Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spontaneity for 2011

I was recently exploring the blog of Christine Kane, a musician and also mentor for women. I have not explored her whole site in depth, but came across a post she made a few years ago around this time about changing the way we look at New Year's Resolutions. As in, not having resolutions at all. Instead, she chooses a word that she allows to intentionally guide her through the year. She goes into more detail in her blog post as to how this way of entering the new year came about, and I think I like it. I don't necessarily set resolutions each new year. When I do, they tend to focus on a way I'd like to be rather than something I'd like to do, so I feel that choosing a word for 2011 is not too far-fetched from practices I already put into place each January. In fact, it might even give more focus than other, past, resolutions.

It didn't take me long to find a word for 2011, which I hope means I'm ready for the challenge. Spontaneity. To put it simply, I suck at being spontaneous. I'm an introverted, type A personality, which--in a nutshell--means I like to know what's going to happen and when, so that I know I have the energy to engage in it fully. So the ability to just drop what I'm doing and say, "sure, let's go for it!" is a rare occurrence.

On the plus side, when I have been completely spontaneous, it surprises the pants off people, which is kind of fun. But I think--overall--I'd like to be a little more care free and not have it be such a complete shock.

What is it about just letting go and doing things in the moment that seems so difficult?
  • Energy -- whatever it is sounds like fun, but I don't know that I want to do it if I don't have the energy to enjoy it fully. As well, if I need energy for things later, how do I know this new activity's not going to suck out all my reserve?
  • Cost -- I live on a tight budget. Depending on the cost of whatever this new activity is, I may now have to re-do all my math for other activities I want to pursue that week/month.
  • Time -- I have other things on the go a lot of the time. Many are commitments that I can't just drop to make way for something new. And if I can make time, it still often means a mental re-shuffle of the sequence of events I'd originally had planned for that chunk of time. Sometimes that takes a lot of effort.
These are my stumbling blocks. When I am presented with an opportunity to be spontaneous, I look at all those factors. And it is often easier to turn down the activity or dig my heels in against a decision and stick with what is known, what is comfortable. I don't know that I will like X, Y, or Z, so why risk the energy, cost, and time, when I know that I will enjoy the already-planned A, B, and C?

But surely I can let go a little bit.

I don't know how this will look for 2011. I don't know where to start. And things like scheduled commitments and tight budgets aren't just going to go away. But there's got to be room for spontaneity. I'm ready for it.

Monday, December 20, 2010


There's a mouse in my house. Possibly more. My cats were playing soccer with one they had caught and killed last weekend, and as I went to put a dish in the dishwasher this morning, I saw a flash of tail scurry behind the stove. My girls have spent a lot of time in the kitchen inspecting, but no success yet on this one.

Oi. I suppose having a mouse [family] isn't a huge surprise, given the age of my house (almost sixty years); still, given this week, it was like adding insult to injury. We had a blizzard on Wednesday/Thursday, and I have been shoveling my driveway ever since. I shoveled for two hours on Wednesday evening, and only got 2/3 of it. However, considering I felt like throwing up after that stint, I decided to listen to my body and pace myself. I have been working away at it for 30-45 minutes at a time each day after that. I'm almost done. Except that it keeps snowing. And my body's not used to the physical demand. I ache all over. And the cough/cold that has moved through the entire Kindergarten class that I am in finally found me in my weakness. I am seriously reconsidering purchasing a snow blower for large dumps of snow such as Wednesday's. An inch is one thing--ten is entirely another. Who buys a house with a huge driveway, anyway? (Oh, wait...)

I have been fighting the snow. And fighting a cold. And now I am fighting a mouse.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm Still Waiting on This...

Taken from How to be a Canadian, by Will and Ian Ferguson.

"Indeed, many of Canada's shopping malls have cities conveniently attached. Mall technology (MT) has reached its highest level in Western Canada (defined as 'that part of Canada which is not Toronto and which doesn't speak French or catch fish'). The city of Edmonton, for example, is now working on a retractable roof that will enclose the entire community in a single climate-controlled environment. If you have been to Edmonton, you will know why."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Apple. Tree.

The two are so close together sometimes.

So I own a house. A house that I must heat in the winter. I programmed the thermostat early on to be cooler while I was at work or while sleeping, and to be the warmest for the hours I am typically home--both to be cost-effective as well as eco-friendly. As I was deciding on temperature preferences, I chose 20C (68F) for the times when I am home. It was partially an arbitrary choice. Cooler than some friends' homes, warmer than others. Seemed like a nice, round number. A little cool in the living room, and on really cold days, but overall, not bad. I'd give the whole system a couple of heating bills to see how I felt about the settings I'd selected.

I turned the thermostat up to 21C (70F) when I had company over a couple times, just to ensure extra comfort. But it didn't really cross my mind to make it a regular setting... until yesterday.

I don't know what prompted me to remember it. But I had a recollection back to my adolescent years. It was a point I'm sure I brought up every winter, although the recollection is not specific to any one year. My parents always had the thermostat set to 20C. I would inevitably try and move the dial even just half a degree up, but was often found out. And my scientific argument was always the same: "Room temperature is 21C." I figured if scientists deemed that to be a comfortable base temperature from which to measure all sorts of things, and if they were calling it room temperature, then rooms should be at least that warm. ...I never won my case.

But I'm in my own house, now. ...Suffice it to say, I have reprogrammed the thermostat. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pondering the Miracle

It's Christmastime. AKA Jesus' birthday. I have grown up knowing this, and accepting without question that Jesus' birth was miraculous. I mean, of course it's miraculous. God placed a baby inside a virgin. He sent angels to tell Mary and Joseph what was going on. He sent angels to the shepherds. He placed a star in the sky so the three wise men could find the new King. These are not your ordinary, everyday events. I would say they are some of God's showier "stuff."

But the miracle goes SO beyond that--and is so UN-showy that I think many people miss it. On my drive to work the other morning, I was thinking about the fact that Jesus was born in a stable. It wasn't just coincidence that there was no room at the inn--God meant for there to be no room at the inn so Jesus' birth would be the first display of the Jesus' humility. And I think we mostly recognize this humility in terms of the uncomfortable quarters the stable affords, the presence of animals, and that the stable was where servants spent their time (certainly not kings). But something else struck me the other day. Jesus was born in a barn--a barn!!! I've been in barns. They stink. They're not the warmest. They're dusty. And you get cow poop on your shoes. It's certainly not a sanitary place to bring a child into the world. Angels and immaculate conception aside, it's miracle enough that Jesus' tiny little immune system wasn't overrun by the myriads of microscopic organisms on the floor of that barn!

...I think it's the so fully human aspect of Jesus that continually blows me away. Fully God and fully man. All the knowledge of being Lord, and yet all the experience that goes along with being human. Choosing to set aside power and enter into the world's poop (literally and figuratively). I read once that "every religion in the world is about man trying to reach up to God, like working your way up the ladder. They’re all about striving to achieve something for yourself. Christianity is the only religion about God reaching down to man and offering salvation as a free gift, with the added bonus of a personal relationship with the Creator God through Jesus Christ..." I love it. I love that God loves me that much. To render Himself human so He could be intimate with me.