New eyes to old faces

Aha! Barely a few days into summer, and already one of my goals taken care of. I visited Ruth for several days, which was really enjoyable. I was nervous about the drive, but it wasn’t bad (though the lack of a shoulder on I-80 freaked me out a couple times – I have a small car, but not THAT small!) and, especially as I got closer to Sparks, it was absolutely beautiful.

I think part of what struck me about my visit was that my sister really lives out a lot of what I hope to, and not because she’s in some crazy group of kids or has an Abbot to keep her in line but instead just…because she thinks that it is the right way to live. As a whole, she lives a relatively simplistic lifestyle; she is almost never on her computer, and instead works in her garden, sews, quilts, cooks, and enjoys time with her husband. She takes her dog for long walks, and during the summer when she has a lot of extra time (she is a teacher, as I am looking to be) she walks around the beautiful Sparks marina instead of, as she put it,  “buying useless stuff she doesn’t need”.  That struck me a lot – it’s one thing to be in my tiny little town and have nothing to do other than go for walks (which, admittedly, I don’t do – usually I’m parked in front of my laptop) but to be in a much, much larger city with lots of stores, restaurants, movie theaters,  and have two solid incomes with money in the bank, yet decide to wander around your community and plant a garden.

I think I have underestimated my sister, by a lot.

One of the aspects of her lifestyle that I respected the most was that she has a fairly stable routine yet somehow manages to barely glance at the clock. I think I need to work on my own routine, especially since it’s summer and I have very few daily responsibilities. I have a few ideas – I think I’ll try them out and get back to you.

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Summer is my favorite season

I’d intended to be all hip and nifty, posting a blog about some of my recent creative endeavors and posting pictures, but my camera memory card reader has disappeared. After a week of putting it off, I’m just giving it up.

In more important news, today was my last day of school. As such, cue the nostalgic/optimistic/type-A goal setting blog…

When I was young, I used to be home schooled. I always wanted to go to a “real” school and imagined that I would study like crazy and know everything I possibly could about every subject I studied. Well, a couple of years of that got me pretty burnt out, and then I wished I was back at home – not being held back by other people when I had to work in a group, working at my own pace, having free time – it all sounded wonderful.
So, starting in high school I made myself goals for the summer, like my own home school that only lasted a couple months. Of course, there were always far too many for me to do and I was always disheartened at the end of the summer, which was the opposite of what I had hoped to achieve. For the last three or four summers, I’ve given up on the idea.

I’m trying to revive the practice, since I do believe in goal setting, but hopefully I can set my goals better this time. I’ve organized them into categories that I think are truly important, and have divided them up with concise and exact “mini-goals” instead of vague “exercise more”, “eat better”, “read” or all those other vague goals I’ve given myself before, and hopefully these are realistic – I’ve toned them down, since I tend to go the route of “oh I have all summer, of course I can become a great painter, get into perfect shape, and remove all of my bad habits!”.
So, in no particular order:

Creativity: paint something with the rest of my canvas, find something to sew or otherwise create with my fabric, finish my quilt, knit or crochet a complex garment (i.e. not just a hat or scarf), doodle something (even something silly like an equation explaining immaculate conception) once a day, and create 2 or three necklaces, bracelets, and pairs of earrings.

Relationships: visit Ruth, Esther and Naomi at least once each, call my parents, grandparents, and sisters at least every six weeks, strengthen relationships outside of the Abbey (both with some old friends, as well as continued networking outside of my old high school clique).

Intellectual: Spend at least 45 minutes a day catching up with news and current events, read at least three books a month, with at least one not being “fluff” reading, spend no more than an hour watching TV a day, and prepare for upcoming CSET exams.

Physical: exercise 3 to 4 days a week, with a mixture of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching, only eat out for a maximum of two meals a week, and cook my own food (as in not frozen food) at least half of the time.

Thoughts on a long night.

Have you ever had that feeling of “oh god, I need to get my life together”? I mean, at least within my friends it’s a common incident to tell someone jokingly to get their life together if they make a minute mistake, but especially lately I’ve had a very serious feeling like that toward myself.

I know I’m a youngin’, I have lots of life ahead of me, but I feel an immense impatience to be a real, functioning adult. You know, one who has a REAL job not just scooping ice cream, who has some semblance of routine to their life and not a crazy sleep schedule (though admittedly, for my age my sleep schedule is pretty tame), who can take on and finish responsibilites and not be a flake, all of those numerous attributes that I associate with being an adult.

I’ve realized that there are two distinct pressures on my life; one that comes from school and my parents that emphasizes career strongly and equates being an adult with having a profession and excelling in it. The other is from my Abbey circle of friends and acquaitances that is more emphasizing upon the development of self and having my own convictions and opinions, not conforming to the norm and working with my own talents and reams. I am quite fonder of the latter, but I find the former sucking me in sometimes, and it causes me to lose sight of what my life can be like and get stuck in a rut.

As Joshua has continued talking about the noviciate period of the Abbey and what levels of involvement we’ll all be, I’ve never before felt so strongly that a) I have not reached the levels of what he is asking for, and b) I really, really want to be a part of this at the innermost level. At first I was worried I was being selfish, looking for a cheap place to live and whatnot, but when I thought about it I realized that this is the ONLY place in my life where I get truly challenged. Sure, school is a challenge sometimes but mostly it’s just time consuming. Jobs and friendships can be challenging, but those are usually social issues. The Abbey, however, stretches me to be a better, more functional, evolved person – it doesn’t simply tell me to go get a job, make money, and maybe travel a bit to get the “world changer” complex out of my system.

As I sit here at just before midnight, having just barely finished my Mother’s Day present (no card yet!) and with the slew of homework that was piled on me that is due early this next week on my mind, my internet browser brimming with creative projects I want to get to, a list of Jesus for President-esque books in front of me, and the card of the woman I need to call about setting up an art class for kids staring accusingly at me from my desk, I have never felt so strongly that: I need to get my life together.

I’ve always been proud of being called “mature for my age” or “very adult”, but it’s time for me to step up and make those more than appearances, and instead a reality. I’m convinced deeply that, if I put my mind to it, I can show all the initiative I need and become a real adult. This is a risk, of course. In a month, Josh may look me in the eye and tell me sadly that I should be an associate member of the Abbey, that I’m just not ready to be at the core group. I’m deathly afraid of failure, so this is pretty scary for me. But growing and stretching hurts sometimes, and it’s a risk that I have to take.

I’m going to head to bed for a couple hours. It may not be much, but it’ll help me focus on my tasks for tomorrow. I can do this. Just keep telling myself that.

I can do this.

Abbey life: never a dull moment.

So life has been kind of mundane lately; school and work blended together with a few precious nuggets of Abbey time and hanging out with other friends. However, I’ve recently come to appreciate where I live – where else would you randomly end up with a new roommate for a short period of time, or plunder frozen goods from a Holiday trash can after a power outage, or get together 6 – 10 friends for at least one meal together a week?
I have to say though, a few incidents in particular at The Abbey have made me chuckle lately. There’s the always popular occurrence of, when I’m out grocery shopping with one of the boys, someone asks me if we’re dating (or asks some question about Tristan or Karis, Lucy, and Ethan) and there’s the awkward moment where I either say “nononono. no.” or blush and say something to the effect of “umm…those aren’t my kids. We’re not together.”

Yet among all of the other classic moments, I think my new all time favorite moment happened today. After an awkward moment when I was helping cook dinner and realized that I had started my period and darted off to the bathroom, when I came back randomly Kenny began asking questions about periods. How does it feel? Does it hurt? How do you know when it starts? Do you use tampons or pads? Are you light or heavy? Etc etc etc. I tried to edit a bit for him and use more semi-medical euphemisms so as not to scar him, but he seemed genuinely intrigued and wanted to know more.

And that’s what made it so epic.

That tis all for now. Must go clean up our mess in the kitchen and turn in for the night.