I read a few blogs today–now that I write one, I’m discovering how much fun they are to read! Chef Eric Patterson had written about 33 happy moments. It struck me that several of the 11 he’d posted were times when he’d taken the time to invest in someone else’s life–not for personal gain, but for another’s benefit. One of those moments also had to do with his son, which struck a chord with me as one of my “happy moments” is also with my kids in the kitchen. Just today I caught Keith (5) successfully making eggnog for himself and his sister (he cleans up after himself, too!), Dorothy helped me fill cinnmon rolls while chattering about angora rabbits, and Joe made his personal specialty for lunch: spaghetti soup. The other blog that struck me was on the MotherEarth News site. The fellow was talking about his neighbor who had to sell his home, including a beloved hobby of restoring old tractors (and fixing the neighbor’s tractor), to live a retirement community so his wife, who had advancing Parkinson’s, could recieve better care. His comment was that he’d just “run out of time” on his tractors and had to move on. Same idea: he was setting “his own time” aside to invest in what was left of his wife’s time. When we talk about sustainable farming, a chunk of that is sustainable living, and a big component of that is time. Time as a commodity to be spent wisely, to be invested. I think about that every time I have to set aside what I want to do (such as writing this!) to talk to, help, or comfort someone in my family. I often have to remind myself that work at the expense of relationship is hollow and not to worry about unfolded laundry, unswept floors, and weeds in the garden when friends come by or Mark wants me to go with him some where. Sometimes I resent all the time the OB Dr. wants me to spend visiting him and jumping through medical hoops. It takes time to use renewable resources (rags instead of paper towels, canning jars instead of cans), to grow our food in energy efficient ways, and to use our own labor to prepare it. It’s how we choose to invest our time because it allows us time with our children as well as investing in their future world and health. If you want to know how we do things, or how you could do more to be self-sufficient, Mark’s happy to take time to talk you through it. That’s one of the things he discovered this week that is unique about small business folks versus franchise employees: they love to take the time to tell you about their products, interests, and oftentimes, life in general. These two blogs got me thinking about this because this week I’ve had to make time choices as relating to relationship investments several times, and felt like I came out at the short side of the stick. In the end, though, my life was much richer for the investment. Work will always be there, errands will need to be run again, but time and people move through our lives in irretrievable ways.