Tuesday, April 26, 2011


For the past several weeks, my internal alarm clock has been going off at 5:30am and I have no idea why.  There have been times when stress or worry have gotten me up before dawn, but that isn't the case this time.  No matter what time I go to bed (and sometimes it's LATE because I have a hard time being done with the day...) by 5:30 the next morning, I'm wide awake.  For two weeks I have tried to sleep through it.  I've forced myself to stay in bed until 6:30 when the REAL alarm goes off.  I've counted sheep.  I've listened to the birds and the sprinklers and the wind outside.  I've hummed my favorite hymn.  Nothing works.

So this morning, when I got up at 5:18 and couldn't go back to sleep, I thought, "Fine!  I'm just going to embrace this new schedule and DO SOMETHING with it."   5:30 is too early for vacuuming or laundry.  It's too early to go for a walk...because it's still dark and I'm a baby.  It's too early to take a shower because that's noisy and requires lights and hair dryers.  So I sat in my fluffy chair, in the dark, with my laptop and my pink technology and listened to two Conference Talks.  

And then I checked my emails and found this post on one of my favorite blogs and it confirmed what I had been thinking.   Fortitude.

For years, I was under the impression that filling my tank and taking care of myself meant going out with girlfriends, or having a gossip session on the phone, or getting a pedicure.  But I always found it frustrating that after a night of chips and salsa at Chili's, the messes I had left at home were still there, the kids seemed more needy, and the break I thought I so desperately needed didn't last longer than the drive home.  I still love occasional Girls Nights, and I could eat chips and salsa every day of the week, but I prefer just being at home where everyone can find me.   

Conditions are ideal right now for filling my tank during the week.  The kids are at school all day.  Even though my husband works mostly from home, meetings and travel take him away quite regularly.  Some days, all I do is fill my tank...Institute, the Temple, morning walks; praying in TCD's clean, quiet pink room; reading scriptures; writing in my journal; playing the piano; hanging out with my blog.  I've become freakishly hermit-like in the last 9 months.  
Well, if I'm going to be a hermit, I'm at least going to be a cute one with a beautiful shell!

The weekends are a different story, however.  Everyone is home and busy from morning until night.  There isn't a single quiet space in the house for very long.  I love when they're home, but I almost always put off all the "tank filling" so that I can hang out with them.   I plow through Saturday and Sunday and hope that what I've done during the week will sustain me until Monday morning when they all leave again.  With summer rapidly approaching, I have definitely felt a little anxious about where my "tank filling" is going to fit in.  As much as I look forward to longer days, bare feet, relaxed schedules, and vacations, I'm a little nervous that there will be too much hanging out with my family and not enough "hermit-ness."

But today, I may have found my solution.  Because it was an amazing feeling to have already had quiet time BEFORE everyone got up.  And it was an amazing feeling to be completely awake and alert at 6:30 for scriptures.  And because 5:30am is ALWAYS quiet in my house, and it will probably be even quieter in the summer.   Maybe for the last two weeks, someone's been trying to tell me that I need to make my own ideal conditions instead of waiting for them to happen.  

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