When Peace like a River

One of my all time Favorite hymns begins with the line , “ When Peace like a river attendith my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

It’s a lovely hymn, made more meaningful by the fact that the author , Horatio G. Spafford ,wrote it shortly after loosing his four daughters suddenly in the sinking of S.S. Ville du Havre.

Over time, this song has defined different challenges in my life. It has been in the background, at my stepfathers funeral in 1995. It has been in the forefront of my mind, when my brother and sister in law experienced a miscarriage. I have sang this song in quiet country chapels, in crowded mega church’s , and in my own laundry room. I have sang it’s words happy and triumphantly, and also while sobbing and wallowing in the pit of despair.

My feelings around this song transcend the lyrics. It seems to me now, that the layers of story and experiences have woven this song into the very fabric of my life.

I think sometimes I miss the meaning. Yes, I realize he is saying that it is well with his soul in the face of insurmountable loss. However, when I stop to consider that first line about rivers, I am undone. “When peace like a river” …. meaning pulsing , rushing water that easily overwhelms, water that can easily drown, damage and destroy. Peace like a river.

Peace like a river in the midst of calamity, in the midst of a global pandemic, drug abuse, job loss, sorrow and death and abuse of power. Peace has been attending my life like a river . You too? I cannot help but think of peace in terms of community, because what good is our individual peace , if collectively peace is absent?

And so dear reader , are you facing any rivers today? I would love to hear about them. Is there anything I can pray for you about today? I would be honored. Leave a comment, send an email, drop a line. I would be honored to remember you in prayer today.

Adventures in the Middle of a Worldwide Pandemic

I find that most people are a strange mix of consistency and whim, of routine and variety, of predictably and chaos.

We often establish our schedules and routines… and then we tire of them. Our habits work beautifully, until they bore us. We carry our routines out predictably until one day, we wake up and are desperately seeking a change.

This is usually punctuated by googling vacation spots and dreaming about getting away from it all. But the reality is, that jet setting is not attainable for the most of us. And while we dream of a cabin in the woods or an exciting vacation, the closest we are getting to an international trip is a stroll down the “ethnic food” isle at the grocery store,

We then start trying to introduce variety where we can. Perhaps we get a haircut, drive a new way to work, change our our playlists, try a bold new lipstick, get takeout from somewhere new.

We go on little excursions and call them adventures.

This just got personal.

I’ve been taking my children to the park, the botanical garden, the local zoo, the state park, for years and calling it an adventure. There’s no daring quest, no real peril, but in the early years it was enough of an adventure to get out of our usual surroundings .

Perhaps the same is true for you. Because, this is our life after all. And most of us cannot afford to travel far from home, even if we weren’t currently in a global pandemic. We call day trips adventures, and you know what? They are. If we keep our eyes open and our wits about us , we might just encounter the Truly Majestic Beauty that our souls long to experience.

I implore you not to discount the times when you choose to do something that makes you feel truly alive.

We need outings and trips and adventures. Covid-19 has robbed us of so much. But it hasn’t been able to eradicate our hope. It hasn’t robbed us of our ability to be spontaneous.

There are hidden gems, I want you to look for them. Near me, near you, all around us there are beautiful scenes. There are lonely haunts and side trails, and places where people seldom tread.

We are all a bit soul weary, a bit worn down. Life’s losses tend to pile up while we are busy keeping calm and carrying on. The isolation we have all experienced lately, is ironically universal. In that aspect, at least there is solidarity and common ground.

So this weekend, walk your woods , your parks, hike your trails, bike the scenic pathways. Let the sense of adventure you used to feel at the start of a school vacation fill your sense completely. As you feel hope re enter your bones, let it boost your spirit and feed your soul. Happy adventures!

Document your days

With the advent of social media, we are no longer strangers to taking photos that once might have been considered strange. You have witnessed someone standing on their chair in a restaurant, right? Social media influencers have certainly changed the pictorial status quo. And while some of it is admittedly ridiculous, some of it is rather inspiring. On a related note, I am glad that we now have decent cameras with us wherever we go, making capturing those timeless moments much easier.

We love to see pretty photos on Instagram, and we even zoom in to see what our favorite beauty guru is using, or what is on the counter behind our favorite home decorator. We are interested in the brand of candles they are using, the new holy grail face cream, and the croissant they ate for lunch.

But what about the rest of us ? Are our lives worthy of documentation? My answer is Yes. You may not be jet setting to Fiji, but your life is worthy of noticing and remembering, and of preserving through meaningful photographs.

Now, I’m not advocating for you to whip out your phone at inopportune times, or to prioritize documentation to the exclusion of everything else. (And I strongly doubt that you would be tempted to do so. )

However, I would encourage you to take photos of your everyday life. Consider for a moment your age, stage of life, and who you spend your time with . Whatever you may be currently living will be interesting to your future self. The truth is , our daily lives can alter dramatically from year to year, sometimes even from season to season. Consider how different your life is now , from five years ago. Think back, are there people from high school or college that you wish you had photos of?

Taking the time to take photos of what matters can help us experience less regret later on.

I want to encourage you to take the photos you might have judged unnecessary before . Snap pictures of your skin care routine, of you fixing dinner with your spouse , of story time with your little ones. These are the special little moments that make up our lives!

One area that I personally worked on last year was getting in the frame. I love taking photos of my kids, and yet I realized that I have very few photos of me with my children. I spend my days with them, loving them, teaching them, caring for them.. .and yet there is very little photo evidence of this fact. This is especially true of when they were small. I vowed to change this, and I have. Setting aside insecurities about how I look , I have been using my timer to take photos of my children and I reading together, hiking, baking, and all manner of activities. I am so glad that I am doing this , even if I always like how my hair looks. 😉

  • To get started :
  • Reading – a new book, your favorite book, stacks of books
  • What you wore / your favorite outfit / your child’s favorite outfit
  • That book your child asks you to read over and over
  • a weeknight dinner
  • your family snuggled together on the couch
  • your pets
  • your car
  • your favorite restaurant
  • your desk or work area