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  • September 2012

On most Wednesday mornings, I spend an hour with Hope learning to balance. I stand barefoot on my yoga mat, facing a mirror with a familiar set of faces as we bend and flow in tai chi, pilates, and yoga moves, and for just a moment forget about everything else that’s going on in our lives. I love that my instructor’s name is Hope. I love that this takes place smack in the middle of my week. The experience is literally and symbolically a balancing act.

Today is Saturday and, in a rare alignment of the planets, I have the whole day and house to myself. This is both a covetable blessing and an interesting dilemma. The list is long. What should I do with my day?

I could have slept in. Except I woke up at 4 a.m. and realized no one was here to care if I turned on the lights and started my day. My one. Whole. Day. To myself.

I could have gone out to eat. But then I realized I could snack on leftovers all day long. I love leftovers. I don’t complain about leftovers. And I have no place I need to be, so I can eat the leftovers at any time, one bite at a time if I want to, right out of the container, while still wearing pajamas, or not.

The house needs cleaning and the lawn needs to be mowed, but I can’t spend a me-day on those things because I finally dropped the magic wand. For a while, my family thought the laundry, groceries, cleaning, and so on all happened by magic. Actually, my husband thought we were really clean people and our bathroom never got dirty. HA. No, I think I need to not do as good a job with the magic wand so others can feel a sense of contribution. Yes, that’s it. I want them to all feel like they are needed, too.

It’s tempting to work. I love my job. And there’s always something really interesting to do in my office. I’ve taken on a new role this month—which is a crazy, not-so-balanced decision because I don’t have any more hats I can wear in a week. But despite the workload, I couldn’t turn it down. It’s too fun to leave behind. I’m so excited to be the publisher of a new online magazine called Books Make A Difference. I get to work with writers like Meagan Frank. It’s wonderful to put my years of magazine management and book publishing together in this exciting project. There’s so much to do before our first issue launch, so in between snacks today I’ll be jotting down ideas.

When I first started writing this September blog, I was riding in the truck with my family on the way home from building a deer stand. The girls thought I should write about One Direction, the latest boy band sensation. Everything in the girls’ world at the moment comes back to being a “directioner.” They know every little detail about Zayn, Niall, Harry, Louis, and Liam: the boys’ favorite colors, their girlfriends’ workout routines, when the next song will be released. Malaina suggested since September is back-to-school month, I write about learning. She gave me a list of her favorite songs to listen to so I can learn how to write songs for One Direction.

I could catch up on my reading. On my nightstand:  White Elephants: On Yard Sales, Relationships, & Finding What’s Missing by Katie Haegele (a quirky find); 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross (I was intrigued by how Andrew came up with the idea for this story); and Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by John Townsend (need I say more?). At least one of these will make it with me to the back deck this evening. Hope would call this breathing in.

I need to spend time on the back deck, enjoying our trees before they go. They are dying from Imprelis damage and I’m so sad to see them leave. All the little critters and birdies love our trees. Me too.

Before the deck, I’ll be catching up with an old friend. Always a good choice for a me-day. Good friends inspire balance.

But mostly…. Since I’m just me today, no kids to taxi, no junior high math to figure out, no dinner to prepare, no coworkers expecting a response this weekend…

I think I’ll write. Writers need to write. We need a place to capture all the learnings from all our other hats and lists and experiences. We need a way to make good stuff from the leftovers. Hope says breathing out is as important as breathing in.

And I have one whole day to myself. To breathe. To balance. To write!

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Karen’s life experience is intertwined with her roles as a wife, mom, stepmom, writer, publisher, photographer, traveler, and woman of faith. All these elements tend to make their way into her blog posts.

“Writers have to write. It’s something deep inside us that pushes and pushes until we let it out. It’s part of the air we breathe, this need to make sense of the world around us and to somehow find the right words to express and influence the way we each feel and interact and love and live.”—Writing is Risky Business