My calendar tells me there are 38 days until I start my sabbatical. I am both excited and terrified. Excited because this is such an incredible gift to be given and the Lilly Grant makes it feel like a once in a lifetime experience. Terrified because there is still much to do before those 38 days are up and because I have never really done anything like this before. Here’s what I hold on to: I am still Karyn and still a child of God so I know there will be joy and grace all along the way sprinkled generously with wonder and gratitude as I explore our world.
I have told you about the first half of my trip: time at home and with family in Bozeman before heading “across the pond” and spending three weeks in Europe with my dad, my sister and my best friend. Once I bid them farewell, I will head to Jerusalem where I will stay for three weeks. These three weeks are the only three weeks that I will be on my own. They are also the least planned weeks. What I do know of this time is there will be lots of walking, lots of reflection, learning will happen as I visit the ministries of Christmas Lutheran Church, which help kids overcome trauma through art. This intentional three week period on my own has at its core the desire to spend time with me, to explore who Karyn is away from the joys and demands of church and family and friends. It will take me the whole of the six weeks leading up to this moment to be ready for this.
On October 31, I will make my way back to the States. Check out this amazing flight plan my travel agent (who is the absolute best and worked some amazing miracles to get all my flights under budget): I leave Tel Aviv in the afternoon of the 31st and fly to Berlin (where I started my overseas adventures). I will spend the night in this lovely city and fly out the next day, heading to Chicago (stopping in Dublin) then spending the night in Chicago before catching a flight to Bozeman.
Once in Bozeman I will hang out with my dear ones, do some more pottery and weaving and get over jet lag. November 7 will find me heading to California.
Once in California I will participate in a five-day photography workshop in Death Valley, led by photographers Guy Tal and Michael Gordon (a childhood friend of mine). I am so super excited about this adventure! After the workshop, I will stay in a beach house, spend time at the beach, at Disneyland with my niece and friends, host a sip-and-paint for my family, spend Thanksgiving with family for the first time in six years and head back to Chicago on November 24. After a few days in Chicago, I board the train and head to La Crosse. I will be back in the office on December 5, just in time for Advent to start.
Thank you for all your prayers, support, questions and love. I know I will miss all of you while I am away. I continue to be grateful for this amazing opportunity and look forward with joy and excitement do all the stories we will share when I get back.