Intensive weekend begins!

Working in the hotel room to make last minute changes to the first stage of my class project.

Working in the hotel room to make last minute changes to the first stage of my class project.

This has been a rough week – as has been evidenced by the general lack of posts. I suppose that pretty much spells the end of the 31 Days challenge in its truest sense, but it will still be a success for me if I can get back into the rhythm of blogging and writing on a more consistent basis.

This weekend marks a change in the routine. For the past four weeks, I’ve been doing reading, watching videos and participating in chat sessions for two classes. One of those classes goes live this weekend during marathon sessions today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday with the professor at the seminary in Findlay, Ohio.

Some may look on this as a ton of work, but I find these weekends (and for some semesters it’s an entire week) rejuvenating. It’s a chance to get away from the routine and focus on the work for the classes. It gives me the space to remember why I wanted to do this in the first place and to further seek God’s direction in the ministry he would have me do when I finish the classwork.

For now, though, I have to finish one class assignment before I head over to the first session. It’s essentially a proposal for my class project for the semester. To be honest, I stumbled upon the idea much closer to the deadline than I care to admit, but I’m thrilled about the idea and can’t wait to dig in. More about the project when it’s approved by the professor.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll even do a second post this evening.

 

Sabbath

It’s been a quiet day, filled with more reading for the survey of Christian theology course.

Sundays are a little odd for me while I’m taking classes. The rhythm of the day is the same, but there are clear differences. I still spend the day reading with the strangely comforting sound of NFL football providing background noise, but the choice of reading material is significantly different. It’s not lightweight material. It’s hardcore reading that keeps the brain so engaged that I get sleepy…early.

And so the post is short today. It is a day of rest, after all.

30 minutes at a time

Sometimes I’m thankful for a rainy, cold weekend.

When the week gets away from me and the assignments pile up for my two seminary classes, the weekend becomes catch up time. It’s the time when I bury my head in a book or watch the course videos.

But, with that there comes another area for balance.

Ever since I landed on the planet in the winter before the moon landing and Woodstock, Saturdays were for house cleaning. Oh, when I was little and Mom stayed at home, she did some of the work through the week. The bigger projects and the deeper cleaning were kept for the weekend. Refrigerators would be cleaned out, laundry would be done, floors mopped and carpets vacuumed.

You don’t just jettison a decades-long habit because you have to read a chapter discussing the differences between Irenaeus’ and Augustine’s thoughts on free will in relation to the sovereignty of God. (And, yes, that is indeed what I was reading today.)

What you do is adjust. I’ve found a variation of the Pomodoro technique works well on the weekends. The technique breaks work down into typically 25-minute intervals with a short break. I’ve used it at work, and it’s stunning how much more clearly you think if you take a walk around the office every so often.

So, for the weekends during the seminary, I adjust the times to be more reasonable for the work I am doing. Today, for example, I started off with about 30 minutes of cleaning and sorting laundry. That was followed by 30 minutes of a video on the divine covenants. Then, 30 more minutes of cleaning, followed by an hour of online chat with the professor and my classmates.

You get the picture.

By late afternoon, the cleaning was done and I had made a dent in the mounds of work leftover from the week, giving me time to settle back and watch a new episode of Doctor Who.

And that’s always a great way to polish off a busy Saturday.

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Learning to love – and leave – a schedule

Planning is the key to surviving seminary.

Learning when to scrap the plan is the key to living.

Today’s reading/work plan started with watching a video before work. Then, I planned to finish some reading on my lunch break and to watch another video this evening.

It’s now 9:43 p.m. I’m too tired to watch a video, but I might be able to pull off a little reading.

What happened?

Lunch over a plate over rewarmed spaghetti while reading a text on a Kindle turned into a celebration of a volunteer’s new job with a farewell meal at a local diner. Tonight’s video session turned became dinner out with Dad for the first time in months and a long visit with my 97-year-old Grammy.

There are days when you have to minimize the distractions, keeping to the plan to whittle down a  mountain of assignments into a manageable molehill.

Today wasn’t that day.

Today was marked with those little moments that make life beautiful – laughter, conversation, sharing memories, the rare day when you do no cooking at all.

Will I need to work harder over the weekend to finish everything I put off today? Yes.

Will I regret the time I spent getting to know my new coworkers better or visiting one of my Dad’s favorite restaurants with him or hearing Grandma tell me about her uncle’s fascination with the turnpike tunnels back when they were built? Never.

In the long run, the work gets done. That’s the way I roll. It will happen.

But, it’s what I do in the relationships in my life that make the work worth the doing.

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This is day two of a series of posts on the life of a seminary student as part of the Write 31 Days blogging challenge.

A season of fresh starts

{cough} So … much {cough, cough} dust in these parts (push away cobwebs}

It’s been more than a year since I blogged so there’s a fair to middling chance there isn’t a soul left around who particularly cares that I’m jumping back into the game.

I had spent so much time writing for my day job that I really had no interest at all in blogging anymore. There were other considerations, of course. Blogging had changed so much since I started back on MSN Spaces in 2005. Over the years, I was still posting what were essentially ephemeral glimpses of the flotsam and jetsam in my rather eclectic brain while so many other bloggers were getting into niches, planning their posts and marketing their blogs.

It seemed like so very much work to me.

So I bailed.

But, this is a season of fresh starts.

I recently started a new job and returned to seminary.

And that brings me to why I’m dusting off the blog.

There’s no better time to start blogging again that during the 31 Days project. It’s a chance for bloggers – even us lapsed bloggers – to delve more deeply into a topic by writing on the topic every day in October.

I’m a day late, but that strangely fits perfectly with my theme. Rather than a planned set of prewritten blogs, I’ll be writing a series on 31 days in the life of a seminary student – who also happens to work full time and takes care of the family. Along the way, I’ll talk more about why seminary, what I plan to do with a degree and the seminary journey so far.

I hope you’ll stick around. Feel free to look at past posts, but don’t judge my broken links. My blog has had a long history that has taken more than one rabbit trail – the latest of which lost many of the photos that accompanied the posts. I will get back to them one day, but tonight I have a couple of videos to watch and about 300 pages of reading to finish.

And, no. I’m not exaggerating.

But, that’s a day in the life of a seminary student.

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