Pilgrim Heights Blog



Looking out the window behind my desk, I realized that the world was extremely focused.  I could see details of creation come into focus that aren’t always so visible.  I could see the details of the prairie grass growing outside the window, the individual veins in the leaves were visible.  I could see the individual leaves on the trees, the sharpness of the shadows and the distinct lines of everything. Looking out the window everything seems clear with a sense of potential and possibility. The crystal clear late summer/ early fall air makes all of creation seem ordered – foucsed.

Personally, in this new ministry setting, in this time of transition, lots of life doesn’t feel focused, lots of days feel foggy.  It’s exciting and fun, but it is also confusing at times and more hazy than clear some days.  It seems to me that very often real life is hazier and not as clear.  It can feel as though we are walking in fog, the path isn’t as clear, the way forward appears hidden and life can feel overwhelming as day to day events press in weighing on us and leaving us feeling lost and confused. Traumatic events in our lives and in the lives of those we love and care about add to the normal day to day confusion.  In those moments clarity about the future can feel unattainable and the confusion can be stifling.

When that stifling feeling becomes overwhelming, more than you can bear: STOP!  Step away.  Look out the window, find a place to deliberately seek clarity.  Take the time to intentionally seek balance.  Take the time to let the path become clearer. The haze and fog will lift. It may take a few minutes, it may take a few days or even weeks.

I know that most of the time, when I feel lost, it is because I have forgotten to pause and let the clarity come.  It’s too easy for me to try and clear the haze with busyness, when the answer actually lies in stopping and investing the time to discern the way forward.

May your path become clearer!





When I started riding a motorcycle again, I noticed something that I didn’t remember from years ago and my first motorcycle. Every motorcycle that I would pass on the road would wave.  It was often a subtle wave, a simple flick of the left hand in acknowledgement.  Sometimes it would be a peace sign, or a simple point at each other.  If there was a rider on the back, both would wave.  People would wave even across the median of a four-lane highway.  I asked a friend of mine to explain this phenomenon to me and he said, “it’s the biker wave.” It turns out that this wave is a very inclusive wave. There is no judgment about the bike you are riding, the clothes you are wearing, or even your choice of helmet or not.  It is more an informal fraternity of motorcycle riders who understand one another in some way and are enjoying the road on two wheels.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with living with balance and life at Pilgrim Heights.

Well, here we go.

Over the two months that I have been living on this Sacred Space, it has been amazing the diversity of people I have “waved to.”  At any given moment the variety of people enjoying this space is incredible.  For instance, there was a day when a Lutheran church from Grinnell was having  a leadership retreat in the Breim Room, there was a family reunion enjoying a picnic at the waterfront, and the UCC Confirmation Retreat was happening.  In one day, all of these different people were waving at one another and getting a little taste of life at Pilgrim Heights!

In the United Church of Christ (UCC), we use the language of radical welcome and extravagant hospitality.  In the UCC, we try in all of the settings of the church to live into those realities and they are very important. In all of the places that I have been blessed to live and serve we have tried to live into those realities.  At Pilgrim Heights we live with a radical welcome and extravagant hospitality everyday.

Wherever you are on your life’s journey – we want to welcome you here to find what it is you need to find.

At Pilgrim Heights – we wave at every “bike.”





PH Balanced! In essence the nature of this blog is intended to be about finding balance in life.  Along the way I will be sharing stories, observations, and some random thoughts about finding balance in life.  I will be writing from the incredibly beautiful and serene setting known as Our Sacred Space, Pilgrim Heights Camp and Retreat Center in Montour, Iowa.  Many of you may be familiar with this amazing place and others may be able to imagine some sacred places that can, or have, helped you find balance in your lives.

I am fascinated with the idea of finding balance. So many aspects of our lives are controlled by schedules, the clock, by other people and all of those things are important.  It is just as important to find the time to step away and refresh the spirit, to reconnect with nature, to reconnect with that which we name Holy.

For me, this little blog is an opportunity to find balance in my ministry.  It gives me a chance to share stories from this Sacred Space and encourage others to seek balance in their lives.  For now, I just want to say Hello!

Living with JOY!