Quality vs Quantity – A Balancing Act March 2016

Quality vs. Quantity – a Balancing Act                                                           March 8, 2016

First, let me begin with great news – today is my 1st “LifeDay”.  One year post diagnosis, and months past my ‘expiration date’! We received great news this weekend from the latest CT scan and blood labs.  Even with chemo reduced to a minimum dose, the tumors and stricture to the bile duct continue to SHRINK.  Also, the liver is healthy and healed from prior chemo effects.  Thank you ALL for your continued thoughts, prayers and support.  Today is a very bright, balanced day. That’s why it’s a good time to share these thoughts.

I’ve been in many situations lately where I’ve come face-to-face with defining quality versus quantity. Last weekend at the state adjudications and spring conference for Virginia NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), where I am currently serving as VP in charge of adjudications, more voice students in Virginia were qualified to move on to Regionals (in South Carolina) than were expected by our regional hosts.  Yea, Virginia! But was this a showing of quantity over quality? No.  Our judges knew the level of singer we should send ahead; so despite new, unfamiliar and somewhat misunderstood scoring rules and rubrics, Virginia is sending a great quantity of superior quality singers ahead to the next level. As in this case, quantity can be obvious, but never assume quality must be diminished by quantity.

Another example of quality vs. quantity was evidenced this past week when my adult son accompanied me to Sam’s Club.  Warehouse clubs are the very definition of quantity. For only $8, Reed bought a 25 pound bag of long-grain rice.  Not just any rice, this was Riceland Rice from Stuttgart, Arkansas! Now, I can tell you, having been hatched and raised in Arkansas, I can attest to the quality of that rice. And because of the quality of those rice fields, thousands of skillfully shot ducks yearly grace the tables of homes and fine dining establishments in the region with favorites like duck gumbo, duck kabobs and duck in orange sauce (known in other places as duck a l’orange).  Quantity and Quality – in balance.

The one issue that is always front-and-center with cancer patients and their care-givers is weighing or balancing quality vs. quantity of life.  After diagnosis, there is no mandatory treatment.  In the case of my rare cancer, most treatment options are experimental, hard to obtain, and very risky.  But, no matter the cancer-flavor you’re handed, when you have multiple treatment options and hopefully, multiple opinions from several cancer specialists, you begin to make decisions about your own treatment plan by weighing the quality of life with quantity of life time.

Think about it like this.  You’re handed two heavy trays.  Hold these.  Balance these.  You want both.  How long can you hold them?  How long before one is too heavy to hold and you have to set one down? Can the life-items that are precious to you be consolidated from these split trays to just one?  What could you move? What could you give up? Which tray will you hold on to when you lose your balance?  Quality? Quantity? Which one are you trying the hardest to hold onto right now?

Hopefully, it won’t be a terminal diagnosis or crisis to make you realize the importance of life-balance. We make our plans, set long-term goals and tend to ignore the close-up, sometimes very important small moments and opportunities; those interactions we identify as distractions that slow our progression toward our self-defined “purpose” in life.  Or, we become so myopically concerned and surrounded by every day, attention-demanding happenings we lose our direction and purpose.  We don’t work toward our dream or achieve our goals.

Two trays in two hands.  Quality and quantity. Short-term, long-term.  Present and future. Some call this a “delicate balance”.  It’s not.  There’s nothing delicate about it.  It’s awkward and difficult to hold this balance. Someday, we will each be faced with a decision.  When and where to set the first tray down.  Then finally, the second.  My faith is level and stronger than ever.  That’s what I will rest my trays upon, and you will see and know I valued and balanced both quantity and quality – the measures of life.

How’s your balance?

Love you all,

Susan Braden

(read the whole chapter, but) Proverbs 16:11 says “Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord. All the weights in the bag are of his making.”

P.S.  If you need some good, long-grain rice, contact Reed Braden.  I’m a little concerned about his “balanced” diet as he consumes all that rice!chemowithreed

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