how to find eternal value in a short-lived gold rush

In the late summer of 1896, while our country was coming out of a financial recession, three men followed a hunch and found gold in the Klondike River of Canada’s Yukon Territory. As news of their new gold discovery spread south to Seattle, it lit a flame in the hearts of the recently impoverished people. That flame licked its way across the continent and set the hearts of over 100,000 ablaze with the hope that they too could strike it rich. Leaving behind families and jobs, they flocked north hoping to cash in and turn their luck around.

DISAPPOINTING DISCOVERY

The journey was long and arduous. Most were not prepared for the extreme conditions that awaited them. 70,000 were forced to turn back before reaching their intended destination of Dawson City. About a year after setting out, the remaining 30,000 began arriving into Dawson only to discover that claims had already been made on the land containing their treasured riches. A few stayed on to seek employment. Most turned back, empty-handed.

SILENT SENTINEL

The city of Dawson, complete with dirt streets, now stands as a capsule of time reminding us of how quickly a dream can come and go. Tailings* stand in lonely heaps just outside the city’s border reminding me of a child who has lost interest in his toys and was never asked to clean up the mess. The original dredge used to coax great riches from the hidden folds of the earth has been retired from active duty and now stands as a silent sentinel guarding the memories of the past.

eternal value short-lived gold rush

GOLD GLITTER

For Quinten’s 9th birthday we tried our luck panning on the banks of the Klondike River. With hopes held high but expectations kept low, we scooped and swished like the best of them, eyes alert for the elusive gold glitter at the bottom of our pans. While the experience proved memorable in both a historical and educational sense, we were left with gold dust so fine you could only enjoy its glitter before washing it away in the stream. Continue reading “how to find eternal value in a short-lived gold rush”

how limited water, food, and internet can be good

Our trip through Canada to Alaska has been educationally gratifying. My mind has soaked up the opportunity to learn about the Klondike Gold Rush and whaling industry of the late 1800’s and the Steamboat era that soon followed. However, another aspect of personal application has been a lesson on limited living or: how limited water, food, and internet can be good for you.

A NEW TRAVEL APPROACH

In many ways, this road route has differed from those that we have done in the past. For one, we are traveling with another family for an extended amount of time, sharing the ebb and flow of travel days, trip planning, and potty break pullout stops. For another, we don’t have a pre-scheduled itinerary with campground reservations stretching into the weeks and months ahead. Instead, we have a general overview of our route and every few days we review the next leg of our trip and make tentative plans for our upcoming stops.

limited living
Photo: Last original bridge from the Alaskan Hwy

This method of travel is made possible due to advanced planning on my husband’s part who worked to ready the RV for extended dry camping endeavors. The beautiful thing about dry camping is the cost (often free if you are simply parking at a roadside pullout) and the flexibility (Want to stay longer? No problem! Ready to leave sooner? Let’s go!).

limited living
Photo: A view of our solar setup

Continue reading “how limited water, food, and internet can be good”

are you hiding your gifts?

are you hiding your gifts?

“A gift, of course, is meant to be given, which is why it’s so brutal when we can’t figure out what ours is, or when we know what it is, but we’re too lame to act on it: here we have the perfect gift to share with the world, just bursting to be opened, and we keep it sitting there, wrapped tightly in a box, growing old and gathering dust. Oh the waste! The agony!

Every single person is born with unique and valuable gifts to share with the world. Once we figure out what ours are, and decide to live our lives putting them to use, that’s when, and only when, the real party begins. Living a life on purpose is available to everyone.” ~Jen Sincero

One of my favorite questions to ask people when I’m first getting to know them is what gifts they have. The sad truth, however, is that the response is typically a bumbling, him-haw, blushing, “Gosh, I don’t know” kind of answer.

WHY DON’T WE EVEN KNOW OURSELVES?

Sometimes, I interpret that to mean they honestly haven’t ever taken the time to properly self-reflect. Other times I think it is an attempt to appear appropriately modest and humble.

If it’s the former, I want to shake them a little bit and say, “Hey, you need to know this stuff! It’s time to figure it out—it’s important! The rest of us are suffering the fate of not getting what you have to give, so get on it already!” Maybe this means some prayerful soul-searching or test taking or just getting over ourselves and asking our friends, “Hey, what do you see in me that I maybe don’t see in myself?Continue reading “are you hiding your gifts?”

what am I most interested in?

Wow. Powerful words, right? So often when we find ourselves in a place of pain or feel powerless, we don’t ask the question, “What can I learn from this situation?” Yet, there is so much wisdom to be gained from that position of humility.

10 years ago I sat in a dark room with the glow of a still ultrasound monitor projecting my changed reality—The baby I planned to give birth to in 3 weeks would not arrive in the way I had envisioned.

This began a new opportunity to lean into pain and ask the hard questions, “God, what can I learn from this?”

The answers came. Not answers to why our sweet Saywer died, but the answers of what we could learn. They continue to come even now, 10 years later.

 

Friends, there are many questions we will never know the answers to in this broken world, but I have learned that God will never fail to redeem and restore His broken children. And I have also learned, that there is still so. much. more. to. learn.

What are you learning today?

perfect weakness

He could have done anything. He was made new after all. Resurrected—a new body, a plan fulfilled, finished. Everything that needed to be done was completed. Redemption realized. Death defeated. Forgiveness extended. Grace fully poured out.

Yet, at the conclusion of His glorious act of love, He makes a radical choice in His perfect resurrection—He retains His scars.

His hands, His side, marked by pain; they remain marred, unchanged.

This goes against my plumb line perception of perfection, does it yours?

Why does our perfect savior retain His scars? While I can’t know His reasons, I can look to His example.

POWERFUL TOOLS

Instead of covering His scars, He used them to uncover the doubt of who He was. Rather than showing weakness, they displayed His power over sin and death and became a powerful tool in His ministry. Where He could have sought physical flawlessness, He focused on relational restoration.

perfect weakness

What does His example mean for our painful past? Could our deepest wounds accomplish this? Is it possible for our scars to be a tool that uncovers doubt about who Christ is? If so, are we willing to use our weaknesses for Christ’s glory? Are we willing to trust that in our weakness, Christ becomes our strength? If His stripes healed us, if He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3), will we embrace that healing? Instead of trying to cover the scars, do we dare to put them on display?

 

Satan whispers,

Hide.

Cover.

Cower.

Deflect.

Deny.

Retreat.

Recoil.

 

Scripture claims,

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 5:15, 16)

Confidence.

Grace.

Mercy.

Help.

Let us be a people who embrace our Savior’s example. In displaying our scars may we find these words, first given to Paul, ringing true for us, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

What scars do you bare? Are you hiding them or using them?