David and I and the girls are going to Pensacola soon. (Young Man with Integrity will be here every day to look after the cat for us, bless his heart.) Oh, I'm so ready for a change of scenery. I guess it will be hot in Florida, but I look forward to some ocean breezes, at least. And maybe some evening walks on the beach. My friend, Seeker Executive, has a rental condo right there on Pensacola beach. Actually, it's her father's, and they are giving us a week there for free. Talk about GENEROUS! Thank you, Seeker Executive! (and I miss seeing you!)
My arm is hurting more yesterday and today than it has previously. Go figure. It just really aches, and when I rotate it there's a sharp pain still. Bummer.
Nevertheless, I'm busy, busy. The church I serve has no Christian Education at all during the summer, so I've come up with some extra projects for myself. In June I started the Evening Prayer (Taize style) service on Tuesday nights and that's been a very good thing. We have a good number of people, and of course I love that style of worship.
In July my project is a Letter Writing Table for social justice and community-building. This congregation gets together each and every Sunday in the fellowship hall after worship, so I'm going to set up a table, and make it very inviting, for people to just take five minutes to write a letter.
The table's decor is black and red. I brought a beautiful crystal lamp (one that I'm not using) from home, a beautiful red box for cards (birthday, get well, sympathy, etc), and I have a lovely holder for the pens and all the paper and envelopes. I have made, so far, four Topic Binders: Amnesty International, FISA and Constitutional issues, Environment, and Poverty. Inside the binders are information/background reading on the issues, sample paragraphs, or complete letters that they can just sign and send. I also have binders with addresses for federal, state and local government offices and officials. It's all there. Easy as pie. Just sit down, find a topic that trips your trigger, take five minutes to write or just sign a letter, address the envelope, place it in the Basket, and we'll put the postage on it and mail it for them from the church office.
Of course, I tried this at my previous church and it was a huge FLOP. Still, if only a few people, every now and then, take the time to write a letter on a cause they care about, or send a card to a friend, then it's a success.
My private practice in pastoral counseling and spiritual direction is going well. And, oh, I do so love it. It's very nourishing for me. With my new office set up at home now, I have two clients that come there--really nice! Plus, I'm hoping for a few people to sign up for the Women's Group I'm doing with a friend, and after that--more toward the holidays--I've been asked to do a Grief Group at another church in town. That, plus two speaking engagements, and I'm 'booked' for the Fall!
I am also working on a new thing for my clients who are interested in becoming more authentic. Authenticity begins with self-awareness, and self-awareness begins with deep reflective questioning. So I'm sort of putting all that together in a 'book' of questions. I have three or four clients right now whom I have given three questions to help them begin this sort of systematized process. I'm eager to get their feedback...
I'm really missing my friends, though. How to carve out time to just "be" with friends who really nourish my soul. I have a wonderful number of friends like that, but I don't see them enough. At breakfast this week with one friend, The Author, we decided to book a monthly breakfast together. That feels good. I need more of that, though.
Life gets so crowded so fast, doesn't it? David is bone tired, and I know how he feels. Summer is always his busiest time of the year at the university, plus he's been asked to chair an important new committee on Community Outreach, so that's got him hoppin', so to speak! He took a couple days off this week, but came home yesterday saying it made no difference--he was as tired as ever! Wish we were Europeans and had the whole month of August off from work! Wow, wouldn't that be restorative?