Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Distractions (page 1 of 5)

The Mayans Were Right After All….

The apocalypse is about to start, because I’m updating the blog twice IN THE SAME WEEK.  It’s madness out there, people.

I’m posting for two reasons, both of which are quite trivial.  Yay!  The first is that I feel the need to share that I am obsessively checking our Hulu queue to see when they post the latest episode of our Thursday night show.  I am doing this because last week said show ended on a cliffhanger (which it has never actually done before) and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.  Of course, I didn’t get around to watching last week’s episode, or the week before that’s, until yesterday, which means my need to know what happens is fresh and immediate.  GAH!

Part of me wonders why we abandoned our dish subscription, since it’s clearly extremely inconvenient at times like this.  And then the part of my brain that remembered to put on its logic pants today says, “Well, for one thing, there was no way to get a permanent signal through the neighbor’s trees. And for another, $80 a month for TV service that you usually mostly recorded things to watch days or weeks later seemed pretty stupid when you could pay $8 a month to watch things days or weeks later, especially when all but one of the shows you follow are included in the $8 a month package, and that show can be purchased episode-by-episode if necessary and still maintain a significant savings.  That’s why you abandoned your dish subscription.”  And then the part of my brain without the logic pants says, “Oh, right!” and checks the Hulu queue again.

It’s that sort of day.

The second trivial item? Yesterday’s life sewing lesson:  If a project calls for sew-on Velcro (ahem, “hook-and-loop closure”), and despite your best efforts you come home with stick-on Velcro because the packaging is badly labelled, do not (I repeat, DO NOT) decide to stick the Velcro on and then sew around the edge to secure it more permanently.  The adhesive will gook up the needle, your thread will stick to itself in interesting ways you have never seen before, and you will feel that you came dangerously close to breaking the $900 sewing machine that your friend lent you while she’s out of town because yours is acting stupid and you need to finish this project, and that only the grace of God saved you from doing anything but needing a new needle.

On the up side, yesterday I finished making my own diaper changing pad, diaper-essentials clutch (for diapers, wipes, changing pad, etc., which will go in and out of the diaper bag proper depending on our needs) and *would have* completed a matching car seat canopy if not for the adhesive-Velcro fiasco.  Having visited Michael’s this morning to acquire the proper sew-on product, I will finish the latter today, and then perhaps I will post photos.  Yes, I have invested more time on making these myself and money on materials than I really had to spend if I wanted to grab something from a store.  But it’s really fun to know that I made these things with fabrics and patterns I picked for our family, and it’s satisfying to have accomplished these things in the midst of a lot of other busy-ness that normally would be contributing to my winter depressive slump, but is wonderfully counteracted by having finished (!) these cheery projects for my baby that are not only pretty but will be functional for us for a very long time.  Funny what the human brain can do, eh?

Oh, and for those who can’t stand that I didn’t name the TV show in question above, it’s the new “Beauty and the Beast” that just started this fall on CW.  I’m not saying it’s the best show evar in teh werld (what is, these days?), but it is entertaining and we like watching it so far, which is really the requirement.

That’ll be all, because the laundry needs to get done and Shiloh is really bad at sorting loads, so I have to deal with it.  Ciao!

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Of Delays and Discoveries

Yes, yes. I promised to write more often and then I did not, in fact, write for another three months. I am an awful blogger. For what little it’s worth, I did sit down within a week of the last post and attempt to write about baby registries, but I deleted the whole thing when I realized that it had turned into a cynical and embittered rant about our society’s accumulative and ultra-consumerist tendencies.

Suffice to say that I am still alarmed and dismayed by the number of things deemed “essential” for the care of a baby, listed out by “authorities” for the “benefit” of first-time parents who desperately want nothing more than to give their children the best chance possible in this crazy, unfair, scary world. It makes me angry and uncharitable. And in the end, I decided the rant I’d written was neither helpful nor necessary… and then I got caught up with other things and haven’t posted anything since.

So here’s your blitz-update: the fall has been just as busy as we anticipated it would be; the beginning of winter even more busy, if that’s possible. The holidays are always busy for us, especially since Matt works at a church and there are all kinds of extra events added to the normal weekly schedules, but this year it seems to have reached a new level of busy, and that’s before adding the things we’re trying to do to get ready for the baby.

The cars, happily, seem to have decided to behave themselves and I have not had to visit the mechanic in months. It seems we finally found the root of the Mazda’s troubles (a poorly installed after-market alarm system) and since removing it and repairing the damage it did, it’s behaving like a normal car instead of a possessed machine sent from hell to make my life complicated and expensive. The 4Runner continues to run like a champ (the only problems we’ve ever had with it were directly related to an accident that nearly killed us both and almost destroyed everything we owned), has been outfitted with new tires and is now housed in the garage so that when I go into labor, it will be ready to take me to the hospital no matter what the weather is doing without even having to clean it off.  Although we have the baby’s car seat in our possession, it has not yet been installed.  Soon.  The to-do list is long.

2012 Christmas Tree

As one might expect, I am behind on pretty much everything Christmas-related, except the actual decorating of our house. The only reason that’s done is because a) I really love Christmas decorations and b) we have hosted several things at our house that motivated seasonally appropriate decor. Here’s a photo of our lovely Christmas tree, which my mom bought for us through a company that delivered this lovely specimen of fir directly to our front porch. It was really quite convenient, and we’re very happy with the result.

But I only just purchased gifts for our nieces and nephews yesterday, which makes it increasingly unlikely that they will arrive across the country in time for Christmas, especially since I’m also behind on the production and packaging of the annual toffee extravaganza. And although the Christmas cards are in my possession, due to some technical difficulties none of them are signed, addressed, or stamped for departure, much less having already been sent.  So, you know, a bit of on time, a bit of late-as-usual.

As for the baby, it’s due in about three weeks, which seems momentous but is in fact one of the least precise pieces of information you might run across in today’s world.  Because, you see, if I went into labor today (almost three weeks “early”) my baby would still be considered full-term; and they won’t force the baby out for medical reasons for about two weeks after my due date, all other things being equal.  So basically we could have a baby at any point in the next five weeks.  Or maybe not.  Or maybe!  Every day could be The Day!  Or not.  It’s very hard to maintain either a high level of excitement or of worry in such a situation, which means that I have a hard time answering people who ask me if I’m excited.  I mean, really, who wouldn’t be excited about meeting the tiny person who’s been growing inside them for the last 9 months (give or take), given the fact (which is true of us but certainly not of everyone) that we were actually trying to achieve this precise result nine months (or so) ago?

Of course I’m excited.

Am I running over with bouncing excited energy at every moment?  No.  My hips and feet hurt too much for that, and I’m always tired; there’s too much to get done and despite the fact that I’m as on track as one can reasonably expect me to be, I’m severely unlikely to finish everything before it needs to be done.  Plus, excitement is only excitement for so long.  After a while it becomes manic, or it goes away.  It’s not really a long-term sustainable emotion.

So yes, at appropriate times I am very excited about the baby that’s coming, and even about the fact that it’s coming soon (maybe very soon!).  But no, it’s unlikely that at the exact moment when you ask me, I am welling over with unbearable ecstasy at the mere mention of the word “baby”.  Might I suggest another version of the question?  How about, “Are you looking forward to the baby coming, or do you wish you had more time? Or both, alternately?” Or how about not asking at all, because it’ll just be awkward when you ask a pregnant lady if she’s excited about the baby and she says “no”, won’t it?

Oddly enough, I didn’t intend to make this entirely an updatey-type post when I started out this morning, but that’s what it has become, and it’s long enough now that it’s what it will remain.  But I have more to say on an entirely non-updatey subject and I intend to say it soon.  Of course, I almost always intend to write more soon.  But I’m working on adjusting my habits, so we’ll see how I do.

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Um… Happy New Year!

Holy cow! It’s been almost 5 months since I posted an entry here!

In my defense (I always have a defense) I have been really really busy. Really! First there was the cross-country driving, which included visits to both my family and Matt’s family for Thanksgiving and also for pilfering various items from their houses–some of which we had left behind to be collected later and some of which were donated to the cause of furnishing our new house. We drove back with a big U-Haul trailer which, thankfully, did NOT try to kill us in Kansas like the last one did. In fact, this trailer behaved so well compared to the last one we pulled on the same route that any lingering doubts or guilt I might have carried about taking U-Haul’s money five years ago to repair our truck after their trailer tried to kill us have been laid to rest. Their trailer had a problem. A big problem. And it damaged our car and threatened our safety. And I do not regret taking their money to pay for the necessary repairs. So there.

So we returned with our bellies full of turkey and our car and trailer full of boxes and furniture, and promptly unloaded those latter items into our apartment’s garage, because we had not yet closed on the house. In fact, while we were gone another complication came up to delay things for *another* couple of weeks. In the beginning of December we threw common sense to the wind and cleaned up the leaves in the back yard even though we had no claim to the house yet, because we didn’t want them to be matted down over the grass by incoming snow in case we *did* close. At the most, it would be a few hours of free labor given to a good cause. We raked up 41 big bags of leaves and piled them on the back patio, just in time for a big snowfall to justify our actions. We also cleaned out as many roof gutters as we could reach with our apartment-sized ladder–most were entirely full, and some had plants almost two feet tall growing in them.

Luckily for us, we DID close on the house just after Matt’s finals week in December. We signed all the paperwork on Friday the 17th, I painted and cleaned like a crazy person all weekend, and we moved the bulk of our belongings in on Monday the 20th. In true Whitt fashion, we unpacked and decorated for Christmas in record time, and were entirely out of the old apartment before the end of the year.

After our housewarming party in mid-January, we started in on remodeling the master bathroom. That project is still in process, but it’s closer than ever to being finished. Right now, all we need are trim (baseboards, etc.), tile in the shower stall, and a shower door. The tiling is holding things up at present, because it takes a big chunk of time at once, and we haven’t had a whole lot of that.

The next project will be the half-bath and laundry room downstairs. And the garage doors (only one currently works). And the retaining wall in the back yard. And pulling out the enormo-bush out front. And the dead bushes. And… well, I’ll be sure to keep the photos coming.

Shiloh does, in fact, love her new house and back yard. She’s not too sure about all the service people who’ve come over to work on things and make sure our systems are up to par.

It’s probably worth mentioning that now that we have extra room even after designating a guest room and an office for me, we’re renting our spare room to a college student. His name is Kevin, and I’ll probably mention him from time to time. So now you know who this random Kevin person is.

In other news, I bit the bullet and got a new job. I’m driving for a car service here in Denver, mostly Town Cars with the occasional SUV, van, or stretch limo thrown in. It’s a good job, and I like it thus far. Flexible, good people, decent money. Can’t complain. So if you’re coming to Denver and you need a driver, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll give you the company’s contact info.

Matt is on schedule to graduate this May, barring a sudden descent into insanity as a result of his crazy schedule this semester to get everything done. So May will be busy, as we host several family members for his graduation ceremony, then throw a party, then head out for a week of vacation with some of those family members.

I don’t remember all the other things that have happened in the last five months, but I’m sure things will come to mind as I return to regular updatery.

So? How are things with you? What have I missed? What should I post photos of first? Talk to me, people!

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An Update That’s Not Actually Up To Date

I actually wrote this on June 14th. Well, as long as we assume that “this” means everything in this entry after this paragraph, which I am writing today (July 19). Which means that even though I am posting it now (more than a month later), I am still behind on keeping anyone at all up-to-date on what’s going on. I can say, however, that thus far my predictions about how the summer would continue have been pretty much spot-on. Last month’s news is better than no news!

It’s been an appallingly long time since I posted an entry here. In my defense, I did predict that busy-ness would overtake our life before I went dark a few months ago. (No, really, I did. Except now I can’t find the entry. Drat! I still maintain that I predicted it.) What I didn’t predict was how very busy I would be.

You see, stuff with Matt’s job sort of blew up a little bit, with the end result being more responsibility for him to shoulder in the middle of an already very busy semester. Thus, my job search was aborted before it even really began, and I have spent the last several months being the wifey-est wife you ever saw. I have even been doing the dishes. Sometimes. I have also been cooking and cleaning and chauffeuring and running errands. I did pretty much all the research for buying the car we added to our family, and then took care of all the ensuing complications that having a new-used car presents.

I planned our vacation (we stayed in Pagosa Springs, CO, and explored a big portion of the SW corner of the state) and did a lovely job of it, if I do say so myself. Four or five days after we got back, I flew out to the east coast to surprise my brother for his 30th birthday and had a nice time visiting with family at the North Carolina beach. And I got a tan. Sort of. As much of a tan as I ever get. Seriously, my freckles are closer together. I swear.

June 4th was our fifth wedding anniversary, and at some point we’re planning to go out to a nice dinner to celebrate. We’ve just been too busy so far. We did cook ourselves a nice dinner that night and had a movie date at home.

Otherwise, I’ve continued with the usual church activities, both worship team stuff and preaching stuff. I also went to a women’s conference with some of the ladies from Bible Study last weekend, which was well worth it. I’ll be chewing over some of the teaching for some time, which is a good thing. I’m also preaching this Sunday, which means sermon prep will take up some of my time this week.

Life isn’t going to get less busy any time soon, either: this weekend a good friend is coming to visit for a few days. I’ll be serving as camp nurse (i.e. I get the first aid kit) and cabin mom for one of the senior girls’ cabins at the church’s weeklong camp up in Wyoming for the week that bridges June and July. My cousin is getting married two weeks after that, and I’m looking forward to flying to Atlanta for the wedding. In August, one of Matt’s sets of parents will visit us for several days, then taking off on a driving trip for several weeks before they fly home, and my parents will be visiting a few weeks later, around Labor Day.

Beyond that, I’m not sure what’s happening, but I doubt it will be any less busy. Maybe one day I’ll actually have time to look for a day job, even if I won’t subsequently have a calm enough schedule to keep it. We’ll see.

In between all that chaos and traveling, I’ve hardly done any writing at all. I’m also behind on several projects that I expected to have made progress on by now. It’s frustrating and a bit discouraging, but thus far I haven’t given up. With any luck, I’ll be able to establish a better schedule that will allow me to get all the housewifey things done AND take care of my own projects without killing myself. Hope springs eternal.

I think it’s about time for me to stop babbling for now. I’ll see what I can do about posting more often. Life is still very busy, but not as insane as it has been for the last few months.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up with some funny stories about my time at the DMV. Which is where I’m sitting as I type this. Unfortunately there isn’t a wifi network here, which means I’ll have to remember to post this when I get home, but we’ll hope it doesn’t take long to finish up here.

Once again, hope springs eternal….

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Christmastime Is Here

Apologies for disappearing like that.  Again.  Remember how I was getting ready to assess what needed to be done before Christmas a few weeks ago when I posted last?  Yeah.  I was behind.  Way behind.  And now I’m not!  Mostly.  Also, a great big portion of last week got eaten up by preparations for our now-annual Christmas party, which went off with hardly a hitch last Friday.  We had 39 people in our rather small apartment at one time.  It was hoppin’.  Unfortunately, despite my best intentions and the fact that I had the camera out on a table so I wouldn’t forget, I didn’t take even one photo of the entire night.

Saturday morning I would rather have not left my bed at all.  The week’s work was a little crazy on me, and I took the day off to cuddle on the couch with the magic blanket and the dog and a book.

Sunday morning went more or less as usual, with the usual church activities.  But the highlight, really, was the children’s mini-pageant.  It was hilarious–unintentionally so–thanks to the littlest kids, who proved to be an amazingly unruly flock of sheep.  I really hope someone got it on video and can post it on YouTube, because it almost made me cry, I was laughing so hard.

Anyway, the rest of the day went pretty quickly, thanks to our friends lending us their copy of LEGO Star Wars.

This morning I revisited the lame query letter I may or may not have mentioned on the blog before–it was still lame, so I ditched it and have the beginning of a (hopefully) less-lame version in the works.

I still need to wrap Matt’s presents, and mail some things for people who know their stuff will be a bit late, and buy stocking stuffers for Matt.  We usually do that in a shopping trip together–go to Target and split up for a half an hour, check out separately, and hide our purchases on the ride home so the stocking presents stay secret.  But that’s about it.

I’m looking forward to getting back to writing.  I’ve missed it these last few weeks.  It’s good to feel that way about my job of choice.

And that’s about all there is to it.  More soon!  Much sooner than two weeks.  I pinky swear.

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A Study In Avoidance

Today has been one of those days. You know, the kind that start out with lovely intentions of rising when the alarm first sounds and gleefully attacking the to-do list like the ninja I sometimes am. And then gets derailed by sleeping in an hour and a half and puttering around not getting much done aside from thinking about everything I need to get done, and reading a book instead of dealing with it all.

It’s frustrating. I have an excuse, and it’s a pretty valid one too, but it seems lame when I type it out so I’m not sharing. :-P

But seriously, now. It’s time to shake things up a bit. Get things done. Now is the time.  Today is the day, and all that.

Thanks. I needed this pep talk. You’re such a good friend for giving it to me.

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Come On, Don’t Try To Tell Me You Weren’t Expecting This

I have been lax in my bloggelation duties.

Yes, I totally made up that word.

No, I have not been lax in everything in my life.  In fact, I have gotten quite a lot of writing done and read several books and played quite a bit of Diablo 2 and rearranged the office and done other worthwhile things, I’m sure.  You should know by now that I can never remember many specifics very long after the fact.  I can hardly remember our wedding date (no, seriously, I had to think really really hard about it just the other day).

Suffice to say that I have been busy.

Also, I have not been very good at getting to bed when I really should, which means I wake up a bit later than I really should and don’t have time to blog before I start the day’s writing.  And I have finally placed working on the novel above blogging in the priorities.  That’s good, yes?  Yay noveling!  But it does mean the blogging has suffered.  Next goal: Getting to bed on time so I can do EVERYTHING!

But I digress.

The real reason for this post is to fill time before I have to pick Matt up from class and we go to a meeting at church tonight.  No, wait.  That wasn’t supposed to be the real reason.  I mean, it’s part of the reason, but. . . . I should stop babbling and wander around to my point.

My point is, where has been a recent addition to the Whitt Household!  That’s right, folks, something else for me to kill!

She’s a very pretty flower plant in a pot, and I’ve named her Georgette.  Here’s a picture of her (with Shiloh, who looks slightly annoyed because I made her sit there and stay while I took a photo and she can’t imagine why):

Georgette and Shiloh

Yes, those are Matt’s psychoanalysis textbooks on the table.  No, as far as I know he is not psychoanalyzing me (we can all hope).

At any rate, Georgette was gifted to me with the instructions that I was not to intentionally kill her.  My friends know my track record with plants.  I did not feel it was appropriate to point out that I never intend to kill any of my plants.  She’s lasted out her first week and a half, though, which is pretty good in terms of flower-plant lifespans in this household.  I have no idea what to expect in terms of her annual life-cycle, though.  Will she bloom all the time?  How much water is too much?  Her blooms get wilty when I don’t water her every day, but are some of those yellowy brown leaves a result of too much water?  I just don’t know.

Georgette sits on the TV table near the porch windows because she seems to do better with a bit of light, and that’s the most consistent place for her to get it without being frozen on the porch.  I will keep you updated on her progress or decline, as the case may be.

Bob2, for those who are concerned, seems to be doing fine.  He’s still a bit sunburned from where I left him out on the porch this summer, and I’m not certain he’ll ever recover, but he seems to be plugging along just fine.

And now I will think about cleaning the kitchen, which is a mess.  Or maybe I’ll read a bit more. . . . Decisions, decisions.

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Ah, the Slacker

I apologize for my slackeriness lately.  I promised photos and other semi-exciting news and absolutely failed to produce on either.  More than that, I waited more than a week to apologize.

I blame the paint.  No, seriously, I painted my brother’s dining room last week.  I’m fairly certain the fumes didn’t get to me too much, but the painting and surrounding activities (like spectacularly burning a batch of sugar to their nice saucepan–I really am going to tell that story sooner or later) sort of got in the way.  And then I was flying home and enjoying the company of my husband and our dog, and everything got a bit out of hand.

I live a wild life, can you tell?

At any rate, the writing is progressing and I got a satisfying amount of stuff done *aside* from the writing yesterday as well, so that always makes Betsy a happy girl.

Also, I’m working on reorganizing our LibraryThing so that I don’t have to use both LT and Goodreads (nothing against Goodreads, there are some things I like about it very much, but I’m trying to simplify) AND you will actually be able to access my 2009 reading list, the link for which has been nonfunctional pretty much since I posted it.

Finally, those of you who read directly from my website as opposed to through the various feeds have probably already noticed that the look of the website has changed–again!  But I’m a big fan of this one and it seems to all function properly and I have a feeling the new look is going to stick around for a while.

Now, time for a quick bowl of cereal, making some tea, and then writing!  So lovely to make progress.

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Still Afloat

A lot of my “free” time recently has gotten sucked up in preparation for the sermon I delivered this morning. It went well, I think, and I can now look forward again.

1) We got new phones! And unlimited texting! Whee!

2) I caved and joined Twitter. I am @betsywhitt over there. I suppose I should put one of their little buttons in my sidebar.

3) Things are good. I have very few complaints.

4) It is time for bed very, very soon.

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Refocusing

It seems that every so often–sometimes longer, sometimes shorter–I find it necessary to step back and refocus. People who don’t know me very well laugh when I give them my standard self-description: tall, blonde, and easily distracted. “Easily distracted?” they say, “You read huge books in one sitting!” As if that’s the pinnacle of focus and attention. Seriously, people, I read books in one sitting (or as close as I can get) because if I don’t, I’ll get distracted, put it down and more than likely forget I ever intended to finish it. And because it’s a convenient way to be distracted from other things I’m supposed to be doing.

Sometimes I’m conscious of allowing distractions to edge their way in, and other times I look up and realize I have no idea how I got so far off track.

So I’m refocusing. Matt’s out of town again this week on a nice long wilderness backpacking trip courtesy of Solid Rock Outdoor Ministries, so I’ve got plenty of time and space to clear out the mental cobwebs.

Family: Happily, one of the aspects of my life that hasn’t slipped much lately. Goal is to maintain and deepen time/interaction with family.

Career: Two aspects of this, the writing and the day job. As the day job looks much different now than it did 6 weeks ago, and looks more and more likely to disappear sooner rather than later, I can dedicate more time to the writing. In the current job market, I’m leaning toward investing myself in writing rather than wasting time and energy trying to find a nonexistent position. Regardless, I need to set short and long-term goals for my writing, and I need to find someone to crack the whip and make me stick to them once I set them.

Finance: We spend more money than we ought. We have a peculiar financial situation, and it often results in a rather lax view toward budgeting and savings. I’m taking steps to adjust our mentality on that, beginning with trying out the MVelopes.com service.

Health and Wellbeing: I caught up on sleep last week, and it’s a wonderful thing. I’ve also gotten myself swimming semi-regularly at the apartment complex pool. I’m working on setting up a regular time to take Shiloh to the dog park, which gives us both exercise, and I’m really really (really) going to recommit to my WiiFit schedule.

Recreation: Much of this also falls under exercise, since much of our recreation is active, but I’m making sure I block out time for reading. We also got an XBOX 360 recently, and Fable 2 allows us to log into the same game together and kill bad guys. I’ve STILL got a big unfinished quilt that needs to be completed. And I do very much like meeting people for coffee.

Personal: I am learning about the care and keeping of cacti (turns out they do best in steady, diffused light, not direct sunlight, so Bob2 is back in the office) and I am contemplating installing a window-box-style herb garden on the porch railing, if I can be reasonably assured I won’t kill them all. My writing definitely counts in this category, too, for a variety of reasons.

Friendship: I generally operate with a bit more distance than some people in terms of friendships, so once I plug back into my “usual” sources of information and communication, there’s not much of a course correction that’s going to happen here. There are a few people, though, who I want to be better friends with, and I’ll be intentional about getting together with them.

Community: For all intents and purposes, the church congregation serves as our community. I’d love to get more connected in the neighborhood and the town eventually, but right now it’s just not possible. I’ll be keeping an eye out, though, and laying the foundation to move on that when the time is right. Meanwhile, maintaining relationships with people in the church, our small group, etc., are the standard.

Household: Goal is to do a general sweep of the house every night to tidy up – clean the kitchen, run the dishwasher if necessary, put the stuff that always lands on the dining room table away, corral the dog toys, find the remotes, etc. Once a week laundry and vacuum, and we’ll be cutting back drastically on eating out.

Spiritual: This one’s between me and God, but it’s definitely part of my consideration in refocusing and being deliberate about how I spend my time.

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