Thursday, September 8, 2016

Living in Eucharist

Summer, though not technically over, is giving way to autumn. I've been blessed this summer with one of my favorite things--hiking. Most weekends I've worked in a hike or two, in contrast with last summer when I only got to do one hike. And I love to hike! This is by no means the end of  hiking for me this year, but as the seasons change I reflect on the why's and the where's of my wonderings.

'The Mountains are calling' from GreetsDesigns
The first 'why' is my passion for hiking and nature! Growing up in a small town in western Nebraska may not sound like hiking central, but, quite frankly, what else was there to do? Scottsbluff National Monument and the Wildcat Hills were my childhood playgrounds.

View from the top of Scotts Bluff National Monument

Second, hiking is a great way to spend time with people. It's a wonderful way to get to know folks, just walking in the diverse beauty of nature there is always something to talk about and an ease in the quiet. There is an intimacy created with that beauty paired with the absence of distractions, like electronics, that can allow talks of depth that might never occur otherwise.

Nature cheaper than therapy by OliveandThistleCo

The list of why's could go on and on(there's the exercise thing, for example), but my number one motive for hiking is to live in Eucharist! In the midst of His creation I am grateful. I am nourished and revived in His Beauty. I am inspired to share His Love and Beauty and continue to seek Him first.

As for the 'wheres" here, in chronological order, is a list of my spring/summer hikes:

  •  Snoqualmie Falls -- this was part of a special day, the day after our daughter's wedding, with very special folks.

Randy, Karen, me & Jim at  Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge

Me & my precious kids

  • Twin Falls -- first adventure with our hiking group 
'Ridgers Hike'

Nisqually Delta

Also got to kayak there

Just outside Golden, Colorado

Em on the trail

  • Mt. Si -- this summer's toughest hike by far!
Katie took this from the very top(where I dare not go)

  • Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap -- another group hike. This was so much fun, our original plan was to hike Sheep Lake and then we just kept adding on more trails. The burgers at Wally's after were especially delicious!
This is part of the Pacific Crest Trail

Patty & I on Rattlesnake Ledge

Agent Dale Cooper's favorite pie, this is another reason I love to hike, after hike treats

Great fun watching the paragliders from the top

Amazing views 360 degrees from the top

My hope is that each and every one of us pursue our passions, as they are a gift from God, and in so doing live in Eucharist! 

Linda <><

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Magnifying Mirror

Half joking I asked for a magnifying mirror for Christmas a year ago. You know, just wanted to make sure I got all those chin hairs that were getting harder and harder to see with my aging eyes. That mirror, a gift from my daughter, has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

As a child of the 60's in a small Nebraska town I grew up with carefree summer days, riding my bike (without a helmet) to the municipal pool most afternoons. Like my buddies, I'd get a bad sunburn, peel and have golden brown skin for the duration. Perhaps you know where I'm going. We never thought twice about sunscreen. In fact, as a teen, baby oil ruled as we 'layed-out'.

Fast forward a few decades and while looking for those pesky chin hairs I found a dark spot on my otherwise unmarked nose. I didn't think too much about it, but enough to mention it to my doctor on a recent visit. He sent me to the dermatologist who said the basal cell carcinoma had probably been growing for five years. I'm on the other side of the surgery now with a skin graft and a couple of scars as my reward. I know it could have been worse and I'm grateful for the gift of a magnifying mirror.

As I thought about the mirror and the scarring I couldn't help but think about the internal pain we suffer. That which is barely visible on the surface, but left unchecked grows deeper and more destructive. Like the skin cancer opening it, extracting it might feel worse and more painful initially. But that's where the healing begins.

Sometimes professional help is the only road to recovery. I wouldn't pretend to know the first thing about surgery for skin cancer. Counselors, pastors, therapists may be the only way to begin for some. Sometimes a good friend with a listening ear, God's word and prayer can open a deep, deep wound and begin the healing. Quiet times in this noisy, busy world can break through the surface of a heart that is breaking.

Exodus 14:14 from Subtle Prints on Etsy

When it comes down to it there is only one answer, People need the Lord. In this scarred world we live in He is the answer. I'm living proof. 

My advice is use sunscreen, wear hats, and more important take time to be still. Take time to let God be your magnifying mirror.

Linda <><