Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week of (too many) Firsts

There is so much meat to this post but in lieu of winding up a puddle of sweet tears during my one smoke break during the day - I may just lean towards a picture and blurb type post. After all, as I have come to realize - I dont care how often a little old lady stops me to remind me to enjoy this....I WILL FORGET less than 2 weeks. Moms, can I get an AMEN? For example, Bradford has been semi-walking not even a week and now today my brain can't even drum up what that pitter-patter on all fours looked like. A WEEK AGO! And by the way, I don't really smoke. Yet.

To start, the oldest son started real live school. No more glorified babysitting here with an occassional Christmas program attached. Our boy wore an equally adorable and hideous outfit and walked himself into his classroom by himself. It's the big leagues now, kid! He came home that first night and this is what we got.....I just love him!

Later that evening he started to tell us about an old old old man who was about to die but made "booooootiful" music for God. His name was "CHE-KO-SKI". Let's just say in one week he knows more about the classics than I've ever known. I am excited to learn again through his eyes.

Certainly, the other boys were missing their ring leader. On our first day alone (sans the Big Brother) I thought I would be super mom and make up for all the turmoil I caused over the summer. We dropped off our boy and headed to a local toy store. Ahh, isn't that just precious. Well, friends, it was. And it is but not when your sweet middle boy exclaims to the store "MOMMY!!! After you buy me toys will you change my poopy diaper!!!!" Oh buddy, you haven't worn a diaper in 2 months! Needelss to say, I was quickly reminded that 2 little people in tow still requires a diaper bag and mom essentials. Having one boy in Pre-kindergarten doesnt quite let me off the hook yet!

That precious, pooping little child celebrated his 3rd birthday last week! I can see how we have a 4 year old and a 1 year old but it just doesn't register that my once "baby" isn't a baby and is in fact 3. We had an impropmptu celebration with the best kinds of friends - the ones that will come celebrate your boy with a few hour notice. He picked out a scooter (thanks Grandma!), a guitar (oh boy!), and a trip to the zoo (thanks Nise!) for his 3rd birthday and all he wanted was "panilla" cake with icing. This boys could eat his way through a birthday and not think twice about a gift or a candle or the happy birthday song. We had all his favorites on his special day - chocolate chip pancakes, quesadillas, and pizza all topped with a little cake and icing! It is fun to celebrate this wee one...he makes it easy for sure!

Then, not to be left out, the baby took his first steps. You would think we hadn't witnessed this before with the commotion around our house as our proud nearly 15 month old stomped around the kitchen with his hands high in the air. Everything this one seems to partake in is lively and full of laughter. His expressions are as delicious as his thighs and I can honestly say we are finally enjoying the littleness about little people. I think for a few years we were just trying to survive and keep humans alive and now we finally aren't alarmed by anything and we can see that this thing called parenting....flies! I have enjoyed even the little moments with this baby and I am grateful that he has redeemed my feelings about toddlers. (Pardon the obnoxious mom in this video)

As you can imagine this week (as all the fuss happened last week) we have done a whole bunch of nothing. It's crazy how the emotional stress at times is enough to wipe a woman out. My heart is so full and I am grateful to be the mom of these three little men. What an honor!

Monday, August 12, 2013

What do you have for me today, Lord?

I asked this question first thing this morning. In my heart, silently, but on this morning I really did ask it before I even checked the time or put my feet on the floor. And then like it was His perfect answer I heard the whimper of our newest boy through our shared wall. On any other day, apart from this light but loaded question in my heart, I would have felt violated by the baby's early morning cries. Don't I have a right as an overworked mom to just a few minutes of quiet before the saturated day begins? Isn't there just one morning I can get up before the crazy begins? I used to be a morning person. The kind that bother non-morning people. I loved the world that existed well before 6am and I was completely comfortable with a little less sleep but a whole lot of stillness before the sun was up.

Thankfully, the Lord has been doing something deep in me about my rights and for once I didn't hear his cry as a personal assault against me as if the babe-child was staking his win over me once more. I heard it differently this morning. And it changed everything about the rest of the day. This must be the season for this weighty lesson. There's been a shift in my thinking and it has began to free me from so much disappointment and hurt and wounds and bitterness. If I'm honest with myself much of my day can be spent disappointed. By myself and by those closest to me who seem to run rampant on my so called "rights." The right to move quickly through the day. My right for a break from mothering each day. It's my right to be understood, right? The first time. The right to exercise. Daily. My right to have children and husbands and parents and siblings and friends who respect me and listen to me. The right to be thought of, delighted in, made to feel special. Whew. It's exhausting just writing these things that I so cling to. These things that if adhered to will bring peace to my day and my heart right? Right?

I've been going through a study called Stuck by Jennie Allen with some dynamic women this summer. I could write a series of posts over several weeks regarding this study but this has been the biggest thing for me so far - the loss of my personal rights. This truth couldn't be any more of an antithesis for our culture today where every segment of society seems to be fighting for their own little freedoms. But If I believe I am in Christ and He is also in me than ultimately I have lost my own rights and I take on His. Does this work for you? Does that make sense way way down in there to you like it has for me lately? In Galatians Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Jennie Allen said it this way. Wow. But let's start with your life, your expectations, your money, your family's approval, your right to a family, your right to move quickly, your right to be successful. I {God} know I am asking alot. But if you die to all of this....I will do things greater than you ever hoped, dreamed, or imagined. But you have to let go. You have to lay down the very things that are most valuable to you, if you love me. Do you trust me?

Do I? Do I trust you Lord with my time during the day if I really give up striving to make the day go my way? Can you fill me in those holes in the same way (or more?) that I think a quiet, early morning alone, a long run, or a break during the bath-routine can fill me? If I stop defending myself and stop fighting for my rights will you protect me?

I gathered the Mustela smelling child and immediately his right cheek fell on the top of my chest. We crept back in the roomy, inviting bed. Isn't the bed so perfectly comfortable first thing in the morning? For 20 minutes he let me hear the increase and decrease in his lungs while my hands were serenaded by the softest hairs ever made on his little head. I didn't want to stop stroking him back to sleep. He would look up at me occasionally as if to stroke my soul just a little bit by affirming me that this was good. I remember that feeling. My grandmother used to occasionally rub the top of my back with her fingernails in the rarest of moments. It was always a little uncomfortable. Maybe that's just my personality. I loved the attention and I never knew that touch could feel so deep down good but I also didn't want it to stop so I couldn't fully relax without thinking about how the tender scratching would have to end at some point. Certainly, this theme hasn't left me in this season of mothering. It's all so sweet, so good but I know it will end and how do I live with that tension?

I think that was His soft answer to my innocent question this morning. Be in the moment, Betsy. In this moment your perfectly rounded baby, the last of them thus far, is fully content laying on your chest feeling the touch of your fingers and everything else really can wait. But I left the washed clothes in the washer overnight. And we start school this week, albeit two half days of school. And I want to be the kind of person that gets up early again to take on the day. But you have a baby, and you wont always have a baby at home. What about the empty fridge warranting no breakfast selections for the Crazies who will soon be scattering about the halls, too? But the baby is asleep on your chest. He knows nothing else right now but the comfort of this moment. Can't you be like that, too? I'm giving you moments, Betsy, lots of them. They may seem inconsequential but I promise they'll go farther than checking the laundry off the list. Rest. You're gonna miss this. You're hidden in me and I will take care of even your deepest desires.

Then earlier this morning I saw this quote and I have no clue who wrote it but a friend reposted it just for me I think. Thank you, sweet friend.

As I grow in my understanding of the way Jesus lived his life, I find great rest in knowing I have more to "unlearn" about the way I think I need to live and lead my life. Help me "unlearn" quickly , Lord......I don't want to miss it all while I was too busy protecting my rights.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Oh, sweet, salty tears. My heart moves a little faster and my gut literally feels like it empties a little more with each one that hits my neck. These aren't the shallow, steady kind that are usually easy to come by but those thick, weighted ones that are pretty sparse but carry so much.

Since having children I don't recall crying too often with the exception of those wacky months of pregnancy and the beginning of a nursing season where I would cry if the mailman came late or something. I'm not sure if it's lack of time to allow myself to feel enough to even cry or if it's truly just lack of feeling. I think it's the former though. As this last year has now been the longest stint in between pregnancies in the last 4 years (yet the busiest for sure) and it feels like it has been a rather dry year with very few opportunities to just indulge and let the healing flow.

Then this morning the Lord spoke personally to my heart. There's this icky thing. It isn't huge. But it isn't small either. It's huge to me though and I believe that my Creator, the one who made me just this way, knows that this small yet large thing is there. Occupying space. He sees it and I believe He wants to come alive through the cracks and creases in my brokenness.

So while watching my oldest son slurp the milk from his cereal bowl, and while in the background a rather corny Children's song about God's limitless love on a devotional cd played, I cried. And I felt the tears down to my knees and all over.

There's something about water. Whether salty held in tears, or the depths of the Gulf of Mexico (my personal favorite). It cleanses. And I always feel a little lighter, whether immersed in it, or covered by tiny drops streaming down my cheek.

And that's the definition of hope to me. The tears bring it. The water washes me and I know that things matter and that life isn't stagnant and that growth happens. Hope emerges. New beginnings can happen and my story is always in motion. It doesn't have to always weigh on me. The space in my mind can be taken over by truth, purity, and loveliness. This isn't groundbreaking but as a mom of three little guys it is eerily scary how life can only seem about the day to day. Survival from 7A to 7P splashed with moments of intense richness but a whole lot of doing the tasks, keeping everyone going and moving, just like the day before and the day before.

I welcome these seldom moments like this morning when Someone who knows me deeply, sees me intimately, and wants things to work for my good only for His glory nudges me out of the monotony of a waffle toasting morning to remind me of that very thing. His real, living love that is on the move for me which means all of me, even this small yet loaded thing that ironically feels a little less burdensome already.

I'm reminded that salt changes things and God's mercies are new every single morning we get to call "today."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

grace in the back yard

I think God is showing off like a rockstar in our yard this month. Before owning a home I never knew I could feel such pride over the landscape we see everyday. When you live in Atlanta most of your life and get to experience the most brilliant seasons it becomes second nature to drive by dogwoods bursting of white in March, and Azaleas and their many colors painting the streets in April so I am ashamed to say that the Spring season has never impacted me the way it has this year...from the yard of our own little abode. I asked our oldest child to pinch me this morning to make sure I was breathing as we walked around the periphery of our yard looking for bugs. It baffles me that the flowers in our yards and the trees that are budding actually do just that - bud and grow. I don't do anything to them throughout the year and then all of a sudden we are bombarded with the most delicious colors and the perfect little shaped bushes all around us. There isn't a direction you could turn in our yard right now without a burst of color in your vision. It really is breathtaking! I feel very undeserving and it makes me uncomfortable. Like I should have taken more responsibility throughout the year in order to be able to enjoy something so much. I should have atleast put in a little hard work to have such a perfect product to adore every single day. Ive always been like this, you see. I can recall more conversations than I would like to admit where my husband (and dear friends at times) are trying to convince me of this kind of grace. God's grace. The kind that even shows up in the colors of Spring. Can it be true that I don't have to always struggle or sacrifice or work in order to enjoy the benefits of something? In our society today this just doesn't seem so.

This exposes something deep down in me doesn't it? Something in the way I was wired and shaped as a young lady I guess - that I have to work for everything and that there are no free gifts. I am the best Pharisee I know. Today during our unplanned nature stroll (which deserves a whole different post)this reality wouldn't leave my mind. Its like the lights turned on and I saw themes in my life and in my thinking that weren't ever so clear before. All in a sweet hike around the house.

Most of life seems that it's all about working endlessly, knowing the right people, putting in the hours and the sweat in order to experience the joy that comes from achievement. Sure, we all see little graces all around us but rarely in the big places in life. Most things need to be earned or attained and it rarely comes without a high cost. Isn't the saying - what you get out is what you put in? I am so wired like this and it is rather annoying. The other day I was telling my darling husband who endures these rants more often that he should that sometimes if I'm all alone during the day with the boys at home I start to feel like the work I am doing isn't valuable. And not because it really isn't valuable but because there is nobody to tell me that it is valuable. This whole idea came to mind after a beautiful saying was passed around my mom's bible study this spring. The leader who is so dear to me and is the picture of the genuine, intentional, graceful mother I will die trying to be, said that she would tell her children that "they have an audience of one." This motto came to play so often in her parenting - whether when her kids were young and their hearts were coming around what it felt like to share or to encourage a sibling or later in life when her teenagers were faced with those sneaky decisions that we all face when it comes to doing the right thing - the thing that we know deep down is right. So just like our leader said, I have repeated this phrase to myself often when I'm on my 5th day and 7th hour of mothering in one week and the only conversation over a 3 year old level that I've had is with the mail man. I do what I do for an audience of one. For me and my Maker. Yes, I want to do it for my husband to see and think how selfless I am. And I sort of want those people in the grocery store whom are often not so kind to a mother of 3 young ones to see my patience and careful instruction with my boys at home. I want my mom to think I am as good a mother as she was and probably somewhere in there I'd like a friend to think highly of the way I have chosen to discipline my kids. Or even to be thought of as the "expert." Who doesn't want their children to be known as the most well-mannered boys in the neighborhood? We are all searching for these little accolades. If you are like me, you like to see the fruits of your efforts.

But the reality is that my only audience is the Lord. And the other reality is that the world isn't really walking around wanting to put a medal around my neck for being a mom. Even without the accolades how can I know deep down that my efforts are worthwhile and that the work I am doing is a noble work? My beautiful bushes give me that answer in this very moment. The fruit will come. The buds will open and the color will burst. All winter did I look at those mute little plants and compliment them on the way they were preparing for the growing season? I actually never did. I didn't give them one ounce of a thought until they displayed their splendor and now I am just obsessed with them. I stare at them, I have taken umpteen pictures, and I have placed beautiful vases of their handy-work all over my house but they were pretty much dead to me a month ago. That's harsh. But it helps me to be a mother. The harvest will come. No, I may not raise a president or a navy seal (but I hope I do) but I can't imagine the quiet pride I will have one day as I watch my boys show respect to a lady or show honor to a senior citizen. These are the things I am teaching them in these four walls in these short years (but long days). We may not be the fastest toddler paper cutters in the Metro area and I am pretty sure we are still confused about green and blue but I know that even if no one else sees it or better yet - notes it - I am giving them all I have and I can be confident that they will be beautiful, full grown plants one day with a story to tell through their exquisite colors.

The bigger theme in this message though is that authentic grace that only comes from God. The most freeing thing I can ever know and teach my kids is that there is absolutely nothing I can do to earn God's love. He has already shown me that love and I couldn't have done a thing to make him do it. He just did because He loves me. Because he chose me first. Not because I deserve it. Because I don't. And not because I earned it. Because I can't. He just did it. He showed me his colors, He gave me real life and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Whew. That changes everything, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spotted in the last week

A red bird or a family of red birds all about our yard

yellow snow all around Atlanta
brothers helping brothers (and making someone else crazy over the wasted toilet paper!)

perfect temps in Augusta for our most favorite sporting week
quinoa burgers, smoothies, and cakes....anything quinoa

pantless boys

baby Toms (and evidence of little boys playing in my bed. Stinkers! Atleast they took their shoes off.)

vibrant spring colors
lots of sneezing and coughing between our 5 noses and mouths
a baby rocking all 4's...just thinking about a crawl soon!

our first vegetable garden. And after 2 days it is still alive!

A 3ft+ snake. No lie. On the trails at the river. It was awesome for little boys eyes.
Big boys climbing

Precious baby curls

RED X's everywhere....Why?

Cars, cars in every corner.

A baby trying big people food. Yes, sir! We loooove a finger feeding, messy baby around here!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's April. Some thoughts...

On being a SAHM.
Whew. Maybe I should subcategorize this one. I wrote SAHM (which I hate the acronym anyway) and 6 thoughts literally flooded my head at once. Here is the first one. It's hard not earning an income or being on someone's payroll. Luckily my husband is truly amazing and doesn't ever make me feel like it's his income and not mine, actually quite the opposite. He talks about "our" earnings and inside I feel a little silly taking any credit. I've read those studies that say that a stay at home mother is worth upwards of 200k a year and all, and sure, that is encouraging. About as encouraging as being the stand-in-bride at someone's wedding rehearsal. So all day long I feel like I try to save a dollar here by drinking water instead of my beloved half and half tea and I feel giddy if I have even two coupons at the grocery check out. But no matter what it seems all day long we are spending, spending, spending. And it makes my stomach turn because at night when the house is quiet and lights are dim I sometimes actually go on the internet just to look for more ways to spend the money . (That's the problem in the first place is seeing OUr money as "ours." More on that another day.) Don't turn me into a reality tv show, people. I'm not confessing a serious problem, yet, it's just how our society operates. What else can we buy? As a SAHM who doesn't love an amazon box at their door every other day even if the contents inside are baby food pouches? So, I spend spend spend...swim lessons, we need new sheets, deposit for private schools, let's eat out - it's easier and no clean up (I'll pay alot for that!) and all the while I am also trying to feel like I am being a good steward of the money but it's just all too much. The two combat each other too much and leave me feeling silly and hypocritical. This morning I was on pinterest for not even 30 seconds and a friend had pinned "15 ways to earn money as a SAHM." I usually would think I would never ever click on such garbage, knowing that right now in our world of 3 boys under 4 years old I don't even have 2 minutes to use the potty alone so how can I find time to "earn money from home"? Anyway, 30 minutes later and 2 stinky, ignored diapers and a whole bunch of other messes and I am 24% into a survey about BIRTH CONTROL!!! Seriously, maybe they thought they found the right audience, a crazy mom of 3 little ones in 3 years but clearly - birth control isn't my thing. As the 2 year old was pulling out the tweezers and nail polish from my make up bag I realized this earning from home thing is ridiculous. So maybe I took a whole hour one morning to answer a bajillion questions about things I dont even care about (and really the whole time I was just bitter that they were advertising the PLANB birth control so lightly. As if the chance of being pregnant should be thought about so lightly as swallowing a pill? I just opened a whole different can of worms. oops)Only to earn maybe $2! Not even a latte.

I'll continue to wrestle with this I am sure until one day when I see a little check with my worth for the week on it. Maybe it's better this way. I know now my work is constant and it never ends and I know there are very little accolades for many many years to come but I also know there is nothing on this planet more satisfying than giving yourself up for your children. I know the grass isn't always greener and I am sure there isnt a paycheck out there right now that could make me feel as exhausted and as valuable as I do, at home, being a mom.

On Easter and The Bible Series.
I love how perfectly planned those media people are to have aired the final bible series on the night of Easter Sunday. I felt quite childish having to cover my eyes as Jesus was beat and mocked and the blood ran down his innocent body. How silly of me to not be able to stomach the agony? But I loved that on my television for two hours every Sunday these last 5 weeks the stories of the bible were unfolded. Our oldest was in the room one morning as I was re-watching one of the episodes and I could have frozen those moments as I saw his mind trying to come around this Jesus he was seeing and the one we talk about. These 10 hours of television have certainly brought a perspective to our home and a reality to the cross. Easter was something more for us this year and something much more real. We travelled to our favorite SouthWest Georgia town of Plains and attended Easter service with Brad's family. It was a sweet morning but how could it not be when seer sucker is the go-to attire. The chorus of 5 sang "Crown him many crowns, the lamb that was slain." It was perfect. I knew our home church, PCC, was probably singing the same thing at the Verizon Amphitheater, with 10,000+ seats. But thats just it. It doesnt matter where we worship or how or when, we should be all singing the same message. That Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, died a gruesome death, and it was all for God's glory. Yes, I reap a ton of benefits but the point is that God gets the glory for what He did to come to us when we couldn't come to Him. Ahhh....I love the freshness of this message in my heart lately. It doesn't matter when you first heard this it is still a life changing message everyday.
(The sweet sound a quiet car ride home. Not one peep for the 2hour, 43 minute ride. Beautiful.)
Not my most brilliant idea ever.

On sick boys.
We are going on our 11th day of someone's nose running. We've been told by schooled doctors that this annoyance is just allergies and it was, so we sent our kids to school and went on a whirlwind trip for 24 whole hours for Easter. But then came the fevers late Monday and the whining and the tears and the night time wakings. Oh, and now the rain. Bah humbug, right? Yes, I am feeling deserving of a vacation and a newspot on the evening news about being caregiver of the year but really I know this is our world. As moms, this is just what happens and though I feel like we aren't sick very often when it does happen it happens to the whole house and it knocks us out for what seems like a month. BUT...each of my boys have literally fallen asleep on my shoulder atleast once in the last 10 days and it is so delicious. That they could be so safe and comforted in my arms to just nod off is so so deeply satisfying to me. Yes, there is no paycheck that can replicate that. While I hope (pray, beg, plead, bargain) that they feel well enough to get back to our routine tomorrow, I have enjoyed being in the infirmary and I never thought I would say that as one who hasn't always been the most sympathetic one (sorry, husband, I admit.)

On my baby. Who.Is.Huge.
In some ways he won't grow on me. He can't crawl, loves pureed food, despite how much I offer him a plethora of finger held goodness. Cookies, chicken, carrots..he won't touch it if it isn't almost in liquid form. .And I have I ever told yall how much I don't like baby food. I just try to close my eyes and wake up when this stage is over not knowing what nutrients ever ended up in their bodies. Atleast this time around I am still nursing the HUGE baby so I think that counteracts anything damaging? Right, right? Oh, but one lucky day he did try some bites of chick-fil-a and maybe he was in the right mood or just wanted to trick me but I was a believer in his new favorite! Look how big he looks here....
He does clap his hands now and wave by-by to himself which is maybe the most adorable thing on the planet! But he likes to reside on my right hip in my right (bulging and gross arm. ALL DAY. EVERYDAY. I don't mind it a bit until you know, I need to potty, cook dinner, eat something, make a bed, wipe another nose, etc. I'm sure this is a phase and soon enough he will move on from me and be everywhere but right now, along with the above sicknesses, I am feeling just an ounce claustrophobic. And lopsided.

And a few more pics on Easter, sick boys, and stay-at-home craziness.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My mountain

I grew up loving this little mountain in the suburbs of the city. My love for running began there. Like, really running. Hills, and long stretches, and quiet quiet serene. You have to really enjoy running to run here. It's not the kind of run that might earn you some honks or kudos like running down Peachtree. It's the kind that impresses on you a romance for running. Not the kind of exercise you do for calories but for something so much better.

My parents didn't like me going to the mountain alone. Nothing had ever happened there but with its presence also came a little mystery. There were so many miles of trails....countless miles and infinite forks in the trails to take just winding through tall, weathered trees and an occassional rememberance of a fallen soldier from the Confederate War. So I never felt alone at all. I've never been scared there but I remember I always ran a pace faster when I ran there.

So most of the time I was alone on my mountain. There was one season in high school I visited the tops of one of the little hills leading up to the mountain with my high school flame. It was one of those places you didn't feel like you had to talk. If you timed it perfectly the sun setting over the tops of the trees and the distant call of the train were more than words anyway. I specifically remember many trips up the mountain in the late afternoons after a classmate and dear friend of ours was tragically killed. Her funeral was one of the more impressionable things on my faith but that little hill up the mountain is where I wrestled and broke and healed over her death.

A few Christmas's my dad gathered the troops, as I am the oldest of 4, and we all hit the mountain together. This wasn't the most popular of ideas among a house full of new shiny things but somewhere deep in me this was the most special thing under the tree. My siblings make fun of me to this day about how I euphorically recall these few hikes even when their memories aren't as shiny. Don't we sometimes memoralize the things that really get us? Those family hikes meant something to me that I wasn't certain of at the time.

My parents moved away from our home town when I was a sophomore in college. I would come "home" still on some weekends and I would always go to the mountain. I didn't have a home to go to in Marietta anymore but I didn't feel even a bit out of place rounding the end of the 5 mile run just as the sun started to bow and the trees had whispered to me the whole way. Exhaling so hard and feeling the cold burn my lungs all the way down to my toes. I can close my eyes and feel 19 so clearly. I wondered and questioned alot on that mountain and sometimes after some answers came I would sing aloud, too. It's like this place knows my whole story. The yucky and the beautiful.

Luckily years later my would be husband had a thing for the outdoors, too, and he even decided to train for a half marathon while running with me on those trails. Or maybe it was just to make an impression. Either way it worked. Since we have been married we have spent many long Saturdays allowing the woods and the inclines to witness to our needy souls.
Lately I have been getting to know my favorite place again. Anew. My parents now live so close to this precious place that I can't go visit them without making sure to have time to get on the mountain. This past Wednesday the trees and the quick switches up the mountain were just the therapy I needed. This place is where I can worship. Yes, I may really raise my hand on occassion but it's an even better kind of worship. Do you know that feeling where your insides literally dance? Where everything seems to be just for you? How among all of this can the Lord be speaking to me, too? And that's what draws me closer to God more each passing year. That the mountains and the burning orange sunsets can be in the same thought as me and my fragile little heart. Yet all of it is for His glory. That's the thread that has been the constant in my love affair with this mountain. God's glory. My joy.