I’ve been up north and mostly unplugged since July turned into August.

Today the blazing red sun woke me up. I raced outside with my eyes still half shut, thinking I was waking up with the dawn. As I was snapping some pictures—pictures that never come close to capturing the glory of creation—I realized that it was the reflection off the lake that was even more stunning than the sky itself, with the sun already already high in the sky. Back at the cabin, the clock told me that I’d missed dawn by two hours. And by then, 7:11 a.m.—just minutes after that red ball of fire drew me out of bed—the sky was overcast and gray. Had I not rolled over and peeked my eyes open just when I did, I would have missed the whole thing.

I love it when I happen to look up in time to catch whatever the moment holds.

The shifting, brilliant sunlight of the past week has captured my attention more than it ever has. Maybe it’s the silence; maybe it’s gratitude over having such a serene place to simply be. It was my husband who wanted a little piece of lakeshore back in 1995; I never expected to fall in love with this middle-of-nowhere bit of north woods myself.

As I write, a hummingbird buzzes the patio door in front of me as the loons wake up—the usual group of three having expanded to five a few days ago, and sounding like even more in this moment. While kayaking yesterday, I heard the swoosh-swoosh-swoosh of an eagle flying right over my head as it came in for a lone loon that dove under the water just in time to save itself. And the day before, I surprised three deer, one that nearly knocked me down as I screeched open the door and stepped outside; another as I walked to Roller Coaster Road for the first time since crossing paths with a bear a decade or so ago. But the sweetest encounter that day was when I came upon a little spotted fawn who’d been asleep all by herself just outside the cabin. We shared a moment, and then she was on her way.

But now back to the light.

Out on the pontoon that first afternoon up here with my gaggle of girlfriends, we watched it pan over the woods, moving along sections of pines and cedars as if by a broad, slow moving pointer. Last night it was an orangey-gold spotlight from heaven shining down on just one crooked birch at dusk, startling me with its brilliance. And now, this morning, that fiery show on the lake.

I love it when I’m relaxed enough to notice.

Tomorrow I head home. Looking at my schedule for the upcoming week tightens my chest. It’s all good stuff—people I love, activities I enjoy, causes I believe in. Still, it’s a non-stop scramble from one good thing to the next.

I know that I am about to be jerked back into the busyness of life. But after nearly two weeks  in the solitude of God’s creation, I’m refreshed, renewed, at peace. I’m ready.


Psalm 19:1: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”


Some days you just can’t help but stop and notice. The magnificence that surrounds us—whether deep in Minnesota’s north woods or in the faces of those we love—can’t be the result of chance. This beautiful world points to a Creator who loves us so much that He lights up the sky and sends curious creatures (wildlife, grandkids…) for us to enjoy.

On days like this, creation and God’s promises meld together. I will head home rested and ready to rock whatever He lays before me.


Thank You, Father, for this time of soul-quenching peace in the midst of Your creation. I’m so blessed to have this place to run to when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Even so, I know that it’s just a place—that it’s You who strengthens me wherever I happen to be. But it’s so much easier to fall into Your arms when I’m far away from all of the chatter of life!

So I pray that as I head home tomorrow, Your peace will surround me as I re-enter the world. I count on Your promise as written in Isaiah 40:31:

“Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Give me strength and insight and ever-deepening faith so as to serve You joyfully. Amen.


  • Mary as you write about the serenity of the lake I am enjoying the vibrancy of downtown Mpls. Just waiting for Pat on the Nicollet Mall as all kinds mingle in the beauty of downtown.

  • So true. Romans 1:18-32. You have to be the dullest human being not to see the divine creator in the creation. I know that was me once, but you can’t ignore that fact forever.

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