Well, several of you have asked me, "What are you up to lately?" More of you are probably asking yourselves, "Where's our Christmas card?!" Nobody's getting a Christmas card, sorry, but if you still want to know what I'm up to, keep reading.
Of course, first there's the family: Mowgli is back in NC where he belongs. He won't be home for Spring Break (going to Seattle, Vancouver and Yellowstone with friends) so it was hard to let him go. He's so happy there, though, so that helps immeasurably. Boo's doing great--school is stressful but show me a high school junior that isn't stressed out! She's still dancing for fun and enjoying the church youth group. And, of course, all the children at MBC love her!
C and I are still very happy in Austin. The church is full of loving, enthusiastic people and we love the town. He's leading the church in a couple of ways that could be game-changing for the future, long after we've left here. That's the hope, anyway!
I'm spinning even more plates than usual. I'll try to describe some of what I'm doing without boring you to death.
Of course, there's my counseling work. My schedule is now full, after a lull in the summer that scared me a bit. I'm actually referring people out now, trying to keep my schedule from becoming a tsunami that I can't manage. I work late two nights but I take off Fridays (my favorite day!)
You know that I've been working with Faithwalking for a couple of years now. Mission Houston has now contracted with me to to continue to teach Faithwalking retreats (including Missional Marriage) but to add curriculum development and project management to that. These are new skills for me and I'm very excited about supporting the mission of Mission Houston.
Another thing you already know about is the work JTH and I are doing with Reformed churches in Michigan and surrounding areas. In the first 5 months of 2010, we'll be in Michigan 3 times, in addition to Indianapolis and Chicago. It has been a wonderful adventure and an amazing opportunity to work with the same leaders for a couple of years, exploring and experimenting with personal and congregational transformation.
One developing piece is the ministry to strengthen marriages. I'm doing 5 Date Nights at St. David's Episcopal Church in downtown Austin. They have a record crowd and lots of enthusiasm. Also, there are several other Date Nights scheduled for other churches and one for South Austin in general. I've saved some money to hire someone for a bit of help with publicity and admin and that will open up more possibilities.
You can see that there is a lot of travel involved here and that is always fun and always hard. I'll be traveling 9 weeks out of the first 20 of the year and that feels overwhelming to me. On the other hand, every single opportunity is wonderful and I love my life. I've reminded myself to "stay here, stay now" which helps immeasurably and I've taken steps to take care of myself and Boo, especially. And I think every day about how incredibly blessed I am to have C in my life, who unfailingly encourages me and believes in me and makes it all possible, even when it makes his life so much more complicated. And, of course, most of all I'm deeply grateful to God, who called me to this work, equipped me and now sustains me. He has given me the desires of my heart. (Ps. 37:4)