Remember To Look Up

I wrote a while back about the busy culture in life (see Busy Is Not An Honor Badge) Since then, life has continued to be full. Full of teenage milestones like driving, sweet sixteen parties, and high school graduation. Full of ministry opportunities including another class, new events, running a half marathon to raise money for clean water, and reaching children and families in new ways. It’s also been a season of deep hurt and new beginnings.

I have been intentional about looking up from the busy to make sure I’m present in the moments.

Over the past few months I’ve also been out on the trails hiking and running. It’s sort of my therapy time. Time to process all the junk in my head. Time to talk with God. Time to empty out my hurts and disappointments so He can fill me with His joy.

A few weeks ago I was hiking up a mountain trail with a friend. Conversations had lead my head to recall a frustrating situation. I was lost in my thoughts and could feel my anger rising. I kept my head down on the steep section of trail, deep in thought, one foot in front of the other, focused on the step right in front of me. I stepped over the logs that went across the trail just as I had done earlier in the path. I trudged forward, completely in my own angry little world.

Then my friend’s voice behind me gently said, “Hey. Where ya goin’?”  I looked up from my tormented path to realize I wasn’t on the path at all. I was so frustrated and wrapped up in my own thoughts I didn’t even realize I was off the trail. I looked back, completely bewildered, to very clearly see the switchback to the left. Clearly. The path was clearly there. In my oblivion I had clearly missed it. Clearly.

How many times in life do we keep our heads down, focused on our own private world, and fail to recognize what is happening around us? The trail was clearly there and I so clearly missed it. How many times have I tried to do things my own way and completely missed the path that was marked out for me from the beginning??

My other recent trail experience had me on a wide path I run on along the lake. All. The. Time. The past few months I’ve been running on it at least three times a week. On this day it was rainy and miserable out but I was getting in my 9 miles with my team. Again, my head was full, I was in my own space, in my own world. But something caught my eye.

I thought I saw some animals by the waterfront. The closer I got I realized they were coyotes. I stopped above them on the trail. Maybe they were dogs. Nope. Coyotes. Another runner was coming up the wet trail and I motioned to him to see the coyotes too. Coyotes shouldn’t be on our trail! He pulled out his earbuds as he sort of kept running and said, “Oh no, they’re fake. They’re out there to scare the birds away. They’ve been there a long time.”




I can’t even begin to describe how that one moment made my head spin. It was like I caught my breath and had a huge chiropractic adjustment on my soul. In that one moment things I knew no longer made sense and things I didn’t know just did.

How could I have been running this trail and missed this? They were so clearly right there. And now that I see them, how did I not recognize them as fake. Not real. False. How have I been moving through life so focused on things that don’t have value, that aren’t real, that have been false?

How many times have I missed the true work of God around me? 

I may not ever know the answer to that question. Maybe He was giving me blinders at times to keep me focused on the path He had ahead of me. Maybe not.

I know that right now He’s reminding me to look up. Look up to Him and trust Him. Look forward on the path and see Him looking back at me. Look up and see all that He’s placing around me. Look up and keep moving forward in the direction He’s leading me. Look up and appreciate that one moment on the trail and how it’s continuing to change my path forward. Look up and appreciate the laughter, smiles, joy, and adventure of this life.


“For I know the plans I have for you…when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13



Go. Explore. Adventure. 

I still remember the exact moment. Christmas Eve 2015. Drying my hair, and getting ready for Christmas Eve services. The presents were wrapped, the services were planned, and I was feeling a crazy amount of anxiety. 

Decembers have been hard for me. I go into them being aware that they’ve been hard and really trying for a great attitude. I try to prepare what I can in advance so I can have an open, grateful attitude. 

But I just don’t.    

Life happens. 

Sometimes it’s hard. 

2015 was no exception. 

Thanksgiving weekend started out great and ended terribly. I was filled with anxiety all of December. I felt like I was surviving day to day, moment to moment. And some great friends I expected to be there for me during this horribly hard time just weren’t. It was just me. And my kids. Making our way. Surviving each moment. 

And there I was, bent over & head upside down, blow drying my hair. The thought entered my head. I shut off the blow dryer & flipped my hair around. I looked at my daughter laying across my bed and yelled for my son to join us.  

“We need to adventure. I need to teach you how to adventure. Spring break. That’s our goal. Let’s find adventure for spring break. I’m going to cut our budget. We’re going to save like craxy. (That’s a word I use that’s like crazy on crack) and then we’re going to travel. It’ll be on a serious budget, no Disneyland craziness. And we’ll probably be going to a foreign country, because we can experience more for less. We’re going to do this!!” 

They looked at me like I was half craxy. But they said, “ok! Let’s go!” 

That in itself is almost a miracle. In the past when I’ve talked to them about traveling I’ve asked where they want to go. Dream! Dream big!! “Can we just go to grandma’s cabin on the coast?” Is their standard response. Yep. We’ll travel to the Oregon coast. Where else?!! 

This time was different. This time they were ready. 

So we started dreaming. And exploring locations. And managing debt. And cutting expenses. And saving as much as we could, because we had a common goal. 

And now, here we are. 

Spring break. 

In Costa Rica. 

While it’s amazing to take your kids out of the country on a mission trip, I also think it’s important to take them out of the country just to explore. Just to play. Just to experience life. It’s vital for families to eat, pray, and play together. While we have our littles (or not so littles) still in the nest, we need to explore other countries, other cultures. Just get out and explore the world. Let’s help them realize it’s not so big and not so scary. 

The other night at dinner my daughter said, “it feels like we’re sorta still in America. Everybody’s like the same. They just speak a different language.” Yep, baby gIrl, you’re kinda right. We’re all citizens of this world. And we’re all created in His image. And we’re all here to glorify Him. 

So let’s explore. Let’s adventure. Let’s connect with people just like us, but not. Let’s interact. And laugh. And love. Because this world of ours needs more love. Always. 

And we’re here now. I love the crazy adventures when I travel. But this is their first time out of the country, so I’m letting them set the pace. And we’re still creating memories. Like wave jumping in the ocean at sunset, and losing my sunglasses in a huge wave, and eating fresh red snapper with eyeballs still attached, and a hillside next to us on fire, and playing our reality of seahorses in the pool, and the emergency plane landing because of someone freaking out & the FBI coming on the plane to arrest them, and zip lining through the jungle, and wild monkeys all around us, and laughing like craxy at our silly jokes, and just being okay with getting lost in this big world. 

And creating experiences, stories, that are going to last a lifetime for them. For us. 

Life happens in the stories. In the shared experiences of our families. This life was meant to be lived and experienced, not caught and taught. 

Go. Adventure. Explore. Create some wanderlust in the hearts of your kids. 

And in your heart too. 

Go… And live in the joy of every single moment. 


Climb On Things!

It has been a summer of adventures! I love finding adventure all year, but there’s something special about summer time. It reminds me of the long gone days of summer break. Sleeping in a bit, but feeling free without the demands of school and routines and schedules.

Of course I’m an adult now and my work schedule still calls. But in the midst of work a person must make time to play. Sometimes we have to take cues from our kids. Sometimes the kids need to take cues from us. My teens are at the point they would prefer to sleep in then be connected to some sort of screen all day. Nope. Not me. And I want more for them. So I’ve pushed them out.

Grand adventures over several days are fabulous. Like the 200 mile relay race I did with 11 other friends over two days. Or the week long conference my kids attended this summer. Small adventures of random silliness spice up life though. Right in the middle of whatever you’re doing. Like climbing on statues. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Anytime, really. It makes me smile!! I even have friends now sending me pictures of their kids climbing on statues. Mom and dad, get on up there too!!

This is just a reminder that God has created a big huge world out there and He longs for us to enjoy. He gave us bodies to move and think and feel. So stop holding back on life, get outside & find some adventure! And share some stories of your summer adventures with me!

A few adventures…


We climb with the monkeys!


Chillin’ with a tiny statue


Just checking out another statue

FullSizeRender 4

Sometimes I freak a few people out…