Character Study

Natural

It’s only natural.

It is?

I hear a phrase like this one and consider all the unnatural things I do in a given day.

Is it natural to look at my phone as much as I do? Especially when sitting across from someone with an actual face who already likes me? Why do I seek affirmation in a thumbs up?

Is it natural that I check the animal shelter’s website daily? I already have two beautiful dogs. The two I miss are memories that can’t be found among the strays and the abandoned. Why do I keep thinking there could ever be another pair like them? How unfair to put that pressure on two young pups with their own stories to tell!

Is it natural to find solace in coffee drunk from a recyclable cup? Consumed and consumable in a mere five-minutes reprieve. Is it worth the five dollars?

Maybe that’s a bad example. Because it sure feels worth it.

But, worthy of being natural? Probably not.

So what is natural?

My grandparents touted being natural was what brought them success in their marriage.

But, I’m not sure.

I think their love bordered on supernatural. I think most love does. If I were to respond in a natural way to most people, it would be anything but loving.

I think in that case, I would want to be as unnatural as possible. I want to love in a supernatural way.

Why settle for being only natural?

 

These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Jude 19-21 NIV

One Page at a Time, Uncategorized

One Page at a Time: Creative Well-Being

On my birthday, I re-evaluated my goals for 2016. Some stayed the same. Some I revamped. Some I condensed. Some I expanded. Yet, the goal in goal-setting is to accomplish as much as possible in a 24-hour period to maintain well-being.

For a writer, writing is at the forefront of creating well-being. Whatever I am hoping to accomplish during the day, some amount of writing and reading must take place. Yet, how do I find the time while home educating two high schoolers, doing the laundry, driving the boys to activities, and making sure the cupboard isn’t bare?

Creative well-being.

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Morning is usually when I get most of these critical endeavors completed. In general, they are the quiet hours. My husband and boys are still sleeping. It’s too early to start chores or make contact with the outside world.

I say”in general” because I don’t wake up to an alarm. I wake up to the not-so-subtle whine of my Labrador Retriever puppy. At some point, he will grow out of this habit–we can only hope–but for now his 4:30 am wake-up call gives me at least three hours of personal time.

My worst time of day is between 3:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon. That’s when I don’t bother doing anything mental. I rest or shuttle the kids. I might scan social media. I definitely drink a cup of coffee.

I also don’t write after 9:00 pm. Nothing coherent comes to mind at that point. This is also the time I have set aside to spend with my husband. He is the night owl, and this lark does her best to stay awake during our favorite TV shows.

Booking Appointments

So what happens when the puppy does grow out of his early morning routine? Well, then it is up to me to keep this time as I would an appointment. I had to do the same thing when my boys outgrew nap time. Keeping time is a constant juggle, but it is well worth the effort.

There are certain activities I have wired into my day at a certain time of the day. Devotions is first. I need spiritual inspiration before I can expect writing inspiration. Then, I formulate at least one post for one of my blogs (I try to maintain three). I scroll through Facebook Pages looking for quotations or inspiration to share on my Author Page or on Following Doc’s Shadow. Once these are done, I work on current my writing projects.

I have loosely set appointments throughout the week depending on the day as well. Wednesday is a writing project day when I have lots of waiting time at the boys’ activities. Every other Thursday I have a hired cleaning crew, which frees up the time I would normally spend on vacuuming. Friday we have less school work and is another time when I can focus on creative well-being. On the other days, I sneak away in the afternoon to a local coffee shop for an hour or two.

I often find my reading family and friends at the coffee shops. I am in two monthly book clubs at the moment. I get to discuss great books with great people. Reading stimulates my writing. Coffee stimulates good conversation. It’s a win-win.

Speaking of coffee, I have a few personal rewards I treat myself to on a regular basis. Coffee is one of them. Now I know too much of a good thing is not a good thing. So, rewards must always be done in moderation. I do find that if I head to the coffee shop I am more motivated to write (mental), to socialize (emotional), to get moving (physical), and to reflect (spiritual).

But, that makes me think of another set of goals, which is better discussed in a future post. Until then…

 

Musings, Quotation, Uncategorized

Bliss

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.  ~ Joseph Campbell

When I came across this quotation yesterday, I immediately replaced the word bliss with the first thought that came to mind.

Follow the scent of coffee and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

After sipping a dark chocolate mocha from under a coiled layer of whipped cream, I have actually said, “Bliss.” I bet I did it slowly, just to purse my lips, flip my tongue, savor the sweet flavors. The idea completed itself when I realized that today is National Coffee Day.

Opening the doors of coffee shops in my town, I have felt the “Norm-effect.” Recently, I walked into my frequent haunt, feeling invisible and rejected. Then, a barista I did not recall said with an elated smile, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while. What can I get you? Your usual?”

In most shops, I write poetry. In some, I read it aloud. In all, I stare out the window and ponder poetry.

I have spent decades in aroma-filled rooms. Book clubs gather by the fireplace. College friends meet monthly. Mom and I stop after shopping or to discuss the latest news. Dad and I discuss his goals and mine. My sons sip or nibble their favorites as we complete schoolwork. My husband humors me and gives his name at the drive-thru as if he plans to drink my order.

I have handed square drink napkins across the table for a friend to wipe her tears. I have used one or two myself at times. I have hugged distant family members and said final goodbyes to one or two. A few long-passed stop by for a memory-visit. Those days all the napkins disappear.

When the coffeehouse doors open, the walls in my life fall away. I leave refilled, and the coffee grounds scent the rest of my day.