December 23, 2016

Thinking and Making Plans

It is a foggy day here in Phoenix. Yesterday, it rained most of the day, and today, well, we have plenty of ground fog. It is such a nice change from our normal sunny weather. I am loving the gray skies, the clouds, and the chilly temperatures. It really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here!

I don’t know why I always think about Victorian England right about now, but I do. My Mom was watching “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott (one of my favorite versions) last night on TV, and my mind took a bit of a time warp back to the early 1800s. Yes, I have such a love for this period of time (1837-1901). My second favorite period is Edwardian, which only lasted until about 1910. Then, of course, came the First and Second Great Wars, and well, the rest is modern history.

The Victorian era, though, represents much of my interest in literature. Some of my favorite authors wrote during the period, and it was during this time that architecture and design changed to reflect what we now come to know as Victorian style. In all, this is a time in our recent past that fascinates me. I am thankful to live now, though. I mean, I cannot imagine my life as a Victorian spinster! Oh my goodness, no!

The Lord has graciously placed me in this time and place for a reason. I believe, firmly believe, that my life has value. It has meaning, and as such, there is purpose to every day. This means that despite my feelings, which tend to ebb and flow, my life in all its glorious nuts and bolts, is planned, designed, and purposed for such a time as this (Esther 4:4). Yes, the Lord has graciously placed me in the “here and now,” and my job — no, my calling — is to do the work He has chosen for me to do. This work is significant in the sense that it has been set out as something specific for me to do. In the grand scheme of things, my work might not actually be significant when compared to other people’s productions, but in my life, it has purpose. I am thankful that the Lord has chosen to give me this work, to make this work special to me. I am grateful that today, December 23rd, 2016, I know what that work is, and I know how to go about attending to it. He is good to me, so very, very good to me! Selah!

Good News Report

In my good news section for the day, I am happy to report that I have completed all my grading, and that I posted final grades last evening! Woohoo! I was able to grade the last of my essays before 8 p.m., post to the registrar, and still have some time to work on my research project before I turned in to bed. In all, I am well-pleased. I am not as far as I had hoped to be on my research project, but I have three and a half churches visually coded (only 11 more to go). This means that I can work on my church list today through Sunday, and if all works out as planned, I should have all 15 churches visually coded by 12/26. My prayer is to begin the textual coding next Tuesday, and then complete that coding by 12/31. I think it is possible, but it will mean 8-10 hours days for the next week and a half. Still, to code 15 websites is a big task, and praise be to God, I am feeling more confident now that I have some of the other “time takers” (grading, shopping, and the like) off my plate.

My schedule looks like this as of now:
  • Code churches 1-5 by end of today
  • Code churches 6-10 by end of tomorrow/Sunday
  • Code churches 11-15 by end of Monday
  • Textual collection and coding of 1-5 on Tuesday
  • Textual collection and coding of 6-10 on Wednesday
  • Textual collection and coding of 11-15 on Thursday
  • Descriptive statistics on visual coding by Friday, 12/30
  • Other statistics on visual coding by Saturday, 12/31
If this plan holds together, it would enable me to begin writing chapter 4, results of data analysis, the week of 1/1-1/8. In all honesty, I think I can write this chapter during this week AND still prep for school, which will begin on 1/9. Most of my classes are repeats, and despite the fact that my lessons are set, I still have a bit of preparation work to do to get them ready for the first week of the Spring 2017 semester.

The blessing, since my first week back is so low-key, is that I think I can write my chapter 5, discussion of findings, during the week of 1/9-1/16. This means that I could send my drafts to my Professor sometime after 1/17. He would have two weeks for feedback, and then by the first part of February, I could begin revisions. My goal is to have polished chapters for my committee sometime around mid-February. The professors will be busy with spring comps, so in truth, I can push my revisions in this month out a bit and still get in for a March defense. I don’t know, but I feel more free to say that I will be able to do this work, to complete it, in time for graduation. Right now, the key is to push on through the next two weeks and to finish this data coding. It is a bug-bear, but it has to be done, and there is no time to waste.

My prayer today is to stay focused and to not lose track of what must be completed. I have to remain fixed — firmly focused — and if I can do it, then I know I will be able to see this project through to completion in no time at all.

In Closing

Today is a good day here in gray and cloudy, Phoenix. I am thankful for my life — my current and my future life — and all the good gifts the Lord has graciously provided to me. I am praying that my response to His grace is one of humble gratitude, thankfulness, and a genuine awe that comes from knowing that the Lord has me so well-covered. I lack nothing this good, good day, and for that reason alone, I give Him praise, honor, and glory. He is worthy! He is so worthy to be praised!

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