Well, tomorrow my retirement countdown clock drops below 200 days. I don’t have much to update from this week, other than the fact that we finalized the purchase of our motorhome and will accept delivery of it this Wednesday. We’re taking it for its “shakedown cruise” next week to Rocky Mountain National Park, in which we’ll try to learn what we need to learn about living in the RV.
This is the first update of the month, so time for a Monthly Musing. There is no accompanying video for this week. My intent for Monthly Musings are to spend some time reflecting on where our current “journey” has brought us and how it seems to related to scripture.
The thing that is probably most on my mind this Saturday evening as I write this is the fact that I’m not putting finishing touches on a Sunday School lesson for tomorrow. Last week was the last lesson that I taught as a regular Sunday School teacher at Applewood Baptist Church. I’ve been teaching a coed adult Bible Study class there since 2004, so it feels really weird not preparing a lesson for tomorrow and knowing that I won’t be for the coming weeks either.
Giving up my Sunday School class is a decision I made several months ago as we solidified our plans for full-time RVing and for Watchmaker’s Pulse activities. As the launch date approaches, downsizing is going to include not only physical stuff, but responsibilities as well.
For this month’s musing, here’s the text of the farewell message I sent to both past and present Sunday School class members.
I wanted to take this opportunity to say farewell, even though the longer-term farewell won’t be happening until around Christmas time. I’ve included both present and past members of my Sunday School class, along with assorted others at Applewood Baptist Church, both present and formerly. I concur with Paul’s beginning to Philippians: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
It has been such a joy to be a Sunday School teacher at Applewood since 2004. Today was my last as a full-time Sunday School teacher and it was a bittersweet ending. The ending is of my own choice as I slowly give up responsibilities and plan on this next phase of our life. To reiterate, or for those who don’t know, I am retiring from Drillinginfo, a job that I’ve held now for 4 years since my initial retirement from my 30-year education career. My actual retirement date is December 21, 2017. I’ve even requested to go part-time with my company until that date arrives. Darlene and I are preparing our house for sale and planning to move full-time into our new motorhome, which will be our home for the next foreseeable future.
We still plan to be around until then, but are going to be very busy remodeling our house and downsizing our stuff.
For our current Sunday School class members: As I have told you several times in class over the past few months, I strongly encourage you to quickly find a new class and immerse yourself in it, sharing your lives and talents as you have done so faithfully with us. I recommend that you visit some of the following classes:
- [I took out the class recommendation list]
For all recipients of this email: I hope this finds you well. I have appreciated working with each of you in various facets in the past and look forward to staying in touch as we travel. Our plan is to head out as soon after my retirement date as possible (or maybe even sooner if the house gets sold – but we are nowhere near close that yet!) As several people have pointed out, my plan is not to retire FROM something, but rather to retire TO something. We plan to join the ranks of full-time RVers and travel across North America, probably numerous times, seeing lots of places that we’ve always wanted to see.
A large (and possibly bigger) part of that, though, is what to do while we see these things. This is really where I feel God is leading us to go in our next phase of ministry. I don’t have full clarity on everything yet, but I have begun plans for a ministry I’m calling The Watchmaker’s Pulse. It comes from the old William Paley analogy (Calvin has referred to it several times) in which a finder of a watch in the field would never assume that watch to have just been there for all time. It has the earmarks of being designed by a Watchmaker and begs investigation into the details of who that Watchmaker might be.
I’m finding that as we research and learn from others (there are about currently 500,000 full-time RVers in the U.S.) about this lifestyle, we see that a majority of people who are “public” with their travels via YouTube, podcasts, and websites, spend lots of time talking about their travels and tips for others, but give very little acknowledgement or credit to their Creator for the life and wonders they encounter. Hence my new “mission” field.
What you can do?:
- Send us. By that I simply mean in the sense that Paul and Barnabas were sent by the church in Antioch. In Acts 26, Paul recounts his “call” for King Agrippa: “I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Paul was called first, and then sent by the local church, on his missionary journey. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not claiming any special “vision” other than that I feel strongly about this next opportunity for ministry that I think is being laid out for us. We have all been sent, and just as I’ve been (or tried to be) faithful through my life in my church and in my places of employment to be a strong witness for Jesus, so I wish to be in this next phase of our life. As we travel, we wish to be able to still call Applewood our home church.
- Pray for us. Pray specifically for the following for now, and then I’ll keep you updated, if interested, later about further prayer needs:
- Pray for our downsizing. We’ve been in our house for 31 years, and have accumulated much, along with having lost both sets of parents and inherited much of their stuff as well. We are completely giving up a “stick-and-brick” residence and will only be storing stuff equivalent to a small 2-bedroom apartment, in the event that we choose to only do this RV life for a shorter term. It is a huge effort to sort through things and decide what needs to be kept and what can be parted with. There are a lot of memories attached!
- Pray for the preparation of and sale of our house. We are remodeling our house, which was built in the 60s and in need of quite a few updates. Pray that those updates will go smoothly and not be too costly to us. Also pray that when the house goes on the market (probably in October) that it will sell in a timely and profitable fashion.
- Pray for our finances. We have a plan and feel that we are financially able to do this. However, until we hit the road and actually experience the costs of travel along with the maintenance of vehicles, healthcare, etc., the actual working out of the details is still a bit uncertain.
- Pray for our children. We have two wonderful sons who are adults and quite independent, but we also are very close and have not been living outside of regional proximity with them. Pray that they will feel God’s hand of leadership on their career and relational choices and that our family will continue to thrive in the future as it does now.
- Pray for our travels. We have it in our sights to visit all 49 states (unless I can figure out how to drive to Hawaii) and every province in Canada. Mexico… still to be determined. There is a lot to see in North America. Even though we’ve traveled quite a bit, 2-week vacations just don’t immerse you in the culture and surroundings that same as a slower pace will allow. Pray for safety and special abilities to deal with the inevitable mishaps which are an innate part of this lifestyle.
- Pray for the churches we visit. One of our goals as we travel is to make corporate worship a priority. I have in mind something of a project (not clear on that yet) in documenting the state of worship across America. We are looking forward, especially in smaller towns, to visiting churches and engaging with the people in them to worship our God and fellowship with other believers whom we’ve never met before.
- On a related note, pray for our people/social skills. It won’t come as much of a surprise to most of you, but neither Darlene nor I are very extroverted. We are perfectly content to quietly sit in the corner and try not to be noticed. Even though it may seem quite easy for me to stand up and teach a class or publicly speak, because that’s what I’ve done all my life, I still get nervous, especially in a new situation. This choice that we’re making in this new lifestyle is to be constantly in a new situation!
- Pray for the Watchmaker’s Pulse ministry. See below.
- Follow us. The Watchmaker’s Pulse is the framework under which we’ll be documenting our travels and managing our ministry efforts. The primary website from which all other content can be accessed is watchmakerspulse.com. As I’ve built this out, I’ve emphasized that it’s really not “off the ground” until 2018, but I’m trying out some things and making plans for the ministry concept. Some things I’m considering and exploring are:
- Maintaining a regular blog about a variety of topics as we travel. This will be organized by theme, such as National Parks, churches, RV life, etc. It is my goal to, as I blog, make sure that I link scripture and acknowledgments of God’s work in each entry, thus the idea of looking for the pulse (or evidence of existence) of the Watchmaker.
- Maintaining a video library on YouTube about our adventure, again trying to link our activity with God’s activity. The videos I currently have posted are not very good, but I’m using them to try out things about videography, sound, composition, theming, editing, software, etc.
- As stated earlier, I’d like to do some sort of documentary?? about worship and churches across America.
- I also have envisioned a home-school or interest-based set of courses in a Watchmaker’s Pulse Academy
- I’ve noticed that the full-time RVers tend to keep track of each other through various social networks and blogging. I sense an opportunity to join this community and hopefully form connections which might hold ministry opportunities including bible studies, gospel-sharing, campground ministries, public speaking engagements, who knows?
It would be a HUGE help if you would simply FOLLOW us via the interweb. This will serve two purposes: to allow you to keep track of and communicate with us, but also to help grow the channels. Please, if you’re willing, follow and subscribe as shown below. I haven’t started promoting these yet beyond family and friends, but the more “followers” I have when I do, the more successful they’ll be at reaching new people.
Look on the right side of the page for the “Follow” button and enter your email. This will send an email to you anytime I create a new blog entry.
Click the Subscribe button on the right.
It also helps generate “views” if you watch the videos, even just starting them and stopping them counts as a “view”. They’re not great yet, but I promise they’ll get better over time. Give them a thumbs-up as well.
Search for the Watchmaker’s Pulse page. Click the “Like” and “Follow” buttons.
Lastly, my Twitter account is @watchmakerspuls (NOTE that this is without the final “e” because the name was too long by Twitter standards). You can also follow that if you would.
If you are down here, I thank you for reading this far, or even if you just scrolled to the end, I still thank you. Darlene and I have been at Applewood a long time (since 1974 and 1983 respectively) and will miss you when we depart around Christmas time. For those of you that live elsewhere now, we look forward to seeing people we’ve known as we travel and will try to keep tabs with you wherever we are. We love you all!