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Dear Friends,

As I began this year, I choose the word “Joy” to challenge, inspire and direct my life and faith.  In exploring “Joy,” I was devastated to learn that adolescents have many obstacles to joy or “joy inhibitors”—which, if left unaddressed will have a detrimental effect on their capacity to experience joy as adults. These obstacles have a variety of sources but theologians believe there are practices, disciplines, and habits that, individually and communally, inspire and sustain joyful lives that can flourish.

After seven years of ministry at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, I am grateful for a sabbatical that I have been provided by the session from April 1 to June 22. During this time, I will identify some of my own “joy inhibitors” and create some new habits. I will begin with time by myself, followed by time hiking in the Grand Canyon with my family. As I immerse myself in an intentional time of Sabbath rest, I will explore a few practices that inspire and sustain joyful lives.  Mindfulness will be the primary practice that I will explore, practice and study. Another is a technology Sabbath.  I look forward to sharing my experiences with you at the end of this time.

Grace and Peace be with you,

Michelle Thomas-Bush

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