Hello there! Here we are approaching the end of May and what feels like the beginning of summer, even if the calendar doesn’t quite reflect that. The period between Memorial Day and Independence Day is one of my favorite stretches of the year. Once we hit the Fourth of July, I’m about ready for summer and its oppressive temperatures to pass, which is unfortunate considering where I live.
I’ve been working hard to attract some hummingbirds to our backyard this spring, but we haven’t appeared to lure any yet. Our house is near a park that celebrates a hummingbird festival every Labor Day at which wildlife workers capture and tag hummingbirds so they can track them on their journey south.So I was hoping to attract some that pass through here. Alas, not yet. Maybe later this summer. It would help if the rabbits would stop eating my butterfly bushes.
On the bright side, the flowers on our magnolia tree have begun to bloom and they are stunning.
The Wolf in Their Pockets was published almost three months ago now, which is crazy to think about. Podcast and radio interviews for the book have waned and I only have a stray one here or there these days compared to what was at one time five or six per week. I am grateful that I haven’t felt the “book blues” this time around.It seems like the book has been well-received, and I’ve been grateful to receive a lot of emails and other messages from people about how helpful the book has been for them, their churches, or their families.
Growing Our Family
Our daughter Maggie turned three this past April. It is really wild to think about how different the world is today compared to what it was like when we brought her home from the hospital in April 2020. It has been a joy to see her grow and develop, especially the last six months or so.
As I wrote last month around her birthday, she is a perfect mix of Susie and me in so many ways, but especially in her personality. She has a sort of tenacity reminiscent of mine and an incredibly tender heart that she certainly inherited from her mother.
We will be welcoming a second daughter later this year sometime around the end of September. We are very excited, and Maggie is excited to be a big sister—at least right now. We will see how excited she is once she has to compete for attention.
We haven’t landed on a name for our new baby girl yet, but we have a couple of ideas we like, even if Maggie insists that her name simply needs to be “Baby Sister.”
Stepping Out of Student Ministry
I have been serving in the student ministry of whatever local church I have attended since I was a high school student myself, which means I’ve been doing it for about 14 years. Some of that time was spent in a volunteer staff role at our current church, but most of that time has simply been as a lay leader meeting with students, teaching on Wednesday nights, and enduring a few too many lock-ins.
Last summer at our annual summer retreat I told the students that I’d be stepping down at the end of this school year, and that time has come. Tomorrow night is our end-of-year party and my last night serving in student ministry. It feels…weird.
I had the opportunity to teach one last time two Wednesdays ago. I just so happened to be assigned Matthew 6, the chapter that God used to draw me to himself when I was a junior in high school.
Just last Wednesday my wife and I attended the graduation of a few senior girls we love dearly. We watched those girls grow up from sixth graders all the way through walking across the graduation stage. We hugged their parents as we all shed some tears. It was a perfect capstone to my 14 years of student ministry service. Wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way.
Student ministry is incredibly important to me, and I am going to desperately miss it, I’m sure, even if it is going to be nice to have some time back throughout the week. I wouldn’t be surprised if I return to it at some point, but it’s time to take a break for now. With our second little girl due to arrive this fall, Susie will appreciate having me home on Wednesday nights to help with bedtime, and I’ll enjoy leaning into leading our community group and serving in our local church outside of the youth ministry.
Writing Plans Moving Forward
That brings us to the final portion of our little update here. I will be sharing more on this later, but I figured I’d go ahead and let you know now that I plan to take an extended, indefinite leave from this newsletter starting around Labor Day. I have been planning this extended, indefinite break since last Labor Day, believe it or not.
There are a lot of reasons I want and need to do this, and I don’t want to bore you with all of those because you probably don’t really care.The long and short of it is that I would like to disappear for a while, not pay attention to social media news and commentary, and work on some other writing projects I’d like to pursue that have nothing to do with any of this. I only have so much creative energy, and most of it is going to this newsletter, it’s hard for me to muster much to go elsewhere. So I need to re-allocate creative energy for some period of time.
For any of you who are concerned, The Funnies will not go away. At least, that’s the plan. I will maintain a bare-bones Twitter presence solely to pull those for you all over there. Though, I will say, funny content has been harder to come by these days as it feels many of the people who have historically supplied it are fleeing Twitter or just not posting as much.
So, that’s what has been happening around here and a small preview of what is to come. I want to end by thanking you.
Thank you so much for your kindness in this book launch season, and for reading what I write. I don’t find launching a book to be a particularly fun experience—I like writing them more than launching them. But you all have been so gracious amid my bombardment of requests to buy or review the book. It means a lot that you would do those things or at the very least endure my pleas for you to do them.
Likewise, maintaining this newsletter twice a week is no small endeavor. It’s a lot of work and requires most of my creative energy! Also, it is currently free, so I don’t make any money from it. But it’s a joy to interact with all of you and write what I hope are some helpful pieces from time to time.
Let’s have a great summer together before we take a bit of a break, whaddya say? Thanks for reading.
My understanding is that the birds stop by our park on their way to the Yucatan Peninsula from around Holland, Michigan. (If I remember correctly.)
The “book blues” are the sorta sad feelings an author can feel when his or her book hasn’t landed on any bestseller lists, received any accolades, or otherwise changed the world. I suffered from the book blues when Terms of Service was published last year, even if I didn’t expect it to be a massive success.
I usually planned these, so I only have myself to blame.
Why was I planning to take a break from a hobby a year in advance of actually doing so? Because I have a disease known as “looking-ahead-and-planning-too-much-…itis.”
But I’ll probably explain it in more detail closer to time.
God bless with your new arrival. I always enjoy your posts and especially the personal nature of this one. Ministry is in the blood, not the role. I know you’ll be doing some good at whatever level. I don’t look forward to Labor Day.
Wow - I am sad to hear you'll be taking a break from the newsletter later this year. But I also take it as an inspiration to put proper practices in place and to ensure whatever we are doing online is matching to the goals we have (or should have). So thank you for the newsletter - I totally get that it's a ton of work - and thank you for the inspiration.