September 30, 2020

Sabbatical Journal 3: Some Goals

Sabbatical begins a week from tomorrow. Here are some of my goals. (Goals will vary from week to week depending on where I am. Some weeks- like my week at Wheaton- most of my time is scheduled.)

1. Prayer from Celebrating Common Prayer in the morning and the evening.
2. Extended Scripture reading with meditation and notes, probably on Matthew.
3. Reading on my reading list (Jesus books mostly.)
4. Daily Exercise
5. Discipline my eating regiment at breakfast and lunch.
6. Reading poetry each day: Dante, Charles Wright, Wendell Berry.
7. Go to local ball parks, watch games, take pictures
8. Write in my poetry and personal reflections journal.
9. Write letters to Denise.
10. Delete all my RSS feeds and cease reading blogs. Reduce blog posts to one per day on BHT and occasionally on IM.
11. Work on my book ideas every day.
12. Late afternoon and evening- do as little productive as possible. Goof off in nature with my camera.
13. Have no contact at all with work until August.
14. Worship with other Christians from time to time.
15. Spiritual direction conversations with friends/mentors who are available.
16. Visit coffee shops, Irish establishments, cheap eateries, parks, museums and used bookstores.
17. Spend quality time with family: Denise, Noel and Ryan, Clay, my two remaining relatives.
18. Meet some IM friends.
19. Practice silence.
20. Play my guitar again.


  1. Michael… blessings on the sabatical. We will miss hearing from you, but I’m praying that God will do a work of rest and re-creation in you.

    All the best.


  2. Great list. I just found “Boarhead’s Tavern” and read “the Whole Story”. Wow.

    A Sabbatical seems like a wonderful idea. When in Louisville, make sure you have your camera and guitar. Maybe you and I could have prayer time with those, some good coffee, find you a good used bookstore or two and support each other’s ministry frustrations via prayer with our sovereign God.

    In His Word,

  3. If you are speaking at Wheaton, pls post your schedule.

  4. Emily: I am attending a conference at Wheaton in June.

  5. Michael: My last sabbatical changed my life. I will be praying that your current changes become satisfying and life-giving during this sabbatical.

    Regards #5: how many members of your regiment are helping you eat? (Sorry, I could have resisted, but I would have pulled something).

  6. Michael — Can i suggest on your poetry pile: William Stafford, Czeslaw Milosz, Jaroslav Seifert?

    Oh, and Maxine Kumin. Whatever you read, i’ll be praying for you!

  7. Enjoy your sabbatical! Mine comes with each summer when the homeschooling books are shelved and I have time to read poetry, write poetry, read books on contemplative prayer and even practice it once in a while, love on my kids but also let them alone to climb trees, bike around town with friends, and sleep in the treehouse every night.

    And spend a couple of hours writing each day, something I never get to do during the school year with co-op classes and online courses to teach, plus my own four kids to home school.

    And lots of time praying the Divine Hours and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer….

    And practice silence as much as a mom of four can do.

    Blessings to you on your sabbatical!


  8. Have fun. 🙂

    Just to add to your pile of poetry books: Scott Cairns’s “Compass of Affection” is *essential* reading. Funny, moving, spiritually profound – great stuff.

  9. First, I wish you a restorative, peaceful sabbatical.

    Second, when will you be back? 🙂