Wednesday, October 26, 2005


This time of year is always stressful for me. The last quarter is when I work on my long-time client's watch magazine. As a one-man team (almost), this means a lot of legwork, coordination, editing, photo selections, proofreading, corrections--and whatever else goes into the making of a magazine.

Then of course, I still have my other clients. Thank God for Stef, who has provided such invaluable help this year. She has taken over most of my PR accounts, and that is a huge load off me. But I still do need to do a lot of work.

This year, I feel doubly overwhelmed. This is the first time I'll be going into my Last Quarter Crunch with The Hubby.

In the past years, I just camp out in my comfy computer chair, right in front of my desktop. The seester and the cousins just tiptoe around me when I fall asleep. Our helper cooks the meals, sweeps around me (she used to be quick with the broom when I finally stand up for a bathroom break) and generally does all the household chores.

Now, I do the magazine work and the house things. Not that I'm complaining. And The Hubby is helping out as much as he can. He actually cooks more often now, and I'm grateful for that. But these days, I sometimes want to throw my hands up and cry. Or refuse to get out of bed.

Overwhelmed is an understatement. I hate to admit it, but these days I'm a lousy housewife. My meals have been uninspired. Though The Hubby likes the throw-in-the-pot dishes like sinigang and nilaga, I can't keep serving him that every week! I cook in big batches now, so that we will always have leftovers, good enough for maybe two more meals. I don't think The Hubby has ever eaten so many peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast! I'm still trying to convince him that peanut butter sandwiches make good lunches and dinners as well.

And the dishes! I had just finished washing the pots and plates, and forty minutes later, they're back in the sink (which just goes to show that I wash dishes only right before the next meal--otherwise I'd have nothing to cook in). Our bed hasn't been made in days. Piles and piles of my magazine clutter are everywhere.

And to think we don't have kids yet! How did our mothers ever do it all?

If I were more efficient, I guess, all these would be a snap. But I'm not. The Hubby thinks I'm a lazy bum. I know I am a lazy bum. And that's the thing. I need help. I am drowning.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sharing a Vision

The second topic of that Leadership Fundamentals series that we're going to is on Vision. After all, how can you lead anyone if you can't see where you're going? You either end up going nowhere, or you lead people in the wrong direction.

Which gets me thinking...where exactly am I going? What plans do I have in my life? I'm alarmed. I realize that beyond vague "yeah, that would be nice" thoughts, I have no clear picture of where I am headed. Even more alarming is that The Hubby and I haven't discussed our vision for ourselves. Nothing concrete (I think they should make this part of Engagement Seminars, one session devoted to coming up with a vision for your new life together). And of course, being married, my personal vision should dovetail with The Hubby's, right?

It's scary. Because if we don't have a vision for our lives, how can we have even greater visions for anyone or anything else? Like the business support company that we're putting up. Or the numerous employees working with us (two so far). Or the causes that we want to help. Or even the country, the world.

Maybe that's why people are so lost. Why we keep running around, burning ourselves out. We use up time, energy and resources on things that, in the long run, aren't going to get us anywhere. Because we have no clear picture of where we're going.

I guess vision is tied in to your purpose, what you were made for. Me, I'm a storyteller. I love being surrounded by words. I live with words. So I know my purpose revolves around the written word. But how exactly? That's what I am struggling to find out.

A good writer that I know shared this verse, and I find it encouraging: "Write down for the the coming generationwhat the LORD has done, so that people not yet born will praise Him." (Psalm 102:18). That's what I want to do; share the awesome greatness of God through my writing. Which can be hard, when you write copy and press releases and manuals all day. But I try.

Though my vision for my life is still hazy, I do have a vision for sharing my love of words. I want to put up a community reading center.

My reading room has lots of comfy chairs, cozy nooks., beanbags, large pillows. Large glass windows allow sunlight to flood in. Green living plants (obviously, someone else will be in charge of the plants) thrive between the rows and rows of books. The entire place smells fresh all the time, like lemon or lavender. The people who work or volunteer in the reading room know and can knowledgeably discuss each and every book. And they are friendly.

Every week, we have a featured book. On weekends, we have activities related to that particular book. For example, if it's a book on herb gardening, we can have a hands-on demo on how to cook with herbs. If it's a book on Monet, we can have a painting workshop.

Once a month, we have an outreach program (perhaps more often, as we really get into it). For one session we can feature soapmaking and candle making for the women at the women's centers, so they can learn how to earn money for themselves. Next session can be a learn-to-read-better day for the streetchildren. Or an arts-and-crafts lesson for the kids from an orphanage.

I want to encourage families to hang out in the reading room. We have a comfortable area where dads can relax and read the paper, a small cafe where moms can get a cup of coffee and catch up with one another. Outside the reading room we have enough garden area for running around and building things, and there's a greenhouse and a crafting cottage.

I want the reading room to be a place where people can hang out, where they choose to hang out. I want them to like being surrounded by books. I feel that people these days, kids especially, have lost that sense of wonder, that excitement, that thrill you get when you turn the pages of a well-written book. In my reading room, I want to bring that back. I want to encourage people to slow down and read more; slow down and enjoy the simpler things. I want to encourage them to just be still, even for a moment.

And that's my vision for my reading room. Now it's just a matter of taking the steps to build it. Anyone else share the vision?