It’s Been Awhile…

I have been away from this blog for far too long. I let life, mostly work-life, get in the way of this. I have struggled with finding a “balance” between family, work, hobbies, and God for some time, and this has built up an irritation within me that I am not willing to live with any longer. I’ve written before about how to create balance. I am, by nature, a planner and a scheduler, yet I’ve focused too much on scheduling others and planning for business that I’ve failed to plan for myself and maintain “balance” in my own life.

The common mantra is “we all must find work-life balance”, and I’ve long believed in this mantra. But the more I’ve lived, the more I’ve failed to balance, the more I’ve thought about this mantra and realized it doesn’t provide enough clarity. I hear this mantra and picture an old two-pan scale with “work” on one side and “life” sitting directly across with no skewing in favor of either. This doesn’t work for me.

My job is demanding, and the success of my work directly relates to the livelihood and lives of many people. That doesn’t mean that I should give equal time and equal mind space to my job and home life. This version of balance, strictly looking at this in numbers, would mean I should give 84 hours a week to work and 84 hours a week to life (or if i take time out for sleep that would be 70 hours a week to work). The sad thing is that I’ve been doing that. For several weeks I’ve averaged between 60 and 65 hours a week at my job plus time spent driving to and fro, and time spent thinking through the problems and tasks if work while at home.

So, as the planner and scheduler I am, I went through the numbers and figured out what the right ratio for me truly is. In order to maintain my sanity, and to not feel overly stressed, I need to give more time to my not-work life than I do to my work-life. This is hard to do, but when it works out I can feel the difference. My target number for work is now 53 hours a week plus drive time (2 hours total per week). This allows 85 hours a week of away time for family, God, rest, and hobbies (and I suppose housework/yardwork too).

I’ve actively worked at this for two and a half weeks now, and though stress still comes (and always will), it is not a constant. This ratio is making me work to keep my days planned out and stay on plan as much as possible. I know that it can work, but I need it to work. I need to have my priorities straight, and give the right amount of time to each part of my life. Time to put in the work.

I hope to write again soon…

Top 5 Reasons Cars Are a Necessary Evil

5.    (Necessary) It wouldn’t be easy for my wife and I to have three jobs, two kids, one car, and no public transit.

4.    (Evil) Cars make the decision to fall apart, TWICE, right when it seems like finances were going to move in the right direction.

3.    (Necessary) How else would we transport ourselves through the ever-expanding suburbia we call home?

2.    (Evil) They often cost more to use and maintain than to purchase.

1.    (Evil) They force the decision of:  Do I fix the car so I can safely get to work or do I buy the groceries and fix the furnace while hoping the car fixes itself?

I guess, to me, cars a less of a necessary evil and more of an EVIL necessity…

Top 5 Reasons January 2nd is the Most Underrated Date of the Year

5.    For many people, young and old, it’s the first non-hung-over day of the year.

4.    It’s often the first work day of the year, so it’s the first chance to pull an office prank in the new year.

3.    In the future it will create a date that reads 1-2-34.

2.    Most resolutions may be made on January 1st, but most aren’t put into action until January 2nd.

1.    Everyone looks forward to that pesky day before it (New Year’s) even when it’s 364 days away.

Devotional for Week of December 29, 2014

Proverbs 13:10 – “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Wisdom is something that I am ever-seeking, so when I came across this verse I knew I needed to look more closely.  As I first read this I said, “OK, yeah I get that.  But I feel like I experience both ends of this.”

As I began to look a little closer and research a little more I learned some things.  Until the last few years I’ve always considered pride a good thing, because I didn’t realize there was an additional meaning.  To me pride has always been “a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.” as Merriam-Webster puts it.  But as I’ve read through the Bible I’ve discovered the other meaning that is “a feeling that you are more important or better than other people” as Merriam-Webster defines.

By looking at each of these definitions I realize that I have experienced pride in each sense of the word, and the latter usually leads to strife.  There are times I seek out advice, but I often struggle to do so.  I know there is much for me to learn, but I’ve found very few teachers that I’d consider worthy over the years.

I need to put forth the effort to not only find quality teachers, but also to allow myself to be taught by anyone I come in contact with.  Historically I have been someone who learns from his experiences, but I haven’t always given the people around me the chance to teach me something.  What they teach me may not always be what I want to be taught, but knowledge gained is still knowledge gained.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the gifts and talents you’ve given me, and thank you for the gifts and talents you’ve given all members of mankind.  Lord, please help me to humble myself when with others.  I may consider myself an intelligent person, but help me remember that I still need to learn and help me see that I can learn from anyone.

Top 5 End of Year Panics

5.     I need to hurry up and make resolutions for next year!  People are going to ask … 

4.     Speaking of resolutions, where did I put my list from this year?  I know I resolved to do something.

3.     Dang it, I was finally used to writing 2014 and now I’ll have to switch to 2015.  Crap!  I just wrote 2015, but it’s still 2014.

2.     My check stub says I made how much?  Where did all that go?

1.     Ok, I found the list.  Is there any way to save $1,000, lose 30 pounds, spend more time travelling, and spend more time with family in less than a week?!?

I hope you all had a great 2014, and I wish you the best 2015 you can possibly have!

Devotional for Week of December 22, 2014

Luke 2:11 – “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

This is the week that we remember the greatest gift ever given to man.  This Thursday is Christmas Day!  On that day we remember the birth of a baby king.  He came to us to lead us, to save us, to protect us.  Even as a baby Jesus was able to do each of those things for all that encountered him.

For me, this week is not only a reminder of what Jesus came to do for all of us, but also what he has come to do in my life as well.  He came to save the world, but it’s important to remember that the world includes you and me.  His birth as a humble baby changed mankind and changed my individual life as well.

Without that birth, in a time of craziness and among the animals and the mud, my life wouldn’t be what it is today.  I wouldn’t have the faith, the optimism, or the hope I do today.  Jesus died for me, but first he was born for me.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for giving us, giving me, your son as a savior and king.  Great things have been done through the birth, life, and death of Jesus.  Thank you for bringing him to this world to lead us and save us.  And thank you Lord for providing your son as a guidepost and savior for me.  He came for all of us, and all of us includes me, so thank you lord for sending my personal savior.