I kinda feel like I am shouting it from a distant peak, from my corner of the world over to yours, “Hellooooo!!”. The cold grey stone of mountain sending it further than I can on my own. Yet, in reality, I am now closer geographically to many of you than I have ever been.
However, since it doesn’t feel closer, it makes me happy to get to sit down and type for a few minutes, reconnect, and find my way to you all again.
Since the last time I wrote, we have moved from St. Louis, Missouri to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Twenty one hundred miles and an amazing number of different landscapes in between.
Our family just went on the road trip of our life, so far, together. I did my best to keep a journal during the travels and since, but it never quite worked out for me to share much of it publicly. If you follow me on Instagram, or FB there’s some photos there.
In general, however, I have been quiet. Not because I’m not happy, rather because it has all been so special, so much, I’ve needed to hold it close. Does that make sense? We all process things in our own way, quietness is a big one for me. With camera or journal in hand that is!
Plus…how do I even begin??
Our new backyard. It’s hard for me to just write that without telling you about how light the air feels, or the scent of pine in it, the sound of the water all day long!
Stairs coming up from the river…the moss draping over our heads, the blackberries bushes within arms reach, the ferns and woodland difference this is to the burnt prairie grass a few hundred feet away…I want to tell you about it all.
Since arriving, each day has been what I will call a new learning adventure. Not one single boring day yet. We moved from a suburban neighborhood in the Midwest to a plot of land in a country, mountainous, region of the Pacific Northwest—on a river. As you can imagine, slight differences are being discovered.
For a homeschooling family, this is a teacher’s/parent’s dream. The ease of teaching something new and interesting just increased by a thousand fold before I can get breakfast on the table. Life is a living laboratory as it is, and our classroom just got transplanted—surrounded by new wildlife, landscape, history, and even a different time zone.
Front yard scenes in the morning…
One day, recently, we played all morning in the river behind our house, enjoyed lunch, and then discovered a well-known mountain trail with an incredible lookout ten minutes away.
In the middle of the trail, I was so moved by this strange normality that has become our daily life, tears just started falling. I lifted my face into the warm sun and light breeze, took a deep breath, and walked on with more joy than my frame could obviously contain.
I say joy, because I’m not just happy about this move, I’m stirred deeply by it. It’s a change I’ve been aching for, from the core of who I know myself to be. I’ve been searching for a long time, searching on many levels: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically.
This isn’t the end of my search, but it’s a place on the trail with a sign post that says, “Yes”. Yes, you belong here. It’s like putting on a piece of clothing that fits just right, more as an extension of yourself—or as a help—not a hindrance. An, ahhh, relief—yes. I can move! It doesn’t feel clunky, awkward, and hard to move in.
It has not been lost on me that it’s one year ago, exactly, from the time I first discovered I was running a chronic fever and was in-and-out of doctor’s offices searching for a source of infection in my body. I sure did not imagine this was further down the trail then.
In the midst of all that it seemed I had hit a wall, a “No”. It’s not lost on me the strange way hindrance, clunky, awkward, and hard seem to invite us into the knowing that there’s more to do, and further to go. It sure is challenging to see at the time though, isn’t it?
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately. The word itself can feel clunky, vague, unhelpful. But then there are those times, usually when it’s all we have, it comes alive. And that’s a wonderful thing. It connects us. It connects us to heaven and earth. We know we need heaven and we know we’re not so different or far away from the rest of the folks walking around here with us either—now, that’s joy.
I love these lyrics,
“Well the other side of the world
Is not so far away as I thought that it was
As I thought that it was so far away
But the other side of the world
Is not so far away
And the distance just dissolves into the love
Into the love…
I see a people who have learned to walk in faith
With Mercy in their hearts
And glory on their faces
And I can see the people
And I pray it won’t be long
Until Your kingdom comes”
-Rich Mullins, The Other Side of the World
Change stirs us and shakes us, but that’s what makes us. Sometimes it makes us quiet on the outside while all the whirling and refining is occurring on the inside. It’s alright. We start to see details and features in faces and places we couldn’t see before, because we walked in the dark places and unknown places first. That’s where we learn to walk by faith.
That’s where we learn Mercy in our hearts and the glory of the image of God we have been made in sneaks out into our own features, but all we know is we can see other’s faces better now. See what I mean? Heaven and earth. We know their sadness, their lines are recognized. We tasted the salty tears that make us hear the ocean even in our dreams and then when we wake and hear it’s roaring in our children’s hearts and that makes us pray.
We start to pray for His kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven. Because.
It’s like putting on a piece of clothing that fits just right, more as an extension of yourself—or as a help—not a hindrance. An, ahhh, relief—yes. I can move! It doesn’t feel clunky, awkward, and hard to move in.
We’ve been searching for a long time, searching on many levels: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically. It’s a change we’ve been aching for, from the core of who we know ourselves to be.
I say joy, it’s your inheritance.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. -Psalm 30:5(b)
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You can find my book Pray, Like a Woman in Labor on Amazon.