Advent, Uncategorized

25 Days of Advent: Time

Where does the time go? It flits and melts away like the snowflakes. If only it could be frozen and preserved!

What if we could gift wrap time? I’m not talking about a watch or a clock. I’m talking about actual seconds, minutes, hours, and even days.

Maybe it is possible.

What if I offered my time?

Couldn’t I expand my reach outside my daily routine, my cozy home, my inner circles? Wouldn’t that give warmth to another’s landscape encrusted in ice crystals because I enter into it? Couldn’t expelling even a puff of exertion prove there is more to life than my own comfort?

Isn’t that a preservation of time–that mere moment’s snapshot?

That memory shared with another?

One Page at a Time, Uncategorized

One Page at a Time: Spiritual Well-Being

Let’s look at well-being full in the face.

If physical well-being is the pendulum keeping time, emotional and mental well-beings are the hands doing the work. They encompass the face–the spiritual well-being.

Spiritual well-being is the outer foundation over the functioning innards. Sometimes its features are bold and obvious. Sometimes it is blank and almost nondescript. Sometimes it focuses on color. Sometimes it reveals a window, showing the inner workings. Either way, the face reveals whether time is being well-kept, whether the work is being done too fast or too slow.

The problem with spiritual well-being is that it doesn’t run the way our world does. We expect everything to be on demand, energized, and technologically savvy. Yet, spiritual well-being begins with consistent turning, a steady swinging, a setting of the hands.

The key is in the daily wind.

My grandparents had an old farm clock. It is the one I used as a model in my book, The Forget-Me-Nots. My grandfather wound that clock every day. This habit was as consistent as their daily prayer time together in the morning and in the evening after their meals. It was as constant as their personal devotional times when they set their own hands to His work. This was their daily function every day–as long as physically, emotionally, and mentally possible–while they lived.

And so it is with me. My daily spiritual wind-up might appear a bit different from theirs, but the purpose is the same. If I don’t remain consistent in this routine, I get run down, can’t keep up, and eventually stop in the other areas of well-being in my life.

We often think the key to well-being is our physical health. We spend thousands even millions of dollars on counseling and education. Yet, those things mean nothing if our spiritual faces fail to reflect our divine purpose.

Pick up the key. Add a daily wind. Maintain that consistent turning, that steady swing, the setting of the hands one manual-page at a time.

 

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…

 

Personal Parables, Uncategorized

Watch Out!

We are being robbed. Every day this fleeting perpetrator steals our money and influences our youth. We race to the next destination, congratulating ourselves for beating it. We apologize for letting it get away from us. But, it makes constant demands on us no matter how much we strive to manage it. We expect others to share it with us. We are reluctant to give it up. We watch it. We wait for it. We claim to cut it in half or kill it. What we mean is we want to save it. But, we can’t. It continually, relentlessly passes us by.

Time.

How can we believe it heals all wounds when it activates within everyone a ticking bomb that could detonate at any …time?

The truth is timepieces don’t give us peace time.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Peace time happens when we are thankful for every piece of time we have been given. Gratitude relaxes us during our rush-hour moments, especially if we get a glimpse of flashing lights in the distance. One deeper breath stops us from trying to track down what we can never catch and helps us remember …

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime.

Ecclesiastes 3:2-8, 11-12 NASB