The Steadfast

Safe to say life is a little crazy right now. People are wondering what the future looks like, whether or not they’ll have a job to come back to, how this will affect their kids, etc.

I don’t have any real words of wisdom other than hold on to your “constant.”

What I mean by that is the thing that gets you through the worst of times. For me, I happen to believe in God. I’m not a very stereotypical Christian anymore because there’s a lot of theology that I happen to disagree with. I won’t get into the details of that, but the one thing that has stayed constant for me is my relationship with God.

Perhaps you’re a spiritual person in a different sort of way. Perhaps you’re not spiritual at all and you find hope in logic. Whatever your constant may be, hold onto it.

I like to think of it the way I do my favorite mountains. I happen to live in beautiful Central Oregon, and because I was born and raised here, the mountains have been a part of my skyline for as long as I can remember. There are three in particular that are incredibly well known in this area, generally referred to as the Three Sisters.

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This is from my absolute favorite viewpoint. It’s hard to capture in a photograph, but you’re so close to the mountains that you can see the details of their ridge lines and the rocks and crags on them. It’s amazing.

Because I know this area so well, I always know where the Three Sisters are located. From my particular hometown, you can see their peaks from almost any part of the city. It doesn’t matter if they’re covered by clouds or fog, or if the sun has set. I know they’ll always be there.

That’s kind of how God is for me. It doesn’t matter if there are times when my own clouds of anxiety keep me from seeing Him in the moment. He’s still there for me.

So I repeat, whatever your “constant” is, hold onto it. This, too, shall pass, and we’ll come out the other side. But whatever you need to do in the moment to help get through it, be patient with yourself. It’s going to be okay.

Hugs to you all! (Digitally, of course, so we’re ten feet apart.) 😀

A New Year Begins!

Well, unfortunately, part of that new year started with me finally fighting the crud that’s been making its way through all of my friends. I don’t get sick very often, which is a plus, but when I do get sick, it just completely zaps my energy. Honestly, I haven’t felt *too* horrible this time around – I mean, I’ve certainly had worse. But there have still been minor aches and chills, and a darn sore throat.

And the phlegm. UGH, the phlegm.

Again, I’ve had worse. It’s still dang annoying. Not to mention my voices cracks at any given moment, so I never know what to expect. Also, am I the only one who gets kind of loopy when they’re sick? I don’t know if the phlegm, like, prevents coherent thoughts from entering my brain or what, but it clearly blocks more oxygen than usual. Maybe it’s because I feel so tired. I do tend to get loopy when I’m tired. In fact, I probably won’t remember writing this post by the time tomorrow comes around. I can totally see myself wondering why people are liking a post that was published weeks ago.

But I digress.

What IS exciting about 2018 is that it’s a new year of hiking! I gotta tell you, I have become more and more outdoorsy the older that I’ve gotten. It was part of why working inside a building all day every day made me die inside a little. I live in this utterly gorgeous, amazing state, so to be unable to enjoy it except on the weekends is pretty much torture.

How beautiful is it, you ask? Well, let me show you!

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It’s primarily because of these beauties right here. See, there are two small cities about twenty minutes apart from one another (I live in the smaller of the two) that are nestled up to the edge of the forest that surrounds the Cascades. The larger city is more in the pine trees than my town, but both have fantastic views of the mountains from almost anywhere. This photo was taken on a back road that used to be the main highway between the two cities before Highway 97 was put in. There is still lush farmland and beautiful viewpoints, however, so a lot of us locals still tend to take this back road.

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Broken Top is on the far left, and the Three Sisters huddle next to it.

I mean, seriously. How do you not love these? What I’ve discovered most about my own personality is that I don’t ever want to live somewhere without mountains. Granted, it doesn’t necessarily have to be these mountains in particular, though I am rather partial to them, but I have to have them in my life. I have to be able to hike. The forest has become such an incredible therapy to me, that I can’t honestly picture living somewhere without that as an option.

I have access to hundreds of trails, some of which are available year-round. That means that more often than not, I can still keep training even in the dead of winter. Some of the trails have a very low elevation, meaning that the snow melts quickly. For someone like me, that’s huge.

Whatever makes you happy, please be sure to carve out some time for it. Maybe it’s not hiking or being outdoors. Maybe it’s painting, or decorating your house. Maybe it’s curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. Whatever it is, make it more of a priority in your life. Too many people get through the drudge of everyday life in the hopes that someday they’ll be able to retire and finally have time for these things, but I encourage you to enjoy some of the small pleasures now. No, I’m not telling you to quit your job, or to spend lots of money on a hobby.

I’m talking about the simple pleasures. The things we don’t always make time for because we’re too busy thinking about what needs to be done. The dishes will still be there in the sink, so go ahead and play with your kids for a while. They won’t be kids forever, after all. Enjoy that morning outing with your friends. Don’t worry about what tomorrow brings when you still have time left today.

When I’m out hiking, I try to take just a moment or two to simply enjoy my surroundings. Forget the camera, forget the perfect shot. Forget the business and the stress that comes with it. Enjoy what you have while you have it.

I’m excited for 2018, guys. There are a lot of great things just waiting to be snatched up, great moments to be lived, and great friends to be made. Make the best of it, and live life to the fullest.

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Here’s to a great new year!