Sunday, May 15, 2016


Between visiting my dad and attending his celebration of life, the rest of the spring in Moab has been rich and full each and every day. Friends have been supportive and taking care of me and life has continued on with its daily lessons and beauty. Here are a few pictures of that time...

Phil, in a way that is only characteristically Phil, welcomes me back home from my first Midwestern visit with Dad. He riles up the whole neighborhood in the process. I wonder what they all think of Pete's household.

Dinga, Queequeg, and Harvard (hiding in the back) join me and Connie to Indian Creek and Canyonlands.

Meeting up with Mary Moonflower again, one month after she was born.

Connie sneaks out the window to surprise Pete who's on the phone outside.

The day before returning to the Midwest for the celebration of life, Arne takes me and Connie on Westwater.
At one point these two river guides both fell out of the raft, but we made it through the rapids!

We made it to the Cisco boat ramp!
Pete and Dinga see me off at Canyonlands Field Airport.
Sean, Russell, and Falcor. During my lunch break Sean pulled up to the library and offered these two a ride northbound.
Bear and I spend time together during one of several visits with Dory.
Dumpster New York Cheesecake!

Phil removes his van decorations and puts them on our watchdog. A soda can is left for me to make a new stove.
Madeline of Ontario and I dine at Sabaku Sushi.
At the beginning of the last week of April, I met Madeline up-canyon, staying at one of the caves I once lived in. She has been travelling for a year and had been hitching around the Southwest for a few months after giving her car away to a man on the Rez in Arizona. She hiked and camped for much of the winter in below-zero temperatures and has fasted often. She's put aside worldly desires and material things and is seeking God first above everything else. She spent two nights at Pete's and they played guitar and sang for us while we sipped on chicory tea. The last night she visited was after my very last day of work. She, Phil, and I stayed up late talking about the spiritual life. This communion of kindred spirits and observing Madeline's example has been a huge inspiration for me that will carry me into the next phase of my life.

On April 29, I worked my last day at the women's shelter. The reason being, I am guided once again to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I will walk with God, listening for his inspiration through each and every moment so that I will be where everyone needs me to be and get closer to be a constantly loving presence in this world. The shelter was where I needed to be, but now I'm being pushed on to other things.

After that beautiful night with friends, Phil, Connie, and Madeline saw me off after another cup of chicory tea. I would return to Moab in a few days, but I would be bringing someone along with me. I met Freebird in Mountainair, New Mexico, picked him up from the Grand Enchantment Trail, and we went on some adventures on our way back to Moab.

Snow in Mountainair, New Mexico on May 1. The Jeep I rented to pick up Freebird sits outside the motel room.
Quarai Ruins, part of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument.

The Mine Shaft Tavern in Madrid, NM.
Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, Santa Fe, NM.

Pinkerton Hot Springs, CO.

Driving through the San Juans in southern Colorado, up and over 11,000 feet passes.

Visiting Daniel, his mom, and Garfield in Fruita, CO!
It's been quite a wonderful spring in Moab and through all of the travels. All the preparations for my next leg of the journey - all the lessons that I needed to continue on - have occurred. Now I hope to grow in awareness that I'm always in God's hands, as I walk and continue to learn. Freebird helped me with final preparations and then he and other friends saw me off. Phil drove me to the airport and watched from a bench as the plane rose up and away over the desert as he and Moab disappeared from sight. There's been a lot of California dreamin' all winter, and soon I will be in San Diego!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Into the Throne Room of God

My dad, one of my best friends, passed on from this earthly life on March 25, 2016. Thankfully I travelled to the Midwest less than a week before to visit him one more time. None of us realized that he would pass so soon, somehow we thought that there was still more for him to do here. 

The artist posing with his first Christian painting, "For You."
Bruce Summerfield did so many things during his life. It's impossible to describe the depth of him or any other person for that matter, even though I've known him my whole life. He was a caring, compassionate father who always had all the time in the world for his children. He would tell us every single day how much he loved us. He only yelled at me once and immediately promised that he never would again. He would still correct us, but he would do so lovingly and patiently. When I was born, he cradled me and refused to let go when the nurse tried to take me away. Dad and I would go for walks in nature very often and take photos together. To see the awe that he expressed as he slowly sauntered along was a joy. I've rarely seen his strong enthusiasm in anyone else. He could fix almost anything and gladly and selflessly helped so many people with different projects. He would express to others how much he cared for them. He was an immensely spiritual person who established a personal, experiential relationship with God. Before I was born he had become well-known for wildlife art, with his paintings reaching audiences all over the globe. Then he was guided to do something different - to paint Christian art and to inspire people through talks about his own personal story to open to God in their own ways. His very first Christian painting is entitled "For You" and depicts Jesus being nailed to the cross out of his love for us. Profoundly enough, Dad passed on Good Friday. His life was an example to all of us. He certainly has always been an inspiration to me and has profoundly affected my life. I'm so blessed to have been raised by such a wonderful father.

Dad with Denali in the background. It was one of his lifelong dreams to go to Alaska, and we enjoyed it together.
At his Celebration of Life, held where he was living in southern Ohio, it was very apparent that my dad still lives on. Not only in all the memories we shared among each other there, but something much more. We had found a document on Dad's computer called "An Artist's Journey." The pastor read an excerpt from this, the description of one of his paintings, "Into the Throne Room of God."

~ ~ ~
Living on a quiet country road, surrounded by large expanses of open skies and fields, I often get a chance to sit in my favorite prayer spot and talk to God as he treats me to a wide array of spectacular sunsets. The variety seems to be endless, with each one more beautiful than the one before.

One evening as I watched, huge billowing towers of thunder heads rolling in. Closer and closer they came, partially masking the bright setting sun. The quietness was about to be disrupted by a powerful approaching storm. Suddenly, God flashed one of those, “Oh my,” ideas past me. The tall cloud formations became darker and more frightening, as powerful rays from the sun exploded from behind, almost begging exploration. As the warm air currents rise, building tower like clouds, a Bald eagle majestically glides across the sky on cushions of moving air. As he continues, to rise on these currents, higher and higher into a new unchartered territory, yet to be discovered. He banks toward the light, being pulled by a powerful unknown force. A force of extreme peace and tranquility. A force that he cannot turn away from. Closer and closer he sails into a new found sense of freedom and joy that he has never known before. A freedom to rise and glide above life’s pain and sorrow, led deeper and deeper by this guiding beacon of light into an ocean of peace and serenity.

Someday, with faith, our journey will lead us into this beautiful place. As is found in Isaiah 40 : 31, “ . . . they will soar with eagle’s wings . . . “Into the Throne Room of God.”

~ ~ ~

As many tears continued to be shed among all of his friends and family, we finished up our sharing of memories and stepped outside to release 66 white balloons. We said a prayer, let go of the strings, and then balloons rose up, up, and up, being pulled straight toward the sun. The light was blinding and peaceful as the balloons disappeared from our sight.

Some of my brother's college friends were present. One of them noted that the balloons had gone in the opposite direction that the wind was blowing. An agnostic, he was very shaken by this. Perhaps he might be questioning his beliefs more now. There is no doubt that my dad continues to affect people. Though he may not be physically present with us now, he is always there in spirit.

As I made the journey back to Moab, I saw a sticker in someone's car window - "Only Love Endures" with an infinity sign. Evil will always fall away, but Love resounds on and on forever. We will all live on, and the loving acts we do will always have more of an effect than we realize.