Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Little Perspective

Good old Paul and his chains. I was reading some of Paul's letters to Timothy. Can't remember the part exactly, but once again Paul was into embracing his afflictions. Good for Paul.

For me, this has been one of those weeks. The weeks where I want so much to be a wife and mother that I can't stand it. I wonder if I will ever get to have the chance, and I can't stand wondering. Everywhere I look, my friends are having babies, rejoicing on facebook over their families, getting married, what have you. When I go shopping, I can't help but notice all the couples holding hands and whatnot. I was almost ready to fall into one of my "woe is me" pity parties, but I wasn't allowed to.

If I quit my navel-gazing, and open my eyes a little wider, there is a lot of other stuff to be seen. Families that are having financial concerns. Parents worried about children in one way or another. Husbands worried about whether they can support their wives/families. Couples that want nothing more than to have children, but that have to wait due to various reasons. Health problems.

This is always true, but there was one person in particular that has given me strength this week. She is one of the sweetest people that you could ever hope to meet. And if I was in her situation, I would crawl in a hole and never come out. She had a very difficult life growing up, and she now has more health issues than you can shake a stick at. There are many issues, but 4 or 5 of them are major diseases, things that would test most of us just on their own. These recently led to a fall, which led to excruciating pain, but she can't take so much as a Tylenol because of the way that her body reacts to it. She may have an injury that would typically require surgery, but because of how her body reacts to anesthetic, she can't have surgery. Therefore, she may have very limited use of an arm.

I wish you could meet this woman and witness her strength and her grace. It is beautiful. She embraces life, and she lives it, despite the challenges. She accepts the challenges and the pain matter of factly. It is a part of her life. I don't doubt that is harder to do sometimes when she is home alone at night, but I get the feeling she doesn't waste a lot time on pity parties like other people (namely, me).

I figured that if she could be who she was, then maybe I could try a little harder. And you know what? Life is beautiful. And there really isn't enough time for pity parties. It doesn't mean that we have to like the hard things, or stop praying for them to change. We should work and pray for them to change. But I don't need to let my life become too focused on that.

Kacie and Young Mom (both bloggers that I admire) have also written some posts recently that were of particularly good timing for me with what I've been thinking about. Not to mention this post by Sarah, which is the perfect prayer right now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Maroon Bells (5 More Miles)

And that's all I have to say about that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blog Award!

Sad day! I can't get my computer to actually copy the award to put it on here, but it's an award for "The Versatile Blogger".

Anyway, I'm behind on putting it up, but I was honored to receive it from both Michelle and Jaime.

The stipulations of the award are these:
1. Thank the blogger who bestowed the reward unto you.
2. List 7 things people may not know about you.
3. Pass the love onto 15 (or 7) other deserving bloggers.

1) Thank you, both of you! When everyone's so busy, it's really an honor to have anyone take the time to read your blog, let alone choose it out of so many great bloggers for something like this. I really enjoy reading both of these ladies' blogs and suggest you check them out! (Though many of you have already:))

2) Hmm, this is harder than it sounds. I feel like everyone knows everything about me already, but here goes.

-I have a stuffed hippo in my room. It sounds juvenile, but I like him. My sisters got him for me for my graduation because I thought he was cute. My college graduation. So much for being a grown up!
-I can't swim very well. I always got ear infections when I took swimming lessons as a child. I don't think I would drown in the deep end of a pool, but don't look for me to join any triathlons any time soon.
- I have flat feet. Duck feet, really. One of the research groups in PT school researched arches and how it related to something. I obviously don't remember the details, but I do know that out of 34 subjects, when 1 is the highest arch and 34th is the lowest, I was subject #34.
-Some of my ancestors came over with the Mayflower.
-I am the second of 6 kids. My older brother is 361 days older than me. My younger brother is 19 years younger than me.
-I used to love writing fiction stories in elementary school. Reading and writing classes were some of my favorite. If I can find any, I should reprint one here. They crack me up now; very dramatic!
-As a child, Mondays used to be my favorite day, and I would dress in my favorite outfit to honor the day. I particularly remember some pink slouch socks that were often part of the ensemble. Gotta love elementary school.

3) I can't do this one justice. Besides, all the people that I want to nominate have received this award several times over! Take a look at the side bar if you want to read some great blogs by some great people!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good and Evil

Someone explained to me today that he believed that there were witches, etc. He said that he believed in God, so he believed these things, too. His exact words were: "If there's good, there's evil."

Turns out that I disagree with this statement. He is saying that if there is good, it necessarily follows that there is evil. If there is God, it necessarily follows that there are demons. That is SO not true. God is the only necessary being. He did not have to create anything or anyone. Demons do not exist of their own volition or power. Furthermore, the fact that they exist, and that evil exists, is due to a choice. The choice was theirs not to follow God. God did not require that demons existed. They only became demons when they chose to do so.

I think the other very dangerous place that this statement takes us is to allow us to believe that good and evil are two equal but opposite forces. Again, NOT true. It is true that evil is so much stronger than us that it's hard to fathom that it is so much smaller than God.

I do believe that demons are out there. I believe there is a hell, that there is great evil in the world. However, I also believe that it is much smaller than the good that is, because the good is God.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blood and Sweat, But No Tears (Up to 62 Miles)

Blood is not a requirement for a good hike (sweat is; if you didn't sweat you didn't hike). However, if you do get a little scratched on a hike, it just means it was an extra good hike. Hopefully. I suppose it could also mean that you got lost and had a disastrous hike through the woods. I'm going to go with good, though. If you end up in tears, that's probably not a good thing. Unless beauty moves you to tears. In my case, pain and frustration moves me to tears. So no tears is a good thing.

Enough of that, I have pictures of mountains and lakes and flowers. Not only that, but I'm behind, so you get two hikes' worth.

The first hike was back up at RMNP. It's a long story, but I didn't actually pick that hike, but it was beautiful. There were two sets of falls, Calypso and Ouzel Falls. Calypso (the first one) is really, really neat.

I think my favorite part of the hike was this ridge. There was a forest fire about 30 years ago, so there are still some skeletons of old trees along with meadows and flowers and views of the mountains beyond.

The Indian Paintbrush was in full bloom, and it was gorgeous. I'll spare you all the pictures that I took of those, but here are two.

There were other cool wildflowers growing, too.

What? Even dandelions are cool on a mountainside. No? Well, they're in the shade, so they're cool. Still not working for you? Yeah, I agree. Maybe the high altitude is clouding my judgment.

At the top of all this was Ouzel Lake. It was pretty, of course, but not quite as breathtaking as some. It was popular with fishermen. Can you imagine hiking 10 miles in with all your fishing gear?

Anyway, some of my enjoyment might have been a little muted because there were storms coming up over the mountain by this point, so I had to run back down the mountain. (Okay, I didn't literally run, but I made tracks. I still got cold and soaked, though.) I seemed to be the only one bothered by the weather, but here's a hiking tip for you: Lightning and hiking are BAD for you. I thought that was self-evident, but apparently not.

It wasn't until the Dry Lakes hike that blood got into the picture. There was a group of four of us, and it was awesome hiking with such experienced hikers! Loved it, even when they were dragging me through the willows above the tree line (which is a bushy plant that doesn't like to let you through; I left a lot of skin in those willows!) I learned a lot, and I can't wait to do more with them. However, that hike was the hardest I've done so far. It was 11 miles and it was a 3000 foot change in elevation. We were above 11,000 feet. To give a little perspective, most of my hikes have been about 1500 foot change in elevation and the highest two were probably about 10,000 feet of elevation. But these people are crazy. This was a relatively easy hike for them! I mean, they were tired afterwards, but that's about it.

One thing that happened on the way up was that we heard a loud crack and then the sound of a rock tumbling down the mountain. It didn't have too far to go. Shortly afterwards, we came to a place were we could see the rock, and you can see the track it left in the snow, as well as the impact it made on the snow at the bottom. You can see the rock covered in snow at the bottom of the picture if the picture's enlarged.

The amazing flowers of this hike were the Columbines. I love those things!

There were four lakes in this area. Except for the willows, I loved being above the tree line. It really is a different world up there!

Now, remember that my companions were a little on the crazy side? See the crevasse in this picture?

They took one look at that and discussed how great that would be to climb if there was snow filling it up!

This is a picture toward the east away from the lakes. You could see from the Sangre de Cristo mountain range where we were to the Wet Mountains across the valley.

This last picture is not pretty. It didn't do a great job of catching just how ridiculous my legs were after the hike, but it's still not pretty.

It's the carnage after the hike:

Seriously. My legs were so muddy that one of my hiking companions busted out laughing at me when she got a good look at my legs. Ah, well. Small price to pay.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On a Scale of Zero to Crazy...

When people imply that I'm pretty intense with my hiking, I think they're the crazy ones. Certainly I'm more intense than a lot of people when it comes to hiking, but I've got a long ways to go compared to others.

Yeah, I met those "others" today. I was right, they are crazy. I met them through an organized hiking group, and it was great. We went on a great hike that was certainly pretty intense for me right now, but they were very accommodating of my obviously lesser skill level. They made me feel very welcomed. The biggest concern now is that their level of craziness might be catching! Not that I'm worried about catching them. If they're a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, and I'm a two or a three, so they might make me a 5 or a 6.

Other notes:

After all my bragging about how bug-free it is out here, apparently there are a couple of weeks in the summer where the mosquitos are out. We are in those weeks, and they are HUNGRY! I don't even want to know how many bites I have right now.

I have a lot of blisters and scratches tonight. Just thought I'd share.

When applying sunscreen, it is helpful to put at least a little on the back of the arms.

Sweat + dust= mud. All over my legs. And arms. And hands.

I'm really tired right now. Also hungry. I think I'm too tired to eat, but I might be to hungry to sleep. I'm not sure...

Friday, July 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Somehow a whole week went by without me posting. How did that happen? Actually, I know partly how that happened, and it's really dorky, so I'm not sure I should share. But I will. You know I will. I got a jigsaw puzzle, and I've been doing that in my spare time. I've also gotten out to walk and I've been getting stuff done; met a friend for coffee (we both had smoothies actually; I'm not a coffee drinker). And there's been stuff going on, but not really stuff that lends itself to a post (work and so forth). So it's not just the puzzle, but it's partly the puzzle.

2) I really liked the coffee shop we went to the other day. It's Greek Orthodox, and it's got a whole reading room upstairs with Greek Orthodox and Catholic books. It's interesting, because with all the icons and stuff, it feels very homey, even though I'm not Greek Orthodox. Can't wait to spend some time and money there and do some fun reading!

3) I still haven't gotten my car registered. Today (hopefully) is the day. It's a little strange. I can't wait to have it done and taken care of. I can't wait to blend in instead of sticking out, but there's a little part of me that doesn't want to change my license plates. My car will look different and it will be one more thing from home that won't be anymore. How silly is it to get sentimental about a license plate? That's not a rhetorical question, I really want to know!

4) I'm still church hopping. There are some nice churches out there, and there are a couple that I think I would be happy with. However, now I'm just curious and there are a few more that I want to check out. I'm also going to have a whole list of Mass times, so I'll be able to have my pick of what works best for me on any given day!

5) I had a conversation with a person the other day. We have some similar viewpoints, but I can't tell this person how widely our viewpoints differ in other areas. Anyway, he made a disparaging remark about "organized religion". My thought, that I couldn't tell him, was that it seemed to me that disorganized religion was a much bigger problem. Many churches want to try to get away from the "stigma" of religion. They want to get away from doctrines and creeds. The problem is that then there is nothing to stand on. You may then be basing your system of beliefs on a few out of context Bible verses. The organized system of belief allows you to take the entirety of the Bible in context. Certainly the "rules" are not always fun and certainly not always easy, but they are good and there is a reason for them in organized religion. Yes, organized religion can and does have serious issues at times. But it's usually due to our ignoring what we should be doing or by our trying to live out that religion in our pride rather than in love. It's not because organized religion itself is wrong.

6) This might be a busy weekend. I'm going to make another try for a book discussion tonight. We'll see what happens. It didn't work so well last time, but now I know exactly where they meet. I'm going to the zoo Saturday, and I'll be hiking Sunday. Right now I'm supposed to be hiking with a group, but that may fall through. I'll have to have a Plan B in place, but there has to be a hike! Anyway, I won't be stuck in the apartment all weekend.

7) Plenty more to say, I'm sure, but I have to get ready for work. Now! So have a wonderful weekend, and for more Quick Takes, head over to Jen's.

Friday, July 9, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) If I don't write some of these up during the week, this normally doesn't happen. I didn't get any written this week, so we'll see if I can come up with all seven in the time that I have!

2) I still don't have my vehicle registered. I'm headed down there today, but there's one crazy piece of paperwork that I have to have that I don't understand, that I may have to send off to get completed. It's so weird. Anyway, I anticipate hanging out waiting, possibly for a long time, in order to get a paper. Then I'll have to come back and repeat the waiting process so that I can pay all the fees and finally get registered. I think it's the last moving loose end that I have to tie up!

3) I'm still trying to find a church to go to in this town. There are tons to choose from. I've only gone to two so far. One I like fine, but there don't seem to be that many opportunities to get involved with things. I need to get involved, if only to get out of the house! The other one lost me with the tambourines they used in the opening song. I didn't think that I had a deep-seated aversion to tambourines, but apparently I do. Also, I was probably being judgmental, but it was right in the middle of the "rich" part of town. I didn't really feel like I fit in. If I'm really organized, I'll try a different one this weekend. Otherwise, I'll end up back at the one that I know the times for.

4) I am planning to go hiking this weekend, I just don't know where it will be. It's not up to me. I'm planning to meet up with some friends and we will be hiking wherever they want to hike.

5) The last couple of afternoons, we have been having some impressive thunderstorms. Really dark clouds, menacing thunder and lightning and downpour rains. Also, it's been pretty cool this whole week. I even pulled out the long sleeves one evening this week! I still have no idea what's normal for the area. The locals tell me that we're a little late for the "rainy" season. Not that it apparently rains a ton here, even in the so-called rainy season.

6) I am still really hooked on my cookies. I eat too many every single night. They're going to go way to fast, and it's not so good for me! Tonight I'll be forgoing the cookies, but only because I'm getting ice cream instead. You know, power up with good energy foods for the hike tomorrow. Or something...

7) Okay, if you stuck around for the others, they're kind of boring, but this is the best one. I'm not in the Midwest anymore. This is never more clear to me than when a patient comes in late and explains that the reason that she was late is that she had to warn some pedestrians about the bear she saw walking down the street! Actually, I've been hearing a lot of bear stories since I've been here (my little community is more or less on a mountain, so we're in their territory). I even saw a bear cub that was hanging out in our dumpster at work. He was cute, but it was right before I had to walk out to my car at night, so I was a little worried mama might be around somewhere.

Have a wonderful weekend! For more Quick Takes, go over to visit Jen at Conversion Diaries!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nutrient Density and Theology of the Body

Really, today was interesting. Moped about being homesick. Cleaned. Got really excited about new opportunities to meet people. Committed a federal offense... And that was all before work this morning! Such is the life of a hormonal, recent transplant. Okay, just a little tangent. What does THAT tell you about how this post is going to go? Best of luck to you getting through this, heh heh heh.*

So I mentioned that I was trying to eat more organic food. Really the main drive behind that is that it's now easy and convenient. It really has me thinking about the whole truth of nutrient dense food.

***Before I start talking about this, there's something you have to understand. I love to talk about eating right, blah blah blah, but I don't always follow it. I feel like I have to tell you this because I ate four cookies tonight. If I talk all about health food and don't get that off my chest, I'll feel like a complete liar. Though... the cookies were made with organic flour and chocolate chips. Does that make them health food??**

Okay, here's the thing. Because I vacillate between eating healthy and eating crap, I can tell you something that always surprises me about the difference between the two. When I eat crap, I can eat and eat tons of it, and still be hungry later. Sometimes not much later. If I eat healthy, I usually stop sooner (and not because of my stellar self-control. Did I mention that I had 4 cookies tonight?), and I'm usually not quite as hungry later. Even if I am as hungry later, it's different. For example, if I eat two or three doughnuts for breakfast, I will be hungry by 9 or 9:30. Not only that, but I will have a headache, and my need for food will be overwhelming. Difficulty thinking is also involved. If I eat a bowl of oatmeal, I will probably be hungry by 10 or 10:30. I'll still get a little grouchy at anyone standing in my way when it is time to eat, but I'm usually not quite as desperate.

It's the difference between nutrient dense food and nutrient poor food. If I eat a lot of crap with few nutrients in it, my body will soon be hungry again, needing nutrients. If I eat good stuff (even fruits and vegetables), my body is satisfied longer, because it got the nutrients that it needed.

Here's a thought that I was pondering one day. We have a nation full of obesity, but many of them are malnourished! Is that a crazy thought or what?? Of course, the other way of being malnourished is to not eat anything at all, either because of an eating disorder like anorexia or because you can't afford it.

Now someone smarter than me (probably Christopher West) pointed out some similarities in our sexuality. We are a very promiscuous nation, full of all kinds of sexual perversities and whatnot, but we are a nation that is starving for love. Some people deny themselves sex like an anorexic, but most of us gorge ourselves on whatever crap is available, gradually becoming bloated with what does not satisfy. The more we eat, the more we are aware of a voracious hunger that cannot seem to be filled, no matter what we do, no matter how much we stuff ourselves.

In our world, it is not that there is not enough sex or erotic pleasure; it's that those things have been so distorted that they can no longer point to love that truly satisfies. Like trying to get the nutrients of a fruit from a drink that contains 10% juice and 90% who knows what, "whatever goes" sex leaves us empty. It's not more sex we need. It's nutrient dense sex that we need. Not only that, but we need to understand that we don't just need sex in order to love and be loved. Real sex, real love is committed, it's self-sacrificing. It's not self-seeking and pleasure bent.

Okay, I just typed the phrase "nutrient dense sex". I should probably stop writing before this thing gets any more out of control!

*Really? There has to be a better way to evil laugh on a blog. I just don't know what it is.
P.S. I can't tell you more about the federal offense until I talk to the proper authorities tomorrow.
P.P.S. Okay, the real reason that I can't tell you about it is because the truth is yawn-inducing.
P.P.P.S. Fine! I accidentally opened mail addressed to someone else! Sheesh. Sometimes that forwarding thing doesn't quite work out right.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Up to 41

I haven't posted any hiking pictures in over a week, but I have been hiking, and here are a ton of pictures from those hikes.

The first hike was back up at Rocky Mountain National Park again, and it was one of my favorites, Sky Pond. (I have a lot of favorites out there.)

There was an elk just off the trail as we were on our way up:

There was plenty of snow on this trail as well:

This is Loch Vale. It's a beautiful lake, but the mosquitos were terrible!

It's hard to distinguish the falls from the snow, but Timberline Falls was where we were heading.

None of my pictures of the falls turned out that great, but it was beautiful in person, trust me.

However, while looking at the falls, I was also contemplating this area just to the side of the falls:

This was what we had to go up. It's an area that you have to go up on all fours and down on all fives, as they say. Because of all the snow melt, we had to do a little walking through a mini-falls to get up there. Normally it's dry.

The top was amazingly peaceful. Yes, that little puddle of water is the top of the falls. (The lake in the distance is Loch Vale again.)

When you turn around, you see the Lake of Glass:

Then there's some more walking before you finally reach Sky Pond (and again, I didn't really like how my Sky Pond pictures turned out).

One of the fun things about Sky Pond is that you are surrounded by towering rock:

Sunday I went to Waldo Canyon by Pike's Peak. Awesome views of Pike's peak, and I think some of the flowers were my favorite. I especially love the tissue paper petals of the cactus flowers.

Yesterday, I stuck a little closer to home. This hike was a little different than a lot of them that I have done. It wasn't "WHOA! LOOK AT THOSE FALLS!!" or "THAT LAKE IS AMAZING!!" There were no crags and cliffs and so forth. It was a much quieter beauty, but it was beautiful and peaceful. There were a lot of meadows, and I really haven't done much hiking through meadows before. I barely saw anyone the whole hike, except for a ranger or two on an ATV. Once again, there were a ton of wildflowers (I really wish my camera took better pictures of those; sometimes wildflower pics turn out great, but often they're terrible. You just get the good ones.)

I loved the sky and the big puffy clouds.

It's ranching country and the trail used to be part of a ranch, so there's some old ranching buildings, and a cabin.

The cabin itself is falling down, and it's hard to imagine that it was ever used, but there was a stove in there. That was impressive to me, because it meant that someone did use that cabin at some point in the past.

I loved all the aspens.

I don't know for sure, but it also looked like there may have been some forest fires there, too. You can kind of see the blackened trunks.

I loved this picture of the distant mountains because the tree line was so obvious. It never fails to fascinate me how it goes from trees to no trees so fast. That's where I want to go next week. Above the tree line. I love the tundra, and I haven't been there yet this year.

I know this post doesn't have much to do with the holiday, but I'm well aware of the date. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Quick Takes

For more Quick Takes, go to Jen's.

1. I love my trekking poles. I didn't realize how much of a difference they would make, but it's really nice to come down a mountain without the sharp pain in my knees. They also help in the snow, but hopefully there will be less and less of that to deal with this summer.

2. Last weekend found me a little homesick again. I needed comfort, but you'll be proud of me. I did not turn to pudding. Or Twix. Or any of those other things. Rather, I found my way to the bookstore. I really should have gone to the library instead, but I love the bookstore more. My wallet does not love the bookstore so much...

3. I found an organic grocery store. The prices are kind of an arm and a leg, but I kind of like it. The store, not the prices. The more I find out about the food I eat, the less I like it. I'm not sure how much organic I'll be able to afford, but I like the idea of trying to do more with that. I'll let you know how it goes.

4. Yesterday was so busy that I barely got lunch. Even more than that, I was so busy that I pretty much forgot that I hadn't eaten lunch! But it was a good busy. Busy with patients that are feeling much better, and that's always fun.

5. I do have more hiking pictures, of course, but I haven't gotten them onto the computer yet.

6. It's almost 4th of July! I don't have much to do for the celebration. I'll hike, like every other weekend. Also, I'll hang out on my balcony to watch some of the fireworks.

7. For all of you that have a long weekend, have a good one!!