Monday, February 11, 2008

Living with Routines Makes Life Simpler

Or at least, so they say. Jillian and I are establishing some new routines to help us through this time. I am requiring her to be done with her preparations for bed by 1 AM. If she is, then I will stay up with her. If she isn't, then I am supposed to go to bed. So far she has made it on time. I am afraid that I have very little will power. Will I stand up to her when she is late, as she inevitably will be?

In other news (is there any other news?) I am thinking through two large projects. First of all, I am researching a new book. ( if there were an old book?) The working title which will not be the final title is "The Re-Imagined Life". I am fascinated with people who either through God's direction or their own desires stop and re-invent themselves. I don't even know if it will be fiction or non-fiction yet, but I am enjoying the research phase. Second, I am actively planning my real blog, which will be at coffee shop journal. I am praying over what direction it should take and learning what I can about making blogs successful. I am fascinated with the depth of the blogging world, and am excited about some of the ideas that I have in my mind. Now to make two large dreams a reality....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Change is coming

I found a great blog tonight called Writer's Island. It is a site for people who love to write to "congregate." Each week they issue a writing challenge or theme, and this week the theme is "Change." So I am contemplating change tonight. And you know what I discovered?

1. We all believe that change is necessary. Most of the time this applies to our spouse or our kids, though in January we attempt to change ourselves. Every night I sit here and write about how Jillian MUST change. She must go to bed earlier, or stay up on her own fearlessly. She must embrace change. And every night I sit here and think that I, too, must change. I must become more organized; I must help her become what she needs to be; I must reach out more often to my mom, or my kids, or the stranger who isn't really much of a stranger. But each night as we sit here, we don't change. It is still 3:13 as I write this. I am still disorganized and angry, and strangers have not been made into friends.

2. We also realize that change happens all around us in the physical realm. New computers come on the market (yes, I love my macbook air!!!). Buildings are built and friends move. Grocery stores restock their shelves. New jobs are created; new jobs are lost. We even look in the mirror and realize that our bodies have gone on and changed without us. How did we become this?

3. Finally, I guess I am intrigued with the fact that some people do, in fact, make decisions and change. We lose weight (over and over?), we quit smoking, we do any number of things that we purpose in our hearts to do. But through it all there is the core of us that remains unchanged. I think that core is the "eternity" that God sets in our hearts. Something inside me resists the idea that everything must change. I long for the realization that "it is good," and it will be here forever. We all do! We want our childhood blanket to always offer comfort, we want our freshly painted walls to stay bright, and we want most of all to freeze our bodies in whatever state we most fondly imagine. We want eternity. 

So there are my current thoughts on change. This week my challenge is to take those thoughts and write my post for Writer's Island. I want to do this. I need to do this, because I keep saying how much I long to write and yet I never do. I want to change.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I lied Tonight

Last night was SO HORRIBLE with Jillian. She was mad; she screamed; she threatened to move to Georgia and I threatened to let her. She was up until 2:45 and I was up until 3:15, crying, praying and trying to repent for all that I said to her in the heat of the moment.

So tonight we began with a textbook parenting case. "Tonight," I told Jillian, "You will be in bed by 1:00 AM or I am going to go ahead and go to bed. If you are after 1, you can come to my room and kiss me, but I will be in my own room."

Turns out, I lied. At 1:05 she was nearly finished, and I didn't see any reason to upset the apple cart over 5 minutes. Then she needed her back cracked (I'm terrible at that). She needed more water. She need to stretch her back, and her blankets must die (according to her) for all the trouble they cause her in refusing to stay tucked. So here we are now, 1:49 and she is still cheerily calling out goodnight. She's happy as a lark. And each time that lark sings I cringe. 

Really...the rest of the day we have a fairly normal, slightly rocky mother and daughter relationship. But as soon as the clock hits 11:00 pm, things go downhill. I wish I could change this pattern, but here we still are. I am trying during these teenage years to pick and choose my battles, to hold my tongue even when I see disaster looming. But oh the hairs on the back of my head stand up each time she thinks of a new question to toss out into the living room. I think, "How old are you? These are childish games, not for you. You are almost 15." Then I begin to worry about her, which of course makes my temper shorter than it was to begin with. And then, well it is a self-defeating and self-destructive cycle after that. 

So here I sit...sending words and emotions out into the blogosphere for no apparent reason and no apparent readers. But somehow at the end of this rant, I feel better. Maybe that's the reason.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Well That was Fun

Shouldn't the benefits of a sabbatical last longer than one day?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ten (no, six) Reasons We All Need A Sabbatical

For the past three weeks, roughly, I have experienced complete freedom as an adult. I have been able to go to bed when I have wanted to. I have read books, gone to the gym, shopped and chosen not to shop. In short, I have been free. And it has rejuvenated my soul. All of this has come about, of course, because Jillian was happily and not so happily settled in Georgia with her friends. In the process of this extended trip I feel like I have had what used to be called a Sabbatical. In my mind, a Sabbatical encompasses an extended break from routine with the intent of renewal and refreshing. This is what I have had, and here are my reasons why I think we all need frequent Sabbaticals.

1. God commanded them!
In fact, God had in mind a rest every seven days: a quaint concept that deserves to be revived. Do you think he actually knows better than we do? Hmmm.

2. Physical refreshment
Taking a break from my normal "mom" routine brought a renewed desire to get to the gym, go to sleep, eat better. Somehow I remembered that I

3. Spiritual renewal
Having time to listen to some of my favorite preachers online, read some new authors and just stop in God's presence reaped rewards in my perspective and faith.

4. Intellectual renewal
David and I discovered that we were ambushed with creative thought processes and ideas. We could hardly stop hopping on the internet to research, and you don't want to know how much we spent at bookstores. On long drives to and from Atlanta we tossed around ideas as wide-ranging as new business opportunities, how to deal with Jillian and Kylie, living more simply and locally at home and how we'd like to support our church in the future. Wow.

5. Creativity returns
With the lack of demand on my time and energies my mind also turned to creative pursuits. I did a lot of journaling and sketching. I decided to start photography, and to learn how to photo shop. 

6. Returning to our routine a different person
I guess this is the bottom line. I had intended to put down ten reasons to take a Sabbatical, but now that I have thought about it, this is the ultimate word from me tonight. Returning to my routine tonight I realized that I am not the same person I was three weeks ago. I have met new people, thought new thoughts, read new books, had many, many conversations. Jillian is not the same person, either. She is older, wiser, and more ready for change. My horizons expanded this month, and once expanded they refuse to shrink back into shape. I can't wait to see what that means!

So there you have it. My Sabbatical. You know what? I'm thinking of taking every Sunday and pretending that I am free again. I want to build room in my life to hear God's voice, and margin enough that I can do something about it when I hear it. So maybe this blog, started in the middle of the night and focused on nothing in particular, maybe this blog will help me reimagine my life. It is time for a new focus. Wanna join me?