Setting priorities

Published 6:05 am Saturday, September 28, 2019

By Judith Victoria Hensley

Plain Thoughts

One of the most impressive things I remember about the late Earl Hamner (creator of the Waltons TV show) is that he always had a plan for another book, another movie, another project. Even into his 90s he had a daily plan, a one-year plan, a five-year plan, and a ten-year plan. He was such a lovely, amazing gentleman. He was always an encourager for others.

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Having a plan in place for the future was one of the pieces of wisdom he passed along, and the success of his life’s work was evidence that this approach to life had worked well for him.

I think we could all benefit by having a list of things we want to accomplish in this life. When we make our list, we need to set priorities. “A Bucket List” addresses things that we want to accomplish before we leave this world, such as places to visit, people to meet, or new experiences. It is good to have such a list. If we don’t have a plan for the future and what we want to accomplish, we may just flounder around and not get any important things done.

This summer my short-range goal was to get my basement and attic cleaned out. I needed help, and when I found someone that could/would help me, we tore into the basement first and eliminated a lot of things other people had left behind years ago. I figure if they hadn’t wanted it in all these years, then getting rid of the clutter was going to be fine. Next we tackled the attic – which was entirely my own pile of unnecessary items. Already in a cleaning frame of mind, it was much easier to let things go that I really didn’t need.

It gave such a good feeling of eliminating unwanted things and opening up space that I was motivated to clean all the closets and drawers on the main section of the house. I don’t know what all was bagged up and carried out, but I’ll probably never even miss what is gone. And I was blessed in the process by finding out that a lot of what was taken out went to people who had a genuine need for what I had to give.

I think such a purge is a good place to start from when looking at the future. Clearing up our physical surroundings also sets us free to clear up our spiritual outlook in the present and for the future. Doing God’s work in the earth is always on my list of priorities.

This summer was a busy one. I babysat with my grandchildren in Indiana, took care of things for my parents in the weeks I was home, and still managed to get three books into print. The Bride Price; Warrior Women Outpouring; and Appalachian Pride and Prejudice. All three books are available on and Kindle. I’m almost finished with the third book in the Sir Thomas trilogy. That is my next writing project.

With all these things sorted out and taken care of, I hope I get to enjoy the changing of the leaves this fall. What a glorious time of year! Friends, car rides through the country, and a camera in my hand promises to be a very happy time.

When we set our priorities, putting things that must or should be taken care of first, and knocking them off the list clears up time in the future to work on something else we would really like to do. By this time next year, I hope to be planning a return visit to Scotland and/or Ireland, and have at least one more book in print. Five years from now, I hope I’m moved into a house that’s all on one level. Ten years from now, I hope I’m happy and healthy and busy with family, church, friends, and community. Time frames aren’t written in stone. We work toward them and celebrate each thing we’ve accomplished.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.