My husband, Gerald, and I are worship leaders and form the Christian music duo, Infinitely More.
Our home is full of puppies and songs.
I started this blog in 2005 to track the ups and downs of living life as an artist.
All That We Carried introduces us to Olivia and Melanie, two adult sisters with a desperately broken relationship. After a decade of near-estragement, Olivia reluctantly agrees to a hiking trip with Melanie, and that's where our adventure begins.
The inexperienced hikers take on the challenging trails of the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Thanks to a handy map in the front of the book, we're invited to follow the pathway for ourselves. If you're like me, you can't help but google photos of the real life trails and waterfalls, some of which I've included in this post!
As Olivia and Melanie work their way through the trails, their legacy of family tragedy is revealed. I don't want to share too much of the plot because, like any good hike, it's best enjoyed step by step. The hiking trip brings dangers of its own, and with each new challenge, the sisters are forced to face the broken spaces in their relationship. Tensions grow as Olivia and Melanie wrestle with questions of themselves, their views of the world, and the things they assume to be true.
Who can we trust?
How do we forgive?
How do we rebuild?
What do we believe in?
Why believe at all?
Petoskey Stone (Melanie's town is named for this geological wonder!)
All That We Carried reads quickly, but there's still lots of depth in the relationships and the philosophical ideas. I found myself underlining favourite passages and turning down page corners.
And let's not forget the setting!
Bartels never lets you forget the glory of nature in the fall,
while also sharing the tactile truths of wilderness living.
I miss touring so much!
This made my heart yearn for ocean and mountains and waterfalls.
But in a hotel, please.
You won't see me sleeping in the woods anytime soon!
Part adventure novel, part "road trip", part spiritual debate, part healing journey, and part parable -
Our parents have finally received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine! Spring flowers are bursting through the ground. It finally feels like there’s hope on the horizon.
But case numbers are on the rise here in Ontario.
We’ve entered yet another lockdown. Medical authorities fear this may not be enough to quell the rise of the variants. We are all exhausted by the isolation, the uncertainty, and the constant stream of bad news.
For the second year in a row, we’re celebrating Easter - a story of new life -
in a season marked by suffering, illness, and death.
How does any of this make sense?
And then, I remember that song title again:
The angel tells Mary, “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”
Jesus says, “... with God all things are possible.”
God says, “I am the Lord... Is anything too hard for me?”
On Easter morning, the women arrived with spices in their hands.
They were ready to anoint a body.
Instead, they came face-to-face with theGod of the Impossible.
This is the God who gives knowledge to scientists and medical experts.
The God who can heal our communities of political and racial strife.
The God who can revive our struggling arts communities and small businesses.
The God who can strengthen weary essential workers.
The God who can rebuild marriages breaking under close quarters,
and relationships suffering from too much distance.
This is the God who can bring gratitude grace, love, and joy
into our tired, pandemic-weary hearts.
Take a deep breath.
Remember who God is.
And then remember: this is the God who loves YOU!
This Easter, more than ever, may we experience the God of the Impossible!
“And the world awakes to an Impossible Sunrise!
Yes, we finally believe when we see the love in His eyes.