Monday, April 19, 2021

Under the Sun

On occasion throughout the year the White boys get together for a saunter through the mountains. Thoreau said a saunterer is a "seeker of the Sainte Terre or Holy Land." We define saunter as "reverently walking through creation to look for God." 

Our conversations in the car and on the trail ebb between the themes of theology and identity, ministry and family, art and beauty, sacrament and stillness, and between liturgy and life lessons. 

During our saunter our Dad read two poems by R.S.C. which echoed my soul's prayer. 

Building His heaven, On common sod.

Oh the sheer joy of it,
Ever to be, 
Living in glory,
Living with Thee,
Lord of tomorrow, 
Lover of me! 

Mountain Te Deum

I thank Thee just for life,
The chance to live,
To be alive! So great They gift,
If Thou dost nothing give
Beside, it is enough,
To breathe Thy air,
To walk this mountain sod,
To feel the play of mighty winds,
To look Thee in the face,
And call Thee God! 

Reverently walking through creation to look for God always leads to Him. 

These are good days


Relationships are the lungs of our lives. They breathe into us, giving us fresh strength for the day we are in and the days still yet to come. 

Cultivate relationships wherever you are and wherever you go. They are oxygen!  

Birthday Season

Birthday season is intense. 
Heidi - December 5th
Joel - December 15th 
Elizabeth - December 26th
Josiah - January 1st
Joseph - January 6th
Noah - March 4th

...and that's just us. A half a dozen extended family members make birthday season last from November through April. 

We don't do big presents or spend big money on birthdays (nothing wrong with that). We save that for Easter. For birthday season we focus on experiences and creating memories. We also don't begrudge getting older, we celebrate it! 

The past year represents us having done the best we knew how to do....and like Maya Angelou wrote, "Now that you know better, you'll do better." We celebrate the hard lessons and make it a point to speak affirmations related to the coming year. Birthdays recount the story of who we are and who we are becoming! 

These are good days

Monday, November 23, 2020

The COVID-19 Magnifying Glass

This pandemic has been like a magnifying glass - amplifying racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and mortality. In our work, we see its effects nearly every day. Also,  COVID-19 effects everybody despite it's obvious impact on our world's most vulnerable -- domestic violence and mental health issues are at an all-time high irregardless of income level. 

Here's why. Because COVID-19 magnifies what's broken within us. 

Whatever was broken in you before covid, is front and center now. For example, were you lonely before covid? you might feel isolated. Were you a workaholic before covid? ....Now you might feel burnt out. Were you physically unhealthy before covid? Now you're worried about being very susceptible to the virus. COVID-19 magnifies what's broken within us. 

One of the habits we have cultivated as a family for the last 15 years is a weekly saunter (to walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort) in the mountains. One (of many) reasons we value its importance is because we know that this weekly act of worship is healing something broken within us. We truly believe the cumulative effect of years of prayerfully walking in beautiful places have cultivated our renewal. 

COVID-19 magnifies what's broken within us but prayerfully walking heals our wounds.

So so many days before, we walked. We walked slowly, prayerfully, joyfully....stopping to see beauty and proclaim it's goodness in front of our children. We participated in the healing God IS doing in each of our lives during these difficult times. 

These are good days.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

4 Years Later

Today marks 4 years since Noah was hit by a car in our neighborhood. We still cling to the words God spoke to Heidi at Noah’s hospital bedside when the picture of him being hit was on auto-repeat in her mind. She heard God say, “Not today.” It was not his last day then, and we are thankful that 4 years later we are still given the gift of today with Noah. 

Today, Noah on his own initiative, woke up this morning and asked to do his annual “I run my age” run. 6 miles for this kid! So thankful to God for our IronBaby’s life and the 6 years we’ve had with him so far.

These are good days

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Discovering what’s possible

The Wind River has become for us the place of possibility. Running northwest to southeast for 100 miles, over 40 of its peaks reach 13,000+ feet into the heavens. Most of it is designated as “wilderness” and therefore federally protected from development and human impact. This makes the Wind River Range one of the largest road-free areas in the USA. It’s truly a wild place, and you feel that as you walk through it’s remote landscape. It’s the place of possibility. Climbers wonder if they can summit its highest peaks and steepest granite walls. Hikers wonder if they have the endurance to venture deep into its back country to destinations that will require many miles on foot. Backpackers wonder if they can endure the extreme & temperamental weather the Wind River produces. Even in its history, it seems that it has always been a place of possibility for human beings. Indigenous peoples lived in this incredible landscape 9,000 years ago. The Shoshone people lived at 10,000 feet elevation for pinenut harvesting each year. For them, this landscape may have meant the possibility of survival. Much later in the early 1800’s when Europeans visited here, they surveyed the landscape as a way to mark the continental divide and find a way to cross through it. Their expedition became an important part of the Oregon Trail. For these early explorers this range may have meant the possibility of travel. 

For our family, the Wind River Range has also been a place of possibility. We didn’t know coming into this trip if it was possible to actually backpack with a four, six, eight, and ten-year-old. We also didn’t know if it was possible for us to really access the Wind River because of what it requires to travel deep into its alpine basins. Being here has taught us that what’s possible is contingent on passion. Possibility is passion with legs. Our family has a passion for pursuing beauty in creation. It’s not enough for us to see it in a painting or on a TV screen. We want to experience it by becoming a part of the landscape - whether by climbing up onto its “shoulders” or hiking and backpacking into its “heart”, we move our bodies in choreographed unison as a way to connect to beautiful places and one another. It’s the possibility of connectivity and it’s the passion for beauty which moves our family’s 12 legs.

Our third backpacking trip took us to Island Lake and the Titcomb Basin. It required 33 miles of effort and 4,400 feet of elevation gain. For five days we enjoyed this part of the Wind River Range. It was truly our best backpacking trip to date.  Those five days included three hiking days and two “off days.” The kids all hiked really well and enjoyed the experience. The kids also learned what’s possible! 

Base camping at Island Lake

Hiking to Titcomb Basin

For most of our trip we had INCREDIBLE weather, but on one off day we spent the day in our tent under thunderstorms, wind, rain, and hail. We played a lot of games (Uno, Sushi Go, Apples to Apples) ate candy, told stories, read books, and took naps. 

After the skies cleared our hike out was under sun and clouds — perfect!

These are good days. 

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