[insert intriguing title]

I have been fighting the desperate urge to crack open an ice cold beer for what feels like an eternity now. I just caved. I’ve got my Stella and my KitKat and it is me against the world.

I finished watching “Julie and Julia” a moment ago – Meryl at her finest – and ended up wanted to do one of two things: cook or blog. It’s nearly midnight and cooking is somewhat out of the question. Midnight, however, begs to be written about. It’s that peaceful kind of quiet in the house tonight – the kind that puts the world back where it’s supposed to be. Dad’s at the game, my brother and sister are working late, and Mom has snuck off to bed. Maggie’s with me. She loves a quiet house too, I bet. I feel this driving need within me, to write or create or relish the feeling of this very process running through my fingers. The last several weeks have been a whirlwind. Maybe I’ll start there and see where the telling takes me.

I love my weekends away. Truly I do. Jesse and I have been to the cabin with the family and to Sun Peaks with my best friends and their men. Both trips were relaxing, memorable, and hilariously fun. My heart waits for Winthrop all year, though. Who knew that this quiet little ranch town could steal my affections and my loyalty with one stroll down its rough-hewn boardwalks and winding horse laden mountain roads. It did and it captivates me every year. Camping brings out most of those parts of myself that I hate but somehow, Winthrop brings me to humility in other incomprehensible ways. It is on that beach at dusk that my heart hurts for its fullness and my eyes are open to truly see how grace has coloured this life I’ve been given. This year was full of expectation and anticipation for everything: reading book after book after book; breathing brisk morning air, coffee in hand, day after precious day; learning to put some air between the wakeboard and that daunting wake; and, feeling Jesus close to me with distractions so far away. The wildfires had different plans. We spent four, somewhat interesting, days in a campground that left much to be desired while we waited for our beloved state park to open its gates again. When at last it was safe to make the switch, we did so, only to be evacuated the day after. It was a wonder, in many ways, to be one moment laying atop a mountain peak at midnight, watching the stars race and multiply before my eyes, to then be cringing as the heady smoke of a powerful flame overwhelmed and the planes soared by in valiant defense of the town. All can change in an instant. We lost our camping trip this year but how many families lost their homes? It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose.

I think the Lord had it in mind to condense a certain fire of his own over that short time – the refining kind of fire. I am in awe of the pages of my journal that somehow filled themselves each morning. It’s almost as if he was watching me, rolling his eyes as I scrolled through my phone during my two minute devotions at home (and don’t for one moment believe that I’m so diligent as to do so every day…), and thinking to himself how hard he was going to hit me with powerful truth once the world faded into the foreground. And he did. He hit me hard with Ecclesiastes, of all places. Every morning I sat in front of the lake and sipped my coffee, watching my fingers unclench and listening to my heart unwind from its high strung places. He was just so incredibly loud. I usually can’t say much for my behaviour towards my family during camping trips. I don’t do well without space. I don’t do well when I can’t escape to reign it all back in. I am a different human being on packing/unpacking days and really, anyone who’s been camping knows these are write offs, plain and simple, when it comes to being God-fearing, patient, forgiving human beings. Forget about it. But this year? I’m really proud of myself. I can say, in complete honesty, that I did not try to kill anyone for the duration of this trip. I had moments of seeing red, yes. I even had a meltdown or two (who doesn’t?). But He helped me to walk away and to wake up the next morning and let.it.go. I was terrified not to have Jesse there to be the one who helps me breathe and maybe, just maybe, it was a good thing after all. Because I had to look to Jesus. And I forget to do that all too often. Everyday was this grand adventure of conviction, forgiveness, and renewal. I came home feeling as though maybe something was different. I know something is different. The learning has continued and I don’t know where it will manifest itself next. I just know that I feel filled.

I wanted to write an hour ago and now I’ve written and I long for my bed. I don’t feel like editing and rewriting the boring parts. I don’t feel like coming up with an intriguing title. Read it or don’t.

I’m chuckling to myself, almost hoping that my family doesn’t read it because they probably didn’t notice any difference this year! Haha. Sometimes the greatest changes, the ones that hold the most promise, are indistinguishable at first.

That’s kind of a nice thought.