Those Life Adventures You’re Excited For — Guess Who’s In the Wings?

Fifty cents for a refill of the house coffee after hugging Amy and Tasha goodbye and I’m back at Coffee Talk. Sitting at an outside round glass-topped table on the front porch, the table trembles as I write and the 9:20 am sun is just cresting a tall pine tree to my left. Cars, trucks, and Harley Davidson motorcycles rumble and roar their way past, and inside the coffee shop, tourists and locals mingle and shake out newspapers.

When we bought our coffee earlier, a pink-shirted blonde-haired woman left her companion at a table and slipped behind the counter, washing her hands.

“Are you sure it’s okay with you?” she asked the white-haired barista-owner as he handed Tasha her mocha.

“Sure,” he said, and she cashed Tasha’s ten dollars, handing back change. They bantered more as I handed over my twenty and ordered a tall house coffee.

“Helping on your day off?” I asked.

“No, I’m his sister,” she smiled. “I just step over from my table when it looks like he can use a hand.”

Back at my table alone now for a leisurely devotion time, I scribble in warm sunshine, steadying the table with my left hand. A light breeze flips my Bible pages, and a vivid yellow Daytona car parked on the road behind me contrasts beautifully with the tall white steeple behind it. Six blackbirds — no, ten– soar and arc in the clear blue sky above the steepled cross.

A ripple of peace and renewal loosens my shoulders and tickles my neck. A night of tenting and wood smoke fire beneath a forest of yellow trees, and dozens of timed group photos beside the fast-flowing glassy brown St. Croix River has blanketed rest deep within me. I can feel it in my long breaths, deep sighs, and sunshine-warmed shoulders and back as I work.

Thank you, God, for your beauty! For miles of curving roads in the Wisconsin Interstate State Park campground, for tall grey bluffs and craggy cliff faces, and for spongy green moss against a backdrop of brown and yellow leaves. Thank you for red-tufted mushrooms caps and rope-harnessed lithe rock climbers who make me want to exercise too.

Thank you for close friends to struggle to start campfires with, and to sip cool drinks around glowing embers deep into the night, our stomachs full of tinfoil-roasted chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, and peppers. Thank you for sticky marshmallows right before bed and sleepy conversations until 11:30 when we could no longer fight tiredness. Thank you for cozy sleeping bags, and more padded mats each year for our forty-one-year old bodies, and for a deep night’s sleep inside a green and orange tent; for clear stars in a dark night, a full white moon; and the desultory drops of dew from the trees this morning and crackling chipmunks in the brush.

Thank you for your word open to 1 Corinthians 12, and the sun on my face, warm enough for a t-shirt in late September. “Now about spiritual gifts…” you begin, and you talk about giving us talents, skills, passions. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

Thank you that you are a God who steps in, saying, “Let’s work side by side. You don’t mind, do you?” And we get to stand shoulder to shoulder in life’s adventures.

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  1. Bill (cycleguy) on September 29, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    41 year old bodies? Why you young whippersnapper! 🙂 Sounds like a lot of fun with friends. Love the pictures also Jennifer.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on September 29, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Wow, you're fast. This post is hot off the press. I was still revamping some lines even.

    Thanks, Bill. How are you and your family? How is ministry life?

    Jennifer Dougan

  3. cabinart on October 1, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Beautiful photos and word pictures, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your artistry and life with us. I don't like camping, but if we lived close, I might like it with you!

  4. Cheryl Barker on October 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Shoulder to shoulder with God and sharing life's adventures with Him — what a great thought (and truth!), Jennifer. Sounds like you had a wonderful time on your camping adventure and looks like your leaves are already changing. We're always behind you all up north I think. Enjoy a gorgeous fall!

  5. Unknown on October 1, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Beautiful post, Jennifer. Felt like I was there with you. And thanks for using the gift of words and encouragement that our Father has given you to touch others… like me. Blessings to you! Amazing pictures. Makes me want to be there.

  6. Alecia Simersky on October 1, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    You have an amazing gift with words. I felt like I was right there with you. Thanks for the glimpse into your world. 🙂

  7. Wise Hearted on October 5, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Love the pictures Jennifer. I just talked to my daughter who lives in northern Mn. she said the colors were beautiful. I miss that living in southern California. I don't often think how much of an adventure our life has been till someone else brings it up. Guess we have been too busy living it fully but am very thankful for it. People ask me all the time, when are you going to write a book about it all…for sure not until God tells me to. I love reading others adventures especially when the adventure has God as the focus point. Lovely post my sister, lovely thoughts.

  8. Jennifer Dougan on October 6, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Hello Jana Cabinart,

    It would be lovely to go camping with you! You could bring your paints and I could wrangle words as my medium.

    Thank you for stopping in here.

    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Jennifer Dougan on October 6, 2015 at 3:59 am

    Hi Cheryl,

    That shoulder to shoulder thing is what grabbed me the most too! Thanks for resonating with that too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  10. Jennifer Dougan on October 6, 2015 at 4:02 am

    Thank you, Floyd. You encourage me.

    Jennifer Dougan

  11. Jennifer Dougan on October 6, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Thank you, Alecia! You have no idea how much that encourages me.

    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Jennifer Dougan on October 6, 2015 at 4:11 am


    What fun that your daughter lives in northern MN. Whereabouts? The leaves are starting to change colors more and more here. I'm looking forward to seeing the colors pop really soon too.

    I'm glad that you are using your love for writing in whatever ways you feel God calling you to. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

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