Monday, July 12, 2010


“Not all who wander are lost…”  
J.R.R. Tolkien

It was impractical in every way.

Ridiculous in terms of time, energy, schedule, workload, and finance.

(Especially finance. Really, really dumb.)

But we did it anyway.

Because now, more than ever, we know that there are occasions when you have to be absolutely impractical. 

It is practically the most important thing you can do.

There’s an unsung hero in our family’s story. Someone who’s been braver and stronger than most her age.  Someone who had to finish growing up in a hurry. Who has made sacrifices and taken risks. Who has forced herself way, way out of her comfort zone. Who has risen to the occasion.

Our family’s baby is not a baby any more.

For these and many other reasons, we wanted to honor her. To spend some one-on-one quality time with her. To have some little adventures. To laugh and be as we were before The Earthquake…if only for a brief time.

So we tabled everything else, bit the bullet, and got on a plane to meet ‘Formerly-Known-As-The-Baby’ Grace in Switzerland the day after she finished exams. (She had been taking classes at Pepperdine’s branch in Lausanne for the previous two months.)

I am so glad that we did.

It was not an earth-shattering trip. We did not force ourselves into every Museum, see every historic site, dance every dance. On some days, we just wandered, walked, and watched.

And laughed: church laughs…gut-busting laughs…full-out hyena laughs. You see (and do) funny things in foreign countries.

And we ate. Oh, my goodness, did we ever eat. We ate good. We ate well. Nous avons mange’ beaucoup.

Worth every calorie. Every ripple of cellulite. Impractical from a diet standpoint, but so worth it.

We ate octopus and escargot and pate’ and lamb and rabbit and several fish I’d never seen or heard of… some with heads and eyes intact. We ate drippingly luscious fruits and savory cheeses and marvelous macaroons and heavenly ice cream. We drank cold soups and spooned hot soups and tasted tempting terrines. We drank exotic strange-colored liquids and local wines and oceans of designer water. (Non-gaseuse, s’il vous plait.) Even gagged down an occasional “Coca Cola Light”… NOT the same as Diet Coke, whatever claims may be made.

I’m getting carried away again.

We also drank in the smells and sounds and sights of Otherness.

Which, I think, is a very good thing. The world is so much more than our own little corners of it. It is important that we remind ourselves of that.

This impractical, unnecessary little trip of ours made me think about so many things I haven’t thought about lately. It gave me a new perspective on the world, my country’s place in it, and the issues…huge issues…that are inevitably going to affect all of us. We cannot continue to remain oblivious and isolated.

The encounters we had with a kaleidoscope of raw humanity brought the issue of faith to the forefront of my mind. I hope that I will be able to share some of these thoughts with you before they fade away, obscured by the tyranny of the everyday.

I wish I had more time to reflect and ponder.

But life moves so very fast here on our side of The Pond. I’ll probably be off and running on to the next thing before the suitcase is even unpacked.

I will tell you one thing, though. There’s something very, very right about countries in which the shops close for two hours everyday…

for lunch.

Life is short. We need to live well.

And, sometimes, impractically.


I’m not trying to inflict boring family travel pix on any unwilling victims, but if you’re interested, click here:

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I am so grateful for all those who have shared their prayer needs, and for those who have responded faithfully. Know that I am praying for each of you. Our little prayer lady is a good reminder. Please continue to feel free to add your concerns.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad you and Brooks had such a special time with Grace. The slide show was great! I have seen pictures of many of these places before but your smiling faces made them more real. Thanks again for sharing your journey and how God is helping you knit the broken pieces back together. Love Carol Meredith

Love..Carol Meredith

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

What beautiful family time set against a beautiful back-drop....

I am an only child. Seeing *just* the 3 of you, these pictures remind me of all the wonderful places my parents and I have traveled to over the years!

God bless. xo, misha

Kim said...

So beautiful! Thank you for sharing the pictures and letting me daydream about a vacation. It was so great to see you together with your family in this beautiful environment.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for the moments in our lives when we decide to just live in and for the moment! The joy in all your faces is beautiful! Thanks for sharing! You all deserved this!! God Bless!

Linda Abney said...

Dear One,
Soooo happy for this God given time with Gracie. She is such a lovely young lady and these opportunities don't come often.
The pictures reminded me of some of the places we've traveled and made me lust for Europe. I know it isn't what it used to be but it is so magical in its beauty and history, art, architecture, music, et al. We are headed to Wales in September and really looking forward to that. Also, Mary and Alan are going on staff with Pioneers and moving to Heidelburg. So, we'll get to that area from time to time.
Loved being with you and Brooks
at the wedding. Great fun and
conversations. Hope to see more of you both soon. You are a great spiritual encourager to us all.

Anonymous said...

Would you please pray for my daughter who is struggling with not being able to become pregnant. There seems to be no medical problems, but it just isn't happening. They would both make wonderful parents, and it is becoming a very difficult, sad situation. Please pray fervently for them. Also, my oldest daughter has leukemia, and I would appreciate continued prayers for her health. She is now in remission and will begin grad school next fall. Thank you so much. Your blog is a true inspiration for me as I check it each day. Loved the pictures of you travels!!

Angela said...

Thanks for the reminder that we don't always have to color inside the lines. I'm glad that you chose to do something "impractical," and to live fully, in spite of the daily sadness you all must feel.

In many ways, happiness really is a choice.

You chose joy, as is evident by the pictures.

They made me want to go!

Lindsey Hoskinson said...

Hi, Kim, it looks as though you had a great time on your travels! I have commented before, but it has been a while- I am Jay's cousin (my mom & Mary Ruth are 1st cousins). Anyhow, I had the pleasure of seeing Katherine & James this past week during the Simmons Reunion. Everyone was so amazed at how much James & my son, Hutch, look alike! I don't have any pics of the 2 of them posted on my blog(I think James was a little skeptic of Hutch- he is 16 months old), but hopefully I will get a couple from my Mom, as she was more successful. Anyways, I have enjoyed everyone of your blogs & I think you are such a talented writer! My blog is

survivor said...

I, too, just returned from a very impractical trip to Paris! Impractical from a time and finance standpoint, but oh, so wonderful in every way! I will never regret spending time with my daughter, son-in-law and two precious grandchildren.

I love reading your blog and you have provided me with so much inspiration after a pretty severe earthquake of my own 3 years ago. More on that later.

Anonymous said...


Grace is so lovely, and it was so fun seeing her have her moment in the sun with the two of you all to herself! Email me when you can: - we gotta catch up! Love, Ruthie

Anonymous said...

Kim -- your pictures are so beautiful they look like postcards! Gave me a wonderful armchair vacation!

I love you and your family. You never fail to teach and inspire.