Saturday, May 19, 2012

Juggling Life

Photo credit: stock.xchng
The definition of juggling reads "to keep several objects in continuous motion; to hold, catch carry, or balance precariously; almost drop and then hold on again".

Many days in my life feel just like that definition--a precarious balancing act trying to keep the spheres of home, work, and ministry all in the air, spinning continuously. I have a feeling you're like that too.

One day this week I felt pretty spectacular about everything I'd accomplished. Until I heard about a man who just completed a triathlon. In under two hours. Juggling.

He juggled while swimming on his back for a quarter mile, biking 16.2 miles (he juggled one handed!), and running four miles. I'm sure I could do that. Well, maybe not the juggling part. Or the triathlon part either.

As a teacher, mother, farmer's wife, and volunteer youth sponsor, summer brings the end of lots of things that keep me juggling: school, sports practices and games, piano lessons, planting season, weekly youth meetings. It also brings a new kind of busy: professional development,  play dates, sleepovers, bonfires, art classes, cooking classes, camping trips, camp, youth trips, re-planting and fieldwork, graduations, and weddings.

I'm hoping in the midst of all this summer busyness that I'll find some quiet moments to read and to write. But I know it won't happen unless I'm intentional about scheduling it in or looking for opportunities. I think I will set a reading goal and a writing goal for myself.

So, I'm curious about you? Do you have a summer reading goal or a writing goal? What do you do to keep yourself motivated to write when the long days and the great outdoors call to you? What books will you be reading by the pool or at the lake?

And while we're talking goals, anyone competing in a triathlon this summer or learning to juggle?

Nikki Studebaker Barcus


  1. Nikki,

    Good blog. Thank you.

    As far as my summer, it's not only going to be the typical busy of putting together the annual music festival -- I'm planning on organizing a conference for the fall. So, yes, it will be harder than ever for me to find time to write. I also have a wife that writes and she struggles more than I do to write, so when we took a vacation, the laptop was hers; I read a book on writing.

    Summer reading? Actually, I'm taking part in a year long reading program. I signed up for twenty this year -- I was started but less than half way through half a dozen books, so the organizer allowed me to count those six as half a book each. At this point, I've read eight books, including four of the six "half-books".

    Books I'm currently reading? I've started "Fatal Convictions" by Randy Singer (fiction). I'm also reading "The Anatomy of Story" by John Truby, "Holiness For Everyday People" by Keith Drury (who also wrote a book for writers that was given to each participant of the Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference and had a workshop there), a biography of Millard Fillmore, and two different books from Zondervan's counterpoint series: Six Views of the Worship Spectrum and Five Views of the Church Growth Movement. Do you think I'm reading enough books?

    Thanks again, Nikki, and have a blessed day.


  2. I don't know, Jeff. I think you may be able to sneak in an encyclodpedia or a dictionary somewhere. :)

    Sounds like you have a good plan already. I'll check out some of the books you mentioned. Sounds like a great list.


  3. What an enjoyable post. We all juggle, all the time, and some are more successful at it than others (my kids are in their 30s & 40s and I still feel as though I failed them in some regards), but I think your use of the word "intentional" is important. Sometimes some of the less important balls just need to drop!

  4. I agree, Liz. Often we put a lot of pressure on ourselves that isn't really coming from other people. Sometimes, in some things, "good enough" has to be the goal. And some things need to be given up so others have an opportunity to pick them up.

  5. I move my work station into the garage, just inside the bay door where I'm shielded from the sun, but definitely "outside". I plan on self-pubbing a book of Christmas poems, completing edit/rewrite of ALMG, and trying to write a poem a day to flex the creativity muscles. The juggling I hate worst involves time with grandkids, but they're so busy it isn't often a problem except in my mind.

  6. Mary, I love the idea of moving your workspace outside so you can enjoy it and still keep working. Wonderful compromise.

  7. Wow, you are juggling a lot of balls! I have several, but few are in the air at the same time--the luxury of an empty nest, I guess. My summer writing goals are to keep plugging away at the rewrite of my novel, take one online class ("Powerful Openings"), and attend one writers conference (MWW). My list of books is small: Stepping Heavenward, Quiet,and The Tea Rose. That's because I have several unfinished books like The Moral Premise, Scene and Structure, etc., to finish up.

  8. Nikki,

    I'm definitely a goal setter. I think I have several to-do and long term project lists lying around the house. :) So yes, my goal is to dive back into editing this summer, and continue to whittle away my 2012 reading list. Enjoy your summer, friend!