Archive for March, 2015


Early to Rise Experience Day 5…

light bulb

Time: 6 am

How I Feel: A little sleepy and a little dazed

As much as I may not want to admit it, I do think I have some pretty profound thoughts at o’ dark thirty. (I don’t want to admit it because it probably means I’m getting up early for the rest of life. *LARGE SIGH*) At least these thoughts seem profound to me.

If they are profound, I’m sure these thoughts are not mine.

People say, “You’re a gifted writer.” I disagree.

When something I write turns out well, it’s usually because a “light bulb” suddenly went off over my head. It feels like the light bulb came from someone other than me.

The light bulb is just too complete an idea to be something I conjure up. I tend to think these light bulbs are from the Holy Spirit. In these moments I am merely a human pen.

I imagine this is what is meant when we say the the Bible is written by “men inspired by God.’ Have no fear–I have no illusions that these light bulbs should be something people ponder, study and frame on their walls. I’m just saying it’s different from what I write normally.

It’s less of an effort and more of a dictation and a transcription. And I’m content to be that scribe who merely shares it with others.

As for waking up early, I do seem to get more done when I wake up early, but I still feel overwhelmed by all I have to do each day. I hope that dissipates over time and as I adjust my life to accommodate the Compassion Counseling Center demands.

Either because I want to or because I feel better, I am starting to work on a few of my own things. I’m just not sure it’s the right things! Guess I need to wait for a few more light bulbs. 😉


Lessons Learned from 9 Weeks at a Nonprofit Counseling Center…

phone booth

When I’m not writing, reading, or taking care of my family and home, then I’m probably volunteering.  Lately I volunteer at Compassion Counseling Center, Inc. Compassion has a unique mission: to help the hurting and to support the next generation of counselors.

Compassion is into its 10th week of counseling now. And as the Board secretary for Compassion, I just reported on “the status” of this “experiment” at our first quarterly Board meeting for 2015. We are off to a good start despite ice storms, rolling Spring Breaks and people not even knowing we exist.

Compassion, as of right now, has completed 72 hours of counseling and 35 people have been seen by Compassion counselors. Because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we are able to offer counseling at a very reduced rate. Our average session fee is currently $ 13.83.

Fifty percent of our clients pay less than that, based on a very generous sliding fee scale. Some pay nothing at all. We have 14 hours of counseling sessions scheduled for the rest of this week. That is well above our average (over the past 2 months) of 7.22 counseling hours per week.


Word of the Week: chatoyant

Book Club Update: The MIP April 2015 Book Club Selection is up. Go here for all the details.

Compassion Update: Today is the quarterly meeting for the Compassion Board. As of this writing, we have completed 65 hours of counseling with 20 hours already scheduled for this coming week. We have counseled 35 people to date. We have 6 people signed up for the premarital counseling group beginning in mid-April. Two other groups may start in the next few months as well. The average cost per counseling session is $ 13.83. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers and contributions to Compassion, a nonprofit counseling center!

Good morning, Word Lovers! Last week’s WOW was nonage. Merriam-Webster Online defines nonage as minority or a period of youth or a lack of maturity. Nonage pretty much describes me every day. Maturity is optional, right?

Today’s WOW is chatoyant. Here are my definition guesses for chatoyant:

chatoyant (shə-ˈti-ənt) 1. a person who chats about toys 2. a person obsessed with cat toys 3. a person who can see chateaus before they’re built

What’s your guess for chatoyant? Go here to submit a guess.

Wednesday’s Post: Your guess is as good as mine!

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: nonage; Word of the Week: chinoiserie; Word of the Week: plastron; and Word of the Week: mimesis


Slow Reader Friday: The Early to Rise Experience

alarm clock

If you’ve been reading my recent Wednesday and Friday posts, then you know that I’ve been reading The Early to Rise Experience by Andy Traub. I’ve been rather vocal about my night owl tendencies and have thought that there was really no way around my crazy body clock that wants to begin working at about 10 am (at the earliest–I’d really prefer noon!) and finish my work day around 7 pm. I could honestly be productive at home until midnight, too.

Unfortunately, this belief about myself has me at odds with the rest of the American citizenry. And since I’m not Zuckerberg, Obama, or Tom Hanks, I’m not likely to significantly change that fact about the American work ethic any time soon.

I would like to tell you that I used to be a morning person and then I went to college. Unfortunately, my mother was very fond of recounting that I kept her up late into the night playing happily when I was a mere toddler. 


Early to Rise Experience Day 4…


Time: 5:45 am

How I Feel: Guilty and Sleepy

I find it interesting that this “shrink” type person defines the “How I Feel” part of this little experiment as both a physical and emotional feeling and so I defined the latter as “guilty.” Why?

Because I have a couple of really bad habits at night. First, I watch TV and fall asleep with the TV on. Ever since an upgrade to our DirecTV system, the bedroom TV sleep timer doesn’t work properly, resulting in less sound sleep. Not good! 

Second, I play computer games too late at night. I confess I’m addicted to them. Last night I felt sleepy about an hour before I actually put down the computer! Not good! 

My pastor said that to get up early one has to set an alarm to go to bed early. I didn’t realize he meant that literally! But, that is probably what I need to do. Will I heed that alarm at bedtime? The Brits would say, “Not bloody likely.” Perhaps 4 of my alarms should now be set for bedtime? (I do seem to be able to get up early on the first alarm these days. Woot. Woot.)

I feel overwhelmed by all the changes I’m asking of myself and not sure which ones will actually yield the best results, even if I just choose one. I guess I have to just try them in obedience to the Lord and to this experience.

Hopefully, simple obedience will lead to lasting change even if I’m not perfect doing it. Several sources suggest that to build better habits, we need 66 days of practicing those better habits before they become ingrained in our routine, not the typical month-long mantra most espouse.

And interestingly, even if we “fall off the wagon” several times while building better habits, we are better at trying again after several failed attempts. This gives us a much better chance at lasting success. Basically, we are “rewiring” our brains. Thus, I might actually enjoy getting up early by 2025. (I can still have my 2 cups of hazelnut coffee, though, right?)

Putting new habits on my daily to-do list often leads to me actually building habits I am, at first, too lazy to build. By putting them there, a funny thing happens. They eventually become such a well-ingrained habit that I can take them off the to-do list. In putting them on the list, I see the benefits of these habits and want to continue them.

So, on the to-do list today? Put an alarm in my phone for going to bed earlier! And stepping away from the computer. And reading instead of watching TV. I’ll warn you now–if I succeed at all of this today, you may hear a sonic boom if you live nearby.

Friday’s Post: Reviewing The Early to Rise Experience by Andy Traub and the April MIP Book Club Selection Announcement!

You Might Also Like: Early to Rise Experience Day 3; Early to Rise Experience Day 2; and Early to Rise Experience Day 1



Word of the Week: nonage

It’s a little difficult to do your WOW post when there’s no internet service at your house. I had to remind myself how to do things without wifi yesterday. When your memory is already sketchy, retrieving information from the early 1970s gives me one large pain in my neck and head.

To add insult to injury, it was once again time for me to come up with a new list of words I don’t know. Merriam-Webster Online recently got a face lift and of course, it’s now a lot harder to find their Word of the Day Archives that I use for this purpose. Argh.

I probably should address my tendency towards procrastination. I’ll work on that tomorrow.

Anyway, you have my apologies for not posting “normally”. Here’s a very belated WOW post:

Last week’s WOW was chinoiserie. Merriam-Webster says chinoiserie means: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs; also:  an object or decoration in this style. So, one of my guesses was getting close to the correct meaning! Woohoo!

This week’s WOW is nonage. Here are my guesses for nonage:

nonage: (ˈnä-nij, ˈnō-) 1. when Vonage has no cell signal 2. what MaryAnn would like to do in her old age physically 3. that which contributes to nothingness (what?!)

What’s your guess for nonage? Go here to tell me!

Wednesday’s Post: Is there any benefit to a night owl getting up earlier?

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: chinoiserie; Word of the Week: plastron; Word of the Week: abecedarian; and Word of the Week: zeitgeber


Early to Rise Experience Day 3

A good hat is a night owl coping mechanism

A good hat is a night owl coping mechanism

Time: 7:15 am

How I Feel: Sleepy and annoyed

The next to last alarm out of eight finally woke me. (Yes, 8.) I had trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. 7:15 probably feels really late to a lot of people, but not me.

Yesterday I was getting over the awful migraine I had 2 days ago. I went home from Compassion and went to bed. That was probably 1/2 of my problem last night–I just wasn’t tired when I finally got in bed at 10:40 pm. But, boy did I need that nap!

The world doesn’t realize how difficult it is to be a night owl. Your body clock is at odds with all of humanity. You’re awake and productive precisely when the rest of the world is slowing down. You are annoying to early birds because you’re turning on lights to get work done.

Conversely, you are completely annoyed by the world because they won’t let you sleep until at least 8 am.


Early to Rise Experience Day 2…



Waking Time: 4:15 am

How I Feel: A little headachey (It is too a word.)

I woke up on my own. Not because I felt really rested, but because “nature called.” 😀 I decided I’d go back to bed if I had to, for the headache’s sake.

I went to sleep late. And amazingly, I’m not that sleepy. But, when I’m this awake this early, I usually pay some way bodily, later. We will see.

People have asked why I’m doing this. Here are the motivators thus far:

A) Most super successful people get up earlier than the rest of the world.

B) I’m probably missing quality time with my hubby by going to bed and getting up at different times from him. since my time with him is so limited, this “feels” selfish, even if my body requires it. It also feels stubborn–maybe I’m being too rigid in this belief about being a night owl.


Word of the Week: chinoiserie

Howdy, Word Lovers! Last week’s WOW was plastron. Plastron means, according to Merriam-Webster, a metal breastplate formerly worn under the hauberk or a quilted pad worn in fencing to protect the chest, waist, and the side on which the weapon is held the ventral part of the shell of a tortoise or turtle consisting typically of nine symmetrically placed bones overlaid by horny plates. What the heck is a hauberk? (Note to Self: Add that one to the WOW Word doc containing my “candidates” for future WOWs.

This week’s WOW once again sends off my French “alarms.” So, here’s what I think it means:

chinoiserie: (shēn-ˈwäz-rē, –ˈwä-zə-; ˌshēn-ˌwäz-ˈrē, –ˌwä-zə-) 1. a store full of china 2. a store full of Asian items 3. a store full of chin straps

What do you think chinoiserie means? Go here to give me your best guess!

Wednesday’s Post: How’s that Early to Rise thing going for you? 

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: plastron; Word of the Week: mimesis; Word of the Week: abecedarian; and Word of the Week: zeitgeber


Early to Rise Experience Day 1…


If you’re a true MIP blogstalker, you know that I select a book each month and then review it at the end of the month. I even give you my “reading plan” for how I intend to conquer the entirety of that book so you can join in. This might be one worth joining in on, even if you only do it just to watch me squirm and understand why I’m squirming. Go here to join in.

Why am I squirming? Because this book, The Early to Rise Experienceis demanding that I get up ridiculously early. My serious MIP blogstalkers also know that I am anything but an early “riser.” In fact I adore my night owl tendencies. But, I do admit that being such is at odds with the operation of rest of the world. And thus, it can cause me lots of difficulty. So, I’m going to try to be a good girl and try to overcome this tendency of mine. I’m NOT optimistic that this will stick for life, but I thought you might find it entertaining to watch me squirm.