This was such a momentous summer for me, with the birth of a new grandson (my daughter and her husband) and my son getting married. I just knew I needed to take a little time out to reflect and give thanks. So, due to something written by one of our pastors in the church bulletin, I contacted the Northumbria Community to see if my prayer partner and I could book the "Be Still" retreat. Two places available!
The retreat was in the last week of August, and even up in this very northern part of England; we had sunshine! PP (Prayer Partner from church) and I checked into this modern monastery and quickly settled into what the Northumbria Community calls "The Modern Monastic Life." While we spent most of the mornings either with the Community in prayer or in personal study, the afternoons included adventures of a boat ride out to the Farne Islands, walking on the Northumbria beaches (note photo on the left) or tea at the foot of Bambourough Castle. I wrote out daily prayers for family and clients, and we ended the day with good food (5 rating on the kitchen for hygine-excellent), and prayer from the Celtic Daily Prayer. (It was the Celts that drove out the pagans and brought in Christianity to this area of the world.)
Upon reflection, I can see that as a teacher; I still think of September as the beginning of the year. This time and quiet space gave me time to listen to God and reflect on the upcoming months. I spent the majority of the time giving thanks for my son's wedding and praying for their marriage; as well as praying for the new little ones in our family. I gave thanks and prayed for my small group of clients. I realised I very much intend to keep my client group small, so that I may serve them out of quiet and prayer, not rush and setting goals.
This year, thanks to the wonderful team (I am not exaggerating!) at iBloom, I continue to work out the rhythm of my day, my week, and my year. I took retreat time to look at what "is working, what is not working, and what needs to change." My daily Business Meeting with God is working. My monthly Off-site Business Meeting with God (day retreat) is working, and now I add a plan for a yearly "Retreat Week," to the rhythm of my year. The view from Nether Springs (the main entrance at the Northumbria Community) is on the right. For more on this community, please sign up for my monthly newsletter.
What hasn't worked? Selling books online. What needs to change? I am going to reduce the cost of Parents on the Move to £5.00 plus postage all year round. I need to get the word out about successfully and happily moving into a new community.
What especially worked for me at the Northumbria Community? Well, it is a Level Four dinner party every day! For more on the "dinner party test," do order Parents on the Move on the Shop page of this website.
Happy New Academic Year, what ever you are studying.