New Mexico Calls with Hope

What is it about New Mexico that calls to me?  flag-of-new-mexico-l

Surely it is more than the memories of 22 family vacations in the historic mining town of Red River.

Could it be the combination of sights and sounds that provide a sensory experience each day?

  • The pine scent of tall trees, dressed in breath-taking greens
  • A chipmunk daring me to hold out another handful of peanuts so he can stuff his cheeks
  • Hummingbirds dive bombing for a bit of sweet nectar
  • Aspens clapping their leaves in fluttering applause
  • The babbling river that cleanses both the stream and the sediment of my soul

Although my family vacations in Red River, Santa Fe and Taos are my favorite Southwest cities with their terracotta textures, the diversity of their people and the history of fine art.

It is no wonder Georgia O’Keefe chose this land to live in, to find solace in painting its various colors and tones.

Yet this year, I needed the mountains in a new way. Before we climbed into the van for the eight-hour trip, God instructed me that the object of my vacation was to follow the words of Psalm 46:10.

“Be still. Rest quietly. Wait patiently for God.” 

As we drove over the last summit and looked below at the town’s quiet repose, I knew it would be a special vacation – a gifting of rest.

Although seven of our family members bunked together in a condo, I purposely made time for solitude. Every morning, I carried my mug of hot tea and feasted for precious minutes with the divine One.

In the wonder of worship, I sat beside the river and entreated God to replace the murkiness of my soul with clarity and fresh intimacy with him. red-river-stream

I looked upward at the mountain crest – my mountain – at the crevasse carved there, as if God had dipped his hand in it during the second day of creation.

His signature of intense power. A reminder for generations of pilgrims that only God could create such grandeur yet dare to be personally involved in our lives.

God rarely spoke during these morning vistas as we quietly sat together and enjoyed the cool air. As we communed in silence, I embraced the beauty of solitude and the intimacy of being in his presence without speech.

Once again, I breathed deeply of the spiritual fervor of New Mexico, forgot the trials and burdens I left behind and gratefully received the solace God offered.

New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment, but for me – it is the healing irony of mountains and desert, Native Americans and Hispanics, turquoise and coral – somehow blended into a symphony of texture and diversity that rises in a spiritual explosion of praise.

How sweet to experience how it also became a quiet haven for individual retreat where I once again learned to be still and acknowledged that He is God.

©2016 RJ Thesman – Author of the Reverend G trilogy 

This post first appeared on “Travel Light,” by SuZan Klaasen.

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Tip # 5 for Caregivers

Healthcare professionals emphasize the importance of caregivers taking care of themselves.

Reverend G would agree.

We can’t sit beside the bed day after day without a respite. We’ll go crazy. We need to take a break.

We need to utilize the daycare centers for Alzheimer’s patients and share our struggles with support groups. We may need to spend time with a therapist to deal with our own emotions and the beginning stages of grief.

We need short vacations and long vacations.

Remember how our parents left us with babysitters so they could have a night free? The roles are now reversed, and we need to do the same. Take a break. Schedule a free night.

Some ways to take of ourselves include:

  • Walk through a rose garden and thank God for all the varieties He created.
  • Browse through a quaint little bookstore, pet the store cat and buy a book—then take the time to sit down and read it.
  • Observe the Sabbath and share a meal with friends.
  • Spend time alone and do nothing.
  • Go to a movie and munch on the popcorn that isn’t good for us.
  • Watch a funny video.
  • Take time to enjoy a sunset and thank God for the golden sky.

And if your loved one is in such need of care that you can no longer do it, find the right facility and arrange for the best of care. Then don’t feel guilty.

My friend, Esther Kreek, cared for her husband for 16 years. She is now 81 years old with a speaking itinerary about historical topics. Esther says, “I don’t do windows or guilt.”

None of us want our children to feel burdened or to grow sick because of the stress of our care.

So… take care of yourselves.