A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to My Most Recent Blog Post…

First, please notice that I specifically did not say “my last” blog post. I have not quit, abandoned, given up, or otherwise stopped blogging. I did take a rabbit trail of sorts, but all with good intentions .

It was like this. As I was minding my own business, writing a post, laying out my ideas for my Word of the Year (WOTY), which at this point has got to be “Procrastination,” whatever else I thought my WOTY might have been. As I was working that out, and considering my future plans, I had a moment of clarity that what I most needed to do was to prepare for my upcoming retirement in some very specific ways. Immediate ways.

Photo by Donna Vaux

That is right, I am retiring again. I set the date for my upcoming retirement back in September. I was pretty sure that I needed to ease into it, sneak up on it and prepare for the drastic changes that retirement would bring.  I had fought retirement the first time around, taking a whole six weeks off before returning to work part time. But this time, retirement will be more conclusive. Do not think I have not taken a lot of good natured (?) teasing about the way I was doing retirement to begin with, but I just was not ready to come to a full stop.

While this retirement may not constitute a full on stop, my plan is to do fill in preaching, Sunday mornings only, but not taking a church, both to make room for other activities in my life, but also to make room for someone coming up, eager to continue the work.

All of that is beside the point of why I have not been writing. There are two reasons really. First, I have a commitment to my good friend and writing partner to finish our book, to do what we both have to do to get to a full first draft. So in the two rooms where I am inclined to do any kind of writing, I have a picture with my main character and an admonition that says “Book before blog!”   So, if I have not been finding time for the book, no blogging.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-vintage-typewriter-3601081/

There is another component. I could write a blog post and well, post it on my blog and some folks would see it, especially those who regularly follow my blog when there is something regular to follow. But part of the fun of blogging is the mutual supportive community that one finds in a link party. That means that a writer will read and comment on the posts of other bloggers, with the understanding that they will do the same. It is a courtesy, and I would even say it is an ethical responsibility. And it is more fun and community building. So, not having enough time to do that, I have been largely silent.

The third reason I have not posted anything in a long time is the reality that I cannot seem to accomplish as much as I think I used to, given the same time frame. And the preparation I discovered that I need is to prepare the space that has been my home office, into something more like the creative space of a retiree, without it looking like a pastor’s office. And, much to my surprise, and here was the crux of that moment of clarity, I should not wait to start it until I was retired to start. That meant starting in January, combing, but not culling, through my books and papers, giving away books that others might be able to use and gritting my teeth and throwing away papers from seminary that no other eyes would read. All that hard work, right in the circular file. That kind of discernment has taken all the resolve I could muster.

It took about two months to get one bookshelf totally cleared. I have made decisions about what books to keep and have finally managed to totally empty two desk drawers and two drawers of a four drawer filing cabinet, but it is slow and emotional work. Worthwhile work, I hope, but I have thrown myself into the task, and along with that, the work has occupied time that is usually dedicated to writing, and blogging. And, truth be told, I have also been baking bread like there is no tomorrow, and bread making also takes up time and space.

I give away books, and give away bread, and hope that none of my friends duck down under their windows when they see me coming, heavy laden with bags of books, or cradling a loaf of bread in my arms like a newborn baby. O shucks, truth be told I probably have as many pictures of my bread as any new mom has pictures of their babies.

Throw into all those reasons (excuses) the fact that two busy pastors’ seasons have come and gone (Christmas and Easter). I try to be polite when people say that, “Oh, this is your busy time of year!” Because how to explain that Christmas has four weeks of Advent connected to it and Easter has five weeks of Lent connected to it, when they were just being polite anyway?

Well, there you have it, the unvarnished truth about my absence, reticence, hesitation, procrastination and distraction. Thankfully, it was not writer’s block, just a determination to do the right thing and not write.  I hope that some of you have missed me. I certainly have missed reading my favorite bloggers and being an active part of the community. I write this and post it in the hopes that for me, it represents a return to some type of normalcy, as I ease into my new life. Nine Sundays, services and sermons, and other activities to go. Eight….Seven…,

Not holding back the tide,

Michele

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

24 thoughts on “A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to My Most Recent Blog Post…

    1. Anne, thank you. I will miss the congregation that I am serving, they have made me feel at home, and let me be myself. But it is time. How is John doing? Hoping to get some edits done on the book, we are not done yet, but we give each other assignments and mine is partly done. hoping to complete a section before Wednesday. Blessings to you and yours, Thanks for taking the time. Michele

      Like

      1. John started chemotherapy Monday for a disease that is not cancer but is treated like it. Daughter Kate is coming Monday for her son’s college graduation. I think she will be helping him move. Nate opted out of the graduation ceremony and needs to find a place to live. I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control. We are going to have some good times being together.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sounds like a rich opportunity for family time, if stressful. hoping and praying that the chemo helps ease his symptoms. Roger had a non-chemo treatment for his cancer. he got immunotherapy, which almost killed him, imo, but it also but a screeching halt to the cancer. He has been in remission for six years.

        Like

      3. That’s marvelous that Roger has been in remission for six years. John had cancer eight years ago. He had radiation then and no recurrence since. At almost the same time I had surgery for cancer, and I’ve been free ever since. We never miss our annual checkups.

        Like

  1. Hi Michele – nice to see you back again and you’ve certainly had good reasons to be off the blogging grid for a while. Sometimes other things need to take priority and then you can come back with a sense of enjoyment, rather than trying to juggle too many balls. Congrats on your decision to re-retire, I wrote a couple of weeks ago about returning to the working world – just one day a week to add some variety into my life. It’s very hard on the brain cells after 3 years of doing things on my own terms, but will be a nice way to finish my working life after the horrible ending of my last job. I like the idea of leaving graciously and gracefully (rather than staggering out like a bombing survivor!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne, good to be seen. Thank you for taking t he time to read and comment. I do not think it is true for everyone, but I certainly find time to spend goes faster, does not stretch as far and I am trying to stop packing it in, as one overfills a dinner plate, or a dessert plate. Congratulations on going back to the working world, one day a week. That would maybe be my goall in retirement. I hope to have some preaching/teaching opportunities, but some Sundays only, not every week. Gracious and graceful sounds good. Blessings, Michele

      Like

  2. Michele, I have missed your blog posts and I completely understand your reasons for not writing. I stopped blogging for no good reason other than I just couldn’t make myself write again once I stopped the discipline of publishing twice a week. Maybe one of these days…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie, so good to hear from you and see your face. Ecclesiastes 3 is right, there is a time for everything. It is such an individual choice, but I know that for me, publishing twice a week would get exhausting very quickly. I started out thinking I could do that, then morphed into very irregular. At this point, I do not plan on stopping, but there are some short articles I would like to research and write about and they really would require good research. Different from the memoir. Also, if I am not preaching every week, some of my posts may be more like mini-sermons, but for now at least I plan to stick with mostly memoir, and the book! Have. To. Finish. the Book.!! God willing. Blessings, Michele

      Like

      1. Thank you 🙂
        I work on refugee rights from a theoretical lens. More specifically, I ask what the conditions are for a meaningful experience of human rights. I argue that legal status is necessary, but not sufficient: social belonging is also necessary for a meaningful experience of human rights. Not sure if you’ve heard of Hannah Arendt, but my work grows out of hers!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds heady, deep, important and interesting. Her name is vaguely familiar. Her book On the Human Condition sounds interesting. If I were going to try reading one of her books, what would you recommend?

        Like

  3. hi ! I did notice that your were not posting. And of course you had good reasons. Remind me what is the book you are writing. I also write ( you may remember) and the process is slow ( the editing part ) as I am taking advantage of my oldest son quality – he is editing stories for the Athletics ( sport related) but anyway I am accepting the fact that sometimes we cannot dictate exactly how things should be . The let go is important. I am not writing for a living but more as a calling- because after walking the Camino in France in 2019 I just had to write the story. When the book will be published ( for sure it is going in 2022…probably not later than September but before if possible) I will post on my blog FUNandLIFE.2. This is a self-published book with many photos ( as photography is also a passion for me). Getting ready for retirement is exciting and I wish you good luck. 🙂 I hope I understood well your post . English being my second language …. my book will be in English and later I shall translate it in French . So my work is not done even after 3 years !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am going to come back and write more and answer your questions. Thank you for sharing your experience. The book is a Christmas story, that is all that we are revealing at this point. I think we are 3/4 +/- to a first full draft, but life interrupts us both. Hoping to push through over the next few weeks. Talk soon. Blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Michelle,

    I did miss you. You have a unique blogging voice with experiences that few of us share.
    So I both value and missed it.

    Also – I hope your friends ducking from free loaves of homemade bread is pure hyperbole because if real, these folks need therapy. I mean we’re talking fresh homemade bread. . .
    Normal people would be begging to be on your delivery route.
    I know I would welcome you as often as I could induce a visit.

    Then about retirement – I need to get serious about planning my own.
    Sigh. I really am addicted to that paycheck.
    Our current Government is destroying our savings.
    Social Security is a nightmare I dread facing.

    Blaaa – blaaa – blaaa.

    I’ll get around to it some day, just not today.

    Blessings and so good to “read your voice” again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, yes, hyperbole for sure. I have also been making bread for Communion (once a month generally) and invited a young man to make bread for this past month. One of my folks I never expected to think anything about it asked if the next pastor would make bread, “you have spoiled us with homemade bread for communion.” she said. I did thank her for the compliment, and told her who to blame, someone who might have suggested I do that. I bit my tongue and moved on before I could climb on my soapbox. “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord” the Psalmist said, not, “come here and go crunch, crunch..” argh! I don’t think croutons, or stuffing bread cubes shoi;d ever fill that role. Forgive me. Rant over.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Croutons . . . ? I have no experience with them in communion. That would be strange to an extreme, but leavened bread is also strange to me in this setting. For real homemade bread, almost any allowances will be made and I’ll bet you indeed have spoiled this flock and the next preacher is in trouble already. 😉

        Like

  5. I may exaggerate a bit, however, i know of churches that have used bread cubes, stale bread, previously frozen and thawed, you know bread my friend, when you start slicing and cubing it, it dries out fast. No one ever told them it should be otherwise, that communion bread should be fresh, and have aroma and taste. It just Possibly my knee jerk reaction to growing up in a church that gave me a great appreciation for the sacrament and liturgy, but the hosts were like Styrofoam. That is all I will say about that.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: