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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

“Seeking higher than you are so that you might be better than you are.”
The Hubby

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Is it a right thing to expect, to dream of, to want for more?

Do such thoughts lead to discontent, or do they simply act as spurs on the backsides of our lives encouraging us to not give up, to not settle, to strive to do and to be better?

Do we accept the way things are as the only way they can be?

Do we do what we do because ‘that is the way it has always been done’?

Do we awaken each morning, only to dream of returning to that same bed that night?

Do we do what we do more out of habit than conviction?

Do we anticipate a life just like our parents, because that is how our parents lived their lives?

Do we desire security more than adventure?

Do we risk?

Do we stretch?

Do we see the possible, or the impossible?

Philippians 4:13 states :

“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Mark 9:23 states :

“Anything is possible if a person believes.”

If it is true that we can do everything through Christ who gives us strength.

If anything is possible if a person believes.

Then hubby was right (the Hallelujah Chorus is playing in his ears right now), that if we seek One higher (aka. Christ) than ourselves, we truly might be better than we currently are.

And that means that there are no limits to what we might accomplish, with Him on our side.

Β 

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Remember that little ‘ditty’ from childhood?

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails

And puppy-dogs’ tails,

That’s what little boys are made of.

It speaks of adventure and investigation and outdoors and curiosity and twinkling eyes and dirt and wonder. Or, if you are a girl (aka. a “sugar and spice and everything nice” kinda girl), you might say it speaks of dirt and gross things and more dirt and lots of ouie stuff!

I am okay with that little ‘ditty’ because it is ‘cute’ … and it says nothing about snakes! (I hate snakes!)

Although, according to Wikepedia (or ‘Earl’ as I like to say … it is so easy to add info. to Wikepedia that I figured that most of the ‘knowledge’ we get from there is actually accumulated by a guy named Earl, who lives with his cousin/wife, in a trailer out in the dessert, where you can see things like buzzards and possum), ‘snakes’ is part of some versions of said ‘ditty’, but I am very okay to say it without.

I had an experience one day while my beast and I were out walking in the sunshine, that made this ‘ditty’ come alive for me. I think I jumped (or was pushed … squirming) into the heart and soul and mind of the author.

The sun was shining bright (I remember the sun! I remember what it feels like … dry, and I remember how it looked … bright, but, right now, it is a fond and distant memory), and a dad and his two sons biked by.

Later on I heard words that make me squirm “Dad, I found a snake” (I swear they are stalking me! All this time I was fearful of getting eaten by a carnivore like a bear, but it’s the reptiles who are really out to get me). Sadly the only ‘fork’ in the path was the snakes tongue, so I had to keep going in the direction of ‘it’ (but the fear in this yellow-bellied reptile almost convinced me to turn around, shortening my walk and forfeiting the ability to ‘eat more later, because I burned all those calories walking’).

When I got close enough to see the boy who had yelled out to his dad (those words that made me shake in my boots), I realized that I knew him, and his brother and his dad.

This boy, at the time, had just enterend high school, and the adjustments of the last few years into adolescence have not been easy for him. He can be quiet, can seem disinterested in life, can be sullen, and walks in a way that communicates ‘please don’t notice me’.

But that day, holding a … snake (thankfully up on a hill, away from the path, where my beast and I were trodding), he was a healthy, fun-loving, adventurous, investigative, outdoorsy, twinkling-eyed, dirty … wonder-filled boy!

And, because of that, because I could see wonder up on ‘them thar hills’, I walked ‘towards’ the snake (and this could be a picture of how sin draws us in … ha! ha! ha! … naa, I would rather think it is evidence that God can use ANY part of His creation to show us beauty, and wonder).

So, I walked up, and saw the ugly, slimy, dirty, gross, ouie reptile, that filled his normally vacant eyes to eyes filled with wonder.

From now on, that little ditty will always say ‘snakes and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails’.

I found wonder in a snake!

 

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This is a post from almost three years ago, when I was asked if I would like to go on an overnight hike with my daughter’s Outdoor Education class. Since she left yesterday on an overnight canoe and hike trip (without me this time) I thought I would do a bit of reflecting on this memory.

Do you ever say ‘yes’ to to a request, and then say to yourself “what the … heck was I thinking?” (pretty much the theme of MY life). Well, that is where this blog post is going …

A few weeks ago, I said, “yes” to my daughter, when she asked if I could go on a hike with her Outdoor Education class. My calendar looked like it would be a possibility (if I could get one day off), and I love walking, so the challenge of hiking and camping sounded splendid!

Then, after not hearing any more about it, I discovered they NEEDED me, as there was no other ‘female’ adult available … Yikes, talk about feel a combination of important and … last straw drawn. And they needed me so badly that they were willing to get a sub for me. When they put their money where their needs are, you know it’s not really you, it’s your availability!

So, Tuesday, enroute to our destination, I learned the POA (Plan Of Action), for the next two days …

Drive to Chilliwack (a little over an hours drive, in the handy, dandy school bus).

Hike for one hour (no sweat!).

Set up camp, on platforms (sounds civilized enough).

Hike for another three to four hours (okay, I am up for the challenge).

Cook dinner (best part of the trip … with all those calories burned, I can eat anything).

Play games, have a camp fire, toast marshmallows, make s’mores (who wouldn’t want to say ‘yes’ to all this?).

Sleep in tent (okay, this is the … ‘iffy’ part for me … genetically. You see, way back, in the dark ages … when I was a kid, my family went camping … once! We borrowed all the equipment, drove to the campsite, set up tent, roasted our weenies, swam in the lake, got ready for bed, and … were packed up, drove home, and in our own beds, by midnight! (But, I digress …)

Wake up, eat breaky, pack up, hike for an hour and drive back to the school.

Easy peasy!

Okay, let me just say, after the fact, that when you get your ‘POA’ … ALWAYS take into account who it is (ie. their reference point) that is delivering your POA …YOU might see things a little differently … Mr. Outdoor Ed. loves hiking, and does so whenever possible … he’s planning on doing the West Coast Trail, in a few years … 75km!

So, the bus drive was great! I love to be the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’ and listen as fourteen year-olds discuss their lives, their friends, their parents (and yes, for a fee, I might be willing to share what I’ve learned), their teachers (same cost applies), and each other.

The first one hour hike … hum, to quote one website … the trail climbs 300m in elevation … NOT easy peasy! But I did it (with the tenacity of Rocky Balboa)!

The lake (Lindeman Lake), where we pitched our tents was like a miniature of Lake Louise … The water so clear, so aqua green, so cold (as a few teens discovered when they, or their tootsies, got a little too close … made for interesting campfire times).

And, speaking of campfire times … notice the sign to the far left … now notice the picture to the right of it … enough said πŸ˜‰

Back to the campsite … it was here that I discovered, to my shock, and amazement, that a shovel was a needed tool to go potty! Yikes, and this news coming into the ears of a girl who is scared of outhouses!

Then we parted for hike number two of the day. It started pretty mellow … along the lake, beautiful mountain views, a few spots where one had to watch where one was stepping so as not to wet their tootsies … and … then … it … changed … ALOT! See the picture to the right, we hiked all along this area, and, as I look at it now … this picture does not do the rocky trail justice! It was a harrowing hike (I was so mentally and physically challenged by it, I forgot to keep looking around for snakes, cougars and bears). After this part, we ended up in the forest, via a few logs carelessly floating in the water (and thanks to the tree limbs that helped to balance us). Then … we … took … the … same … path … back ! And not one aged, out of shape, saggy momma was lost in the hiking of this trail!

The dinner part went great! The games went great! The campfire went great! And the s’mores … a m a z i n g !

The night went of forever. It rained … fast, hard, slow, intermittently … all night long (if you’ve read many of my previous posts, you’ll know that I hate rain when I am snug and cozy in my house … so, in a tent …). In the morning, it stopped πŸ™‚

And we had breakfast πŸ™‚

And we packed up, lickety split πŸ™‚

And we put out our last fantastic fire πŸ™‚

And … I used the shovel 😦

And then we began our descent to our waiting bus. And, let me tell you, if I communicated that up was challenging, down makes up look like a walk in the park! I only fell once, and the skin will re-grow over that area of my knee in no time.

In the end, I got to spend about thirty hours with fantastic, well behaved, energetic, musical (LOUD), entertaining, teens. They shared their food, their camping goods, their clothes and their toilet paper with anyone with a need. They all took part in ensuring that the bus was spic and span clean. They all said good-bye, and thanks to their teacher, and even to this mom.

And not one teacher, student, or mom was lost in this hiking and camping adventure.

I’m so glad I said, “yes.”

And, in the immortal words, sung to music (and by all thirteen teens in the bus heading back to the school), by Nellie Furtado …

“Come to an end, come to an

Why do all good things come to an end?”

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“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”
Bilbo Baggins
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Cleaning this summer, I came across a few papers with notes that I had gotten from the Drama teacher at the school I work. She had used the notes as she was introducing The Hobbit play to our high school last spring.

I cannot remember exactly what it was about those notes, or her delivery of the introduction, that caught my imagination, only that they sparked an idea for a blog post. As I read them this summer, there was no particular line that jumped out, and yet, the entire message of black on white, was one that left me nodding in agreement as I read.

If you are familiar with The Hobbit, you will know about Bilbo Baggins, the middle aged hobbit who likes his life … comfortable … safe … predictable (I can relate). What Bilbo does not realize, in the beginning of the story, is that his comfortable, safe, predictable life have also created within him an acceptance of life without adventure, without risk, without … living.

The moment when Gandalf enters into the scene, the house, the life of Bilbo … it is then that Bilbo’s life begins to change, because it is then that Bilbo gets distracted from what he had wanted to do. For some (uncharacteristic for a hobbit) reason Bilbo invites Galdalf back for tea, and it is in the invitation that Bilbo’s adventure, and his life truly begin (even though he becomes late for dinner).

An adventure, is something people often speak of wanting, but not many venture beyond their comfortable, safe, predictable daily lives. To venture in such a way would be to choose change, and with it comes the possibility of discomfort, the unexpected, danger and rejection. To choose not to change has consequences as well … missing out on opportunities, on relationships, on learning … on life.

That one small act of opening the door was all it took for Bilbo to begin his great adventure and his really living.

Christ also comes to the door of each of our lives. Sometimes He seems to break the door down, but more often His knock is barely audible, except to the heart of the one whose door He is knocking. When Christ walks in, and we make that most adventurous decision to open the door and let him enter, it is then that our lives begin to change and we begin to live.

That living comes from being so distracted by the adventure designed for us that we forget what it was that we wanted to do. His purpose becomes our purpose, and it is then that we can live … really live life’s adventure.

So, is not being late for dinner worth not answering the door?

Or will not answering the door make you late for dinner?

Β β€œLook at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.”
Revelation 3:20

“It’s a dangerous business, walking out one’s front door”
Gandalf

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We were heading to do a bit of back to school shopping, my youngest daughter and I. It was a shopping trip with a mission … to purchase what was needed, and get back home … on budget, and with our relationship still intact (those of you with teenagers understand the near impossibility of that).

I decided to start our evening off right, with a mother-daughter dinner. This enabled conversation, planning for the evening, and full bellies.

As we were sat at a table, another family was seated just across from us … a mother, a daughter and a preschool son. My daughter noticed them and oued and awed over how the older sister was caring so tenderly for her younger brother (how she could not see herself in the place of the older sister, and how good it would be to treat her younger brother with tenderness … at least once in a while … I do not know. But, I digress).

And this moment, at the beginning of our evening, started a most wonderfilled evening together. She started a theme, and we began to seek out similar moments, intentionally.

The theme altered slightly, from children in general, to little girls and their fathers. And so, with her impetus, we began seeking fathers and daughters to observe. And, we did this all evening.

There was a man at Costco with his daughter in a cart. The preschool aged daughter was holding a package. Her dad looked at her and told her not to open it, he then looked away, she looked at us, grinned, and giggled with the twinkle in her eyes communicating that she would not stop trying to open it.

Then the little girl who cried she wanted to go home, and dad hugging her.

And the little girl dressed up, in a pretty dress, riding on top of a mattress set, on top of a cart … looking like the princess and the pea … dad pushing her on it.

By the end of the evening we had purchased all that we had sought out, we were on budget and we were still talking (an amazing accomplishment). I am convinced that it was because our ‘purpose’ for the evening had changed. Oh, we still got clothes and food and school supplies, but we also got to lay our heads on our pillows that night with the beauty of wonder filling our hearts and souls. We sought wonder (intentionally), and it was there.

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I was so sure that my bear fear was overcome, with taking on walking in the (civilized) wilderness. But, alas, not so.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl (that would be me). Now this little girl was a blank slate … in the beginning. But that blank slate got written on … in the form of little kid songs, and poems and stories.

bear

The songs …

‘The Bear Went Over the Mountain”, “The Teddy Bear Picnic”

The poems …

“Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Bear”, “Round and Round the Garden”

The stories …

“Goldie Locks and the Three Bears”, “Yogi Bear”, “Winnie the Pooh”

Notice a ‘theme’ here? BEARS! I am convinced that they are haunting me … on my walks, in my dreams, and in far too many blogs! And here I go again …

So, it is a beautiful evening. The sun has peeked through the rain-drenched clouds to provide a perfect opportunity to walk my favorite trail. My beast is ready, as always, to walk, and sniff and … poo! My fine-tuned muscles are ready for a good one hour work-out (there’s LOTS of sarcasm in this comment … in case you couldn’t read it). I am ready, in every possible way.

This time, because I am now fearless of the ‘bear signs’, I start at the, more wooded, Derby Reach end of the trail. And my beast went wild! It always throws her off, in an exciting sort of way, when we walk in a ‘different’ place, or do anything out of the ordinary. There are new sights, new scents, and new, unpredictable living creatures to want to chase and eat (like geese, instead of the bunnies at the other end of the trail). But, I digress …

So, off the beast and I go, for our exercise at sunset.

Oddly enough, despite a beautiful evening, despite a perfect trail, despite the fact that this particular evening was the first respite from the recent monsoons, the trail was … quiet … empty … almost … uninhabited!

But that way A-OK, because I was footloose and carefree (if you watched me walk, you would probably add clumsy)!

So we walk to our ’30min. mark’ … a little walk, because I had to go pick up my swimming daughters. We paused to take in the view, the springtime scents, and for beasty to do her ‘business’ (and yes, I had a poo bag). And then we turned back to where we had come.

About half way back to our starting point, I started to notice that my beast was … shirking (I’m not sure if ‘shirking’ is a real word, but Dr. Seuss used it, so I’ll trust his authority). Now my beast is a bit of a … wimp, and shirking is not something new to her (unless a cat walks onto our property … then, heaven help the window she is aggressively trying to break through), but this was … different.

The hairs on the back of my neck felt as though they were going to puncture through my shirt. My heart was pounding so hard that my upper ribs ached. And it was pounding so loudly, I could hear it over the birds … wait! There were no birds chirping … other than my heartbeat, there was no sound … at all.

My fearlessness was gone. Then I started to smell something, something putrid, something awful. I remembered hearing that you would always smell a bear before you would see it … oh no, my fear, could it be coming true? Could there be a bear near the trail I was walking on? Could there be a bear near … me?

I decided to quicken my pace! My beast decided she wanted to not move at all! How dare she turn on me now?! And let me tell you, the way she was acting, I was very aware that SHE would not be my protector!

I paused, looked deep into the wooded areas ALL AROUND ME … I heard NOTHING, and, thankfully, I saw nothing … but, wait … off to my right there was … something … just a dark form, but it was something …

Then I started to have a one-person conversation … with myself …

Okay, Carole, do not panic …

What do you mean do not panic? I’m about to be the lunch at a teddy bear picnic!

Remember what you are supposed to do if you see a bear in the woods …

RUN!

No Carole, think …

Okay … run FAST!

Carole, breath … now think …

(this monologue, dialogue was good, as it took my mind … and my eyes … off the dark form in the woods)

Okay, um … ‘avoid bears’ … that is my main goal!

And …

Um … look tall and don’t be frightened … are you kidding me? That is impossible!

Carole, focus …

Okay, um … play dead? Seriously, this cannot possibly work!

Carole, what kind of bear is it? A grizzly or a black bear?

What? Do you want me to see if I have a bear identification ‘app’ on my iPhone? How do I know what kind of bear it is? Heck, where is it? It’s gone! That’s it, I don’t care what I am ‘supposed’ to do if I encounter a bear … I’m running!

(my ‘other’ voice is drowned out as my life flashes through my mind)

I run, for what seems like forever, and at speeds that even the Bionic Woman could not achieve. My beast is resembling the Bionic Dog!

And then, I feel something, on my shoulder, and hear an awful growl … I’m … gonna … die … It’s got me in a bear grasp … I cannot get free … I kick … I squirm … it won’t let go …

And then, I open my eyes …

It’s my hubby, back in Canada, back in our house, back in our bed (after far too long), arms around me, whispering in my ear …

“It’s okay, Carole, it was just a dream, you’re okay … stop kicking me!”

It took me a minute to realize that I was dreaming …

Welcome home Hubby πŸ˜‰

“Old Bear slept and dreamed,

dreamed and slept.

When he finally woke up, it seemed to him that no time had past,

since he fell asleep.

He yawned and he stretched.

He poked his head out of his den, to see if it was still snowing.

He blinked, and he blinked again,

and when Old Bear walked out into the beautiful spring day

it took him a minute to realize

that he wasn’t dreaming.”

Kevin Henkes from “Old Bear”

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We had only one day to do a Disney theme park, and the Magic Kingdom was the chosen one. But we wanted to maximize on every moment we could.

So, we started out, as any family on vacation should … realizing the alarm did not go off when it was set to (well, it did go off, we just didn’t hear it, as the volume was turned off). That resulted in a mad dash to get out of the condo we were staying in (envision the scene from Home Alone, where they were late to get up on vacation, but we didn’t leave anyone behind).

It was a two and a half hour drive to Orlando, with only one stop to gas up and pee. Oh man, while at the gas station we saw this guy whose pants were so low, he must have had pins holding them up! (ever heard the son ‘pants on the ground’?).

But I digress …

So we arrived at the Magic Kingdom.

Our girls had reservations for lunch with all the princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table (we only needed to take out one extra mortgage to pay for that). So, we dropped them, like a lead balloon, and headed with our son to Tomorrowland.

We spent the next few hours riding rides, trying to figure out where we were, and drinking lemonade slush (it was over 90 degrees that day, and every pore on my body was being cleansed, every minute). Then we had a mid-afternoon lunch, and met up with our girls.

The rest of the day was spent riding every ride we could (including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and for the girls, Splash Mountain), eating turkey legs (how primitive), seeking shade (by late afternoon, little kids were thinking I was from Monsters Inc. due to my profuse facial sweating), and buying little mementos.

In the evening there were spits of rain (I know my regular readers … mom and dad … will be shocked to know that I actually loved the rain, in this context), and thunder and lightening rumblings. The lightening closed a some of the vendors and rides. But this gave us reason to sit still for a bit, chat about the day, and people watch.

As the sun was setting, the park became busy with staff scurrying around like little mice, setting up for the parade and fireworks to come.

Finally we found a place to view the parade. But, then there were delays (thunder and lightening were the cause). This wasn’t so bad, though, because each delay resulted in more people giving up the wait (with little ones) and heading out of the park, meaning that our view got better and better. But then, the third announcement was that the parade was being canceled 😦

This was somewhat disappointing, as our girls have been to Disneyland, but neither have seen the parade, and this was our son’s first opportunity to see it. It was also disappointing, as we could have left earlier, and then not had to drive home late into the night.

So, off we paraded to the gates, to being our trek home. Unfortunately, half of the park was leaving at the same time! It was not an expeditious exodus! We headed to the buses, which we arrived on, but they were only heading to the resorts. We headed to the monorail, but were stopped by a traffic director who suggested the boats were faster. Our day had gone from Magical to Mundane!

Finally we did board a ferry boat!

As our boat was ferrying us to the train that would transport us back to our car, we were given a little bit of wonder to close our day. It was in the form of loudly blasting fireworks, in beautiful, colorful arrays of light and design. Suddenly, as I leaned over the side rail I felt such gratitude that, despite the all-day-sweat-fest, despite the parade-canceling thunder and lightening, despite the over two hours we would need to drive back to our condo, we were able to end the day with not Mundane, but Magical.

Oh, and the mouse hunt … they are everywhere! The place is infested with the little guy!

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