Baking Bread

Baking bread. You can’t rush it. Hours after the bread is done, the house still smells so lovely. Sharing a loaf or two with friends and family seems to make the friends/family happy. There is a certain tranquility in baking bread. I don’t have to do it. Nobody expects me to do it. Even if the loaves are not picture perfect, the bread is SO delicious. Pretty simple. I don’t see a downside…except that I have eaten three pieces of toast and the most delicious grilled-cheese EVER since yesterday afternoon. But isn’t it all about the tranquility?  I’m going to go with that.

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I Don’t Want To Mislead You

I am going back through the book…Present Over Perfect ( Shauna Niequist) one chapter at a time and I am marking it up as I go. It seems that retirement may be “essentially God’s grace prying my little fingers off of of that” (MY), “identity, digit by digit.”  And yes, I know I probably messed up that punctuation.

The following passage hits the nail on the head. “I’ve always given my best energy to things outside myself, believing that I’d be fine, that I was a workhorse, that I didn’t need special treatment or babying or, heaven help me, self-care. Self-care was for the fragile, the special, the dainty.  I was a linebacker, a utility player, a worker bee.  I ate on the run…worshiped at the alter of my to-do list, ignored the crying out of my body and soul like they were nothing more than the buzz of pesky-mosquitos.  Now I know that in the same way I’ve always believed God’s Spirit dwells deeply in this world, it also dwells deeply in me. I’ve known that, cognitively, but my life spoke otherwise. Now I know that the best thing I can offer to this world is not my force or energy, but a well-tended spirit, a wise and brave soul.

Are you saying “WOW…Just WOW!”  ??

I do not want to mislead you.  I can sit on the sofa and watch Netflix with the best. A good massage or mani-pedi?  Why yes…thank you so very much.  But the mind never rests. The to-do list is on a loop in the background. Always. Shoot, this blog post has been running around in my brain since yesterday afternoon.

A couple of years ago in our old house, Hank fixed me up a “tranquility room” upstairs. It was a soothing shade of gray, with a beautiful rug and a big comfy chair. The pictures on the walls were lovely and soothing and a double window looked out over the back yard. There was plenty of room for me to begin learning yoga. The roomed smelled lovely all the time. It was very hygge before I knew what hygge was.

In that comfy chair overlooking the backyard, I made some crazy impressive lists in the pretty notebook I ordered after researching pretty notebooks for a couple of weeks. That was before I researched all things calligraphy and took a calligraphy class.  Calligraphy is hard.

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See what I did there?  The struggle is real.

 

 

Timing

I’ve started this post in my mind at least 20 times over the last several weeks. I’ll just say it.  Preparing for retirement is scary. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old in some way, shape, or form. It started with babysitting and playing the organ for church at the age of 14. At 17, I started working at the bank after school while still babysitting and playing the organ for church. This continued through college, including the bank during holidays and summers. Then I became a wife, and a school teacher, and a parent, taught piano lessons, served as church pianist/organist, directed church choirs. I went back to school for another degree. I became a school district administrator and when Lorelai went off to college, a high school principal. I like to think of myself as efficient.

It recently occurred to me that whether it looks this way to others or not ( and who am I kidding, it probably does a lot of the time), I approach almost every major task and some not so major tasks, whether personal or business, like a bat out of hell. Got to get it done, got to get it right, got to be impressive, got to be in control, got to make the plan right now, come on everybody get with the program, no time to waste, stop dilly dallying around, who cares if we have a year to plan.  And here’s the thing…even if it doesn’t look like that to others, that’s how it feels inside my brain.  I think HARD….ALL the time. And when there isn’t a project looming, the brain still keeps “scanning” for the next new thing and I get at loose ends and short-tempered.

It appears that I have “issues.” It’s exhausting.

Seeing though, how God’s timing is perfect, I recently came across this book.

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I am about three quarters done but I’m reading so fast that I know that I’ll need to start over again as soon as I am finished.  (Reference the bat out of hell approach mentioned above.)  But here is what I know. I haven’t been living as soulfully as I thought I was.  I’ve been living frantically.

This scary retirement thing may not be so scary after all.  I’m going to choose to think of it as more of a blessing and a God-given opportunity to leave the frantic behind.

It’s time.

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