2017: Sue Reeve’s One-Year ‘Soul Care’ Discovery Journey…

Discovery #7

Soul Care Discovery: It’s been a while since I mentioned a new soul care discovery. This isn’t because I haven’t been thinking about soul care. I’ve thought about it often. A couple days ago, in a moment of clarity I realized, I’ve also been practicing soul care.

     Let me try to explain.

     As I was going through photographs Ron has taken these past few weeks, preparing to put together a photo album of recent travels and experiences—I grasped a new insight:

Summertime is good for the soul!

     Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan, a book I read several years ago, left some unforgettable impressions. I returned to this book recently to read what Buchanan had to say about the spiritual significance of summer. I like what he says,

“What do we do in summer?

First, most: enjoy…Summer is a time for enjoying God and others, without reserve and without apology. It’s a time for rediscovering the sheer pleasure of simply being alive…We strive for nothing and yet have everything…We heed the counsel that Scripture gives to rich people: don’t trust in your wealth, which is so uncertain, but trust in God, “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” In the summer of the heart, we get that: abundance isn’t for trusting in; it’s for enjoying.”

     At the beginning of 2017, I determined to make the theme of this year ‘soul care.’ Some asked me what I meant by ‘soul care,’ and I admitted I had only a vague idea. I knew, though, I desired a more well-tended soul, and I had a hunch the Holy Spirit was happy to walk alongside and help me comprehend.

     As I’ve traveled through the last six and one-half months, I’ve never felt my pursuit was a waste of time, nor have I been disillusioned or discouraged. In fact, it’s been an energizing journey

     This summer, as Mark Buchanan suggested, I’ve been “rediscovering the sheer pleasure of simply being alive.”

     I’ve gained a new appreciation for the joy that comes from hanging out with friends and family.

     Fresh awareness of God’s creation, which has never seemed more majestic.

     Yes, Summer 2017 has been good for my soul.

     I want to share some soul-satisfying scenes from this summer season with you, along with a few quotes and personal reflections. I hope you will enjoy.

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Sunrise on Catalina Island, California – by Ron Reeve

God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon…

 That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset…

The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.

Psalm 19:1-7 (MSG)

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C:\Users\Susan Reeve\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\06302017_28562-1.jpgFlathead River, Montana by Ron Reeve

‘Summertime…and the livin’ is easy…

Summertime is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, a favorite song in a wonderful musical.C:\Users\Susan Reeve\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\07012017_28663-1.jpgGlacier Park, Montana by Ron Reeve

I want God, not my idea of God. C.S. Lewis

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A life without love is like a year without summer.

–A Swedish proverb

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Columbia Falls, Montana – Ron Reeve, used by permission from owner for non-commercial purpose

If it could only be like this always – always summer… Evelyn Waugh

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I met my friend Jane at summer camp when we were in grade school. During my teenage years, I spent many happy days at her family’s cabin. She invited Ron and me to spend a long weekend at their new and much-improved cabin at the same camp this summer. I loved the following quote I saw on Pinterest a couple weeks after the delightful time we spent with Jane, Jerry and two of their adorable granddaughters.

Image result for inspirational quotes about summer camp

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Yorba Regional Park National Nature Garden, Yorba Linda, CA by Ron Reeve
“Creativity is the Blue Heron within us waiting to fly; through her imagination, all things become possible.” ― 
Nadia Janice Brown, 21st Century author, poet and book promoter

I believe the blue heron has become my favorite bird. I love the grace and elegance of this long-legged beauty. Herons are skittish, not fond of having their pictures taken, which makes this shot Ron captured extra special.

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Yorba Regional Park National Nature Garden, Yorba Linda, CA by Ron Reeve

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C. S. Lewis

Summer—what better time to sit by a quiet lake, enjoy the wonder of God’s creation and ponder my next step…

Blessings on your summertime of the soul…

Sue Reeve

Celebrating Summertime Flowers

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While in Santa Rosa, California, for our grandson’s graduation, my husband, Ron, and I took an early-morning walk in the beautiful Luther Burbank gardens. All, except for the last photo, are ones Ron took.

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Life is like a flower. You need to enjoy its beauty before summer ends. Author Unknown

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Bloom where God has planted you!

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Never lose a chance of saying a kind word. William Makepeace Thackery

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We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. Abraham Lincoln


May your summer days be filled with many beautiful blessings…

Sue Reeve

Climbing That Mountain…

I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

Psalm 121:1 & 2 (MSG)

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     July 2, 2017, my brother, Steve joined an exclusive group of people when he reached the summit of Mount Rainer. According to the National Park Service, each year approximately 10,000 attempt the summit. Only half succeed.[1]

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     For many years I referred to my only brother, Steve, who was born five days prior to my ninth birthday, as my “little brother.” That doesn’t work nowadays, however, since Steve towers more than a head taller than his oldest—and shortest—sis.

     Steve has been an important person to me his entire life. I’ve watched him grow from a sweet, chubby baby into a fine man who works hard, loves God, and has quietly mentored several men. He’s a faithful husband and devoted daddy to his own three beautiful daughters. His youngest daughter, Chantal, climbed Mt. Rainier with her dad, joining him for a photo op at the summit.

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     During a family gathering on the 4th of July, I talked with Steve about the climb. He looked as he admitted feeling—exhausted—and I appreciated his willingness to discuss openly the good and not-so-good parts of his experience. I appreciate his permission to write this post.

     Without any doubt, this accomplishment is impressive. The experience Steve and Chantal share is one which can never be taken from them. But, as is the case with most impressive experiences, it wasn’t easy!

     We all encounter mountains. Life journeys often lead us to some daunting heights. Climbing some mountains, like the 14,000 feet high magnificent glacial peak in Western Washington, is a challenge one welcomes and chooses to accept. Other mountains are neither welcomed nor chosen.

     The disability with which we’d rather not live.

          A disintegrating marriage we believed would last ‘til death do us part.’

               Disastrous loss due to an economic or natural disaster.

                    The charming beau who turned into a hurtful spouse.

                         Childhood abuse that continues to haunt our memories.

                              Our beloved child who grew into a raging teenager.

                                   The dream job that wasn’t.

                                        Etc., etc., etc.

     Yes, life is full of mountains. Whether chosen or not, I think the recent conversation I had with my mountain-climbing brother offers some valuable insights:

  • Reach deeply into your soul. Determine your desire. Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, said, “You are made in the image of what you desire.”[2]
  • After you’ve tapped into desire, dare to dream about achieving your desire.
  • Fear not failure. This was Steve’s second attempt at climbing Rainier. A sprained ankle at 11,000 feet prohibited him from reaching the summit on his first attempt.
  • Learn from an experienced, trusted leader. Steve said he would not have been able to complete this climb if he hadn’t followed the rest-step cadence emphasized and established by Ben, their seasoned leader.
  • Persist even when the going gets rough. Steve fought muscle cramps, nausea and fatigue. Yet, he kept putting one foot in front of the other until he reached his intended destination.
  • You’re never too old to reach a new goal. Steve was the elder statesman of his group.
  • Keep learning and growing. I asked Steve what he’ll do differently to train for the next mountain he plans to climb in a few months. He mentioned some additional strength training, and said he’s going to do a lot more stretching. Stretching physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is always needed when we climb any mountain.
  • Never underestimate the value of a community of caring, concerned friends. Because of his extreme fatigue and cramped muscles, Steve needed assistance from his team. They were willing to extend helping hands and never stopped cheering him on.

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     Mark Batterson’s perspective related to physical and spiritual goals fascinated me when I read it a few months ago. Batterson says:

Any goal that cultivates physical discipline will cultivate spiritual disciplines too.[3]

     I was curious to learn if there was a spiritual aspect to my brother’s climb and how this impacted his venture. Tears welled up in Steve’s eyes as he considered my questions. I would never discuss this profound aspect of the climb my brother entrusted to me.

     In closing, I want to say, “Well done, brother, and sweet niece! I am SO proud of you!” You have illustrated well these words penned by Thomas Merton:

The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied
it is to be lived.[4]

To each reader, I pray blessings on your journey—no matter what mountain you may be climbing…

Sue Reeve

  1. www.alanarnette.com/climbs/rainierfaq.php
  2. Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Thoughts in Solitude
  3. Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, Chapter 15, Life Goal List
  4. Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude