Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hope Forever

if you knew me a long time ago, say high school or even early college, you would never believe what i did last night. I'm not sure what got me thinking about it, let alone actually doing it. in fact, my husband had been requesting that i be okay with him doing it sometime, and that had left me feeling nauseaus. and yet, i beat him to the punch.

perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my little sister wanted to do it, or maybe it has more to do with my faint rebellious streak that comes out every few years. But i'm assuming it had more to do with the painful events of 2007 and the journey i've been on ever since january 22nd 2007.

the word "hope" has become a thing for me. hope is an interesting concept. to have hope that something will happen sets a person up for disappointment. i had almost given up even having hope, because hope lets you down. and i was tired of being let down. somewhere though, early this year, i determined deep in my soul to hope yet again. perhaps it was the answers we received, or a deep sense of optimism that i'm often unaware of. either way, hope has been rising in my soul yet again.

and so, it is hope that i chose to have tattooed on my skin. hope (in hebrew) as an ever present reminder to persevere in hope, to live with hope, to never forget that in Christ, there is hope--not disappointment.

for i know the plans i have for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and i will listen to you. ~jeremiah 29:11-12

not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the holy spirit, whom he has given us. ~romans 5:3

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lessons on the Mountain

Lessons on the Mountain
my musings while climbing Grays and Torreys

1. Look up--a metaphor for life. When hiking, it's ironic that we all stare at our feet when the whole point is to see God's creation. Just like with life, it's safer, and easier, to focus on the circumstances around my feet--the boulders, the cliffs, the snow--instead of looking up to soak in God's majesty. Look up in the face of fear, and enjoy the view!

2. This wife learned a lesson in support. Erik got a pretty bad case of altitude sickness and could barely climb. I stayed with him every step of the way, even though I could have finished much faster. At one point, I could see my mom and friends at the top of the peak, relaxing, chatting, eating.....It's amazing to me that I can be so selfish. I was actually annoyed at Erik for getting sick. But God pointed that out quickly, and I learned a lesson in selflessness.

3. I am a doer; I accomplish stuff. Cleaning? Done. Friendships? Done. Prayer? Done. Grad school? Check it off the list. Done. While hiking, (and being forced to stop and wait for Erik), I learned a lesson in pausing. Pausing to enjoy the beauty, instead of just "doing". It might take longer, it might even require more energy, but pausing to enjoy the view was the smartest thing I did that day on the mountain.

4. Lesson learned: Oxygen is important.

5. Our bodies are amazing. When my lungs are screaming, "Stop!", and my heart is beating faster than it ever has before, all my mind has to do is say, "Ignore the pain; you can do it", and I keep on going. God has given me an amazing machine to use, and it's so wonderful when I remember all that I am capable of--mentally and physically.

6. Mountains, whether real or metaphoric, are tough to climb. Without my mom, cheering me on, and commiserating with me, I never would have made it. And on the flip side, without Erik needing me, I might not have done as well. Life without friends--mountain climbing without support--I'm not sure how it's done. I guess it all comes back to this: It's all about community.

Lastly, and I quote my mom, "Climbing a 14er is like childbirth--in the midst of it, you think 'never again!', but a year later, it's easy to forget the pain, and easy to remember the view."

Thanks goodness the pain fades, and all I remember is the amazing feeling of accomplishment, the lessons I learned and, of course, the breathtaking views of God's endless majesty.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Rodeo

The Wild Wild West. Apparently, that's where I live, though I choose to deny it. I've never been much for the open plains...I'm more of a city/suburban girl. Oh, I enjoy a jaunt with a horse once every few years, but that's about all. Boots, spurs, horses and cattle just aren't my thing.

Until tonight.

I may be a City Girl, but I'm a City Girl who likes to be able to say that I've experienced my city. And, in all honesty, a large part of Colorado as a whole is the Wild Wild West. And so, in an attempt to better understand a large piece of the culture we live in, Erik and I went to our first Rodeo--The Greeley Stampede.

1. The first thing we noticed about the Greeley Stampede is the amount of qualifiers in their tagline. "The World's Largest 4th of July Rodeo and Western Celebration". Does that mean there are 4th of July rodeos that might be bigger? Or larger western celebrations that aren't on the 4th? Just curious....

2. Second, I seriously felt as if I had been transported into the movie "Big" as we wandered through the carnival area. I never did find the fortune telling head machine that made Tom Hanks "Big"....Kind of bummed about that.

3. Thirdly, which I wasn't super surprised about having spent high school in Brighton CO, we noticed that another language was being spoken--and I'm not talking about Spanish. Cowboy-ese, I guess they'd call it. Wait, it wasn't even the cowboys. It was the people who came to watch the, Cowboy-fan-ese?

4. Mutton busting is the most hilarious thing I have ever seen.

5. Bull riding is awesome...when the bull riders stay on the bulls. I know it sucks more for them than for us, but wow--what disappointment. The announcers spend 4 1/2 minutes building the crowd up, telling us about these famous cowboys, how many trophies they've won, how awesome they are...and then they fall off.

All in all, the rodeo was a fun experience. Well, fun might not be the right word. Culturally eye opening might be. It was somewhat intriguing, satisfied my low-level of curiosity, and the best part of all, I can say I've done it. Which means, I won't have to do it again.

To each his own, and this was not "my own".

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Junior Highers

My house was a jungle last night. Picture this: 8 junior high girls, primarily 6th grade, crammed onto my leather couch in my living room. Pretty scary in and of itself, right? Well, now picture this. Giggling and inside jokes abound, but all noise ceases when the doorbell rings. Wide-eyed, the girls watch as the door creaks open...oh my goodness, controlled excitement breaks loose as the girls realize who is at the door---Brandon*. Relative maturity and "coolness" reign until the boy and his friend round the corner and head downstairs to join the other young males. Audible sighs of love and relief, mixed with giggles and high-pitched explanations follow for at least 15 minutes. Followed by multiple episodes of one or two "brave" girls running half way down the basement stairs to view the specimen himself. The ever assertive best friend sends the half eaten donut of the poor girl with the hardest crush on Brandon down with the youth pastor to offer the boy a bite--shared donut spit, mmmmmm.

(*names have been changed for the protection of the idolized)

Ironically enough, the lesson for the evening was "Temptation".

Later on in the evening, when the hormone-raging groups were allowed to mingle, controlled chaos was the perfect descriptive term. Junior high girls doing back walk overs, junior high boys hanging from the basement ceiling. Others giggling, flirting, and of course, screaming.

What a lesson in pre-teen hysteria, when the exhileration of the dance is enough to thrill all, even the 20-somethings hosting the wide-eyed, enthusiastic youth.

Originally posted March 2006

Polka Dot Plant

Have you ever seen a polka dot plant? I hadn't, until the one I have now was placed on my desk. Sure is a goofy little plant.

So here's the thing--who got to name it the Polka Dot plant? To be completely honest, it's not even polka dotted--it's speckled. Or maybe Splashed would be a good word. And it's slightly fuzzy. I think a better name would have been the Speckly Splashed Slightly Fuzzy plant. Polka dot plant just doesn't cut it.

Question: Does someone out there have the title "Senior Plant Namer"? "Executive Plant Picker Outer"? "Dean of Plant Names"? Seriously--I want to name something. What if I just decided to change the name of the Polka Dot plant? First off, would anyone even care? Or notice?

I'll bet the CEO of Polka Dot plants would care. Yep, I'll bet she would.