Divine delays

Our snow waited to really fall this year. We kept thinking it would come, that we’d have an early, hard winter. (Up here, that’s a good thing.)

15043496_1252194634843461_4202032084979548160_n

But it just kept waiting.  Temperatures stayed warm and rain came, but any real snow was delayed.

15043812_1604916063145267_702298938979385344_n

When you’re waiting for something, something good, it’s hard to feel complete without it.  Part of you is missing, and if you let it, hope starts to drain away.  It’s easy to become consumed by what’s not there, instead of what is.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

But sometimes, heaven is found in the waiting.  Sometimes, delays are divine.

For in every delay, there is a purpose.

Finally, our snow has come in force, and we are getting blanketed in love from Heaven.

There are other delays, though, and they make my heart ache with a yearning to be done with this soul-stretching time.

But I’ve found that Christ is not in the destination nearly as much as He is along the path.  Joy is found right now, not in completion and settledness.  It is found in moments.

Small, fleeting moments of joy.  And the more I thank Heaven for them, the more moments I find.

I know that eventually, the snow does come.  Eventually, all is made right.  But until then, deep breaths, hope in spite of all else, courage, and a thankful heart.

Essential

img_20161031_172419

Lately, when I would expect to find myself depleted, I find myself strengthened.

img_20161029_195338

More and more, my life is a lesson in essentialism.

img_20161101_144452

I can see more clearly each day which things in my life are essential, and which are not.  And those that are not are simply falling away as I press forward.

img_20161102_152634

That is the only way that I have found to accomplish all that I must.  Some things simply have to go.  Some things just do not matter as much as others.  Some voices simply have to be hushed.

img_20161103_142048

I used to think that there was no way to accomplish everything.  Now I see that “everything” means something different than it once did.

img_20161031_141051

I am not worthy of the gifts of my life.  I am starkly aware of that lately.  I believe that is the next step in my life, to let not only activity fall away, but parts of myself that are frankly unworthy of the light I feel called toward.

Pathless Woods

Processed with VSCO

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore…”
– Byron

img_20161025_184412

I am so grateful for a life in which I feel called to act, to go, to move, to be, to rest, to listen.

I’m grateful for the road less travelled. I’m grateful for pathless woods that only One knows the way through, and that I am allowed the blessed privilege to travel.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Secret Hiding Places

img_8449

I’ve been in a hard place all week.

img_8448

It seems like everything is about to change, and yet nothing is changing.

img_8447

It’s always hard to both wait and progress, all at the same time.

img_8443

Some days I am thankful for secret hiding places in the woods.

img_8441

Here, everything is still, yet everything is changing.

img_8438

Much like me.

img_8434

Faith is a constant decision.

img_8433

It cannot be based on how quickly things happen or when.

img_8432

It’s all about finding the balance between never accepting mediocrity while being at peace with the Lord’s timing.

img_8429

I can’t think of a better place to learn that than in my home in the woods.

img_8428

Everyone should have a safe retreat, a place to go and choose faith again and again.

img_8423

A place where wild things are allowed to grow and be.

Accepting Defeat

This summer we were considerably behind in our mountain adventures.

One mountaintop we’ve all yearned to return to was the one we’d climbed first, Mt. Washburn.

img_8505

We’ve tried several times this summer, but have been turned back by blizzards, broken cars, and other trivial things. :)

This was our last shot before winter and we really wanted to do it.

img_8506

Our favorite trail was closed, so we approached the peak from the other side.  Our hike started pleasantly enough, though cold and windy.

img_8507

As we climbed, though, the wind became increasingly dangerous.  The snow and ice on the trail gradually became more pronounced until it was about knee deep for the kids in some places.

 

We came out from a switchback into an very exposed section.  The snow was deep and the wind was stronger than any I have  ever felt.  We were only a quarter mile from the summit.  We could see it in front of us, so close we could nearly touch it.

I made the kids sit down, pressed against the rocks for a moment.  We’d already climbed three miles and nearly 1500 feet in elevation.  We were so close.  But I closed my eyes to block the view of what I wanted, in order to hear the voice that I needed to hear, the one that was not my own.

It was just unsafe and frankly stupid to push forward at the edge of a mountain in that wind.  We turned back.  We were quiet.  After getting so close, we all felt defeat.

img_8503

But as we came down, I watched my girls.  They had paired up and were holding hands for strength against the wind.  Whether we succeed or fail isn’t always the important thing.

img_8510

Sometimes, it’s how we accept the defeats that come that matters.  We accepted it together, hand in hand.  We moved down to safety and made a snowman.

I pondered on the way down.  Our life is different than most.  But anyone who thinks that God has only one way to give us the experience we need, to become who we need to become, frankly does not know Him at all.

img_8501

Feeling grateful for the way He teaches me.

Slowing down

The pace of our life has been changing over these last few months.

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

It is easy for me to get down on myself when I’m not accomplishing all that I feel I should be.

This is when I’m grateful for being outside.

The simpleness of the sharper air, the crisp bite of pine…these serve as simple reminders to focus on the most important things and let the rest go for now.

No amount of rush and accomplishment will replace the quiet in our woods and our home right now, and who we are becoming in them.

Seasons

It’s taken me a long time, but I am so glad that I’ve finally learned the secret to being happy in life.

img_8364-001

It’s to be grateful for each season in its time.

img_8357-001

There is always something different to look forward to, to wish for, to hope for.

img_8342-001

Always some change we wish would come.

img_8349-001

Always a past we yearn to visit once more.

img_8358-001

Being grateful in the moment is where the joy is found.

img_8227-001

Though life is in a great state of flux right now, I find myself relatively quiet.

img_8235-001

Deep contentment is settling on me, as I see that all of the paths that were unsure have led to this very sure moment.

img_8360-001

Autumn is always a time of change for me, and this year is no different.

img_8341-001

The weather seems to remind me constantly of this.

img_8232-001

One day there is rain.

img_8356-001

The next, snow.

img_8230-001

The next, golden sunshine.

img_8359-001

“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives, but everything to do with the focus of our lives.”

-Russell M. Nelson

img_8285-001

 

First snow

And just like that, life changes.

img_8209

It’s snowed here all day.

img_8211

We have plenty of autumn left, but it will blend so gently with winter from here on out.

img_8217

This marks the beginning of the quiet.

The snow falling outside of my window naturally slows my heart.

img_8221

This is beginning of the season of light and warmth.

I love our life, our traditions.

img_8216

Like Santa leaving new slippers on the day of the first snow.

img_8223

Like warm fires and cocoa and blankets and movies.

Somehow, the snow tucks us in and makes us safe.  I feel a peace today that I have been seeking for days.

I’m ready for the change.  Different seasons help different parts of us grow.  They each seem to come just at the right time.

 

Water

 

water1

Summer has gone, and I’ve not even written.

water2

 

This summer has been an intense spiritual experience full of more love, friendship, faith, and choice than I have ever known.

water3

 

It’s been a summer spent in the water.

water4

 

Interestingly, I’ve always been afraid of water until now.

water5

 

This summer, I’ve found answers, light, and peace, while facing some of my deepest fears, which have had nothing to do with water at all.

water6

 

I keep thinking of Peter, when we was told to “launch out into the deep” and let down his nets.  (Luke 5:4)

water7

 

I committed to myself that I would do that, some time ago… And I have.

water8

 

What I’ve found in the deep has been more incredible than anything I could have imagined.

water9

 

Without the water, there is no life.

water10

 

I know I’m not being too specific, though I hope soon to be.

water11

 

I can feel Heaven smiling down, saying, “I told you there was more to the story.”

water12

 

I’m so grateful for the courage to wade in.

water13

 

Horizons

I’ve learned more about faith and miracles lately than ever before in my life.

shore

I think about Peter so often these days, from the Bible.  He wanted to be with Christ so badly.  Sometimes he was afraid of the process or the price.  But there was never a reason to fear…for Christ was right there with him.

I look back on the past two years and see how I’ve run away and come back home.  The horizons of my hopes were pushed back, so far I could not see them.  Storms have shown me His perfect mastery and brought me home, to a better home than I could have imagined.

Only now am I truly beginning to see.

girls