Sitting wishing and waiting… for life to start!?

Just a little something that was on my mind for you all about life!

I have been thinking a lot about life lately and I have learned to know that life does not start when an event finally comes…  a particular event does not mark the “start” of your life…

well, it should not I don’t think…

It seems as though life is kind of mapped out in stages or rather, defined by certain landmarks. We live for the next one, rather than enjoying the journey between. We focus so much on dates and events and spend so much time waiting for them to come… and when they finally do come, they are gone so fast… we are left with the feeling of … “was that it?”

These are some of the common events/landmarks that come to mind through the course of ones life of course which can be different for different people:

  • the next birthday, the next Christmas etc. (once you are old enough)
  • starting school for the first time…
  • which leads to starting middle school…
  • then finally being in high school
  • you never thought it would come but, graduating from high school
  • going to college, moving “out” or whatever is next
  • graduating from college
  • getting a job
  • getting married
  • buying a house
  • having a baby
  • buying a new car
  • getting a promotion
  • finally retiring….

but then what?

Life goes so quickly and there is so much else to enjoy, I mean look at how short that list is. I can come up with a list twice as long just for the day.  I know these are big things, and it is not right to compare it to my tasks for the day… but think about all that can be enjoyed during the time (sometimes years) between each of those “landmarks”. I believe enjoying the process of life and enjoying all the times between big events can only make the “main” events that much better!

If we constantly live our lives for what is next, we fail to enjoy the process along the way.  I have realized that a quality life is living life full which does not mean living for events, but living full even between events.  This is what makes life so meaningful, fun and rewarding!   It is almost like we cannot start living until certain landmarks come.  “Once I make more money, then I will be able to really live or buy this or do that”…  “Once I graduate I will finally be out of this town”… “I cannot wait until I retire, then I will have time for…”

Until we realize that life has already begun and we are in the midst of it, we will continually miss out.

People sit around and wait for the next thing to come along but what they do not realize is how much they are missing out on today.

I can remember times in my life where I was so focused on the completion of a task or season that I failed to fully enjoy the time I had in it.  When I was in college, all I wanted to do was hurry up and get done so I could move on… I realize now that I missed out on more friendships, certain activities and opportunities because I was so focused on competing school.  I got my first degree in 3 years and a second in just 2 more. But why the rush?  I am still not exactly sure. It is not that I was in a hurry to “grow up” or anything, I just wanted what was next… but what about all in there I missed? Next would have still come whether I rushed or not.

I remember as a little girl and not so little,  I always looked forward to my wedding day.  I was so excited  for it to come! I would think about a pretty dress, flowers,a ring and of course, my prince charming… I could hardly wait until it came.  Now that my “dream wedding” has come and gone and I have my “prince”  I realize that it was not the actual day that was important (although it does have importance and significance) it is the process and growth of our relationship. It was all the time we had getting to know each other and all the little things that fed our relationship to be ready for marriage.  More importantly, now that we are married we are able to grow closer and better our relationship.  This would not be possible without the marriage but because of it we can continue and enjoy it.

I think to fully enjoy life, we cannot sit around and wait… wait for the next best thing and focus so much on events in the future (or dwell on past events).  Have you noticed or heard people with this attitude? I know I have been there.  When I notice it, it kind of makes me sad because I think of all they are missing out on in just sitting and waiting.  They really don’t believe their life has started and it has!  If your life has not started yet, start it today! Realize how much there is in life to be excited about and live for!  Put effort into today, set some goals and be excited about it… those events will be that much better.  Don’t wait until a specific day to start!

Pole Creek Mountain

One of our biggest, or should I say the biggest adventure of our time (always too short) in Colorado this year was hiking to the summit of Pole Creek Mountain, a beautiful unique mountain in the San Juan Mountain Range.  When we speak of the incredible view we have from the cabin, this is the very mountain we are referring to, but really…it is just the beginning of the beauty that surrounds us!  I have been to this area since before I was born (if we want to count that).  After all my time in Colorado, even after spending the last 2 summers in the presence of this mountain, this was my first time to the very top!  I have hiked and rode horses on Pole Creek Mountain many times but have never been to the summit… the tippy top!  Now that I have done it, I would really like to do this hike again in the future and even better would be with my husband along! He would love it I am positive… and I intend to sign in on that ledger once again!

On this particular day, the hiking crew consisted of my dad, brother, sister and I, and what a wonderful day we had together.  It was full of adventure, beauty, thrill, dare, challenge and just pain fun!  We crossed quite a bit of snow once we got above tree line  (often as deep as our hips)  and a snow bridge over fast-moving water which was quite thrilling, especially for my brother that broke it on the way back! Yikes! He recovered well and stayed safe and dry. The whole hike had beautiful views but the top was absolutely breathtaking and I did not want to come down for a long time.  The weather was super too which only helps! I have not organized all my pictures yet  but there are some below for you to check out!  If I get around to it I have a few others that show the summit well.

On a deeper note… as there is always some kind of lesson in things (at least for me) as I/we were while hiking along, one step at a time, I had a lot of time to think!  There was plenty of time to talk myself out of the hike if I had wanted to, but I had already made up my mind that I was “going to make it” before we even started out that day.  There were however a  few factors working (or trying to work) against me on this particular day…

  1. The hike itself, the terrain, snow and all that if we want to count that but it was well within my ability I believe – I mean, I made it after all!
  2. The altitude which can be a challenge before and even after proper “acclimation”. You see, I had arrived to the cabin just 3 days before (from sea-level) but I had decided before I even left Florida that the altitude was not going to defeat me no matter what adventures we got into.
  3. The non-joys of the dreaded “monthly cycle”… (yeah I know,  too much information for you and I apologize) of which for me is hardly even tolerable… I mean it is rare that I would normally be able to get out and walk a few steps, let alone hike all day… but again, I had already made up my mind that this would not ruin my week or any activity I wanted to accomplish.
  4. My hiking gear consisted of my hiking shoes,  camelback (which I have had since I was in highschool), a windbreaker/rain shield, sunglasses we found on the side of the river the day before, my mom’s pink hat she insisted I take,  and my headlamp incase it got dark… no hiking boots, gaiters, fancy gear or equipment… but I guess it is my style though and I like it, and it has worked so far!
  5. Half of me was missing – My husband did not get to come along which was sad. I operate the best with him around!

I had decided that it would not be a physical limitation (which really means mental I think) that would prevent me from reaching the top… it would be due to weather or impossible route or the like. All that may be odd, to you, but it works for me and it helped me on that day.  What I am getting at is that if I do not fill my head with undesirable thoughts or outcomes, I will have so much more room for excitement and be able to more clearly see the beauty and greatness in a day or activity.  Because I was not focused on how much hiking we had left, how tired my legs felt, my breathing or all the excuses I could have had to disqualify me for the hike I was free to just enjoy!  There were times I had thoughts enter my head about being tired for example but the faster I excused them, the sooner the enjoyment would come back!  I was able to dream of what adventure could be next rather than when the current one would end.  I also knew I could do it which also helps because I never questioned if I would be able “to make it” or not.  I make the hike sound so hard but it really was not bad… I can just see how if I would have been exhausted in my mind it would have worn me out physically too… I still had some energy to spare when we got home after our 3,500 elevation gain!

Although the hike was challenging for me, I know that I want to continue doing this… not just for the current trip but in the years and years to come.  I don’t see a line in my life that I will cross that would disqualify me from adventure.   My dad is someone who I look up to because I admire that he is still out doing things like this – planning and executing adventures… engaging in physical activity, adventure  beyond the normal Joe.  He has enough aches, pains, tears and patches to disqualify himself years ago from many things he still does… but he still presses on because he knows that the benefit he gets from his activity outweighs the pain that he feels. He is not one to accept that he is just “too old” to do this or that and quit.  I am so thankful that he is able to get out and enjoy life.  There are so many people his age (even younger) that cannot fully enjoy life because they have deemed themselves “too old for that”…  I know people my age that make comments like that too and it makes me sad!   I think about how many years I have left to live and enjoy and I want to enjoy them fully!  I do not plan on excusing myself anytime soon.

Take this as an encouragement for you to strive in whatever stage of life you are in and don’t accept defeat… always at least try! Defeat happens, but moreso when you do not try or give up before something is over. I’m not saying you have to summit mountains for adventure or to avoid defeat. Come up with your own adventures and always try – give it your best.  You never really know the outcome of something unless you don’t try!  If you don’t at least try, the outcome is already lined out for you.

Have a great day and keep it up!

26 years of life!

Well, here I am…. One year older. I do not write with regret, but excitement. This past year I have become more excited about life and what the next year will bring… more so, what life will bring!

In the past, I sometimes carried regret about getting “old” or “older”, but have realized that is not going to make anything any better and hinders me from fully enjoying the present and all there is to enjoy in the nowI am not old and why worry about that anyways?  I have always been a dreamer but those dreams have not included  “old” days… wrinkles, not getting around, losing driving privileges and all that… but I admit maybe some fear of those things happening has creeped in to my thoughts.  I am no longer going to dream about what I do not want to happen in life but what I do want to happen because I believe it will. We are not to live lives of fear,stress or worry but I believe we are to enjoy our time here… be creative, dream, explore, trust, have fun, explore new things and follow our hearts and enjoy the journey.  

One quote that I like to remember and use to evaluate myself from time to time is:

“Never allow your memories to be bigger than your dreams”

I know that I will continue to dream because I always have, but my goal is to work towards making them become reality in my life and striving to expand my own horizon. There is so much out there to experience and enjoy!   Life is too short to just sit around and get stuck in the normal day-to-day buzz.  Sure, I want the normal things like other people want… job, house, kids, nice car etc. but that is not what it is all about for me (or us from that matter as I speak for my husband as well).  For us, life is about so much more!  It is so easy to “arrive” or just “get by” and quit working towards something greater.   I know many people my age that already live like they are “old” and are convinced that they can’t do certain things anymore… like run, jump, do something spontaneous, or who know what! “I am too old for this”……..  that is not me (that is not us) and I will not adopt that attitude for my life because I have many years left to enjoy.

I could go on longer and completely exhaust all of our time and brain power rambling on, but I will save it for another post. 

So in closing, I believe life is what you create! What you think about all the time and the outlook you have on life or yourself is what will manifest. 

The fun bright flowers my parents sent today!

To the Window…

We went on an amazing (amazingly loooong as well as amazingly wonderful)  hike… TO THE WINDOW in September… and I am just slow to post about it with moving and being a busy bee!  This “window” I speak of is located along the south ridge of the Rio Grande Pyramid (the pyramid is the highest peak in Colorado’s eastern San Juan mountain range at about 13,800 fee above sea level).  As you can see by the pictures the window is pretty much a perfect notch out of the mountain ridge, allowing a “window”  to look out/through each side of the range.  This was the most breathtaking experience I have ever had (I am not referring to my breath here, but it was a struggle to get my breath several times).  It was very exhausting and trying but incredible and I would do it again! Most do this hike over a 2 day time span and also summit the Pyramid as well, but we will save that for another time. We WILL be back to do that! My dad wants to do that and I would not miss out on doing that with him!  This was our biggest adventure of the summer for sure! I believe it was around a 20 or so mile hike round trip and was very rewarding to accomplish it and see the beauty! 

We thought it would be a good idea (we… as in my husband because he is always looking out for what is best) to use our heart rate monitors on this hike not only for the curiosity of it, but to monitor the workload on us.  I can go a while with a high heart rate, but then after a while I will crash because it is not something I can maintain all day, so knowing we had over 20 miles to hike in a day’s time with a lot of elevation gain – (already at a high altitude, it was good to try to keep our heart rates lower for as long as we could in order to have adequate energy all day).  Just walking at a high altitude is harder on your body than at a lower elevation.  So this meant more resting than usual and a slower pace than we thought – especially for him having to wait for me while I kept my heart rate lower. This ended up being a great thing to do because most of the elevation gain was after we already hiked around 10 miles! It was awesome to have the energy to climb up that last 1,000 feet with enough energy to make it 10  miles back to the truck!  We left the window about sunset – so you can imagine that we hiked home in the dark! We had our tent and were prepared to stay the night and had whatever emergency supplies we needed, but after a day life that, all that sounds good is a hot meal, bath and warm bed! We hit the trail and got back in half the time as it took us to get there!

A lesson can be learned from this too…  Life is a journey, and hopefully a long one… if we are always in a hurry to get somewhere and don’t enjoy it (the process) then we can miss out on so much and wear ourselves out.   If we would have pushed it and tried to set a record in getting there by a certain time (which we could have I am certain) we may have been too tired to enjoy it or had an injury, or been too wiped out to enjoy the next day!   Instead we took care of ourselves along the way and took time to enjoy it so we could enjoy more for longer!

In Memory of Grill Chicken…

Well folks, I have sad news.  My Miss Chicken dissapeared about a week ago and has not come home. We don’t know exactly what happened to her, but I have not found her. 

We are gearing up to head away from the mountains before too long and make our way across the rest of the country. Sadly, it will be without my feathered friend in tow… she was a very lucky chicken to make it to Oregon and back and make some fans on the way…but won’t get to continue her adventure across the rest of the country.   She really was a joy for me to have, it was just a lot shorter than I thought it would be… I never knew I would like to have a chicken until I had her, what a silly and fun pet… and many times not even chicken-like! I know she had many fans from all over but her little story sadly has to end.

Grill relaxing on the porch just a couple weeks ago

 

What is a home?

I have been thinking about “home” the past few days… What is it about “home” that is so special? I always look forward to going home and always have ever since I started my adventures aka MOVED OUT.  However, my parents may say that I have not actually moved out, but I have been out (and in) since I graduated high school (in *ah hemm* 2003).  But honestly, I can’t stay away too long… I hate to stay away, but why is that? I remember hearing people in high school say, “I can’t wait to move out of my parents house”… “I am so ready to get out of this town” and I personally never understood their comments.  I actually loved my home (and my parents) and did not want to leave.  I loved the town I lived in and the people there!

 

Back on track: I think it is important to share my definition of home. 

Home is not a structure, a house is a structure A home is not the material possessions in it, that is just stuff.  A home is centered in love,  peace and the people within its walls.  A home is safe, secure and somewhere you can be yourself, grow, be encouraged and regain “you” after being “out there”. 

 Obviously, this definition may be different  than yours.  I can see however that people who are in such a hurry to leave “home” may not have these qualities at their house, but I did.

This is weird, but because home had these qualities for me  it fueled me in leaving and preparing to make a life for myself. Now how does that make sence?  Some people may never “grow up” and leave home because they are not encouraged to grow and bloom on their own.

Soon, I will marry my love and it is time for me… US, to make a home of our own and establish these qualities for ourselves… wherever we are and wherever we are led.  All that we have learned and all we bring into our marriage will help make our house into a home. That does not mean that I/we do not make it home anymore, but that we establish a place of our own where we have this love, peace, joy and all the qualities that create “home”.  

I am fortunate to have such fond memories of my childhood and thankful that I had a great place to grow up – a wonderful home, family and support system. This is why I am excited to begin a new life – and start a new home is because of how blessed I have been… I feel ready and excited to share life with my soon to be husband and see what we can accomplish together! 

 

Leaving The Mountain…

 

A beautiful rainbow a couple days before I left

A beautiful rainbow a couple days before I left

I very recently left the beautiful mountains of Colorado where I spent my summer with the Getz family at their home, ranch and business – Lost Trail Ranch.  I can not think of a better way to spend a summer. For me,  it was incredible. I enjoyed it all  and miss it big!  I learned much more than I imagined I would and had a blast doing so.  I came being interested and intrigued  by horses, and left more interested and intrigued but also fascinated and in love with them.  In addition I really enjoyed the challenge and the satisfaction of actually learning something new each time I was around them. But, boy, do I have a lot to learn!  I believe you can never learn it all and there is always more to learn and experience. I am sure I could talk a lot about just that, but I will spare you! I have been really busy since I got back getting in gear for my next adventure which is one I am not as thrilled about but I will talk about that soon. I just wanted  to share a  few thoughts that I had leading up to and on my last day in the high country.

It is never fun to leave the mountains and I have always dreaded it.  Actually, I will admit that in the past when it was time to leave I would always hope that it would pour down rain the day we had to leave so it was not as hard to leave… since we would not be missing out as much on a good hike or something outside.  Even that selfish wish coming true does not help because the truth is I love it when it rains too!  Well, things have changed a little bit, well a tiny bit.  It is still hard to leave and never gets easier, but I don’t hope the last day rains and  I don’t hope the last day shines… I hope my truck breaks down and I am stuck! 🙂 Ok but seriously, after spending a longer period of time up in the high country what I want for my last day is not selfish. If it rains, that would be great because we need rain! But no matter where you look, rain or shine  one can see the beauty that is all around. It is up to me to enjoy it while I can and be thankful for every minute I do have up there. I got a small glimpse of what it would be like to live there all year although the “good times” or the summer season is nothing compared to the harsh winters which I can only imagine. I say that because being on “vacation” for a week or two is short and if it rains the whole time it puts a damper on our normal outdoor activities and the views on our hikes, but spending a season out there I am more interested in and excited about what the land needs., like rain in the dry season! 

This year what I wanted for my last day was of course one more day but… rain or shine, wind or still, hot or cold it did not matter because I was thankful no matter what because I had learned not to let the weather determine the kind of day I would have.  I know that I will always want one more day up here. It goes fast no matter how many days I spend somwhere I love and it always comes to an end, the dreaded last day comes.  I could have done anything on my last day and been happy.  Hanging out with the horses (especially the babies), going on a ride, visiting with friends, going hiking, bike riding or any combination of the above.  But the feeling of not wanting to leave is one I am  used to in the mountains but not used to in general… When I think of leaving school I am always ready to leave so my last day is spent, well, packing!  This time was different, I was not ready. 

Anyways, my truck started!

I write this post from home where I will be for a couple days before I head up to tackle my last year of school. Can I get a hallelujah!? As I sit here, it  is weird because  I did not miss town, traffic, shopping or the busyness of it all like many would.  This grande vanilla non-fat extra-hot latte tastes amazing but I survived without those even! Of course and more importantly I missed my family and it is always wonderful to see them as much as I can. 

I miss being able to step off the front porch to be greeted by baby horses, being followed around by a chicken, a cat, and sometimes a dog, visiting with guests and spending time with the family! I am sad I had to leave, but most of all very thankful that it happened and I had the opportunity to experience such an adventure!

Thank you Lost Trail Family!

3 rides and you’re a pro?

No.

The answer is definitely No. (at least for me, but I don’t think I’m alone)

Well,  I have now been on 3 rides here to date. I am not counting the few times I rode when i was a little girl. So, I am a beginner (you probably gathered that already), but I think it is good because I am a clean slate that can be written, scribbled and doodled on, and even erased a few times and it is all new.  So here are just a few things I have learned and am still continuing to understand/learn from my few rides thus far:

  • Riding “back in the day” does not count. You cannot come in and say “Ya, I rode several years ago at some place they did rides, so I know what I am doing”.   To be a rider, you have to ride, and not just a few times.
  • Riding is an event that requires constant participation. You have to be engaged and involved every step of the way. This is different from the rides I have heard called, “nose to butt” (excuse me) becuase you are actually controlling the horse, in which you are ideally the boss. What I mean by “nose to butt” is, you cannot make the horse do anything, all it knows is to follow a specific path and stick right behind the horse in front of them. I went on one of these rides as a little girl up here. While there are good things about that for people, it requires very little participation besides getting off and on. So, it can not be even added up to be an experienced rider. 
  • Every time I have got on a horse I again realize how much more there is to learn.  Once you have ridden a horse several times and think you understand that horse, there are still many many other situations and many many other horses out there, so the worst thing to do is become complacent and dull on the horse.  You will be in for a surprise.
  • Horses have personality and we should respect that, but you also have to be the boss and they need to trust that you are going to take care of them out there.
  • I have learned horses like a job to do, they like to work.  How many times do we hear of people not liking their employer? I want the horse I ride and work with to also enjoy the time it spends with me and get excited to go to work with me.   I also have learned that I need to be a better leader and not let them pick what they would rather do… like in Gizmo’s case – eat grass during a trail ride. It was easy at first to let the 1,500 pound animal have his way, but I am learning!

Gin took this picture of me on Gizmo when we were out on a ride!