I’m alone except for a fisherman, a student hunched over a book, and two older ladies strolling along the coastline. The wind, slightly damp and seasoned with salt, plays with loose strands of my hair as I jog, following the line of wet sand. I’m training for my first 5K run in January. After just five minutes, I’ve confidently decided that beach running is my favorite.
My bare feet meet the moist ground, pounding out a regular rhythm as my eyes drink in the surrounding splendor. I use the time of solitude to pray and lean in toward my Father’s heart. “What do you want to show me today?” I ask.
Moments later my eyes catch sight of something shining in the sand. I stop, curiously observing the translucent blob lying in my path. I look around and spot another, tangled in a pile of seaweed. I’m mesmerized. Are these jellyfish? How long have they been here? Are they dead? Would anything have happened if I’d stepped on them? I make a mental note to return and show the kids my discovery at the end of my run.
Resuming my pace, I continue my jog. The waves lap around my feet like puppies biting at shoestrings. Once again, something catches my eye and I halt. A sand dollar, perfectly circular, lies ensconced within its shore-lined bed. Pulling back its covers of sand, I clean it in the surf and tuck it safely in my pouch. No sooner is my treasure locked away, than a second dollar comes into view. Minutes slip past as I tuck forty dollars worth of treasure away for safe keeping. Continue reading “hidden treasure | Morro Bay, CA”
The air is cool and crisp as I sit cross-legged in my plush camp chair. I’m snuggled under the fleece blanket my mother-in-law gifted me for Christmas last year. Above me the sky has tucked the sun into its western bed and the stars are roaming free. Around me sit a circle of friends and family. We’ve each parked our chairs in close proximity to the fire pit but random popping embers occasionally cause us to question our warmth vs. safety priorities.
By the way, it’s Wednesday evening. That lonely, middle-of-the-week night which, in former times of my life, marked things like bible study, soccer practice or the night we used to curl up on the couch and watch the next episode of Lost. It was not, however, social night. Getting together mid-week with multiple families for the pure purpose of hanging out was typically impractical, if not impossible.
Yet here we sit for the third week in a row, swapping stories in the dark while flames dance and kids play. It’s a gift. With time as our currency, we are rich and I don’t mourn soccer or Lost.
As for bible study? We’ve moved it to Wednesday morning.
How about you? What does a typical Wednesday evening look like?
We’ve now had over a year’s worth of Sundays on the road. However I still stumble over myself when asked, “What do you do for church while traveling in an RV?” It’s a straightforward question but the answer isn’t clear-cut. Come with me while I unpack the details of what church looks like for us while RVing.
WHAT IS CHURCH?
Both Trent and I grew up going to church on Sundays. It is part of our family history and something we value. We believe that the church should be important to us because it is important to God. He loved the church. He gave Himself up for it (Ephesians 5:25).
Yet, as I’ve grown, so has my concept of what the church actually is. As a child, church was the white building on the street corner with a cross on top. Church was something we went to and sequentially left each week. Church was a building, a place of gathering, and an icon in town with a cross on the roof. This is not what Christ died for. Instead, I believe Christ died for people. John 10:11 tells us that Christ is the Shepherd who lays down His life for his sheep (not their barn). Therefore, my understanding has grown to realize that “church” is wherever believers are gathered together, regardless of the day of the week or the location of the gathering.
This may seem like an unnecessary distinction to make; however, I believe it is important to start here. Without this clarification, it can be easy to wander off into unnecessary confusion when answering the question, “What will you do for church on the road?” Because there is a big difference between asking, “What building do you plan to go to on Sundays?” and “How will you stay connected with other believers?”
DON’T STOP GATHERING
The writer to the Hebrews warned the early church to “not stop gathering together with other believers, as some are you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming” Hebrews 10:25. I believe this has as much relevance now as it did when first penned. As believers we crave time with other believers and that time pays dividends of encouragement, accountability and spiritual growth. Continue reading “what church looks like for us while RVing”
It’s dark, early and cold. Our alarm chimes brightly urging us toward consciousness. My eyes open and a single thought floats to the forefront of my mind: hot air balloons!
We scramble to dress, quickly pulling items like coats, gloves and winter hats out of retirement. Stepping into the brisk, pre-dawn air, our lungs fill with a fresh dose of chilled oxygen. Endorphins igniting, excitement courses through our veins. Despite our shortened slumber, we are fully alert.
Walking to the shuttle bus, we are joined by other early risers, equally bundled and filled with anticipation. The bus delivers us to the entrance of Balloon Fiesta Park and here we join the sea of spectators collectively converging onto the damp, grassy field. We are all here for the same portentous* reason—to be wowed by gondolas, burners and envelopes—more simply: hot air balloons.
THE WAITING LIST
Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Melissa Moss, Trent and I are media pass holders allowing us complementary admission onto the field and access to the media tent. Here we grab warm drinks and breakfast burritos and I add my name to the balloon ride sign-up page. I’m told not to expect to be called for a ride on this opening day and I don’t. My name, scribbled on the top of page two behind many other hopeful people, is clearly too far from the top to gain attention.
Trent takes the kids and disappears onto the still-dark field while I hover around the heater and listen for my name that isn’t likely to be called. Forty-five minutes pass and two names are announced. I write off my chances but remain anyway, determined to see this opportunity through. Then, a miracle occurs and I hear my name over the speakers. I approach the table, heart racing with anxious excitement and pure shock. “Are you ready to go up?” they ask. “Yes, I most definitely am!” Continue reading “flying high | Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta”
We are up before the sun, dressing, eating, prepping. Our goal is to leave by 7:00 am. A long drive is on the horizon. We pull out of our site at 7:21. Today we say goodbye to Utah. It’s a bittersweet parting. While I’m filled to the brim with anticipation for the upcoming balloon fiesta, three nights in Utah has been far too little in my opinion.
As we begin our drive south, the rays of morning light slowly illuminate the iron-rich rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park. The ground sparkles with a blanketing layer of frost that captures the sun in a brief prism-like show of brilliance before surrendering to the warmth of the dawn. The Fremont River courses through its morning routine as steam rises to meet the cool air before bowing its head and returning to the moving water.
We pass no one, yet despite the absence of admiring onlookers, the majestic opulence of towering rocks, layered in color and adorned with strength, remains. Here beauty abounds from the earth in an exorbitant show of confidence.
I reflect on our time here punctuated by RV friends and vast vistas. Thoughts of exploring the land on foot and hiking to overlooks that took our breath away, wisp through my mind like clouds. Continue reading “breathtaking beauty | Utah”