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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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for the beauty of the earth

Our trek started a bit bumpy, when we missed the bus. Actually, as Mandy more rightly put it, “The bus missed us!” Being under the impression that Honduran time is always belated, we arrived at the bus stop 10 minutes early… only to find that the bus had arrived and left 15 minutes early!

After hitching a ride (with our friend Dave Kolmodin) to the base of our hike, we were more than ready to get started. Our group consisted of Heather (outdoorsy Canadian), Emily (active Alabaman), Mandy (bright-spirited Illinoisan), Jess (hike-experienced Californian), and myself (with the imagination of Robinson Crusoe and the usefulness of a small child).

After scurrying around the visitor center with maps and such things, we began the climb. The trails snaked around the mountain amidst our exclamations of, “Look at this vine!” “This tree is enormous!” “I might have to use nature’s bathroom!” “My socks are getting wet!”

The way was muddy, steep, narrow, and difficult, but we each felt equal to the task. We came upon the gorgeous waterfall (La Cascada) and took several moments to just stand in wonder at the glory of it all. At one point, I stood near the face next to the falls and saw water drip in singular droplets down the mossy rock.

We trudged on, following signs and consulting maps. In all we traveled about four hours when we came to a very literal fork in the road. The straight way lay ahead, and a steeper climb with a mysterious sign pointed upwards. We opted for the sign and the climb, but before long we were feeling the effects. Jess and I climbed on ahead, bolstered by adrenaline and a need to reach our destination. The other girls took it a bit slower and before long the separation was great.

As darkness fell on the mountain top (this mountain is known for its cloud forest), Jess and I found ourselves in a clearing. Lost. Without our group. Without a map. Without a flashlight. We thought to travel back down the trail to meet up with the other girls, but after 20 minutes could see nothing but the blanket of darkness ahead and behind.

We climbed back up the mountain, with only the electric light of my ipod lighting the next 10 inches in front of us. We made it back to the same clearing and I promptly began making plans for our camp. With the excitement of a novice adventurer, I set to the forest to find sticks and rocks to make a shelter from the poncho my mother had so industriously packed before my stateside departure.

After the initial shock of our situation, Jess collaborated and we diligently made what was to be our camp. I now wish I had taken pictures, but you can imagine how foolish that would seem as we were preparing to freeze together under a poncho. We diagonally crossed to solid sticks to rest on our packs and on a bench with the poncho secured underneath with hair ties and the string from Jess’s rainjacket cover. We spread Jess’s raincoat on the ground and pronounced our camp, “very good.”

All the while, we were doing one of these three things: laughing, praying, or singing. I can say our conversation almost completely consisted of those things. We were convinced God had ordained that very time for us to be in that very place and we were going to seek Him out in the midst of it. As we added every layer we could find in our packs, we prepared to shiver the night out together.

We climbed into our creation claiming the very ground in the name of the Lord. We prayed for protection, providence, and joy. We quoted scripture and sang nearly every praise song within our frozen grasp, including several from Sister Act. We huddled with a closeness that belied our mere two months of friendship. We were filled with a peace and fear did not dampen the doorstep of our humble mountain abode.

And then we heard voices.

We listened for a moment, then quickly decided the voices could only help (especially when one voice belonged to a woman). We rolled out with a welcoming, “Hola!” And we met an eager group (1 of 4) that had been sent out to find the two wandering gringas (white girls). We fell into conversation and laughed at our foolishness.

We followed them, hoping a bed or even a floor might be at the end of the trail. They, of course, had flashlights – and our conversation was a delight at 10 pm! We made it to our destination, where we not only found beds, but sheets and pillows! The bathroom was nothing to speak of, but BEDS and PILLOWS, how grateful we were!

We still shivered through the night, but the memory of the poncho camp was too close for complaining. In the morning, after several cups of hot coffee, we met up with the rest of our group who had their own story to tell.

We spoke with more of the rangers and found that we had not only escaped the cold, but also the prowling pumas (who number over 100) that appear between midnight and 1 am in the very place of our camp. I guess we won’t be camping out on the mountain again any time soon…

But, as frightful as this story may sound. We are filled with such joy, gratitude, and yes a decent dose of humility. We truly believe our hearts and minds were refined through our mountain rescue. Psalm 91 became our theme chapter for the trip and we left the mountain even more aware and in awe of God’s goodness, mercy, and sovereignty.

2 comments on “for the beauty of the earth

  1. Mrs. Nichols says:

    Thank you, Jesus, for protecting our (Yours and mine) adventurous, risk-taking, glory-giving daughter and making her feel safe……even when she is lost.

  2. - Christina says:

    I am still laughing my behind off about you singing hymns… and Sister Act songs on a mountain in Honduras! I love you so, sister! And I am so so so so so glad you are safe. Thank you, Lord! For my sister and her safety, and for her awesome sense of humor 🙂 Christina

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