One-time rights

People often ask me where I get ideas for my columns. I tell them I read a lot. I also listen when I am out and about. Ideas come from many sources. I keep a list of possible columns. I must admit that sometimes the kernel of an idea that I jotted down does not translate into a piece.

Today I pay tribute to my reading. I have had this piece in mind to do for some time, but just never put it together until now. I sit on the couch and have pieces of paper nearby to jot things down. Sometimes I write on old envelopes. Sometimes I write on scraps of paper. That is the part that gives me the most trouble. I often lose those scraps of paper. This idea was written on the backside of a recipe that I wanted to try. I just found it.

I think that the part we really need to focus on here is “that it is never too late”. All of the other ideas fall into place but the main thrust must be that no matter what happens in life – it is never to late to make amends.

First of all, it is never too late to start over. Have you ever heard the saying when life gives you lemons you make lemonade? When something happens in your life take time to look at what has happened. Is there something good in what happened? Look for that silver lining as they say.

Maybe you needed a change. Maybe you were getting stale at what you were doing. Maybe your family needed more attention. Maybe you needed more attention personally. There is a reason change occurs. You cannot see the whole picture, but the Lord can. Take time to listen. Take stock of what your life has become.

Secondly, it is never too late to chase your dreams. Maybe you have always dreamed that you could be something that you are not. Look at how you might get there. Do you need more education? Do you need an opportunity to make a change. Do you simply need the ambition to accomplish something?

This one is important. Your family is very important. It is never too late to create healthy relationships. Maybe you are the one that needs to change. We do not always see the need to change, but often it is there. Look at your approach to things. How can you look at things differently? How can you change your reaction to things?

Be positive. I have a little book written by Norman Vincent Peale called “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Although it was written years ago there are many great ideas. It is resource for me when I need a fresh perspective. It reminds me to “expect the best and get it”. My thoughts influence my actions. If I am positive I can accomplish much.

Learn something new. Often this approach just refocuses us as we approach a new task. Learning is a powerful influence. Maybe you have not learned something new in a long time. That is fine. It is never too late to learn. I like to think of myself as a life-long learner. I was never afraid to try something new. It was an adventure. Somethings I have learned I have kept doing, others I have tried but let go because I was not really good at them.

I never thought of myself as a writer, but that is what happened. When I was in college taking a speech class the instructor flashed papers on the screen that illustrated how not to do something. Guess what? My paper was up there. I knew my close friend would recognize my writing so I just had to suck it up. In another minute or two I recognized her paper as well. I guess we did not know what he wanted.

That is a lifetime ago but I still remember the embarrassment I felt. I also remember when an assignment was returned that said “do over”. The copy I received was full of red marks with ideas for changes to the piece. I read the ideas and attacked the assignment from a different perspective. I saved that copy. Later I used it in one of my classes to illustrate that the teacher does not always get things right the first time either. It was my example of how to make corrections. I think my students appreciated my honesty.

It is never too late to say “I am sorry”. Everyone needs a dose of humility every once in a while. When I say I am sorry and really mean it I also mean that I will try to change – to do the right thing if you will.

On the other hand, it is never too late to forgive the person who hurt you. If you let a hurt fester it will not improve. If you can forgive someone then you can recover yourself. Many things happen in life that hurt us. It is how we approach them that makes the difference. The Bible says we should love our enemies. That is not easy to do. The idea is to forgive and forget. The forgetting may prove to be the toughest.

If this column seems to fit a need you have, make your own list of never too lates. Whatever is troubling you, can be fixed. It may not be fixed in the manner that you are thinking of, but everything really can be fixed. You just have to figure out how the best way for you is.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at