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I See (Really Nice) Dead People

February 21, 2010

This is our back yard:


It is quite literally our backyard. That’s the back of our house, between the trees.


We do our walking and sledding and exploring in the middle of a (very, very old) snow-covered cemetery.


We’ve been trying to figure out what to tell our (very imaginative) almost four year old, when he thinks to ask about the funny shaped rocks with letters.

Well, son, there’s a bunch of dead people out back. Let’s go meet ‘em.

Personally, I could spend all day in a boomtown-mining-era cemetery. John and I have already taken a morning getting to know some of the families buried out there, learning their stories through numbers and names etched on stone.

My heart broke for the young Ella Foust, who lost a toddler the same year she bore another daughter, only to have the second little girl die at age 6. Ella followed both of them three years later, in 1895, at age 31. The space for James Foust’s name is empty, leading us to wonder if the grief drove him away from the snowy mountain town that claimed the lived of these three girls he loved.

I love an old graveyard.


But our almost four year old has the most ridiculously active imagination I’ve ever seen someone his age.

His talk of the friends we can’t see starts to freak me out a bit until I remind myself John reminds me that this is the boy who pretends and believes he’s 21 years old, can drive and is Peter Pan. Also, he mentions that thing about having a God who is bigger than anything or anyone else… dead or alive. And that we don’t personally believe that the dead, you know, walk the earth or anything.

Let’s hope that’s all true, I said with raised eyebrows and a hand on my hip. Because otherwise he’s gonna have a whole heap o’ new friends to play with in that backyard. And I’ll be alone with all of them as company for the next year.

Don’t worry, he replied with a smug grin. This is our cozy little mountain mining town, remember? They’ll all be nice ghosts.

I love-punched his arm.


Ok, Mrs. Ehlenfeldt, you can live just outside my back gate. I’d just better not find you making pancakes in my kitchen some morning.

What would you tell two extremely imaginative boys if YOU had a cemetery for a back yard?

Gaining Altitude

February 10, 2010

We heave when we walk down the street. We’re lightheaded after bounding up the stairs. It takes effort to unload groceries from the truck to the kitchen. Boxes are much heavier than they were two weeks ago.

There are a lot of changes when one moves from being, literally, at sea level to a mountain village sitting at 10, 200 feet elevation. The severe lack of oxygen is a force with which to be reckoned.

I knew I’d have to seriously adjust my baking when I moved here. An extra quarter cup flour here, a little more baking powder there. But who would have thought that I’d have problems with my contact lenses–with my very vision? Or that I’d be ready for a nap by the time my little people hit their pillows each afternoon, and I’d still be needing toothpicks for my eyelids by nine o’clock at night? I didn’t foresee the voracious appetite that would set me into munchie mode by mid-morning every day.

(When I come up here to visit, I typically sleep a zillion extra hours, eat like a horse AND I lose weight. Go figure.)

(But I’ll take it.)

All of this is in addition to the freezing temps and the snow that lasts… well… most of the year.

Going from the lowlands to the high places isn’t exactly easy.

But people do it. Because it’s worth it.


Our Mountains ~ Summer

Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring.

Worth it.

What are your lowlands? Complacency? Self-righteousness? Cold-heartedness? Judgement? Anger? Bitterness?

What are the forces that drive you upward? Disillusionment? Betrayal? Confession? Brokenness? Loss?

Who are the companions that steal your oxygen? Shock? Despair? Anguish? Confusion? Abandonment? An aching spirit? Physical pain?

And what, oh beautiful friend, are the rewards? Redemption. Newness. Clarity. Beauty. Dancing. Wholeness. Restoration. Forgiveness. Jesus.

Altitude isn’t without difficulty. It pulls the very breath from our chests, affects our vision and is beyond exhausting.

But the fragile beauty, achingly alluring, can render the burning lungs, stinging eyes, chilly fingers and even the icy patches unspeakably valuable.

Leave the lowlands. Follow Him to the peaks.

Ain’t in California Anymore

February 3, 2010

From this:

Palm Trees
Beach Sunrise, Friday, January 29

And this:

Beach Sunrise
Beach Sunrise, Friday, January 29

To this:

Back Field
The Back Field, Colorado, Tuesday, February 2

And this:

The Boots touch snow, Yesterday Morning

From my homeland to his homeland. One place we love to the other.

We’re here. And happy.

So, About Those Boots?

January 25, 2010

Well, they came.

Behold, The Fake Boots.


I guess technically they aren’t fake boots. Because they’re still boots. They’re just fake Uggs.

Or are they?

I really have no clue.

I haven’t studied real Uggs enough to know whether or not these are noticeably counterfeit, or if they’re going to scream “KNOCK OFFS” with every step. Perhaps you people with, AHEM, real ones could tell me? Do they look real?

In the same vein, I do have a bit of a winter shoe related problem.

(A brief note: I do, in fact, realize that it is almost February and that winter is on its way OUT in most parts of the country. Or at least headed in that direction, especially if we used the clothing stores as a guide, what with their SPRING!! clothes on the racks while we are all still freezing our toes off. BUT, in the mountain town of 10,000+ feet elevation where I’ll be living as of next week, winter is in full swing. And will be. Until May. Just to clarify. Move along now.)

Apparently, according to the Australian vs. American duel that went on in the comments of the last fake boot related post, these boots may or may not be the way to go for a winter shoe. Now, keep in mind, I’m not at all planning on wearing these as a snow boot, per se, as I have spent enough time in snow to know that these aren’t exactly fit for glacier scaling or even really doing much outdoor walking. But I wanted something warm for places where my real snow boots, fashionable though they are, aren’t very appropriate.

But it seems people (and by people I mean my mother as well as certain blog readers) have very strong opinions on the winter shoe.

So I ask: What do you wear for a good winter shoe in times that do not involve landing your foot in knee-deep snow, but still require more than, you know, a flip flop?

Help a SoCal girl out. Please and thank you.

Also, it is very evident to me that I need more shoe suggestions being that when packing my closet tonight, I discovered I own no fewer than…

…wait for it…

FIFTY-TWO pairs of shoes.

That is not a typo.

Being that (disclaimer ahead) at least a third of those are flip-flops or flimsy sandals of some sort, and the rest are either some sort of heel and such or one of the pairs of really nice western boots I bought and wore once or the crazy expensive suede clogs I’ve had for ten years and have worn thrice but don’t have the heart to part with because they were from my grandmother or they’re fancy ball gown wearing shoes or they’re Easter-to-Labor Day-only shoes (pause to breathe) I clearly need some suggestions for wearing-in-a-mountain-town-in-winter shoes.


So, toss some suggestions at me. Mostly because I’m just curious and want to know how many pairs of shoes you own or what types of shoes you like to wear.

Also, today I’m over at YLCF talking about the complete wonderfulness (word invention comes naturally to me) of having a mother’s helper. Which is fitting because, this very week, one of the very girls I mention in the post will be a blessing of that exact sort while I run some last minute move-related errands, get my three-inch-long roots re-colored, drink some Starbucks and, well, to be honest… look for a new pair of shoes.

Red ones, as a matter of fact. Platform, preferably. For an event.

There aren’t any of those in my footwear arsenal.

Fifty-THREE. Ba-da-BING!

Sandy Spot…. Take Two

December 8, 2009


Wellllp, folks, here we go again.

Late winter. Afghanistan. Thirteen months.

We’re trying to figure out the best way to prepare the boys for deployment this time around. They’re both so much older and more aware. Troy remembers enough about the Iraq deployment to fight tears any time we mention Daddy going away for a while.

Any military moms or moms with similar experience out there? Feel free to toss out suggestions. I’m all ears.

As I type, John’s packing a bag for another globe-trotting experience–a precursor to the real thing coming up in a few months.

But the big news for the three of us left holding down the fort is that, well, the fort itself is moving.

We’re going to take this opportunity to spend a bit over a year living in my Favorite Place on Earth… John’s Colorado hometown. We’ll be within walking distance of his parents’ house and a manageable drive’s distance from my mom in Omaha.

So this Christmas is finding us soaking up every minute even more than usual, being that as soon as it’s over, we’ll be filling and taping boxes.

And gathering up military field gear.

Here we go…

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