It's difficult to balance life as to have enough time for balance of all aspects of life. I want to have time with God, time with my husband, time to be with and teach the kids, time to keep the house at least acceptable, time to water and keep up the yard, time to exercise and eat healthily, time to do my work, time to spend with others, time for volunteer work, etc.
Writing up the Lenten Rule and reading the Rule of St. Benedict this year has given me the idea to write up my own Rule. Of course, being the "Type A" personality that I am, I have found my Rule to be overly-ambitious and in need of some adjusting. But overall it does help me to balance doing the things I have to do and the things I want to do fairly well.
The most important part of my Rule is my time with God each day. I had planned to keep up most of the devotional ideas I did during Lent, but it's proving to be a bit much. Then Dru gave me the wonderful devotionals I had coveted -- um, liked very much, I mean -- a three volume set that has prayers and Scriptures laid out for morning, midday, and vespers for spring, summer, and fall/winter. I'm using those instead of doing so much reading and praying from the Book of Common Prayer. I want to keep the Bible Book Club readings as a priority, but I got a bit behind when we were sick last week, so some catch-up is necessary. I'm still part of the Lady Bereans Inductive Bible study at Lake Murray in which we're starting to study Jonah, as well as the One Anothers Sunday morning study in which we just finished Matthew and Jude and will be starting Hebrews, plus I'm still attending the Friday healing services at Alpine Anglican as well as Sunday worship at Lake Murray. Then there's the monthly Logos reading group from Lake Murray for which we read a classic or Christian work and discuss it in depth over and after lunch. Kitty is such a lovely hostess and such great support in opening her home and serving us a lovely lunch each month.
I'm also trying to become healthier on the physical level. My three of my four main medications mention weight gain as a possible side effect, and they are not wrong, unfortunately. Now that I'm in my early 40s, I'm finding it more difficult to reduce my weight as well. I've been part of a group of home schooling moms online for quite a while whose focus is healthy and faithful living. Recently a few of us have started some e-mail accountability that's a bit more structured, something I really need. I'm back to doing some yoga using Yoga Zone's Gentle Yoga for Beginners DVD, and I'm also trying to slowly and carefully work up my walking distance beyond 100 yards. Using Fitday.com is a huge help for tracking food (calories, fat, fiber, etc.) and exercise -- it's a free service and wonderfully helpful, if a little time-consuming. I'm trying to avoid as much gluten and sugar as possible and watch the calorie counts daily, keeping it around 1500, if possible. I also want to be out gardening often, even if I have very little money to invest in our yard right now. It's good exercise as well as being good for the soul.
And I also want -- no, NEED -- time to be creative - time to read, to write, to research for my book. Unfortunately, this creative time lately has been taken with teaching -- one of my great loves as well but one that leaves me with little free time after home schooling and my other commitments. At least the Writers' Workshop that has started recently in our small town has given me deadlines to work toward -- soemthing I don't presently have in the writing I'm doing now. In addition to a little poetry, I've actually finding myself writing quite a bit of prose lately, and not just on my book project. I guess I'm finding little bits o' time here and there that are leading to some new kinds of writing and expression for me. Rather cool. I'd also like to take a few "writing retreats" by going off and writing either for a day at the library or java place in town or even get away overnight for a writing/contemplative retreat. I've especially wanted to go to a retreat at a monastery -- monasteries fascinate me to no end.
So it's all about balance -- balance between home school and free time, balance between laundry and creativity, balance between eating healthfully and pampering myself a bit, balance between working and volunteering, balance between the intellectual and the spiritual. And that's what St. Benedict had in mind for his monasteries fifteen centuries ago: balance. And it's become my watchword for 2008. Balance.