By Posted in - general & random on November 12th, 2013 5 Comments

I guess I didn’t realize Arkansas was pretty.  No offense if you are from there, but anytime someone mentioned Arkansas, I immediately pictured Bubbas and banjos and that old creepy movie Deliverance. So I was surprised to find that it is actually quite civilized and very very pretty there.

My sister-in-law and her hubby have been going up there for a few years and know the best places to stay and all the great ATV trails.  And since we wouldn’t be able to fund our annual trip to Colorado this year with all the house building expenses, we opted for the closer/cheaper/group vacation. And it was fabulous.

Let me tell you…  7 solid days of sweatpants, 4-wheelers, and virtually no cell reception will do wonders for your soul (Thank you sweet, sweet Jesus for places where sweatpants are considered high-fashion.)

We rode all through the Ouachita Mountain trails and parks and since it was right in the middle of the fall color change, it was beyond gorgeous.

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bypass panorma

Ouachita Mountains


trail view from our ATV

We drank lots of coffee (along with a few adult-appropriate beverages,) rode trails for hours, and spent a lot of time just sitting and staring at the fire.  We played Monopoly (me for the very first time) where I got out-maneuvered by a 7 year old who once referred to me as “Baby Doll” while talking smack and taking all my money.

We froze our tushies off with the mountain wind chapping our cheeks and peeled off layers and layers to pee in the woods in the middle of nowhere.  We grilled big gorgeous steaks and barbeque chicken and ate our weight in spicy dips and brie and breakfast tacos.  We adopted, for about 24 hours, a dog (roughly the size of a pony) that randomly wandered up and plopped himself down on our cabin porch and watched us grill and eat with a pitiful look on his face.  He was so sweet and snuggly and pathetic that we finally gave in and gave him all our scraps.

And then after a few glorious days, everyone else in our group left and Kenny and I stayed a little while longer.  We spent our days driving all up and around the Talimena Scenic Byway, which is one of the highest ranked scenic drives in the nation.  We listened to lots of good music, scoped out some great fishing spots, and drank some hot chocolate in the rain.  We once spent an entire afternoon with me reading books and trashy magazines while Kenny casted the day away on Cedar Lake.

fishing spot

fishing spot

Miss Kitty

Miss Kitty

And at night, we stopped at a tiny burger joint near the Oklahoma State Line, run by a sweet couple from Texas and their cat – Miss Kitty- who sits on a barstool like a patron and pretty much runs the show.  The owners had possibly THE best vinyl collection I have ever seen and after a few beers, Biker Steve (as he is called,) graced me with some of the best tunes in the entire universe from his old-timey turn table in the corner.  I ate a baked potato the size of my head, all covered in brisket and cheese and onions, and Kenny ate the best burger in Arkansas/Oklahoma (it might have been 2 and I might have been helping) and then we went home to watch it rain.

It was a great week and the time off was much needed and appreciated.  But there was one thing that I really meant to do – really really needed to do – while I was there and never got around to….. write.

I really intended to have some glorious piece all ready for you.  I geared myself all up for some writing and reflection time on this vacation. I told myself that I would finally have the time to think and feel and come up with something meaningful to say. But in the 7 days of peace and beauty and tranquility, all I came up with was a sorry little sing-song nursery rhyme thingamajiggy (I will post it anyway because I am practicing lowering my own expectations.)  🙂

Ugh.  I used-to-could (proper Arkansas grammar) not stop writing. Once upon a time, when I was the only living soul that even knew I wrote, I would go on trips like this and be overwhelmed by thoughts and words and emotions.  I would usually have to carry a notebook with me or have my cellphone nearby with the voice recorder so I could sneak away somewhere and just write, write, write, write, write. But these last few weeks, I have just been so tired.  And I have to tell you, once writing becomes your job – your responsibility – it … changes things.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love it.  Once I get going, there is no release like letting it all flow out of my mind and my heart and rearrange itself (sometimes neatly, sometimes not) into little rows on paper.  Writing has always been that one place I felt free to tell the truth and be myself.  But when I know that someone might actually READ what I write, well…. I have to overcome the paralyzing fear first.

I will be honest with you: Posting even the most benign of pieces is terrifying.

I am too informal in my writing style to care about proper punctuation, and I am too instant-gratification to be any good at editing (I often catch misspellings weeks later and am completely mortified.)  And just writing down the truth about myself and my pettiness or issues can strike fear into my little please-think-I-am-perfect-I-just-couldn’t-stand-it-if-you-knew-I-was-semi-crazy-and-all-messed-up heart.

So trying to make every piece even somewhat impactful is exhausting.  It can make writing feel like another expectation or deadline or  opportunity for failure.  So this time, maybe because it was the first time in a looooooong time I just got to laugh and sit and be…. well, that’s what I did instead.

I keep telling myself this is okay.

See, when I set out on this writing journey thing, I promised myself and God that I would always be honest with my audience.  It was seemingly all He was asking of me.  But I put alot of pressure on myself to say something important or moving too.  The funny thing is, when God asked me to start doing this, He didn’t issue the expectation that every piece would be fabulous or even marginally good – that is all me. He just told me that I should tell you the truth about my life, my walk, and my struggles so that his glory and healing could  shine on through.  So while I could have definitely forced my way through some piece about God’s provision in Arkansas and the beauty of His creation (all valid and true) I. just. didn’t. feel. like. it.  And I don’t want to start writing fluff pieces that aren’t a true reflection of what I am thinking or feeling or doing.

Can you understand?  Can you forgive me?

It is scary to be honest like this.  But if we are gonna do this Jesus Journey thing together, it is important that I stay in this place.  It is important that I don’t get caught up in writing what I think you want to read, or saying what I think sounds deep or spiritual for the sake of sounding deep or spiritual.  There is no reason to freeze up for 3 hours before posting because I am terrified of the improper use of a semi-colon. Doing so would put me in a place that I know God doesn’t want for me; a place where I am too afraid to just be me because I am convinced it just couldn’t possibly be enough.

And the truth is that sometimes I feel so full of awe for our God that it comes spewing out of me and couldn’t possibly be contained.  Sometimes He gives me something important to write and I hope it makes you feel something or think about something or believe in something. But sometimes I just don’t have it in me.  Sometimes I just want to sit and laugh and wear sweatpants and play Monopoly.

But since He is God and I am not… and since I promised him I would do what He asked me to do… then I have to trust that maybe this piece has a purpose too.  Maybe this piece will do for you what it as done for me.  Maybe it will let you breathe a little bit.

Him asking me to not meet my own expectations makes me think that maybe just one of you out there reading this is struggling with this too.  So here is a challenge for us both: What if we allow ourselves to just lower our own expectations – or just flat refuse to meet them – and cut ourselves a little slack? What if- just sometimes – when we feel like we are drowning in a sea of expectations and deadlines and opportunities for failure, we just go put our sweatpants on and laugh and eat a pound of brie with some friends? What if, under the weight of our own I-should-be-doing-better/more/different, we dare to be silly or lazy and get a little rest?

So here’s my truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth…  I went on vacation and I did absolutely NOTHING.  And I liked it. And somewhere in the fuzzy and sleepy and lazy and happy, I wrote this for you:

I want to ride in God’s pocket
or nestle up under His wing.
I want to dance, like a child with her dad,
standing on the boots of The King.


I want to live in His castle.
I want to write Him a song.
I want to become who He means me to be
I hope it don’t take too long.


I want to reach out and touch Him;
Lay my hand on His cheek, make Him smile.
I wonder if God has wrinkles
on His forehead, ’round His mouth & His eyes.


Yes, I want to ride in God’s pocket
or nestle up under His wing.
I want to dance, like a child with her dad,
standing on the boots of The King.



  • Dana - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Ok Baby Doll! All is good. You . deserve. it. We all should take the time to do nothing. I sat by our little wet weather creek this weekend and listened to the trickling of the glorious water from our recent rains. It was hard for me to sit too long, but I made myself stop, breathe, be still and give thanks. I love love love “standing on the boots of The King!!!!”

  • Linnea Falk - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this piece!!!!!! Lord take me away to your creation. That is what that week was! Living, Simple, Laughing, Loving

  • Mama - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Just please, please, please keep writing! I love it all; semi-colon or not!!!

  • Bertina Schreiber - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    This is my favorite I believe… the poem at the end. Because I want to stand on the boots of my Dad, the King of Kings!

  • cheryl martin - Reply

    November 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Christine, First things first. I was born in Arkansas. : ) But, no apologies needed for your prior assumptions of that great state. I came to Texas as soon as I could – at the ripe ‘ole age of 1!! And I have never looked back.. Though, I do agree, Arkansas is a breathtakingly beautiful bit of our country. Now second things second. I’m very glad you went on a trip that brought you so much peace, awe-inspiring joy, and restoration. I’m sure God had no trouble with your inability/disinterest(?) in writing as……..”there is a time for every purpose under Heaven.” And third things third. I love your honesty. But, Christine, most people will go their entire lives unable to write such a precious, smile producing , little diddy – so, there is absolutely no need for all of your apologies that introduce what you so beautifully and heartfeltingly (I’m sure that’s not a real word, but ….oh well) produced …..all to the glory of God. What you have is a gift, no matter how great or small you might interpret your post to be. And those of us who faithfully read your work are the lucky benefactors.

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