Saturday, January 31, 2009

Baby Boomer Technology

Today: Mom and I spent all morning transferring her contacts from the paper Rolodex to her online address book and calendar. Kudos to the older generation learning technology! She's learning how to text, how to use the calendar and contacts on her cell phone, and we're going to add important numbers to speed dial on the home phone! She's catching the vision that you and I couldn't function without. I'm impressed with Dad too -- he's quite proficient on iTunes and his iPod, once he figured out that the reason it suddenly wouldn't turn on was not because it was broken but because he hadn't charged it. No, the battery is not eternal. Slow but steady, that's the method.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

In no particular order:
moonlight on water, especially ocean water
city lights
sending snail mail
receiving snail mail
the color of avocado
the color of grapefruit
curling up on my couch with a good book
an early morning run
great music in the car, windows down
breakfast with mom
climbing into bed with clean sheets
the "ah-ha" moments
inspiration sessions with erica
the time of day right before the sun sets
sore muscles
laughing at myself
laughing at/with people
finally understanding something
red doors
cool gardens
the hymn "how great thou art"
and "the lord's prayer"
"great is Thy faithfulness"
warm towels
chocolate: any shape or size
travel, or the very idea of it
sun-dried apricots
a creatively decorated room or wardrobe
worn books
accomplishment, big or small
watching people do what they love
new mercies every day
a clean closet
cinnamon rolls

These are all gifts from God, reminders that He is the source of all beauty and joy. Without Him, none of the above would exist. Tomorrow, from the minute you wake, take note of all the little things that bring you pleasure...even if it's the way the morning sun hits the fresh fruit in your cereal bowl. Thank God for it. It will change your perspective. Make a habit of it and just may change your life. The most remarkable thing is, we're given far more than simple pleasures. We're given life, and because of Jesus, we have life to the fullest.

I'd love to see your list.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peace with time

"Time is the arena within which all human quests run their course. It is within time that the issues of life are contested and sometimes resolved. Without making one's peace with time, a person will not solve the question of how to find the good life."
-Leland Ryken

Monday, January 26, 2009

To my dear friends

Ever sit back and marvel at the quality of friendships in your life? I have been doing that regularly, ever since I realized that I am completely surrounded by amazing people. Every one of my close friends is remarkable, doing everything from design to saving babies to writing to facing each day with the courage to stand in the face of significant odds. Something every one of them has in common is passion for life. They live in a way that makes others want to really live, to experience the fullness in life, to discover the beauty found in the small things. These people are governed by a deep faith. They live with purpose and joy. They know who and what is important to them and they make sacrifices accordingly. They expect much out of life because they put much into it.

These people are a constant source of happiness and inspiration to me. They are full of ideas, adventure, and spirit. Close by or 1,000 miles away, their lives are contagious. Their physical presence is now more valuable to me than ever before. I have discovered that it is possible to enjoy every minute you spend with someone and feel a lump in your throat when they drive away. Life is rich, too rich for words. Words about love can only be a shadow of love itself. I find it impossible to express my gratitude to each of you for making life so enjoyable and such an adventure. I am blessed beyond what I could ever ask.

shouldn't post, but i did anyway.

Hmmm...I see I haven't posted in almost a week. So much for writing every day. These new year's resolutions -- setting ourselves up for failure. Okay, I'm really not that dismal, just overdramatic. Writing every day is a great idea. For the aspiring writer out there, I'll pass on some good advice I received: write every day. "Start by writing the best trash you can manage." That was from my writing professor in college, one of my lifelong inspirations. I'm going to end this and actually write what I came here for.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Incline

The Manitou Incline: a source of agony accompanied by the thrill of accomplishment.
The below quote and pictures were taken from
Completed in 1907 the Manitou Incline was a 1 mile cable tram built to support the construction of a hydroelectric plant and it's waterline. After performing this service the railway was then purchased by Dr. Brumbach and turned into a tourist attraction. The incline boasted a 16 minute ride to "scenic splendors", 10 miles of hiking trails in Mount Manitou Park, and claimed to be the "longest and highest incline on the globe."

I would rather hike. I can just feel the lurching and hear the creaking... yes, I'd rather hike.

Not for the faint-hearted or weak-stomached, the Incline is a one mile stretch of railroad ties (stairs, basically) and gains over 2,000 vertical feet, leaving the survivors at 8600' above sea level. Little brother Jonny and I decided it would be a nice activity for a sunny Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, so we left the house at 8am, optimistic. I've climbed this before, but it's been a while...enough of a while to forget. The first, say, two minutes, are effortless. The remaining 43 are a matter of willpower. I was about halfway up before the nausea set in. Did I mention there is a false summit? When you think you're almost to the top, you're not. The bit after the false summit was covered in snow, a thought I overlooked in deciding to climb it. I was wearing lightweight athletic shoes with worn traction, and I found myself wedging my toe under each railroad tie as I climbed. I realized that one slip could send me down a long, painful slope. A recurring thought was, "Get me off this mountain." I recall wishing I could teleport. Unfortunately, this time there was no sense of accomplishment when I finished. Jonny had been waiting at the top for ten minutes, and we both had done so poorly on the climb that we just wanted to get down.

How to get down? Barr Trail, the trail that goes from the bottom to the top of Pikes Peak. This, too, was icy in spots and gravelly in others. The low point: a runner approached from behind just as we were crossing an ice patch. I tried to hurry across so they wouldn't have to wait. My feet went out in front of me, and I fell flat. Went down with green shorts, came up with brown shorts. Laughed the rest of the way down the hill. This is how delirious we were: we get to the car, I can hardly unlock the door, then we sit down, laugh hysterically and mutter to each other. Jonny notices a man sitting in his truck staring at us...still staring...still staring. It didn't even cross my mind until I put the car in reverse a couple minutes later that he was waiting for our spot. Woops. We were that car that takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to back out.

On a positive note, the day was stunning. Absolutely beautiful. And I learned to think and prepare before I head out into the wild. And a good partner is an essential. And I've never been happier to see the Taurus. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

a blurt about writing

These last few days of non-writing have been filled with the opportunity to process and reflect on many things. I've been thinking. My mind has been too jumbled to write anything coherent, so I've spared the blog of these thoughts. I'm starting to realize more and more why I like to write. Life is simply too full and too complex not to write! The pen helps me sort my thoughts in a way that conversation doesn't. I can be quiet, pray, and be still. Then write. Blank pages help me to sort my fears, declare my dreams and goals, and call me to action. Putting forth the effort to discern thoughts, form words from those thoughts, and put the words on paper is often more effective than thoughts remaining mere thoughts. Visible words demand a response. They stir the soul.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beauty from my window

When I open my eyes in the morning and push back the covers to remove myself from their glorious warmth, the first thing I do is pull back the curtains to admire the sunrise. One morning was so utterly beautiful I had to attempt to save the moment, so I took a photograph. I enjoyed it so much I've started taking pictures of many sunrises. My bedroom is prime real estate for sunrise watching. It's on top of a hill with little to obstruct the view, and our house is positioned so that the sky is a huge expanse with no buildings in the way. It stretches on from the horizon until it dives behind the mountains on the other side. Imagine a clean, cool mountain breeze taking your morning hair to new heights as you step outside onto the balcony to take it all in. Enjoy.

The inspiration for all the others:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

Jon: "Was that your stomach?"
Anna: "Yes."
Jon: "Oh, I thought it was a coyote or an ambulance."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Turning the page

Flashing neon lights have marched for months around one square on my mental calendar: December 31, 2008. I heaped my goodbyes and losses into a truck and watched it drive away. My lessons learned and invaluable experiences were packed neatly into the suitcase I sat on, eagerly watching the horizon for the arrival of 2009. It was right on time. I looked over the old scribbles in my journal and turned the page to look at the blank lines. I'm optimistic about the words I imagine there.

Here's what I actually sat down to write about: new year's eve in Denver.

Before I went north, my dad and mom took me to Jake and Telly's, a Greek restaurant in Old Colorado City. Our East London waitress recommended the Mixed Mezze appetizer, a sampler including dolmadikas, gyro meat, kalamata olives, feta cheese, meatballs, etc. All delicious. Dad ordered the manly Lamb Shank as his entree, and Mom and I split The Samurai, a seaweed-wrapped salmon on a bed of rice with cucumber and onions. Dessert was Chocolate Mousse. I would be Greek, if only for the food.

After dinner, I rode with some friends to Denver. Our destination was an early-1900's bungalow on the corner, down the street from Washington Park. Inside was a virtual high-school reunion and a bloodhound. It was strange getting reacquainted with people I hadn't talked to in over six years, but I enjoyed every minute. When the clock reached 11, seven of us drove a few minutes into downtown Denver to watch the fireworks go off from 16th Street. At the stroke of 12 we were running down Larimer Street because the fireworks were at 16th, we were at 19th and could only see glimmers of the show in the windows of the buildings. We arrived at 16th to find people packed from one side of the road to the other, some with faces to the sky, some lost in the kiss of their sweetheart, and the little boy in front of us who was lost in a world with his lightsaber. The mild fireworks show ended, and we suddenly found ourselves at the front of a crowd we had just been behind. There was only one direction to go, so when my group stopped to take pictures, I felt like a rock sticking up out of a river as people streamed by on either side. I can't pinpoint the moment I heard Denver calling my name, but I know it snuck up on me. Now I'm trying to think of every excuse to go back.