We wrote a grant back in May, 3 pastors in the presbytery including my colleague + me, that would let us meet together and break bread together and read books together and go on adventures together. They gave us the grant(!?!), and this weekend we had our kick-off retreat. We spent 48 hours at a retreat center in the LA area connecting, talking about plans, setting dates for the first year. We prayed together, attempted Tai Chi together, ate together, stayed up late drinking scotch and talking about the church together, set dates and talked about what we hoped to do together. It was brilliant. It reminded me of the best times in college and graduate school. It was heady, and it was also spirit-filled. It also turned out, perhaps because it was adjacent to labor day weekend, we pretty much had the retreat center to ourselves. One group met during the day on Tuesday, but we were the only ones spending the night. There was no bustling. We just existed together. Okay, the meals felt a little funny as the four of us sat in a cavernous dining room eating the bountiful spread. I will say this for the conference center, they are using minimal water right now–we are in a drought–to the point that a lake has been drained and most–not all–water features are turned off, and they had abundant food for us, but not unreasonably so. They are careful and reasonable.
I am fascinated with this welcome sign. The English and Spanish are different. “Open Wide the Doors” in English, but “Open the door of your heart” in Spanish. Is it just colloquialisms, phrases that we know better, or is there a difference between the two?
In the meanwhile, I have an interview tomorrow to teach writing to management students at the local state college. The boy child is in 1st grade. If I’m going to use that Ph.D., this is probably the time to get that going.
And the kids have their big worship service this week. We had enough kids on Labor Day weekend, we could have had one last rehearsal, but it wasn’t planned–they stayed in church because it was a communion Sunday–and I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw everything off with just a nod during the Time with Children.
Speaking of which, we had church in our chapel and then had far more people than we anticipated for a holiday weekend. On the one hand it was crowded and chaotic–communion by intinction with only one side aisle and half again the >100 people we anticipated–and on the other hand people were energized as they were elbow to elbow with people they didn’t know well. I was expecting a lot of, “what were you thinking???” and instead the comments have been entirely positive about the whole thing. The singing was so great with people sitting next to one another (and I was in the midst of choir members which made me happy). Amazing! Yet in the sanctuary people won’t respect the ropes the worship committee has put up to move them closer together. ::sigh::
Soccer has started this week. Both kids have moved up a level. The girl now has 2 practices a week. The boy looks so little with mostly bigger kids (June 30 cut-ff; he’s April; it puts him in the lowest 8th this year. His buddy has an October birthday, so they’re not even in the same grouping this time around. With our 2-year groupings, they will be every other year.)
And so, there we have it, life, for this family, in this part of the world.