When a Holy Desire is Thwarted

For Red Tent Living this month...

Perhaps you can relate? Ever feel that a genuine, sacred desire is being thwarted? Yeah, that's us.

Clouds move in and the wind picks up. Sunny, blue skies turn gray and thunder ripples west. Another Saturday’s desperate attempt at play, thwarted. Our family story, on repeat. Stuck in a motif we’re rather tired of, weary of.

It began while living overseas. In a megacity of concrete and traffic and millions and millions of bodies, we craved space, nature. We brought picnics to the waterfront patch of green, but stray cats and dogs forced us to move. We bought bikes to transport on the ferry across the sea to an island without cars, but the hordes of people made it virtually impossible to peddle. We left early on weekend mornings to reach a forest outside of the sprawl, spent a refreshing few hours in the trees, before sitting in endless hours of congestion homeward. The hot, stop and go sucked the life from us.

We left the megacity with weary souls.

In the Pacific Northwest, we tried camping with friends. We emptied the nearby camp store of tarps and they were still insufficient to protect us from the onslaught of rain. Years later, when we had all moved to sunny Colorado, we tried again. Memorial Day in the mountains brought rain. We went south in June: Rain. We went to the desert the next year: Rain. We went east to Nebraska: Rain.

It became laughable, so long as we were together. But alone as a family, after a tiresome week of holding trauma for clients or teaching about trafficking or struggling with school friends, we reach for play. When it alludes us time after time, it is not so funny. It is the very opposite of funny.

Continue reading here.



It did not rain!

Italy in Pictures

Twenty years ago we blew every penny we were given for our wedding and honeymoon and went to Italy. One of us had just graduated and was jobless and the other would be returning to a work-study job in a preschool making minimum wage. We could care less. He had offered to take me out of the country for the very first time and not a common sense piece of logic could have stopped me from being so whimsical. One would hope that after 20 years, a healthy mix of responsibility, savings, and income would lend itself to either an easy to afford anniversary trip or the reserve to not go. Unfortunately, that first trip abroad created an insatiable zest for travel and taught us how to do it within our finances, small as they may be. And, having spent the last 2 decades in ministry, income never quite allowed us to be sensible. Creative is the way of travel for us.

To make this 20th anniversary trip back to Italy a reality we relied on two things: credit cards that gave us 50,000 air miles for signing up (which turned into 2 free tickets) and a father who gifted us with timeshare points to stay in an apartment, in the middle of Tuscany, for free. The apartment allowed us to cook most meals and that left our biggest extravagance: a hotspot to enable Siri to talk us through the crazy mountain roads of the Crete Sienese, in butchered Italian no less.

Folks, if you long to travel and see the world, figure out a way to make it happen. Get creative and think outside of the box. I guarantee you'll spend as much for a week in Disney or on a beach in Mexico. I'll spare you the throw back photos I took 20 years ago when I first took over the camera! But hopefully these pictures come close to expressing the beauty of Italy.

Territorial Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Sienna Celloist

Sant'Antimo Abbey

Sant'Antimo Abbey Valley

Sant'Antimo Abbey Olive Tree

Sant'Antimo Abbey Grounds

Sant'Antimo Abbey Altar

San Biagio

San Biagio Church


Roman Herb Bike

Roman Bar


Oldest Door in Montepulciano


Montalcino Winery

Marmore Falls

Italian Women

Italian Cheese

Eating Outside in Italy


Brunello Winery Montalcino


Assis Street

19th century cafe