Gina Booton

On Making Moments into Memories and Why Our Stories Matter

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 Anton 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.  Anton 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 Anton 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!?" Anton 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.

Anton 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 Anton 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 Anton 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.  Anton'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.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Midnight Musings

It is late.  Anton is sleeping next to me and I’m pressing the keys on my keyboard down as lightly as I can in the hope that I won’t disturb him.  It doesn’t seem to make my typing any quieter.  Our door is open and I can hear the sound of the noisemakers from the girls’ and Logan’s room coming from their open doorways.  I like being awake at night when all the doors are open and I know my kids are asleep.  I feel close to them even though I can’t see them.  Someday (soon) they’ll be teenagers and sleep with their doors closed.  I won’t have to wonder if Reagan will wake me up at 11:00 p.m. or 4:00 a.m. or anywhere in between, because she won’t be six anymore, and will no longer climb into bed with us.  I’ll hold onto their being little while I can.

The baby is moving in my belly as I write this.  I wonder if this little person is a girl or a boy?  I almost can’t believe we didn’t find out.  I think part of me really wondered if we’d cave and go ahead and ask the technician what we’re having.  I’m glad we didn’t.  I think I would have been really disappointed, even though it is going to be soooo hard to wait another twenty weeks to find out.

It was such a relief to me when the doctor at the imaging department told me that everything looked okay.  There are so, so, so many things that can go wrong.  I actually felt a little sick with relief as we were leaving the ultrasound.  And then I cried because so many of my friends have lost sweet babies.  It breaks my heart.  All my happiest moments seem to be tinged with sadness.

Our sermon at church today was about suffering and why it is something that we have to deal with, dating back to Adam and Eve and their choice to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, allowing sin and sickness to enter the world.  I was reminded of the time when Avery was four-and-a-half and I had briefly explained that concept to her.  A few days later we were talking about something else and she said, “Mom, why did God start with just two people?”  Before I could answer she said, “Adam and Eve were kind of naughty.  They ate that bad tree.  And that makes me angry with Adam and Eve.  And kind of sad.  And a little bit scared.”  Me too, kiddo.

A thought I took with me from today’s sermon was that sometimes, we want to look at God and say that if He is all loving and all powerful and bad things still happen, then He must not exist.  But taking God away doesn’t remove our problems or our suffering, it just removes any possible solution to them.  Knowing that God has an ultimate plan for us that is bigger than our troubles on earth helps give meaning to our lives.  The pastor reminded us that we are not alone in our sorrows, and that God enters into our suffering with us.  Jesus suffered for us.  He quoted the writer John Stott as saying, “I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross….  In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?”

I’ve been reading Bonhoeffer for part of a reading challenge I am doing with my sister.  (Next week I’ll tell you all the details of the challenge and how you can participate if you want.)  The book hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis yet, but Bonhoeffer’s mother just lost one of her sons in the First World War and was almost undone by her grief, in spite of her deep faith.  I thought again of my friends, and of my mom who lost my brother five years ago.

We are not guaranteed comfort and safety in this life.  We are living in uncertain times, in a lot of ways, and even if there were nothing to fear from terrorism or mass shootings, there would still be cancer, car accidents, and stillbirths.  I am thankful that everything looked good on the ultrasound, but I know that there is still so much that could go wrong.  It’s comforting to me to listen to the quiet of my family sleeping, to feel my baby moving in my belly, and know that right now, we are okay.  I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I do know that God is with us in our joy and in our suffering, and He is not immune to pain.