What: Summit Mt. Ptarmigan
When: June 20, 2012, 4:30 a.m. - ?
Where: Pike National Forest
Why: Because it's there and you paid for this torture
To challenge yourself physically, mentally, spiritually
Break on a steep mountainside
Pure Colorado water from melting snows
Our beautiful girl guiding us along
When we got to the ridge, about 15 minutes from summit, we sat down to rest and eat our wonderful lunches of Vienna sausages (couldn't do it), fruit, and crackers. Candy bars were to be saved for the summit. One of our boys asked if he could lead us in a song. I couldn't sing for crying tears of pure joy and relief:
The splendor of a king
Clothed in majesty
Let all the Earth rejoice
Let all the Earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
It trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice
HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD
SING WITH ME, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD
AND ALL WILL SEE, HOW GREAT,
HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD
As each one summited, our guides made a bridge
It's official...we're at the top
Circle up to pray and sing praise to our Father
Standing in the snow on the mountain top with my sweetheart
1. There are NO clocks, watches, or phones.
2. There are NO answers to how far or how long.
3. There are NO toilets, showers, etc.
Well, I don't want to reveal all the secrets of TREK, but let me say that:
TREK was the HARDEST thing I've ever done
and one of the most REWARDING
I think being physically exhausted in a natural setting without all your material comforts (makeup, toilets, beds) puts you in a place where you can really focus more on God. Add to that some energetic teenage friends, some great singing, and you are just transported to another world.
With all our electronics and unnecessary things packed away in our suitcases at base camp, we did what we were told by our guides. We got up in the morning when they sang to us, ate weird breakfast food (like Spam), took care of business, and listened to the agenda for the day. We hiked and didn't stop until break, although some of us were slower than others. Everyone constantly encouraged, cheered, and knuckle punched each other for making it to the next break, over the streams, or arriving at the next campsite. Some even carried extra weight for their weaker friends. It was tough. It was exhausting. It was sweet.
Did I mention these packs weigh about 50 lbs?
You may notice there are not many pictures of me in this miserable state!
Solo time with God gave us time to look in our journals, read scripture, and contemplate questions. Devo time at night was singing until we were weary, sharing the happy/crappy parts of the day, discussing the journal questions, always ending with our guide's rendition of "Give me oil in my lamp!"
After two days of hiking with heavy packs,we finally got to high camp. We were giddy! High fives and prayers all around. But we couldn't rest until the tent was put up and the crew gear unpacked. At 11,700 feet, we were surrounded by mountains, a stream, a lake, boulders, pine trees and elk poop.
Then came SOLO DAY - a day to recuperate, have an extended solo time with God, play in the woods, to acclimate to the higher altitude, and rest up for summiting. My favorite.
We've been home from Colorado about 36 hours and I've been kind of a zombie lately, so I didn't want to write immediately for fear you would totally think I'm a zombie and quit being my friends...
About 10 days ago both my husband and I were totally stressed between sponsoring/packing/fear of the unknown for TREK in Colorado and his Dad near death in the hospital and trying to figure out all the different scenarios of what to do if Dad died while we were unreachable in the the Colorado wilderness, etc.
We were pretty snappy with each other and it wasn't pretty. Finally my husband just gave up and said to me, "Whatever, whenever God wants to take him we will deal with it." And I said, "Thank you!" We were leaving Friday and my husband drove 4 hours round trip to see his Dad one more time on Thursday. Thankfully he passed later that evening, so we didn't have to worry about flights to/from Colorado. His family decided to have the funeral 2 days later so I was unable to go, which really felt weird. I needed to drive the teens to Colorado and get them checked in on Saturday for TREK.
Thanks to God, he gave me the adrenaline I needed to make the long drive and several emails and texts the day before from friends praying for me.
I know I (and 2 of our kids) missed a beautiful celebration of life as the four sons spoke and several grandsons led songs and scriptures. All the grandkids there sang, "There's A Stirring." A fine time. My husband left immediately after it and drove to Pueblo, Colorado, then got up early Sunday and met with me and the TREK group Sunday morning in Salida.
Once we were on TREK, it was such a different world for me, that it was really nice to disconnect from all other cares. I had been training, walking around the neighborhood for a couple of weeks with 30 lbs. in my backpack, walking up the stairwell of a 22 story building multiple times, drinking 2 L of water a day, but listen, nothing can really prepare you for the challenge of Wilderness TREK.
THANK GOD FOR MUSCLE RELAXERS!!!
Signing off now but I'll leave you with my favorite pic from TREK,Day one:
Me and my lovely guide/daughter getting ready to train on the rock wall!
We got the chance to hear some of the songs from New Reign's (with our oldest son) summer tour the other night - ironically I had planned to post this today, and then something happened yesterday afternoon which really gives a whole new reason for this song: my sweet father-in-law passed away. We had been anticipating it for several weeks now and know he is being welcomed home. Praise God!
My friend Sandy had emailed me this verse 2 days ago, as well:
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
~ Isaiah 40:31, NLT
Enjoy this excerpt (yes honey, I admit your iphone camera is way better than my old Kodak) and renew your strength today, too!
I have to confess that in the past I have gotten a little miffed if my family forgets my birthday. Well, not that they have forgotten it totally, but if they don't acknowledge it the FIRST time they see me. Like they have to wait until the birthday cake is brought out to say, "Happy Birthday!" And I have also felt shafted about the fact that my birthday is the first of 6 in the summer and we all celebrate together (i.e., GET GIFTS) like a month AFTER my actual birthday. So yeah, you sense my attitude here.
But something was different this year. I can't put my finger on it. But I do know I woke up and prayed immediately and thanked God for the best gift of all, his Son and his sacrifice. I think I was telling myself to not be a baby if I wasn't acknowledged immediately, or didn't get a present, or a cake TODAY. And I really was okay. I knew it would be a great day anyway, since I would get to go to REFRESHER and watch the THUNDER in the same evening!
I did receive a present from my family - a new flowerbed! There was a spot in the front of our house that has been in need of a facelift for a long time...and my son went shopping with me yesterday for plants and will be redoing it.
My goody for the day was this:
A splurge for me calorically and financially!
Then wouldn't you know it, I received 2 cakes:
One from RefresHER committee and a cute bundtlet from my son's girlfriend!
I wasn't forgotten after all. I am blessed. But most of all because I felt joy when I woke up and decided to be joyful, no matter who or how I was acknowledged. Maybe I'm maturing just a little bit?
this beautiful pumpkin blossom! When I opened my bedroom shutters yesterday, about 50 ft away in my garden, it was saying hello to me. They don't stay open long...reminds me of our lives here on Earth.
Why, you do not even
know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears
for a little while and then vanishes.
Well, we kicked June off with 2 weddings last weekend. We are missing 2 when we go on TREK, but will be back in time for another one after that! It's really a crazy time right now with all these kids we know getting married. And graduating too....it's kind of hard on the pocketbook! (Wow, is that an old word or what? I don't ever use that word in real life!)
So the wedding report...we went to one traditional and one very non-traditional. I wish I'd have taken a picture at the first one. It was at our church building, and they had a beautiful wire screen behind them with tea lights. The bridesmaids wore purple. The bride and groom are some of the kindest people I know and I know God will be glorified through them. I got a great tip from the bride's mother - she told me that she had given her daughter a $10,000 budget and whatever they did not spend they could keep for the future. An awesome idea, if you ask me!
Another lovely Christian couple got married in a very non-traditional way. It was really just a big party! It was outside in the beautiful forum at Oklahoma Christian University. We ate dinner first, then the wedding started with hardly any fanfare. Afterwards, the wedding party performed some great songs,since most of them are musically talented! Even the bride's parents sang a couple of songs. Fun stuff! Sorry, I didn't get a pic of the bride. She wore a beautiful off white lace tea-length dress and only her hair clip was new. She's a gorgeous, thrifty girl! Here's a few pics I took:
The wedding party looking over as the bride comes in...
Playing cards for favors - perfect for the party atmosphere!
Yes, we are two weeks away from TREK and I am desperately trying to train so that I won't be the "old lady who can't keep up with the group!"
So this is me 3 times a week. Maybe you'll see me walking the neighborhood.
Or climbing the stairs of this monster. My husband and his mountain climbing friends call it "Tall, dark and handsome." I just call it the building that makes me almost lose my breakfast.
Twice now I've climbed the stairs in this building. Every time we go we do it 3 times. You got it. We climbed 66 flights. In a hot, airless, musty staircase. With weight on your back. Don't you feel sorry for me? I just hope all this training and sweating and almost hurling is worth it!
which proves we as moms really don't know anything! LOL
I was planning on meeting and feeding college kids last night, but didn't think they'd stay and swim! But they did, and it was a great time! I even pulled all the pool toys out of the shed. Then THUNDER time came and they all dried off and headed upstairs to the big screen and we thoroughly enjoyed watching the Thunder stomp the Spurs!
Meet New Reign for 2012: they'll be traveling together this summer, singing and promoting Oklahoma Christian University!
Such sweet girls from Kansas, Texas, and Shawnee area
And the boys from Ft. Gibson, OK; Edmond, OK; Colorado, and Wyoming
It was a SWEET night all around. And if you want to swim, the pool's open!