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Why I got my feet wet in the Sipsey in January (and maybe why you shouldn’t)

I opened my Facebook and there was the invitation.  It was for a hike to a place I regard with awe and wonder.  My mind started to whirl with anticipation, questions, and a quick – “Hey babe, will you go with me on this one?”

I guess all of this group have this itch to hike and then we find others with that same itch and all sorts of fun ensues.  However, the Sipsey Wilderness is a really big and rugged place.  I had reservations about this impromptu hike and by the next morning I have a backup hike in mind in case this isn’t a safe adventure.

Lots of planning goes into hiking – for safety reasons.  There are plenty of places that I go that require very little thought at all.  Greenways are like that.  I read the map at the site and go as far as I want.  The Sipsey requires a little more than the casual reading of a trailhead sign.  In fact, trailhead signs might be rare or non existent.

Cell signal is also rare.  Which means I have to invoke the BestFriendOutdoorsmanBruce (BFOB) rule.  He is THE guy we call to let him know where to send a RESCUE.  I’m not exaggerating about this… I told him we would be done by 5 pm, sunset, and that it might take an hour to get back to him by cell.  He set an alarm to call us by 6 pm.

So, into the Sipsey we went on no trail to chase waterfalls that were running nicely after our recent rainy weather.  Besides having to refer to only a single Alltrails recording, crisscrossing the creek was the first issue we tried to remedy.  We walked, tip-toed, or threw out rocks to step on.

None of us is fond of slipping.

Mud and mushy leaves was the second issue.

Again, none of is fond of slipping.

Then my husband slid down a short hill – but was fine.  I was behind him and I tried to go down backwards with my hands on the ground.  I still slid – into what I call the superman yoga position – on my belly.

Laughing.  Always laughing.  It’s a wonder I didn’t eat some mud.

I turned to cross the creek and decided to wade into the water – boots submerged – and I just called out “I’m done fartin around, I’m getting in.”  Before you knew it everyone had damp or soaked feet.  It was glorious, fun, and childlike.  I guess at our age that’s adventurous.

So what’s the point I’m making?  You shouldn’t follow this example EXCEPT we knew we had enough smarts between us that we would all be getting out before dark.  No one was risking hypothermia by wading through the creek in January.

There is safety in numbers and there is fun to be had with these new friends of ours.  And, as always, we have BFOB to send a rescue.

~Have the adventure, make the friends, eat the bread, and drink the wine~
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Rusty Can Be a Beautiful Thing

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So the words went here originally and I pressed all the right buttons but somehow I had a tagline that I didn’t like and Poof, the words were gone.

That’s alright though.  I can look at this picture and tell you that rust accompanies beautiful objects in the desert.  Turquoise and rust seem to go together everywhere I look when I’m in the southwest.  I yearn to touch the rust and walk past the artistic structures that oxidize on purpose all over town.  I yearn to dwell in the desert.

On this vacation though, I yearned to be home.  I was ready to be back on the airplane, sleep in our apartment, decorate for Christmas, see my girls, hike my trails and bake some cookies.  It took 14 years to call this part of the South my home.  But I finally did.

There’s lots of green here.  Lots of trees and some big hills and waterfalls and trails that I love and places that I know I’ll hike soon and I’ll love those hills too….  And my girls are here – all 3 of them – and that’s why they say Home is where the Heart is…

But I still love rust and turquoise … and creosote, cactus, sky islands, lizards, and the sun …

 

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The Spelling Bee

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I am not holding a grudge.  Honestly.

I do, however, hold a memory in my head of the day I lost a spelling bee.

There was a stage, lots of chairs, and lots of excellent spellers.

I loved spelling bees – especially this one – you had to be special to get there.

You had to be a top speller from your grade at your elementary school – mine was 5th grade.

I don’t remember what I wore, I don’t remember being nervous, but I most certainly remember that a certain boy from another school and I were the last ones standing.

Perhaps we spelled a few words each before it happened, but it happened – I spelled my word incorrectly.

The real problem though was that he spelled it correctly.

The word was government, and just to be honest here?  It was on the 6th grade word list, which I never received to memorize.  So, yes, I blamed my teacher.

The funny thing about all this is, is that I remember that boy’s name.  Mostly because it was an unusual last name and actually kind of cool for a kid in our small town.  I thought his last name sounded like Tchaikovsky – the famous composer.

I learned this:

He won, I lost, and I was no longer a perfect speller.

No, I don’t hold grudges, but I hold on to perfection.  Most days I struggle with my imperfection.

I lose sight of a goal much easier to handle – I am not meant to be perfect, Christ is.

I am made perfect through Him and only through Him.

I am a firm believer that everything – even losing a 5th grade spelling bee – happens for a reason.

Perfection in this world is unreachable.  Holiness, humbleness, brokenness, thankfulness, etc. are possible and attainable.

Expanding our vocabulary is possible – with or without good spelling skills.

Receiving grace from God and spreading it around requires willingness, not perfection.

Accept His Grace, be willing, and spread it.

Drop perfection OFF as you walk across the stage and move forward with your life… Start now.

 

 
 

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Hide

On Fridays… we “shhhh” the inner critic and run freely with our words – allowing ourselves to exercise our free-flowing words with a one word prompt.  We write for 5 minutes flat.  No editing, no back-tracking. Then we join together and link up and encourage each other – kind of like a Flashmob for Writers.

Join us at http://katemotaung.com/

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I’ve been stripped bare, down to my soul

There is nothing left to hide

But that’s ok

That’s where He wants me

A blank canvas where all I have left is my heart and my soul

A place that I can only groan my confessions and my longings

A place where all that can come from me is small whispers

Whispers that say

“You are in charge”

“You are God”

“I will praise you with whatever I have left”

She got accepted to nursing school

“Click”

She got into all her summer classes

“Click, click”

Like the tumblers of a lock

The pages being turned

The plan being shown

And no longer hidden

My heart and eyes are open

I’m ready to see what is ahead

The plan that is no longer being hidden

Trusting the plan that is unfolding is not easy though

Trusting has become a difficult thing

Because while You hid Your answer from me …

I grew weary and complacent and sinful

It’s time to come out from my hiding spot

It’s time to bathe in the Son and follow You again…

 

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Relief

Relief

On Fridays… we “shhhh” the inner critic and run freely with our words.  Allowing ourselves to exercise our free-flowing words with a one word prompt Then we join together and encourage each other – kind of like a Flashmob for Writers.

  

Five Minute Friday – 


Relief
Where do you struggle?
When will the pain end?

When does relief come?  What shape does it take?  What song does it sing?

When we love deeply ~ When we live our lives fully
There is always pain to encounter

Relief may come in the daily whispers of I love you 
It may come in the hugs
In the phone calls
In the comfort of family or a friend

Love deeply, live your life fully, hold a hand and embrace some relief
It is on its way

It comes to lift your spirit
To stand you up again
To help you to move on and move forward

It comes small and it comes big
And it arrives in a gentle whisper, or like a warm breath, or like a hand on the shoulder
Relief tells you it’s going to be ok

Relief is in the love you give and the love you receive
Embrace it
 

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“Dear Diary”



“Dear diary, it’s been a long time since I’ve written…”

It’s been months since I have posted anything on my blog space but it’s not that I’m not writing. The pile of napkins, receipts, and entries into my electronic notes will attest to the fact that my brain is still offloading so much that I need to write down before I forget it all.

Some of it would be considered just mere ramblings. Other notes, as everyone knows, turn out to be private or therapeutic. But it has been a long, difficult, and somewhat confusing year and apparently extremely “note-worthy.”

I’ve moved a few times, driven thousands of miles, grieved some big losses, and settled back into my hometown in Pennsylvania. I reside there by myself, work as a volunteer in our local hospital/clinic campus, attend the church I was raised, meet many new friends every day, and enjoy great food and fellowship wherever I go. Not to mention I have found many people that have known me or my family from decades ago – including a former babysitter. Encounters with these long-lost friends of the family have made me feel so welcome and loved it has been an amazing experience.

It’s a situation you would call bittersweet though. My family still resides in the South at the moment. That makes things tenuous, lonely, and let’s face it – it makes it difficult to cook dinners for one and freeze the rest! But it has been better for my health and as all my friends know, I clearly LOVE winter weather – right down to shoveling the snow!

In fact, as I write this, I’m visiting Alabama and missing a really nice snow storm up north. Everyone promises me though that there will be more snow to come and that I won’t miss out … They seem to grumble about it though, I’m not sure why…

As usual, my thoughts turn to the lessons I’ve been learning through all this uprooting. Some lessons are short and to the point, others – well I’m still tapping my fingers waiting for them to be resolved so I can move forward …

I’m hoping to get to write and post a few things this week but my neck pain is at the helm and we’ll just have to wing it as usual.

I have thought greatly on the loss of a friend over the last few months and also about turbulent family relationships and how to deal with them, survive them, and how to forgive and feel forgiven over some of the junk in life. You know, just the average daily thoughts because that’s where my life is at the moment.

My writings today are done with the sun streaming in through the windows, but I’m thinking of grey clouds and of driving back to the land of snow and cold … But both places make me smile, way down deep.

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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Life, in general

 

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Home?

Home?

I’m surviving without internet service and wifi except for my incredibly smart phone.

Believe it or not….

Based on that knowledge, please pardon the fact that I will be posting from my phone unless I somehow find the time to park myself at a McDonald’s and order myself a chocolate shake and borrow their wifi.

I now live in a town where it takes 7 minutes to travel 1.2 miles. A place where learning the ever-changing speed limits is as important as memorizing the location of every back-jarring pothole.

This is the place where I was born and have always considered “home.” Living here again, however, has left me feeling displaced. This could possibly stem from the fact that most of my belongings are still in my truck….

Really – after a whole month I’m still driving around with my desk, baskets, buckets of kitchenware, quilts, sewing and drawing equipment … and one really long and obnoxious rug. Oh and a couple of mosaic tables.

And I feel lost, in the most familiar place I know.

My life …

Takes up one corner of someone’s kitchen

One small bed

One small closet

One shelf in the bathroom

One spot in the driveway

And one corner of a living room (my easel and art supplies)

This…. Is not my home.

Hmmm I wonder when I will no longer feel “lost.”

Pictures of “Home”

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