30 Aug Giving Thanks for a Restful Sabbatical
Thank you Good Shepherd
Thank you, Good Shepherd, for supporting me in taking a 6 week sabbatical this summer! I am so grateful for the time for rest and renewal. When planning this sabbatical, my Good Shepherd sabbatical team challenged me to find activities that really renewed my spirit. Growing up my family spent a lot of time in state parks because my dad worked for the Department of Natural Resources. When I enter a state park, I feel at home. During my time away, I knew I wanted to get away from it all and spend some time in the outdoors that feels like home to me.
My sabbatical trip was a solo-camping trip for 4 days up in the Porcupine Mountains State Park in Upper Michigan. My days were filled with hiking, reading and sitting along Lake Superior. I stayed in a yurt, which is a type of permanent tent that was available to rent. Besides the bugs, I enjoyed every quiet minute. After heading back home and spending time with my family, I also traveled out to California for a continuing education opportunity at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA (in the Los Angeles area). I took a week-long course called Executive Skills for Church Leaders which was taught by MBA professors. Each day we covered a different topic from marketing to finance to understanding corporate culture. There were 26 pastors and deacons taking the class together and our conversations about our varied ministry contexts and creating connections were supportive and fruitful.
Beyond my travels, I spent time around Madison reading, learning new mindfulness techniques and expanding my home-compost practices. I was able to spend time focusing on being a mom to my two boys- taking them to swim lessons and going to parks and splash pads.
One of the most important take-aways from my time away is that taking a sabbath gives us the opportunity to, “rewire our systems by restoring contact with parts of ourselves that can fully breathe, think, relax and self-nurture” (Domar, 18). By resting like this, it can bring renewal to all parts of our lives. I feel blessed to have spent this time intentionally resting because I feel renewed not only in my spirit and in my work life, but I also feel renewed in my relationships with others and in my commitment to the things that I value: taking care of the earth and spending time with people I love.
I hope we can continue our conversations around sabbath keeping and the need for rest and renewal for all of us as people of God. Thank you, Good Shepherd, I am grateful for my sabbatical!