Monday, December 26, 2005

Looking forward

Even before Christmas arrives with all its festivities, the planner-by-nature in me looks forward to the new year to make things better than before. In the past when I have made resolutions for the new year, I did not despair when they weren't achieved or throw up my hands and proclaim "I'll never make another resolution!" Instead, I ponder how they could be achieved, what changes I could make to "get there."

Typically, I have had two times a year that I did this sort of planning: during the weeks of August prior to the beginning of school and during the weeks of December prior to the beginning of the new year. Since my homeschooling season-of-life is now officially over, I look forward to teaching in a conventional school setting next school year. That gives me a few months for other activities. Here is a list of some things I want to do by that time:

✢ I want to establish a do-able self-education time to study church history and a particular (yet so far, undecided) period of history.

✢ I want to finally meet my goal at Weight Watchers (and stay there).

✢ I want to clean out the attic.

✢ I want to make and follow a cleaning schedule for the home. (You would be surprised just how things change when kids grow up and have a life of their own, so to speak.)

✢ I want to be able to find and make some good freezer meals to make life easier when I go back to work.

✢ I want to continue to follow the reading plan I devised for myself.

✢ I want to continue to walk my 3 mile route several times per week and listen to all The Teaching Company courses that I have during that time.

✢ I want the schoolroom to have a nice transformation which will involve clearing more shelves of homeschooling material I will never use again.

To be able to achieve only some of these goals, I need to make better use of my time. To make better use of my time will definitely involve cutting back on computer time which is not something that will be easy for me to do. Home alone with no one else needing to use the computer, it will be somewhat akin to having chips-and-dip setting open on the counter as I walk by. Hard not to pick up one and walk on. Too easy to indulge.

One thing I do know: None of the goals I've made for myself will be accomplished if I do not change computer habits. Now that I'm not actively homeschooling, I don't have the urge to contribute to TWTM boards. (Besides, the make-up and pace of the boards have become so different than they were several years ago that the appeal is not like it was. At least for me.) So, there is no good reason to visit there so regularly. I can spend more time than I want to admit scrolling through the plethora of posts. And for what reason?

Also, I've found that while I have enjoyed this new blogging adventure, it takes up more time than I really should devote to it. And for what purpose? I have enjoyed the creativity aspect of the blog but have used up many minutes (hours?) that I could have used toward meeting my goals that really will make a difference for me.

Typically for the past few years, I've taken a week-long sabbatical after Christmas to go to my sister's. While she is at work, I sort out my goals for the coming year, sort through accummulated papers and file or throw away, enjoy the down time of no cooking or cleaning or other household expectations, read in my jammmies until I decide to roll out of the bed each morning, and watch HGTV and Discovery Health to my heart's content (since we do not have, nor can get, cable).

Tomorrow begins my sabbatical. And I plan to think long and hard about how I can or if I should, continue blogging. I've certainly met and had interesting and uplifting conversations with many who have sparked my interest in various ways. I would miss those interactions, yet if I could restrain myself, I could still visit those places for the same interactions. Certainly, when I start back to work in seven or eight months, I will not have the kind of time I do now on the computer. Lots of thinking to do.

So, I will be away on winter sabbatical for at least a week. And maybe find a way to do all these things, and do them well, making the most of my time.


Patty in WA said...

Greetings, Janie: I am interested in your planning, even as I am doing a lot of the same thinking but for different reasons. I *still* have a kid in homeschool (and will for 8 more years), but I am sensing an urge to have a life that looks a little different from what it looks like now. And I'm trying to think of how to make that happen.

Over Advent, I had some amount of time to myself, something I have been craving, and using as the Theme Complaint for "If I only had some time to myself, I would..." and then I had a list of things I would do. But you know, I didn't do *any* of them. Which makes me think that I am not very disciplined...or that I don't really know what I want. I'm suspecting that the latter is the case, because I am learning that I have a tremendous amount of discipline (via another avenue). So now I have to work on "Call".

And one thing I learned from killing my blog: It was a relief for a while. But sometimes I miss it. And I think I could have been more moderate in my response to the time it took. That is, I think if I had just not let the "dailyness" of the "blog requirement" get to me, I would have enjoyed it a lot more...I would have had time and inclination to post more thoughtful blogs (like thinking through what it means that churches cancelled services on Christmas Sunday...). Anyway, it's just a thought for you as you think about what your blog is "for". I will miss it if you go away. Partly because *I* went away, and partly because you are not on TWTM anymore...

Have a wonderful sabbatical.

Patty in WA said...

By the way, there was a chapter in Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey that indeed dealt with some of the questions I had re: the history of the church in America and the seeds sown in the early days that have yielded the plant of today that causes churches to cancel Sunday worship on Christmas. It was a very good chapter. That book was one I have wanted to read for a long time, but I didn't know the name of it, if you know what I mean.

Carol in Oregon said...

Janie, your post resonates with me. Each and every paragraph is a springboard for more discussion. My last child is a freshman so I have three more years, but I have been giving thought to how my life will change when those responsibilities are over.

I pray that you have a good week ahead of you as you work through these issues. And, if you choose to stop blogging, I will miss you very, very much!

Donna Boucher said...

Dear Janie,

I have delighted in getting to know you better through this blog. I hope you will continue for very selfish reasons :o)

The question I ask myself when it comes to writing a blog is; What is my purpose for keeping it?

My reason may be different than your reason. But it is good to determine.

I can see keeping a blog as a way to keep in touch with family. As a way to practice writing skills (by working at it regularly) I can see using it as an educational tool or even evangelical tool.

I happen to keep a blog as a way to fulfill Titus 2. We are not members of a church and I did not have a way to do Bible studies with younger women. Plus being new to town, I did not have many contacts.

So on those days that I don't really know why I am blogging and if it has any value...I remember my reason for starting...
and I continue on in my simple way of encouraging women to love their husbands and children and...God.

May God give you clarity, Janie.


Dana Miller said...

Hi Janie,
I sincerely hope that you do continue your blog. I have enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. Hope you had a lovely Christmas.