Monday, February 21, 2011

A Day in the Life Of...

Today, on my glorious day off, I...

  • Read a devotional. I know. I said I was going to wake up and read my Bible. But my Bible was downstairs. And my devotional was next to my bed.
  • Sent some sponsorship letters. My intention yesterday was to immediately begin my writing (I'm working on a second novel) following my Bible reading (which, revised, turned into devotional reading). But once I was through with the devotional, I was thinking about my trip this summer. Oh, you haven't heard? I'm planning on going with a missions team to Peru. My original intention was to fund the trip myself, completely. I still may end up doing that. But I also realized that if some people truly wanted to be a part of what awesome stuff we were doing, then maybe it wasn't a terrible thing to let them know I'd be open to receiving their gift. And besides, the donations are tax deductible. I'd been praying about it and thinking about it, so immediately after my devotional, I logged on to facebook and sent some letters to some people. Not a ton (I have 360 facebook friends--how cool is that? 360!), but enough to get a feel for how the sponsorship thing is going. Regardless of whether I have outside contributors or not, I know God is going to do some incredible things in Peru this summer. I can't wait!
  • Went for a run. A six miler! And oh, wow, it was the most perfect running weather imaginable. The temperature was lovely. The wind was gentle and refreshing. It never rained, but it was overcast and cool... and just an all around great time. Time, as in, experience. My actual time was 59 minutes, which isn't particularly impressive, but as I usually run about 9 minute miles in 5ks, 59 minutes isn't awful for me.
  • Finished writing a chapter in said book. (After a shower) I got to work (in my robe and a tee-shirt), hunkered down, and banged out the rest of a chapter that I'd been stuck on.
  • Sent a query. I'm still querying for my first novel, in hopes of obtaining representation.
  • Received a rejection. And this, of course, would be why I'm still querying.
  • Had a cheesesteak on whole wheat from WaWa. Yum.
  • Wrote a Student Learning Map. Even though I never use maps (for anything), our district creates student learning maps for the kids. So since we're starting a new unit tomorrow, I went into school and put in a few hours looking at the concepts we'd decided to focus on with our next unit and wrote the student learning map. Before bed, I need to review the first act of what I'll be teaching (Caesar... at least, having taught it three years in a row, I could pretty much spout out the abbreviated version of the plot on demand...)
  • Reread the first act of The Importance of Being Earnest. I love this play! I've been waiting for an opportunity to teach it. I ordered it the year before last, but for various reasons haven't worked it into the curriculum yet. This year I decided to do it with my honors sections. So excited. I was reading it alone in my classroom and laughing out loud. Sadly, many of my students don't share my excellent sense of humor...
  • Made a billion copies and hand-stapled them all. I know, it hardly seems like blog worthy material, but until you've tackled a copier in a public school system, I maintain that you've never really tasted danger! Or, something like that. Seriously. The copier breaks every other time you go to use it. Or jams itself up and refuses to cooperate. I went all in and even attempted double-sided copies, and, must have been my day: not a single problem. Unless, of course, you count not having a staple function as a problem. I stood and hand-stapled everything for probably a good twenty minutes. But it was cool; I fit some prayer time in.
  • Played on facebook. What day would be complete without doing so? ("Complete," you say, or "productive for a change"?)
  • Went grocery shopping. Totally boring, but I had to do it. Also, I feel that I forgot many items, so I'll probably have to go again before the end of the week.
  • Checked the weather channel approximately 800 times. In my defense, it's not everyday that you have dream running weather (close to 60 degrees) during the day, followed by winter weather advisories in the evening. Umm, if we had a delay or closing tomorrow, that would officially make this my second favorite week of all time. (The first being the week that Kaliah was born. That was a long, long, LONG pregnancy. And holding my baby girl in my arms for the first time? Priceless). But yeah. Unexpected day off/delay following spring temeratures during the daytime would be pretty much like having my cake and eating it too... and by the way, I don't get that expression. What the heck else are you SUPPOSED to do with cake if you don't eat it? Hmmm?

And now, I'm back in my robe, blogging, and dreaming about a delay tomorrow. (I know. But you can't sit cake in front of me and expect me not to salivate. I just don't have that kind of will power.)

Go snow!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thanks, Abe and George!

A big shout out to the dead presidents who keep me home from school tomorrow!

In all seriousness, we enjoy many freedoms and priviledges that should not be taken lightly, and I know this. Also, the gentlemen we honor on Presidents' Day deserve to be recognized as more than yet another reason that kids have off from school.

Despite this, in this particular moment... I am so, so, SO glad for a day off tomorrow.

So, once again, a big shout out to Abe and George.

You see... I've been so BUSY lately. I know, so have you. So has everyone. But I've gotta be honest, my days have been so jam packed, it's like there's not enough time to even blink, or breathe. Forgive the lame use of hyperbole, but seriously... I'm in definite need of a day off tomorrow.

The idea of having a full day in which I'm not obligated to do anything or be anywhere is beyond exciting. Of course, I'll end up filling it with unexciting yet necessary tasks, such as cleaning, grading, and lesson planning. But there will also be time. Glorious, glorious time.

Time to sleep in. Time to read the Bible. Time to read just for the sake of reading (knocked out Things Fall Apart, by the way. Terribly sad, but a moving novel all the same. Totally get why it's a classic). Time to write. Yes, please, I am DESPERATE for time to write!

Since the Winter Writing Retreat, when I left so inspired and determined, I've found almost no time for writing. I don't know how that happens, but I'm pretty sure it's not unique to me and my writing. I think so many times, when we resolve to do something for ourselves, something we really enjoy, and especially after we've had a taste of doing that something, and are particularly encouraged, this little thing called "life" happens.

And then there are meetings to go to. And homework to sit and supervise as your child attempts to complete it. And stuff to bake. And a little thing called a career. And bedtime stories, and ballet practices, and doctor's appointments, and, and, and...

And the list goes on and on. And whatever it was, that thing that you do just for you (and for me, it's my writing)... it slowly falls by the wayside.

So here I sit, a month after the retreat. Knowing how shamefully few words I've written since I left, so ready to write on and on and on. I suppose it will be a constant struggle, because there won't be any more hours added to the day any time soon.

But I've got to prioritize. And no, my writing cannot come before my daughter. It can't come before God and the hours I put forth serving my church. It can't come before my job. If this means I'll never be published, I suppose I'll just have to accept that now.

But here's the thing--I love writing enough that though it can't be number one, it can make itself onto my list of daily must-dos. It's like 90% of my struggles on this planet... I've just got to get more organized. I've got to get a plan.

As an experiment: I'm going to start setting my alarm one and a half hours earlier. My Bible reading, which is now jammed in either at lunch time, or the end of the day, will now come first, in the extra half an hour. My writing will follow, and then I'll resume my regular schedule.

We'll see how it goes. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a morning person. But it would do me good to start the day looking at how God wants to speak with me. And to write everyday would help me stay fresh in my work, instead of having to reread everything I wrote before I'm able to continue writing, since it's been so long I can't even remember what I wrote!

Will it work? Time will tell. I won't be afraid to fail... because failure is just another part of life. But I also won't be afraid to try. There is a season for everything... and I'm feeling like I'm due for a change.

And thankfully, tomorrow, with all it's beautifully clean white slatedness, will be the perfect lazy day to implement my plan!

The true test, of course, will follow.