I had a very nice birthday. #2 son brought me a cake, with a candle to blow out as you see below, and both the boys sang to me. #2 son also went out and picked up Chinese takeaway for dinner so I didn’t have to cook.

Xangans came and wished me happy birthday, and thank you all for that. It was lovely to have those wishes arrive in my inbox during the workday.

Friends took me out to lunch, and Janalisa came by with a present  and we had a very nice walk and talk. CD gave me a gift card to Hancock Fabrics, which I intend to use to get my SWAP underway.

I had plenty of work to do, and still have plenty today, as well.

My work life has settled down to a rhythm: I get up early and deal with whatever happened overnight (lots, sometimes, what with different time zones and computer guy work schedules), blog here, dress, and have breakfast. Then I usually go teach my class and/or have meetings, hitting the gym on the way home. I’m back at my computer between 10:00 and 12:00, and I do two to three projects. A project for me is usually one to five hours, and if it’s more than that I’ll generally divide it up so I come to it fresh.

Both the Northerners and The Computer Guy now treat me as part of their team, which I really like. I’m also getting there with the Flash Guy and The Developer. The Westerner treated me that way, too, actually, but then disappeared. That happens sometimes. I also have the odd random two or three hour project for various people, and my Dark Art Lite people. With my teaching, this comes to plenty of work, and I’m very happy about that.

I try to stop working when my family gets home around 4:00, since by then I’ve been working for more than eight hours for sure. After the evening’s events — rehearsal or class or what have you — I may get back to the computer and do some unbillable work, like sending out invoices or doing reviews or grading papers (not always unbillable, but often it is). I do sometimes work on the weekends, I confess, but I’d like that to be more a time for reading and crafts and hanging out with my family. I do hang out with family a fair amount on the weekends, actually, and I laze around some as well. I need to get housework fitted in there someplace — but I’m going to get exercise solidly back in my schedule before I focus on housekeeping.

Life@Work‘s next passage is about the difference between being called and being driven. You’ve probably heard the expression “being called” in relation to the work of a minister or a missionary. But it’s just as correct to think of the work you do as your calling. If you’re lucky, or perhaps if you pay attention, you can end up doing what God calls you to do in your work life.

It’s easy for me to think of teaching as my calling. All the years I was in retail, I really still felt called to teach. I was, it seemed to me, supporting others in their teaching, and doing curriculum design and teacher training was still part of my work in education.

It’s not easy for me to think of the Dark Art as a calling. “The Dark Art” is a joke, of course; Arkenboy told me, when I was learning SEO, that “SEO is a dark art” and that I wouldn’t be able to learn it and should give up. We called it the Dark Art around our house for a long time.

It’s largely marketing, isn’t it? And it’s hard to think of that as something God would call us to do. It seems trivial or possibly even harmful.

But there’s another way to look at it. When I help to create something really beautiful entirely out of electricity and thoughts, I definitely feel satisfied with my work. When I help people to succeed in business and thus to care for their families or pay their hospital bills or keep their home or even just to continue doing the work they love, it seems worthwhile to me. In fact, my doing a job honorably that is often done dishonorably may be worthwhile in and of itself.

I don’t have trouble seeing physical labor or housework as decent work that God calls people to. Jesus hung out with tax collectors. I guess I can see the work that I love as a calling.

And of course I am still teaching.