Friday, January 25, 2013

Me and Charles Darwin

I just finished reading 10 Souls I want to Meet in Heaven  by Michael Wilcox. I learned so much from each of these souls that cover the gamut from Saints, like Joan of Arc to Truth Seekers like Buddha to Explorers like Ernest Shackleton who led the polar expeditions. This was our book club pick for January and I highly recommend it.

What surprised me most was that of all the great souls in here (Francis of Assisi, poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mohammed's wife) I identified with ---or found myself most drawn to-- Charles Darwin.  What? Doesn't his name fly in the face of all that I believe as a Christian? Nope. Not at all...

Charles had a child-like fascination with nature, people, and places of the world. He had an "insatiable longing to discover."  He journeyed for 5 years on the Beagle exploring and new lands and creatures that were a feast for the eyes. In his journal he described his travels,
"It has been for me a glorious day, like giving to a blind man eyes.--he is overwhelmed by what he sees and cannot justly comprehend it." 
He loved learning about the people that inhabited these places and embraced their customs. He was always up for an adventure, learning to use a bola like the gauchos.
"You cannot imagine what merry work such a wandering journey is," he wrote his sisters.

This is exactly how I feel about traveling! It thrills me to see new things. My senses come alive when I am exploring  and I feel to exclaim like Darwin, "The brilliancy of the scenery throws one into a delirium of delight!"  I love the vibrancy of cities and I like to wander in the solitude of nature, wondering if I am the first person to set foot in this exact spot of earth.  I want to explore everything my state has to offer, my country, the world and if I ever live long enough to exhaust all of the world's adventures I may have to look into the Final Frontier.
 Like Darwin, I have the "wanderlust."   I would be content to live the Air-Force life moving around every 2-3 years in a new part of the world. That just sounds like an adventure too good to pass up. So does missionary work.   The more I see and learn the more I want to see and learn.  Although, I am a small fish living in a small pond, the Lord in his great mercy, has seen fit, to have blessed me with many opportunities to travel and explore and learn from other people and cultures. I look forward to many more!

I can understand now why Darwin didn't embrace Religion. He was so detail-oriented, had to know the workings of everything. Religion requires faith. There isn't a detailed explanation for everything and that probably really frustrated him. Nature was his temple.
His wife was a devout Christian and tried to get him to see her way. Despite his unwillingness to embrace her religion they both had a mutual respect for each other and a beautifully touching, rich relationship.

They had 10 children. All of them adored their father. He was easy-going, tender, and fun to be around. They had a rope swing in the middle of their living room which really says a lot.

Darwin's appreciation for the creations of the world is unmatched in history. I think, when he died, he would have been so excited to have all his questions about the world answered in the the most satiating detail.    He and Jesus are probably the best of friends. I can't wait to get there and listen to their discussions, but not until after many more adventures of my own... 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to Get to St. George...right now

10. Blue Skies

As if that weren't enough...
This isn't your everyday playground

9.  Red Rocks

8. Sand Dunes
Go ahead and jump for joy
7. Sometimes you just wanna feel like you're on Top of the World?
Always consult the map

Bring It!
6. No Snow

 What a beautiful day for hiking Snow Canyon. We took the moderately treacherous Three Ponds trail which weaved us over petrified sand dunes, through dry river beds, at the base of sheer red cliffs, and  trudging through deep sand...Well, some of that that was off-trail but after all that we saw NO ponds and no definitely no snow. We were totally cool with that.

Early on in the trail, I was hanging back with little Bud when I saw off the trail an alcove of cool trees. I ran over to explore. That's when Bud yelled up-trail to the rest of family--and the other tourists a-plenty, "GUYS, WAIT UP FOR MOM--SHE'S GOING PEE!!"
 That's when we heard a non-family voice yell back, "SHOULD WE WAIT UP TOO?"  This older couple chuckled as we walked past. They shook little Bud's hand and said to me, "We hope Mom's feeling better..."

Cannon, in court jester fashion, was our entertainment more than once on this trip...At church during the silent reverent delivering of the sacrament he announced, "I smell bread coming closer."

Ok, back at it...

5. Shopping

 We scored at the Outlet Stores with $3 shirts and other good offerings from Justice and Children's Place
4.  Golfing
That's what Brandon did while we were shopping.

3.  Swimming
Sand Hollow Aquatic Center

 Does this look like the face of a kid who had the lifeguard whistle blown for him for 5 different violations from trying to go the wrong direction in the lazy river to floating around in the pool where the water slide exits?

2. You Can Engage in Outdoor Activities without risk of Frostbite

Especially great if you can do those outdoor activities with FUN COUSINS!

Probably that's the best reason of all or at least tied with #1 reason to visit St. George asap...
1.  Because 58 degrees feels like heaven when you've been living in 10.   
    Happy Trails...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chasing Away the Winter Blues

I figure if you have to live with snow you might as well have fun in it...

 This is the kid that didn't want to get out of the car. He quickly gained courage and it was pretty funny to see  his little 4 1/2 year old frame flying down the hill.

 Good news: Boogie boards double as snow sleds in the winter!

Racing down the hill uncontrollably reminded me how much I like skiing.

Call me a mild thrill-seeker, I think skiing is right up there with horseback riding , waterskiing, boogie boarding and river rafting as some of the funnest things you can do in life.  I hadn't been sking in 17 years. So when we found out this ski resort had a free skiing on Thursdays in January, we had to go!!
 Eagle Point Resort.  We joined some friends for the event and my friend was able to give my girls some good pointers for their first time.
 Introducing the snowplow. I was really proud of Brynn for being able to stop in the middle of a hill.
 The girls took to skiing pretty well. By the end of the day they had graduated to the blue square runs. And as for me, well it was like riding a bike, except one without brakes.  It all came back and my calves are still sore!
 Chillin...                        After a few runs Brynn asked, "Can we do this every year?"

We started out with blue skies and ended the day with a blizzard. It's amazing the weather can change that fast! Well, good all-terrain learning experience for us--specifically, we learned to invest in some goggles.

What a blast! The girls have been begging to go back. We definitely will thanks to Free Thursdays at Eagle Point!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Thoughts

The morning of January 1 I arose from my flannel sheet enshrouded bed--not quickly, I'll add--because it is really hard to get out of those and face the chilly morning air. But I woke up and felt grateful! I felt grateful for my warm bed, for my house, for the family that dwells in it, for the New Year and the opportunities it holds. I felt grateful for all these things and therefore HAPPY.

I do not take that kind of morning for granted people. "Oh great, Here we go again" is more my style.
Especially on those harried school mornings.

I don't consider myself an unhappy person. I'm pretty happy most of the time but sometimes I can fade in and out of crabbiness. My thoughts can sometimes drift in the negative and I can look at the world through mold darkened glasses...

What? I just cleaned that! The house cannot stay clean for 5 minutes? Seriously! I need a vacation...Hawaii..
I'm never going to be able to afford the things I want to do. I should probably go get a job today. I'm certainly not doing a very good job as a stay at home mom so I might as well go to work and make some money. Why didn't I major in something that was actually marketable?  It's not like there are any good jobs around here anyway. I live in the land-locked middle of nowhere! They don't even have an orchestra in the schools?! School boards. Government. Bureaucracies. Ugh. Nobody likes me everybody hates me. Think I'll go eat (chocolate covered gummy) worms.

Well, if that doesn't make you want to get back in your flannel sheets...

Grateful = Happy. Why do I ever forget that? Why can't I realize in those moments that I'm wearing the dark glasses and need to throw them down and obliterate them with one deliberate step. Forever.  Life can be pretty awesome if that's how we choose to look at it.

I love this excerpt from Pilgrim's Progress:
I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much
And Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because thou savest such.

I'm grateful to live in my dream house and that I have the job of making sure it's orderly and that our family runs smoothly.
I'm really grateful that I have kids because there was a time when I wanted them so badly and I thought I might not be able to have any.
I'm thankful to be married to a good guy who works on being forgiving, patient and unselfish and helps me do the same.
I'm grateful I don't have to sleep alone. I would be scared and cold.
I'm grateful for a healthy body that can run (not too far) and jump and likes to have fun.
Isn't it great to live in this day and age? We can buy grapes in the winter and when it gets dark we can make it lighter or warmer with the flip of a switch! Awesome.
I'm grateful for the people in my neighborhood.  If I were in a bind or needed something there are dozens of friends I could call on for help.
I don't have to wait in traffic.
I'm grateful for music and flowers and creme brulee and good books and whiskers on kittens...:)
I'm grateful to live in America and have more freedom than most of the world. Seriously if you had to be a woman in any country or historical period this is the one. Right here. Right now.
I'm grateful for technology and that I can find information about anything in seconds. Wow.
I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is patient, forgiving, and unselfish.
He has given me all these blessings and more.
Life is grand.

Yep, Grateful = Happy                HAPPY NEW YEAR