My Favorite Place?

One of the online groups I belong to poses an ice-breaker question every so often in order for members of the group to get to know each other. This morning’s question got me thinking. The question was, “What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve travelled?”

That’s an easy one and a difficult one at the same time. Easy because my favorite travels immediately jumped into my mind without hesitation. Difficult because I have more than one favorite for more than one reason.

When I was a librarian, I was often asked what my favorite book is. I answered the way only a librarian could, “That depends. I have many favorites, all according to category!”

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You Are Not A Wave

Mitch Albom said, in his wonderful book, Tuesdays, with Morrie, “You’re not a wave, you’re a part of the ocean.”

This quote has hit me more than once over the past few days as I walk along the deck or watch from the stern of the ship or stroll on a beach. I watch the waves that roll in and out, blanketing the sand and then drawing back with them anything caught in the tide. Sometimes, in the early morning or late evening, I stand at the railing and watch the wake of the ship, foaming up from under the berth and fanning out into the open ocean.

The world looks so vast from this vantage point–ongoing, endless, infinitesimal. It’s hard to tell where the Earth ends and where the Universe begins. It’s easy to feel like we’re small and insignificant in comparison, powerless even. Even the clouds, mere collections of air and water, seem bigger, stronger, and mightier than I am.

It’s like I’m no more than a tiny puff of air in the immense cosmos.

And then…

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Imitate the Wise

Every afternoon or evening, when it’s not ninety degrees outside, I take my dogs on a walk. The puppy is tethered to a leash, of course, and may be for some time as we’re just beginning more intensive training with her. However, our ten-year-old lab (who is expertly trained and comes to me in and instant, standing by my side until I tell her she can go) has the pleasure of running free, and she relishes in chasing rabbits and plunging head-first into water-filled ditches (no rabbits have been caught or harmed). In fact, Rosie is a head-first kind of dog. We used to worry that she would hurt herself each time she went barreling down the hall toward our bedroom only to find the door closed after she rammed it with her head. Luckily it didn’t take long for her to learn to test the door first to see if the air conditioning fan had slammed it shut again. I keep waiting, though, for her to ram a culvert or a tree as she plunges ahead at break-neck speed.

It’s not unlike watching people or even governments running at break-neck speed, heads jutting forward, throwing caution to wind. So often, we go through life without ever looking up or ahead. I’m not talking about those who never look up from their cell phones as they cross a busy intersection, but really, isn’t the result the same? To push ahead, forge recklessly into the unknown, and never stop to see what’s coming up.

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Are You Seeking Adventure?

Earlier this morning, I read that spending trends among Americans are changing. Rather than buying things (which we all did a lot of over the past year), Americans are buying experiences (which we did very little of in 2020). People are realizing that they have enough stuff but not enough experiences. People are not only ready to get out of their house (and out of their pajamas and sweatpants) but to get out into the world.

I’m always amazed by those who have little but live a lot. By that, I mean those who sell everything and buy a sailboat or an RV and live life as one grand adventure. A few years ago, friends took their four small children (and I mean really small–ages 3-9) on a sailboat trip around the world for a year. I can’t even imagine that! Ken was enthralled and talks often about selling everything and living the rest of our lives visiting one campground after another.

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The Great Adventure

Did you ever see the movie, Up? The movie is about Carl, a grumpy old man whose wife passes away before they do the last thing on their bucket list–visit Paradise Falls. Carl ties hot air balloons to his house in order to fly himself to South America to live out his last great adventure with his beloved Ellie on his mind and in his heart. There’s a lot more to the story, but Carl learns the beautiful message of the movie when he returns from his adventure, still not satisfied with the way his life has turned out. He sits in his chair and leafs through the photo album of his life with Ellie and realizes that their entire life, every single moment great and small, was an adventure.

The older I get, the more I realize that there are all kinds of adventures.

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Beneath the Surface

Those who follow me on social media know that I’ve spent the past seven days at our family’s cabin the San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains in Southwest Colorado. I’ve been enormously blessed to be able to share this majestic part of the world with eight other women from my tribe of women to whom I have become close since meeting in the Holy Land in 2016. Six of the women had to leave after five days, but two were able to stay a little longer and will return home later today. To say that a piece of my heart goes with each one of them is an understatement.

I learned so much about and from these women in just a few days, and the insights continue as the week goes on…

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It’s Not The Destination…

The World is a Book and those who do not Travel read only one page.

Though travel has not been a common household word lately, my email inbox continues to be flooded with travel blogs, airline deals, and invitations to join pilgrimages. For most of the past year, I have deleted many of the emails without opening them, knowing I would be torturing myself if I read them, but lately, I’ve found myself reading about The Best Waterfalls in the US and 9 Destinations You Wouldn’t think to Visit but Should. I spent an hour the other day listening to Peter Greenberg’s latest vlog on Facebook to hear what’s happening in the world of travel.

I’m ready to go. I’m ready to explore. Though we planted a small garden, and I’ve actually taken a mild interest in my flower beds, I’d leave it all behind in a heartbeat.

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A Surprising Renewal

Our Colorado Kitchen

I’ve talked a lot in the past few weeks about renewal and new beginnings. We often think of springtime as the signature time of year for these new beginnings. Spring brings Easter and flowers and warmer days with shorter nights. Yet I have come to learn that we can witness renewals and new beginnings at any time of year, even in the cold days of winter.

For about sixteen years, our family has had a cabin in Colorado that we share with some family and friends. For about that long, Ken has wanted to visit the cabin in the winter, and I have said, absolutely not, no way, no how, I’m not interested. Well, this year, he somehow convinced me to make the trip, and here I sit, typing in my makeshift office–our kitchen table–with the warm, morning sun on my back.

Over the past few days, I’ve seen this beautiful part of the country in a whole new light…

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Living My Life in Blue

I have big news for readers of my inspirational novels! On December 1, just in time for Christmas, I will be hosting a Launch Party on Facebook for my new series which takes place in the Ozarks! Join me from 4:00-6:00PM Eastern Time for my Facebook Live event. I will have copies of my new book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain, on hand for you to purchase via a special link, and you can watch me sign your book while I answer questions and talk to readers. Leave a comment with a question, and I will answer it live during the launch. Keep checking my website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), for more information about the launch and the series.

Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones? These are the areas of the world where people are the healthiest and live the longest. Many of them are in and around the Mediterranean. Sardinia, one of the Blue Zones, was featured in the Zac Efron Netflix Special, Down to Earth, which our family thoroughly enjoyed.

I’ve often told my girls I want to live to be over a hundred. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to spending eternity in the next life with my Lord and Savior (God willing), but I’m enjoying watching my girls grow, looking forward to grandchildren, and only in recent years have met my true tribe of female friends. I want to live as many more years as I’ve lived so far. And this is why I’m fascinated by the Blue Zones.

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I Will Give You Rest

For the past fourteen years, Ken and I have traveled, about once every eighteen months or so, to our shared cabin in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. It is a refuge for us, a place where we can lie around all day and read or hike through a field of wildflowers or climb into the sky atop a fourteener.

Uncompahgre Peak, elevation 14,308′

Last week, Ken and I spent several days at the cabin, and it was unlike any other time we’ve spent there, beginning with the drive.

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