Monday, January 5, 2015

The Space Between the Notes

Happy New Year, friends!

I know it looked like I dropped off the face of the earth for awhile. . .  Sorry about that.   Life has been steaming ahead at full speed, whether I document it or not.  In the past three months I started several posts that I never wound up publishing.  We did a ton of school.  I accompanied Rob on a whirlwind business trip to Puerto Rico.  (I never did publish that post, mainly because I felt guilty about spending three days by the pool whilst everyone else was shivering through an unseasonably cold November)  I had surgery to remove several problem veins in both legs.  I did blog during that week, but pain medicine and PMS craziness conspired to keep me from deeming it publishable.  The computer started going whacky.  I spent every moment I could snatch trying to keep up with our online studies via my smart phone.  Then Christmas descended with all it's adrenaline pounding, last minute shopping panic and I decided that Facebook was more than I could handle, much less blogging.

Time for a cleansing breath.

Ah, that felt better.

I absolutely love the New Year season.  I love fresh starts.  I love looking back on the blessings and challenges of last year and looking forward to the possibilities of the future.

I like to make Resolutions and Goals and Long Term Plans.

After a solid month of feasting and festivities, I am longing, nay starving for a simple routine and a simple meal.  Maybe a workout video.  A quiet moment with coffee in one hand and my journal in the other.

I don't have all my Grand Resolutions worked out just yet.  Making more freezer meals, hanging the laundry on the line, spending more time outdoors with my children, less meltdowns, less binge chocolate eating, acquiring my first karate belt, finishing school before next September, these are all in the running as laudable and worthy goals.  But my real focus right now is on crafting my Mission Statement for the year.

2012's Mission Statement reflected my struggle to be free from the grip of depression and PTSD.  It was simply:

Free to serve
Free to love
Free to live

That was my prayer.  That was what directed my to do lists, my reading, the activities I engaged in.  It was my heart on paper.

In 2014, I was reminded of the importance of good habits.  This verse of prose on my refrigerator helped me keep my focus:

Sow an act, reap a habit,
Sow a habit, reap a character,
Sow a character, reap a destiny
                                                   Thomas `a Kempis

I don't have a pithy slogan to post on the fridge, just yet.  But I have given a lot of thought to the direction I want my heart and home to head in.

 My Focus for 2015

* Grace - received and given

* Peace - in my heart and in my home

* Simplicity - Less is more, enjoy and utilize what is at hand

* Margin - "Music is the space between the notes" - Claude Debussy

 Most of these concepts are already familiar to us.  We all recognize the need for more Grace, Peace and Simplicity in our lives.  Margin is a new one for me.  I recently read a book titled, "Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to  Overloaded Lives" by Dr. Richard Swenson.  It's kind of ironic that a book devoted to less has such a long title, but I digress.  It really is a thought provoking read.  I would highly recommend it.  At first I was at a loss as to how Margin and Simplicity would differ. They both seem to deal with enjoying less as the key to having more.  But the more I ponder, the more I see that both concepts are needed for a gracious balance.  Here is how I define the difference between Margin and Simplicity:

* Margin is a crisp black and white photo.  
   Simplicity softens the lines and adds a wee bit of tint.

* Margin is having time at the end of the day for a bath.
   Simplicity turns it into a date night by lighting a candle, adding bubbles and inviting your husband   to join you.          

* Margin is coming under budget by eating rice and beans.
   Simplicity turns on music and spreads the pretty table cloth you got as a wedding gift, but never use

* Margin is owning only what is necessary.
   Simplicity is loving and using every item.

In other words, if I am employing Margin in my life, I will leave myself plenty of space to get ready for church and to leave by.  Not rushing out the door screaming at the kids because we are late for "worship".

I will not accept more activities than my sanity and gas allowance will bear.  I only have a certain amount of time to do a certain amount of important things.  Things like brush my teeth and meet with God and read to my toddler and teach school and fix dinner and bandage life threatening boo-boos and the like.  There are a lot of things that I would like to do extra, but Margin tells me it's okay to say, "No."  Margin reminds me that No is a complete sentence.

Margin will help me get to bed in time.  It's 10:20 and I still haven't showered, but that's okay because it's still technically winter break and none of this takes effect until Monday anyways.  Wait a minute, that's not exactly Margin. . .

I guess Mr Debussy summed it up pretty well, "Music is the space between the notes."  Margin is the protected blank space in my life.  And that is precisely where the music happens.

I think I just found my pithy refrigerator statement.

Happy New Year to all!

 P. S.  I would love to be posting fabulous posts three times a week.  But that is just not going to happen.  I might be posting quite a bit less for a few months.  It depends on how the computer behaves, how school is going and if I have any Margin left for writing at the end of the day.  This is just the season where I am at.  I don't want to give up writing all together.  But I may need to scale it back for a bit.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement, it has been such a blessing. :-)