Today I was blessed to attend a very lovely and soul-refreshing retreat for my art teaching job. As a teacher in a Catholic school, some of our required inservice time is spent on religious instruction and spiritual growth. Our inservice days mean a day off from students for the full-time teachers, but they usually require me, a part-time teacher, to work on an extra day. I was looking forward to today's inservice, though. I always think of retreats as a way of putting the busy world on pause, of stepping away briefly, and devoting time to prayer, reflection, quietly drinking in the beauty of creation with all of my senses, and breathing in peace along with that fresh earthy smell that comes after an autumn rain. Today's retreat did not disappoint. It was the perfect balance of instruction, and discussion along with plenty of time to spend quietly walking the gorgeous wooded grounds along the Little Miami River. He leads me beside cool waters. He restores my soul. Indeed He does! I really must make time to take my own personal retreats!
At the retreat, since the attending teachers represented two different schools, there was an "ice-breaker" activity in which we were to ask questions of our fellow teachers and then introduce them to the group at large. When my well-meaning colleague introduced me, she told everyone that my "hobby" was making Teddy Bears (she didn't ask me that question, because she said she "already knew the answer"). Making Teddy Bears is not my hobby, it is my work. This distinction is a bee in my bonnet and she set that bee a-buzzing! Teddy Bear making is not a hobby; it is a business I have spent 20+ years building, a craft I have spent 30+ years improving, and it is my full-time job. It is my work. It is work that I love, but it's not a hobby anymore than my teaching job is. (By the way I love my teaching job too!) I asked myself why it matters, really, and the answer boils down to time. I would like people to respect my bear-making time as work time. Sometimes people who have some legitimate claim on my time (my family, my friends, my principle ) want more than I can give and I hear " but you only work two days a week..." (Sometimes I only hear them think it, admittedly, but it's there between the lines of "Well, why can't you do it on Monday?" and "But you're off on Fridays, aren't you?") No, I only teach two days a week; I work every day. I would love it if people would respect the time commitment I have to my full-time job as much as they do my part-time one.
Ah, well. It's been a lovely day, anyway, and I have some other lovely news to share! I have already posted this on Facebook, but thought I'd share it here too.
My Bear, Emmett, the Steampunk Time Traveler, has been chosen as a finalist in the Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards! Many thanks to the judges for this honor. The public voting has already begun and is open until October 31st. Visit http://www.bearartistry.com/how-to-vote to see all the finalists and cast your votes!