Sabbatical!

May 28, 2019 at 6:07 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

On May 29 at 2pm, I begin sabbatical. It is the first of my career and something I have been waiting for and looking forward to for a long time. I need it. I deserve it. I have earned it. I will be gone 9 weeks total, 6 weeks of those sabbatical, 2 of them continuing education and 1 vacation. 

The point of sabbatical is to experience renewal. There are a variety of ways that people approach and complete their sabbatical. My approach was shaped most by the great need I have, which is rest and renewal. It was also shaped by not being awarded a sabbatical grant that I sought out. My hope is to deepen my relationship with Jesus and my family who have sacrificed so much for my ministry. Trying to turn a church around is not easy and it certainly has taken its toll on me. Its time to do something selfish for a season and take care of me and get healthier so that I can also move forward in greater health.

For my sabbatical, I will be traveling some, spending a week in Colorado with my family and 4 days in Kentucky with my wife Jessica. The rest of the time will be at home in the area, with maybe some day or overnight trips. In addition to time to rest and reflect, I intend to do a significant amount of reading and will work on projects that give me life. Some projects will be on my property while others will be on the house, cars or a variety of other projects. The most important part will be the change of pace for a season. 

During this time I will not be working and will do all I can to not think about work. My work email will be off and I am turning my cell phone over to my wife so that I do not even so much as see a text message. I will not be in the office or checking office voicemails. I will only be checking my personal email once a week. I will also not be checking social media or social media messages, though I may post from a third party app from time to time. I am teaching one class, so I will check that email more often and work on that a little. I will have a second phone with a private email that I can be reached by my office in an exceptionally significant emergency. I will also be using this email and phone to keep up with my family and friends. We will be avoiding town except to be with friends and if the kids have something. We just know that we will bump into someone and they will not be able to not talk about work. This no contact time will not be easy, but it is important.

The concept of sabbatical is so important given the work and sacrifice of a pastor. The constant demands, the criticism, competing consumeristic interests and the vicarious trauma takes a toll. I am so thankful that I get to do this. 

I am looking forward to how the Holy Spirit ministers to me in this very important season. 

The 50 States

March 28, 2019 at 6:45 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

One of the items on my bucket list is to visit all 50 states in my adult life time. So far I have completed 41 of the 50 States in the United States (AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY).

The states that remain are: Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Today while driving through several states on our way home from Spring Break, my wife jessica asked me about my favorite and least favorite states. I could not name a favorite, so I came with three favorites in no particular order: Colorado, Oregon, California.

Now as for the three states I like the least, that was much easier. They are in order of least favorite first: Ohio, Texas, Kansas.

So there you have it.

Buffet Life

November 19, 2018 at 11:25 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

One of my friends and colleagues in Colorado once said, “Some people have a full plate, Marcus has a buffet.” It was one of the truest statements ever. As the cliche goes, ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person.’ The reality is that I love the many things that I get to do and be a part of. As I think about my buffet, I could not wish for much of a better life. When people ask how I am doing, I often say, ‘other than wanting a skinnier waist line and a fatter bank account, I could not complain.’ While my life is not perfect, conflict free or without mistake, I truly am deeply blessed to get to live the life I get to live. As I think about my ‘buffet’ and the hats I get to wear, the following list comes to mind:

  • Follower of Jesus
  • Father
  • Husband
  • Pastor
  • Professor
  • Speaker
  • Social Scientist
  • Author
  • Consultant
  • Theologian
  • Community Volunteer

The titles would never matter to me and I never want to be defined by my work. That said, I am so blessed to be able to serve the greater good in so many ways. I wouldn’t trade my buffet for the world.

Updated Bucket List

August 14, 2018 at 7:17 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

7/27/18

Updated Bucket List

I first published by bucket list in January of 2014 and as I continue to work on this list, I find it encouraging to review where I am from time to time. I also occasionally add some items to the list and have yet to give up on anything and remove it.

To Complete:

  • Take Micah & Abby to El Salvador to meet our Compassion Kids
  • See Syracuse play in NCAA Final Four
  • Take Micah to a Super Bowl

Partially Complete:

  • Visit all 50 states after graduating high school (AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY Complete-11 more to go)
  • Visit at least 40 of 195 Countries (25 Complete)
  • Go to NCAA Final Four (National Championship game complete)
  • Visit at least 5 of the 7 continents (North America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia/Oceana Complete)
  • Do mission work on at least 4 continents (North America, Asia and Africa Complete)
  • See a NFL game in every teams stadium (Broncos, Colts, Jets, Giants, Detroit Complete)
  • Visit every other Disney resort besides CA & FL (Aulani-HI, Vero Beach-FL, Hilton Head, SC)
  • Meet Peyton Manning (met him at his retirement event in Indy and he signed a jersey, but actually want to meet him)

Completed:

  • Take my family to Disney World
  • Take my family to Disneyland
  • See Peyton Manning Play Live
  • Go to the Super Bowl
  • Get doctorate
  • Visit Israel
  • Take extended family to Disney World
  • Go to Germany
  • Go to Africa
  • Go to Australia
  • Go on an African Safari

Updated Airline Ranking

July 27, 2018 at 1:53 am • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

I decided to update my airline ranking from last year given that I have been doing a lot of traveling the last year. I have had the privilege to travel to almost 40 states, 24 countries and 5 continents since graduating high school. In that time I have flown with many airlines. Some are still operating, others are not. Some were major airlines, others were not. Some were U.S. based airlines and others were not. Below are my rankings for airlines I have flown with that are still operating from best to worst.

1. Qatar
2. Southwest
3. Delta
4. Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon
5. American
6. Lufthansa
7. Turkish airlines
8. LATAM Air
9. Qantas
10. Virigin Australia
11. United
12. Kenya Air
13. KLM
14. US-Bangla Airlines
15. Frontier
16. Air Buddha
17. Allegiant
18. Jet Star
19. Biman Bangladesh Airline
20. El Al
665. China Eastern
666. Air Canada

Updated Bucket List

May 5, 2018 at 10:36 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

I first published by bucket list in January of 2014 and as I continue to work on this list, I find it encouraging to review where I am from time to time. I also occasionally add some items to the list and have yet to give up on anything and remove it. This summer I will get to mark some more things off the list which I am excited for.`

To Complete:

  • Go to Africa
  • Take Micah & Abby to El Salvador to meet our Compassion Kids
  • Go on an African Safari
  • Go to Australia
  • See Syracuse play in NCAA Final Four
  • Take Micah to a Super Bowl

Partially Complete:

  • Visit all 50 states after graduating high school (AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY Complete-11 more to go)
  • Visit at least 40 of 195 Countries (18 Complete)
  • Go to NCAA Final Four (National Championship game complete)
  • Visit at least 5 of the 7 continents (North America, Asia, Europe Complete)
  • Do mission work on at least 4 continents (North America & Asia Complete)
  • See a NFL game in every teams stadium (Broncos, Colts, Jets, Giants, Detroit Complete)
  • Visit every other Disney resort besides CA & FL (Aulani-HI, Vero Beach-FL, Hilton Head, SC)
  • Meet Peyton Manning (met him at his retirement event in Indy and he signed a jersey, but actually want to meet him)

Completed:

  • Take my family to Disney World
  • Take my family to Disneyland
  • See Peyton Manning Play Live
  • Go to the Super Bowl
  • Get doctorate
  • Visit Israel
  • Take extended family to Disney World
  • Go to Germany

Blessed and Excited

April 21, 2018 at 7:30 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

Life is never perfect, nor easy, but the truth is that I am richly blessed. Most days, my only real complaints, which are common and may never go away, are that I could use a skinnier waist and a fatter bank account, neither of which actually matter. I love my family, home and work. I get to make a difference in the lives of others and the community. I have great kids, great Border Collies and mentors and friends that I could never deserve. I am living the dream, a life abundant. I get to continue to learn, travel, stay home and find challenge, support and encouragement at every turn. Perspective is certainly powerful, but so is truth. I am thankful that I can say that I am blessed both by choice of perspective and by the reality and truth of the life I get to live.

The Focus

February 26, 2018 at 7:27 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

I had three knee procedures between February 2017 and December 2017, spending 12 weeks in a wheel chair. In 2017 I visited 6 countries as well. It was a whirlwind of a year and not without its challenges, especially when we added in a new truck engine! That said, it was a wonderful year and I am thankful to have the support and the resources I do. Now, as I recover from all of that and move into a new year, I am working on living into a new routine. The focus is better and more consistent self care and even more management of time for greater effectiveness and continued time with my family. We will see how it goes, it will be the end of April before I am fully able to implement it. I am thankful that I can continue to grow and challenge myself as I take my priorities seriously.

Updated Bucket List

October 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

I first published by bucket list in January of 2014 and as I continue to work on this list, I find it encouraging to review where I am from time to time.

To Complete:

  • Meet Peyton Manning
  • Go to Africa
  • Take Micah & Abby to El Salvador to meet our Compassion Kids
  • Go on an African Safari
  • Go to Australia
  • See Syracuse play in NCAA Final Four
  • Take Micah to a Super Bowl
  • Visit every other Disney resort besides CA & FL

Partially Complete:

  • Visit all 50 states after graduating high school (AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY Complete)
  • Go to NCAA Final Four (National Championship game complete)
  • Visit at least 5 of the 7 continents (North America, Asia, Europe Complete)
  • Do mission work on at least 4 continents (North America & Asia Complete)
  • See a NFL game in every teams stadium (Broncos, Colts, Jets, Giants, Detroit Complete)

Completed:

  • Take my family to Disney World
  • Take my family to Disneyland
  • See Peyton Manning Play Live
  • Go to the Super Bowl
  • Get doctorate
  • Visit Israel
  • Take extended family to Disney World
  • Go to Germany

Recovering

August 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

The recovery from knee surgery #2 continues. I am walking without a cane and on no pain meds other than ibuprofen. It gets a bit tired and then is either swollen or tight which can make it feel sore. Stairs greater than 6 steps are still very hard, but the therapist says I am way ahead of the game. I meet with the surgeon again the day after Labor Day for a final check and to schedule the third and final surgery. My hope is to do that right after Christmas and healing should be done before spring break so I can enjoy that. I hope to be back to a full new and improved normal by May of next year. Its been along journey but I do believe the right one and that it will be worth it.