Silver & searching for Narnia…

25 years ago, I was putting last minute wedding plans in place, prepping for the groom’s dinner and rehearsal, and probably driving everyone around me crazy. Our 25th anniversary is coming up this week. I remember my mom and dad’s 25th. We had a party at Oxbow country club. For our 25th, I was hoping to go somewhere fun… maybe go back to Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo in December or find a relaxing beach vacation. That was before COVID. Instead, we went to a church camp for the weekend with our kids. I don’t want to underplay the significance. I know not everyone makes it to 25. It’s just not really my dream silver anniversary trip. Or was it?

We arrived at the Bible camp Friday afternoon and unpacked to our cabin. This is the 2nd time we’ve stayed away from our house since February. They had lots of safety precautions in place. We spent lots of time outside too. We decided to go for a hike. It was close to 90 and 98% humidity and we forgot to bring bug spray with us. It was a “moderate” hiking trail, which was obviously graded by an experienced hiker (I thought it was advanced). Oh, and we got LOST. Boys and I almost missed supper. After that hike the boys decided their hiking time was done. No more hikes for them.

Saturday, we played games, swam, went on a wagon ride and had lunch. There was a hike after lunch (with a guide) called the Narnia hike. The boys were not up for that. They played basketball and pool instead. Cam and I decided to go. Well, HE decided and I went with. This time, we brought bug spray, the map, and we had a guide. A 3/4 mile hike in to the area they call Narnia. The guide sounded super excited about it. We walked off the trail into the pine and evergreen trees. “This is Narnia,” she exclaimed.

“Narnia”

I almost laughed out loud. It’s our back yard. We hiked all this way for our back yard. We see this every day.

Our back yard

We texted the Narnia picture to the boys. They would have been soooo annoyed to hike all that way for our back yard view. As we made our way back to camp, Cam said, “So, sometimes what you are searching for is right at home.” (Sometimes he is wise) Yes, sometimes what we search for is right in front of us. It might be within ourselves, in our home or with our loved ones. Did we need a fancy trip to celebrate our 25th? Nope. We just needed our family. We needed a private cabin with crummy WiFi and a peaceful camp. Oh, and I didn’t have to cook! We played games: pool, ping pong, air hockey, foosball, basketball, tennis, Battleship, checkers, Sequence, Farmopoly and cards. My Narnia is here every day. It might not always feel magical, but it can be.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you find your Narnia right in your own back yard.

Stuck?

We recently got almost 6” of rain. The left side of this picture is Lake Carlos, and this is the Long Prairie River dam. This chunk of “bog” (cattails, grass & mud) was stuck at the top of the dam. While the water rushed around it, it was just stuck. It can’t go backwards because of the flow of the water. It cannot go over the dam until something changes… either the mud on the bottom erodes to let it flow over or something knocks it over the edge.

Sometimes we can feel like this bog… just stuck in place while everything flows around us at a rapid pace. There is more noise and activity when the water is this high. Behind the cluster seems smooth, but it’s flowing fast. On the other side is a churning, bubbling flurry of activity.

I felt this way when I had cancer. I felt like everything was moving quickly around me and I was stuck. The past seemed more calm, but I couldn’t go back. I was stuck. I was healing and getting better, but time seemed to go in slow motion and fast forward all at once. Looking back, I feel like I missed much of 6-7 months of my life. I tried too hard at times to force myself over the dam & back into the flow.

Since then, I’ve learned what self care is. I’ve learned to recognize when anxiety spins my thoughts out of control. I’ve learned to pause, to stop when I need to… not because I’m stuck, but because I’m observing. I’m figuring out what I need to do next in order to move forward. It’s ok to feel stuck. Just don’t stay at the top of the dam. Find a way to go forward, because you cannot go back.

“Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there” (Isaiah 43:18b-19).

I think that verse is a good one. God will make a road though the wilderness and give us streams of water. Keep looking forward. I wish you peace on your journey of enough.

Mess and all…

I read a post Monday about being the kind of friend who accepts you how you are… mess and all. Being a “come as you are” friend. Wonderoak & Love What Matters posted it. My sister sent it to me as a reminder. You are always enough. Timing was perfect. It was just one of those days. We all have them. Woke up with a bad headache, had the sniffles and was extra tired. Frustrated by dumb stuff at work. My energy felt slow and thick and heavy. I shared my frustrations with my friend, who didn’t judge me for my feelings or opinions… we just shared our woes and supported each other. We cheer for each other when something good happens. We stop and listen when the other is in distress. We are there for each other, mess and all.

As an introvert, I often have “resting “B” face.” (Sorry mom, you’ll have to Google it) I’m not very approachable. I’m usually lost in my own thoughts. So, I’ve had to adapt over the years… be more approachable, smile more, act the part. I’m kind of like M&M’s with a “hard candy shell.” Lots of walls put up over the years to protect my heart haven’t been torn down yet. I don’t make new friends quickly. I’m usually trying to gauge their perception if I’m “good enough” to be included. I worry too much afterwards why I wasn’t.

So when I find someone who accepts me, mess and all, I’m so thankful. My circle may be small, but they get me. They know I’ll likely obsess over something, overthink and try to regain control. They can talk me back down to earth, help ease anxiety and tell me the truth. They know I’m fiercely loyal and worry about what other people think. They also know I love to give – time, talents, prayers & baked goods. I don’t need a huge superficial group, I need real people who really love me, mess and all.

With all of the division going on, hold onto your circle. Check in and let them know you care. Show up with a coffee or text an uplifting message. Overlook their pile of laundry or stack of dishes. Honestly, my friend’s house looks like a Magnolia home photo shoot. Mine can be borderline “Hoarders” some days (but not that bad). When she comes to visit, she doesn’t see the mess, she comes to see me, mess and all. Our messes aren’t always visible- sometimes it’s an internal struggle, a mess of a marriage, relationship or belief. Supporting your friend means supporting them through it all. You find your own rhythm and what works for you both. Your circle will ebb and flow, twist and turn. Being your authentic self is a freeing thing. It allows you to be true to who you are meant to be, and that will spark joy.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you find someone to be there for you, mess and all.