August 1, 2014

Second Star to the Right, Straight on Till Morning

I am feeling somewhat whimsical this morning. Perhaps it is because I made great headway on my research paper yesterday, and I was able to get some needed rest last night. I worked steadily all day, completing 19 of the required 20 (min; max is 25) pages for my research study. I was able to call it a night at 1 AM, which gave me a good 8 hours of sleep. I still am not finished, but I made the turn, so to speak, and I am at the very last section before I write my summary and conclusion.

Overall, I am in a very good place today. Yes, it would be better had I finished last night. I would have spent this day working on edits and proofreading. But, instead I will be finishing up content and THEN editing and proofreading. I feel confident that I will have everything done and ready to email off before the 9 PM deadline today.

There is part of me that is experiencing this pleasure/sad feeling (wistful, nostalgic) because this project is coming to completion. I am so very glad that my time with it has ended (or almost ended). I have spent the past month working on studying experience and perception as it relates to member commitment in my church -- a church in crisis. My topic is important, and I have learned so much through this study. It is just that I am so very tired of studying my church. I have written several papers on this same subject, different angles of the "church in crisis" theme. Now, I am at the end of all of that and I am feeling glad AND sad to put this topic to bed. I am pleased with what I have learned, don't get me wrong. It is just that I feel so ready to move on, to tackle something a wee bit lighter in nature.

Some of my colleagues chose really fun topics for their research. Some of my colleagues picked topics that are fascinating (new things, new cultural phenomena) to explore. I chose, once again, to labor on about crisis communication in churches. I am sure my colleagues are so tired of reading about my church, about our problems, and about the heaviness of this subject. Yet, I felt compelled to write about it, to learn about it, and to spend time with those individuals who were experiencing the crisis first-hand. It was a good lesson, and I am the better for it. I am just glad to be moving on.

So what is next for me, research-wise?

Well, good question. My next two classes are interesting. I have a class in Social Media and Internet Marketing and I have a research methods class in Historical/Critical Research. I am looking forward to both of these classes. The first should be relatively easy for me. I will need a new focus for my applied project, however. I am thinking of asking one of my friends from church to see if I could assist her with some social media marketing for her nonprofit group. The second class is right up my alley, and aligns with my heart and my love of writing. I am very interested to see what kind of research I will be required to do as a part of that course. I would love to explore my original ethnography project -- a literary ethnography of the Ojibwe People. I might actually get to do something with that topic at some point, but if not, that is OK. I am sure whatever the required papers, I will enjoy the process.

Why is Peter Pan on my mind today?

I don't know, but I woke up thinking about Peter Pan, and the meme has just stuck with me. This is probably one of my favorite children's stories (I love J.M. Barrie) because there is just something extra special about little boys not wanting to grow up.

Last night, I was blessed (yes, I say that word with great enthusiasm) to spend time with my almost grown son. I see him every day because he lives here at home, but so often, he is busy with work or other projects. I rarely get time to talk with him. When we do talk, sometimes we don't connect. It is my issue, my deal -- not so much his. He is of a different mind than I am  -- on a lot of issues -- and sometimes I just get annoyed that he doesn't think the way I do. LOL! It is not really a matter of me wanting him to be like me -- oh no! I am 100% supportive of his right to be his own person. I mean, I raised him that way. I raised him to be an independent thinker, to be smart, to be cautious, and to consider every side of every issue. Guess what? Darn it all, he turned out to be just that way. This Mama is proud of her boy, even when he chooses to take a different view on the issues or sides with other viewpoints with which I don't necessarily agree.

Yesterday afternoon, after I had a short rest, I woke up ravenous (I so love that word) and I wanted something to eat. My parents had their main meal at lunch so they weren't hungry and I didn't smell anything cooking in the kitchen. I figured I would need to fend for myself, so I asked my son if he wanted to go with me to get some dinner. Wonder of wonder, he said yes.

We ended up at IHOP for dinner, and we had the nicest conversation. He was charming (as I knew he would be), and a joy to be around. I love my boy, hands down, I love him. He is such a unique and wonderful young man. He has so many wonderful things to share, and he is filled with deep thoughts, rich ideas, and interesting views. He is so articulate too (thanks to home schooling and AO). He can express himself well, make sound arguments, and use vocabulary to its full advantage. I knew my son was smart, but sitting there across from him, listening to him talk, I was in awe of him (not overly, just as a Mother should be). I thought to myself how blessed (yes, I said it twice) I am to be his Mom. God gave me this amazing child, now almost grown man, and I am the better for that experience. I am the better.

After dinner, we returned home and went our separate ways. There was part of me that didn't want that special time to end. But there was also part of me that knew I had to get cracking on my paper, if I hoped to finish today. Still, I thought about when he was a little boy, when he was my darling "Peter" and those memories just flooded back to me. I loved being this boy's Mom. I loved my time as a full-time Mother. I loved home schooling him. I loved every minute of every single day when I was home and spending time pouring my love of reading, writing, and good books into that crazy, wonderful, and amazing young man. All of that hard work has paid off. He has turned out well. So while I may not agree with his views on certain things, I am 100% sold-out on him. I love that boy, that young man, and I am excited to think about his future. I believe the Lord has a great plan for him, and I will be blessed (third time) to be able to watch those plans comes to pass.

God is good, so very good to me!

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