Gina Booton

On Making Moments into Memories and Why Our Stories Matter

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Dirt Road

“And they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31 

I went running this week.  Twice.  I ran a mile each time, and although this may not seem like a monumental occurrence, it kind of is.  I had my fourth baby ten weeks ago on Thursday, and I've never started working out after giving birth until about a year, or in some cases much longer.  It's hard because I'm not one of those people who can work out when I'm pregnant.  I wish I was, because I know it's much healthier, but I'm just not.  

I was in good shape before I got pregnant, but during my pregnancy I only went running once.  It was about a week after I found out, and I was super proud of myself.  I accurately informed my sister as we were running together that I had already worked out more in this pregnancy than in my other three combined.  0+0+0<1.  Unfortunately, the trend couldn't last and I didn't seriously workout again. 

This is my first blog post since February, and I think my running may have something to do with that.  As Julia Cameron says in The Artist's Way, many people's creativity is strongly influenced and released by exercise. Sometimes even just a brisk walk can get the creative juices flowing.  
That seems to be true for me.

I love running.  (Actually, as out of shape as I am right now I am still at the point where I HATE running, but you know what I mean.) I love running because it forces me to focus on something outside of myself and rely on strength from without instead of falling back on my own strength within.  On Monday that strength was my husband, graciously running along beside me, letting me set the pace as well as the distance when he easily could have tripled both. Thursday I was alone, and running in the heat of the day on a dirt road that suddenly became an international highway.  Car after car zoomed past me going at least 30 mph instead of the legally required 20, kicking dust up off the road and straight into my lungs.  I thought about quitting as I greedily gulped in as much oxygen as Gunnison (with its 7,700 feet elevation) was willing to share with me, and I listed all the reasons it would make sense to walk instead.  Then I started to pray.

I can be overly self-sufficient.  I am competent at many things and excel at some, and it's easy to stay in my little comfort zone where I am in control. But as I prayed, I remembered that there is a God who made me, who is bigger than I am and a source of strength outside of my own weakness.  In the big things and small things, He is there to offer strength and encouragement.  I am not on my own. And I finished the mile. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

One More

This Valentine's Day, I'm reflecting on my relationship with my husband. The anniversary of our first date is tomorrow.  This year marks eighteen(!) years since he asked me out for coffee and I arrived to pick him up.  Since he was still fifteen, I had to drive.

I've shared some of the writing I did while we were on our honeymoon here in the past.  Here's another one.  Ten and a half years ago now.

One More...

"We do not remember days, we remember moments." 

Cesare Pavece

August 2005

The other night  A. and I watched "Meet Joe Black," a movie I had seen before and he had not, and this time I found it strangely moving.  I was struck by the portrayal of relationships, father and daughter, lovers, husband and wife. A great quote..."True love is when you know the worst there is to know about each other and it's OK. You love each other anyway."

After the movie we grabbed a sleeping bag and drove out to Blue Mesa Reservoir to look at the stars.  The reservoir is huge, and in the dark, parked on the sand, we could not see the edge and it was almost like the ocean.  No end.  Someone had left the last embers of their bonfire glowing in the fire pit on the shore.  The air smelled of smoke and fishy water.  A. made a nest for me in the bed of his truck and started the "honeymoon mix" Lauren gave us as a wedding present.  I'm not sure whether she knew it or not, one might say she couldn't have known, but I believe it was created expressly for this moment.  This moment in the truck A. proposed to me in, on the empty beach with the smoke and the millions upon millions of stars.

The sky was perfectly clear--clear in the way that only the Colorado sky can be, in the mountains, with no lights to compete with the brilliance of the stars and the moon.  They reign alone.

"Did you see that!?" A. exclaimed.  A shooting star.  I had missed it.  But another, and another, and yet another were to follow and we watched, afraid to breathe, afraid to move, as though we could make them stop.  Two tiny humans--specks of sand.

A. went for a walk along the beach; I lay in my cocoon, soaking in the music, the smells, the cold air on my face--trying to memorize it.  I was filled with joy, but a profound sense of sadness as well, and longing.  I was aware of my love for my husband. Strong and raw and aching in me.  The movie had stirred a lot of memories in me, and I remembered the time in my life when A. and I had been apart--the pain and the humiliation of a broken heart.  It changed me, and changed my love for him. I am thankful for that time, thankful for the life it brought to our story, and I know it made me a better actress, sister, and friend, and some day will make me a better mother and counselor as well.  But while teaching me that God would protect me through any loss, it made me afraid to suffer loss again.  I thought of my sisters, Janna and Danette, and hurt for them, missed them, and was afraid for what lay in store, terrified that I cannot protect them, wishing I knew how to let go.  And I wanted to weep, even as another shooting star took my breath away.

These were my thoughts as A. returned, breathless and happy from his walk.  I made room for him in the sleeping bag and his leather jacket was cold against my sweatshirt and his nose ice against my cheek.  "Can you believe," his breath warm on my ear, "these are the same stars that Abraham and Isaac and Adam and Eve and Jesus looked up at? They're still here. It's unbelievable to me."  Unbelievable to me as well.  Somehow his conversation led us to heaven, and in my romantic frame of mind I said, "I don't want to think about heaven right now, because I know that when we're there, I can't be your wife and that makes me sad."

"You can be my friend."

My eyes and nose itched with tears.  I don't want to be your friend.

Ever since I first understood the concept of marriage, and then of heaven, I have been sad that we cannot be married when we die. The sadness and frustration only grew stronger when I met someone I wanted to be married to forever.  I see myself as a child, bargaining with God, If only I could still be married then I... Maybe marriage is my idolatry.

Time stood still in silence.  The CD had run its course and no one moved to start it again.  A.'s arms were safe and strong around me and he loved me in my melancholy--in my broken joy.  He loved me and let me be, until I was too tired and too cold to enjoy the sky anymore.  We drove home, singing quietly together with Iz, "What a wonderful world."

Thank you for reading, and Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Reading Challenge

Last week I mentioned that I had accepted a reading challenge from my sister, and that I would be sharing it with you this week and letting you know how to participate if you want.

Janna found this reading challenge on and we decided to do it together.  It's a great way for us to branch out and read books from genres we might not normally explore.  The challenge is broken into four different options depending on how ambitious you're feeling.  We decided to start off with the Light Challenge, which is thirteen books, and decide later whether or not we want to make it more difficult.  I'm feeling pretty good about it so far because it's January 17th, and I've already checked one book off my list.

This is what the challenge looks like as found on
Check out the entire challenge here.
In order to find a book from each of the thirteen categories, I went through and wrote down books that I've wanted to read (or finish reading) for a while.  Then I turned to my friends on Facebook for suggestions.  I received more than one excellent suggestion for each of the categories, so I have a feeling I'll be reading quite a few more books by the time the year is over.

Here is what my Light Reading Challenge list looks like for now:

Love Does by Bob Goff
Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Galatians for You by Timothy Keller
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
(My dad actually recommended this one to me, but he totally counts.)
Phantastes by George MacDonald
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering
and Organizing by Marie Kondo

So how about you guys?  Do you have any reading goals for 2016?  Would you like to join the challenge with us?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  Happy reading, friends.