My poor neglected blog. Occasionally throughout this maternity leave I've thought about blogging something, but really, any additional processing (additional to the handwritten journal I keep) just seemed like work. I let myself let go of this for a little while, but now it's coming back. Over at the RevGals Ask the Matriarchs today there was a question about sermon writing processes. My answer started to be a total self-indulgent long-winded thing, so I think it's best to just post it here and link to it over there.
Currently, I have general themes and sort of series worked out a few months in advance. I don't necessarily announce "series," but I know, as others have said, which texts I'm going to follow for a little while and what larger message I discern God is trying to give the congregation for that time in our life together. I do some reading and thinking and praying on Monday, just a little. Tuesday more of that, definitely listen to Sermon Brainwave and check out Working Preacher. I have set my own deadline for the bulletin info as Wednesday noon. For me that means I want to have a pretty darn good idea of the "focus & function" by that time so that I can pick my hymns and write the liturgy to match. I don't really do much else formally until I write. It just bounces around in my head, jotting notes here and there if something really jumps out at me. Friday is a complete day off. I used to tell myself that I'd work on it Friday evening after the kids went to bed, but I hated not having a real day off. Now I don't touch anything on Friday at all. Saturday is my writing day, but as someone else said I refuse to sacrifice my family on the altar of the perfect sermon (except, I guess I do with my mood, just not with our time on Saturdays). This means I do all my writing after the kids are in bed. I get started at around 9:00 p.m. and make sure I have at least a pretty decent outline by the time I go to bed 12-1 am-ish. I then wake up at about 4:00 a.m. and pound out the real words until everyone is up and moving and needing my help around 7:00 a.m. or 7:30. We're out the door by 8:30 and worship starts at 9:30. There's no minute like the last!
I figured I'd have to find a new rhythm with a nursling on hand this fall, but I've actually been blessed with a little one who is already sleeping through the night. It doesn't seem AS crucial to change it up because of that, but my grumpiness is not helpful, so I've got to do something. I go back to work in about 10 days, back in the pulpit on Aug. 22, with a funeral already booked for the Saturday right before that. I think I'm going to try to change my process right from the start. I think I need to do it right away or I'll always put it off. Also, I've sort of got a built in excuse for not the best sermons as I come back to work, so if it's hard for me to get in a rhythm I want to use the congregation's forgiveness while I've got it.
I think what I'll do is still do my reading and everything on Monday and Tuesday, but take as much of Wednesday as possible out of the office, and probably also away from home, to do as much writing as I possibly can. Even if I don't have it complete by the end of the day, if I have my outline done it will make Saturdays better. I'd like to get it really close on Wednesdays, though, so I'm not spending so much time on weekends working on it. Maybe not any weekend time.
I'm hoping to go back to work more disciplined than I have been. That's another piece of this whole reorganization. I end up giving a lot of my "off" hours to the church because I don't stay focused during my "on" hours. The time I spend writing my sermon at home is work time on top of the full work hours I give during the week. They get more from me than maybe they should sometimes, and I'm the only one who is going to stop that from happening. I want to stay on task better in the office, get a good discipline of doing at least SOME of my writing mid-week, and see if I can do a better job living into my calling as a wife and mother, too.
So, back to the baby. Pearl, as I'm calling her here, was born just 5 days after my last post, May 20. She started out the size of her older sister, about 8 1/2 pounds, but has stayed on the peanut side of baby sizes. She's a little one, but healthy and happy. She LOVES interacting with people even more than I remember my other two loving it. My husband calls her "Short Order" because she came into this world literally 4 minutes after I got into my L & D room. Would you believe we were a little slow getting to the hospital because I did a load of laundry after waking up in active labor? I didn't have any clean maternity clothes except work clothes and I thought it would be weird walking into the hospital at 2:00 a.m. in labor in my work clothes. So I did laundry. Awesome.
OK. Off I go. Maybe my new sermon process will mean a more active blog - - more than just sermon posting I mean. I have a story to blog around here somewhere. I wrote it down on the back of an envelope when it happened in the car. I just don't remember exactly what it was. LadyPrincess (now 5) has had a lot of death questions lately, so I think it was along those lines - death, heaven, the whole bit.
That picture at the top is from the blog of a pastor in the Church of Ireland. He's doing the 365 photo challenge in 2010. Ahhhh...maybe in 2011. Here's the link to the whole blog. The picture above is from January 8.