The kids all climbed in bed with us this morning and watched while I opened their carefully-wrapped gifts: a butterfly pin and a tiny clay pot from Emma (age 6), a rock painted to look like a lady bug and a hand print from Easton (age 4), a picture frame for the kids' artwork from Danny, and a card full of coupons from Eliana (age 11). Eliana's coupons had me in stitches. Does she know her mom or what?
I'll bake you brownies for your study carrel.
You can force me to help you with your dissertation.
I will clean up your desk (presumably after I eat the brownies).
I'll give you a free lecture.
You can force me to read your "thesus".
I'll write you a commentary for free! (This, she figured, would be cheaper than buying me one.)
I'm eager to think of a way that Eliana can help with my dissertation. Perhaps helping me pack and move my books into my larger study carrel will be just the thing. I'll get an upgrade later this summer with more shelf and desk space. But meanwhile, my kids are bringing lots of joy to the journey.
Emma wrote an acrostic poem using the letters of my name in honor of Mother's Day.
Creative Artistic Ripe (Emma tells me this is much better than being rotten.
I trust she does not mean ripe as in "ripe old age" . . .) Mousy (And this, apparently, means I slowly tell my kids what to do,
which seems very unlikely, but it does, in fact, start with the letter "m,"
which is the main thing.) Encourager Nice
Another of her "pomes" goes like this:
roses are red
vilot are blue
evreyone loves you
lu! lu! lu!
I'm such a ripe mom, in fact, that this week I took the kids on a spontaneous field trip to Blanchard Hall with Flat Stanley, who was mailed to Emma by a friend in North Carolina.
We ate snack together and the kids did their homework, and then we explored all the fun staircases, round rooms, and odd windows in the 140-year-old building that houses Wheaton's top administrators and is named after the school's founder.
I showed them the room where I had my proposal defense last month, and we peeked out of a round window in the main tower to get a view of the Billy Graham Center, where my classes are held. As you can see, we took lots of pictures along the way to document Flat Stanley's historic visit to Blanchard Hall. We'll send pictures back to Emma's friend, Logan.
It's great having places like this just a few steps from our front door, and having children to explore them with me! I am a happy mother indeed.
(Confession time) I'm hyperventilating in my study carrel, looking at all that must be done this summer to stay on track in my doctoral program. You may not be a doctoral student, but I wager you have too much to do and not enough time, just like me. And if not, you might be glad just to know that I get stressed, too. A dear friend just sent me this note:
I hate to say it, but I'm glad to hear you struggle with
getting stressed too :) You usually seem so calm to me and like things are very
under control. So it's good to know you are normal :) But I hope you can relax
and know that everything will get done somehow, and know the Lord is sovereign
over everything, including your time! I am trying to learn this myself.
A great reminder. If God called me here (and he did!), then he will see me through.
I've spent the whole morning taking stock of what I need to do, prioritizing, counting days, and dividing it all out. Winging it is not going to work very well. I need to know exactly what I must do today so that I can fit it all in. Knowing what I have to do will also (theoretically) keep me from being stressed about how much more there is to do. Better to let tomorrow worry about itself.
What, you ask, could be so daunting?
learning to read French (and read 80 pages of French articles for my dissertation)
reading 240 pages in German (for my dissertation)
reading 2755 pages (for a fall seminar and from the comprehensive reading list)
skimming 24 other books from the comprehensive reading list
researching and writing one full chapter of my dissertation and part of another (about 60 pages total)
taking a 3-week class at Notre Dame (I don't have a syllabus yet, so I don't know how much more work that will add)
reading through the entire Bible, finding relevant texts for my dissertation
Too much for one summer? I'm inclined to agree with you, but all I can do is try.
So, for the month of May I will attempt to . . .
write the partial chapter of my dissertation (10 pages)
do 2 lessons a day from my French book
read 33 pages a day from my current Comps book
read 15 chapters a day from the Bible
translate 3 pages a day of German
skim 6 books
and do as much reading as possible for Notre Dame (when I find out what it is)
That almost sounds relaxing.
After all, no one could eat an elephant in one sitting. But if it's cut into chunks and eaten one bite at a time, it might even be nourishing!
May you have a nourishing summer. Don't try to do it all at once. It'll kill you! (It almost did me.)
divide and conquer . . . one bite at a time
Oh . . . and if anyone wants to join me on the Bible read-through this summer, click here for the checklist I'm using to pace myself. Let me know if you're on board!