Choosing love

“In the name of what?”

As I have watched what has happened to America following the attacks, I have been stunned.  I feel like I am screaming in the corner, begging so many of my friends to have sense.  As the frenzy has turned us ever further from love and ever deeper into fear, I, too, feel the need to scream of our country’s actions, “Not in my name.”

In spite of the fact that Paris has allowed even more refugees to come since the attacks, the American world is going crazy and I feel like a tide is washing over me, and though I haven’t given in to the fear that so many are feeling, I have felt an overwhelming despair at what is happening.

I keep thinking of my friends in Denver.  Refugees who always calmed me and helped me see the bigger picture.  Mamas.  Women with more strength than I have ever had.  I miss them.  I wonder how this is making them feel.

As usual, my girls are pulling me back from the dark.

When we told them about what was happening, they instantly leapt to action.  Children are wonderful.  They do not despair.  They move.

The girls asked where our nearest refugees are and what they could do for them.  They started putting lists together, doing research, making fliers, and knitting scarves.

They chose love and action, not despair and fear.

Home for the


The faith of a child can still change the world.

Choose love.

Giving up

Good-bye, autumn.

Each fall is a thrill for me.  I am never so happy as I am in the fall.  The air is cool, the mountains are quiet, and the leaves give their last gift and fall.

Fall always seems to be the time of my greatest growth.  It seems to be the time that my heart is ready and I turn more fully.

The past two years have been more important than probably any years that came before them.  Like the leaves of a tree, all of myself that I knew has fallen away and left the bare trunk of me exposed to myself.

I have been surprised this autumn as more has been asked.  I say that as though a demanding overlord has required my payment.  That is not it at all.  I have found that my heart is unable to rest.  I have yearned to be more, to be the best of myself that I can possibly offer.

As my heart has become more willing, more has been required of me.

I have been led onto paths of great uncertainty and paths that have required all my faith, both figurative and literal.

As I have given up things that have been so dear to me I didn’t know how I ever could, I have been amazed at the result.

Where I expected to see an emptiness after something has been given up, I have instead seen a glimpse of what it covered up…a small window into a deeper, more pure version of myself.

I have climbed mountains and sought the Lord, and I have found Him.

Changes are coming and they are more beautiful than what I held onto.  My heart bursts with Love for a Savior who is helping me give up.  I am no longer sorry for what I have given up.  Instead, I am so grateful that it was asked.

And now, I boldly welcome the winter that my heart has waited for all along.

Thank you for the comments, emails, phone calls, everything…I’ve been absent from my blog during this time of change and I am so grateful to all who have checked in.  It means more than you know.  :)

Faith and Fall

“There is at least a punky spark in my heart and it may blaze in this autumn gold, fanned by the King.” – John Muir

Fall burst in all its glory a little early this year.

There are times that I feel that autumn was made just for me.

Each year, my heart quickens and seems to both settle and pound at the burst of color and cool.

Perhaps it is because I am an autumn baby, but I feel like I am reborn each fall.

The lower sun illuminates the mountain gold, and the air becomes cooler.

Rain falls with more purpose.

All animals, from the largest bears to the smallest chipmunks, are at their most active right now, preparing for the long winter ahead.

As our wildflowers are dying and our mountains are preparing to sleep under a blanket of cold, I am coming to life.

Autumn always calls to my heart to wake up and be more.

But this year, it seems to be calling me fully back to life.

I feel more of a sense of purpose and drive than I have ever felt.

Faith is what has changed everything.

Faith that though there are long, cold times, there is so much life and it is worth living.

There are things to do and we will have help to do them.

Faith is a choice, but once that choice is made, the help to make it comes.

Now pardon me while I revel in being the mother of absolutely gorgeous children.




The woods are getting quiet again.

Nights are getting cold, making the quiet sky bright with stars.

Matt and I have been doing a lot of stargazing.

It reminds me of two years ago, when we first moved here. We would sit under the stars in awe, grateful every second that we had chosen to make our home here.

“When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak.”
-John Muir

Ode to the end of summer (in photos)

Summer here is nearly over.

The leaves are beginning to turn and the nights are getting cold. Autumn is breathing its way in, and with it, my heart is pounding with the anticipation of all the change that is coming. So, as we have felt our summer fading, we have been using up every spare second. My sister has been here, and that has helped us enjoy it even more.


On the mountain

“Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear.”

C.S. Lewis

We spent the day in the holiest mountains of all.


This is a place I have often come to literally lay my burden at the feet of the mountains…the Lord’s feet.


For me there has been no greater courage, no greater faith, than to accept the pain He has given me, and then to have the faith to give it back and allow Him to use it to change me.  Accepting the grief was the first step.  The second was having the courage to let it go again.

It was in this holiest of places that I first knew I could still feel joy.  Today I hiked and sat and waded, soaking both the rain and the sunshine in, thanking God for bringing me to this place.


“You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you.”

– C.S. Lewis


Ever since I had my first baby, I knew I wanted our family to be different somehow.  I feel like every minute of my life since then has been spent striving to create the family I dreamed of having.  I have been so imperfect.

Somehow, in all of the imperfection, there is still always the ability at the end of the day to make it right.  “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” are as important to us as “I love you.”

Our oldest was gone all week at camp.  I felt her absence keenly, and I think she felt ours.  A family is a fragile thing.  It should be handled with absolute care, above all things.  All things.

I feel such deep contentment being back together, and lately, I feel the most incredible peace I’ve ever had in my life.  I feel like I am finally seeing the incredible result of two people who love each other and their family so dearly.  I feel so grateful for the tremendous work of creating hallowed walls, where lovely, delicate seedlings are growing together, making ready someday to spread their peace and joy.


We climbed a mountain yesterday, one we’ve planned to climb since the beginning of the summer.

(This girl…first one up and first one down, driving us all the way.  The most amazing 5-year-old in the world.)

Climbing a mountain is like climbing to God.  You see the top and you long to be there.  You feel in your heart that you are ready for whatever it will take to get there.  So you climb.

The first part of the journey, though your heart pounds and your legs start to warm, seems so doable.  You find your rhythm and the top seems to get nearer.  You feel like you’re going to make it even sooner and easier than you thought.  It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve been tough enough for what it took to get that far.

But then, after a long while, you hit the switchbacks.  Switchback after ever-steepening switchback.  You can no longer see the peak, except perhaps rare glimpses when it looks further away than it ever did.  Many turn around at this point.

You consider it.

But still, you long to be there.  You know that if you just keep going, you can make it.

Depending on the mountain, there are moments when you just want to sit down and weep.  It seems nearly impossible.  You’ve surely gone far enough by now.  Your legs are burning and exhausted and you are gulping for air.

At times you meet people on the trail, coming down from the summit of the mountain.  They’ve been where you long to be.  They’ve paid the price to be there.  Though you wish you could sit with them and have them tell you about it so you’ve felt you’ve been there, you know it can’t work that way.  They can’t take you there, but they can offer encouragement and tell you that it’ll be worth it to keep going.

One kind man coming down could see the tired on our faces.  We were close, but not there yet.  “When it gets really rocky, you’ll know you’re almost there,” he said.  And he was right.  Rocks that seemed to pierce our feet caused us pain and gave us hope.

So for now, I just want to say, if you’ve been counted worthy of a mountain to climb, and it seems like the going is rockier than it’s ever been, maybe it’s because you’re almost there, where you long to be.

There is literally no feeling in the world like arriving.  The relief, the peace, the triumph.  The ache of your legs, your back, your lungs.  The view, the perspective.

Always, we sit there for a while, at least an hour.  How I wish we could stay.  But eventually, for now, we have to come down.

Coming down with the new load of what you’ve gone through and what you know can be nearly equally hard in some places.  But the load can be exactly what you need to give you the traction to move forward.

And can I say a few things about triumph?  We waited to climb this mountain because one of my daughters was afraid.

She has a very real fear of being caught on the mountain in a thunder storm.  Though we carefully plan with the weather, she has struggled to trust that we would be safe.  Rather than forcing her, we have waited while she worked through her fear and learned to trust me.

Even so, yesterday took all the faith she had.  Watching her finally overcome her own fear and climb that mountain was a profound moment in my life.  I think I spent more time watching her reaction and process from the top than I did looking at the view.

There is no joy like the triumph of climbing the mountain you feared your were not strong enough to climb.

This wee babe climbed her first mountain yesterday.  She’s been carried up before, and walked parts, but yesterday, she climbed by herself.  It was a sacred thing to witness.

We ended the day, swimming in the river we love, where steaming water from the earth meets with icy mountain water.  We rested our weary muscles and were new people, with the new perspective we had gained.  This is why we do hard things.  This is why we climb.  We grow stronger.  We become new.  We are never the same.

Sweet summertime.

I have nothing of consequence to write tonight, but I do want to remember the joy of the favorite summer swimming hole.  Yellowstone, you have our hearts. :)

(Okay, I do have one thing to say about this one…I love watching my children grow.  My oldest is becoming a little more self-conscious about pictures than she once was, but a more grown-up loveliness is setting in.  It’s really something to see unfolding before my very eyes.)

“Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom.”

– John Muir



The secret to joy.

“I felt as if I were in the presence of superior beings who loved me and beckoned me to come. I sat down beside them and wept for joy.”

– John Muir

I am sitting on my porch in the middle of a mountain rainstorm, thinking of beautiful summer days past.  There is nothing like it in the world…the deluge out of the open heavens, the thunder that calls and is answered by each surrounding mountainside.  Moments like this are one of the reasons we live here.  I wanted this for me and for my children.  It’s a reminder to me of the secret to joy.

There are times in our lives that feel as though we are standing in the middle of an absolute deluge of sorrow or trial.  Heaven seems to have opened all of the stops and let it all out at once.  Looking up, there seems to be no sun, no pinpoint of light, no relief from the cold that soaks your skin.

But it doesn’t stop there…it can’t.  The secret lies in seeing each drop in its purpose and beauty, in seeing that the drenching rain from Heaven is actually a gift that Heaven saw we were ready for.  Often our most painful moments lead to our greatest joys.  After the rain comes the renewal of life.

My joy is found not in perfect days or weeks, but in perfect moments.  They are perfect because I choose to see that the drops falling from Heaven or the river rushing by or the breeze in my face are all whispering to me that a loving Father has sent all things to me to bring me closer to Him, because He knew I was ready to come nearer.

I believe He speaks to each of us in our own language, and in our own way.

I feel so blessed to have found mine, the language of the river, the wild grass, and the trees.

So, this week, I remember peeling river-soaked denim off of little legs and say a prayer of thanks for these moments of rest and love, moments that speak to me in the language of my heart.

I remember the laughter of playing in the river fully clothed.

The magic of mud and water.

The love of sisters.

The quietness of a barefoot hike back to the car, carrying shoes and quietly talking.

Gentle mountain paths just waiting for our feet.

Not every moment is like this.

But I choose to remember those that are, for seeing and remembering the blessings is the secret to joy.