Confessions of a Workaholic

When I googled “Workaholics Anonymous” I was only half-joking. Last week was my first serious effort to break free from the pit that mires me. Like any addiction, she calls to me, tempting me with her siren song. I want to understand her better.

There have been times when I’ve succumbed to the addiction because work gives me a strong sense of job satisfaction. It feels good to work. It feels good to know I’m doing well at something. Elsewhere in my life I’m a puddle of incompetence and insecurity.

These days the compulsion seems to be driven by my need to conquer – “I. WILL. NOT. LET. THIS. GET. THE. BETTER. OF. ME.” And yet, in the battle I’m giving the best of me. As a result I’m depleted. Exhausted. Practically defeated.

I began to dream of retiring and writing full-time…but that’s impractical. Maybe a more realistic goal is to find a job that allows me to have balance in my life.

Although I’ve been diligent in my commitment to P90X (1-1.5 hrs per day) and the arrival of a new used piano in my living room has brought extreme pleasure and a commitment of 30 minutes practicing each day, my dream of writing finds me staring wordless at the screen. All of the brilliant posts I craft during my commute, run, shower, or boring meetings … all of those words evaporate when I sit down at my desk and position my hands on the keyboard.

So in the rare moments I claim for non-work-computer-time I surf, reading the blogs of the truly brilliant, the witty, the articulate, the creative, the popular. And I shrink further inside myself. The snarky voice in my head that tells me I’m a fool feeds on my discontent and my fear. And I slink away.

Welcome 2010, it’s going to be a good year.

Last year I began an exercise regimen that successfully stopped the horrific weight gain (20 pounds!) that plagued me during 2008. Although I was able to stop the trend, I’m still sporting the extra pounds. Other accomplishments of note include surviving the 1st year of employment in a start-up working for my old employer and, even better, writing a novel. I also read the Bible in its entirety.

I only have a couple of resolutions for this year: Exercise more, eat less, read more, write more. And by that, I intend to do a bit of each of those 4 activities every day.

On the exercise front: we’ve acquired the Wii Fit Plus and we’re 4 days in. My DH and I have completed 30 minutes per day and we plan to continue the trend. I also have an exercise ball and a heart rate monitor. I’m all in. 30 minutes a day, minimum. Walking, Wii-ing or a tryst with Richard Simmons – it doesn’t matter which. My goal is to “Work it, baby!”

On the eating less front… well, yeah, I’ve got room for improvement there. I’ve never been good at counting calories. The best I can hope for is some amount of self control. Eating smaller portions, taking smaller bites, eating more slowly. I’m imagining things that are yet to be achieved. But I’ve got time to work on it. I’d like for dinner to start taking 20 minutes to eat instead of 2 minutes.
On reading and writing, here are the stack of books I currently have queued up, ready to read:
Under the Dome, by Stephen King
The Principle of the Path, by Andy Stanley
Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
A Man For All Seasons, by Robert Bolt
Obstacles Welcome, by Ralph de la Vega
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
How Not to Write a Novel, by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
A Twist at the End, by Steven Saylor
Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose
The Good, The Bad and the Lovely, by Fran Hart
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King
The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)
The Complete C.S.Lewis (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed), by C.S.Lewis
Adventuring Through the Bible, by Ray Stedman
The Marketing of Evil, by David Kupelian
Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said, by Victor Kuligin
The Eduction of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter
The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot
Reading Judas, by Elain Pagels & Karen L. King
See Jane Lead, by Lois P. Frankel, PhD
The Christian Moral Life, by Timothy F. Sedgwick
Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado
If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (short stories)
bird by bird, by Anne Lamott
Writing Mysteries, a handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
And the books I won at the Women of Faith conference:
Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham
Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado
Take Your Best Shot by AustinGutwein
Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman
Beautiful Mess The Story of Diamond Rio

So, I’m wondering….if it’s in my stack am I obliged to read it? I think not. My goal is to hone my writing skills. To read like a writer. To write like a reader. To do both like a critic. I plan to write reviews as often as possible (or reasonable).
On writing, I intend to finish “God the Father: What I’ve Learned about Parenting from God and about God from Parenting” and I plan to complete 4 more drafts of my first novel (and then find a publisher). And I will write my 2nd novel. And, God willing, I’ll write a book about my travels to Asia.
Yes, 2010. I’m glad to meet you. It’s going to be a good year.

"I’m in Training"


Oh, the joy of being the new guy. New at a job? New at a hobby? Being new at something brings inherent forgiveness for the inevitable errors and omissions.

Last week I bought a new heart rate monitor. Yes, it’s a men’s version, but hey! I’m new at this.
The first one I bought didn’t have the chest strap and although it was for women, it was a complete PITA and I had to effectively slow down my workout to get a read on my heart rate. In case you don’t know this, when the workout slows down, the heart slows down. So my darling hubby went back to Academy and traded the women’s Mio for the men’s Timex and now I can wear a goofy chest strap but get a more accurate reading and – even better – a complete summary of the work out at the end of the workout period.
Now I’m in training. I’m all about the numbers. Measuring progress, capturing results. The heart rate monitor (HRM) reports average heart rate, highest heart rate, time spent in “the zone”, etc. So naturally I’m going to build a spreadsheet and start tracking my results. Doesn’t everyone build spreadsheets to track their progress?
I’m also in training for my new career. NaNoWriMo is behind me, but that was just the kick-off. Now begins the long process of turning a novel into a published work while creating more works of fiction and non-fiction … for future publication. For now, I’m in training. No sense in signing up for a marathon just because I’ve successfully completed a couple of workout sessions. Nope. I’m currently procrastinating my next work-out session. A short story. To be submitted to the Austin Chronicle’s 2009 Short Story contest. And after that, I’ll be back to work on a non-fiction project.
And after that? Who knows? But there will be an “after that” because, well…that’s what I’m training for. To keep doing what I’m doing. Whether it’s walking around my neighborhood with my heart rate between 105-122 bpm or writing 1500-2000 wpd, it’s about changing the behavior for the long term and making the new behavior a habit.
So, I’m going to have a spreadsheet for tracking my exercise routine and a spreadsheet for tracking my writing routine. I admit it. I’m much more motivated when I’m measuring progress.
How about you? Do you have a goal or a dream? Do you track progress towards that goal? Do you forgive yourself for the errors and omissions you’re bound to make as you push yourself in a new direction?
Cheers to all who step out in faith or try something new. It takes courage to be the new guy… “in training.”

I’m on my way…to China

Work’s been busy, no doubt. Conference calls in the morning and at night. And while I sleep? The team in Taipei is busy working, sending e-mail, filling my inbox. It’s so easy to start every day with 30 minutes of “inbox clean-up”. But I’ve been resisting the temptation and spending my early hours either in prayer or in pursuit of other challenges.

In the grand scheme of things, work is taking up way too much of my time. Case in point – I’m sitting in the LA airport killing time during a 6-hour layover on my way to China for the first proto-type build of the product I’m responsible for. I’m about 18 hours away from hitting the ground in Shanghai. From there I’ll go to the factory for a meeting. Then to my hotel to collapse. I’m just guessing on that last agenda item.

I dream of what’s next. What’s next?

Wednesday Wants

My want for today is easy. I want to be home, safe and sound, spooning with hubby and enjoying a good night’s sleep. In between here and there stands a long journey that I pray is safe and uneventful.

Blessings,

Wednesday Wants

I want what’s best for my children but I can’t always answer the question, “What’s best?”

I certainly cannot let my children’s reactions guide my actions. In disciplining our children, we prepare them for discipleship – obedience in the LORD. It is our obligation to raise them to respect us. It is necessary for parents to take a firm stand in positions that are not always popular. My greatest challenge as a parent has often been my children’s friend’s parents – especially those parents who want to be a friend. Typically, discipline is lacking. Only time will tell if they are, in fact, poorly preparing their children (and possibly mine) for adulthood.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:7-11)

God, Help us to be parents who embrace your will. Let us love our children enough to discipline them and expect their respect and obedience. Help us prepare them to submit to you, our Father. Bless us in these trying times.

Amen.

Wednesday Wants


I want to thank Jeanette for choosing my blog as one she finds “Fabulous.” That brings a smile to my lips and a song to my heart. I also want to thank everyone who visits regularly. You bless me every time you come back for more.

The rules for this meme award: list 5 blogs I find fabulous, and then 5 things I find fabulous….

In no particular order:

  1. The Internet Cafe Devotions. Read a few posts and you’ll know why it’s fabulous.
  2. The Olive Leaf Ministries. Written by a kindred spirit.
  3. A Dallas Diva’s Life. Maybe because she’s my sister. Maybe because she cracks me up. Maybe because she got me going on this whole blog-thing.
  4. Noodleroux. Although she’s not my sister, she’s so much like my little sis she could be.
  5. TherExtras. She’s passionate about what she does and always gives me food for thought.
  6. Fancy Feet. A lady who never fails to inspire me.
  7. DownRightFaith. Tag back to a dear friend who tagged me with this award. Blessings.

I’m not much of a rule follower so you can pick 5 of the above or trust me that they are all fabulous.

And, 5 things I find fabulous:

  1. God and His wisdom, grace, mercy, love abounding….
  2. My husband of 23+ years.
  3. My 4 children, although often a trial are always a blessing.
  4. My 3 grandchildren, who can do no wrong.
  5. My family-of-origin: Parents and siblings.
  6. My employment status: As much as I may be struggling with some aspects of the new job, I am glad to have it. I trust God’s putting me in this position for His purpose; I know He has prepared me for what He needs me to do.
  7. This forum, which allows me to express myself and to grow as a writer.

There, I’m equally out-of-bounds in my lists.

Have a fabulous day!