A very camper Christmas

Adventure and all, it’s Christmastime in the camper.

Preparations are underway for a very small, simple Christmas.  The best kind of all.  Our happiest Christmases have always been the simplest.

As rain pours around us, and our feet are constantly wet, we are warm, safe, and happy together.  I’ve looked forward to this all year.

Love makes it magic.  Love makes it Christmas.  May your days be merry and bright this month!

Launch out into the deep

“He said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets…”

Luke 5:4

I have been amazed at the changes in myself during this past year.  I asked to know Him, He has given me a path, and I have launched into the deep.

The path is continual.  I admit, I was relieved to see my birthday approaching, that this near-drowning year may end.  But in my heart, I have known that any true path of commitment never ends.

My will is, again and again, the greatest gift I can offer.  To give something I dearly love and want in order to become what He wants.  Trusting that what He has in store is even more right for me than what I so dearly wanted.  Trusting that hope and happiness lie ahead.

So, I cast away from the shore, and launch out into the deep.  I will let my nets down and trust.

Take a look inside

So many people have asked me lately what it’s like to camp for so long with so many kids.

I think that the biggest question I get is, “Do you actually all fit?”

The answer is, yes. Yes, we do.

Even this drooly guy. :)

There is somehow a nook and a cranny for everyone.

We’ve been on an incredible adventure, and I feel blessed for a camper that has sheltered us like home.

There is room for everything that matters.

The key has been to live much more simply, and I believe it’s something anyone could do.

The lessons in a simple life are profound.

Life slows down and becomes much more focused.

Though laundry and dishes are long processes, life still feels so much less cluttered than it once did.

I don’t think that we will ever go back to having quite such a complex life again.

So, while I must admit, I am pining away for Yellowstone and my dear Tetons, I want to give you a tiny glimpse into the home that holds all of our love while we are adventuring.

Everywhere there are little reminders of where we’ve been and things we’ve done and places we have fallen in love with.

Each one is a sweet reminder, and usually an integral part of our day and play.

Each daughter has her own little corner, featuring a painting of her that I did last year.

At night, stars glow overhead.

I’ve learned, more than ever, that “Home is wherever I’m with you.”

Though we look forward to real roots again, we are together, and together, we are home.

Home is where your heart is set in stone
Is where you go when you’re alone
Is where you go to rest your bones
It’s not just where you lay your head
It’s not just where you make your bed
As long as we’re together, does it matter where we go?

-Gabrielle Alpin

A decade and a dream

When she was six years old, she saw Soul Surfer.

She’s never been the same.  Something in her clicked on, and every day since then has been all about surfing.  On Saturday, she turned ten.

I have wondered how in the world this mountain-dwelling family would give our daughter such a different dream.  Luckily, the Lord has even this little girl in the palm of His hand.  It’s amazing to me how a way was provided.

So, for her tenth birthday, our daughter learned (or at least began to learn) how to surf.

She had an excellent and patient teacher.  Even so, watching my baby walk out into the surf was enough to stop my heart.

It was a small taste of what is to come in my life…all too soon, I will let them each go, to fly to their own dreams.  Luckily, each of us is given the right people in our path to help us on our way.

Surfing isn’t an instant skill for most people.  So, as with any new thing, there are obstacles to be met and fears to overcome.

On her first try, she got up, but the rush of the water under her feet was both terrifying and thrilling all at once.  It got her into her head a bit.  She struggled after that.  Luckily, her teacher was patient and gave her lots of breaks and calm pep-talks.

Just when I was worried that she didn’t have any more in her, when I was worried that her fears would overcome her and that she would be left with a feeling of failure, the troops arrived.  Her sisters, her dad, and her dog came running down the sands, yelling, cheering, and overjoyed at her efforts.  All it took was a hug from her dad, and she was a new woman.  She would do this.

She didn’t completely pop up, but she made it up to her knees and rode the wave.  It was enough.  She overcame that fear and felt the thrill of the ride on her last try.  More than that, she felt the thrill of courage.

And it struck me…this is what a family is.  This is what a family can do.  A family doesn’t say, “Hey, sorry kid, you live in the mountains.  We don’t surf here.”  A family can make dreams happen.  A family overcomes their own fears in order to let you dream.  It took all the love I had to let her go out there.  But most of all, when you feel like you’re failing, when you feel like you can’t succeed, when you feel like you’re on your last breath, your family comes roaring down the sands telling you that you can do this.

This is what a family does.  Blessed, blessed am I, to have a family like this.

 

 

Worldwide.

 

Worldwide.

WORLD. Wide.

It still amazes me.

It really started to sink in when I started getting emails from Portugal, Australia, London…

Pennsylvania, Portland, and so many other places.

I really can’t describe how it felt to join with people all over the world like that.

It was like watching a miracle unfold, right in front of my eyes.

Sometimes, I get so discouraged.  So discouraged.

Sometimes I feel like the crazy lady on the street corner, yelling and shouting and begging someone, anyone, to listen.

There are times when I just want to quit, but I can’t.  I loathe apathy.  Congo is just something I can’t ignore, no matter how hard paying attention may be.

So, I keep going, wondering if anyone will hear.

And then, a rush of love so great I literally have no room to receive it.

It filled my heart and then ran over.

Just as I despair at mankind’s apathy, I marvel at its generosity.

Yoga, love, and donations, from all over the world.  Some small, some so very great, and all so completely perfect.

I am amazed at what love does.

It changes everything.

I am made new by your love, and now, we have four sisters who will be, as well.

Thank you.

Overwhelmed

one day

I don’t have the words tonight to even begin to talk about it, but I will soon.  If you’re reading this and you did yoga, I just want to say thank you.  I am amazed at how this cause makes me physically hurt at people’s complacency and ache with love for good, good people, all at once.

More soon.  I love you. xo.

I care so much.

“You do care…You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”

- J. K. Rowling

I’ve been working for the past few weeks on Yoga for Congo Women.

It doesn’t seem to matter how long I know about Congo or hear the stories.  My heart aches.  I literally cannot bear that this is happening and that we are so complacent about it.  I think if I didn’t at least try to do something, I would cease to exist.

I don’t really care if this post sounds overly dramatic.  I mean every word.  Yes, I’m raw this week, but I always mean it.  These women are my sisters, and you never turn away from a sister who needs you.

And I don’t subscribe to that “white woman’s burden” crap (sorry, I’m tired).  This isn’t a white burden.  This is a human burden.

So, I have a challenge for you.  If you’ve been reading my blog for long at all, you know how much Yoga for Congo means to me.

This year, a thrilling change has come about: you can now join us, no matter where you live.

For the first time ever, we are holding a worldwide Yoga for Congo event.  It will be completely online.  This means that, Saturday, you could join me for Yoga for Congo without leaving the safety and comfort of your own home.

You can make a difference in your pajamas.  How amazing is that?

All you need is one hour and the internet.  Can it get easier?

Find out more here.  Please!

 

 

A (late) farewell to summer

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” 

- L.M. Montgomery

(I tried birthday videos for a while there, but I got so behind…  I’m going to try to do “season” videos for a while.  Maybe 4 evenly spaced videos will be easier to keep up with than 6 closer-together videos?  We’ll see.  Hope you enjoy some of our sweetest memories of a beautiful mountain summer.)  :)

Shipwrecked

“The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River.”

“Sailing from Salina Cruz, Mexico, on or about September 26, 1906, the Peter Iredale was bound for Portland, Oregon with 1,000 tons of ballast and a crew of 27, including two stowaways.”

“The voyage up the coast was unremarkable until the night of October 25, when Captain H. Lawrence sighted the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse at 3:20 a.m. local time.”

“The crew altered course first east-northeast and then northeast to enter the mouth of the Columbia River in thick mist and a rising tide.”

“Under strong winds out of the west, an attempt was made to wear the ship away from shore, but a heavy northwest squall grounded the Peter Iredale on Clatsop Sands.”

“High seas and wind drove the ship ashore.”

“A lifeboat was dispatched from Hammond, Oregon and assisted in evacuating the sailors, who were tended to at Fort Stevens. No casualties occurred in the accident.”

“After several weeks waiting for favorable weather and ocean conditions, the ship had listed to the port and become embedded in the sands.”

“Captain Lawrence’s final toast to his ship was: ‘May God bless you, and may your bones bleach in the sands.'”

- Wikipedia, Peter Iredale

Spending a day with the Peter Iredale was a turning point for me.

It was almost like I could hear the voices of the past.

The tragic beauty struck me.

My birthday is on Saturday.  This year has been a greater mountain to climb than I ever could have imagined.  Seeing this ship, I thought I knew how it felt.

I wanted to read its story, and when I did, I was surprised.  I had expected to read of men suffering and dying, and of great tragedy.  But I didn’t.  I read of help dispatched and of no casualties.  I read of a Captain who gave his ship a parting blessing, as though the wreck were worthy of remembrance.

And here she stays, her bones still in the sand, like the life of her rose and went on and only the shell remained.

We all have wrecks and crossroads in our lives, where we can choose to leave what we once were behind, letting our bones bleach in the sand, and keep on.  My new birthday goal?  :)

New horizons

“Whilst I viewed those mountains, I felt a secret pleasure in finding myself so near the head of the–heretofore conceived–boundless Missouri. But when I reflected on the difficulties which this snowy barrier would most probably throw in my way to the Pacific Ocean, and the sufferings and hardships of myself and the party in them, it in some measure counterbalanced the joy I had felt in the first moments in which I gazed on them. But, as I have always held it little short of criminality to anticipate evils, I will allow it to be a good, comfortable road until I am compelled to believe otherwise.”

-William Clark 

One thing that we have loved the most about our little adventure is the history we are swimming in.

The girls have become fascinated with Lewis and Clark, York, Sacagawea, and, of course, their Newfie, Seaman.  (Seaman gives me hope for our sweet Charlie boy. :) )

We’ve hiked the paths they hiked.  We’ve climbed Tillamook Head, the mountain that Lewis and Clark climbed to find the beached blue whale on the sands of Cannon Beach.

We’ve discovered ancient forests, bursting with life, death, and quiet, peaceful ghosts of times past.

We’ve looked down from the mountain onto the ocean, much as they did.  Even though it was very foggy that day, it was an amazing experience.

We’ve visited the replication of their winter fort and walked through the rooms.

In all of this, the girls have found even deeper reserves of courage and adventure, wonder and awe.

The girls’ sense of adventure fills me and pushes me onward.

(Taking the oath as Junior Rangers at Lewis and Clark National Park.)

I’ve found that what inspires me most in this story is the fact that Lewis and Clark knew it would be hard, but they wouldn’t allow themselves to focus on it.  They kept their hearts on their hopes, and so should we.

“We were now about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trod. The good or evil it had in store for us was for experiment yet to determine, and these little vessels contained every article by which we were to expect to subsist or defend ourselves. However, as the state of mind in which we are, generally gives the coloring to events, when the imagination is suffered to wander into futurity, the picture which now presented itself to me was a most pleasing one. Entertaining as I do the most confident hope of succeeding in a voyage which had formed a darling project of mine for the last ten years, I could but esteem this moment of my departure as among the most happy of my life.”

-Meriwether Lewis