It has been years since I have left my husband and kids. As much as I wanted to spend time with my cousins in Scottsdale Arizona, I dreaded leaving Windy Ridge. But, alas, I ventured out and I was so blessed. Buddy’s move to glory land is five months fresh and still so unreal. We spent hours studying and dreaming about heaven. We laughed and cried and prayed together. The paradox of life on this broken and beautiful earth.

We hiked Tom’s Thumb. If you want to call it that. It was more like meandering aimlessly while passionately discussing eschatology and such. We were completely oblivious to other hikers so who knows what inappropriate things we filled their ears with. Every once in awhile a passerby might chime in and become a barely-noticed part of the heated conversation.

Crawling to the off-trail summit. Not because we had to, but because it’s more exciting that way. I am fairly certain the onlookers were impressed, but I didn’t take the time to confirm.

We took the paths less traveled and happened upon a huge lizard. We chased him around like giggling schoolgirls. We had no clue it was a poisonous Gila Monster until later. I am thankful he crawled down a steep cliff before I had the chance to cuddle him. Being from the Pacific Northwest and uneducated about venomous critters, we climbed into crevices and tunnels and found hidden views and recaptured a bit of our childhood. Recaptured too much childhood perhaps. I don’t recall behaving in such a childish manner since the last time we got together.

We embarked on another hiking adventure on Wednesday. I thought the Pacific Northwest was earthly minded, but Scottsdale took minding the earth to a whole new level. Easily bored by the mundane trail we got the brilliant idea to climb some rocks for a better view and a good panoramic photo. Just as we were precariously and victoriously perched upon two large rocks a jogger comes up from the west exclaiming that he didn’t realize we were thrill seekers— while an extremely irate woman comes from the east waving her arms and  hollering at us to get down. As I tried to defend my ignorance she thoroughly rebuked me for stepping over the sign, that forbade rock climbing, to carelessly trample live plants. I pointed out that I carefully avoided stepping on the innocent plants— to which she sputtered that I was actually stepping on plants at that very moment.  Upon examining the rocks beneath my feet I realize that I am beholding the marvel of invisible plants and I proceed to let the irate woman know that this is my first time “seeing” them—while wondering if she knows the emperor with new clothes. Then the irate woman turns to the jogger and asks him accusingly if we were his children. Of course I couldn’t resist affirming this and falsely accusing him of giving us permission to climb the forbidden rocks. Made my whole trip. I am easily entertained. The funny thing is that we are simply harmless grannies.

Sunday was my favorite day. I had been praying for a church to go to while there. I needed church so badly. God provided at an urban farm six miles down the road. We followed an elderly couple into a garage and there we found a small gathering of brothers and sisters. They prayed with us and cried out to God with us. The sermon was riveting.  And it just so happened that baby goats had been born the night before. My kind of church. We left feeling restored and strengthened.  Family forever.


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