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About 5 or 6 years ago, we switched up how we took our vacations.  While we’ve always taken most of our vacations in the summer, in the past we’d take a week here at the end of June and go visit this place, and then a week later in July to go over there, and then maybe a week shortly before school started in the fall. What I started to notice was that by the end of the summer I was usually more exhausted than when it began. (At first I thought maybe it was just getting old…which I am.) But after one summer where I was totally spent after vacations that seemed to include very little “vacating” I heard someone talking  about clustering their vacations.  What they said was that in certain types of jobs…pastor being one of them, often it takes 4-5 days for your brain to disengage from work.  (you’re sitting on the beach with your family…they are swimming & laughing, you’re thinking about last week’s offering, if you have enough leaders for the fall, etc., and by the time you actually do disengage, a couple more days and you are back at it.

So Liz & I started trying to generally to take 3 to 4 weeks at a time, generally in July. It has been a really great practice for us and has allowed us to fully step out of our work lives and simply focus on family stuff. It has worked out well for us.

One of the things that helps in being able to do that is having a great group of leaders who are able to step in, keep things running smoothly, speak well on Sundays, and basically ensure that we won’t be missed! Last summer as we were preparing for a 6 week sabbatic, I went overboard in making sure every last detail was taken care of and every stop outlined.  And the team here did a great job!  This summer, about a day or two before it was time to come back to work, I realized I didn’t do any of that type of prep this year. And still, things went great!

Thanks to all of you who stepped in while we were gone to keep things running so well!

Since last year’s vacation involved us being out of the country for 6 weeks, this year we focused more on seeing family.  Especially with Méabh’s arrival, there were a number of family members who hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her yet.

Elizabeth & I ( & Méabh of course) took 8 days to go away by ourselves which was a great time, and the rest of the time we spent with her family (in Long Island) and my family (in Western NY).  With Liz’s family there was a constant steam of aunts & cousins dropping by to meet Méabh, catch up with us and visit for a bit.  With my family there was a big party on Saturday, with a bunch of family & friends of my parents.

[side note: my parents are now friends with my junior high/high school principal and his wife, and they came to the party.  When I was in 7th grade I got paddled by this guy for punching another kid…(he got paddled too…& worse in fact).  I know it is 30 years later, but it is still pretty strange to have a conversation with a person and a large part of the time you are thinking about the fact that this guy paddled you.]

Highlight of the Trips: Clearly getting to see everyone, including my 3 nieces from Erie, PA, as well as an aunt & uncle who drove 6 hours from Columbus. OH, to be at the party for Méabh was great…

Beyond that, I started biking again and that has been great.  In Long Island I did almost get hit when some guy rolled through a stop sign, but otherwise, I’ve been getting out for about an hour a day & it’s been fun.  One of the best experiences was discovering the Rails to Trails paths near my parents.  I even learned there was a ghost town near where I grew up!

Low-light of the Trips: That would easily be getting to meet a new person while driving to my parent house. I was introduced to a police officer wanted to spend some time discussing my driving with me.  I’d made it 15 years without one of those conversations.  Hoping this was my last.

Besides that, we had a great time, we’re excited to be back and looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday!


About author / bob

I am a church planter living on Dublin's Northside. I also serve as Director of Marketing for Communitas International. I write about various topics that happen to be going through my brain.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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