Saturday, January 17, 2015

Seasons

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..." I'm a busy mom. As are all moms. In fact, the word mom is synonymous with the word busy. What's important as a mom, however, is knowing when you're too busy. I am too busy.

The past several months, I've realized I can't maintain this pace any longer. In addition to my writing blog, I have a grief blog, a private blog, a FB page, and a message board website that I update weekly. In addition to these, I took on the task of putting out our local Compassionate Friends quarterly newsletter. Throw in homeschooling the five youngest kids and picking up the second oldest from her PSEO classes daily, as well as transporting one student to and from the public school for band class three days a week, then add a dash of doctor, dentist, physical therapy, and orthodontist appointments, and you've got one busy mother. And that's not even including the evening activities!

Something has to change because, as Einstein defined it, insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I want to give so much more to my writing blog, but feel that I fall short every week. I'm tired of feeling guilty. I want to write something of substance, but this crazy busy season of my life only reminds me that I have perhaps expected too much of myself for right now. Additionally, I've been frustrated because I haven't worked on my picture book manuscripts in months. I need what author Dr. Richard Swenson calls margin.

So how do I create margin? I believe I need to cut back on my blogs, though it seems counter-productive. After all, it's still writing. However, I'm becoming more and more convinced that that's what I need to do. I can't move forward with manuscript submissions until my manuscripts are ready. And they're not ready because I have no margin. I hate cutting back, too, because I feel like a failure, like I've given up. Though I know that's not the truth, it still stinks.

The bright side of all this, though, is that I know it is for a season. I believe the LORD is telling me I need to slow down, to stop comparing myself with other writers, and to leave my work to His timing. I believe He's telling me to trust Him in all things, especially in the busy season I am currently experiencing. I have so much yet to learn and have really only scratched the surface. I need to do more reading and studying of the writing craft. I don't want to post merely for the sake of keeping a schedule. So all this to say that I will be posting monthly from now on. How's the margin in your life, dear readers? Is God calling you to re-focus, to slow down? If so, take heart. With His help, we will be better for it. There is a season.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Illustrator spotlight

Today's blog post puts our very own Ann Panning in the spotlight! Her amazing artwork speaks for itself.





Ann's FB page can be found here: Wisdom Works Art. Be sure to "Like" the FB page and spread the word about this wonderful woman's talent! Your home would be blessed beautiful with one of Ann's artwork pieces.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Five




It's time for another "Friday Five." I'm listing five "survival" tactics I've used to help me get through this busy season.




1. Take advantage of waiting time.
Any and all appointments are opportunities to either read or write. Five minutes of writing has worth!

2. Ask for help!
I've met many wonderful people on this writing journey, and they have been more than willing to give feedback on my current manuscript when I asked. Additionally, just because a critique group meets monthly doesn't mean you have to wait a month to exchange feedback. Also, they are usually more than happy to be a guest-blogger/writer. Guest-blogging is a wonderful way to network, as well.

3. Skip the guilt!
During the holidays, cut out whatever is unnecessary. Instead of doing it all, why not purpose to do less? This year, I determined not to do any holiday baking. Not only am I not experiencing the sugar highs and lows, but I'm enjoying the freedom it has brought. It's been stress-free in the kitchen and a tad easier on the budget. However, I'm not at all opposed to my teen girls baking! ;) It's o.k. to do less. I've learned that, typically, I'm the one expecting the most from myself, not others. This year, I'm skipping the guilt (and lowering the expectations).

4. Read more.
I've been intentional about shutting down the computer and turning off the television each night. It's usually short, only about an hour, but it's an hour of worthwhile reading. I'm slowly eating that elephant one bite at a time! (The elephant a.k.a. the "to read" pile.) I also made a pact with myself that I couldn't start (or buy!) any new books until I finished the ones I'm currently reading.

5. Keep the routine.
This is probably the most difficult survival tactic to implement! There's nothing like the holidays and vacation to throw off one's routine. However, I've been focused and firm in saying no to things and activities that leave me feeling stressed. If I can't envision feeling energized or refreshed from a particular event, then I take that as a clue to decline in participating. I don't want to end the holidays feeling more exhausted or feeling as if I have to play catch-up once "real" routine resumes.

So there you have it. My survival tactics for the holidays. How are you doing, dear readers? Do you have any advice for surviving the holidays? Did you survive them well?  I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment!