Missing? Again?

As many of you know and realize that each year I take the lion’s share of June and July off from the JesseLeeProject. It has happened every year since I took the blog over, and I imagine that it will happen every year going forward.

But why, you may be asking….

Many reasons…

First, let’s talk June.

June is New England’s Annual Conference month for United Methodists. Annual conference is that time of year, when UMs from a particular region meet for worship and business over four or five days. For clergy and laity alike this is an incredibly hectic time of year. With the varying degrees of stresses that result from everything from trying to arrange to be out of town or out of work for a week to insuring that all your paperwork is complete with a board, committee, or district there is a great deal added to your plate. There is no free time in June.

On top of that, yours truly makes his life exponentially more difficult by directing a race during that conference to benefit both Clergy Health Awareness and Imagine No Malaria. This was our second year, and again it was a raging success raising close to $4,000 for the United Methodist African Anti Malaria efforts. In addition to being for a great cause, it was both a lot of work and a lot of fun. (See the great pic below from the race)

In addition to conference and race, this is also one of two or three times a year that I attend my classes on campus at either Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC or ALPS/Union College in Eastern Kentucky. As you can imagine, the homework, deadlines, and work to do lists are incredible during this time.

So to summarize; June is nuts.

But does it carry into July? The quick and dirty answer? No.

The month of July has become a Sabbath month for me. Although I do work my 8-5, and find myself behind the pulpit each Sunday, everything else shifts. I find that if I am not intentional in finding the time to ease the the to-do list during July, I hover dangerously close to burn out. During July, I reintroduce myself to my girls, run a whole heck of a lot, and pick up a book completely for fun. Sometimes I find myself spending a Sunday afternoon lounging at the beach with my wife and daughters, or spending a Saturday afternoon reconnecting with church family.

(Note: This year’s “Relaxation Escapades” have been pushed to a new level with a purchase of a new vehicle (see post entitled “When did this become my new normal” for a reminder of why one was needed). We did not purchase just any vehicle, but the king of R&R vehicles; a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Soft Top (pictured below). Nothing leads one to enjoy the nothing time more than taking the roof off and just driving aimlessly)

Ultimately, July is a Sabbath time for me. Although being a bivocational pastor means there is no such thing as sleeping late or days off, I am working on becoming more intentional about Sabbath moments. Finding time to escape and spiritually recharge is becoming a priority in my life; in so much as I desire to maintain balance and positive attitude. I have spent the last thirty days intentionally reconnecting with God, church, and my family, and hopefully I am fully recharged as August rolls in.

(I even roll over my running logs on August 1st, to symbolize the fresh start that it provides for me!)

With the desire to unplug and recharge known too many, several followers have suggested that I utilize WordPress’ ability to schedule posts so that readers and followers have no idea that I am taking the time off. Admittedly, I did consider doing just that; as I have plenty of material that could have snuck their way into June and July posts, but in the end, I chose not to. Sabbaths are intentional, and not something we should hide. As we find those Sabbath moments we need to encourage others to find them. As we do, we need to remind others that few things are more important or of higher priority.

All that adds up to a very quiet Scott over June and July.

This also means with the onset of August, I have a great deal of pent up emotion, commentary, and randomness just looking to explode out of me. On top of that, I have a great number of new challenges on the horizon…such as my election to chair of the New England Assembly of Licensed Local Pastors and Associate Members (a group focused on advocating for, encouraging fellowship within, and growing the bonds found in the shared challenges of the Bivocational model of ministry in the United Methodist Church), several large church functions coming on the immediate horizon (including hosting a 24 member Haitian children’s choir), some new adventures that I am not quite ready to share, and a daughter entering High School way too soon.

All that laid before me, I certainly will need the outlet that is the JesseLeeProject,…or perhaps another month of Sabbath….

On second thought,… I am pulling off the top, and going for a ride.

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