Thursday, December 21, 2017

Life Reboot

Have you ever felt like your brain was running on neutral?

Oh yeah- I am so there- in fact, it's been in neutral for so long, not only did I miss a blog post, but I posted a Christmas poem I posted last year!

The thing is, I did this without realizing it. How's that for neutral?

Surgical recovery is hard. At first it's hard to stay still (because you have to), and then it becomes hard because you get used to not moving. It's easy to slip into a mind-numbing state, binge-watching Netflix and being served by your family instead of the other way around. It's hard because when it's time to get back in the saddle and reboot your life, you hesitate. You don't really want to give up living like a queen and mount that runaway horse yet, do you? Ugh. No.

For most of us, life is like a runaway horse- no control, chaotic, and very stressful. Why would anyone in their right mind want to get back on that horse when they could spend more time 'recovering'?

God says there is a time for everything. My time for recovery is almost at an end. My time for runaway horse-riding is approaching.

Or is it?

In between binge-watching sessions, I've been working on a life reboot. When I'm ready to mount lifes' horse, I want to be the one holding the reins. And that means there are going to be some changes in this here corral!

I'll be honest with you- before surgery, I spent many hours each day in my writing space without accomplishing much. Facebook, emails, and other distractions turn productive writing time into a long period of wasted time. Yes, I like keeping up with Facebook friends, and cleaning out my emails is a needed task, but the problem is I'm not scheduling it. I don't block out a time to do these things. Instead, I write a little, and get distracted. For hours. And it has to stop. 

While I spent hours sequestered in my writing space not being productive, housework wouldn't get done either, and I'd depend on my family to take up the slack. That was fine- even expected- during recovery, but now I need to step up as a wife and mom and start cracking the whip- on myself. The husband may be the leader of the family, but the wife is the glue that holds the family together.

That's what this reboot is all about. It has nothing to do with the New Year! It's just a happy coincidence.

Many of you feel as I do- that you're on a runaway horse with no control over your life. How do we let ourselves get into that state? Not everyone has the recovery time like I was given to contemplate lifestyle changes- you have to do it as you hold onto that horse! But if you set your mind to the task, you can slow that horse down enough to retrain it.

You'd be amazed how much time you can find in between the cracks to do this!

I found my time by giving up binge-watching Netflix. I also uninstalled time-sucking games on my phone. As much as I love them, I know they're bad for me. This saved me hours per day and allowed me to open my schedule for other things I needed to get done or accomplish. Take a look at your schedule and see where your extra time is hiding!

Oddly enough, cutting down my writing time has actually increased my writing productivity! I set deadlines for myself each day (including free time like Facebook and emails), setting a timer when I need to so I stay on track. I've done it a few times during recovery (mainly because I wasn't supposed to be at my desk for hours...oops), and it worked well. I'm going to be testing this timer method throughout the week and tweak it when needed. 

Pray, schedule, read, learn, accomplish. That is my mantra for this upcoming year.

By the time I'm fully recovered, I won't be riding a runaway horse- at least for the most part- and God is going to help me enjoy the ride!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Real Christmas Joys!

Real Christmas Joys
By Beth Brubaker

Santa, sleighs and colors bright,
illuminate the dark of night,
but do not glorify the plight,
of the baby in the shadows.

Oh the glitter- how it shines!
From sparkling gifts and twinkling twine,
distracting us from the Divine-
the toddler in the shadows.

Songs are sung of snowman's tales,
of reindeers' nose and grinchy fails,
but no one hears His love prevails, 
from the child within the shadows.

Fam'lies gather, parties planned,
for feast of food and music grand, 
How can we see the pleading hand,
of the child within the shadows?

Did we forget what god did lose,
He spent His son to pay our dues,
and sent his son as a child imbued,
within a mangers' shadows.

The child when grown to man will give,
His life for us so we may live, 
When we believe and then forgive,
Blessed by the Man in shadows.

The lights, the gifts, lose their array,
inane songs fade when He comes our way,
and we can celebrate the day,
He brought us from the shadows!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

MEH-ry Christmas

I just can't 'Christmas' this year.
It's not a depression thing. It's not a Scrooge thing. It's the simple fact that I just can't physically do the things I love doing this time of year.
And I'm missing it terribly.
I'm usually somewhat ready by now- at least decoration-wise. And I usually have most of my shopping done.
I've not been working for several weeks now, and my odd jobs usually cover the extra costs. We've had years like this before, so I usually get creative and make something for everyone. I'm not remotely recovered enough to do any of my backup plans for gift-giving.
There is nothing like the feeling of giddiness you get when making something for someone else! 
I love real pine trees to decorate. Because we have cats, we usually put the tree on the porch. But my son withdrew from college and is currently a porch resident, so no real tree. We have a little three foot table tree that we decorate with cat-friendly ornaments and put on a side table for Christmas. But no one has time (and I can't lift things yet) to drag it out- at least not yet.
We usually get a Douglas fir- they smell so awesome, and when you rub the needles between your fingers, it smells like tangerines! I love the expression on someone's face when I show someone who has never experienced this. It's really awesome.
This week is usually when I'm in super cookie-baking mode. We have three traditional cookies we make- chocolate chip, sprinkle butter cookies, and monster cookies. Our record is 150 dozen, but I have yet to bake a single one. I miss the home-baked cookie smell, the scented Christmas candles, and the stereo blasting out Christmas music around the entire house. I miss the purposely off-key singing and sporadic funny change in the lyrics when my husband, kids and I are doing a baking day. Especially when Elvis sings 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' and makes the word 'mistletoe' sound so weird, we just HAVE to poke fun at it!
Things have been so chaotic, there isn't even an inkling of Christmas in our house. It feels more like October than December.
I can't lift anything, and I'm not supposed to be moving too much. I've already overdone it too many times that when I do move, I get enough glares that I know better than to move too fast or far. I feel like a tree stump amidst a flurry of bees. So I do what I can, and sit or lay when I must so I don't hurt myself...again.
It so frustrating to want to do stuff and you're not allowed!

I first expressed these feelings in Facebook- I don't normally like to post stuff like this on my blog, but I realize some of you might be feeling the same, and a friend encouraged me to share my thoughts with you. She also shared a blog post that helped me a lot.

Being Still

It's not easy being at rest in the world today. Gadgets and tech in our faces, people constantly bombarding us with needs, and schedules that are filled to the brim with everything but rest and peace. So sometimes God has to step in and remind us to rest and be with Him for a while.

Christmas isn't about all the hullabaloo. Inside I know that. But I still get so caught up in the busyness that I forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place- to spend time with God. 

We celebrate His son's birth. 
Even most companies close so people can rest and spend time with their families.

So that's what I'm going to do. God gifted me with recovery time, so I'll use it wisely.

I don't need decorations.
I don't even need a tree.
Or presents.

The gift I've been given and supposed to share is time. Something that can't be refunded at the stores.

It's so much more precious that anything in this life we could ever acquire.

So this Christmas season, when no one is here, I'll read, pray, and recover. When they're home, I'll talk, laugh and enjoy my family, friends, and neighbors.

I still miss those traditional things, but now they don't seem as important as they did earlier.

At the beginning of this post, it was a MEH-ry Christmas. But now? It's getting a lot more Merry by the second!