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Exhaustion meets me every day, in the tread of all my shoes. There are my house-shoes in which I mother in; these are worn from shuffling through homework and nightmares, holding me up as I hold on to my little ones trying to shape them into something beautiful. My grey boots I love, all suede-soft and chic to take me shopping and to meet others who are toiling away to replace their jobs with careers. And then my tennis shoes come on to shape me into something strong and resilient so I can continue to work at the things placed before me.

When is that moment when you are in the midst of climbing a mountain and wonder what would happen if you turned around and walked yourself back to the arms of your couch? How much tread can a person wear away…

I wonder how the shoes of the Harvey girls fit after toiling twelve hours a day to feed the wild west…did they know that leaving the refined east would land them in the footsteps of frontiersmen, dusty and scorched from a life less civilized? I see the photos of these women and lean in to hear whispers…I see their appearance, stark and disciplined into nun-like uniforms and pause to hear their stories.

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Fred Harvey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Harvey_Company) must have been able to see from the top of the mountain when he joined with the Santa Fe Railroad to make traveling west a little more bearable. With rancid food and staff that brawled with the customers, he knew how to lasso the wild spirit of exploration into the right kind of shoes. In came the Harvey girls, stepping in to serve the ones who came to conquer the west, only to be the ones that helped shape it into what it is today.

Somewhere in the midst of their long days, they found the kind of shoes that you can dance in. Many of them found husbands in the businessmen and ranchers that walked into the upper-class restaurants and waltzed away with them onto the dusty paths of the west. They brought their eastern education and raised their voices at community events, churches and civic activities. They had children and shaped them as they shaped their communities from rough places into towns that blossomed.

I rock my son with the heater blowing and a lone cricket playing a night song. My own shoes are worn down, but every step taken has been meaningful. I work, sometimes to exhaustion, but I intend to keep going until I carve my own trail into this world.

Let’s walk together, like the Harvey girls and the frontiersmen, so our children will look at our footprints and find a reason to keep the trail going.

God has a promise for those who feel worn out:

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

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