It's my birthday today. I have love, reasonable health, my first grandchild on the way, and a personal relationship with Jesus....life is sublime. It's a good and generous time, and I'm deeply grateful. Presents are nice, though, as is a celebratory meal (or two) with loved ones.
For the first time in our comfortable lives, Ron and I have not been blessed with financial stability for the past 4 years. Our "dot.com" business, that we spent 2 years building, was devastated by 9/11, and had to be closed. Just as we were recovering, Ron was unexpectedly laid-off in fall 2002. He was unemployed for 8 months, and we were without steady income or insurance benefits. He's been back in the job market for over a year now, but the company is struggling and things look bleak. He has a better plan and new skills and credentials for the next lay-off, but it won't be easy.
We've learned a lot from these uncomfortable times. We sold the 3400-sq foot house, and actually enjoy living in a much smaller, modest abode. (Way less to do!) I suppose it's a positive to have an older, maintenance-free car.....but I still dream of another gleaming, new Jeep Grand Cherokee. We spend little and have only basic bills plus one last debt from our defunct business, so life is pleasantly simpler. Ron and I have grown even closer to each other during this season, and our walks with and reliance on the Lord have never been stronger.
These past 4 years have also caused us to examine how we desire to spend our work time. Ron wants to teach, not toil as a manufacturing engineer. He's tired of the soul-robbing corporate grind, and would rather spend the next 15 years in a classroom. We've made the decision that once his current gig is gone, he'll be teaching. Despite the paycut.
And I want to write, undistracted. So my birthday present to myself......and Ron's present to me.....is the gift of focus.
I'm closing my eBay bookstore this week, and devoting my energies only to writing. Supply of books on eBay is up drastically, and demand and selling prices are down considerably, so it would take more and better effort to make a living there. I will still sell the occasional item, but that takes little energy.
I've wanted to focus on only my writing since I was a high school newspaper staffer. I always said I would do it sometime. Sometime when I have time. Sometime in the future. Sometime whenever this or that happens. Well.....it's probably now or never, and Ron and I choose now.
Again...I am deeply grateful that sometime is here. I can't imagine a better birthday gift.