Life Lately: Book Travel Updates, Podcasts, and More
Thankfully, I've spent most of the rest of the day hanging out in the nice, cool basement with my sons Jacob (5) and Joshua (2) in one of our last weeks of summer together. After being gone for four days, it just feels so good just to be together - even if we aren't doing anything special.
Sometimes as a mom I feel like I have to pull out my magician's hat after I've been absent for work or writing, and do some extravagant adventure to make my time with my boys special. And we've had a ton of fun in the past at zoos, museums, parks, etc. But today I was reminded that what's most important is just being together - the comfort that comes from knowing we have each other - the security that is a family who loves each other deeply.
I wanted to use this blog space today to share a couple of updates:
1) Orange County Trip
I was in Orange County for book research last Saturday - Tuesday. This was a special trip for a few reasons. First, because Red State Christians for me was born in Orange County, while I served as Pastor of Community Life and Discipleship at a large, contemporary Lutheran church in conservative north Orange County, during the 2016 Presidential Election. Josh was also born in Orange County, and it was a huge time of personal and spiritual growth for me and for our family.
Going back to the OC was also special because I knew I'd have a chance to revisit my former congregation and so many beloved friends there - in addition to visiting some of the church's most influential Evangelical megachurches.
This was an emotional few days for me. Being a Pastor of a church is a lot like being in a relationship, and leaving a church is like a break-up. It's not easy. I was so grateful and overjoyed to find that the love we had at our church in California still filled me up, and I know I take those relationships with me wherever I go, especially in writing this book.
I shared some thoughts about my time in California on Facebook during my last night there, and I wanted to share them here as well, including some pictures from our old home - and beautiful Laguna Beach.
Someday, I thought, I will live there.
See I tell people now that in Orange County I became a hugger, and it’s true. I’m naturally shy, somewhat reserved, but I slowly started letting my love pour out - and it felt good.
This past weekend I traveled back to the OC for the first time since I preached my last sermon in May 2017. I had interviews lined up at local Evangelical churches, some fantastic pastors and leaders to speak with - but I knew this trip was also about revisiting my personal experiences in Orange County: the place I grew so much and the place that melded my family together.
See I thought I was coming to Orange County to learn how to be a senior pastor of a large church. And I did learn about that. But God also taught me that God had a different plan for my life, to be a writer and use my prophetic voice in ways that harnessed all my gifts: as a reporter, writer and Pastor - and gave my family a new life balance. None of that would have been made clear without Orange County, and I know for sure I wouldn’t have been able to write this book.