Friday, July 8, 2011

Making Space

A friend of ours is trying to sell a car, but doesn't have room to keep it at her house, so we have been keeping it at ours as a neighborly thing to do. (It's a 2003 Taurus, gold, good condition, 117,000 miles, $3800 - in case you are interested.)

Anyway, it has been at our house for quite a while, in my prime parking spot next to the house, and I wanted my spot back. Yesterday, I took action...

I grabbed my trusty Stihl trimmer with the Hack-through-dense-brush-and-small-trees attachment, and went to work clearing a spot in the young pine forest that's growing in the side yard. For the trees too big for even the Stihl, I wrapped a tow chain around them and pulled them out - roots and all - with my 4-wheel drive. Heh heh heh. My neck gets redder and my man-card gets punched just thinking about it.

Rather quickly, I carved out a space big enough to comfortably park the Taurus. 
And even better, I can again park my truck in the driveway right up next to the house. It's nice, too, that my yard doesn't look like a parking lot.  You can't even see the Taurus from the road...  :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Past Few Days

So, my sabbatical started on Friday, and to celebrate I spent about 4 hours training my friend, Steve, for his bus driving test. He's doing great, but everyone pray for him on Tuesday morning when he's going to do his testing at the DMV!

On Saturday, I worked for a while on a web site that will give more detail and links for our Kenya trip, but couldn't focus very well. I was feeling so tired and brain-dead... +Foley said he hadn't realized how worn out he was when he started his sabbatical, and that he couldn't get going for a few days; maybe I'm experiencing that. A nap helped, but it didn't keep me from getting a full night's sleep!

Today (Sunday) was a little strange. The girls (all 4 of them) got up and went to church, and I stayed home. I think it's the first Sunday service I've missed in maybe years that I wasn't just too plain sick to go. Instead, I worshipped with my guitar and some mid-90s Vineyard music (like "Light the Fire Again" -
Even though I worshipped on my own, I miss my friends and flock at Holy Cross!

I have nearly come to tears several times today: listening to a description of the circumstances of the writing of our national anthem (Story of the Star Spangled Banner:, praying for our daughters, whom we left at Dawn's parents' in Macon for a few days... It shows me my heart is soft, and that my perceived and dreaded "hardness of heart" probably isn't that at all, but is likely a defense of my mind to protect me from feeling overwhelmed. Ministry is rewarding, yes, and I believe it is my calling. And it also takes a toll, and is a lot to carry that I can rarely set aside as I could with a "secular" job. I'm on call all the time, as are all clergy. And I think about and pray for our church all the time. Likely, I still will during this time away, though I hope I will be able to press close into the Lord and receive rest for my soul and get vision and guidance for the next season of life and ministry.

Lord, you have promised that we will seek you and find you when we seek you with our whole heart. May my heart fully turn towards you over this time, and may your whispers ring loudly in my ears. Amen.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sabbatical Begins - Kenya, Here We Come!!

This afternoon I walked out of my office at church with a box of goodies I wanted to take home, and stepped into a 3-month sabbatical.  Yes, after 12 years of pastoral ministry, and 7 years at Holy Cross, I get 3 months to step away from the normal daily duties for a season of making-up-for-lost-time with my family, refreshment, re-creation, study, and seeking God like I haven't been able to in SO long!

My general plans are to spend time with my wife and daughters, to go on a missions trip to Kenya with Dawn in August, and to study.  More on those later.  For now, I'm so grateful for this gift.  Ministry is draining, and most pastors burn out and don't finish well (if at all - a surprising percentage of pastors either quit the ministry or disqualify themselves because they don't get refreshed and lose their way from Jesus).  I want to be able to take some time now so that I can come back strong this Fall.

Lord, you rested on the 7th day.  You have commanded us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.  You even directed your people to refrain from planting the land in the 7th year.  Rest is supposed to be part of our rhythm.  Help me rest, Lord.  Not by abstaining from being productive, or by becoming lazy, but by again drawing near to You, the Author of Life.  May this be a time of laying aside the busy-ness of Martha to sit at your feet like Mary - which you called the better of the two.  Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity.  Praise be yours. Amen.