End-of-April Musings

I’ve always loved this poem this time of year, because it’s so true and so cleverly stated:

Spring

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

—Robert Frost

Spring seems to have relaxed its back-and-forth entry and gotten settled in, hopefully for a long stay. We’ve had a couple of days in the 80s, but for the most part the temperatures are at their most pleasant this time of year.

It’s odd how days seem harder to schedule when they are open-ended than when you have to work around a number of obstacles. I think maybe because unscheduled days have so many possibilities, it’s hard to narrow down the choices. Or maybe there’s not that sense of urgency that I have to get this done in this small window of time, so I tend to meander rather than dig in.

I have gotten lots of extra household tasks done this month, with cleaning out and rearranging kitchen cabinets and the pantry. Just this afternoon I found some better spaces for certain items. That kind of thing does make one feel good and accomplished!

But I still haven’t gotten back into my writing like I want to. I think it’s mostly because I am at the stage of needing concentrated time rewriting and shaping each chapter. It’s a lot easier to just write off the top of one’s head than to wrangle it into some coherent order. I think perhaps I need to dedicate a day of the week or a week of the month to writing. When I used to compile a ladies’ newsletter booklet for our former church, that was the main focus one week of the month. Up until a few months ago, I couldn’t really schedule my time very well because I never knew what would come up on any given day, with hospice people coming in and out and my husband working at the kitchen table. But now perhaps I can set aside some focused time for working on this book. I’m excited about it – I just need to get to it!

The exercise front has gone well, though, since we bought a used exercise bike. I try to use any day I don’t have to be somewhere, which usually amounts to 3-5 times a week. I’ve increased my time plus the resistance just a bit.

Our biggest events this month all happened within a week of each other: my oldest son came for a week’s visit, my grandson turned five, and we celebrated Easter. My husband took that week off and Jason took a couple of afternoons off. We enjoyed the visiting, feasting, games, outings, and chatting. The only card I made this month was for Timothy’s birthday:

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The ringmaster was from a Cricut design; everything else was freehand. That was the theme for this birthday:

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On the reading front, I’ve completed the following:

The Fashion Designer, a novel by Nancy Moser. An English housemaid, Annie, left to her position in the early 1900s to pursue her own American dream of working in the fashion industry, eventually establishing her own company with friends. But Annie’s not the only one undergoing significant changes. An enjoyable read, and I loved the author’s notes in the back about the era and industry.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (audiobook). This is a beautifully written classic about a boy’s coming-of-age in a Welsh mining village in the 1800s, but I wish I had know about a couple of unexpected objectionable elements beforehand.

I’ll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock will probably be one of my top ten books read this year. Told through the eyes of 9-year-old Nova in 1948, various members of a boardinghouse learn that everyone has a story, and God is trustworthy even in circumstances that make no sense.

Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior about how books formed her. As an English professor, Karen shares lots of insights that made me understand more fully the books she mentioned that I’ve already read and made me want to read others I hadn’t thought I’d be interested in. Lots of food for thought here.

A Room of My Own by Ann Tatlock. I just finished this last night and hope to review it soon. I had enjoyed I’ll Watch the Moon so much, I decided to look up Ann’s other books I had collected through Kindle deals.

This is less than I usually read in a month, but Booked was not one to rush through, and How Green Was My Valley was long. Plus I didn’t read a whole lot during the week everyone was here, and I listened to a couple of Christian Publishing Show podcasts during my usual time for audiobook listening.

I’m currently reading:

Around the blog this month:

  • Giving of Ourselves in Ministry to Others. Sometimes setting up a program is the right response to minister to others. But sometimes we can just go through the motions of a program. True ministry involves giving of oneself.
  • The Forgotten Element in Bible Reading, taking time to think through what we’ve read rather than just making our way through a certain amount of material.
  • My Writing Journey.
  • Giving Out of Our Poverty. Thoughts from those Macedonians in Acts who wanted to give to help others even though they themselves were in poverty. They encouraged me when needing to give, not financially, but of myself when I felt I didn’t have anything to give. God meets those needs with His grace.
  • Strong Women in literature and the Bible.
  • The Essence of Prayer: not just going through a form or ritual, but communication with our Dearest.

Although I didn’t plan it this way, a lot of my posts this month seemed to deal with not just going through outward forms in our quiet times or service to others. It’s so easy to slip into automatic pilot. Then in my quiet time reading just this morning, one of the ESV Study Bible comments on Hebrews 10:5-7 said, “God desired faithful hearts and lives more than mere performance of sacrificial rituals.” Amen. May we always be genuine and faithful.

(Sharing with Shannan)

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13 thoughts on “End-of-April Musings

  1. Wow you have a lot to read, for the moment I have no time, and honestly with all these health troubles I am not in the mood. It’s amazing that I still like to write, that helps me. Mr. G has certainly for another 3 weeks in hospital !

  2. The Frost poem is so lovely! You got a lot accomplished this month, I think. When I was writing my books, what worked for me was devoting an hour each day just to writing — I didn’t answer the phone or check email or anything like that during the hour. It was amazing how that helped me to focus, and over the weeks I really got a lot done. I know every person has to figure out what works well for them, though. The card you made Timothy is adorable!

    • Sure! Several years ago, our church ladies’ group had an open discussion during one of their meetings about spending time in God’s Word (some call it quiet time, others devotions, others some other name). Nearly every lady who shared was not satisfied with that time, whether they were just trying to get in the habit, or had been reading for years but felt like they were in a rut. I started writing a column in our ladies’ newsletter about it – dealing with distractions, finding time, etc. I did a column like that in two different churches for around 13 years (with some overlap and repetition). I wanted to put those into a book. But I’ve needed to add some information, edit what I have, etc. I have my first draft done but still have a lot of work to do.

      That was the long answer. The condensed version: This book will encourage women to maintain their devotional time by providing motivation, overcoming problems, and sharing benefits and aids to better understanding.

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