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I have an interview on the Eastern Shore February 27th.  We move to the Eastern Shore January 24th.  If my math is correct, I’ll have over a month before my interview, and, then, if hired, probably another month before I start working.  I quit my job in Knoxville over a month ago, so I feel like my stint of fun-employment has run its course.  But, obviously, with an interview that won’t happen until the end of February, that is not the case.

Today I started thinking about how I wanted to spend my time on the Eastern Shore during my continued run of fun-employment.  My first thought was to get a job.  I’m not quite sure what the logic was here.  I think it was more fear than logic that was driving me.  Then, other ideas came to mind: walk, read, unpack & settle into our new house, write, knit, explore our new place.  These sound more fitting.  I’m not sure how scheduled I want to be, but I think some structure may be helpful.

Our conversation at small group last night led me to these thoughts of how I can be intentional with my time.  We were talking about financial planning as it relates to our life goals.  A community that Gregg and I were a part of in San Francisco has been using this budget worksheet to guide their conversation.  We followed their lead.  For me, naming my life goals was surprisingly helpful in guiding my financial goals.  My life goals involved family, life/work balance, art, and prayer.  My goals are not really about money at all.  If anything, they more about spending or giving than saving.  I think this is what came up for me because I tend to hold onto my money tightly.

While saving was one of my goals, giving was a bigger one.    Specifically, I wrote on my worksheet “spend freely, but not too freely.”  As in, feel free to splurge every once in a while.  On a meal, on a person, on art.  I won’t be able to spend too freely during my fun-employment, of course, but our conversation served as a stepping stone for intentionality, both with time and money.

Definition: A profound concern for the welfare of another without any desire to control that other, to be thanked by that other, or to enjoy the process.

I came across this definition of love in Madeleine L’Engle’s book. She credits Edward Nason West with the definition. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read it.

This is an old picture of Gregg and me. But he's got his beard going for the winter, so I feel like its appropriate.

My husband, Gregg, wants to be a farmer.  About three years ago he worked on a sweet potato farm in Machipongo, VA.  We started dating during his two month stint on the farm.  After he finished his time on the farm, he was offered a job to stay on as a permanent employee.  He turned the job down to move to San Francisco (where I was living at the time) to date me.  He’s had odd jobs throughout our time in SF and in Knoxville.  He keeps coming back to farming.  He wants to farm in Knoxville, but starting one from scratch both on his own or with a friend has proved to be too risky and too difficult.  After coming to this conclusion, we recalled the sweet potato farm job offer.  We wondered if that would still be available to him.  Gregg called the farmer who said over the phone that he did, in fact, have an opportunity for Gregg.  At first, during our conversations, moving to Virginia to farm was Plan B.  But, as less and less opportunities arose for him in Knoxville, it became Plan A.  As a nurse/newly turned nurse practitioner as of August 2011, I am flexible in the job department.  I was on board if this was what he wanted to do.

What I like about Gregg as a farmer:

1. The food.  Gregg has completely changed the way that I think about food.  I enjoy it now.  Not as much as he does, but I appreciate a good meal so much more now than I did before I knew him.

2. The organic movement.  It finally hit me yesterday that I want to be a part of this movement.  The sweet potato farm has been a part of the movement for thirty or so years before everyone else was wanting local, sustainable, organic, free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free, pesticide-free food.  I realized yesterday that all of the aforementioned words describe how we have been created to eat.  Yes, its trendy and more expensive, but I decided that I cannot eat any more chicken meat that turns to mush in my hands.

3. Learning to trust.  Being a farmer is certainly not the easy road, or so I’ve heard.  Becoming a farmer has not been easy either.  But I’m learning to trust Gregg and his dreams for our family.  I’m learning to trust during the transition, which has not been easy.  I know that it has been good for me and for us.  I’m sure that there will be more of this learning to trust thing in our future.

4. Farmer=Businessman (the good kind).  Confession:  I’m an eavesdropper.  The other day, I was trying not to eavesdrop on Gregg as he was talking to his boss-to-be, but I couldn’t help it.  Eavesdropping is an instinct of mine that I cannot avoid.  But!  What I eavesdropped (not sure if that’s a word) was worth celebrating.  Gregg was becoming a businessman right before my ears.  Not a suit and tie wearing, bossypants businessman, but a taking initiative, talking straight, and still being a good person businessman.

Farming, here we come.

I’ve been slowly reading Madeliene L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet.  The book is made up of lovely ramblings of her life in the country with her family and as a writer.  She weaves words of wisdom throughout its pages.  I wanted to steal the title of the book for the blog, but “A Circle of Quiet” was already taken.  That’s probably a good thing, because I don’t want to go to prison for copyright infringement (I think that’s what the charge would be).  Then, Circle of Quiet was taken, too.  So I thought, The Circle of Quiet or My Circle of Quiet.  Both of those sounded like they should end with an exclamation point and an arrow pointed towards me.  Not quite the kind of title I was going for.  So, I landed on This Circle of Quiet.  I like what it conveys.  And, even though I don’t really think it describes me very well, its what I’m going for this year.  And, moving to the country, we are quite literally moving into a quieter space.

This year, I would like to have quiet on the inside as well as the outside.  One way to take a step towards this is to get off Team Shame.  Huh? you ask.  Team Shame is the arch-rival of Team Grace.  Here’s some examples of the running thoughts of Team Shame: “I should be doing ___,” (lots of thoughts begin with I should), “I feel really bad for (this thing that I did or didn’t do),” and “Why am I not more like (this random person that is prettier, skinnier, smarter, funnier, etc.) than me?”  Basically, Team Shame focuses on what you don’t have, don’t do, should be, shouldn’t do, and lives there forever.  I’m being a bit lighthearted about this, but I know that it is how many people live and think and work and play.  Me included.  So, this is the year, that I move from Team Shame to Team Grace.  The thought processes of Team Grace are more like: “I didn’t do that, but that’s okay,”  “Here friends, take a second helping, there will always be enough,” and  “I’m so happy for that pretty, skinny, smart, funny person, and, hey, I’ve got some good things going for me, too.”  The thoughts may begin similarly to those of Team Shame, but they end very differently.  Their thoughts end with some form of “Its okay.”  I think surgery, a brain transplant specifically, may be required to move me from Team Shame to Team Grace, but I’m ready.  Thankfully, Gregg and several dear friends of mine are key members of Team Grace.  They’re trying their best to recruit me.

I’m not sure what this surgery/recruitment process will look like.  I think it involves praying, catching myself at the beginning of  Team Shame thought runs, and I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

Do I have anything to say?  I have a lot of thoughts, a lot that goes on in my mind/heart/spirit.  I have a lot to say in one-on-one conversations with those that care about what I have to say.  But putting it all out there into the blogosphere of the world wide web?  Many insecurities come up in me: What will people think?  Am I too late?  Have I missed the boat of starting a blog? Again, what will people think?  I’ve seen the wide variety of blogs that belong to friends and strangers.  I have seen it be a very helpful way for people to process what’s privately going on in a public way.  A public journal, so to speak.  The blogs that I like best are the ones that, after reading them, I come away feeling better.  I’m refreshed with thoughts of “I’m not the only one” or “I can relate to that”  or “That was so thoughtful/insightful/inspiring.”  I’ve seen people have blogs for a wide variety of reasons, but the private/public processing is what is drawing me to actually start one.  That, and the fact the my husband is starting one and he may or may not let me be a part of it.  Screw that (can I say that?).  I’ll start my own.  Hesitantly.

We are moving to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  My feelings on the move pretty much run the gamut of emotions.  My fears run a similar gamut.  I have an endless list of questions that all begin with “What if?”  My sister-in-law sent me an email that wasn’t meant to be encouraging, but ended up being just what I needed to hear.  Today, she said.  When talking about trusting God, she said, that today is all that we need to worry about or think about.  Now, how many times have I heard that before?  For some reason it hit me this morning, and I want to actually live into it today.  Imagine that, actually living into something that is wise and good and true.  Something that can actually bring peace.  So, here goes nothing.  Today, I’m stepping into the blog world and hoping for peace.