1000 gifts · faith · family · just write life · writing

That Time Looking Back Was Worth the Glance


I’ve always had a smidge of sympathy for Lot’s wife. I know, I know. If God tells you to go,  you go and don’t wonder at what you’re leaving behind.

That’s a whole lot easier said than done.

Besides, I don’t think the point of the story is “never look behind you.” I think the point is radical obedience–which looks not the same for each of us.

We took our whole family on a jet plane a couple weeks ago and touched down in Nevada with no sights set on winnings bigger than the snuggles of missed cousins. We rented a minivan the kids liked better than ours and drove into southeastern Utah, where you can try, but you won’t be able to take a picture without an amazing background view.


We stayed in this great house and everyone had plenty of space though they preferred to be together all of the time.

We hiked and walked and trudged through the sand of Snow Canyon and the most family-friendly trails of Zion National Park. Except for when my fearless one and her daddy ascended legendary Angels Landing–and she told me later about hiking the last half-mile holding a chain and that she didn’t believe I’d be able to do it. You’re not supposed to look down, Mommy. If you do, you’ll get scared. 

I suppose that’s a lot like, you’re not supposed to look behind. If you do, you’ll regret leaving. 


Maybe Lot’s wife regretted leaving. Or maybe she was just nostalgic. We don’t really know. All we do know is God told them to get out of town and don’t look back–and she did.

I’m a master of hindsight. Oh, if I’d known then what I know now. I’ve got a long list of how our life could be better.

Better than what, though? Because, truthfully, right now, we’re pretty darn blessed. And I’d say it’s mere grace the Lord hasn’t turned me to salt.





Instead He’s teaching me something with my tendency to look back and what if and wonder why. Showing me in great strokes of glory that what lies behind me is the best kind of broken beautiful.

Looking a lot like this sunrise I almost missed the morning I drove my sister into work so early the sun rose behind me while I drove back down the valley.


Sometimes that glance back reminds us Who’s got our back–shining like the sun and sweeping us away into the greatest kind of love story. The kind where, when we glance backward we see all the little pieces falling together to make the story we have today.

Abraham’s family had to survive–no time for looking back. Praise Jesus, we get to live and learn and stare over our shoulders at the wondrous majesty that has protected us all along.



family · just write life · writing

What We Learned in DC

We celebrated my girls end of school this year in a really big way.

We skipped it.

Listen, when daddy has a conference in DC and the hotel is paid for, you seize opportunity and take flight.


Literally. We took the big girls on a plane for the first time. They loved it. But then at the Air and Space Museum, Madelynne informed me she wasn’t interested in knowing how those planes were built because then she might know how they could crash.

Point taken.

She and I befriended our seat mate–the deputy chief of staff for a Nebraska senator–which secured us a personal tour of the Capitol. We’d been on the fence and hadn’t committed with our own congressman before the trip, but this worked out perfectly and was one of our favorite activities. Plus, we got to ride the secret trolley from the Russell Senate Building underground to the Capitol.

They were pretty impressed with the state of the Union that day.


We were all a little worried when no one, not our politic friend or our taxi driver, had heard of our little budget hotel but turns out, the hotel got a new name recently. We stayed at The District (formerly Sunny) Hotel and although the reviews were not spectacular, we thought it was great. Our room was clean, it was an old apartment building turned hotel, so there was plenty of charm, and best of all? Continental breakfast and one block from the 7/11.

When we moved up from here to the swanky conference hotel, Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, the girls discovered The Corner Bakery and our food budget sighed. What is it with nicer hotels and fewer amenities? Well, the Hyatt did have a pool.

We indulged in the pool one afternoon after another attempt to see it all. By Tuesday night, when Joshua had to switch gears and be professional, we had seen the Capitol,  Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, MLK Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, World War II Memorial, Bureau of Engraving and Printing,the Natural History Museum, the Archives, the Smithsonian Castle, Arlington, the Native American Museum, the Holocaust Museum, and we’d gotten pretty good at navigating the metro.

My feet hurt. A lot. So did the girls but they didn’t complain.

Well, not too much.

While Joshua networked and talked business for the rest of the week, the girls and I caught everything else.

Well, we tried.

American History Museum and quote of the week: Mom, if Hillary wins will they put Bill’s tuxedo in the First Ladies dress exhibit?

American Gallery of Art where, after walking through the Hall of Presidential portraits, I was ashamed to discover how much of my history I’d forgotten . Oh, and we got to be part of a research experiment using our sense of smell to describe how a picture looks.

Our hands down favorite? Ford’s Theater. I booked us online passes that included the audio tour and one act play. Best. Decision. of. the. Week. They plugged up their little ears and wandered every inch of that museum. In fact, we had to come back after watching the play because they weren’t done. This exhibit is well worth the price of admission extras (regular admission is free) and while they told me everything they learned, I wasn’t accosted with thousands of questions that all started with “Why–”

Ten year olds named Annabelle have a lot of questions.

We rounded out our week with a night time stroll (i.e. Joshua couldn’t find another cab to take us back to the hotel) of all the monuments from Jefferson to FDR. That’s quite a walk in case you’re wondering. But along the bank of the Potomac, Joshua helped me formulate the outline for my flash fiction story, “For the Love of Lincoln.” You can read it in Splickety Love’s August issue, Love on Location.

On Friday, we rounded out our trip with a visit to the National Zoo. The girls fit in nicely with the animals.

All in all, I learned it’s best to do a trip like with without little ones and it’s priceless to have time to spend with the big kids who sometimes feel shafted by the antics of their siblings. And, even though they fight most of the time, they can keep it to a minimum.

In fact, they might even love one another.