How do you relax? There are as many ways to “get away from it all” as there are people, but for me, the answer is hiking. I love to get out in the forest following a trail, just to see where it will take me. It is so quiet and peaceful. The birds chirping and the occasional butterfly flitting by, just serve to enhance the beauty of the moment. I’m not really a winter person, though I live in a state that sure gets it, but I live for late spring through early fall, when I can get out on the trail with my husband and just enjoy nature at its finest.
We have hiked many trails over the years, but by far our favorite is the trail to Harney Peak in the Black Hills. This is not an easy trail, and definitely not for those who aren’t in good shape, but it is so worth it. On this trail, you will find yourself deep in the forest of the Black Elk Wilderness Area of the Black Hills. It is a well traveled trail, but there are many times that you are by yourselves. And the views along the way are breathtaking. When you get to the top, there is a fire tower that used to be manned, but after it was struck by lightning, resulting in fires, several times, they decided it wasn’t the best place for a fire tower. So it became a favorite destination for hikers and horse back riders. The top of the peak is 7242 feet above sea level, which is the highest point East of the Rocky Mountains until you get to the Swiss Alps. The climb takes you up 1142 feet and is 6.8 miles round trip. It takes us 4 hours to make the whole trip, however we always spend at least an hour on top having lunch. The view from up there is completely amazing. You can see 5 states from the top. It is a trip I can never take too many times. We have taken the hike 6 times, and plan to continue to go once a year. Now that is my idea of relaxation.
Hiking has not only been good for me physically, and I have to stay in shape to be able to continue to hike, so it is a really good motivator, but sometimes I think it has saved my sanity. In such a busy world, it is nice to get back to nature so that you can unwind. I highly recommend it.
Many people are busy making…and breaking New Years Resolutions this time of year, but mostly breaking them. Why is it that people have an obsession with New Years Resolutions? Of course, it is really an obsession to improve ourselves, but unfortunately the resolution is rarely combined with the main ingredient needed to achieve success…will power. If we really think about it waiting for New Years Day to start making our improvements is actually the biggest indicator of it’s future failure. If we really want to improve ourselves, and we are determined to succeed, we wouldn’t want to wait for the new year to get started. That is truly the procrastinator’s dream. The idea is that if we have a deadline, somehow we will miraculously develop the necessary will power to succeed, when in reality we spend the interim making our situation worse, but trying to squeeze as much of the bad behavior into our lives before the deadline. It’s during that time that many people gain 10 pounds, or smoke more cigarettes than they normally would. Just the thought of having to quit always seems to serve only to increase the bad behavior in anticipation of losing it. And then, to top it off, most people give up on the New Years Resolution by February. The main reason for that is a serious lack of real commitment to reaching our goal in the first place. If you are really determined to change your situation for the better, you wouldn’t wait. You would make the decision to do it today…no matter how far that is into the year or how close it is to the end of the year. Waiting one more day is the key to failure. Making or not making a New Years Resolution is entirely a personal choice, but usually the need to change presents itself far before the new year, so if you find yourself needing to make some changes, just do it now. Don’t plan to do it later, because very likely you never will.
As this year dissolves into the next, I find myself reflecting on the things that have happened in the past year. This was a year of many changes, and some very sad moments. I don’t always deal well with change, and I can say that really, I don’t like it much, but some changes are good ones. One of the agents at work retired, and that has opened the door for me to step into some career changes. I was apprehensive at first, but I find that I like the new work I am doing. I will have to carve out my place again, since this is a different arena than the type of policies I was writing before, and much more difficult to sell, it would seem. I know I can do it, it is just a matter of setting my mind to it, and learning the ropes. My daughter has also made some changes, in that she is now licensed and doing the job I used to do. Her daughter is also working for us now, and that has been a big help, as taking Amy out of the secretary position potentially left us with a backlog of clerical work, which Shai is tackling very well, if I might say so. All in all, I would say that the changes at work will be really good ones once we all get settled into our new positions.
Christopher has kept Corrie, Kevin and me quite busy going to as many games as possible. He is becoming quite an athlete, and has made us very proud. Josh went to his first dance, and had a very nice time, and in the new year he will be keeping us busy in the sports arena as well. Caalab has taken to playing the guitar and is getting quite good at it. I think he would own 20 guitars if he could afford them. Travis is also in a band now, and they have played several gigs this year. Bob has spent most of the year doing what he always does…working on cars, but at least I know where to find him. All in all, my family is doing very well, and any changes there are good ones too.
Loss, on the other hand is much harder to get used to. This year we have had to say good bye to several friends, and my niece’s darling little baby daughter. Loss is always so hard. Our hearts feel like they will never heal and the pain just lingers on and on. Nothing you say can help change the pain and sadness that loss brings, especially the loss of a child. It changes you forever. You will never again feel the innocent joy of having a child, because you know how quickly that joy can change into indescribable pain. It saddens me deeply to see my niece and nephew-in-law in so much pain. They are normally such happy people, and now there is a new look behind the smiles they wear…sadness. Even their smiles show it. It can’t be masked. It will be a long time before that will soften.
This year marked 3 years since my Dad went home to be with the Lord. It doesn’t seem possible that he has been gone 3 years. I still miss him terribly each and every day. He was a stablizing factor in the lives of our family. You knew that he would always know what to do in any given situation. You felt secure in that knowledge. He was the leader of our family, in every way, but mostly spiritually. He taught us the importance of a personal relationship with the Lord, along with our Mom. They lead by example, and we always knew that above all, we must reach out to the Lord, our Savior, and for that I will be eternally grateful. They also taught us not to harbor anger…never let the sun go down on your wrath, forgive and make amends before you went to bed. A good thing for all of us to do. I can only hope that in some small way, my Dad’s legacy will live on in the way that I live my life…at least that is my goal, to live a life that would make my Dad proud.
As 2010 draws to a close, I can only hope that 2011 is filled with joyful times and void of sad times. So as the January 1, 2011 dawns, I wish all of my family and friends a very blessed and happy New Year!!
Bob and I sold our elliptical today. So, we have been trying to take it apart for easier transfer to it’s new home. Do you think we can find any instructions? Of course not!! Why is it that when you have something that you know might be important later on, you put it somewhere “safe” and when you need it, it is so “safe” that you never find it again. I seem to have this problem a lot. Somewhere in my house, there is a very secret stash of really important stuff staying very, very safe from ME!!! That is just wrong!!!
Having never had a blog before, I guess the best place to start would be the beginning. I am a Christian first and foremost, a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother second. I love the Lord Jesus Christ, and I work to follow God’s leading. And I love my family more than any of them can ever imagine. I am slowly learning Hebrew, as I believe that this is the language that we will all be speaking in Heaven, and I find that facinating. It is a beautiful language. The names of God mean so much more when you know them in the Hebrew version. Our God is so powerful and so loving toward us. It is simply beyond our meager ability to understand His love and faithfulness. Since this is such a big part of my life, you will find that, if you follow me, much of what you read will be about my wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua), God my Father (Elohim), and God the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). I hope you find this as interesting as I do.