Thanks for joining me here.
Read some thoughts on issues affecting daily life and life around our world. Read and join in the conversation. What moves you? How do you respond to the issues we face today?

honor thy father

Let me tell you why this seemingly innocuous photo carries so much weight. I am posting it on a public forum and therefore NOT charging royalties on this photo of my Dad kayaking. The significance comes from the fact that Dad has essentially held hostage pictures he took of me kayaking. We're still in negotiations on exactly what royalties will be exacted for my use of those photos.
The joy in all this is that my Dad "gets" me and I get/understand from where I inherit some of my idiosyncracies. For example, after biking to the ocean today, I went for a long kayaking voyage. I told myself I would make it as far as a distant beach. Halfway there, I began wishing I would turn around as the wind blew in my face and I literally paddled to sit still. Wish as I might, however, I simply could not convince myself to admit defeat and turn around (I don't like asking for directions, either). When Dad and I met up on my easy return trip with the wind at my back, he informed me I had paddled down to the nudist beach. I was so deep in thought about this perseverant tendency that I hadn't even noticed the bathers weren't wearing anything. My lack of observation concerns me sometimes. The great moment came after kayaking when Dad likened our need to bike back home to my unwillingness to turn around. We had already determined we were not taking the easy route (a car ride home with Mom) but biking, instead. Tired as we were, there's some unrelenting spirit in both of us that will NOT allow us to take the easy route, that pushes us the extra mile, that convinces us that we KNOW the path to the top (del Cerro, anyone?). Perhaps that's why, at the end of the day, I can honor my father (Exodus 20:12).
One more note before I sign off. Here's an example (loosely translated) of our negotiation still in the works:
Dad: You know, I'm charging royalties for those photos.
Sarah: But they're not even in my possession yet.
D: Royalties begin at the time of the photos.
S: Yes, and we have not reach t=0 because I have not received the aforementioned photos. To me, the photos are not reality.
D: What are you talking about? I cannot control your reality. It is unfortunate everyone does not see the world as I see it.
S: Are you going to take your water bottle to the beach? I mean, my water bottle that you're borrowing?
D: That's right, it's my water bottle. I'm glad you're seeing things my way.
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wine that gladdens the heart

Today was truly a wonderful day spent with Aunt Pam & Cuz (aka Shannon). I slept until 11AM since I've formed perhaps an unhealthy habit of staying up late into the night due to this blog, pictures, and a general unwillingness to go to bed. Aunt Pam & Cuz came shortly thereafter and we headed to Race Point for some biking (see My Pictures). While at the beach, Aunt Pam retold the story of my grandparents' neighbor who may need a toe amputated. The greatest inconvenience resulting from this possibility is the lost ability to wear flip flops. The neighbor conjectured that he would be forced to duct tape his flip flop to his foot.
Mom was determined that Shannon would experience the joys of kayaking so we left Race Point and headed back to "the compound." I'll make a minor note that Mom kayaked before Shannon or Pam - you can draw your own conclusions as to who REALLY wanted to experience the joys of kayaking. We flew the trainer kite for the second day in a row with some impressive twists and turns by the elder Hiney & daughter. Kayaking really WAS joyous with a GREAT set of waves as I paddled into shore.
Then it was time for sunset hors d'oeuvres & wine (Psalm 104:15) on the roof. In addition to Aunt Pamela's British imitations, Cuz & I had one of the greatest conversations I've had in a long time. Was it the sunset or the wine or the company? Perhaps some mystical combination of the three in the bewitching hour.

sent an angel

This picture captures the continual state in which we exist both here on the Cape & in life. Mom could not be happier that we're together. Dad's waiting for the automatic timer to flash. I'm Wild At Heart, gazing into the foretold magnificent sunset.
A small group of us discussed John Eldredge's book Wild At Heart this past weekend at Gordon. While I agree, in part, with the many critiques of the book, the fact remains that Eldredge's book acted as a catalyst in my life. God instrumentally used it to propel me across the country on His wild adventure. Remembering this process reminded me of how faithful God has been.
Reflection marks my life these days. God graciously sent an angel (Numbers 20:16) to lift me out of the melancholy accompanying too much reminiscence. Viewing numerous photos of friends buoyed my spirits, too. I posted some old photos for you to catch a glimpse. Let me share a few clips of what I've been reading lately that contributed to this pensive blogging state:

"As the weeks of her narrative unfold, she digs deeper and deeper, eventually coming to what is the most difficult task we face in this life: to know and to love at the same time. Can we? Is it ever really possible? Don't we choose otherwise, almost always? There is a 'wound to knowledge' in the words of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and most of us feel that reality in our deepest hearts, and it is painful. To know like that costs us. We find it hard to talk about." ~Stephen Garber reviewing A Dark Oval Stone by Marsena Konkle in the publication Critique, Issue #8-2006

"Mr. Jain . . . says he was unaware Mr. Thoti was a Dalit . . . [Mr. Thoti] says he's happy. 'I never ask him about his caste,' says K. Sreenivasulu, a 30-year-old colleague from a higher caste. 'Caste doesn't matter to me here, especially in the work environment.' Outside the office, the picture remains more complicated. Recently, Mr. Thoti learned he would have to move, and began searching for a new apartment. He approached a building just around the corner. The landlord's response: 'Brahmins only.'" ~Paul Beckett in The Wall Street Journal, Vol. CCXLIX No. 146 (6/24/07)

"Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the notions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn't go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection." ~Wendell Berry from Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front from The Country of Marriage: Collected Poems

And now I'm off to view the stars from that lovely widow's walk perch in the photo above. I'll think about how I flew a kite today (finally) and how the waves bore me towards shore in a kayak. I'll think about friends near and far and this evening's good conversation over berrytinis. I'll laugh about the de-treaded tire incident that marked my journey yesterday and the resulting sweet time with Dad today around the tire shop in search of finger puppets. And maybe, just maybe, I'll dream a bit.

Driving out of Bighorn NF

Same drill as the others. Click the colored link below to view the video.
Bighorn National Forest
This was possibly the most epic drive of my life! You're catching the tail-end of it after I descended thousands of feet down precipitously winding roads. Lovin' it!

youth renewed

I took a trip down Memory Lane (by Lane, in fact) this morning & felt God renewing my youth (Psalm 103:5). FYI, the pic above was taken on the Great Lawn at Coolidge Reserve in Magnolia this afternoon. For those familiar with Gordon, this will surely jog memories of your own . . .
-Remember when we sneaked a peek into the new recital hall in Phillips, Cat?
-Alas, Wood is no more
-But the Berry Girls & IHOS live on in infamy
-SO tempted to ring the bell and bring all sorts of bad luck on my head
-Hanging out on the roof of Frost - don't fall down the fire escape ladder
-The great stuffed pineapple conspiracy undercover of night outside Frost
-So much tomfoolery during High Adventure Camp - tipping canoes, singing our team song
-Davino emerges from Gull with a leach in tow during Ecology & Evolution
-Cat's x-country, -hill, & -dale ski adventure around Gull Pond. Drat, we fell over a fallen log again!
-Tang's firelight confessions of anti-American scandal & grapefruit shampoo. I think I found our camping site, but it's overun with bike paths now without a trace of a campfire.
-Ahh, the days of leaving old recliners on the quad festooned with balloons. It truly was a public display of art.

And then there are all the others memories sparked by walking about this weekend . . .
-I tromped through the mud today and thought that if I'd only had such a messy experience sophomore year I might not have "lost it" when ketchup appeared on my pants. I also might have responded with greater understanding to the great Duran Duran shut-in (Fowler).
-What wonderful Sunday evenings spent eating dinner in our room to the sounds of A Prairie Home Companion, or basking like cats in the sun in Ferrin, or illegally lighting candles, removing screens to throw snowballs, or playing Secret Agent, dark sunglasses & all.
-Remember Thrilla in Tavilla? I'm typing this from Tavilla right now.
-How about countless hours of Dance Min? Eden's Dad was here for the conference this weekend.
-Was anyone there the night we ended up on the Great Lawn where today's picture was taken? I realized once we got there today that I had been there in the dead of the night once when I was convinced they were building another Monticello. Turns out it was only the remains of the foundation of an original building that still lies there today.
-How about the Magnolia Cliffs?
-I remember a night Pete Cherry, Nate, & I (& maybe Snead) were star gazing & determined we saw a military high altitude aircraft. We were near the testing facility, after all. Cat, we never returned to investigate that! It was easier to convince myself of seeing UFOs then.
-Ahh, Hagopian and his bleeding-hearted liberal accusations - and to think he just got married!
-How about rearranging the banister across Erik's door?
-Steve in his trench coat & hat.
-The midnight food fight that all started with Davino's ill-fated slingshot & a grape.

I'm realizing I could go on and on. Fowler & Cat, you're probably the only two that will appreciate this so hopefully this will spark some fond memories - I miss you both!

Yellowstone National Park Videos

Click the purple links below to view my videos.
Good Morning
This was taken my first morning in Yellowstone, camping at Shoshone Lake campsite 8S2. Night sounds and a deflating Therm-A-Rest kept me from sleeping most nights, so I generally fell asleep around dawn. I left all time-keeping devices in the car but figured out that my camera kept time within 20 minutes, give or take. That's how I determined that I was waking around 10:30AM.
Shoshone Lake @ Dawn
This was taken my second morning at Shoshone Lake. The mist was still swirling across the waters. While the mosquitoes drove me to my tent around 7:30PM, this morning I was determined to be an early riser. Of course, I then went to sleep again until 10:30AM. Although I camped near a wide open field, I surprisingly did not witness any large wildlife. Although seeing a bear away from the flash of camera-happy tourists would have been a treat, I gladly went without that experience.
Yellowstone Geyser
Sorry for the sideways view. You can hear the voice of the Ranger in the background on this guided tour of the geysers near Old Faithful. Sulphurous scents prevailed.
Old Faithful Inn Pianist
This is rather a dark (9:30PM) view of the grande lobby of the Inn, taken from the third floor balcony. The video opens with the Pianist and scrolls down to the lobby and up to the second and third floor balconies. It was from this perch that I wrote all my Yellowstone postcards.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
As I narrated in this video, I left the beaten path for a view less frequently seen. The Grand Canyon was awesome to behold and I couldn't help feeling rather satisfied as I gazed across the abyss at the tourist vista crowded with RV's and camera-laden folks.

Grand Teton National Park Videos

Click the colored links below to view my videos.
Grand Teton Panoramic View
This was taken at Fox Creek Pass during my two night stay in Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park. I conducted a recon trip to scope out my planned path to Marion Lake. As you can see, the snowy landscape void of trail markers made me think better of attempting a solo orienteering expedition. I did the unthinkable for Sarah Hine and retraced my steps out of the park! And yes, Dad, I lived to tell about it. Unfortunately, I don't have freezing temps, white-out conditions, and gale-force winds to bolster the tale.
Dandelion Video (sideways)
I simply couldn't resist on my hike out.

seasoned with salt

I've returned to the land of "open hall," Gillie's Cafe, & Coy Pond - Gordon College. Returning to campus after my six year absence feels like homecoming. To the left is a shot of Frost Hall, an administrative building, taken by a Gordon student. Frost Hall is the incomplete original structure of what was once the Prince estate. Legend has it that construction ceased once the wife, for whom Frederick Prince was building the structure, passed away. The place is fascinating. I remember discovering an abandoned shaft one night while studying w/ Cat. We crept as far as we dared before the shaft headed precipitously downhill.
All the memories are coming flooding back. "Open hall" signs are posted around the dorm in which I am staying. This refers to visitation hours when men and women can visit rooms of the opposite sex. When I was on duty as an RA, this provided a challenge. During "visits," the door needed to remain open with at least one foot of each person in the room on the floor at all times. Additionally, at least one light needed to remain on within the room. Picture little 18 year-old Sarah policing the rooms of her 24 year-old students. Gillie's Cafe served as the scene for numerous open mics and also hosts the Wittenburg Window, a place where students could post potentially scandalous essays on issues ranging from reformed theology to defining our neighbors. Coy Pond and Gull Pond are two of my fav places here - I'll pay homage tomorrow morning on my run.
I have traveled to the North Shore for an alumni weekend conference focused on vocation. Returning to the student lifestyle of communal eating, essays, and discussing philosophy late into the evening suits me well. One of the questions I hope to wrestle with as a group tomorrow is, "How do we maintain youthful excitement and hope regarding our vocational calling? This includes concern for living an ordinary life AND recognizing that what may externally appear ordinary is always renewed extraordinarily internally by God." Similar questions were raised by my peers and conversation was most definitely seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).

suffer the little children

While at The Faces (aka Mt. Rushmore), I saw this friendly group of people coming down the stairs. Their T-shirts boldy proclaimed "Pro Life." As I moseyed around the tourist trap that is The Faces, sundry questions came to mind. In a place making any number of grand statements, their T-shirts left only one statement resounding in my mind. This group was surely pro-life and anti-abortion. As I entered the Sculptor's Studio at the monument, the group was sitting on the benches where you see them in the picture. They willingly posed for the picture and explained that they are part of a group walking across America. The began in Seattle, although no one in the group originates from Seattle. They represent states including Florida & Iowa. Groups from all corners of the country are walking in order to convene on Washington, DC August 11 for a Pro Life rally. So the questions came more quickly: 1. Would I be so bold as to state my convictions in this manner? 2. Would one of them wear that shirt individually or was their strength in the group? 3. What message does this send to staunch pro-abortionists/women's choicers? 4. How often does each "camp" recognize that they argue separate points? 5. Is there room for compassion in the face of a Pro Life rally?
I began discussing this with a friend on the long drive across PA & NY back to CT. He and I both value the sanctity of life. He surprised me when he shared his view that abortion ought to be legal. He reasoned that abortion will continue, whether legal or illegal. Legalizing abortion allows for more humane methods. Hmm, never considered THAT angle before. I will state here for the record that I am pro life. I also recognize that enormous pressures and societal constraints cause women to choose abortion over life. My friend and I pondered how a peaceful sit-in to support life would be received. What if there were no placards or jeering crowds? What if we sat in silent witness to life that was ended before it breathed on its own? What if a dialogue began between sides over reconciliation between the sanctity of a woman's body and the sanctity of a life newly created? Those are some thoughts that this picture initiated for me. I welcome some good discussion on the issue. Btw, the title's from Matthew 19:14 - kids inherit the kingdom.

Here are a few more fun things I came up with while on the road:
Cheapest Gas: $1.97 in ND
Best Sign: Cowboy Credit Union in Buffalo, WY
True Picture of the West: cowboys herding cattle on the side of the road
Most Memorable: cruising down Route 16 out of Bighorn National Forest to Neil Young
Preferred Drink on the Road: Green Machine by NAKED
Prettiest Sunset: headed East out of Bismark, ND (check out my pictures)
Indulgence of Choice: Trader Joe's chocolate-covered pretzels (thanks, Daniela)
Silliest Moment: pretending I was on a roller-coaster, arms in the air and screaming, as I rounded the ONE turn on Highway 85 between Amidon and Belfield, ND
Where I want to hang out someday: Cody, WY
Sign that I'm not @ LBM anymore: UW stands for U of WY, NOT Underwriter

I'm not sure when I'll be on-line next, so for all those tracking me, here's an itinerary:
Gordon College this weekend
Cape Cod next week
Winston-Salem the following weekend
Ballet Magnificat! July 5

i lift up my eyes to the mountains

hear ye, hear ye - I just received word that I will be working in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh with the Rural Training and Development Center once I arrive in India as a Service Corps Fellow. Hmm, I just looked at a map and it looks like I'll be near the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala.
For a "peak" of why the mountains inspire me (I can hardly believe I've resorted to such levels of corny-ness), you can check out the video soon to come. Yep, my help comes from on high (Ps. 121:1). I've been loading the video on this blog for the past 30 min & it's still not done. You know when you reach that point where you should hold out just 1 more min? Well, I'm there BUT the Faces are calling @ Mt. Rushmore & then Fargo to see Brian. On to Chicago and the Amazing RW on Sunday and the final push home Monday. Patience, grasshoppers. You'll get all your videos soon enough.

shine forth like the dawn

You guys (read: the many inquiring minds wanting to know more) are fun. I love reading your responses, answering your questions, & being chastised for not blogging enough. It's late in the so-called "booming" town of Gillette, WY but my court clamors for news from the royal highway so I simply must meet the demand. Oh, wait, I'm not the Queen. Well, I can at least share a bit of insight into the past week since I've last been on-line. I feel like a different person and blogging seems a humble mode of communicating. Perhaps I'll go deeper & require you to take your snorkels in a next go-around. For now, how about some superlative action? I won't issue a disclaimer, but if I DID it would go something like this: These opinions are solely those of the blogger and in no way express what she expects might be your own opinions. Additionally, it should be noted that superlatives lend themselves to judgment and exclusion of other likely candidates. Please suspend your judgment.
Best Natural View: Fox Creek Pass in Grand Teton National Park, ele. 9,650'
Chillest Rangers: Grand Teton National Park
Best Read: submerge by john b. hayes
Scariest Night Noise: howling wolves or coyotes near my tent in Yellowstone
Most Thought-Provoking Verses: Isaiah 58:6-8
Luckiest Addition to Backpack: Natrapel bug repellant
Best Manmade View: Old Faithful Inn Observation Deck of the geyser
Most Melodic: pianist at Old Faithful Inn
Jolliest Trail Mate: Bog Trotting Joe from Dublin
Newest Experience: required 30 min video on proper backcountry behavior in Yellowstone
Most Beautiful Rugged Terrain to Explore Next: Big Horn National Forest

And for your viewing pleasure, I'm slowly adding photos so take a look at the initial efforts.

P.S. I really AM tired for all those that I was talking/IM'ing w/ while bemoaning my lack of sleep. Still, I just couldn't help myself & I suppose you'll thank me for making the effort.

leap for joy

Greetings from the land of Knee Shorts modest clothing, virgin margaritas, & clean flicks. Yes, I really encountered all those at the Great Salt Lake. The drive rivaled the drive to Vegas for number of praises from Mom. In my humble opinion, the drive to SLC wins, hands down. Mountains rise from clover-covered valleys, climaxing in snowy peaks. Cows & horses graze in bucolic pastures. We had a 2+ hour conference call w/ the siblings filled w/ Lisa singing Mariah Carey & Tim claiming he really was listening to everything we said.

We arrived to the perfect hotel where we got to run, swim, AND bed jump. Thanks to Christine who introduced me to a bed jumping website (, I had to try it. Caution: bed jumping can result in sleeping with one end of your bed on the floor OR with your suitcase holding up the mattress. By the way, Mom has declared a new gift. In addition to Master Map Reader and Spatial Arranger, she hereafter can speak as Expert of Fixing Broken Beds. Our predicament resulted in me collapsing in hysterics and Mom grimacing. The title of today’s post comes from Luke 6:23, leaping for joy indeed!

Before departing the LBC Wednesday, I said a few final goodbyes, crammed more bags in my overstuffed car, and received a gift of pepper spray to ward off the Yellowstone bears. Mom and I DID high five as we said, “Vegas, baby!” We stayed on The Strip and caught Spamalot at Wynn Las Vegas. It felt great to laugh and be reminded to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” Awaking two days in a row to sunny skies made me smile, too.

Today, Mom’s off to NYC & I head North to Yellowstone. Look forward to some great pic’s & stories of how I did NOT use the pepper spray (positive thinking) and DID tranquilly reflect by serene streams somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

clothed with gladness

This picture offers a glimpse into the past two weeks. When a friend suggested a Rockstar Party as a send-off, I was all for it! As a huge fan of costume parties, the idea of my friends dressing the part thrilled me. Add to that the backstage passes, microphones, and music and we had all the makings for a grande finale. There have been many joyous closures including dinner tonight with many friends that sent me packing with trail mix and a gas card - brilliant! Even better, they prayed over me before we departed - I felt desperately needy for that so thank you.
There have been numerous tearful goodbyes, too. Those who have ever departed or remained behind may ask, "why bother investing in the lives of others if leave takings are so bittersweet?" I know this is a short-sighted question and I assure you I would never have it any other way. I'm a relational being, created for community. We grow, stretch, and are transformed through relationships. Painful though departures may be, graciously we have hope that we will be used and grow in new ways that actually deepen those relationships. Ever the optimist at heart, I choose to be clothed in gladness (Ps. 65:12).
Here are a few snippets of the Life of Sarah:
-Mom & I had a good laugh today as Mom approached her trusty sponge to resume cleaning and said, "oh, my long lost friend, how I've missed thee these past few hours."
-Did I mention how thankful I am that Mom has scrubbed my apt from top to bottom as I've packed, visited, cried, & laughed?
-For once in my life (seriously, this is the first time), I am packed hours in advance of my departure.
-Nevertheless, sleep still evades me so I plan to be up for awhile.
-True to the plan, we're staying in Vegas tomorrow night. Mom isn't in the know yet. She will be, though, as soon as we hit the road with a high five and "Vegas, baby!" This should be fun.
-For each kindness, hug, smile, card, box, and tear I thank you.

taking a far journey

Wow! How do I capture the essence of these days? It seems that each time I turn, a new blessing awaits. The people I encountered over the previous month since sharing my plans have humbled me by their gracious responses. I commented Wednesday how mahvelous 'twould be if we could but live like this daily - living out the gratitude we harbor internally each day. I only pray that we might each choose to act on our thankful impulses!
In an attempt to honor those lives that touched mine, I have turned over a new leaf by blogging. If only I could post my blogs upside-down (for anyone that's ever seen a group card I've signed), all would be as I'd wish. Still, I hope you'll read, respond, challenge my assumptions, and encourage me as you have already.
For those WaMulians in whose company I have been blessed to work for the previous 21 months, thank you for the outpouring affections and words of support. You will be among the first to read this since I committed to posting something before my imminent departure. Take a moment and update your development plans to reflect your new found interest in global development (always your consummate HR professional here) and then add this to your favorites and follow my journey. You'll probably learn new things about me that you never knew AND you'll get to see Yellowstone, New England, Winston-Salem, Mississippi, India, & beyond through my eyes.

And now for some stream of conscious thoughts:
-I am tired and ought to sleep soon - this has been a trying week filled with much encouragement and moments of light amidst the challenges
-Mom arrives @ LAX late tonight for a final LA escapade. We'll see if I can convince her to stop in Vegas on our way to SLC.
-I haven't truly begun to pack yet and I refuse to be stressed out by that.
-Reality's hitting me at a snail's pace. At dinner with a friend tonight I actually realized tomorrow's my official last day at work.
-3-1/2 years ago, 3-1/2 years seemed an eternity. Now that 3-1/2 years have passed as a blur, 3-1/2 years doesn't seem like such a long time anymore.

As a final note, I'll issue a few explanations. SarsiSue (in the weblog address) is my Mom's nickname for me. Rivers in high places (blog name) refers to Isaiah 41:18 and reminds me of promises yet to be fulfilled. Taking a far journey (post title) seemed an apt kick-off and derives from the idea of sojourning in distant lands. Listening to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World," I can't help but issue one more effusive thought of how overcome I am by the many people in my life. I will miss seeing each of your faces daily and am thankful that we get to remain in each others lives around this wonderful world 'til we meet again.
~s :)!