I have a real feeling of betrayal when it’s nearly July but I’m taking Lemsip. It isn’t even the right quarter of the year for a cold, let alone the right month! 🤧

On my day off in the week, Tracy usually takes the morning off so we can do something together without the kids. They’ve only got a week left of school which makes those dates harder to keep so we made today special and went into Glasgow.

Currently reading: Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship by Philip Graham Ryken 📚

One of the topics I’ll be preaching on in a few weeks is exactly what happens during corporate worship and what the church is for, so looking forward to this.

Currently coming to grips with the fact that I can actually make a decent V60 brew using a regular kettle. This is mostly so that I can stop shopping for an expensive pouring kettle. ☕️

Finished reading: Practicing the Way by John Mark Comer 📚

This was a very quick read (for me) but I came away from it with a lot of good quotes and some helpful tools to try to implement into my life and teaching.

We don’t get the luxury of a blank slate; there are forces—within and without—with a vested interest in us not becoming like Jesus. Therefore: all Christian formation is counter-formation.

Today’s bread was pandesal which is proof that the Philippines have the best milk bread. 🇵🇭 🍞

Currently reading: Unruly by David Mitchell 📚

Monarchy is what England has instead of a sense of identity.

Already off to a good start, lol.

I wonder how the unread books I have at home feel about the books I bring home from the library. 📚

Sometimes you just have to make a farmhouse-style loaf.

Writing can be a bit like seasoning food sometimes. It’s really easy to keep adding words but it’s really difficult to take them away.

This was a beautiful read. Some of the best nature writing I have come across so far and with so many helpful bits of advice for the work of being a pastor. I wonder if he realises how useful it is in that sense.

Finished reading: The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks 📚

Took the boys and one of their friends down to the Esplanade for some ice cream in the sun. Truly gorgeous day out today.

This was such a good read, really accessible and helpful for giving me a bit of historical context for the church here in Scotland (even though the church I pastor is not from the same, Presbyterian tradition).

Finished reading: The Whole Christ by Sinclair B. Ferguson 📚

Some days, it seems like sermon writing just happens. I have the passage clearly in my head, the outline makes sense, words just seem to come.

Today is not one of those days.

📓New additions to the analogue system

I wrote recently about how I had finally figured out a sort of default setting for my analogue system. Today, a couple of things arrived in the post to help make that system even better.

Traveler’s Company archive binder

I’ve been using a Traveler’s Notebook of some sort since they were still under the Midori brand. It’s safe to say that I’ve got quite a few used refills knocking about in various places. Now, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and ordered myself some of the archive binders. They’re purpose-built, they look nice together on a shelf, and they help keep all my refills together in a way that lets me flip through them for reference.

Now I just need to make the shelf-space for them!

Field Notes Front Page

I’ve been using a pocket notebook quite a bit lately and wondered if I would benefit from switching to a reporter-style one. Something that can sit next to my iPad or whatever book I might be reading at the time.

Because I can never just use whatever notebooks are available, I decided to give Field Notes’ Front Page a go. Will have to report back on this one but it feels great in the hand and is the same height as my Traveler’s Notebook.

Checking commentaries

A pub table covered with books (the Bible and Gordon Wenham’s commentary on Genesis) and notebooks (Traveler’s Notebook in camel brown).

One of the main reasons why I consult commentaries in my sermon study (besides the fact that I need help from bigger brains) is simply to check that I’m on the right track. It’s so easy to read my own assumptions into the text that it’s helpful to see where the church has historically landed on things.

A stationery foundation ✒️📓

One of the things I’ve been able to figure out with stationery is that my main setup consists of:

  • Traveler’s Notebook (regular on camel)
  • Light refill (it gives me 128 pages instead of 64, and I’m almost positive the paper in the light refills is Tomoe River)
  • Lamy Safari in Fine or Extra Fine

There are occasional explorations elsewhere but that is what I always come back to.

Moving nearly everything into Bear

Much like @philbowell, an email landed in my inbox from the good folks that make Bear and put me on to a post from Robert Breen about moving everything from Obsidian to Bear.

I really like Obsidian. I’ve recommended it to multiple people in real life who are studying alongside me and they love it. It does exactly what they want it to. But they’re all using it specifically on desktop platforms. And that’s where the app simply doesn’t work for me.

I do 98% of my work from either my iPad Air 5th-gen or my iPhone 13. Even though I have a study available to me at the church, I regularly find that it is not the best place for me to be to get work done. There are interruptions but also, I’m essentially invisible to the world when I’m there.

So most of the time, I take my stuff to the library or the Wetherspoons pub (usually both on the same day) in order to work.

That means I need to have apps that work well when my iPad is connected to not-brilliant WiFi or paired with my phone.

So I went onto my old MacBook Air (it’s one of the 2017 models so it’s getting quite old) and imported my Obsidian vault into Bear.

The experience? Seamless.

All of the notes that I’ve been living without because I couldn’t get Obsidian to work properly on my phone or iPad are now available to me and quickly. The sync speed is astounding considering that it’s moving nearly 2000 notes. All of the links between notes work. I don’t have a pretty graph view anymore but I have something that actually seems to be functioning.

I’ve implemented a bit of structure through tags thanks to a post at The Mindful Teacher.

As I mentioned in a reply to Phil’s original post about this, the only thing I need now is for Ulysses to get their act together regarding sync. It’s embarrassing for them at this point that whenever I open the app on my phone, I have to redownload my entire database.