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Friday, September 09, 2005


checking in, checking out

We did it. We traversed 1500 miles, went through two boxes of granola bars, a jar of salted peanuts, a Costco bag of jalapeno potato chips, and three tins of Altoid gum. Not to mention the many, many stops at KFC (nephew Nathan, along for the ride, likes only chicken.) We took about a hundred pictures. I started a heart-shaped rock collection with the four I found on the Going-to-the-Sun road through Glacier National Park. We got within touching distance of four wild mountain goats, and within spitting distance of a two-year old grizzly. Of course, he was on a hillside above the road, not caring about us gawkers below, and as long as the bush he was after didn't run out of huckleberries, we weren't in much danger.

We had a wonderful time. On the way to Montana, we stopped at our friends', the Isaacsons, in Couer d'Alene and spent a day at Silverwood with them. Stopped again at the 10,000 Silver Dollar tourist trap just inside Montana, where Nathan latched onto a sword and knife. We suggested he wait until the return trip to buy them. Stopped in St. Regis and visited with a nice volunteer from Frankfurt, Germany, at the tourist center. She advised us to watch for grizzlies in Glacier, as a hiker had just been attacked a day earlier. Went through Kalispell and Whitefish. Landed, finally, in our KOA camping cabin, where we spent four nights. On one of those nights, we made an unplanned stop at the Montana Raceway Park, where we each picked our favorite drivers and sat through every heat of the races. (I could easily become an official stock car fan if they would consider putting in a nonsmoking area in the grandstands.)

The hardest thing about this particular vacation was that it coincided with Katrina. It was incredibly difficult to try to glean information from the radio, as the reception was spotty and the radio waves had an irritating habit of fading away just as the most pertinent information was coming through. My heart broke at what I heard, and later saw in newspapers and on the KOA television. I was glad to see that Lori Seaborg was taking an active role in the relief efforts, and even happier to learn that several of you had contacted her to donate toward that effort. Up there in Montana, I felt like we may as well have been on the moon. We were a world away from all that activity, all that suffering. I haven't felt that disconnected in a long time.

Once home, we've been catching our breath, assessing our home, and realigning our priorities. Maybe it's the change of seasons, but I've felt a powerful "batton the hatches" urge these last few days. I've been scrubbing floors, filling water containers for the animals (with icy winter days in mind), baking bread and harvesting the last of our fruit. It's felt good--so good, in fact, that I don't want to stop. And here's what I've concluded. I need to free up more of my time for such activities. Between writing books, blogging, teaching at writer's conferences and women's retreats, and all my other assorted activities, I haven't given enough of my heart to my home. I don't mean my family--I couldn't love them more than I do. I mean our physical dwelling. I mean those drawers that never get purged, the paperwork that multiplies on my kitchen counter, the quilts that sit half-finished in the closet. I have an unignorable hankering to be the mistress of my home again. I want cookies cooling on the counter when the kids get home from school. I want afghans forming between my knitting needles. What does all that mean? It means simply this: I won't be blogging nearly as much as I have been. I toyed with the idea of shutting down my blog altogether, but I couldn't do it. I've met too many wonderful people here, and I couldn't imagine losing touch. But something has to change if I'm to bless my family more, if I'm to be more available to the women in my church, if I'm to have more time to spend at God's feet.

I'm imposing a sabbatical for myself. But I'll check in now and then.

23 Comment:

At 9/09/2005 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

Blog is informative . Dont't stop. I'm sure you'd be interested in How to buy & sell engineering on interest free credit; pay whenever you want.

 
At 9/09/2005 1:25 PM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

How humorous that after such a heartfelt post you wrote, you get hit by a spammer first comment! Life's kinda like that sometimes, isn't it? You pour your heart and soul out and get really transparent and the reality smacks ya down. Well, as for me, I'm glad you and your family are home safe and sound. I certainly can empathize with your wanting to make hearth and home a priority in your life. That's how God would want it. If more parents felt that way, then we as a world would have so much fewer problems within the families. Please please don't leave us for good, and do check in as often as you can. You've been quite the mentor to me and to so many others and we all keep you, Pastor Dave, Zac and Tera and Calvary's Chapel in our hearts and minds. And, btw...I just found out there is a Calvary's Chapel McDonough just around the corner from my home. Could this be a part of yours?

Take care of you and the family, Shannon. The rest will all fall into line.
Jimmy

 
At 9/09/2005 11:29 PM, Blogger Darlene had this to say ...

Shannon, looking at it from an outsiders point of view, it doesn't matter to me if you blog less often. I will still keep checking in all the time, we're not going anywhere. You have inspired me tonight to know that it's ok to slow the blog flow, thanks. I struggle with that alot thinking that I'll lose all the friends I've made.

 
At 9/10/2005 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9/10/2005 8:33 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Jimmy, thank you so much. I needed that. :) You have been such a blessing to me--and when I thought of the blogger friends I would miss if I quit blogging, you were right up there at the top. I appreciate your prayers. And yes, that Calvary Chapel is part of ours. I don't know the pastor, but I'll be sure to watch for the pastor's wife when I go to our annual conference in a few weeks.

Darlene, I needed that too! What you wrote helped me realize that we probably all struggle with the pressure. Once or twice, I've been late to appointments because I had to finish a post before I ran out the door, and more than once I've ignored a dreaded chore because it was more fun to blog. But God is so good in the way that He convicts. I came home fired up to tackle all my little piles and get things in order again, and without that motivation, I don't know that I could have made the decision as easily.

I'll probably slow down from my three posts a week to one, but I'm not sure yet if I'll pick a regular day or just write when the urge strikes me. We'll see!

 
At 9/10/2005 12:47 PM, Blogger Darlene had this to say ...

Last winter my husband suggested that if I wanted to blog once a week, I could call it "The Saturday Evening Post" it was a cute idea, but I felt pressure to blog more often.

 
At 9/10/2005 5:30 PM, Anonymous Humble Pie had this to say ...

Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. (Deuteronomy 28:6)

Thought of you, as I read this today.

We'll all still return for our windscraps fix, of this I am sure!

 
At 9/10/2005 8:30 PM, Anonymous Christie had this to say ...

Shannon....I will keep checking to see your new posts.

God bless you this year as you simplify and prioritize! I know He will. =)

Christie

 
At 9/11/2005 5:58 AM, Anonymous Sheryl had this to say ...

Shannon.. I can really understand your desire to do more "homey" things. I get that way myself (usually in the fall) I just baked a sugar cream pie yesterday. But since I've read your post, I'll probably bake bread this afternoon after church! You're an amazing writer and blogger. Take care!
Sheryl

 
At 9/11/2005 7:12 PM, Blogger Angie Poole had this to say ...

Glad you had such a lovely trip. I say follow your heart and your nesting instincts. We'll all still be around. Whenever you do post, my bloglines will notify me and it will be a pleasant suprise. Just bring those cookies to your post!

Blessings,

Angie

 
At 9/12/2005 12:53 PM, Anonymous Elle had this to say ...

Shannon...
I've never posted a comment on your blog before, but I read it with enthusiasm. You have been such a blessing to me, and though I will be sad to have the joy of connecting with you less often, I'm so encouraged to think of the blessing God will bestow on you for your honoring of His conviction.

 
At 9/12/2005 5:04 PM, Blogger Gina Burgess had this to say ...

Shannon, I enjoy your blog so much! You have set my thought processes straight many times. I do understand just how time consuming this is and I deeply feel those sweet homebody things than we women do. I vote for "write when you feel it", and I'll say a prayer for God to order your time. Who knows, perhaps God will give you more than 24 hours in a day! :)

 
At 9/12/2005 9:09 PM, Blogger QueenBee had this to say ...

I'm jonesing for a Windscraps post ....but I admire your dedication to your family. You're an incredible writer, an encourager and a teacher....now you're proving you have your priorities straight. You're really making the rest of us look bad, ya know! Ha. Just kidding. I'll be watching for your weekly post from now on!

 
At 9/13/2005 8:32 PM, Blogger BHGA had this to say ...

I enjoy all that you write and love visiting you....whatever you can share, whenever you can share, as long as it comes from our Father, will be a blessing to all who read...

I myself have been in the mood for homemade bread...and homemade cinnamon rolls...sounds yummy!!!

Blessings to you
Donna

 
At 9/14/2005 6:53 AM, Blogger Sharon had this to say ...

Good Morning Shannon,
I am still keeping you bookmarked so I can easily check in on you from time to time!I do completely understand the need to simplify and focus on home and family.Praying God blesses this time for you dear friend.
Love,Sharon

 
At 9/14/2005 10:58 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Darlene, that's a great name for a blog. Tell your husband he's very creative. :)

Lauren, Christie, Sheryl, Angie ... thank you for reassuring me. It's nice to know that people understand my need to slow down a bit. And thanks for letting me know you won't stop visiting!

Elle, I love what you wrote. It's startling sometimes when God takes a left turn on you, but I've learned there's nothing better than following. Thanks for getting me excited. :)

Gina, I'm waiting for that 25th hour! Great thought!

Hello Cindy! Hope things are going well for you. I'm not on the computer much right now, but you've crossed my mind now and then and I'm praying for a great outcome for you and your family.

Thank you so much, Donna. Hey! You've now given ME a hankering for cinnamon rolls. I usually make the first batch of the year on the first day of snow ... but that's so far off, I probably wouldn't hurt our tradition if I made a batch now. Hmm.

Hi Sharon! Thanks for the prayer. God HAS been blessing my time. Today I'm tackling the pile of papers on the kitchen counter ...

 
At 9/14/2005 4:39 PM, Blogger Lori Seaborg had this to say ...

Shannon,

It's so nice to read about all those cozy things. In fact, it gets me downright weepy with longing for it all. It's encouraging to me, to know that in America there are places that are still normal. I'm so glad that Washington didn't have a hurricane, too, because I need to read about your normal days. It helps us on the Gulf Coast to remember that those days will come again.

For now, though, my house doesn't have to be cleaned because it is covered in shipping boxes. Nobody can see the dirt! We are going to Mississippi at least twice weekly. It seems like so much aid is heading here, that we are surprised at how much we are needed. I think it is our listening ear that is needed more than anything. A hug and a prayer and a care package is also readily accepted.

I put up a new website, http://www.survivedkatrina.org

Thanks for blogging!
Lori Seaborg

 
At 9/15/2005 2:45 PM, Blogger steve had this to say ...

glad you are safe and sound.

May God Bless you Shannon

 
At 9/16/2005 10:48 PM, Blogger YellowRose had this to say ...

Everyone needs a break, though I'm going to miss your wonderful posts, I wish you a peaceful break. Blessings!

 
At 9/23/2005 2:21 PM, Blogger Zing had this to say ...

We too just got back from being on vacation! One place we stopped was your wonderful city of Ocean Shores. I will miss your daily blog. (hugs) Thank you Shannon, for being obedient to God. Whatever He inspires you to say will be worth the visit…hey I even love reading your blasts from the past and your archive are very inspirational. God Bless you and your wonderful family. I will be praying for you. Linda

 
At 9/26/2005 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

I just returned from two weeks vacation and one of the first things I looked forward to was reconnecting with your site. I just found you last month -- you can't quit! ;-) I understand your need to prioritize -- and boy, do I know those piles of paper on the kitchen sink (or in my case, the kitchen table!). I'm always wondering how others seem to be able to accomplish so much, and my days fly by with no time or energy for most of what I long to do. So I certainly understand...though it makes me a bit sad too. Just want to encourage you though to know -- your blogging is so much more than just a "self-indulgence." I can see how God uses your words to touch, inspire, heal, and strengthen your readers - a much needed gift in our world. Like a song that refreshes, a sunset that turns our hearts to God's majesty...a gift of words lifts the heart to Him. I will keep checking in to see if you've written something new. So glad you aren't quitting altogether! Your writing inspires me in my own writing ideas too...the heartwarming touch I always pray God will add to my words. I just read your book before vacation, too -- a jewel! May God bless your time and home with grace abundant!

 
At 9/26/2005 6:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

I just left a message above, and it came out anonymous. Just fyi... this is Pam D. again. This system of posting keeps confusing me...never sure how to leave my identity. ;-)

 
At 9/26/2005 9:59 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Thanks for the info, Lori ... and the blessing, Steve and Yellow Rose. :)

Linda! Great picture. It's nice to see who everyone is. I'm also a fan of Ocean Shores. I can never get too much of the ocean.

Thanks for your kind words, Pam (and for coming back to tell me who you were!). No, I don't think I could quit altogether. Even when I feel like I need a little "creative break," the thoughts keep coming. Blogging is a wonderful outlet. I may slow down on my formal projects for a season, but I can't see myself not blogging. :)

 

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