The Year of the Story

The Story of the Blog

You want to know why I started this whole blog thing? I really just needed a place to write creatively. Without a template. Without word counts. Without anyone directing my writing. And it worked.

I wrote. And I read other people’s blogs. And I was sincere. And I began to tell you my story. And I worked on it. It was fun. It wasn’t easy. I tried advertising on it. I tried lots of ways to tag and categorize and link. It grew. and lots of people read it. My best years for the blog traffic were 2012 and 2013.

And then I acquired a book contract. And I went back to school. And I started working more. And my family became busier and older and busier. And my capacity to blog decreased. And the years went on. My book was published in 2015, and I was so very grateful for my time here that helped that project to be a success.

This will be my 8th year to blog here. My many other responsibilities and ventures get me thinking of shutting it down, but I haven’t been able to close the book on it. So, here we are again. You, me, the internet. My thoughts and abilities and words and ideas connecting somehow to you out there.

One of the connections I make with you is that you know from my stories that parenting can be very fun and that I’m a real person with struggles and heartache. Also, my faith is real, but I’m not interested in shouting about anything. I’ve never taken a political stance on here, but I’m not saying I never will. It’s been important to me to keep the connection open and not distract with shock or awe or anger. Another thing you need to know about me is that I write from inward, and it’s been right lately to keep things close.

The story of the blog goes on in 2017. For, I’m going to do a little exploring with my writing in some different ways. You get to be part of this experiment. Little by little we’ll see if we can make this thing work as part of the ongoing forward path of my life now. Be prepared for more intensity. Or less. Know that I may tell some other folk’s stories. Maybe I’ll tell yours.

I’ll do my best to keep things concise and interesting. And you do your best to read it. I don’t just want to tell you stories though. I want to connect in a way to assist, to inspire, to show the possibility of greatness that is in all of us.

In two weeks, I will be running a marathon instead of writing at this very moment and it will be hard. But, I have trained and built slowly up to this point. I have discovered my body can be stretched and pained and pushed to perform but not without rest, planning, and fuel. Writing is the same, and I am ready to move towards greatness…so are you.

Morning Run


The morning run can be fun if you start with views like this…16 miles logged today! Marathon training is awesome. At the end of today’s run, I just starting stretching and crying. It took me a minute to realize that I was crying. I guess it was a mental release. My feet were hurting but not enough to cry. It was kind of amazing. Wish me luck. 

Sign Post

I know I haven’t been around for awhile. I’m in serious contemplation mode about the blog and where do I go from here. But for now, I have a little sign post for you carefully crafted from our Grand Canyon trip. 

Driving with rocks.

This is at the top of the South Kaibab which is the trail we went down to the bottom of the canyon. Be prepared. 

On the South Kaibab.

Carlsbad has lots of rules. 

This is good advice. Pretty much for everyone. Everyday. 

This is in a Phantom Ranch bathroom at the very bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

This at the top of Bright Angel trail when we had almost finished our Canyon hike. 

I’m so thankful for sign posts aren’t you?

She would…

 

She would have been proud of us…for growth, change, accomplishments, pain…while she also worried if we were okay.

She would smile big at that new driver’s license, Anna.

Her chin would raise in support for that first golf tournament, Maile.

Her blue eyes would sparkle at how tall you are, Lydia,and she would comment on how straight your teeth are.

Her thin hand would run over your shiny, blonde hair, Claire as she pulled you into her soft hug showing her love for you the youngest.

She would widen her eyes and open her pretty mouth in wonder at how all four of you race in on your horses and ride hard to win. 

She would be glad I’m not as thin as I used to be while she clucked her tongue at the training for the marathon….shaking her head…”too much.”

Her other thin hand would rest on your shoulder Matt and rest there in the joy and the pain of the switch in sails.

She would delight in all the new great-grands born lately.

She would laugh hard at the silly family pictures we take.

She would look around at her large family and sign happily, proudly…and hope all in one breath that we are all really okay.

Rewriting Your History (Down to Studs)

Raise your hand if you look around and find surprise in how your life looks. Not what you expected? Yeah, me too. It can be good.

See, I have fluctuated between knowing living life like Mother Theresa is the right path and simply wanting to enjoy life with new shoes and a dress. This life and place and path has shifted and weaved and moved around it can be hard to be proactive and responsive. The feelings come and we “feel” thrown around by life circumstances. Faith is hard, and life direction can be confusing. So much of our life gets shifted by emotions and feelings and perspectives.

We all have our moments where we stop and look around to try to figure out if we are where we set out to go…or are we just a long way from home. Perspective is powerful.

Our life has changed a lot in the last few months. My husband transitioned out of his position at the church, and he is onto a different adventure. My oldest child is driving a car now. I’m training for a marathon. We have two high schoolers. We are finding our way in peace. Schedules, goals, all has adjusted and we are shifting our perspectives.

The things I knew when I was young, some were true, and some were wrong. -Lumineers, “The Gun Song”

Last weekend, we took the kids to Baton Rouge and we cleaned out a few flood homes together. One house we were in had nothing by the curb, and by the end of our time there everything 4 feet down we had hauled out to that same curb. I stood in the middle of the elderly lady’s bedroom overwhelmed by the stuff ruined…so much gone of her life. But, it was all just stuff. We drove away looking at all the piles of everyone’s things on the curbs. Everyone was the same….everyone down to studs.

My kids worked so hard. I was proud of them. They saw into the experience too. No one complained or fussed about sweating or working hard. Maile looked at me and said, “I don’t have any problems,” during one of our breaks. They aren’t perfect, and the situation we put them in on purpose wasn’t perfect. We talked about what we were doing and why. And then we drove home to our dry house with all the stuff in tact.


And so today, I find myself in the middle of all these memories while I shift through all the things 4 feet and down in my house to ensure that I am taking care of the stuff in my life and letting go of all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there. Reflection, perspectives, change all around me as I sort through high school senior pictures, my baby pictures, my babies’ baby pictures.

Bill and me

I’m not just in this life. Maybe maturity and experience always lead to this place of realizing how much I don’t know. I look around me and I find nothing is what I thought it was; I’m glad, mostly, it causes wonder to continually born within.

It’s my life, and I have a responsibility to lead in it. So do you. We are rewriting our history…maybe you should too. Hear your breath for a minute.

Slow down.

Look.


But don’t just look.

See. Have faith in God. Know that faith is not always what you think it is. Too mystical for you? Knowing what you don’t know may be an area you want to explore.

Get into your life. Are you there? Don’t just make it. We are meant for more than surviving….although there are moments when its all you can do. Everyone is gutted to studs at some point. That’s a tough moment, and no one would ever wish for it. That’s never happened to me physically, like these flood victims.

But, it has happened to me internally, and somehow everything gets clear in that moment…what’s important, what’s worth keeping, why you are just thankful for your people. Survival breathes gratefulness…and that’s good too. We aren’t meant to stay in “just making it mode.”

Do what you need to do to…clean out the wet and moldy. Dry out. Get ready to rebuild. It could be better than it was or what you expected.

Time to do more than survive. If you’re tired, go rest. If you’re sad, be sad. If there are problems, address them. Don’t be afraid to dig deep, to take a risk, to sit down into your funky feelings….resolution, redemption, peace will come. Inhale, exhale. Pray. Live.

Don’t worry about doing it perfect….always simply begin. 

 

 

 

Desert View Picnic

You know what I realized from my VLOGGING? I’m a dork. I love being silly, but I just didn’t realized how much I comment on life and how silly I am. My brother recently told me this, but I didn’t know. It makes me laugh. You should laugh at yourself. It’s good for you.


Desert View is much more than its name. I don’t think we went there the last time we were at the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful. There’s a Watch Tower there that was also a design of Mary Colter (more on her later), and we climbed all the way to the top of it to get an expansive view.



These cuties are pushy. They pushed the picnic lower and lower toward the edge. And I’m so glad because they help me to see views I might have missed.

After we had our picnic, we hiked back up and drove to another trailhead to Shoshonne Point. The hike to this place is a nice long dirt road with plenty of trees. It is the perfect setting for lots of laughter, some serious discussions, and family fun.


Speaking of edges, I like them too…did you know? While I was close to the edge and there were few children watching, I just had to lay down and hang my head over the side. My pic I took then did not turn out well, but it was breathtaking. We hung out there for a moment, and then we walked around to the other side where the cliff point went out further into the canyon.

We hiked out there and I had my nephew John holding my hand. We decided that just maybe, with all our strength, we could push down a rock. It didn’t work. Bu, I gave it my all.

We headed back with cooking on my mind. I was the cook for the night, and my green chile macaroni and cheese with chicken was tasty. I think I had 85% satisfaction in the camp. Campfire time is valuable, and somehow everyone staring into a fire just makes a magical night.

It was a great day, and we decided that the next day we would tackle the Hermit Trail all the way to Dripping Springs as a test run for the big hike down. Dripping Springs coming up next….

Camp on Sunday

Sunday morning we took it slow in camp. We still had a few days before the big hike down and so we just chilled, cooked a good breakfast and enjoyed a morning fire. And then, the kids planned church for us. And we had some Sabbath together. 

I’m not sure why adults think they always have to lead. You should’ve seen the kids take over when we told them they should plan church. We had an invocation, 2 songs, 4 Scripture readers, a sermonette, and a benediction. Kids are great leaders and they can plan without your help. Just let them know you’ll wait for their plan and leave them alone. Don’t underestimate them. 

After church we got ready for the day. No rushing. Just slow by the fire….

Then we made some plans…A Desert View picnic coming up…..