Monday, August 26, 2019
The house and porch are full; teapots and snacks are everywhere (thanks, Aska, for amazing rissoles and the others for bringing options to share); the conversation is lively. A typical Monday morning study.
And in the afternoon, the wrap-up notes fly back and forth as we evaluate and process last weekend. We plan the next weekend, upcoming media, and the days between. That's usual, too.
I start getting applications for an Executive Assistant. I'm looking for someone local to pick up the details that are clogging my brain and my serve. I'm constantly checking: where are we in the process of that project? Have we confirmed this detail? Is that done or underway? Who's responsible for that piece? Who's meeting with us ... when? The event - how many are coming, and what menu will be served? Who needs a thank-you note from last weekend? And 100 more details besides. Some days I'm drowning in them.
W and I enjoy an afternoon treat - the snacks Kirsten left behind last week. Thanks, babe.
I get an early start at the office. This past weekend, God put in my heart the talk topics for next year at BIC. "Finally!" I think too myself. It's never too early to have a plan, is it?
W helps sort the themes, which I've been mulling for months. I start dreaming about how we can flesh out that framework.
We have guests at the 9:00 team meeting - a wonderful couple and their 1-yr-old. The little tyke is busy but well-behaved. The drawer of toys at the office means there's plenty for kids to do. She slams her fingers in the drawer once but otherwise roams around. SO cute! My grandma-heart is happy, watching.
Sanny makes sure we have tea and snacks. Can't do a meeting without that. He's a big help.
Meanwhile, our Roomba vacuum zooms noisily around the GG office. Once a week, I try to let it roam. It picks up so much dust and dirt - unbelievable.
The city is really polluted in dry season. The air particle index is double that of Mumbai and 4X higher than in Seattle. W does his research. "Pollution can clog the brain and make us stupid," he says. Oh well, we probably have a few more days to go before that happens.
The helper has made cookies. The first batch is a flop - they slide all over, like the first cookies I used to bake (the ones that weren't hard as stone, that is). But they taste good and we have good laugh. She adds flour to the second batch, which turns out fine.
My final counseling call is at 6:30. The past 4 months, Veronica has been God's voice in my ears and heart on Wednesday mornings. She's walked me through questions and helped me trust God in my personal life and for family and friends. She's been a wise sister, speaking God's truth without compromise. I'll check our session notes in the weeks ahead and keep working on them. [I recommend #faithfulcounseling, a good website for finding an online counselor.]
W and I have breakfast at #PinoTerrace after 8:00 - they are waiting for us. The food is delicious and reasonable (about $4 for both meals and tea, so it's hardly worth cooking and cleaning up at home.)
We run errands in the morning and have lunch together at #SpiceAffair, an excellent Indian restaurant. It reminds us of Samiana, which was our go-to restaurant in the USA. They even make the naan with seeds like Shamiana did.
I've left my phone at home - it's date day and our Sabbath. Feels weird. W checks his messages and the route as we go. I stop counting his taps at 15. Since I'm usually on twice as often as he, how many times I would be tapping that screen? The emails and WhatsApp texts are stacked up when I pick it up in late afternoon. It only takes a half hour to get through them = not too bad.
We see a few strange things: one is this poorly-designed sign outside a mall. I do a double-take before noticing the rest of the letters.
There's been a fire in a store down the hill. Here, like everywhere else, people stop to stare and chat as they watch the firemen put out the flames.
When Sumi arrived in the morning, she washed the porch. Then she started two loaves of bread rising. At the BIC office, she cleans for a few hours.
"She's amazing," says Sanny.
Yes, she is. When I get to BIC, the windows, mirror, and sinks are sparkling. The edges and corners of the floor are clean. The black glass on my desk is shining. (Who thought black glass would make a good tabletop? Every thumbprint and drip shows.)
We walk from home to the BIC office with 5 little aquarium shrimp from our last stop in the city on "aquarium street" (a block of fish stores.) We put the critters into a bowl with clean water and a plant from our yard pool before walking home again.
Sunday's flowers are still gorgeous. I created a smaller bouquet for the hospital visit we made Tuesday ... and then FORGOT it at home when we went from the BIC office straight to the hospital. Argh.
I'm at the BIC office by 6am. I've left the phone at home again. There's no one around. Just perfect. A few minutes of puttering.
The shrimp are dead. All dead. I click a few links online to read about acclimation - oh oh, they need more time and a steady drip of new water. (They were 35c each so I'm not heartbroken.) However, I learned something new and that makes me happy. The next critters will get better treatment. I dump them out, refill the bowl with fresh water, and pop the aquarium plant back in place. Something living on my desk. I like it.
I turn on the #focusatwill music channel, cranking the volume up on techno-noise for deep focus. Two hours speed by and I've got a chunk of my rough draft done. I hasten home: the groomer is coming to do the dog.
I pause to enjoy the neighborhood. The neighbor built a composting house a while back. The grass clippings and leaves are recycled inside. Pretty, right?
I ward off visitors by locking my home office door so people don't trot through, coming in and going out of the house. They use other doors. I break for a quick lunch and get back to words.
Wait. I have 13 "recovered" copies of my manuscript? The internet is flaking out so the document keeps rebooting. Ugh. I delete the extra copies after figuring out which one I was last working on. What a mess.
I quit when I'm tired, with 2/3 of a rough draft done. It's due on Saturday, plenty of time if I focus.
I walk to the quiet dark office before 6am. The sun's ready to come up; there are already lots of motorcycles on the road and people are walking or jogging around the neighborhood loop. I zone in for more writing. When the staff arrives at 8:30, I'm walk home and start the next paragraph, in my home office. It's not distraction-free - people walk through and chat.
I remember this pattern from writing my dissertation. If I got moving early in the morning, locked myself away with heavy metal or techno music to fuzz out distractions, and didn't move until I remembered to stand up - that was the perfect high-output focus for me. Ugly, but still works! I putter a bit between long hours of crunching words.
By late afternoon, I can edit the rough draft. W reads it and adds a few suggestions. I put it away until morning. Not due until tomorrow anyway.
After a final edit of the book chapter, I send it off. After it's gone, I notice that I forgot a whole section of edits. Oh well, it's not "my baby." Some writers are very protective of their work - you can't change a word without permission. (That's the bane of editors!) But this is just a good effort with decent formatting; it's not perfect.
I send the manuscript to the book editors along with permission to do whatever they want with it. People smarter than I can polish it if they need to.
I prepare a quick lunch of ramen and frozen chicken (thawed, fried) before petting the dogs and filling their dish with food. W is at a lunch meeting and it's late afternoon when I look up again. W has returned but he leaves again for the hash (a run/walk) with the Saturday hashers. The dogs are out walking for an hour or two so all is quiet on the home front.
But wait - the Roomba starts up and criss-crosses the living room and kitchen. The wind kicks up and clatters the bamboo chimes. The metal chimes ring while the canary enjoys the breeze with a song. The lovebirds are chirping at each other. Somewhere, a neighbor's dog is barking. The call to prayer starts with multiple cries from the speakers of mosques around the city. It's a lively festival of sounds.
*Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish. Jonah 3:9
*The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom. Proverbs 15:33
*Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him. 1 Corinthians 8:2-3
*The Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Moravian Prayer: Dearest Lord, there are so many people in this world who are yearning to be set free from oppression. Make us into vessels of empowerment, delivering the fruit of your spirit. Send us into this world and deliver us home after your deeds are done.
Our imperfections often confine us and restrict our potential. Forgive us so that we may be set free to begin anew in you. We owe such a debt of gratitude already. May our fruitful and life-giving deeds be our payment. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.