My sabbatical begins today.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines sabbatical as, “a period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.” My definition for what I am doing is: “the need to step aside. To recenter. To write. To read. To pray.”

It’s not really a break from work, as I will be checking in with my work clients while I am away. That’s the beauty and the curse of owning your own business…You can work from anywhere…and you HAVE to work from anywhere! But I am definitely stepping aside to reevaluate a lot of things.

In March of last year I decided to book this cruise. An Italian Transatlantic. 13 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome. Sounded exotic. It was a good sale. And those of you that know me well know that I am all in with a fun time and a good sale! I cruise a lot, but have never taken one by myself. I almost cancelled it a few times, but it was as though the Lord kept pushing me toward this. He could see down the road. He knew the timing was going to be perfect.

This past year has involved a lot of change for me. At the Lord’s instruction, I welcomed a family of 6 into my home. When I bought the house, my realtor and friend asked me what I planned to do with all of the space. I said, “I don’t know, but when I’m supposed to know the Lord will tell me.” In January of 2014 He told me. I tried to tell Him that I must have misheard, but then He took me to Romans 12:9-13-

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

Verse 13 was my answer. So on January 28 one of the sweetest families in the world moved into my life and my home. 2-35 year olds, 1- 8 yr old, 1-5 yr old, 1-4 yr old, and a 13 month old. As I prayed about it, the Lord confirmed to me that they would be with me a year. The story of why and how and all that happened in a year is more than I could write here, but it was a wonderful time of living in community. I count these friends as family now. I love them dearly.

It’s interesting that while I am away they will be closing on their home and moving. God’s timing is perfect.

In March of last year things began to shift some with my business. I had been dreaming of a different business model. A way that I could work with churches and help them with their marketing. Helping churches share their message to their communities has been my passion since Keith and I were in seminary. I can go back to the day when I believe the Lord put this calling on my life. It didn’t exist back then, but again, in His anticipatory love, the Father started me down the road that would take 35 years to travel!

So, in March, with the help and encouragement of my roommates, I stepped out to see if this was going to work. It has been amazing! The Lord has opened every door and has grown Design 373 beyond what I could have imagined. In a year I have added 4 fulltime clients and many part time clients. I am able to help small churches and large churches all over the country. I have worked with ministry groups and small businesses. I have designed book covers, web sites and so much more. I have hired 2 employees, one whose job is social media marketing, which is a great tool for churches. It has been an amazing journey, and one I am so thankful for.

So, in June of last year I left my full time job at the church that I had worked at for 8 years and stepped out on faith with this new venture. It has been amazingly wonderful and delightfully exhausting!

I have learned a whole lot of things about myself this year. But I need time and space to recenter and determine which path at this current crossroad is mine to take. I plan on writing each day during this time away this week, so I will share some of my revelations as I journal this amazing journey across the Atlantic.

For now…I am sitting on the balcony of a large ocean liner. Alone. Nothing on the horizon except water. We are like a little cork bobbing in the middle of the Atlantic. And I am so thankful.

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Ps. 30:11-12

Blessings, my friends!