Time Isn’t Cheap

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread,” said Bilbo Baggins. I don’t have the One Ring, but I think I know how he feels.

I feel I am, white-knuckled, on the very edge of life’s merry-go-round, about to be flung off. My plates are wobbling, my ducks are rebelling in their row.

It’s not that I’m complaining… exactly. I DID sign myself up for this–two jobs, plus a writing career, etc. I guess I just wish I could accept it, move past that frantic feeling and get down to business. I don’t have time to panic.

Funny thing: about a year ago my boss lectured me on becoming more efficient. If we had an ‘efficiency contest’ now, I’m damn sure I’d win. I know there are people who work far more hours than I and still get more done, but still, I pride myself in my time management. I can fit any task into the bite size pieces of time I have between work and work and work. I’m writing this on my phone on my lunch break. I’ll finish it on last break, and post it when I get home.

I’ve eliminated so much time waste from my life, but I still don’t have time.
I don’t want to be efficient. I want my time back.

Time is more valuable than money. You can replace a dollar, but you can’t replace time once it’s gone. Its a shame that we sell our time so cheaply. I sell my Saturdays for fifty bucks each. Fifty bucks! That’s almost volunteering. Yes, I do it to survive, but if I valued my time at it’s true price, would I leave it at that?

I’ve got no grand moral for this story. I’m just angry, just frustrated with how long it takes to get ahead. I will get ahead. I will! I just hope I can hold it together that long.

Post Script: I found this in my drafts today. I can’t remember why I didn’t post it–maybe because I was too pissed in the moment (not a good time just to throw your thoughts online). I think that this represents the tension between where we are and where we could be, and this is healthy–as long as it remains in proper perspective and we don’t give up. Here’s to following our dreams.

An Ode to Strawberry, My Little Car

Oh, Strawberry. Was there ever a car more loved than thee?

You, my long awaited wheels–whom I searched for like a precious jewel, and when I found you, named you on sight.

You, though you have no majesty to recommend you. Who can only boast that you are “good on gas” and “cute” and maybe “red–very red.”

You, who have no power locks or windows. Who boasts a mediocre stereo. Who handles like a gutless go-cart, and whose short wheel-base makes winter driving a terror.

You, whom I toil so hard to maintain, taking up a full quarter of my salary to own, the sole reason I work two jobs. Whom I shall soon ransom from the bank.

Still, I wish thee a cheery ‘good night’ every evening. I bid you ‘be good’ when I leave you in the parking lot, and ‘good evening’ when I emerge from the factory. I feed you with the finest regular unleaded gasoline, and plug you in to keep you warm, though it cost me dearly.

I must love you truly.

Would You Rather Be Beautiful, Smart or Good?

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”–Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Humour the thought for a moment. Say you could remain where you are in the other two, which would you choose? Which would I choose?

Divinely beautiful? I’d never call myself ugly. I think I’d fall into the ‘average and does well with what she has’ category, or so I’d like to think. I’ve always wanted to be thinner, have fewer blemishes, and figure out how to tame my curly hair. Of course I want to be beautiful.

But divine? You see, I’m afraid that if I were movie-star, red-carpet beautiful, people wouldn’t treat me the same. They’d be distracted by my face… or my boobs. And I’d rather be thought of as ‘me’ than hot.

So, not that one. Though if anyone knows how to tame curly hair…

Okay, how about dazzlingly clever. Now this has real appeal, because I have a bit of a complex about being smart. I remember crying in high school because I couldn’t get my marks up just a couple percent so I could graduate with honours. Well, if I hadn’t been taking Advanced Physics and Calculus, maybe I would have been fine! My parents weren’t making me take those, I was!

I just wanted to be smart.

My hardest course in college was history. The prof had a reputation for writing brutal exams, and wouldn’t hesitate to fail someone. I was determined to ‘beat him’. I studied a solid eight hours for the exam and woke up thinking ‘history!’ I walked into class, was handed the exam and realized I knew all the answers. I sat there, vibrating going ‘I got this!’ When I got the exam back in my mailbox with the 100% on the front, I sank to the floor and shouted “Yes!”

If I was genius wouldn’t I be able to do that all the time?

Oh, but that would be too easy. I wouldn’t have to fight for it. It’s the fight that makes it a good story.

Well, not that one I guess.


Angelically good. Oh, this one strikes close to the heart. I wish I were good. I wish I no longer struggled with pride, impurity, lack of self-control, malice. I wish could say that I’d never, ever hurt someone again.

Could I be angelically ‘good’?

But in the end, I can be none of these things and I don’t need to be. I am who I am, by God’s grace, and designed exactly for the spot I’m in.

And so are you.

So, which did you pick? Let me know. Perhaps none of those three appealed? How about ‘outrageously athletic’ or ‘divine singer’ or ‘fantastic cook’. Oooh. Now there’s a thought.

I Don’t Plan on Getting Married

I think wedding season and Valentines day must put all chocolate and girly-drink companies in the black for the year. I mean, those days can be pretty damn depressing for a single gal.

About this time, all the single ladies start posting things to Facebook like “I’m single, but I’m happy and I don’t need a man to define me and…”

Yeah, I don’t buy it. There are some fantastic single ladies out there, but deep down, I don’t believe they’re okay with their relationship status.

I’m not.

If I’m okay, why do I feel like I’ve been gut-punched every time a friend gets engaged?

My mom was married at 19, and as a girl I thought I’d do about the same. Nineteen came and went without so much as a date and I began to go through what every girl goes through–is there something wrong with me? It it because I’m fat? Have acne?

When I graduated from college (a conservative Christian school), somewhere between seven and ten of my classmates were getting married because that’s where Christian kids find spouses–Bible College.

Not me.

I didn’t want a career. I wanted to get married, have kids, and stay home with them. But I began to realize that things weren’t panning out the way I’d hoped. About that time, I stopped planning on getting married.

I want to get married, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t plan my life around something that might never happen. I can’t wait for my life to start, because it has already started. What will I make of it? All I can control is my own actions.

What I have to go on, so far, are my passions. I have a passion to learn, to teach, to write and to create. So I teach eight rambunctious kiddies and find happiness and in the way they clamour to tell me what’s up in their lives. I plan a long-term career as a writer, working every day to make it a reality. I create with my imagination, and I learn constantly.

I learn about relationships, and how to make them strong. If I never marry, this knowledge won’t be wasted. I strengthen my beliefs, hoping one day to teach them to my kids, but knowing that a strong faith will serve others regardless. I’m a good cook, and I can keep a house, and i’m trying to be good with money.

It’s actually fulfilling in itself.

I don’t want to come off as the smarmy type who has it all together. I know I’m not because of the crying fit I had when writing this. I’m lonely sometimes, and feel a bit like the last pair of shoes on the bargain rack. But it is what it is. How will I deal with it?

I’ll be okay with not being okay, but never, ever let that stop me from having a great life.

Why Am I Still Up?

Well, that may be it. This week may be a failure. And it’s only half way over. The clock flipped over to Wednesday an hour and sixteen minutes ago.

Despite vitamin D supplements and adequate levels of sleep and yet another episode of Sherlock on my laptop, I’m in a funk I can’t seem to shake. I’m generally good at spinning all the plates that compose my life, but this time they’re wobbling something fierce.

And this is only a 44 hour workweek.

My mental real-estate is taken up by debates and work and my monthly budget, none of which are cheerful subjects, and the writing has fallen by the wayside. That’s why I’m pouring my own depressed little self onto the page. I have nothing interesting to say–unless you’d like to hear about how to exegete John 1:1-2 and if I’m going to be able to make my car payments.

No? Neither do I.

I don’t know what to do with myself.
Perhaps there’s nothing more to do but to watch funny YouTube videos and eat breakfast sandwiches (no matter what time it is).


But, there is always good news. One, January is over, and that means there may only be six weeks of winter left (if the groundhog may be trusted). Two, I don’t have to work on Saturday. Three, the world is not my responsibility in the end. And Four, I still have two English muffins.

So fry up an egg. We’re going to make it, you and I.

Maybe in a couple days I’ll have something original to say.

A Sure Way to Learn Humility

Perhaps I should avoid debates. I’m not good at them. I’ve been carrying on a debate by email for the last few days, and boy, am I getting schooled.


Why must I learn as I go? Why can’t I just know everything?

I’m not losing the debate, per se, but it seems that at every turn I get a clear view of my ignorance. I am, frankly, racing to stay ahead of my colleague. On Friday I had just pressed ‘send’ on an email containing a careful statement of my position only to turn the page of my colleague’s book and realize I’d missed a chapter–and you know it would be about what I’d just defended, and you know he’d use some of the same quotes as I to defend his own, opposite, viewpoint.

Ugh. It was to the drawing board (and Amazon for more books) for me.

Social media has also been an embarrassing, invigorating mess of learning for me. As an author who aspires to make writing a paying vocation, social media is a must. So, without consulting experts or anything, I just sort of put myself out there. I did horrible things like tweet only links and self-promotion and being rather socially awkward.

And then I was recommended Rise of the Machines by Kristen Lamb, and now I realize I’ve been doing it ALL WRONG! I wish I could delete my Twitter and Facebook profiles and start over, but I can’t.

Why must I learn as I go? Why must I make a mess?

Now that I’ve learned that social media is, get this, for socializing, it has all become so much more fun. But since I haven’t finished the book yet, I suppose I’m in for a few more forehead-slapping moments. Sigh.


And as to the debate? The beauty of this debate is that, even if I don’t win my antagonist over to my side, I will have learned a TON. We’re debating theology–not nit-picky stuff, but things that are of vital importance to our faith. The very fact that I have to race to read ahead shows that I’ve been sorely lacking in my studies.

The Apostle Paul said that God gave him a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to keep from becoming conceited. I suspect my propensity toward mess-making has the same purpose. Heck, if Paul needed to be kept in line, I must really need help.

Laurie Woodward said “The lesson continues until the lesson is learned.” I suppose I better get to it, huh?

In that spirit, for the first time ever, I have composed a post entirely on my phone, with the aid of a Bluetooth keyboard. So, if you see anything out of wack, let me know, eh?

Oh Christmas, Why Did You Have to Go?

They took down Santa’s house this morning–the gaudy snow-covered castle, the plastic reindeer, the picket fence that corralled hopeful parents and fearful toddlers toward good St. Nick. Christmas is over, alas.

Oh Christmas, why did you have to go?

You may understand why I’m feeling a bit down. It’s not that I have a right to complain after twelve days of holidays—the sort of stretch that I haven’t had since I graduated. And after such a long holiday, I was actually looking forward to the structure of a workweek (the structure, anyway). I’m so much better at structure, after all. It’s just that I looked forward to Christmas for so long. I had all these plans—gatherings, parties, hanging out, writing, watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. In my most flustered, most tired times, I would hold out the holidays like a beacon of hope.

And now it’s winter, dead winter. It’s so cold that I wouldn’t put a dog outside. Heck, if there was just an elevator in my building, I’d bring my little car, Strawberry, up and park him between the sofa and the fireplace. I’m positive he’d fit, and this would solve the issue of the windshield frosting up from the inside, and the awful noises the car makes some mornings. Maybe that snow that’s been sitting on the floor mats for weeks would finally melt. Nothing melts in minus thirty, and it’s been minus thirty for a long time, or so it feels.

On the upside, I get more of a workout in this weather because I wear a twenty-pound parka everywhere, and winter boots. The boots are like ankle weights and, when I’m indoors, the coat serves as one of those sauna suits that fitness wackos wear. I need all the help I can get because today I stepped on one of the big floor scales at work, and I seem to have gained back the weight I’d lost before Christmas. Two weeks of doing nothing but watching movies and eating will do that to a body.

Perhaps the passing of Christmas is actually a good thing.

Well, it can’t be helped anyway. I just need to come up with a new ‘carrot’ to dangle in front of my nose. I’ve told you a bit about my goals for the year, and this morning I wrote up my goals for the month. I’m actually kind of pumped about them. After a good holiday, my brain is ready for new challenges.

Perhaps what I’m most excited about (and nervous) is sending my second draft novel to three beta readers for review. In the meantime, I will be doing some beta reading in trade, and cracking out my NaNoWriMo novel. I haven’t read it since November.

I’m also pretty excited about how this blog has been picking up steam since my article “For Trade: One Head” was Freshly Pressed. I sure am looking forward to another year of spilling my guts to you, interacting, and reading what y’all have to say.

So, Happy New Year. Stay warm, and may you find new things to look forward to.