Okay - where did the last week go, I must have blinked because it seemed to just fly by! We leave for vacation tomorrow and it feels like everything is in order for me to be gone from church for ten days. The assistant to the bishop is preaching next Sunday, there is an assistant lector, someone doing the children's sermon, bulletin is ready, and everything seems to be in its place. Of course, what isn't will be tended to by those who are here. Since I'm the only pastor right now and this congregation is used to two there is a bit of angst. But, I'm feeling great!! I have one more meeting in about fifteen minutes with one of the confirmants and then I will head home to have dinner, pack, get a good nights sleep and head to my sister's in the morning where we'll leave our car and she'll take us to the airport. What a gift a vacation is!! My husband has been scanning tour books for best drives in the northeast, best leaf colors on the internet, and getting his camera equipment ready. I'm taking my laptop and trying to decide which books I want to take with me for my reading pleasure! No dress up clothes - just casual, we'll slip into some church unnoticed next Sunday. We're looking forward to just spending some relaxing time together exploring God's beautiful creation. We love to do this, and used to do it often before I returned to parish ministry. It will be nurturing to our soul's since we are both pretty connected to our spirituality through nature. I have to admit I have those "motherly/grandmotherly" feelings of leaving behind my parish for the first time. Remember when you left the kids for the first time in someone else's care? How funny it is that we get so protective, not only of our children, but of our congregations! At least I feel some of that - I wonder if other ministers feel the same way? It's not about controlling them, I don't think. It's more that I want them to do well while I'm away, and I want things to run smoothly for them. I'm also not a worrier - and I know when I leave here after my meeting I will be able to leave it behind and let go of whatever happens because it's not up to me right now. I'm taking my time away, I have someone in place in case of emergency, and I plan to enjoy myself and not think about work! I've even got the bulletin ready for Oct. 7th so I don't need to worry about that!! Isn't life grand?!!