Sunday, November 30, 2008

Signs of the Season

I plan to get back to regular posting tomorrow. For now, I'm content to report that I'm back home and nesting my home for winter. The tree is up, with my brand new silver "Grace" ornament. For those of you keeping track, that's the 4th exception to the bears only rule for my tree.
I consider myself to be fairly low maintenance when it comes to personal upkeep. So while it's dismaying that it now takes so many lotions and creams to keep my skin from flaking away and my hair from flying away, the extra pampering is rather enjoyable.
I baked brownies tonight so the house smells good. The only problem is snow is in the forecast. I could do without that.
What do you do to prepare for the season?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

If today was any indication of the week's busyness this will likely be my last post for the week. Everyone have a safe, happy, blessed Thanksgiving.
The students in my creative writing class were thankful for some interesting things today. I challenged them to write about anything but family, shelter, food, all the stuff we know we are thankful for. I so loved hearing their responses. A couple of things stood out. One person commented about things in her personality she is grateful for. At first, you might think this is prideful. But really, she was simply acknowledging her ability to see the gifts around her, as well as her own strengths; all of which have helped her through some pretty tough stuff. Other people talked about things we don't often take the time to be grateful for; things we in fact have a hard time being thankful for.
Think about your job or your education. In junior high school you probably weren't so thankful for algebra. Today, I have to admit I'm having a hard time being thankful for my job. But both education and employment are undeniable blessings not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy. So perhaps we ought to cultivate gratitude specifically for those things we have a hard time being thankful for.
What parts of your own personality were uniquely designed to help you face life's challenges? Which of life's challenges are you grateful for?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Motivational Tools

I recently joined Twitter. I'd like to use it for networking, and as a way to enhance my productivity. My theory in joining it was that the brevity of the posts is appealing, and communicating with others would help keep me accountable in an almost micro-management sense. If I tell you I'm going to write or go do the dishes, I become a little more compelled to do so.
I'm still giving Twitter a shot, but I'm encountering a few roadblocks. One is that seeing the wonderful posts of all my creative writerly friends is actually a little intimidating. By the time I get home from work, people have twittered away for hours about their accomplishments. My little blog posts and couple of hours left for writing and art feel inferior by comparison.
So I'm going to go think about some ways to overcome my inferiority complex. As long as I'm in a true confessions mood, here's me current media line up:

Current music: So Cruel, U2
Current Netflix: Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, Season 2
Current read: Not currently reading any books; I am gleaning tons of info from my most recent issues of Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Discipleship Journal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Changing Traditions?

For the last several years, around this time I start to think about what goals I have for the upcoming year. I take a look at what I accomplished over the past year and where I fell short so I can adjust my goals accordingly. Along with setting specific, manageable goals in several areas, each year I select a Bible verse as my theme for the year.
As I've mentioned before, I like variety in my systems, be it for cleaning, exercise, or general time management. I'm wondering if this detailed approach to annual goals might not suit me at the moment. I do like the Bible verse theme for the year. I'm just at a loss for what to pick for this year. I do want some way to record my hopes & goals for the upcoming year. I'm just not sure where to start this year.
Over the next few weeks I'll be doing some thinking and experimenting with setting goals. I welcome any suggestions regarding how you approach your own New Year's goals & resolutions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well, Just Watch

Short on time, short on energy, short on patience. And it's only Monday. This is for a friend who had as bad of a day as I did.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Accidental Shopper

Last weekend I'd planned a perfectly innocent trip to the bookstore with my Mom. I go every few weeks to pick up a magazine or two that I don't subscribe to for various reasons. Then my father suggested that we go to the mall and make it an afternoon "family thing." This should have been my first clue that something was amiss in the cosmos; dad wanting to go to the mall should have sent me hiding under the bed. Did I listen to the cosmos? No, I went to the mall.
So, the bookstore at the mall did not have the current issue of my magazine. There was an issue of a magazine I pick up only rarely, so I picked that up. Fair enough. Then I spotted a magazine I like, but never see at my own local bookstore. Vaguely acknowledging the fact that I was heading towards a slippery slope, I grabbed that magazine too.
Now if this bookstore has magazines my bookstore doesn't have, I reasoned they would be likely to have books my bookstore might not have. I just wanted to look at the books on handmade books, for my Christmas list. And one of the books jumped off the shelf and landed in my lap. I didn't mean for it to happen. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it). Figuring it was the cosmos speaking again, I went with it.
Finally, Mom wanted to pick out something to wear for Christmas. As Dad & I waited for her to try on various options, I realized we were waiting under a 50% off sale sign. I tried not to look at the clothes under the sign. I really did. But a flash of my favorite colors caught my eye. At half off, it was a good deal. The parental reviews on the blouse in question were mixed. Still, it merited a trip to the fitting room. Once the blouse was tried on, the parents supported the purchase, agreeing that it looked quite nice on me.
And that is how I spent ten times what I should have spent at the store last weekend. I blame the cosmos.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't Wanna

I was out of town over the weekend so I have missed a post or two. Usually when that happens I have a hard time getting back into the habit of blogging. I almost skipped blogging tonight for that reason. But I started thinking about what I tell my Creative Writing students. I tell them to start writing about how they don't want to write.
So that's pretty much what I'm telling y'all. I'm tired. I have a headache. I have at least a half a dozen idea about future blog posts, but I just don't feel like writing them tonight. I was supposed to go to bed early and I've blown that goal big time. I have a hard time balancing writing with the other duties of life. If it's a night when I need to do other things, shifting gears to writing is hard.
Maybe that's what I need to work on. Transitions. I need to find a way to shift gears without stalling.
Would you look at that? I started out all whining and ended up with a take away- for myself. Hope it was useful to y'all as well. Any idea for transitions between activities?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rethinking The Sabbath

I've been having some trouble with my Sunday afternoons. Actually, the problem begins before that. By the end of the week I am so tired that I'm good for nothing on Saturday. So I putz around, watch movies, take naps, and do very little.
This means that on Sundays I have to do laundry and all the other chores that I didn't get to during the week. And try to squeeze in some productive writing and art time. I don't like this arrangement because I would prefer to have Sunday be my day of rest. I'm not happy with a "veg out" day substituting for time I could be using to grow spiritually and personally.
Enter Happy Fun Night. Some of you might recall that I recently started experimenting with making Wednesday nights my Happy Fun Night. This was to help get me through the week, as it can be challenging to do that some weeks. I've had occasional moderate success with this. I think it's hard to coordinate a major fun, or social event in the middle of the week.
So, I'm reinventing Happy Fun Night into a Sabbath Night. Reading, journaling, praying, yoga. And because both are a spiritual practice for me, I'm going to include art and writing. I might even let the occasional manicure and bubble bath slip in. I'm pretty sure God will be cool with that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Few Things

Recently, I suggested that the folks at Levenger might owe me the new True Writer Fountain Pen they developed, plus five bucks. This was on account of how they reduced the price of a different fountain pen by five bucks just after I bought it. Not only did they then make this new pen that they did not see fit to give to me, they actually had the nerve(!) to create an even newer pen that I covet even more. Seriously, I mean, they ought to at least let me figure out how to justify one new pen before they go making another one.
In other news, I joined both Twitter and LinkedIn. It remains to be seen if either will be useful and in what capacity. I've already discovered both are less of a time sink than Facebook. In fact, one of my hopes for Twitter is that it will actually improve my productivity. I hope to use it as a way to "check in" several times a day. If I tell my followers I'm going to write, I'd better write.
Speaking of productivity, I cleaned off my writing desk and I reconfigured my art space. I'm particularly pleased with my art space. I made use of a CD tower turned on its side, a spice rack, an ice cube tray, and various other containers to clear the vast majority of my kitchen table. Now the space is ready for me to get to making some art. So there.