June 30, 2014

Happy June 30th

I found this on the web, and it made me laugh! Yes, it is true of some women I know (others, not so much). Thank goodness this is not the case with me (at least not all the time)! I don't think I could live with myself if I was in a continual fractured mental state -- always flipping between mental websites (or thoughts) -- and never focusing on one thing.

Today, however, I feel like my mind is filled with thousands of thoughts right now, and I am struggling to sort out what is most important. I am on a deadline to get my school assignments completed (isn't that always true?) Yes, I know, this is my own doing. Had I focused more last week, I would be farther along in the process. Instead, I rested a lot, and I enjoyed the freedom to do whatever I wanted. Now, I am paying for it. I am hunkered down and working hard to get this paper written. It didn't help that I changed my topic yesterday (well, not really changed it, just focused it a bit more). I feel better about the shift in focus, and I think it will make my research proposal stronger in the end (a good thing!) Still, I have this love/hate relationship with last minute cramming to get work done. Part of me likes the thought that I CAN DO it in a short amount of time. I can write a 25 page paper in 3-4 days. I can get an A on it. I like the fact that I have the ability to focus intently when I need to do so, and I like that I can crank out the work. Then, there is part of me that realizes that I hate the pressure required to work like that -- like a crazy woman for 3-4 days. I think how much better it would be if I just planned out my work, did a little bit here and there, and coasted into the finish line (rested and in a good frame of mind). UGH!

All of a sudden I started to think about procrastination and what the Bible says on that subject (Proverbs 12:24; 13:4, 15:19; 18:9). In some ways, I don't think I have procrastinated at all. I mean, I actually planned my weekend for this task. I didn't feel pressured last week to do this work. I waited until Saturday, and then I spent the entire day (Sunday too), working on this project. I guess that means that I actually did plan for this paper (woohoo!)

OK, I feel better now.

I just rationalized myself out of feeling guilty for not working harder last week!

My plans for today include:
  • Completing 10 more summaries for my annotated bibliography (leaving 5 for tomorrow)
  • Writing up the literature review for my proposal
  • Adding the methods section along with possible theoretical frameworks (I am doing qualitative research so I don't have to have this part fleshed out)
This will leave me with the remaining five summaries and the intro/conclusion of the proposal for tomorrow. The paper is due at 9:00 p.m. MST (11:59 EST) and I think what I have to complete is very doable between now and then. I don't have anything else scheduled today and I know I will feel so much better once I get a little more of this work completed.

In other news:

 Last night, my church hosted a going-away party for our associate pastor. He resigned earlier in the month, and is leaving next week to take the lead role in a small, but growing church near Seattle, WA. It was a difficult blow to the congregation, and there has been some fall out since his letter came out to everyone. The church is in severe crisis right now, so his leaving, while not a surprise, still hit the congregation hard. We have no pastors in leadership at this time, and gauging by attendance yesterday, I would say that the church is facing closure more certainly now. I estimate that we had only 40-50 people at our second service. My Dad said he thought there were 50-60 at the first service (normal for this time). Our service usually runs closer to 100 each week. It is summer, of course, and in AZ, a lot of people go elsewhere to avoid the 100 plus temperatures. Still, it seemed eerily odd to have so few people there yesterday.

I wasn't going to go to the going-away party last night, but decided to show my support at the last minute. It was a nice affair, with cake and ice cream. There was a good crowd, maybe 100 people, some regulars and a few people who came back for the event. Still, it was bittersweet in a way. I mean, while I do not begrudge our pastor leaving, especially because he believes God has called him to take this new church, I still think that his leaving marks the end of things. I know our board is working to bring in someone as an interim pastor, hoping to stabilize the downturn. Part of me thinks that this will not help, almost that it is too late. Part me of me, of course, wants to believe that the church will be OK, that we will make it through these dark days. Unfortunately, even our chairman of the board feels that the prognosis is not good (and she is a controller for a large Tax audit firm). If anyone knows financial matters, she does. I overheard her saying to my Mom that she is very concerned about the drop in attendance. From a purely financial perspective, less people means less income to pay the bills.

If there can be any good news out of this event, it was that I recruited five good people for my ethnography study. I didn't go there to recruit anyone, but God must have planned it that way. I had people come up to me to ask me about my project (I posted about it on Facebook), and in the course of conversation, I just asked them if they wanted to be interviewed. Everyone said yes! This means that I have 10 people total who have said they would consent to be interviewed regarding their member experience, perception and commitment during crisis in the church. God is good to provide these people -- all good people -- all people with interesting perspectives and various views on the topic. When I say "good" that just means that they are quality participants. A quality participant is someone who will add to the topic, who will provide data, and whose views can be analyzed for study. This is in contrast to a poor participant who may or may not give data or who may or may not provide details that will contribute to the study. I've got good people, and I am jazzed about speaking with them! God is good, so very good!

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this good day. Thank you for your provision and your care. Today, I ask you to cover me as I focus on my research paper for COM 652. I know that I have waited until the last moment to finish this paper, but I believe that you gave me grace to rest and to focus on other tasks (in a timed order). You know what needs to be accomplished today, and what needs to be written for this paper. I ask for the strength to remain on task today, to look at this project through your lens, and to listen carefully as you lead me through the various components required for this proposal. May the topic and the writing bring honor to your Name, and may the research itself, if I ever do carry it out, bring praise to you. Keep me in your care this day, and help me to do the work I have been assigned. I rest in your sufficiency, and I trust you to provide exactly what I need today. I ask all of this in the matchless, merciful, and most High Name of Jesus, Amen! So be it, thy will be done! Selah!!

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