Dear Ones,

Midsummer greetings to you all! I am so grateful to be enjoying a few weeks in Brewster, MA on Cape Cod, on the little property my sister and I are preserving for the enjoyment of the fourth generation of our paternal grandparents’ family. It takes a lot to keep the project within the financial capacity of a village librarian and a UU minister. We have renters to prepare for and care for and a third of an acre of buildings, fence line, plantings and gardens to monitor and maintain. A “vacation” here entails a significant portion of work that we might hire out had we more money. I always come home with a case of poison ivy, testimony to my struggle with uncivilized invaders in the wilder corners of the property. I enjoy the physical work entailed in the yard work and gardening, truth be told. The reward comes in the form of bouquets like this, a pretty good tan and a stronger, more flexible body.

This year cousins from afar convened to introduce their newborns to our extended family. Because ministry is all about weekends and holidays and is, in soulful practice, quite a bit more than a full-time job, I don’t have as much opportunity to gather with family as some. It was a delight to meet cousins Chloe and Tom’s baby Grant, Ben and Jen’s Hanoi-born little May, to hang out with Kristy and Abe (awaiting their fourth: a third boy) and to bring a board-book signed in-person by Tomie dePaola to a seaside baby shower.

Preparing for the coming year is a big job. It’s taken a few years to figure out how to balance the research, reading, contemplation, and planning with the exercise, relaxation, socializing and spiritual renewal of vacation. I practice during this time the kind of balance I struggle to achieve during the congregational year. I do a little bit of study activity every day. I read novels (fiction and poetry is the protoplasm of ministry): The Golem and the Jinni, The Kite Runner, The Round House, All the Light We Cannot See, The Invention of Wings, Guests on Earth, All God’s Dangers: the Life of Nate Shaw, to name a few. I listen to TED talks, On Being segments and Moyers and Company shows related to 2014-15 topics and issues. I read the Writer’s Almanacs, Guengerich’s Common Meditations for All Souls, Martin Marty Center Sightings and Christian Century articles I collected and never got to during our busy past year together. I read some new ministry books like Richie’s Children of the Same God, watch videos and read articles that the UUA, our Region/ District and my colleagues share. I am also preparing three past sermons a day for posting on our website (ten done, 50+ to go!).

Thank you again for this time you afford me. I make the most of it. See you soon!  Love,