To My Weepy Friend Lynn…

Sabbatical Day 19 

I remember how you used to pray in Sunday school. You were always so eloquent and genuine. You were the same those times you prayed with me (and Julie) in my living room floor. Those were special times. You and the deGraffenrieds and the Littles (and of course Jason) were the foundation of my experience in “where two or three are gathered” (between our weekly morning “mom prayer” and our Wednesday nights). 

We’d pray for our children. We’d pray for your children and your grandchildren too. We didn’t need coffee, or even chairs. Sometimes we’d just sit in my living room floor. But there’s one part of our prayer time that sticks out in my memory. 

You almost ALWAYS cried. 

It didn’t seem to matter how heavy the prayer request was. Sometimes we’d be praying about something happy and it would be your turn to chime in.  I’d feel that pause…like you were trying to gain your composure (you weren’t very good at that). You’d pray in that shaky voice.  

I remember wondering if you were over emotional or if I was under emotional (Was it hormones?).  I was sure I cared about the prayer matter with an equal measure, but I prayed dry-eyed and without my voice breaking from sobbing. 

I’m pretty sure there were other times I caught you misty-eyed when we weren’t even praying!

The point is, I just wanted to let you know that I now have the “leaky eye/lose my composure over nothing” problem. 
I can’t exactly remember when it started, though it’s definitely become exaggerated since Jason and I have had teenagers. Of course I cried almost the entire year, two years ago during Hayden’s senior year. 

I cry when my kids go through tough times. I cry at every milestone.  I guess everybody does that. I did that back when we were praying together.  

It’s the seemingly mundane things that oddly choke me up these days. I think maybe you understand. 

You’ve probably heard me mention that Jason (and the kids and I) are on sabbatical in Colorado. I don’t know if it’s the cottonwood seeds getting in my eyes or what, but I’ve been downright weepy. 

Take this morning for instance. Jason and the girls and I were walking to a little country church for Sunday morning service. I saw an older gentleman holding his bible walking ahead of us. Mist gathered in the outside corners of both of my eyes. 

My left eye leaked during How Great Thou Art AND during In The Sweet By and By. And that was just today. 

(Hallie sat beside me. I think she’s probably worried.)

Three days ago I had to gather my composure on the streets of Creede because I just so happened to stumble across a picture on Facebook that my niece had put up of the joined hands of most of the important women in my life. In my defense, she’d written something sappy underneath. 

Two days before that, I managed to dam up tears as I watched my mom and dad dance. It was my mom’s first time to dance, EVER. To make it even sweeter, practically every family member took a shot on the dance floor (half having no idea what they were doing).  The sight of that?…Again, my eyelids hosted tears of joy. 

That’s it! Tears of joy. Those are some of the tears I think you cried those many years ago when we prayed. 

They were tears and emotion that came from a deep well; one that can only be drawn from when a person has been in deep places. 

 They’re tears from the heart of one who, in her history, has been pulled up from the pit and placed on a rock. They’re grateful tears. 

They’re tears of joy at the opportunity to collect a new memory for the box of treasured remembrances. 

Strange tears appear out of the blue as God grows my heart, making room to take in the simple, to better see it how He sees it, as beautiful and miraculous. 

Thank you for all those tears that  were shed because of a steadfast love for our children. I’m confident those tears were rooted in a gratitude for what you’d already seen God do and in trust for what you knew He’d do. 

Your Cry Pal, 


Posted in Home | 2 Comments

Keep Out

Sabbatical Day 18

I just stepped in our camper. I’m a little soggy from today’s shower. I can hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof. But if you could see what I see outside my window, you’d be certain it’s been snowing. 

White fuzzies have overtaken, floating overhead and swirling beneath my bike tires. They flit about the camper and have made the wooden bridge their pathway. It’s not snow though. We’re surrounded by sailing cottonwood tree seeds. 

It feels and looks as if we’ve taken up residence in a snow globe; nestled safely between mountains.  I’m quite certain if a giant took us in its hand and shook us, we’d stay  firmly in place just like the small fir tree fixtures and plastic snowmen in snow globes. 

It’s seldom that I feel so secure. 

I didn’t yesterday nor did I earlier this morning. 

Yesterday was “clothes washing” day. With the offer of a chili cheese dog, I got Hallie (our fifteen year old) to help with laundry. (The snack shack is a hop, skip and a jump away). 

Laundromats can make for deep conversation. Somehow our talk turned to the issue of sexual assault. It’s no wonder with the Stanford and Baylor cases in the news that there’s a heightened sense of danger. 

I switched from being light-hearted to serious in tone. I instructed Hallie (for the one-hundredth time) on how to keep herself from a situation where she might be taken advantage of.  

 It’s not just Hallie I talk to concerning this matter. Hayden is near nineteen and still finds himself the victim of my lengthy speeches concerning the avoidance of pitfalls. 

 Hayden’s headed back to Texas with my sister today. Monday he’ll travel to my moms and then back to Nederland. I get anxious when he’s traveling. Really, I get anxious anytime I’m separated from any of my chickadees …or Jason. 

Geography and changing circumstances have a way of removing the cozy feel of snow globe life. 

Rylie just finished reading A Smart Girl’s Guide to Middle School last night. I found it at a thrift store here. My pristine summer lifestyle is being interrupted by thoughts of challenges that lie around the corner…

Scary things, foreign things, lurk outside my delicate glass dome

Bad drivers Hayden may share the road with  

Upcoming situations that will distract my kids from their integrity

Unavoidable Heartache

Possible middle school bullies

Invitations to leave the snow globe

…these are things I’d like to keep out

This sabbath snow globe won’t last forever, but it’s provided a break, making the distressing and pressing more “light and momentary”. Possible future troubles are in proper perspective. 

Like the winged invader that made its way in my sweatshirt this afternoon on my bike ride, we’re not able to “keep out” all that’s undesirable and frightening. We can just learn to put on our breaks and remove the unwelcomed the best we can. 

We can carry on, then, mindful that the big hand that holds this snow globe is the same that carried us through trouble before. The same strong hands hold our future days. 

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snareand from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge… Psalm 91

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

The Filter Man

My Dad taught me about filters. I used to build the air conditioning kind at his shop in the summers. They came in standard sizes and custom too. 

They had three parts; a square (or rectangular) piece of polyester, two pieces of metal grill (the same size as the polyester) and four pieces of chipboard which would form the filter frame. 

My Dad started me out early when I’d visit the shop. He’d let me fold stacks of chipboard. I later advanced to cutting the polyester, which we called media. Getting the accurate measurement was a must. 

 It was a few years before I had my own station where I was making filters. 

Here’s how we made them if you’re interested: 

I’d place the four pieces of chipboard inside a secure a metal frame (making a square border), then I’d quickly add strips of hot glue to help secure the bottom piece of grill, which came next, and then the piece of media. Next came the second piece of grill. Then I’d pick up an air-powered staple gun and fold the chipboard, stapling the corners and sides to create an enclosure. Voila. 

I helped keep the air inside stores and homes clean. 

That’s the only purpose of the filter. It traps dust and other unhealthy microscopic floaters inside the filter’s media so that it doesn’t flow through the vents and into the air that you breathe. Pretty nifty. 

Your filter only works if you keep it clean. My dad hardly ever goes anywhere without checking the filter. In public places he casually glances at the vent. If he comes to my house, he opens the vent. He then usually shakes his head and pulls out a dust corroded filter that bit the dust long ago…pun intended. He makes me a new one. 

People have filters too. Or else they’re supposed to. 

 You’ve heard it said, “She has no filter” referring to someone who vomits strange, off-topic or unkind words on poor unsuspecting victims. 

In people, I visualize the “word filter” being somewhat like a flap. The idea is that the filter/flap closes off careless words that attempt to enter the mouth channel. It traps the words before they enter the air. 

Maybe people who speak too freely  don’t have a filter….or MAYBE, they have a delayed flap. I’m pretty sure I do. The flap usually closes the second the words escape my mouth. One second too late. 

Words AND THEN the flap. 

The person I’m talking to has that “Where did that come from?” look. “It’s my flap,” I want to say. It’s faulty. 

I’m in good company though. My favorite character in the Bible had the same problem. (Maybe that’s why he’s my favorite.)

Hint: He verbally denied Christ three times before the cock crowed even though he had a warning that he would. 

Yep. Good old Peter

I’d like to think that Peter meant it when he answered “Never Lord” when Jesus warned him. (I’d never say I didn’t know you) 

Several days ago I read Mark’s account of the transfiguration in chapter 9. In verse five, Peter has just suggested that shelters be built for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. I love verse six in parenthesis, which to me says “this can’t be left out”. 

Verse six says,

(He did not know what to say)

In other words, he didn’t know what to say, but he said something anyway. 

Flap problem.

 Words that could’ve  been stopped by the filter came on through. Peter is notorious for saying stuff that displayed his humanity. 

Thankfully his willingness to follow Christ outshines his lack of the ability to use caution in crafting words. 

 I don’t exactly know where our each person’s flap is located. Maybe it’s in different spots for different people. All of us have words and thoughts without merit.  It’s good when we can hold them captive. But we’re responsible for our thoughts too. 

Thankful that we have a Father that checks our filter at the heart level. He cleans up the place, giving health to us and those around us. May we give him such an invitation. 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10


Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Lord, Plant My Feet on Solid Ground 

Sabbatical Day 9

If you’ve missed a few posts, Jason and I drug a camper trailer to the San Juan mountains. We’re camping in the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado. Our church has so graciously provided us with some sabbath time. This post shares a day in our journey. 

I don’t think scripture is referring to Road 502 when it encourages the narrow road. It should have been a clue not to take it when two cars in front of us turned on to it, only to quickly turn around and go the other way. 

We had a map where a ranger had circled roads (with an orange highlighter) that would provide a free scenic adventure. Road 502 was one of them. He told us that we’d see elk if we stopped the car every few minutes and sat still.

Disclaimer: Jason’s version of the story might be the tiniest bit different. I’m glad he was driving

 All I saw were steepening cliffs, and then the console and floorboard as I’d become determined that was a much safer view. 

Near the top of the mountain our map showed another orange circle designating we stop, unless we had 4W drive. We were left with two equally frightening choices (in my opinion). 

We could turn around, where there was no room to turn around…on a mountaintop…and go back down possibly meeting up with someone following up behind us. Terrible idea. This was not a two-lane rocky dirt road. 

Or…we could bypass the orange circle,  going down the 4W drive part of the road bring that we did have 4W drive.  I tried to warn Jason that the orange stop circle on the map and those symbols 4W (whether we had it or not) translated DANGER, but he didn’t listen. 

Past the orange “stop sign” he began carefully maneuvering a series of switchbacks. I’d only heard the word switchback in one other situation; in putt-putt. Switchback Mountain was the hardest hole in the game when we’d play putt-putt at Fun Valley growing up. It had to have been named after road 502. 

I wanted so badly to take pictures of the road so you’d know, that this time I’m not exaggerating. But all I could do, for each fifty yards that we were still alive, was clutch the handle on my door (as if that helped) and cling to my faith that God would hear my prayers to get us off that mountain in one piece. 

…Now I know how Jonah must have felt when he was spit out on the ground. 

Regretful for the path he’d taken.


We were almost to the bottom of the mountain when we came upon a ghost/mining town. It was one of the most mesmerizing things I’d ever seen. I won’t try to describe it. Here you go. 

We drove away with souvenirs that we didn’t have to buy; ones that we gained from the experience…Lessons.

  • Believe the map. 
  • In troubled times pay attention to what you’re holding on to.
  • The “good stuff” isn’t always at the mountain top. The “good place” in this case was at rock  bottom. 
  • God is with you in both places. 
  • The worst occasions are the best times to praise him. 

Psalm 29 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

    worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;

    the God of glory thunders,

    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;

    the voice of the Lord is majestic… The Lord gives strength to his people. 

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

What the Runaway Bride and the Mountains are Teaching Me

Sabbatical Day 8 

If you’ve missed a few posts, Jason and I drug a camper trailer to the San Juan mountains. We’re camping in the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado. Our church has so graciously provided us with some sabbath time. This post shares a day in our journey. 

Jason and I took our regular walk this morning. There’s hardly an inch of this place where we’re staying that I don’t have a memory of. It’s around my thirty-first time to be here. 

I’ve eaten an embarrassing number of fried burritos here through the years. I’ve paddle-boated plenty; an early detector of my less than expert driving skills. I’ve scaled the mountain on horseback.  And I’ve inter-tubed the Rio Grande. 

Most of those memories are pleasant. Some? Not so much. While on a walk up the mountain the other day, I was reminded of how terrified I used to be on the trail rides. Both going up and down the mountain, there would be, in places, a narrow rocky, dirt trail. The horses made most of the trips half asleep. Occasionally their foot would slip on a rock and they’d stumble a bit making both mine and their death near certain, by way of tumbling off the side of the mountain. 

Then there was the inter-tubing in the freezing waters of the Rio Grande. I didn’t even enjoy stepping into the water. The uneven, ungracious rocks kept me unbalanced. But steppning into the water was better than what would happen when I’d jump up on my inter tube. 

I don’t remember a trip where there wasn’t somebody, either my antagonizing brother or a cousin, who’d get close enough to kick freezing water on me. The breeze made the water that much colder. Maybe worse was when I’d get separated from the group, afraid that I’d float off (as if I couldn’t stop myself) somewhere down the Rio Grande outside Fun Valley. 

When we’d made one round there’s always be those around me who were in for a couple more rounds of torture and they’d talk me into my usual begrudged participation.

Here’s the place. 

I still have a pattern of such behavior. I have a hard time saying no to people. I will say that when it came to being subjected to things such as alcohol and the practice of cursing as a teenager, I was an oak. I wanted to please God and I knew those things were wrong and could easily say no. But when it came (and has come) to doing things just for the sake of seeming nice, or brave or interesting, I have wasted a great deal of my time and most likely fooled a few people. Still, most likely people find out when you’re not genuine. I’m not sure that pleases God either. 

Does anybody remember  Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere?  I truly identified with Maggie’s (Julia Robert’s) character. A quick synopsis: Country girl, flannel-wearing Maggie has jilted several grooms at the altar. A reporter (Ricahrd Gere) from the city comes to get the story just as Maggie is engaged to be married once again. 

(Kind of ) Spoiler alert: The reporter after spending some time with Maggir, asks her how she likes her eggs. Throughout her relationships she’s ordered whatever type of eggs her man was ordering, be it poached, scrambled or over easy. Come to find out Maggie’s egg choices reveals her inability to make decisions based on who she really is and what she’s really looking for. 

A few months ago, Jason suggested, and a good friend gave me, an insightful and helpful book called “Boundaries”. Here’s a great quote I came upon early in the book.  

Many people live scattered and tumultuous lives trying to live outside of their own boundaries, not accepting and expressing the truth of who they are. Honesty about who you are gives you the biblical value of integrity or oneness. -Boundaries by Dr. Henry McCloud and Dr. John Townsend

I’m glad to be hemmed in by mountains these days. I’m thankful for the lack of voices (mainly the many voices of the world) that direct my path. I tend to be like one of those sleepy old horses. 

Sign my kids up for way too many activities just because it seems the thing to do? Ok. Stand there and participate (even if in silence) to an unkind conversation just because you don’t want to be viewed as rude, or made an outsider? Count me in. 

Faithful God though, through scripture, is remaking me into someone unique, someone whose image isn’t man made or formed into a worldly likeness; someone whose aim (to please) has been redirected. 

May I cease to waste my energy on being someone I’m not. It tires me and is of no benefit; neither to me nor those around me. May I live only to please God. Scripture tells me He’s got some kind of plan.  

Mathew 5:37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

Two Heights, Two Kinds of Grace

Sabbatical Day 7

If you’ve missed a few posts, Jason and I drug a camper trailer to the San Juan mountains. We’re camping in the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado. Our church has so graciously provided us with some sabbath time. This post shares a day in our journey. 

(Here’s a picture I just spotted on Facebook of some of our church family having their Tuesday meal which Jason is missing.)

It’s not even one in the afternoon and we’ve already walked almost six miles today.  I hadn’t planned on that. I was thinking, when we got up this morning, that we should do some sight-seeing. You know, the kind where you drive down the road and pull over to one of those paved side roads that says “scenic overlook”. 

Instead, we climbed two heights. They’ll both go down in the book of stories I’ll tell my children and grandchildren. I’ll describe, more times than once, how we climbed these two places. 

Lobo Pass is situated right near the continental divide. From the top you can see, … oh I don’t know, maybe a hundred miles. It’s breathtaking, ESPECIALLY IF YOU WALK. 

The elevation is somewhere around 11,000 feet. The road was closed for vehicles so we (mostly Jason) got the bright idea to walk up it. Off to a good start we saw a mule deer with a nice pair of antlers walk in front of us. I didn’t grab my camera, sure we’d see more. 

The main thing I saw for the next hour was a dusty trail that got steeper. We saw more of the mountains across the landscape. Oh yeah…and snow. I’d decided to wear my cuter shoes, some thin canvas Converse shoes, as opposed to my better cushioned walking shoes. Not a great idea. 

After two hours of walking we came near the impassable top where a mound of snow covered the little bit of trail left ahead. 

Oxygen starved and cold (but in better shape than I would have been had we decided to walk on) we headed back down the mountain. On the way down I saw a girl in proper hiking attire headed up the way we’d been. I started to warn her that “it wasn’t worth it!”. But then I decided, that’s my account. Jason’s might sound quite different. Her’s might be too. 

 Treasure Falls is a different story. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

You can see it from the highway when you’re curving toward the bottom of the mountains. It’s beautiful. I’d have treasured it had we never got out of the car. I marveled at it from the little railway placed at its base. But there was a trail you could climb to get closer to its top. 

The trail looked pretty worn so I decided it must be safe. Not too many steps along I changed my mind. There was no guardrail. We quickly saw a sign that said “Trail is hazardous when wet”. The closer we got to the top the more damp the narrow trail beneath us became from water spray from the falls. 

To my disappointment, the trees seemed to hide the waterfall that was so visible from the bottom. I wondered why no one had warned us that there wasn’t much to see from the top. 

Despite the fact that the rushing of the waters through the trees was getting louder, I decided  I must be more afraid of heights than I realized.  I thought “This can’t be worth it”. 

I wanted to stop and turn around. Grace would allow that. I’ve learned about the grace that’s available when “I didn’t” or “I couldn’t”.  (I found that kind of grace on the top of Lobo Pass BECAUSE it was impassable. I’m not sure I could have made it another 400 yards.)

Back to Treasure Falls. Partly because there wasn’t room to turn around and partly because this time grace said “Keep going, I kept carefully stepping until we came to a corner. Immediately my senses were assaulted at the falls before me. We walked on to a misty and magical bridge. It celebrated my courage and endurance, if not my trust (maybe next time). 

Then grace urged me up once more to the highest place one can go. I was covered by the mist of the waterfall and by grace. 

I’m rather fond of times when grace tells me it’s ok to turn around. But today grace allowed me to keep going. And it was worth it.  

My favorite Psalm (46)

1 God is our refuge and strength,  an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

The Blonde Lady with No Ice Cream but a Lesson

Sabbatical Day 6

One of the best things about this place is ice cream from the Snack Shack. It shouldn’t be anything so special; it comes from one of those run of the mill ice cream machines. But ice cream from the magic machine at Fun Valley tastes like a dream. You can get vanilla, chocolate or swirl, in a cup, or on a cone, or made into a thick shake that promises brain freeze (or as Rylie used to say “freeze brain”). 

I get chocolate. Always. 

It’s my second food of choice from the ole Snack Shack I dearly love. My first favorite is….wait for it…the Allsup’s Fried Burrito (from, you know, the gas station Allsups). It comes with one of those paper sleeves and, new this year, two packets of taco sauce. I had that burrito Saturday. 

While Jason and I were waiting in line I overheard the blonde lady who takes orders at the window tell the customer in front  “Sorry, but the ice cream machine is froze over.”  To save herself further grief, the blonde lady shouted the announcement to the rest of us in line, “No ice cream”.

 De’ javu. This frequently happens, as does what follows. 

The customer audibly complains, or they grimace as if they’d just been given bad test results. (We love our ice cream). I can imagine myself in such a position as the disappointed lady, smiling, but moaning “Oh man”.  

This time the customer must have chosen the frowny-face reaction because I could hear “disappointed herself, blonde lady ” tell the customer (hoping we’d all hear her) that nobody was as sorry that the machine wasn’t working as she was. She expressed that she hates making customers unhappy. 

Me? I was fine. I was ordering my first sabbatical burrito. 

Yesterday Jason and I decided to take our second walk to the Snack Shack because somebody had a hankering for chocolate ice cream. As I slipped on my new pair of green tennis shoes, purchased to counteract Snack Shack visits, I remembered the debacle from Friday. 

“They might not have ice cream,” I thought. “No grimacing.”, I told myself. 

Still confident that yesterday’s machine issues were resolved, I lightheartedly walked in step with my husband, eager to get my kiddie cone. 

As we reached second in line the sad announcement came. No ice cream. I thought about how often those in customer service, like the blonde lady, deal with let down people. I quickly adjusted my face into a “who needs the calories anyway” smile. We walked away empty-handed. 

On the walk back to the camper I thought (and am still thinking) of the things that irk us and how freely we share our dissatisfaction. 

We want what we want and we want it now.  

Our patience and kindness has a way of shutting down like the ice cream machine at the Snack Shack.  We forget to take into consideration that, maybe, the machine’s cooperation is outside “the blonde lady’s” control. 

Then there are those times when it is in someone’s control to serve us properly and efficiently. 

A friend posted on Facebook a few days ago how a woman berated a teenager for counting out her change incorrectly at Sonic (not corrected, berated). She said the teenager ended up in tears. 

We can point out to a person, their inability to please us or we can give them what Michael Bolton sang about “time, love and tenderness”. 

Here’s where sabbath rest comes in. I’m grumpier, and less patient when I’m tired. I’m less pleasant and less patient when I’m in a hurry and something goes wrong. 

It’s in this rest, this “slow down” we’ve so graciously been given that I have a little renewed energy that comes in handy, aiding me in proper behavior. It’s in this break from the rush that I’m reminded of the opportunity we have, to stress or bless people we come in contact with, even if it’s for sixty seconds at the cash register. 

I’m the hurrying kind. I’ll get back to the quick pace. It’s my prayer that when I do, that this perspective will be brought to mind…that I’ll have stored up some patience and some goodness that I can break out when someone presents me with disappointment. 

When we return from this special break from the rat race, I hope that I’ll make time for rest…that I’ll spend time in prayer and reflection, trusting God to mold me into a person more easily dealt with. 

We all need rest and renewal. Though making time for it can be quite a challenge, it will benefit us and those around us who probably need a break themselves. 

Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. 

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

The Day I Learned to Love Mountain Climbing

Especially in a place like the mountains I’m remembering  how splendid and broad God’s paint strokes are, but He’s reminding me too how intricate his work is. Thankful for the big picture and for the good and detailed plan He has for our lives. 

Jason and I are on day five of sabbatical in the Rio Grande National Forest. We hiked up a mountain, which was no easy task for me. We read scripture together and prayed, but I couldn’t get Jason to sing with me. 

When we were at the highest point I asked Jason what he noticed. The landscape of surrounding mountains caught his eye. I’d become obsessed with moss and other things scattered on the mountain floor. I looked at an old fallen tree and had to touch the  layers in its bark. 

In all that I was taking in,  I thought about my house. If you ever come and see me I’ll invite you in. 

The downstairs is built so that you can walk in a circle. When you come into the entryway you can walk right into the living room. That room leads you to the kitchen. From the kitchen there are little white folding doors which kid visitors love to open and close. Those lead you into the dining room (that’s hardly used). Walk through the dining room and you’ll see the bathroom and the entry/exit way. 

If I know you’re coming I’ll spiffy up the downstairs. I’ll probably vacuum the rug, fluff up the decorative pillows and move the clutter to one of its places, probably to the wooden tray by the microwave. I won’t invite you upstairs. That’s the place that lacks a decorative touch. Not just that,  but the beds are hardly ever made and there are probably clothes strung over a chair. Whatever you do, don’t go in the girls’ bathroom. The whole second floor lacks proper care. 

Not so with the mountain. 

The lack of oxygen and and steep places make it uninviting. There are places up there where human feet rarely tread. I know people have hiked there, but the space is vast. Never you mind.  Every inch is filled with wonder and beauty. There’s not a spot or living thing that’s without his decorative touch. 

I found seed cases and decomposition reminding me of his intelligent plan of sustaining life. I marveled at moss that looked like paint splotches in the deepest hues. I looked across at the mountains and was humbled; humbled at One who is all-powerful but would take such care to create and tend to the minute…That He would share ALL of it with us; the birdsong, the breeze and the sun that warms us. 

He’s a glorious God.  That makes me want to climb mountains.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you don’t want to miss a post. 

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

Something Old, Something New

I’m feeling rather liberated today. Nope. I haven’t climbed a mountain yet or rafted the rushing waters of the Rio Grande. 

Yesterday I trashed over 11,000 old messages on email. I’m crossing my fingers I didn’t get rid of anything important. (The thing is, my phone had no space to add anything new. If I tried to take a picture, the message “your library is full, no storage space” would flash across my screen.)

I don’t know what I’ll do without the “@donotreply” reminder from school that one of my kids had a 78 average in English class this past fall or that special discount from Shutterfly, offering 25% off photo books. 

I’ve cleaned out my photo library on my iPhone too. 

My screen life is simplified

That’s not to say I’ve been able to have the screen time I’m usually afforded. There’s limited cell reception here. Throw in the fact that Jason took out the TVs that were in the camper before we left and I’m pretty much living like a cave girl. (Not really. I’m obviously tapping away on my iPhone as I speak while sitting in front of my own personal space heater lest I catch a chill from the coolness of the morning). 

But screen life is limited. And my life is lighter. 

I’m not guaging America’s reaction to the Stanford rape case, or to the girl in the news from the metroplex who shared in her valedictorian speech that she’s an undocumented citizen, or its reaction to the latest on the Trump and Hillary slugfest. That’s not to say that I’m no longer compassionate, but I’m less nosy and less stressed. And it’s a nice break. 

The mere act of getting “rid of stuff” and not having access to my typical time-eaters makes me instantly feel as if I’m adding gigabytes to my brain space and years to my life. 

Simplification and careful elimination

That’s the ticket 

not only concerning my technology time but in my use of time altogether 

I’m practicing making room in my crowded life; more room for God to show me things, things an overfilled, distracted mind might miss. 

I can better listen and understand what God requires of me. 

It’s been easy the past five days, the first days of sabbatical. We’re kid-less until next week. “House cleaning” takes about ten minutes. I had bacon wrapped peppers for supper last night and smores for dessert. The weather is beautiful. I’m learning to live better by the use of training wheels these days.   

My prayer is that I’ll keep my balance when the wheels come off back home (or maybe by day 10 if my “need-to know and need-to-be-involved default” kicks back in). My hope is that I’ll be alert to the world’s tedious and cumbersome invitations that I’m not meant to accept. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Don’t forget to subscribe if you don’t want to miss a post. 

Check out our sabbatical pictures on Instagram @ Kristi burden and pastor burden 

Posted in Home | 1 Comment

Put That Thing Down

I killed a spider with my bare thumb this morning. I spared no time as it looked me in the eye inside the CAMPER TRAILER SHOWER!  It was me or him. There was no room for kindness.  (I’ve already bragged about it on Facebook. Sorry if you’re having to read about it again…I’m done now). 

For a moment I felt invincible. A half-hour later I was reminded of my limitations while I was curling my hair in the kitchen. 

We stayed at a KOA camp in Raton, New Mexico last night. Isn’t it pretty? 

We’re headed to South Fork, Colorado today. So this morning I was trying to both get ready and pack up everything we used last night, one of those “needing to be packed” items was a candle I used last night to get rid of the musty camper smell. 

I felt I was positioned perfectly to clean and primp at the same time. My curling iron cord, which was attached to my hair, was plugged in on my right. I noticed a woven basket on the cabinet directly underneath the plug. “A good place to put the candle that’s now on the table to my left,” I thought. It needs to be secured before making this last leg of the drive.  

Just as quickly as I murdered that spider, I lunged my left hand toward the candle (while my right hand was still attached to the curling iron that was wrapped around my hair). The cord snapped me back in place. 

So I took a large step with my left foot toward the table, sure if I stretched myself I’d be able to reach it and put it in the basket. 

My efforts were in vain. 

Note to self:  write about your problem with impulsivity.  

I had to finish “my curl” and then put the curling iron down. 

I think I speak for all of us when I say we have things we should put down. We all needlessly stretch ourselves. 

We try to do, to make, to fix…to control, finding ourselves spent. Exhaustion can discourage us, reminding us of all the things that are left undone. 

Thankfully my battle of will only lasted about thirty seconds this morning, but trying to do as much as I can in as little time as possible is a lifestyle I’m accustomed to. 

Anybody remember this? One of my favorite visuals describing me when I hurry. 

Life isn’t meant to be lived out in our own strength. Weariness  reminds us, brothers and sisters, of “the thing to do” when we’re feeling frazzled. 

The Message puts it nicely:

Are you tired? Worn out? …Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.  Matthew  11:28-30

Time with God (surrender to God) teaches us those things (worry, control, fear, busyness…) that can be crossed off our list. He tells us to put that thing down. He shows us how to order our steps. He teaches us to wait, giving “rest to our souls”.  

Flight will perish from the swift, And the stalwart will not strengthen his power, Nor the mighty man save his life. Amos 2:14

Don’t forget to subscribe if you don’t want to miss a post. 

Posted in Home | 2 Comments