Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sabbatical Journal, Day Ten


            It is very refreshing to wake up to fall-like temperatures in the month of August.  It has been very pleasant being here since we arrived but this week has been even cooler than last week.  We woke up this morning with the thermometer showing 56 degrees.  Last week the morning temperatures were in the low 60s with daytime it reaching in the mid-70s but this week each day begins in the 50s and may reach 70 by the time the sun goes down.  Yesterday it was 64 degrees as the sun set and we expected it to be in the 50s this morning since that was the evening temperature. 
            Most people who know me know that I am not a hot weather person.  I prefer cooler temperatures over hotter ones, most likely because as I grew up in the Beaumont, Texas area and the weather was usually hot and humid there I always longed for cooler weather to come.  So, when I can be in a place that has cool weather I enjoy being there.
            Since we had a busy day yesterday doing chores and driving to Digby, which is about 25 miles from where we are staying, we plan to stay mostly around our cottage today.  I am reading more here than I get the opportunity to do when I am in Weimar.  So far, I have read two books—A Separate Peace by John Knowles (a book the owner of our cottage has on one of her shelves) and The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills (which is a biography of Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird).  I brought that one from home.  It was just recently published and is a very good read about the life of Harper Lee.  I am currently reading Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.  I most likely will be using examples from these books in my sermons in the future. 
            I am also doing sermon planning for the next few months during some of my time here.  I have planned most of them for the fall and may continue to plan for 2015 as I have time.  I try to plan three months ahead so that I am always prepared for preaching as it happens and do not have to try to decide weekly what I will preach for that week.  Some pastors do what I call “Saturday Night Specials” where they are up late on Saturday nights trying to decide what they want to preach on the next morning.  I do not like doing things that way.  I like to read the text on Monday and let it live inside me throughout the week, discussing the texts for the next Sunday with our Bible study group and then let the text speak to me during the week in connection to what is going on in the world around us. 
            So, this day promises to be a little quieter and less active, a Sabbath for the soul as well as the body, not straying too far away but allowing the Spirit to speak to me in ways that I may not normally take the time to comprehend.  Having time away is a gift, which I truly appreciate.  It renews our spirit and recharges my emotional batteries and gives me a new perspective on ministry, life, and the task we share as coworkers together for Christ. 
            “All who are with me send greetings to you.  Greet those who love us in the faith.  Grace be with all of you.” (Titus 3:15)

             It was a very relaxing day, first around the cottage as I planned worship and sermons into the new year.  Then, after lunch we drove into Annapolis Royal and walked down the street looking around.  First, we had coffee from a small coffee shop and drank it while sitting in a park overlooking the Annapolis River.  The air was cool and it felt nice to sit at a table under a tree and enjoy our coffee while looking out at the river below.  Then, we walked down the street looking into the shops here and there and visiting with merchants and other shoppers. 
            Our dog Bo was a hit again.  Doris began by going into a small gift shop and I stood outside with Bo and put his face up to the window so that the merchant could see him looking in.  She invited us to come in and she wanted to see Bo and play with him.  That worked again at a bookstore down the way.  Bo was invited in and the woman behind the counter came out and petted him and talked about how cute he was. 
            Bo even was invited into a store where they sell homemade chocolates, despite there supposedly being a ban on animals in stores that sell food.   A man in the entrance to the store saw Bo and told us to come inside saying that the owner loved dogs and would want to see him.  Doris visited with the man and his wife a bit and found out that they had small dogs and were part of a small dog rescue group.  We told them about our dog and how we got him and they were interested in hearing our story. 
            It is amazing how one can find common ground and connections when you begin to talk to others about your life.  In the coffee shop, the young man who made our coffee told us that his parents and brothers had attended a wedding in Weimar, Texas and he knew where Weimar was.  He said he had lived in Houston for a short time and had come through our area on his way to the hill country.  We have met several people who have Texas connections.  That helps us feel more at home.  

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