Praying for Balance

As you may know, I’ve been traveling quite a bit this fall. Some of it was planned, and some was spontaneous. It was wonderful, but I’m so happy to be home even though coming home can be hard. I absolutely loved sleeping in my bed for the first time last night, curled up with Rosie beside me, and I’m so happy to be getting back into my routine because it’s the routine that always suffers most when I’m not at home. While I try to keep up with emails and voice messages when I’m away, it doesn’t always work. Things slide by or fall to the wayside. My workouts usually come to an abrupt halt, and my sleep cycle is off. The first week I’m home is just like being away–I’m faced with fatigue, a pile of laundry, and twice the work in what seems like half the time. I’m left feeling off-kilter and a bit frazzled. It’s kind of like I’m heading up the wrong tree!

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While working out this morning (for the first time in two weeks), my instructor said something that made everything clear… Read more

Just Breathe

IMG_8243Breathe.  We all do it.  Ultimately it’s what keeps all of us alive.  Without breath, there is no life.  About it, songs have been sung, books have been written, and even movies have been made. In the Bible, we are told that God breathed life into Adam.  This was essentially the very first breath of life.

I am often asked how I do all that I do – manage a household, be a loving and devoted wife and mother, run a Girl Scout camp, volunteer at two schools, maintain a blog, website, and other social media, and write books.  Most people who know me know that I am a rather calm person.  It takes a lot to get me befuddled.  So what is my secret?  It is simple.  I trust in God for He is my strength through which all things are possible.  And I breathe.

Sometimes all I need is a calming breath in and out.  Sometimes I need several breaths and a prayer.  Other times, I need time and space to reconnect to myself and the world.  But at all times, I simply

– need

– to

– breathe.

I often tell my girls, when they are worried or beginning to panic, that a cleansing breath or two is all it takes to maintain or regain calm and put your life back into focus.  Whether it is a ten second intake and release of breath, an hour at Mass, or a two week vacation, the key is simple.  Whatever battles you’re fighting, roads you’re traveling, or mountains you’re climbing…

Just breathe.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Stretched Thin

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Do you remember Stretch Armstrong?  He was the superhero doll from the 70s who could be pulled and stretched to three times his size just for the fun of it.  I’m not sure why many children from my generation spent so much wasted time stretching this otherwise useless toy to his limits just to see him warp back into himself again.  Sometimes I think we did it just to see how far we could pull until he broke and that gross, gooey, syrupy stuff came oozing out of him.  Looking back, I think whoever made that silly toy must have had a vision of the future. Somehow he knew that GenX was going to live the life of poor Stretch Armstrong every single day.

Let’s take a look at just this week in my life.  On Monday, Ken left for a business trip at 4am, I had yoga at 8 (scratch that – girls were running late, so I had to make do with a yoga video at home), then I wrote the next chapter in the novel I’m currently writing.  Off to take Morgan to the orthodontist at 2:30, then Katie to tennis at 3:30 so she could warm up for her match at 4.  Somehow I managed to do a couple of loads of laundry and wash the dishes.  That was a slow day.  Tuesday saw us leaving on time for school, me on the resistance bike by 8:30, another chapter down, tennis practice at 3:30, and team dinner at 6.  I finished my day folding more laundry.  Today, yoga, blog, tennis match at 4, Morgan’s tennis lesson at 5:30, and then dinner (something, somewhere, somehow, with someone – maybe all of us if we can manage it).  Tomorrow, girls to school, meeting in Annapolis for a board I’m on, at school by 1:30 to set up the desserts for the end of the year Awards Banquet, take Katie to tennis at 3:30, rush home to change for the banquet, pick up Katie, wait at the Y while she changes, be at the school by 5:30 and home by 10.  Friday, well you get the picture.  And guess what, this is an easy week!  It’s the end of the school year, and activities are winding down!

Some days I feel like I have been stretched to my limits, like one more pull and that gross, gooey syrupy stuff will start flowing out of me.  Other days, I feel like I’m already drowning in the gooey stuff.  But here’s the thing, I already have one daughter in college (if you think my days are busy now – try imagining all of this with an extra child thrown into the mix).  In just two years, Katie will be off as well.  And it will go by so quickly!  I can already feel the moments slipping away.  So while I may be stretched to my limits, and my insides may be starting to feel syrupy and out of shape, I know that I wouldn’t trade a single thing I do or have done.  Someday I will actually be able to write multiple chapters in a day, and I’ll wonder how I managed to survive all of those years spent driving children from one location to another while serving on boards and committees, and writing books and blogs, and cheering at games and crying at awards ceremonies. And you know what? It will have been worth every single stretch mark.

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Keeping Balance

DSC00558Life is all about balance.  Have you ever given that any thought?  We have two eyes, ears, arms, legs, lungs, kidneys, even nostrils.  Our bodies are perfectly proportioned (given a genetic twist here and there); and even inside where we might have one organ, there is another organ (or two) opposite it that maintains that balance.  When you really think about, it’s amazing!  So how does that matter for the rest of our being?  Writer and theologian Thomas Merton taught that “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”  Sometimes we are in perfect balance within ourselves and our lives, and, well, sometimes we are not!

This morning, in my exercise class, we were practicing our “tree pose.”  You know, the one where you stand perfectly still on one leg while the other leg is bent with your foot pressed against your thigh, hands held above your head like branches.  I will admit that most mornings, I can do this without too much of a problem, at least on one of my legs.  This morning, I couldn’t balance myself on either leg.  Trying not to get frustrated, I began to wonder what was keeping me off balance.  I wasn’t too tired or hungry. My clothes fit right, so no slipping and sliding on loose fabric.  I was feeling good about myself (heck, I got up at 6 and went to class, right?), so what was going on?  Then I began to wonder if the imbalance was mental and not physical.  Maybe today needs to be about tying up loose ends and restoring balance, order, rhythm, and harmony to my life.  I’ll finish my edits on my next novel, get that stack or paperwork completed, make the phone calls I have been putting off, and begin to refocus on doing what I aspire to do best – writing my next tale.

And I should give a big thanks to those who help me to maintain balance in my life: my husband, my mother, my children, my closest friends, and God.  And thank you to those helping me to finish putting together Picture Me.  You all are the instruments that keep my life in perfect harmony.