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Showing posts from April, 2010

handling time

I am one of those fortunate people who does not work a 9-5 job. Though I did trek off to a 35-40 hour work week for many years, at some point I realised that I do much better outside of the grind. Not financially, at least not yet, but in every other way, I thrive in a self-directed environment. I suppose many creative people do. As great as it sounds, managing your own schedule can be much more challenging than the 9 - 5 scene. The possibilities are endless, but in direct proportion, so are the opportunities to squander your precious resources, especially time.

This lifestyle is not for everyone, but here are a few things I have found helpful over the years. I don't get it right every day, but I am getting better at it.

1. Know your values. At the end of the day or the week, what use of your time will leave you content and satisfied, filled with a sense of purpose and gratitude? Make sure those things find priority on your schedule, along with all the necessary tasks of life.

2. Thi…

don't forget

I forget things sometimes. I am especially bad at remembering people's names when I first meet them and they introduce themselves. In the past few weeks I have been reading a fiction book that deals with early onset Alzheimer's Disease and it freaked me out a little. Nothing like a little medical fiction to make you paranoid about losing your mind! Anyway, yesterday I was on my way to the theatre to meet Dean for our regular Tuesday night date at the movies. As I was looking at the unseasonal slushy sleet outside the bus window, I was trying to remember the name of some person. I managed to come up with it fairly quickly, but once again started thinking about this annoying selective forgetfulness that I suffer from. And quite unexpectedly came this still, small voice in my head that said, "You don't listen very well."
Really? I wondered if this was true. I have always considered myself a fairly good listener, but the pang of conviction that hit me when I heard th…

sorry

I love forgiveness. Today I checked my online banking status and thought my credit card statement was a bit high. I looked through my last month's purchases and aside from a splurge on books for my upcoming reading course, there was nothing significant that would account for the large amount owing. Well, after a bit of research, I discovered that last month I paid $600 towards Dean's credit card instead of my own (they are right beside each other on the bill payment list). Oops! After I discovered the mistake, I immediately paid my bill, 6 days late, and hoped the interest charges wouldn't be too bad.

Dean suggested that I call the credit card people to explain and make sure it didn't affect my credit rating. Really? That just seemed silly. I made the mistake, I will pay for it. Why do they need to hear my whiny excuses about how I failed to distinguish between two really long numbers on a list? Blonde, distracted moment, pure and simple.

Well, I decided I could call and…

transformation 2

I have a new answer to the oft-asked, "How are you?" My response these days is: "I am in need of some transformation!" The thing about being in a learning environment is that you can come head to head with information that makes you uncomfortable. The question then is: Do I just do my homework or do I grapple with this information at a deeper and more personal level? I venture to say that if we are not up for transformation, then we are not up for study or learning.

The second paper I wrote this semester was for a class that dealt with hermeneutics and ecclesiology (discovering biblical meaning within the context of a faith community). We talked a lot about transformational discourse. I wrote many wonderful words on the topic, but when talking about transformation, watch out! It just might sneak up and bite you in the butt! At two points in this course, it did. Here are my 'Ouch!' moments.

1. We were assigned a reading from Thomas Aquinas, The Ten Articles to…

transformation one

Yesterday, I handed in my last two papers of the semester. As it happens, they both addressed the issue of transformation. WARNING: when you write about a topic, very often you get to experience it! This should come as no surprise, because you don't really learn about something until you live it. In my Reformation class, I wrote a paper about the journey of reformer, Teresa of Avila (1515-1582).

Here's a quote from my introduction: The simple imposition of structural change or new organizational rules from an external source does not result in any lasting transformation unless these coincide with a radical shift in the souls and in the minds of the persons who are at the heart of change. If there is no one who believes that certain modifications are vital to well-being and if there are none who are passionate enough about these revisions to suffer the hardships that come with the incorporation of innovations, reform will not survive.

Here are the 4 important components of transf…

soul refrigerator

I went grocery shopping yesterday and came home with three bags of food. After I unpacked them all, this is what my fridge looked like: really empty. How does that happen? How can I feel so full and ready for any food emergency one moment, and after one quick glance, realise that I have nothing, really?

Today is one of those days in my soul as well. I woke up with gratitude and fullness in my heart, ready to take on this day and all the wonderful opportunities that it presented. Then I caught a brief glance of some emptiness in my life and bam - my buoyancy was compromised. For the past few hours I have been treading water, trying to keep my head in a positive space, bobbing in and out of disappointment, and catching myself whining with pathetic indignity at the cement blocks of other people's stupidity that are tangled around my ankles. When I am staring at the empty refrigerator of my soul, these are my thoughts.
Where do I go from here? Perhaps I should slam that refrigerator shu…

the prodigal cat

Last night Jazz jumped out of our 4th storey bedroom window. Dean and I were doing our taxes in the office area which is right next to the bedroom when I heard a scrape and a thump, so I wandered over to the open window to see what it was. Though it was dark, I could make out a furry lump on the balcony 12 feet below me. I exclaimed, "Jazz!" and heard a worried meow in response. I rushed downstairs and opened the sliding door. Jazz streaked inside, all four legs moving quickly as she fled from the unpleasant scene of her botched escape. A typical resilient cat, she seemed none the worse for wear except for a bruised mouth from her hard landing.

Jazz is obsessed with going outside. A safe, warm, and loving home where every need is provided for doesn't quite seem to do it for her. She wants to be free! Free to sniff trees, gawk at birds, chase other cats, chew blades of grass, and roll in the dirt. Free to encounter speeding cars and big dogs and bone-chilling winters. Free…

10 good distractions

I make lists of things that I need to do every day. This breaking down of huge tasks into Matte-size bites is one of the ways I keep from being overwhelmed by the largeness of life. I have developed pretty good habits in order to stay focused and meet deadlines. One of those important habits is to take time for beautiful distractions. They inspire me, they feed my soul, they bring joy, they grow gratitude, and miraculously, never mess up the schedule beyond repair.

Here are 10 of my favourite distractions:

1. Going for a walk: in the park, around the block, on the beach, to the store, anywhere and anytime there is always something interesting to be seen and I am just so thrilled to be able to walk and yeah, I occasionally break into a run!
2. Playing with the cat: she purrs, rubs herself against me, chases things and is just so darn cute and fun. Sometimes messy and grouchy, but aren't we all? She is a smaller, furrier, stupider version of me, I think. Aww, she is peeking out at me f…

hair

I had another hair incident this past week. I have been bouncing from hairdresser to hairdresser since my regular stylist, Diana, left the business to go back to school over a year ago. I first tried the owner of the salon where Diana used to work and after a few less than successful appointments (one where she forgot me under the dryer and another where she cut my bangs waaaay too short), I decided to move on. I made an appointment at the trendy salon in the mall and got the oldest guy there, a man in his sixties. The colour was great, but I came out with a high maintenance haircut, the opposite of what I had asked for.

Last week, I was in a bit of a rush because of my school schedule, so when I found a salon which had good online reviews and was just a block from the university, I gave it a try. I walked in and my first clue should have been that the place was empty. Of clients, that is. There were a group of men having some kind of meeting, it seemed. I couldn't understand what …