Have you ever blogged about your daily rhythm? I love your blog, but I always wonder how you write so much (and keep your inbox clear)? How do you sleep very much, do housework, play with your son, relax, exercise, or prepare for class? Maybe you don’t want to blog about such a thing, but I admire your consistency and productivity. Thanks for sharing so much of your mind and heart with the world.
Yes, I have mentioned how we live on this blog a few times but I get asked this so often that putting it down gets me to think about it all in a different way. Let me put it this way: Kris and I try to keep life simple. Now a few points, after all I’m a professor and we like to make points:
[What rhythms in life work for you? What patterns have you discovered?]
First, our kids are grown and married. It was more difficult to keep life simple then than it is now. (For instance, there were several summers when I got little writing done because I coached Lukas’ baseball teams.) So, part of what you are seeing is good old-fashioned middle age. It’s just the two of us, Kris and I. Even our little dog has passed on, so all we have to manage is our birds and the little chipmunks and baby rabbits whom we feed bird seed and apple cores.
Second, we are the kinds of people that get up early and go to bed rather early. I need about an hour less of sleep than does Kris, but we get up by 5:30 or 6am (sleeping until 6:30 gives both of us headaches). On most days we say our prayers in the morning, except on some work days, or after dinner or both times. We don’t vary our sleep time by much. Even when we are on vacations we get up and go to bed about the same time (which is sometime between 9:30 and 11:00 p.m.).
Third, when at home I study from about 7am or 7:30am until about 3 or 4pm, every day, depending on the kind of studying I’ve got going. At about 4:00, I get dinner ready. When Kris comes home from her counselling practice we eat our salad and go for a long, hard walk — about 2 to 3 miles daily. Then we relax a bit, I cook up what we will have that evening while Kris does her chores around the home, and then we eat. I very rarely study or write (the serious kind) in the evenings (an exception is when a deadline is looming), though I’m always reading something. Our evenings are spent talking, reading, watching the Cubs, talking with neighbors, that sort of family life. Weekends tend to include more social time for us. For instance, we had a cookout on July 4th with Laura and Mark and Pat and Bob. On July 5 we went to Ravinia to hear Garrison Keillor with three other couples in our “small group” (we all go to different churches, so are sort of trying to figure out what to call ourselves – I guess small group fits as well as friends).
Exceptions to study days: I like to play golf, and I’d like to play one morning a week, but I’ve only played twice this whole summer. So, I’m not doing well. But, it looks like a pattern might be developing. I don’t like meetings; but I do have coffee or lunch with someone maybe once or twice a week. But, mostly, I sit at my desk every weekday and study and write. This weekday study and writing rhythm occurs during the summer months and breaks from teaching (this past year I was on sabbatical). But during the school year I continue this same study and writing rhythm on days that I am not teaching.
Fourth, for the blog: I write the Bible studies on either Saturday morning or Sunday sometime. They are stored in WordPress until the time set for them to appear. I don’t write the posts at midnight, as the time they appear might suggest. The other posts are written whenever I get the idea ready. Because I’m a writer, my posts don’t take me too long to write. Most of the time I have posts set up well in advance. It is very rare that I write a post the evening before it appears.
Fifth, our weekends are simple if at all possible. Yes, in the Fall and Winter and Spring I speak often, and everything above gets shifted. But, by and large, we get up early on Saturday, breakfast and feed birds, say our prayers, put on our walking shoes, head for Independence Grove, come home, spend the day here in doing errands and reading and relaxing. We tend to our garden a bit; Kris does more of that than I do. (Here’s one of my principles: I don’t speak at summer camps for a week; I rarely speak on weekends in the summer, unless it’s relatively close to home. Summers are for reading and writing and getting energies stored up for a much more busy school year.)
Sixth, on class preparation: it is constant. Everything I do ends up somehow in the classroom. I don’t know how this works, but it does. Sometimes what I read for the blog ends up becoming the foundation for a new lecture or a new point in a class session; sometimes class sessions inspire posts and those blog conversations shift what goes on in the classroom.
Well, that’s probably enough – I’m sure I have left some things out. This is the daily rhythm that works well for us. Our kids tend to think we are rather boring, but oh well.