I try to hike everyday for an hour.  Typically though,  it happens about 5 days a week.  We are Blessed to have a forest just behind the house in which we live so its easy for me to get out on the trails.

Sometimes I walk with my two "over 60" friends from the neighborhood.  Sometimes I walk with the girls.  Sometimes the dog.  Sometimes Doug.  But more times than not, alone.

There is a peacefulness to walking in towering trees, actually hearing birds wings in flight and sitting beside running streams.  There is the combination of sun and shade and mountain breeze that adds to the effect.

My mind clears out there.  My ears and eyes open.  I can understand the concentric rings in cross-sections of trees, reminding me of lifes plenty and its poverty.  I can understand water moving freely between rocks, doing the unthinkable, making them smooth.  Not to mention the song of the water, only made by those rocks.  I can understand the patience of nature.  I can understand seasons, the necessity of them and the promise of another one ahead.  I see the Gospel in it all.

It is true that we are in the midst of the single most pressing time in our family life - and we've had a few, so thats saying something.    I must take time for these walks, take time to look at nature... and remember.  I must preach truth to myself day after day in this life season otherwise I can easily find myself with a complaining spirit, draining life from those around me.  That is not a role I care to play.

I take my cues from when Job questioned God on all that was happening in his life.  God, as if to remind Job of the Divine Plan, turned his focus to Creation.  God gave no answers, only evidences of His Grace and Glory.  I walk to remember.

    I call aloud, but there is no justice. [19:7b]

    Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me! [31:35a]

    Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind. Who is this that darkens counsel without knowledge? ... Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [38:1-2,4a,7]

    I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. [42:5-6]

It is also imperative in these days that I keep celebrations continuing in my home.  Back to school parties for the girls, having tea, lighting candles at night for dinner, playing refreshing music, dancing,  and being creative with our home are ways that I show the girls how to have Sabbath amidst struggle.  They need to see this in me.  It is mostly on my walks that I think and pray for ways to bring that Life to our home.

Parties cost nothing for the host if everyone attending brings something.  Candles are a mood setter and last months if only burned during dinners or special moments.  Music can be piped in free through various online sources.  And there are flowers, branches, grasses and rocks just outside my door that allow me to bring Reminders inside and beautify my home at the same time.  Gatherings and celebrations need not be expensive, only heartfelt.

And when there is no internet or electricity because we can not pay for it, we sit outside and the wind is our symphony. And when there is no food for the day, we thank God in advance for what He is doing in training us, preparing us for what He has in mind.   Admittedly it has taken practice in enduring such seasons for me to learn how to thrive amidst them, not to mention studying Sabbath,  but I have learned to remember there is always, always Glory about us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  I believe nothing of this life season will be wasted if we keep our eyes on Him.   

Today as I hiked I snapped a few pictures to share with you.  I hope you will be intentional about seeing Beauty around you today as well, and the Glory that it sings.