Tuesday, June 30, 2015

City of Rocks

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I tried google and pinterest and there really wasn't much there. My nerves rose as we got closer and closer. I was ready to unload the car, put up the tent, and start climbing immediately. I just wanted it all to start!

We followed the directions and took the turn on a bleached gravel road surrounded by sage and hills. The hill steadily crept up and then we were there. Staring at these huge rocks that looked like mud city creations I had made as a child. The rocks jutted up out of no where and all around were juniper bushes and trees and sage. It was green and granite, a beautifully strange sight.

We spent a week living outdoors, chasing the shade, meeting campsite neighbors and comparing heights reached for the day. Kyle learned how to lead climb and I learned how to let babies get caked in dirt and not even care. Max learned to warm up to new faces and Daniel learned not to eat rocks.

We got there Monday and by Friday is was so hot that I just wanted to go home. Turns out one has to pace oneself when climbing for a week. We had been so productive that we were achy all over; but still we wanted more.

So the final morning we woke up and got ready immediately. We ate a few bites of oatmeal and with the temperatures still on the lower end we head to Scream Cheese, a classic climb in the city. Kyle lead and I encouraged. He got stuck.

"Just go a little higher and check it out...." I reasoned.

He did and then he realized that it is harder to get down than to keep going up. So he kept going up until he reached the top. He made it and we were both exhilarated.

While driving home, I called my mom (who had left on Wednesday) to report our accomplishments. It had been a fun and learning trip but I questioned why we hadn't just gone to an area closer to home. After all, we had driven ten hours to reach this place where we were surrounded by much better climbers.

"Ahhh but that is the whole point of the City!" My mom explained. "You have all of these people from all over, legends and new-comers joining together from all over the world in this destination climbing spot!"

It was true. At night after dinner many climbers would gather and discuss different routes. Advice would be given and stories would be discussed. We shared our s'more fixings with a legend's 12 year-old son. He ended up playing with Max every night after that hopping around the rocks and teaching him how to perfect roasting a marshmallow.

It was still frustrating at times though, trying to climb with two small children in tow. We took turns holding and chasing babies, rocking them to sleep and applying band-aids from falls. We let Max be bored and he got better and better at entertaining himself with sticks and dirt and rocks. Life doesn't have to change completely with children, you adjust and add a lot of snacks and helping hands.

At one point a few days in, I was climbing with Kyle belaying me. I was a bit tired from the day before and lost a hold that I thought was good. I fell and was caught quickly, dropping only a little way and pushing off the rock to avoid any major scrapes. Max saw the whole thing and exclaimed with sheer glee, "MOM! I saw you fly!"

He couldn't stop talking about it all week. I won't be able to stop thinking about this trip until we get there again.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Snapshots and Consciousness

via @jamiethevwm

What can be said after a week like this. A week when racism shouts out loud. Before I share some favorite photos this week, I would also like to share some personal thoughts (however imperfect they may be). 
As a white, middle-class female I have grown up with a fairly easy life experience. I remember sitting in high school dumbfounded that anyone would feel like college wasn't an option, it was just something one does....

College made me conscious to my own privilege. It helped me to see that I could not be color blind. I could not separate the color of skin from the person before me and claim, "we are all the same." While we are all the same on the inside, the color of our skin provides much different life experiences. As I listened to classmates experiences with the color of their skin, my mind was opened up to the reality of racism. The daily and underlying ways in which it touches so many peoples lives. 

As a white, middle-class female it was my life experience that made me blind to it. I wanted to learn more. As I read and listened and studied, my mind unfolded and I saw this world as a world where there was a lot of hurt and a lot of frustration and so much fear. 

I struggled to know what to do with this new perspective. How do I show alliance and support? What do I do with this information? 

A professor would tell us over and over again because this information was bound to drown us all into nothingness that the first step always is consciousness. When you don't know what to do, be conscious. See the privilege, the persecution, the racism. Acknowledge that it exists. Do not use your privileged experience to write a different narration of someone else's story. Listen, observe, and be conscious. 

That is the starting point. 

My heart goes out to those who have been affected by the events in Charleston and elsewhere, that their pain may not be added upon by our refusal to see.

Things that have brightened my week:


Feeding baby goats.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Prepare for Time

We are preparing this week. Preparing for a week of camping and climbing and hiking out in the middle of nowhere Idaho. This week has been in the works for almost a year now and of course last night in a panic of lists and things to do, I told Kyle we should probably just not go.

Preparation takes work, thought, diligence, and organization. It is hard and made even more difficult when you have children that need attention and food and love and you can't find a moment of peace to sort through all there is to get ready for.

There will be sun, dirt, and rocks. There will also be hunger, thirst, cuts and scrapes.

But it will be so worth it.

That is what I try to focus on.

On the time we will be able to spend as a family enjoying beautiful natural creations. For challenging our bodies to climb higher and longer and finding success in reaching the top. For gathering around in the evening and laughing and telling stories. For crashing on air mattresses and it feeling like the most luxurious bedding because you are that tired. For time spent creating memories and moments that will be cherished and loved.

One of my favorite church leaders has said, "In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time."

I love that. I am trying to remember that and live true to it. There is always the inner desire for more time for oneself but my deepest desire is not live a life focused solely upon myself. I want look outward. So I will prepare, not just for a camping trip, but for the opportunity of time without distractions. To shut out the noise, internet, and cell service and to see that I have more time than I realize.

Friday, June 12, 2015


This week was a scorcher. It hit 100 degrees on Monday and thankfully went down from there (not by much). I love summer, but this time of year always has me wanting to return to my beloved Camp Dudley (where it is considerably less hot) and I can be a bit sour about not really being able to work up there any longer. 

Trying to keep my cool both figuratively and literally. 

On a brighter note, Kyle and I were able to go to the temple yesterday for our anniversary. It is always wonderful getting to go together. There is so much peace to be found there, I could stay forever.

Pictures from this week:

This guy fell asleep taco in hand during a car ride and when we took him out of the car he slept on.

Getting him to smile is easy but it is SO rewarding every single time. I mean look at him!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Love for Eternity

This Saturday, Kyle and I will celebrate six years of marriage. We have known each other for ten years and it blows my mind to think of how much we have changed since the summer of 2005.

On a superficial level, he has expanded his palate and I have gotten loads better with money. He knows the difference between a blouse and a t-shirt and I can actually cook a delicious and nutritious meal for our family. Together we have deepened our faith and our understanding of our Heavenly Father and Savior.

Returned home from his 2-year mission to St. Louis
Kyle stretches my understanding and helps me to see life from a more merciful perspective. He loves unconditionally while building me up to believe that there is ALWAYS room for growth. With him, I feel like I can actually become the best version of myself.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we worship often in temples which are reserved for special and sacred ordinances such as marriage. We were married in the temple and believe that being sealed (married) in the temple provides the promise that we can be together forever, not just till death, but beyond that.
A visit to the Salt Lake Temple
In many rooms within the temple you will find mirrors on opposing walls. If you stand between the mirrors, you can see yourself and whatever else is between go on and on and on, a physical way to gain a glimpse of what eternity is.

Right after being married, we were given a moment in the sealing room together to stare into that infinite and eternal space. I stood with Kyle by my side and saw us go on forever. It was a good sight and I felt a peace and reassurance standing with him. Our love could be eternal if we let it.

                                                                 Right before and then after having a child.

Over the years I have come to notice that hard feelings can also be eternal if we choose. We decide what exists between the two mirrors of eternity. We can choose love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, and respect or we can choose resentment, bitterness, and annoyance. What we choose is what will go on and we have to choose together.

James' burial.

It is not always easy to do this, but it is simple. When you are angry, choose love. When you are hurt, choose forgiveness. When you are annoyed, choose respect. Choose the eternal perspective. Try to see yourself and your relationship through God's eyes stretching into eternity. Let Him lead and guide you towards knowing how to choose love when it feels the hardest to choose.

I am grateful for six years of marriage. Six years of stretching and growing together. Six years of challenging each other to become better than before. Six years of love.