30 April 2016

When it Rains, it Pours

I guess today is just "test your ability to handle life full-on after coming back from vacation with major jet lag" kinda day.


Instead of being extremely angry over my lost luggage, I can be thankful that it was only one suitcase I lost, not everything I owned burning up in a house fire.
Instead of being worried sick that I'd never see anything from that suitcase again, I can be thankful that I had some of my most expensive camera gear and laptop in my carry on bags.
Instead of being furious that my luggage didn't make it to Joplin yesterday like they said it supposedly did, I can be thankful that it did come in tonight.

(And I can be thankful for my dad, who surprised me out in the rain and held my flash and carried my heavy bag so I could take a picture) :) 

Instead of being upset that a tree limb fell on my VW and messed up the hood... I can be thankful that this happened before I've done any body work to it.
Instead of being angry at things that delaying us from moving my Beetle down to the shop before the storm hit, I can be thankful for a new shop to move it to. (to prevent further damage I guess... :P) 

Instead of being worried about my extremely sore throat I woke up with, I can be thankful that it's more than likely not HFMD... Because it's been well over 2 weeks since I've been exposed. 

Instead of being angry that I had to stay out in town so late when I could really use some rest before work tomorrow, I can be thankful that my dad was able to get more supplies to complete our solar project. (Who am I to be talking about getting rest when I stay up blogging? ;P)

Our worrying about stuff doesn't solve anything... It's only a sure way to develop a bad attitude.
And let me tell you... each time another negative thing came about today, I was getting really angry at myself and all the people around me. But the Lord dropped parts of this song into my head:
I could just sit,
I could just sit and wait for all your goodness
Hope to feel your presence.
And I could just stay,
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel you
Hope to feel something again.

And I could hold on,
I could hold on to who I am and never let You change me from the inside.
And I could be safe,
I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home
Never let these walls down.

But you have called me higher,
You have called me deeper,
And I will go where you will lead me Lord.
You have called me higher,
You have called me deeper,
And I will go where you lead me Lord.
Where you lead me Lord.

He's called us higher than to be ruled by disappointments.
I wish I could say "lesson learned", but maybe I'll just say that today has been a stepping stone. :)


07 April 2016


Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) Backpacking
White Rock Mountain to Springs Creek
March 26-27

Yay!! This is about how I feel right now! I have had this major list going on in my head of things to get done before I leave for Hawaii. And this week has felt far from productive, except for tonight...! Thankfully, I was able to get a lot of loose ends tied up! 
 I have my room(s) tidied up (as much as it can be under re-modeling). I finally found the information I need to be able to file an exemption for Healthcare coverage (so now I can send off my taxes). I got some laundry done. And now I'm blogging (which was something I wanted to be all caught up on, so I can focus on Hawaii pictures when I get back)! :) 
Tomorrow, I head to the Tulsa area for some fun with the youth group down there. And I will get to replace my phone screen on Saturday (a really important one from my mega list of things to do before my vacation... Whew!) 

I'll just say right now, that this trail is not the prettiest one there ever was... We went at the beginning of spring, right as the trees were beginning to bud. So maybe with the naked eye, you could see more green than you can see in any of the photos. Also, as we were hiking, we started to notice a lot of burnt tree stumps and charred tree trunks. At the start of a trail-head we saw a posted notice that this area had a forest fire back in 2013. Considering all of that, it looked a little more bare than your normal Ozarks.

We added our names to a little sheet that had signatures from all sorts of people who had been along this trail :)

One of the many springs along the way...

We made it to Salt Fork Creek by 2 or 3pm and re-filled our water supply. Then we tried to cross the creek. It looked pretty manageable, but my wet hiking boots tell a little different story. Jessica was smart and hiked up-stream a way  to find a better crossing. :P
We started back out on the trail with me wearing flip-flops, haha! But after an hour, my boots were dry enough to wear again. (Those boots are my new favorite pair of footwear that I own! :) Not only because they are very durable and functional, but they look a little cuter than your average bulky backpacking boot. Hehe!)

As we approached our campsite, we looked back and could barely see the sun as it was sinking below the mountain we had just crossed over. We were afraid we might not make it before the sun set, but we barely did! :)

There are many campsites along the entire OHT. Normally two or three areas surrounding each creek. The awesome thing is, you don't need a permit to backpack this trail... and there is no cost for using these primitive camp sites! ;) Lol!

Filtering more water for our supper.

Jessica warned me that these freeze-dried meals normally taste like canned dog food. (How would she know...? ;) Hehe) Anyway, we were both pleasantly surprised at how good this beef stew tasted once it was hydrated and warmed up! I don't think it was necessarily because we were super hungry either... ;)

We were the only ones who camped around this creek that night. 
Thankfully! :) Because I enjoy my privacy. :)

I can't say that our sleep was 100% quality... because I remember waking up about 4 or 5 times to roll over. But I woke up in the morning feeling very refreshed and ready to start again!

After breakfast, we put our backpacking packs in the tent and ventured a little further on the trail to some falls we knew to be not very far way. (We were just too tired to go see them the evening before.)

It wasn't quite the "falls" I was expecting, but it was still pretty! :) 
I got home and realized that the picture of the falls I saw online was several miles down on the trail... too many for us to do in one day.

All in all, this backpacking trip gave me a new perspective of how your tired you feel after hiking 6,000 ft elevation change (total of both days... up and down two mountains). 
However, I was completely shocked that my back didn't even ache after carrying that pack for two days... just tired :)

And really... the only bad thing about this trip was that I knew that we were going to be hiking back to my car that was empty on gas. I was not too proud of myself for not realizing that I was so low on gas before we were so many miles from civilization.
Thankfully as we headed back home we found out that the nearest gas station was mostly all downhill. Even though it was 25-30 miles away, we made it there just fine :)


02 April 2016

Brag Book

I can remember all the way back to 6th grade... there was a girl named Candy in my class who had a few older siblings. One day she pulled this little photo album out of her purse and said, "Wanna look at my brag book? It's all my nieces and nephews!!" I didn't understand her excitement whatsoever, but I recall obligingly looking through the book of pictures. And honestly, the only reason I remember this instance is because in my mind I was mocking of how silly it was to have a "brag book". It was also my first time to hear the term and I thought it was a tad bit goofy sounding.

That was 9 years ago... And 2 months ago I became an Aunt myself. 
I totally understand now.
You don't know how HARD it is to let my little nephew grow up so far away from me!
Of course, Alyssa is very good to send me a daily picture or video of Brent, but somedays it only makes it a little harder, knowing that I can't just drive to their house and squeeze him for myself!

I made a photo book of Brent's newborn pictures for Alyssa. So now, if you'll allow me... I'll share my own brag book ;)

This was the front and back cover...

That's it folks! At least until I devise up a plan to make it back to West Virginia. :)