#40Yearsin40Days 1988 was a pivotal year for our little family. Huge and difficult changes. The first was that we both turned 30. Whoa. It actually happened. We couldn’t believe it. No, we’ll never forget 1988.
We had a wonderful Bertholf family reunion at Golden Bell Camp in the summer. It’s still one of my favorite reunions. A cousin was married in Kansas just before the reunion and we all took off for the reunion in the mountains of Colorado.
My grandparents never passed up the a chance to sing together and we all loved it.
Grandpa’s favorite songs from a list I found:
The Old Rugged Cross
I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary
He Washed My Eyes With Tears
Through It All
If That Isn’t Love
This is the Time I Must Sing
Give Them All to Jesus
My Home Sweet Home
I’ll Never Be Lonely Again
The stress of an overflowing “plate” finally came to a head in 1988. I experienced a burn out. I quickly emptied my plate of all the activity I had allowed to overtake my life. I took two weeks off from work. One week was spent in Vail, CO where friends graciously provided their condo for us to stay and enjoy. Scott’s mom had already been scheduled for a visit so she joined us there. We swam and explored together and I struggled for some kind of clarity.
The second week I spent without the family back in my happy place … northern Idaho and my grandparents and Camp Sanders. I spent time reading my Bible in my favorite and secret places at Camp Sanders. I went to Family Camp and enjoyed worship and nature. I spent time with my mentor/aunt who spoke truth into my life. I sat quietly with my beloved grandparents who said little and listened much. I deeply felt their unconditional love once again. And I remembered where I came from and what was truly important. I didn’t get all the answers in those two weeks but I began to learn the value of solitude and simplicity and intentionality. Thus began my journey of moving toward joy … a message that frames the basis of my life ministry … one that I am still passionate about and share with others regularly.
Not long after, we experienced a major crisis in our marriage and Scott negotiated a position of Program Director at a radio station in Sun Valley, Idaho. Our family was on the move again.
Scott flew out almost immediately, leaving me to pack the house, prepare the house for renters, disentangle ourselves from our life in Colorado for the last five years, tie up all loose ends, continue to work full time with a long daily commute, drive Abbey back and forth to a babysitter, and continue to deal with the burnout and the marriage crisis. I was like a zombie, performing tasks and putting out fires by rote.
I desperately needed Scott’s help and as he was driving to Twin Falls to catch a flight home for the move, he was delayed. Traffic jam? Nope. Snow and ice? Nope. Holiday traffic? Nope. Car accident? Nope. It was sheep. There were sheep everywhere all along the streets and roads. Everything stopped until every last sheep was where they needed to be. Scott finally got to the airport to call and tell me about it. We both thought it quite strange. What had we gotten ourselves into? We were city dwellers. (But since then we’ve have come to know the local sheep industry and Basque people call this the Trailing of the Sheep, where they bring the flocks down from their summer grazing in the mountains. This has been going on for generations in the area and is an honored tradition. And little did we know that our little Abbey would grow up to marry a Basque young man.)
Meanwhile, back in Colorado, our church family swarmed our home for two days, patching and painting and repairing for one day, and then packing our moving truck the next day. Our hearts were overwhelmed with love and gratitude to these dear friends who ministered to me more than they will every know. My soul need this grace and you were God’s hands and arms and legs to me.
Welcome to Idaho!
After having all our house plants frozen as we went through Wyoming, we arrived in Hailey, Idaho on a cold, snowy November afternoon. Our rental house wouldn’t be available for another week so the station had arranged for us to stay in the only local motel. We hauled in our “stuff”, including Scooter the cat, and tried to get our heads around all this huge change.
I had worked myself to death and strep manifested in me so strongly that I had hallucinations for several hours one day. Scott had to buy the groceries, buy a hot plate so I could sort of cook, get the medicine, hug the kids and the cat, and start a new job. There were no fast food restaurants in the valley at the time and the television was our friend for that week.
Here is a recap of our life during the next ten months:
- We couldn’t afford the rent in the valley but had to have a place to live so we found a five bedroom, three bath home in Hailey. It was literally the only place available. There were several feet of snow on the ground for the entire winter. We never really knew what our yard looked like. Our cat climbed up on the roof several times and couldn’t get down. Scott to the rescue. Scooter would jump from deep boot print to boot print when he ventured outside. Sometimes the Sheriff would have to come to take Scott to work at the station because we couldn’t get out. Snow was piled high in the middle of all the streets for months.
- We don’t snow mobile, ski, hike, ride horses, golf or shop. That pretty much sums up Sun Valley.
- We couldn’t afford the cost of groceries so we drove to Twin Falls every payday to buy them;
- We tried to return the rental truck but there was AN ACTUAL SIGN ON THE DOOR THAT SAID ‘GONE FISHING’ AND THEY WERE ACTUALLY GONE FISHING. What do you do with a rental truck while someone is fishing?
- Did I mention there were no fast food restaurants? We visited them in Twin Falls on paydays;
- I remembered how to make a fire so we could keep the wood burning stove going;
- The churches … I need to be careful here. We visited several of them. Since the Sun Valley area is a destination resort area, most of the churches were designed around having a transient congregation. We did find a few churches who were committed to the people who lived there. But one pastor told us he would be gone for several months to help on a farm somewhere so there would be no church while he was gone. One church wouldn’t allow us to be involved in any ministry. Toward the end of our time there, we did find a church that met our needs for the most part.
- I worked for a plumbing shop and was so cold most of the time, I started drinking coffee for the first time.
- We got the newest, coolest thing that winter … our first Nintendo … on credit, of course.
- Abbey gave her heart to Jesus on my lap in the living room of our house that winter.
- I tried to make home as special as possible so Abbey and I made our first candy cane cookies at Christmas time. Now we try to make them every year. I’ve missed a few.
We had never felt so alone and separate … before or since.
#ReadMyLipsNoNewTaxes #SuperMarioBrothers #LegendofZelda #BeetleJuice #Idahome