The Statue

Posted in General on May 21st, 2011 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

The rock statue seemed old, but I knew that compared to the hands that had hewn it, the rock was young. Sure it was older the my great grandmother, but my great grandmother is only 112.

I rubbed my hand across the smooth stone surface like so many had done before me. I knew it was silly, but old habits and traditions die hard. Every day for the last eighteen years I’ve rubbed my hand across the stone shield. I imagine that once the shield had been carved with detailed pictures, but it had long ago been worn smooth.

Even though I knew that the act held no magical power to keep me safe, I felt a comfort in the ritual – a quick touch and a quick prayer. It’s the prayer that brings me comfort – and the knowledge that the ritual reminds me to pray.

So once again I moved my hand across the smooth surface and remembered all those who had rubbed it in the past and imagined all those who would in the future. I also thought about the king that held the sword. It wasn’t the likeness of some human king, or even a elvish king. No this was the likeness of the heavily king – or what the dwarven sculptors imagined the king would look like some seven thousand years ago when they made it.

Did those sculptors know that a million hands would touch its surface and be encouraged as they headed out to danger – the words of hope uttered on the way out and the words of thanks on the way in. Did they know? Did they care? Did they make the statue for the benefit of man or simply because they felt the need to reflect God’s glory.

I figure it really doesn’t matter. Whether they were trying to or not, reflecting God’s glory can’t help but to encourage those who see the reflection.

So with reluctance, I let her fingers slip from the stone and let a prayer slip from my lips. Today would be a good day because it had started with a prayer and would end with one.


A Fight

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19th, 2011 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

About four months ago I witnessed a fight between a party of hunters form the Redfoot band of Turpis and a party of hunters form the Lower Madden band of Turpis. Fights between the different bands of turpis are nothing new; in fact if they weren’t fighting each other they would be attacking us.

This was also not the first fight between them I’ve seen, but this one was different. Usually it is a free for all, with a lot of punching and kicking, but not too much dying. This time the Redfeet were swinging clubs and stabbing with spears. The use of weapons caught the Lower Maddens off guard and several of them died in the first minutes of the fight.

The Lower Maddens fell back and regrouped. When they came charging back they were welding clubs and daggers. With both sides armed, the fighting resumed and there we causalities on both sides. They fought for half an hour before the Redfeet finally over powered the Lower Maddens.

This was the second thing that made this fight different. Instead of chasing the losers off and claiming their territory, the Redfeet took prisoners. They tied them up and marched them back towards their camp. I have heard of Turpis taking human prisoners before, but never other Turpis. I followed them for a while, making sure I wasn’t seen, and saw that the captors were treating their prisoners fairly well. At one point they even stopped and gave the prisoners drinks from the prisoners’ water skins.

I had to stop following them when they reached their camp. I’m not sure what happened after that. I made my way back to my camp and decided I should move it a little farther away from the Redfeet village.

Dropping by for Dessert

Posted in Friends on January 14th, 2011 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

Even before I opened the door the delectable aromas reached me. I could smell the roasted nuts of the pecan pie mixed with the warm maple syrup. The pumpkin mixed with cinnamon and allspice caused my mouth to water. And the hint of apple and caramelized sugar made my stomach rumble.

I rapped my knuckles gently on the door, and almost immediately I regretted my timid knock. I could hear the voices of people talking within and the melodic tones of someone playing a flute. I was fairly sure that no one had heard my knock, but I didn’t want to be rude and knock again just as someone opened the door, so I waited a minute, feeling very foolish, then knocked again, this time more forcefully.

I only had to wait a few moments before the door opened and my senses were overwhelmed. Besides the wonderful aromas, which now included vanilla and cocoa, and the increase in the quality and number of voices reaching me, my eyes were delighted by the swirling of colors as people moved around the large room and the dancing of flames in the fireplace and on the top of the numerous candles.

I stepped into the room and felt the warmth of the air engulfed me and then Aaron’s arms engulfed me and he lifted me off the ground in a bear hug. I felt the air leaving my lungs, but at the same time my heart seemed to be filled with warmth. Any doubts I might have had about coming to this gathering were instantly gone as I felt welcomed and loved.

Aaron release me and I gasped for air, but my face glowed with the joy I was feeling. I mingled for a while, talking to old friends and meeting new ones. Everyone was friendly and up beat, and their attitude quickly replaced the sadness I had been feeling. In fact, by the time the deserts were served I had completely forgotten about the day.

I took small pieces of three different pies and had a cup of hot cocoa. They tasted even better than they smelled and the cocoa warmed me to the core. I found a place near the fire-place and sat watching the flames as I ate. I’m not sure why, but I stopped hearing the others around me – it was just me and the crackling of the fire.

I don’t know how long I sat there, only that it was long enough for me to clean my plate. I was lost in thought when I felt someone’s hands on my shoulders. The touch was gentle, but firm. As my shoulders were rubbed I could feel the tension melting away.

“I’m glad you came, Julie,” Hector said as he continued to force my muscles to relax. “How are you doing?”

I didn’t reply, instead I just enjoyed the feel of his hands on my back.

“Come on Julie, I can tell something’s up by how tense you are,” Hector probed.

“It’s nothing, and not the kind of thing to talk about at a gathering like this,” I finally replied.

Hector continued the gentle rubbing. “It’s not nothing, Julie, and what kind of gathering are you talking about? Everyone left an hour ago.”

That’s when I noticed, that in fact, the music and talking had stopped, and I hadn’t noticed it. I realized that I must have been sitting there for several hours in my own little world. “It’s noting, really,” I said. “I get like this every year,” I continued, trying to end the conversation, but Hector didn’t let it end.

“Julie, I’ve known you for a lot of years, and yes, you do get moody during the winter, but this is different.”

“It’s nothing, I’m just tired.”

“Julie, don’t lock me out of your life. Let me be your friend.”

I sat there for a while – Hector continuing his work on my back. I thought about what to say. How much did I want to share? How much did I dare to share? If I told him about the Turpies, would he think I was crazy? If I told him a little, would he pull it all out of me? How could he understand – everything is so clear to him – would he accept the haziness I saw?

Hector gave me several minutes to think, while keeping his presence clear though his hands on my shoulders. He was right – he was one of my best friends. I knew that he was trustworthy, so why was I hesitating?

I finally decided to tell him what was going on. As I started to tell him about my experiences with the Turpies and how I was afraid that if we didn’t do something that there would be war, it was a if a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. We talked for over an hour. Hector didn’t tell me I was crazy, in fact he asked me what I thought we needed to do.

Hector told me that he wanted to get together with me again so we could figure out what we should do. I feel so much better tonight. I’m going to spend some time and try to write down some of the interactions I’ve had with the Turpis in the last months so I can share them with Hector and anyone else who will listen. I guess the big difference is that now I feel like there is some hope.

Getting out of town

Posted in Nature on August 27th, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

I went hunting this week. The other hunters thought I was crazy, they would rather sit around next to a warn fire talking about the spring than trudge through the snow. I can’t blame them, I enjoy a warm fire as much as the next guy. It’s not like I need the money, I have enough to make it through the winter. No, it has more to do with town. Now again, don’t get me wrong, Maple Grove is a great place. There is no other town I would rather be in, it’s just I like being in the woods more.

Do I like a sleeping bag more than I do a big feather comforter? I think the answer is, “They are two very different things and I can’t pick between them.” What I like about being in the woods, especially during the winter, is the quietness. When I’m sitting in an inn, with people talking all around me, with the clinking of dishes, and the sliding of chair feet across the wood floor, it is hard for me to think. When I’m in a snow covered meadow there are no man-made sounds to distract me. I can be amazed by what God has created and allow myself to think.

Now before you accuse me of just being antisocial and running off on some personal retreat, there is another reason that I like to go hunting in the winter. When the snow is on the ground, the rabbits are all wearing their white fur. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think white fur is the best.

Keeping a Promise

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19th, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

I got around to keeping my promise today. I went to a shop and traded some of the smoked fish I brought back with me for five blankets. I figured that I would start by going down into the lower town to see who might need help. While I was looking around I figured that I could give the blankets to some of the people.

On the way, a woman stopped me and asked me what I was doing with so many blankets. I told her and she asked me to wait a minute. She ran inside her house and ran back carrying three sweaters. She placed them on top of the blankets I was holding and said that she wanted to do her part.

I thanked her and continued down the street. It wasn’t thirty feet before someone else asked me where I was taking my load. He said he had some socks for me to take, which he went and got. Apparently the people living along the street were all sitting looking about their windows, because all down the street people started coming out carrying blankets and clothes.

After three more people gave me items it became clear that I couldn’t carry everything that was being brought out. I asked the next man who came out, “Would you help me carry some of these things?”

He smiled at me and said, “I’d love to, but my joints can’t take the cold, but thank you for doing this.”

The next woman said, “My balance isn’t what it used to be. I can’t walk in the deep snow in the lower town.”

The next man said, “You’re doing a good thing, and if you go again in the evening I can help, but I’ve got to open my shop right now. I do have a cart you can borrow.” I said that that would be helpful and he went into his shop and brought it out.

I continued down the street collecting items and listening to all the reasons that people couldn’t go with me: I might catch a cold; there are thieves – I’m not sure it’s safe; the road down the hill is slippery; it’s too cold; I have to take care of my kids; I have to go to work.

I have to admit that I was getting a little frustrated with the whole situation. The cart I was pushing was filled to the point of overflowing. A little old lady was walking out of her house carrying a blanket and leaning heavy on her cane, I was wondering how I could carry anymore, when I heard noise behind me.

I turned around and I saw Hector running down the street pushing a push-cart in front of him.

“Hail, Julie,” he called out as he came, “I hear you can use some help.”

I smiled, and when he stopped beside me I gave him a big hug. “How did you know?” I asked.

“Apparently your good deed made someone on this street feel a little guilty. After he gave you some items he said that he also gave you an excuse. He was feeling bad about it, so he came to talk to me.”

“What did you tell him? Is he going to help, too?”

Hector shook his head slightly. “One step at a time Julie. I told him that he should help if he felt God was calling him to. I told him that next time he should say a little prayer and then try to listen to his heart. I think the next time he has an opportunity to help that he will.”

Hector and I collected the rest of the items that people brought out and then made our way down the hill to the lower town. Once we got there the going got tougher since no one clears the snow off the roads in the lower town. We trudged our way along, but finally got stuck. We took turns, both working on one cart and then the other.

A couple of strong men came out of their shops and helped us and we soon reached the heart of the poorer part of town. We didn’t see anyone around except for two little boys who where playing catch. I decided to walk around and do a survey of the makeshift houses in the area. Hector joined me and we started to walk around.

I have to admit I was a little appalled at the structures that some of the people and families were living in. Some were nothing more than a few blankets draped over some poles. We saw that a few of them had collapsed under the weight of the snow.

I’m not sure what I expected to find when we got back to the carts. All I know is what I saw wasn’t it. About forty people were standing in line next to the carts. Some of them looked like they were freezing. One man was barefoot. There were also all smiling and talking with each other. I could see how desperate some of them were, but no one was pushing or shoving.

I looked at Hector for some guidance and all I got was a shrug of his shoulders. I hadn’t thought about how I would give away the things I had brought. I looked up and down the line of men, women and children all standing there. I decided that I should help those in the most need first.

I dug through the cart and found a pair of boots someone had given me. They weren’t the best boots in the world, but they looked sound. I also found one of the pairs of socks. I took the shoes and socks and gave them to the bare food man. He said, “God bless you.” Then he walked over and sat on a box that was against one of the buildings and put them on.

As I tried to decide whom to help next I watched the man out of the corner of my eye. He finished putting on his shoes and then walked to the end of the line. I wondered if I should just ask the first person in line what they needed, but I was looking at the stack of blankets and decided to just ask who needed a blanket. When I did many of the people in line raised their hands. I grab the stack and walked down the line handing them each a blanket. Most of the people who raised their hands and took a blanket stepped out of line and walked to the end. A couple didn’t, but no one seemed to mind. I got to the end of the line and two women still had their hands up and I only had one blanket left. I gave it to the first women and I could see the disappointment in the other woman’s eyes.

I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt bad that I didn’t have enough blankets. I reached out my hands to her and said, “I’m sorry.” She smiled and gave me a knowing nod that told me she understood. As I was turning around to walk back to the cart I heard a woman’s voice.

“Margaret, you need this more than I do.” I turned around and saw one of the first women that I had given a blanket to give the blanket to the last woman. I also saw a tear run down both women’s faces.

We continued to hand out our items. It was kind of unnerving how we seemed to have just the right number of each thing we gave out. It was also interesting how some people kept getting back in line, while others seemed to be satisfied and headed back to their homes. When we were done there was only one woman still waiting. Her arms were full. I looked down into the two carts and saw that they were empty.

“I’m sorry, that’s all I have. What else do you need?” I asked.

“You have already given me more that I could have asked for, but I have something for you.”

I’m sure I had a funny look on my face because the woman started to laugh. She set her load down in one of the carts. “Do you think that I am so poor that I couldn’t have anything that you might want?”

I took a deep breath and tried to compose myself. Before I could answer her, she smiled and said, “May I give you a hug?” I guess she took my lack of a response as a yes and she wrapped her arms around me. She held me tight in her arms and then she whispered in my ear. “God, bless this woman who keeps her promises just as you keep yours. Bless her for listening to your voice and doing your will. Bless her for being a servant to those who are so low in this world’s eyes that they are not even worthy to be someone else’s servant. God, keep her and lead her.”

The woman then released me and picked up her clothes and walked away. I just stood there with tears running down my face. Hector put his arm around me and gave me a squeeze and told me it was time to head home. We walked back to the upper town in silence. I returned the cart to the man you let me borrow it and Hector walked me back to the inn.

We didn’t say anything to each other; everything that had needed to be said had been said in the woman’s prayer for me. She was right, I hadn’t though she had anything that I needed, but I was so wrong. Her hug warmed me to the quick and her prayer blessed my soul.

Now I sit here writing this and wonder how she could know me so well. How she knew to wait. How she knew of my promise. But then, as I look back on today, I can see God’s hand at work, so why should it surprise me that God would lead a woman to help me when he lead me to help her?


Posted in Friends on April 5th, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

This morning I dropped by Annay’s new apartment to see how she was doing. Immediately she said, “let’s go shopping.” I figured sure, I’ve got a couple hours, so I agreed.

We headed up to the old Town. Annay wanted to go into the first shop we came to. We spent what felt like forever, but I’m sure was only a quarter of an hour, looking at gold and silver chains. Annay wanted to go into the next store, too. This one sold skirts and blouses. She picked out four or five and then said she wanted to try them on.

She tried each one on and then came out to show me. After she had tried them all on she came out and said, “Your Turn.” After a bit of coaxing I finely gave in and tried them on. She made me come out and spin around; I felt kind of silly, but a couple of them did look cute.

I decided to buy one, but Annay wouldn’t let me. She said, “You can’t buy anything yet, we’ve just started. We can come back later if you still want it.”

This is the point when I started getting worried. Now, I Know that Maple Grove is just a small town and doesn’t have the hundreds of stores that White Water does, but it had taken almost an hour to go through two stores. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Five more shops and twelve more outfits tried on and I started working on my exit strategy. I started talking about what I was going to be doing after lunch – Annay didn’t  seem to hear any of it.

I like to think of myself as a fairly fit young woman – I can hike at a good pace for eight hours carrying an eighty pound pack – but after four hours of shopping with Annay I felt like I was going to drop. It must be more than physical, because at this point we hadn’t purchased any thing; but I could barely drag myself along.

Luckily lunch time came along and Annay took me to a very nice inn to eat. It felt so good to sit. I ate slowly so I could enjoy sitting there longer, but as with all good things, lunch ended.

Having eaten and rested, I was good for another hour and Annay took full advantage of it. By three I was starting to drag again, but I started getting stubborn, too. I didn’t care how much more practice Annay had had at shopping, I was in better shape than she was and she wasn’t going to out last me.

Around four I got my second wind. I also decided that it was time to start buying some of the things I liked. I ran back to the second shop we had visited and bought the skirt I liked while Annan was trying on something in another store. At the next store we went into I picked up a pair of boots.

Now that I was accomplishing something I seemed to have a lot more energy. We shopped for two more hours and I was carrying a half dozen bags.

Neither of us said anything, but we found ourselves walking back to Annay’s apartment. Annay stopped and bought one item on the way – the first blouses she had tried on.

Snow fall

Posted in Nature on March 26th, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

Snow falls from the sky

Blanketing the countryside

Leaving only white

First Snow

Posted in Nature on March 22nd, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

Everyone else rushed for town when the clouds grew dark, but not I – I fell asleep. Some time during the night I woke up. Not because I heard some strange sound, but because there was no sound.

As I fell asleep I could hear the wind blowing through the trees – rustling the few leaves that had refused to fall. I could hear the waves gently lapping the shoreline. I could hear raccoons coming to wash their food in the lake. I could hear the choir of insects that is always present.

But when I woke I didn’t hear anything. I reached up and felt the weight of the snow on my tent. My senses were alive. I could hear the sound of my own breathing, the sound of my heart beating. I tried to lie still and listen. I tried to hear the snow falling. I couldn’t hear anything outside of the world of my little tent. As I lay there I could hear my thoughts – I wasn’t trying to think about anything, but my thoughts came unbidden.

I thought of the world turning white, of the streams freezing. I though to the poor of our town shivering in their makeshift homes. I tried to think of something else, but all I could do was think about  how I could help – of the roof I could repair or the blanket I could bring to a little child.

I tried to go back to sleep, but my thoughts were so loud in the absence of everything else, that I couldn’t – not until I prayed to God and decided that in the morning I would go to town and see how I could help. Once I did, I slept well in the silence.

The Long Way Home

Posted in General on March 9th, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’ve got a good excuse. I spent most of the last month just trying to hang onto life.

It all started six weeks ago. The moon was full, making me feel comfortable as I walked along the trail that lead across the meadow. I had walked all day. As the sun was setting I told myself that I was only a couple hours from my favorite camping site. The thought of the beautiful lake jumping with fish in the early morning light convinced me to keep walking. I could almost taste the fried fish I would be eating in the morning.

I was a bit weary and was pushing myself a bit too fast when my foot dropped into the hole. With the weight of my pack pushing me, I pitched forward. Of corse my leg stayed vertical as the rest of me went horizontal. The snapping sound, followed by the searing pain, quickly convince me I was in trouble.

Now I’ve been in pain before – stabbed, shot with an arrow, bit by a wolf – but nothing like what I was feeling now. I struggled to get a hand under my chest to release my pack, and then fought to get each arm out. Once the packed rolled off of me and onto the ground, I was able to move.

Somehow my body turned off the pain long enough that I was able to lift myself up enough to pull my leg from the hole. As I held my leg, I rolled onto my back and screamed as the pain came rushing back. Laying there I just wanted to die, but God had other plans.

Over the next hour I managed to find moments where I could stand the pain and I began to tear my clothing into strips. There were some branches within reach and I tied a splint around my throbbing leg. Luckily the break had been a clean one and hadn’t caused sharp points that would have punctured my skin. But I could see that the area around the break was already turning dark, even in the moon’s light.

After I had finished splinting my leg, failing several times as the muscles in my leg contracted and caused the bones to slip and run up next to each others, I fell back exhausted and slept.

I woke as the sky was starting to lighten, the pain from the night before had been replaced with a throbbing. I pushed myself up on my elbows to look around and the pain came rushing back. I collapse and my head hit the ground painfully.

I lay there for another hour or so, then I noticed that my stomach was growling. I managed to pull myself next to my pack without too much pain and retrieved a trail bar and my water skin. I pushed my shoulders onto the pack and rested there while I ate.

As I looked around I saw that I was only a hundred feet or so from the lake I had been heading to. I had a mixed feeling at seeing how close I was. I was glad that I could probably get to the lake, but disappointed that I had come so close.

Over the next several hours I managed to pull myself and my pack to the edge of the lake. I really wanted to set up my tent, but I just didn’t have any strength left. I fell asleep as the sun was high overhead, grateful that the trees were giving me shade.

When I woke the sun had been replaced by the full moon, and I was shivering. I pulled a blanket out of my pack and tried to control my shivers. I don’t know why I do that. I wonder if it because I think I should be able to control my own body. Well of course it didn’t help and probably made it worse. I did finally warm up a bit and fell back to sleep.

The warmth of the sun woke me. I said a little prayer of thanks for protection through the night and for the warmth of the sun. I ate some more of my pack food and then decided since I was just sitting around, I should at least have a pole in the water.

It took a while to get the pole put together and the hook in the water, but it was good do be doing something. The rest of that morning I sat there and thought about all of the things I could have been doing if my leg wasn’t broken. I did catch one fish which was good because it prompted me to gather some of the twigs and sticks near me so I could build  fire.

I waited till evening to make the fire. I figured that I shouldn’t be wasting the wood, since I was going to there for a while. The fire felt wonderful as the sun set and the air became cool. The fish wasn’t just good, it was fantastic.

On the fourth day the throbbing started to go away. On the seventh day I risked standing on my good leg with a pair of crutches that I made from some sticks. I took a few carful steps and was feeling pretty good about the whole thing until my leg bumped a rock and then I remembered what pain was.

Over the next few days I started practicing my one legged walking by moving around and throwing sticks back to my pack. I finally put up my tent because it looked like it might rain. Two days later it did. That shut me down because I didn’t trust myself on one leg on the slippery mud.

That night I witnessed how powerful nature can be. The sky was filled with lightning. The valley rolled with the thunder. The rain came down in a torrent, putting out my fire in seconds. As I lay in my tent I could feel the charge in the air. My hair rose from my head and clung to the sides of the tent. The the storm decided to show me what power really was. Bolt after bolt of lightning started slamming in to the ground. They struck several of the trees near me, splitting them into kindling. They struck the ground, throwing dirt and rocks into the air. They struck the lake, lighting it up with an eerie glow.

The storm raged around me, threatening to strike me down. Somehow I managed to just lay there and enjoy the show. I knew that God was there with me, and that he was protecting me. I know that Cleric Bosman has often said that God is powerful, but it was in that storm that I really came to understand how powerful he is. God created a world that could produce such a storm and he could protect me from it.

I finally fell asleep even as the storm raged around me. In the morning the clouds were gone and the sun shone on the side of the tent. I pulled myself out and found myself sitting five feet from a raccoon. The raccoon was carefully washing a fish and then putting pieces into his mouth. I said good morning to her. She looked at me and took her fish ten feet farther down the shore line, and then continued her breakfast.

I thought about getting my pole when I noticed that there were fish floating in the water just a few feet away. I pulled myself to the water and could see that there were maybe a hundred fish floating just under the surface of the water. I collected them and put them on sticks over a low fire. I added pine needles and wet wood to create a heavy smoke.

As I watched my fish smoke, I wondered why all the fish had washed up along my shore. Did God send me these fish? Was he trying to tell me something? I don’t know if he was or not, but I decided that all of these fish meant that I could start walking for home and not have to worry about finding food along the way.

The next morning, after three weeks of sitting on the side of the lake, I packed up my camp, and my fish, and as much water as I could carry and headed out. I had thought about trying to wear my pack, but quickly decided that that was a bad idea. I built a sled and pulled it behind me. I wasn’t moving fast, but I was moving.

I think I walked about half a mile that first day. By the end of the first week on the trail I was probably doing two miles a day. As time went on I started putting a little weight on my leg, by the end of the second week I was strong enough to wear my pack and walk with one crutch. The last week I was making five miles a day.

I finished the last fish as I was walking up the hill to town. I know I looked a mess from the way the guards were looking at me. I usually wash my hair every day, even when I’m on the trail, and everyone knows it. It had been three weeks since I had washed my hair and it looked a mess.

But you know what, I didn’t care. I let one of the guards take my pack and he helped me to the inn. Now you want to talk about being in heaven, that bath felt so wonderful. I finally got out because the maid stopped bring me hot water.

Looking back on these last six weeks, I might wish that they had never happened. I could have done with out the pain and I could have gone on a couple of hunting trips. But I’m kind of glad it all happened. It made me slow down a little and just be. I think that sometimes I’m so busy that I lose touch with who I am. But maybe next time God could use something a little less painful to slow me down.

What’s in a Name

Posted in General on January 5th, 2010 by Julie — Be the first to comment!

Some guys, who I think are threatened by me, were giving me a hard time today. Now I know I’m not the most girly girl, but come on guys. I’m not a guy either.

Anyway it got me thinking about my name and the names people have given me.


This is the name my mother gave me. Julie means youthful. It a lovely name, but when I’m trying to prove myself to the world, when I’m trying to prove that I’m experienced and responsible, a name that cries out youthful would not have been my first choice. Maybe when I’m sixty youthful will seem like a good thing.


My name when I’m working. I search out the best trails. I look for game. I’m the one out in front looking for the danger. I studied many years to learn what I know and to be able to do what I can.


My name when I’m leading others through the woods. A name that means people trust me and rely on me. When I think of myself as a guide I think of honor and responsibility.


My formal training. It speaks to my skill with a bow and in tracking. It says I know about the local plants and animals. It says that I can live off the woods.


Several people call me friend, and I’m honored that they do. I’ve always tried to put others first; to look for opportunities to share my gifts. I try to bring some of the joy I find in nature to the people in town.


When I come in from a long trip it’s true that I can have a bit of the road on me. But I clean up well, and I wash my hair everyday on the trail.

Tree hugger:

This is the name the loggers gave me. They see me as a bother, and something between them and the trees. They want to level the forest and put in more farms. I want to perverse the woods and help people live in harmony with nature.

Mountain Woman:

This is a name that the guys gave me. They think it means that I’m uncivilized, that I’m not allowed to live in town. I see it as saying I’m strong enough to live in the wilds. I can take care of myself. I’m strong like the mountains.


To my mother I will always be her little girl, and I like being her little girl. I like going home and having my mother fuss over me, except when she starts asking me why I’m not married yet.


I fall short. I choose not to listen. I’m not always ready to share God’s love with others, or to forgive with God’s forgiveness. I try to honer God with my life, but even then it’s about me trying instead of being about God.


And even when I fall short, God is there to catch me. When I don’t listen, He keeps calling. When I don’t share, God still shows His love to me. When I hold a grudge He reminds me that He doesn’t. When I’m failing because I can’t do it, He reminds me that He’s already finished doing the important things.


This is the name my mother gave me. Julie means youthful. I’m so glad that I am youthful. I enjoy being free; running through the fields of flowers and climbing the mountains. I’m thankful I have the faith of a child; ready to listen and just follow.