Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bullet Journal quick guide

A quick update--Kim at Tiny Ray of Sunshine has created a one-page Bullet Journal reference guide. I've just printed it out for my own reference.

Also, someone has translated it into German for her. Other languages are in the works, and she said she will update her post to add them as they come along.

[image from Tiny Ray of Sunshine blog]

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A tiny link roundup

I've been noticing so many interesting things lately. Here are a few that I want to share.

I've taken up bullet journaling. I first heard about it from Emily P. Freeman, but naturally my tipping point didn't come until after I purchased a preprinted 2016 planner... but when Target put Moleskine dot-gridded journals on clearance, I made the jump. The best article about bullet journaling, in my opinion, is the one from the Lazy Genius Collective called How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide. It really is.

Speaking of Emily P. Freeman, the other day she published a blog post called A Prayer for a Hopeful Vision. The very first line grabbed me by the throat: "We’ve developed a bad habit of praying for clarity." You can read the rest for yourself, if you so choose, but I think she's onto something. And it seems to be out there in the zeitgeist, too. For all I know, Emily may be reading The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith by A.J. Swoboda, but I just ran across a review of it today. And here's a second review. Looks interesting. I've added it to the "Book Recommendations" page in my bullet journal.

Finally, Ann Voskamp shared this video on her blog, A Holy Experience. It's impactful.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Home alone

It's Friday morning. I took the day off work because I planned to go to a knitting retreat in a town 2 hours' drive away, a little 2-day gathering to knit and eat and chat and attend a couple informal workshops.

Instead I'm writing this blog post. I took the day off anyway, but I'm not going anywhere. My husband broke his wrist a week ago and it's in a cast from the elbow down.

Now I'm sure a healthy person could manage by themselves for 30 hours with one arm in a cast--even the dominant arm. But my husband is chronically ill. Adding another health crisis has him reeling. He needs help opening his medication bottles... he needs help covering himself up in the bed, sometimes.

So this is the life of the spouse of someone who's chronically ill. Holding plans lightly in case you have to cancel them at the last minute. Working around his needs.

I'm disappointed, of course. I thought about going to work, for about three seconds... but I already asked for the vacation day, and getting a day off is somewhat of a consolation. OK, I'll admit it: going to work instead of going to the knitting retreat would be rubbing salt in the wound.

Two months ago, I was asked to consider going on a six-day mission trip to teach knitting. My church has been partnering with a church in the Dominican Republic, and started a sewing ministry a year or so ago to teach poor women a marketable skill. These women now want to learn to crochet and knit as well.

My first instinct was to say, "I can't leave my husband alone for that long." And they laughed, thinking I was making a helpless hubby joke. Turns out my husband's health status isn't common knowledge at my church. But even after being informed, they were saying, "Have faith! What if someone brought him meals?" Meals are the least of my worries with him--he doesn't even eat some days. And there's always Domino's.

I started a flurry of Facebook messages with two friends at church who DO know the situation, and also have experience with chronic illness. One, who also has a chronically ill husband, said, "People just don't get it."

Our final conclusion? It's one thing to have faith, and it's another to fling yourself (or someone else) off the pinnacle of the temple and expect the angels to catch you.

My primary ministry in this season of my life is to take care of my husband to the extent he needs it. Any other ministry opportunities have to fit in around that, and also can only take up so much of my energy. I turned down another ministry opportunity more recently, even though it would have been right here in town and maybe only once a week, because I felt I didn't have the energy. I prayed about it, and did not get any sense the Lord wanted me to do it.

The Lord knew my husband was going to break his wrist slipping on the last ice of the season.

This weekend I'm going to go sit on the couch at my local yarn store for an hour or three, and knit and chat with whoever else is there. It's not the same. But it's as close as I can come right now.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I know not how

Once I had my own plan for my life....

Ruth Simons of wrote in a recent blog post:
We tend to strive and maneuver ourselves to gain the life we think we want, but I dare say, the Lord is merciful to cause the most wondrous blessings to occur apart from fine-tuned plans and well-rehearsed strategies. That's how he gets the glory and we get to be his children. He delights in using those who think they've been forgotten, whose giftings aren't fully realized, whose daily decision to be faithful right where they are trumps being fabulous elsewhere. (emphasis original)

I so relate to this. I strove and maneuvered through my 30's for my own ambitions, only to crash and burn. Now I sit feeling forgotten and like I've failed in realizing my giftings.

I'm focusing on the wrong part of her sentence.

Ruth Simons is writing from the other side of this experience, the blessing side, and it gives me hope. Hope that the place where I'm at could lead to God using my talents for His glory. That He would delight in that?

I don't know what that might look like. One "daily decision to be faithful right where I am" means working full time at an office. I used to dream of writing full time while my husband supported me (until I made the big time anyway), but that's a dream I've given up on. His disability check all goes for his medical care, the part that my company-sponsored insurance plan doesn't cover.

I do have an unexpected blessing in my job--I'm now writing for a living. It's technical writing, documentation for the software my employer produces. I'm thankful to the Lord that He maneuvered me into a corporate writing job. It certainly wasn't by my maneuvering!

I still feel drawn to writing that's a little more creative, and I still feel the Lord wants me to blog. I decided I should write one blog post a month for the first half of 2016 and re-evaluate mid-year. So here I am on January 30th banging out a post that will go out today or tomorrow, ready or not.

If the Lord's plan for my writing involves more than software documentation, it'll happen on the Saturday mornings and the occasional other little chinks of time between work and laundry and dog-walking. And the following scripture indicates to me that I don't have to know how it's going to happen.
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”--Mark 4:26-29 (ESV)