It used to be that I'd fill up a journal (usually a spiral bound notebook) in a few months. That was a lot of writing, but it seemed I always had something to say about what was going on in my life and sometimes I'd say it over and over and over again (e.g., if I was bemoaning about some guy that wasn't paying sufficient attention to me). And this just wasn't when I was in high school or college! I could pull out journals from my late 30s and wonder if that chick had learned anything or not in the ensuing years!
I also used to read much more than I seem to be doing now. Newspapers, magazines, novels. Anyone who has followed my Blog for any number of years might recall that, around January, I'd post reviews of all the books I'd read the previous year (I have to admit I got this idea from my beloved Margot). One year, I topped out at 62. Sixty-two! Holy moly, I must have been doing nothing but reading! What was last year's count? 30. Where am I at as of February 7th? TWO!
And, regarding THIS Blog, well, it's definitely gone by the wayside. I think about posting various things all of the time, but then life gets in the way and I don't get around to it. I told myself this morning that I would post something today; if only to communicate why it is that I've been so busy. As an aside, I know this Blog is always here, like an old friend; and, whenever I come back to it, it's easy to pick right back up where I left off.
About a year ago, I started to read the Bible. Other than the various scriptures that I had to read while going through Confirmation classes thirty-plus years ago, I'd never really read it. I initially thought it might be cool to start at the beginning and read it all the way through. Well, I got through about half of Genesis and found myself thinking it was so totally ridiculous that I just couldn't continue. My advice to anyone picking up the Bible for the first time is don't kid yourselves into thinking you can understand it without instruction!
So, not wanting to give up, I moved on to reading a daily devotional, "The Upper Room", which our church provides to those who are so inclined. Each day, there is a suggested scripture reading, followed by a message, or devotional. These are written, by the way, by regular people all over the world, so, one day, there may be a writing from a lady in Russia, the next, a retiree in Florida. I found this daily practice much more agreeable, and eventually found myself wanting to know more. So, I joined a women's group at my church that meets every Tuesday morning for several hours. Every two months or so, there is a different study. The first one I attended was "Too Busy Not To Pray". Committing to this group and study meant homework (reading and reflection) throughout the week and then attending every Tuesday morning. Which, frankly, turned out to be a lot of fun. One of the ladies I met in my small group introduced me to another devotional, "Jesus Calling", which I promptly added to my morning routine. Like "The Upper Room", there is a message with accompanying scripture verses.
One Sunday this past June, several members of congregation stood up and gave testimony about an intense Bible study they'd recently completed called "Disciple". Intense, no kidding! It's a thirty-four week commitment in which you read about 80% of the Bible and meet weekly to discuss that week's lesson (and then some). Each person stated that going through this changed their lives. Remember my earlier statement about my inability to get through even Genesis? Well, I started thinking that this might be a good experience for me; reading the Bible with guidance, discussion, and interaction. Not to mention, I had a lot of questions about a lot of things relating to God, Jesus, Christianity, religion in general, heaven, hell; well, I'm not saying I needed to be convinced, but, well, yeah, I guess I did.
Quite separately from my musings, my husband was, apparently, wondering the same thing, especially after one of the Pastors approached him and told him she thought we should attend the class. Long story short, we signed up and began this past September. We're now a bit more than half-way through and I'm delighted to report I made it through Genesis! Seriously, we covered a goodly portion of the Old Testament and are now (to most of our relief) in the New Testament. I'm sure I'll write more about this experience later.
I skipped Tuesday Live last session because I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to do all of the reading required by both classes. However, now that I'm in the swing of things with "Disciple", I decided to rejoin Tuesday Live (I really missed the friends I'd made). So, here I am now also participating in Tuesday Live. As it happens, this is one of the more intense studies, requiring daily reading and homework. I'm finding, though, that a lot of the material dove tails nicely into what I'm already reading AND it's been beneficial being able to bring what I'm learning from one group into the other.
This is a long way of saying that, because of my Bible studies, my time is limited for the other activities I was spending so much time on before. Additionally, thanks to my cousin Tim, I've discovered ancestry.com and have been, slowly, building my humongous family tree. When I'm not reading or sitting in front of the computer, I'm at the gym in my attempt to Rock 50.
Oh, there's still time for light-hearted activities; there is Pinterest! My step daughter introduced me to this when she was here in January. I have a great time pining stuff to my various boards. And, yeah, there is still Facebook (although I'm not on it as much these days) and fun little phone app games like Draw Something, Words with Friends and Song Pop. All of these are my "fill in activities"; literally, I can pick any one of them to occupy me for five minutes here and there. Perfect for those times I'm waiting in line somewhere.
And, lest I forget, there is also this thing called BUSY SEASON that our little tax and accounting firm has entered into full swing.
Looking back now on that woman, that other me, who had all the time in the world to write (about herself), read (some things that weren't worth reading) and Blog; well, that was ok for then. But, now it's a new era. And that's more than ok.