Sunday, January 1, 2017

Lessons from my six month sabbatical

It was over a year ago that I realized I was tired.

November 2015 found me looking back over the year and counting up the presentations and webinars I had done.  It amounted to 62 total speaking opportunities, and I was tired.  

I talked it over with Mr. Kerry, and told him I felt I should fulfill all of the commitments I had made through June 2016, but wouldn't accept any more throughout the rest of the year.

It was a wise decision.

I finished out at close to 30 by the end of June, and had a couple of more presentations in August and September, but I was officially done for the year.  I took the last half of the year off.

I needed some research time of my own.  

I needed some learning time of my own.

I needed to not wake up in a hotel wondering what city I was in.

And now, I am back!  I am refreshed and raring to go.  I am busy through mid-September, and have even booked presentations into 2018.

Let me tell you what I learned during these past six months:

1.  I learned that I miss gathering with my genealogy colleagues, whether they be attendees or other speakers.

2.  I learned that it is imperative that I continue to do my own research.  This usually involves a southern trip with my sisters, which includes a lot of laughing!
Sisters Betty, Fern, and me!

3.  I learned that it is extremely important that I continue to connect with the living.  I was born into an old family, so there aren't many of the older generation left.  I have moved into that position.  I recently sat and listened to my aunt teaching her great-granddaughter the old mountain gospel songs.  I could have listened to this torch being passed all day long.
Aunt Betty teaching gospel songs to great-granddaughter Skylan

4.  Though I was not actively teaching any classes, it remained important that I stay connected with the genealogy community -- mostly through Facebook and other social media.

5.  Continuing my own education was vital, and I'm an active learner.  Every opportunity I have to listen in on a class or webinar is another opportunity for growth.

6.  Though I have 35 presentations that are ready to go on a moment's notice (I have filled in for people that couldn't present at the last moment, so I'm glad I have them.), plus about 8 more that are in process.  I spent these past six months updating and tweaking these presentations and the accompanying syllabi.

7.  I began to review some of my older presentations that have been video or audio taped, so that I could critique what I sound and look like.  For those of you who know me well, this is a really big deal, for I can't stand to watch or hear myself.  But, I felt I must do it so that people who are paying to hear me will not feel their money has been wasted.

8.  I found some much-needed spare time that I didn't do a darn thing.  This is when I replenished myself.  I read, I studied.  I did some self-reflecting.  I attended two funerals, which I would not have been able to do if I had accepted two speaking invitations.

9.  I worked on my much-neglected personal history.

10.  I began to prepare for 2017..

These are a few of the things I have not been able to while always being on-the-go.  And, it's not that I dislike what I do.  I love what I do!  But, I had reached a point where I needed to scale back.

So, in a few short weeks, I will be headed to Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2017, followed by a quick trip to Orlando, followed by another trip to...

I have taken care of me.

And, sometimes life pulls us up short.  I was mowing this past August when I had a tractor accident.  I got stuck on a root. Actually, it was a root and a rock.  I shut everything down and managed to unloose the tractor, only to have it begin to roll and take me with it.  Part of my leg was bruised pretty badly, my arm was torn up, and I fell really hard -- straight down.

Things began to heal, but one area was becoming increasingly worse.  It resulted in having surgery, followed by some pretty limited recuperation.

It was a relief to not have to worry about rearranging a myriad of engagements while taking care of my own self.

So, lessons learned...

*Sometimes, you might feel prompted to do some scaling back.  Listen to that prompting.

*Continue to read and educate yourself.

*Never stop learning.


  1. Hope you are all healed and feeling wonderful. Welcome back!

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! I'm back and full of steam.

  2. So glad to have you back, and glad that you feel refreshed!

    1. Marian, I am all charge up again! Thank you so much for writing.

  3. Good for you for knowing that a rest and refresh was needed. Sometimes that makes all the difference and gives opportunity to remind ourselves what is important and gives us the strength to carry on better than before.

    1. That is absolute true! As I've gotten older, I realize more and more how much we need to listen to our bodies. I was tired, and I fixed it!