “deal with it dad” I told myself. But lo and behold, I kept my spirits up and after time on their own, now they are calling every week or several times a week and my wife and I, after our adjustment, now are wondering “why are they calling so much?” My God, they even want to do things with us and are indignant when I can’t drop everything on a weekend day and haul my butt down to San Diego to go bodysurfing with them or take them out to put decent food in their stomachs or those of their adoring girlfriends. Do I have to be SO social? or available SO much? But I know exactly how I would feel if things weren’t this way.

    So what do we do? We do what we can…and take the simple joy of this moment with others to keep in our hearts and enrich our minds and allow us to admit that indeed, life is worth living.

    Now go take Grandma to a Karioke bar and send us your report in a follow-up blog.

    • Lori Bristol

      Greg,

      Why are you not writing for our blog!?!??!?!?

      Your comments are always heartwarming and funny at the same time.

      I do not even know what else to say because you have put it so eloquently above.
      You have rendered me silent, which is nearly impossible.

      I appreciate your dedication to our blog and thank you for consistently sharing your perspective.

      We do not get the time during the day to visit very often. This gives me the opportunity to learn more about you and that is a good thing!

      Thanks Again Greg!

      • Karilyn Leslie

        I agree with Lori!!
        Greg you should be writing!! I enjoy following the blog, just so I can get a smile and ray of sunshine from you…..

        Kari

  • Betty

    I was hit with this very concept today. I went to the Memorial Park today to leave some flowers on my sister’s grave as today was her birthday. I don’t do that very often, but today just felt right. I still think of so many things that I wish I would of talked with her about. She was the oldest sister and she remembered so much more about our family than I do. I know that I let too many other things stand in the way of committed time with her. I have tried to do better with my family and friends and I have learned to “stay in the moment” when I’m with them. I tend to let my mind wander on to different things and don’t always hear what is being said.
    I don’t want to miss the joy of being with family and friends and truly being a good listener.
    Betty

    • Lori Bristol

      Betty,

      You are a wonderful, dedicated mother, grandmother, friend and the list goes on and on and on…..

      I don’t want to miss the joy of spending more time with you.

      I promise to start making and keeping more personal appointments with you.

      Love you!!!!!

  • Judy

    sigh. . way to make a girl cry first thing in the morning!
    I have too many regrets to count at this stage of my life, but I hope I can correct some of them before it is too late. I too have been feeling the tug of needing family, friend time. . and living in another state makes it more and more difficult. Thank you for the reminder that it NEEDS to be accomplished before it becomes too late and too much time has passed. With that being said Lori. . lets YOU and ME make an appointment to talk on the phone at least once a month okay? Miss and love you. I am thinking some road trips are in my future as well.

  • Lori Bristol

    Judy,
    Can’t believe we have done over 40 years of life together as BFF’s!!!!
    We must be getting sentimental in our old age. 🙂
    I love and miss you and the boys so much! One of my biggest regrets was not spending more time with you guys when you were here.
    So…….phone appt Friday? And then of course another one on the eleventh for your BDay!!!
    Love you!!!!!

  • Melody Hiller

    I’m not sure how many moments I have left with my Gramma Edna (99 yrs young), so each time I visit her, I always make sure she knows how much I love her and I think to myself “this could be our last hug”. It’s sad, but true.

    You and I have been friends for 25 years, and although we don’t live near each other anymore, we always pick up where we left off each time we talk or see each other. You are right, if we don’t “make the appointments”, then we always say “oh, we need to get together soon”. I have found that pinning you down to a “day” is my key to seeing your crazy face!!

    Now that my daughter is away at college, I am finding that I’m the one that is like your Gramma. I will do anything and everything to “stall” her into staying a little while longer before she has to drive up north back to college. It’s never easy watching her drive away.

    Things sure come full circle in life, and God has blessed me with wonderful friends and family. Thank you for this blog, it’s always a good reminder to make time for the ones that we cherish the most.

    • Lori Bristol

      Mel,

      I can’t believe it has been 25 years, but know we have squeezed a lot of living into it.
      I have been incredibly blessed to be part of your immediate and extended families.
      I am so lucky to count Justin and Marissa among my “nieces” and “nephews”. I could not be more proud of the way they have turned out. Then there is your hubby Chuck who has been like a brother to me, picking on me all of the time.

      I am so glad you pin me down to lunch dates. We have the best times when we are together. I love how one word can set us off into hysterics.

      You know you, Judy and Stacy have always been like my sisters. The older we get, the more we realize how important it is to spend quality time with those we love.

      See you in all of your crazy glory on Wednesday!!!!

      Love you!!

  • MollyKeating

    Lori, what a great reminder. I just got back from a vacation up north where I visited family and really got to soak in the time. While they live far away I’m able to keep up these special relationships through visits like these where I get a lot of time in. My family is also awesome at dropping everything going on when someone like me comes into town. It makes me feel so special – I’ve definitely been a beneficiary of people following your advice and it’s something I want to make sure I am giving back.
    Thank you so much for sharing your life-revelations with us. It seems like we have to learn these things over and over again but I think that that’s just how life & our brains work – we need constant repetition and practice to make sure our priorities, feelings, actions, and words are in check and what they should be.

    Love you, Lori.

    • Lori

      Molly,
      I can’t imagine anyone not dropping everything to spend time with you!
      You are beautiful, smart, funny and a joy to be around!
      Yes, we do have to learn these lessons over and over. I am still trying to improve on some of my personal appointments with friends.
      I’m keeping one tomorrow for a fun lunch date and shopping though!!
      Love you!

  • Ethel,

    I am very fortunate that my kids love to be around their family. I hope that it lasts well into the years when they are having children of their own. Whenever I plan an event, the first thing out of their mouths is, whose coming? They really enjoy spending time with me, their Gram, and all the other adopted and extended family they share. We will have a majority of us at the Angel Game on Saturday, and they are very excited to see my family here at work too. It really is important to intentionally make time for each other. Thanks for the reminder!
    oxoxLucy

    • Lori

      Lucy,
      I saw all of the beautiful photos of you and your family at the game!
      You are so blessed to have such a large family and more importantly a family who wants to keep personal appointments with you!
      Speaking of personal appointments, we never did have our lunch!!
      We must set that appointment very soon!
      xoxoEthel

  • Tom

    Interesting

    • Lori

      I know. I am full of interesting information. 🙂
      You should listen to me more often.

  • Amy

    Lori,
    What a wake up call. We are all busy in our own lives and don’t stop to smell the roses. I am making a promise to myself to keep my appointments, listen more and have no regrets.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Amt

    • Lori

      Amy,
      You have heard many stories of difficult times I have had with Granny!
      I have decided no matter what she has to say I owe it to myself to at least show up. That will be key in helping me have almost “no regrets”.
      Thank you for your comments!
      Lori

  • Sharon

    Lori

    In today’s busy, hectic world – our time is the biggest gift we can give to others. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to spend time with loved ones and fill that time with love and kindness. We never know when those opportunities won’t be there any more. Life is so fragile and short!

    I appreciate your thoughts and friendship.
    Sharon

    • Lori

      Sharon,
      It’s true, when times are hectic it is easy to say “I’ll call that person next week”.
      In our business we know time is of the essence. Don’t wait to make those calls or plans.
      Thank you for your comments and friendship!
      Lori