Make Do With What You Have

It’s Monday and today’s “Beckoning The Lovely” post begins with a disclaimer. Last week I was more than a little distracted because my father had surgery. (He’ll be fine, don’t worry. He’s not the subject of this post. Mostly because he would hate to be the subject of this post. Or any post. Seriously. Don’t go there; you’ll get me in trouble.)

So, anyway, I was distracted. I knew the next thing on the list of lovely things was “make do with what you have,” and every once in a while, I would think, “I better hurry up and make do, or Monday I’ll be postless.” Still, I kept getting distracted by things like this: Every Wednesday just outside the front door of the VA hospital, there’s a farmers’ market. No kidding. I love that. My dad’s surgery has so far not allowed him to eat anything they sell there, but this week, maybe I’ll smuggle him up some strawberries. (They looked delicious and very healing to me.)

I was also distracted by a commute I’ve grown unaccustomed to (though NPR provides a constant supply of things you might not know – expect a post soon). I was distracted by doctors and nurses and orderlies and volunteers. I was distracted by the view outside the window of my father’s room  – an enormous, truly majestic flag, flying at half mast. I was distracted by strange things too, like what to wear to the hospital, what to talk about once I got there, when to leave.

I kept forgetting about this post until today, when I sat down to write it and I couldn’t think of what I’d say, and I decided maybe the best thing was just to start typing. And somewhere along the way it occurred to me that my mom and dad and I have been making do with what we have all week. We’ve made do with less sleep and disrupted schedules. We’ve struggled, sometimes, to say the right thing, or even to say anything at all. None of the words we’ve come up with have been particularly brilliant or inspiring, but we’ve understood, all of us without saying it aloud, that in this unfamiliar territory, we are doing our best.

And the truth is that this lovely thing happens all the time. Life makes unexpected demands and we respond. We improvise. We work with what we have, and when we’re lucky, what we have turns out to be just what we need.

Up next… Make someone’s day.


And now for something completely different… Need an addictive time waster? Silly question, I know. Who doesn’t, right? Try this online word game from indie game designer Bart Bonte. The fun popping sound it makes is weirdly rewarding.


  1. Estrella Azul on August 31, 2009 at 3:08 am

    When I read the title I was thinking of the exact same thing, that people make do with what they have every day of their lives. I love how you put your thoughts into words, truly a lovely post!

    ” And the truth is that this lovely thing happens all the time. Life makes unexpected demands and we respond. We improvise. We work with what we have, and when we’re lucky, what we have turns out to be just what we need.” -> this is going straight to my Quotes section!!!

    PS: I’m wondering how your next assignment will work it’s way into a post, since you make my day in some form every week, sometimes on more than just one day. (And I’m sure not only mine!)

  2. karen from mentor on August 31, 2009 at 6:10 am

    “We’ve struggled, sometimes, to say the right thing, or even to say anything at all.”

    Wow, that one line really speaks to the complicated parent/adult child relationship.
    Deep stuff this am ma’am.

    Your thoughts were transcribed beautifully, delicately and with humor. Nicely nicely done.

    I read this hours ago (it’s 9:00am here now) and decided that what Estrella said was just so perfect that I’d have to mull and come back to say something anything that would also express how lovely I thought this post was other than “ditto”…

  3. peggi on August 31, 2009 at 6:20 am

    As always, a wonderful post.

    I made due yesterday at the hardware store of all places. I didn’t have a tape measure with me but did have a 3 x 5 index card. The picket I measured was just over 5 inches (confirmed at 5.25 when I read the sign right in front of me!)

  4. karen from mentor on August 31, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Oooh Peggy,
    I do that all the time. Make do without a tape measure. But I have something built in. If I stretch my index finger and thumb apart all the way it’s EXACTLY six inches.
    Now you have the answer to that question for the next time you play Karen from mentor trivial pursuit…..

    Judy has some of us in to play every third tuesday at her house. Now that you’re up to speed, we’d love to have you….bring some cheese…..


  5. jane on August 31, 2009 at 7:54 am

    At the risk of overusing the most accurate adjective for this post, that was indeed lovely. Thank you for brightening my day!

  6. judy on August 31, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Estrella, And you made my day. I get to be in your quotes section! Big, big smile here!

    Peggi, You’re a genius! Well, sort of… 😉

    Karen, You made me curious. Either you have tiny hands or I have big ones. I don’t know how to feel about that! But I do know I love our KFM Trivial Pursuit nights!

  7. judy on August 31, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Jane, we must have hit enter at the same time. At the risk of sounding like a writer hungry for gold stars… not sure it’s possible to overuse ‘lovely’ in response to one of my posts. 😉 Thank you!

  8. Linda on August 31, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I couldn’t add anything to what the others have already said, so I just retweeted the link to your lovely post.

  9. BOBBY on August 31, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I never like the idea of wishing my days away to get to an upcoming event. I am not one to circle a specific day on the calendar then start crossing off tuesdays and wednesdays in a vain attempt to make time pass quicker. Even Christmas time, my favorite, I try to not rush thru the days but enjoy each one up to the moment of the big guys visit.

    With that said I will be dedicating all my thoughts and attention to next monday. I think I will rent Clint Eastwood movies just to hear the phrase “Go ahead, make my day”. Dont feel any pressure but I am a bit hard to shop for! Yep, looking forward to what you are going to do to make my day!!


  10. chezhui on August 31, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Judy, I’m grateful to be able to read your lovely thoughts everyday, they’re just what I need!

  11. judy on August 31, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Linda, Thank you for the tweet! (As I typed that just now, I thought: A year ago I wouldn’t have even known what that meant!) 😉

    Bobby, If I can come up with a way to make your day, I’ll be on it, for sure. Stay tuned!

    Mairi, Thank you so much for saying that! I love reading your lovely thoughts too.

    AND… an update! Looks like my dad will probably be discharged tomorrow! Yay!

  12. terrepruitt on August 31, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I find myself just going, “Aahhhhhhhh!”

    Its a really long, very satisfied aaaahhhh.

    Thank you.

  13. John Pruitt on August 31, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I probably would have copped out and just written a post about food since you cannot cook a turkey dinner unless you have turkey. Your post was much nicer than mine would have been. Why does everything I do go back to food?

  14. judy on August 31, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Terre, I’ll take an ahhhhhh any day! Thank you back!

    John, Because you’re a hungry guy! I like that about you!

  15. Carey Jones on September 1, 2009 at 1:45 am

    How fortunate are we? We never have to just ‘make do’ when creating Art and Magic with ZS by You — it’s true, it’s true (no reference to Madeline Kahn, although I love her through and through 😉 If anyone is not sure what I mean, go rent Blazing Saddles — do, do, do!!! Sorry, I’m on a rhyming roll 😉 I am seriously sending good thoughts to your Father, I remember being very fond of him at first sight — you got your ‘edge’ from him, I’m sure! It’s that Louisiana spicey blood there 😉

  16. milliverstravels on September 1, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Lovely story, Judy. :~)

    (I’m on an Internet diet right now while I heal and deal with other things in my life . . . but occasionally I sneak a peak.)

  17. milliverstravels on September 1, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Er, um, peek. Sneak a peek. How’s my spelling today? LOL.

  18. judy on September 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Carey – You can get all Dr. Seuss sweet on my blog ANYTIME! I loved that!

    Milli, I’ve been wondering about you. Know that you are missed, but I get that whole “gotta step away from the network and communicate with myself for a while thing.” I pick the wrong peek all the time!

  19. jeromiah Zajonc on September 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hi Judy – I see you’re reading “Either You’re In Or You’re In the Way”, by the Miller brothers. Hope you enjoy it! I helped make the movie 🙂


  20. judy on September 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Jeromiah, Really? I’m not very far into it yet… they haven’t actually started making the movie. Will I “see” you in the book? And is the movie going to get a regular theater release? (Thanks for commenting!)

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