Last Day during My Sabbatical

As mentioned in my last post, I've been blessed to be able to take the summer off of paid work. Well, I had a lot of unpaid work to do, so it's not like I didn't keep busy. I did get to eat a few bonbons -- actually, ice cream and donuts more than bonbons. But I didn't blog as much as I had hoped. So be it.

Today, 9/25/11, was my last day before I go back to full-time work. It was a full day.

I went to Bible study at Green Street Friends Meeting. It was led by Walter Hjelt Sullivan. (It was thanks to Walter that Robin and I found a place to rent in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, close enough to walk to Green Street Meeting. He and his wife Traci live a block away, and he heard about the house where we moved. We knew them from when they were co-directors at Ben Lomond Quaker Center near Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Walter chose Ephesians 6:10-17, about the armor of God. It was offputting to some Friends, but I thought it was a great reminder that God gives us the strength and the tools -- spiritual weapons, even -- to meet challenges and, yes, even evil. "Stand firm," the text says; it sounds just like George Fox. I was reminded of something another parent told me this week at a school soccer game, when he was picking up plastic shopping bags blowing by: "Be an upstander, not a bystander!"

Then meeting for worship, where I was mulling over the armor of God, breastplate of righteousness, and so on in a contemporary context. Perhaps this: Put on the bicycle helmet of carbon footprint reduction, the bulletproof vest of faith, the organic cotton t-shirts and shorts of righteousness, and the sweatshop-free sneakers of peace. (I'm not sure what the sword of the Spirit would be.) This train of thought did not quite rise to the occasion of standing and delivering it as vocal ministry.

Afterwards, Robin & I had a nice chat with a fellow parent of an 8th grader at our sons' school. Then we headed home, where after lunch I helped Robin get to the SEPTA train to connect with Amtrak to a conference on fundraising for Quaker organizations (she tweeted this from the Amtrak train).

At home, Younger Son wanted to watch "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" on DVD (we don't have TV but we have a computer, and we only own a couple of DVDs, so...). Then we went outside to do yard work while Older Son did homework.

Here's what Younger Son found in the grass:

And here are the non-motorized, carbon-footprint-reducing tools we used on the lawn and edges:

And here is Younger Son, still smiling after working:

Scrambled eggs for dinner, followed by washing two nights' worth of dishes, a blog post, and hustling the boys to showers and to bed. A truly satisfying day to end a truly blessed time. I am grateful to my sons, my wife, our new and old friends, and the Spirit for allowing these many blessings to flow.


Last Weekday in My Sabbatical

I've had the blessing of being able to not work for three months during our move from San Francisco to Philadelphia so Robin could be executive secretary at Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) Section of the Americas.

That changes on Monday, 9/26/11, as I start a new job in Center City doing fund development for the Community Design Collaborative, a community design center that provides pro bono predevelopment design services to nonprofit organizations, offers unique volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raises awareness about the importance of design in community revitalization.

I am still hoping to post about the cross-country drive I took with our boys this summer. Meanwhile, I have been baking quite a bit, as well as making family dinners. Here is what I did today to mark the end of my free time.

Step 1 doesn't look too great on first glance:

But then, oh then, order appears from chaos:

Cookies in the oven, gonna watch 'em rise! Cookies in the oven, gonna watch 'em rise!
They turned out to be quite tasty, though quite soft. My suspicion is that the oven runs a little cooler than indicated. Robin thinks the extremely high humidity today is responsible.

In any event, I am truly blessed to have had this summer off from paid work. Thank you, God, from whom all blessings flow. Of course, I still had plenty of work to do, it just wasn't paid for with cash. And I certainly had the opportunity to touch "that which is eternal" at times in the process.