Missing the link

Today’s cup of tea is steeping a little longer than usual, mostly because I have about 50 scattered things running through my head right now. What I thought I might write about I’ve since abandoned for another day. So grab a cup of whatever you like to drink and bear with me. I’ll try to keep things on track.

I’ve been singing the kids to sleep at night using a hymnal from my husband’s side of the family. His grandmother’s, maybe. (Yeah, I’m a terrible wife for not knowing these things, right?) Our son calls it, and every other book with music in it, the singing bible. It’s a nightly ritual that one of the children grabs the “singing bible” and finds a spot for it in their bedroom while they settle in to bed.

Although this book is filled with songs, I have a few favorites, mostly because I know the tunes without music and I can lull the kids to sleep with them. One is “All Creatures of Our God and King.” (Maybe you know it. If not, check out this version. EXACTLY the same as me singing to the kids.  Almost.)

In the hymnal, the song is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic friar during the early 13th century. We had a modern version of that song play at our wedding in the early 21st century and I sing it to my kids. How cool is that?

It got me thinking about the ties that bind us to the past and the role we play in linking the past with the future. The songs we sing, the stories we tell, the Bible we read … they’ve been passed on for generations. And we bear a responsibility to pass them on as well.

We learned about liturgy in Sunday School this week. In some Protestant circles, “liturgy” is almost a dirty word. But the beauty of it is the passing on of tradition, the retelling of the story of Christ, and the participation in something bigger than what you can see.

Last fall, my husband and I took a trip to Colorado for my cousin’s wedding. One day, we visited the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Breathtaking. Like just about everything else in Colorado. But don’t get me started.

As we were walking through the visitor center, I heard a documentary playing, and one of the musicians who had played at Red Rocks said something to the effect that playing there was like being part of something bigger than yourself. Because of the history. And the legendariness (is that even a word?) of it. Because of those who had played there before. Because of the community you join by having played Red Rocks.

That resonated with me at the time because it was so spiritual in nature. Even though he was talking about a man-made entertainment venue, there was value to him in being part of something bigger than himself.

How easily we lose sight of that. If life is all about the here and now, and just my life, then it doesn’t matter what I do, how I do it, or if I continue to live.

But if my life is about the past, present and future, about joining an ongoing story in all of humanity, then what I do matters, how I do it matters, and most importantly, I matter.

I am who I am today not only because of decisions I made about my life but because of decisions other people made about their lives and my life. And even if I don’t agree with or like those decisions, I can make a change for the future by the decisions I make in my life now and in my kids’ lives.

I’m saddened to think that people live their lives for themselves without acknowledging the past or considering the future.

When it comes to church, I’m realizing that I’ve had an “it’s all about me” attitude. I’ve discarded tradition because I’ve thought it stuffy or boring while embracing the contemporary for its newness and liveliness. I’m learning that both are important, and I’m intrigued by the ancient-future worship movement.

Anyway, that’s what has me thinking today. Thanks for listening in, and feel free to add your thoughts.

Hope you’re enjoying a hot or cold cup of something delicious!


We went to Colorado and caught a serious case of fever

Nobody warned us when we took a mini-vacay to Colorado that we’d come back with mountain fever. I’d never heard of it before the trip, but we definitely caught it.

Symptoms of mountain fever include: uncontrollable smiling, delusions, lightheadedness, daydreaming and jaw-dropping.

The only cure seems to be moving to Colorado. Or forced amnesia.

Months ago, my husband and I planned this trip for my cousin’s wedding. Thanks to some writing work I’ve done, we could afford the airfare, and my husband’s seminary schedule made a long-weekend-kind-of-trip possible. The week before we were scheduled to leave, our basement flooded. (See my post on that matter here.) We worked hard in the days leading up to the trip so we wouldn’t have to consider cancelling it. A trip west was refreshing and needed. Maybe that made us more vulnerable to mountain fever.

You might be thinking: C’mon. You live in Pennsylvania. It’s not like you spend your days in Iowa. You can see mountains from down the block and every time you head to the grocery store.

True. But can Pennsylvania really compete with this?

It wasn’t just the mountains. Although I could wake up to this every morning.

I’m pretty sure I’d have to win the lottery or something to afford a view like this. I don’t know where the money comes from in Colorado, but some people have A LOT of it.

The people also warmed us. It started with our flight crew, who were from Dallas, but let’s just say, they were amazing, even in the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced. (I laughed through it. I must be crazy.) Then, when the computer mixed up our car rental entry, the employee taking care of us offered us a free upgrade (can you say truck? I knew you could.) plus a big discount and a future discount. If you’re keeping score, that’s 1 for Southwest and 1 for Enterprise. Granted these people are in the customer service business, but we were blessed by their kindness.

The next day, shopping at Target, we were asked numerous times by employees if we were finding everything OK. And we didn’t even look lost! (Or maybe we did and I was oblivious.) And they asked with smiles on their faces, like they might actually want to help us. Am I making too big of a deal out of this or have I just lived in the Midwest and now the Mid-Atlantic too long? People are not like this everywhere. I think it has something to do with the mountain air. Or maybe Coors runs from the faucets instead of water. Whatever it is, I want some.

Here are a few other highlights from the trip. I’ll let the pictures speak for a while.

Elk on the golf course across from my cousin's wedding


 A talking moose at Group Publishing, the company for which I’ve been writing. It’s a little unnerving the first time, but a talking moose? That’s pretty cool. Great food at the cafe, too. And fun people! Seems like a great place to work. And visit. And hang out at.

I took pictures, mostly for my daughter’s sake.

OK, that’s a lie. How often do you see the back end of an animal that’s been stuffed?

Besides the people and the scenery, there’s a bounty of outdoor activity. Everything we had in mind to do in Colorado involved the outdoors. Hiking. More hiking. Driving through the mountains. (We were denied this opportunity because it snowed in the mountains. It’s 80 degrees in Pennsylvania today. At the end of September. Snow in the mountains in September sounds OK by me right now.)

And although it rained a lot, we still took in a lot of hiking. First at Devil’s Backbone in Loveland.

Later, at Red Rocks. (Note to self: Add “concert at Red Rocks” to bucket list.)

At the very least, we’ve added Colorado to our list of places to vacation as a family. You know, once my husband finishes seminary and has legitimate vacation time.

We will be back, Colorado. We will be back.