Online Church Services

I took this screenshot many months ago (you can tell because Lauren is still pregnant here). And it’s low resolution since it’s a screenshot but I’m still thankful enough to share it.

We are frequently traveling so calling a particular church “home” is a bit tricky. I also, until recently, worked on Sundays (my choice, actually) so grabbing a service Sunday morning was not ideal. It didn’t bother me too much since I could still listen to podcasts to further my spiritual journey. And I also participated in an online Bible study.

Then we discovered a church we really connected with while visiting our kids in Utah. I wish I could go there weekly, and we discovered that we can — by attending online. They offer several services, and one is on Sunday evenings throughout the winter. It’s become a treat for me since Lauren often sings during the service, and CJ works the technology. I tend to watch it from Facebook.

There is a messaging option so we can greet each other and make comments during the service.

Chatting during church (and catching archived services).

It’s okay if we miss a service. I can always go to Facebook and catch one from a time in the past. The one I just took a screenshot of was two weeks ago. You don’t even need a Facebook account. The archives can be accessed on the church’s website at:

https://www.mvfchurch.com/messages

This is not the only church with these offerings. When I first moved from western to northern NY, I stayed in touch with my former church for quite a while, and I enjoyed seeing my friends in the congregation (communion Sundays were a treat since everyone walks up to the altar so I could even see my friends who we used to sit with in the balcony). I see I wrote about being thankful for that a couple of years ago.

One of my favorite friends from my former town also joins, so we cross the miles between MA, NY and Utah as we worship together — friends and family. Shared times of worship are definitely something to be thankful for.

**For the month of November each year, I try to focus on something I’m thankful for each day. It is the month that holds Thanksgiving where I live, after all. Focusing on the positive and remembering the little things that make life great are things I should do more often. Last year I found that writing every day during the holiday time got a bit stressful. So this year I’m writing throughout the year and scheduling the posts to go out in November.

Layover Time in Life

Chris and Mom conversing over lunch

All I wanted was to talk to someone in full sentences. I remember that feeling well from my years as a stay-at-home mom with a toddler. When my husband came home from work I greeted him with a torrent of babble that didn’t take into his account his tired state of mind after a long day of interacting with others.

It wasn’t good for the marriage, and one day he verbalized that and asked for just 15-30 minutes of time before we started discussing our days. He was right, and I found that when I waited just a short bit, he actually listened to me a lot better.

Fast forward 24-25 years since those toddler days, and I’m struggling to find a balance of work/home life. I spend a full workday answering questions, researching, troubleshooting and testing WordPress issues, and by the end of the day my brain is often fried. Ironically, it’s a struggle to string a sentence (oh, how times have changed).

This state of mind is not ideal when your mother-in-law has a Jeopardy addiction and likes to watch it with people. Or when Chris wants to discuss things with me. It sometimes literally gives me a headache having to think and answer more questions and to focus. But I know it’s really important to engage actively with my loved ones and put my workday behind me.

I discussed this with my job coach, who travels internationally using her talents as a certified conflict mediator and coach to work through some pretty intense situations. She had some good advice on figuring out this balance.

balance GIF

The Layover

In her own training, she and others are advised to extend layovers while traveling so one doesn’t go home immediately after working through tough situations elsewhere. Take a few days. Regroup. Transition from the task you completed to your life ahead. This is something I can do on a small scale in my daily life.

As I looked at my daily schedules, I began to do some adjusting. Again I’m super thankful for a job that allows me to tweak. We can choose what hours we want to work here at Automattic, so I work four ten-hour days. This gives me time to travel, run errands with Mom and Chris and catch up on life in general on my three flex days.

In addition to that, I shuffled things around so my workdays end an hour before Jeopardy. This gives me an hour “layover” for some “me” time. During that hour I embrace tasks such as exercising, journaling, doing my Bible study and blogging.

In retrospect it’s quite similar to what Chris and I did back in the day. I just needed a reminder, I guess. The great news is that it’s working. I feel much more balanced, and I feel I’m able to provide a higher quality of engagement with the people with whom I’m connecting.

If you are struggling to find a life balance and constantly feel overwhelmed, I highly recommend this Layover strategy. It’s a winner in my book.