Since I don’t blog for a living, I will from time to time take extended breaks, since this isn’t my top priority.
That was the case over the last couple of weeks. I started an extended vacation from work beginning November 17, and because I was trying to get everything in a place where it needed to be before I left, I haven’t submitted a blog post since a few days before that.
Today is just a check-in as I now begin the task of catching up from my time off!
A quick recap of my time off:
November 17 – My wife and I and a couple friends drove to Green Bay, Wisconsin and listened to Charlie Johnston speak. I introduced myself as “The Diatribe Guy” after his talk and he was genuinely happy to see me. It was nice to meet him in person. He appreciated that I have a bit of a skeptical nature about the whole thing, while also keeping an open mind about it all. I am respectful and try to provide a different view or insight when I comment on his blog and I think he recognizes that I am not a troll who is trying to play some game of “gotcha” but instead someone who is trying to understand, take it all in, keeping my wits about me, and maintaining prudence. He didn’t say a whole lot I hadn’t heard him say or write before, but it’s always good to be in a small community with others.
November 18 – my birthday! Yay me. And as my birthday present I went to our garden an hour away to spread a mineral mix on it only for 50 mph winds to spring up out of nowhere and make spreading it impossible. So I unloaded it and came back home. While I was gone, our oven broke. Since I have already paid for this oven twice because it keeps breaking down, we decide to get a new one. My wife and I do a birthday dinner, shop for appliances, and go see a movie. Jack Reacher. It was OK – nothing special but a couple hours of mindless entertainment. Lowe’s is on a two-week delivery schedule, and Thanksgiving is only 5 days away. We pass.
November 19 – November 27: Rifle deer hunting season in Wisconsin. A time where the kids, the father-in-law, and me spend countless hours in the woods and see NOTHING. Four year drought. The only thing I got was a cold.
November 19: Appliance shopping – decide to go to a gas stove with a local dealer who can guarantee delivery by Thanksgiving. but we are not set up for gas, so first need to find a plumber who can get to our house before Thanksgiving. Vacation is stressful. Wisconsin Badgers win in football, moving up to 6th in the national playoff rankings!
November 20 – Packers lost again. Defense is horrible.
November 21: While we are hunting in spurts throughout this whole week, this was the special day of triumph. Spend all day at the father-in-law’s land a couple hours away, picking off huge Bucks! Well, we spent all day there, froze our butts off and finally saw a doe about 200 yards away facing away from us with about 15 minutes left in the hunting day. Too far to take the shot for my son, who was the only one allowed to shoot a doe in this county. That’s as close as we got all season to shooting a deer. My wife actually found a plumber who could come over the next day.
November 22: We have gas in the kitchen! Well, I always have gas in the kitchen, but I mean the natural kind that runs appliances.
November 23 – Spent half the day in a dentist’s chair. A crown in my mouth cracked. That has been drilled out, my nub is now even a smaller nub, and a temporary crown is on. I texted my sister and said that I think my Purgatory will be continued dental work in a confined space with spiders crawling on me. Her response was “If that is Purgatory, then Hell sounds better.” I couldn’t even argue. Our gas stove is delivered! We can now make a Thanksgiving meal.
November 24: Happy Thanksgiving! Great meal with the whole family. Very nice day, despite my mouth hurting from the dental work. Despite my wife’s nervousness about getting used to gas and convection oven cooking, everything was awesome.
November 25 – 27: Lots of hunting. My father-in-law has a habit of picking a spot to park on public land and then walking to the furthest possible point on that land from where we parked.
November 26: Badgers won again – Big Ten East Champions – will play in the Big Ten title game next week against Penn State. Will likely remain 6th in the rankings, possibly moving to 5th. Need to finish top four to make the playoff.
Looking at that recap is a synopsis of life. A couple hurdles and unexpected irritations that need to be dealt with – so you deal with them. You can let it get you down or you can just move forward. Some things of highest value that bring you joy (God, family, thankfulness, time together), things you try to do but don’t succeed at and you learn from it and move on, some frivolous pursuits that bring some added color and entertainment to life… If I recapped every week of my life it would probably look something like that.
So let’s move on. It’s Advent. Life will be busy, but when you look back at each week will you see a lot of pointless busyness at the expense of things that would have been more important, or do you see a good balance. I look above and I like the balance overall. In the woods, I even spent some of that time in prayer and contemplating God.
But I was on vacation – toss in my work schedule and suddenly the balance becomes harder to achieve. I’m going to try my best to maintain a proper balance during Advent – and beyond.