This weekend, two Great Escapes made ripples east of the lake. My husband and I escaped into a DIY natural bath soak. My dog escaped into the neighborhood from whence he came.

Every Saturday, David and I observe 24 full hours of rest. It’s unusual to find people observing a day of rest that completely these days, Christians or not. A year ago, I would have said, “who has time for that?”

This past summer, I read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero, and it changed my mind. Scazzero writes that by keeping the Sabbath as a full 24-hour period, we step into the rhythm of life and trust in God’s provision. Everyone loves a snow day, and God gives us one once every seven days.

When I read that, something clicked. We who have a mental illness need rest and rejuvenation because we are more battered than others by life’s flux. David and I find that the weekly Sabbath is a precious time for us to unwind, center ourselves on the Lord and do what we love.

During this Sabbath, we escaped into an aromatic bath with DIY, natural ingredients.

While going through our cupboards, I discovered expired chamomile teabags and cinnamon. Maybe they won’t taste their best anymore, I thought, but wouldn’t they still smell nice in the bath?

And they did. The color looked a bit suspicious, but it was fine as long as you reminded yourself what it was and took deep breaths of the heavenly scent. Tip: if you want to try this, instead of buying ingredients, look for creative ways to use what you already have, and be sure to use a catcher around your drain.

During this Sabbath also, our puppy escaped into the neighborhood.

Thor showed up in the church parking lot one Sunday and quickly wiggled his way into our affections. We took him for a walk in East Lake park yesterday afternoon, as we often do, stopping at Alex and Sasha’s on the way back, as we hadn’t yet when he was with us. We put Thor in their backyard, went inside and talked for an hour or so about their house renovation project. When we came back out, he was gone.

It was 4:30 pm. I was hungry, weak and overwhelmed by the time we had spent in others’ company, a sometimes symptom of my bi-polar, so there was nothing to do but walk back home. We agreed that David would take the car out to look for Thor while I made dinner.

I put water boiling on the stove and thought about how wonderful it had been having Thor in our lives. He helped us to meet our neighbors because he loved people. Everyone always commented on how beautiful he was. The organic doggy treats on the shelf stared down at me mournfully. The towels we had used that morning to give him a bath sent a pang into my throat.

I cried a little.

The song came to my mind, “Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise…You give and take away, You give and take away/My heart will choose to say/Lord, blessed be Your name…”

I prayed, “Lord, you gave Thor as a gift to us, and you can take him away.” I went back to dinner.

In the distance, I thought I heard a dog barking. I opened the back door. David’s voice came: “Thor!”

I ran back through the house to the front door. There he was, safe and sound. I kissed David and hugged Thor.

“The world’s friendliest dog is back,” I said.

The weekend’s great escapes brought me closer to those whom I love. I am blessed indeed.