As we approach the end of July- our sabbatical month of June is becoming more and more of a distant memory. In some ways as we returned our feet hit the ground running and we have just briefly come up for air. My to do list of catch up was growing. Yet on the other side of the coin, I came home feeling sooo refreshed. The time-away was long enough we were really able to relax, rejuvenate and grow. I am a list maker, so I of course, started making a list at the end of our time away of the lessons, the things God showed me both big and small. We listed the highlights and the things we were thankful for. There were too many to list really. But we tried anyway. I narrowed a few down, the highlights of the highlights. (In no particular order or importance)
I have always been a reader but have a renewed goal to have regular books lined up in my Kindle. The categories of books I like. Biographies, Character Building, Business Related. I know there are weeks and seasons when reading doesn’t happen very often, but it’s not a race to finish a book, so its ok to be a slow reader. My favorite book I read was the biography “Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and Overcoming Love” by Kathrine and Jay Wolf. The Wolf’s story is incredible. Here is a quote from the end that sums it up well. “I have learned to do many things well–to wait well, suffer well, cope well, persevere well, and even to lose well. Our culture tells us to succeed, be beautiful, avoid pain, and be happy. What if everything important in our lives is actually the opposite?” I filled up several pages of notes in my journal while I read. Biographies are an inspiring testimony to God’s work in others lives and story. In biographies, my story doesn’t have to be the same as their story. But I am inspired that God will do the same work in my life and story as I trust in Him. I highly recommend reading Hope Heals!
Dutch Bros. Coffee:
We like coffee (and Dutch Bros. smoothies) and we enjoyed being close to a Dutch Bros Coffee while on sabbatical. I am thinking it might be a good thing that there is NOT a Dutch Bros Coffee too close to my home here, as it will help with my budget, caffeine in take and sugar and calories consumed. 🙂 If you are not familiar with Dutch Bros., they are a growing coffee place that is known for their friendly service and fun atmosphere. I decided that I really liked visiting Dutch Bros. because I liked their friendly greeting/service. Their creative lids (they always have sayings on them). Their color straws. (I like drinking my coffee both hot and cold with a straw). I liked taking selfies with our Dutch Bros. as it was soo great to go with my family, parents, friends. I realized that I am easily amused. It’s sometimes the little treats that are nicest.
I am in Bible Study Fellowship from September through May I have a study that comes with a daily study schedule. I really enjoy that. I like routine. I like daily. In the summertime, I enjoy choosing a study that might move at a slower pace if need be. That has been my Psalm Study that I began on sabbatical. I have been reading through the Psalm with a commentary book called Psalms by the Day. The books breaks down the Psalms, but what I have enjoyed is reading the Psalms over two or may days if I want. Or taking some days to list out God’s attributes that are listed in the Psalm I studied and read through the day before- and even flipping to a Psalm out of order. (What?? I know!!) Psalm 4 has been my favorite so far. Verse 3 in particular, to grasp that the Lord looks after His own. I have seen this theme over and over in many of the Psalms and it has brought encouragement and security. I have also read through Proverbs, I am currently on my second read through. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so you can read a chapter a day.
The Oregon coast has several old lighthouses. We could see one from our little house we rented. I enjoyed checking each night once it got dark to see if the clouds were clear enough to see the light beaming through. I did some reflecting on how those lighthouse and light would of been a help to the sailors on those ships in the dark of night. As it would shine in the darkness and give a glimpse and outline of the rocks in the shallow water. We took a tour of the lighthouse and learned about the history of how the Lighthouse Keeper and his family took special care to make sure the light never went out. It struck me, that as a Pastor’s family, we too are like the Lighthouse Keepers family. We help to keep a spiritual light lit in our church, in the surrounding neighborhood and even into world. We were even doing a little bit of that “light keeping” as we were away that month to spend some extra time seeking the Lord through His Word and prayer. Not just pastors but all believers are called to be a light, Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good words and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”.
A few other findings to close. I found the Oregon Coast a bit chilly. It was very green. Enjoyed the various colors of hydrangea flowers. Really liked falling asleep and waking up listening to the waves of the ocean and I could watch Sea Lions for hours.