Thursday, October 20, 2011

1000 gifts: to fully appreciate beauty, share it

Continuing my list of gifts, blessings that I write down to remember all the wonderful things that God gives me along life's journey (from Ann Voskamp's book and her blog, A Holy Experience).

349. Seeing beauty, squared (or even quadrupled)
I discovered some beautiful new places - surprisingly near home - in September. But almost as wonderful as discovering these places, is being with my family while discovering them. Being able to gasp "Oh, look at that view!" and have someone else smile in return, and even better, having them point out something I might not have seen on my own.  

350. The view from the other side of the mountain
So here's one of those beautiful places I discovered with B., my mom and my daughter Blaze on a trail ride. Sheep Mountain is about 40 minutes away and I've been there lots of times, but never on this particular path.The beautiful views made my heart vibrate with happiness. I am never happier than with my family and my horses (and my God) in a beautiful place.  (the photo is of Blaze showing off sitting backwards in the saddle).

351. My unstoppable mother
She wouldn't be happy about me sharing her age, but I'm still going to brag. In her mid 70's, my mother still rides horses, skis downhill, rollerblades, rides a bike almost everyday, and takes dancing and yoga classes! She is an inspiration to me. Here she is with my daughter Blaze on our trailride.

352. Picking up a very special delivery
My stepdaughter Stars decided to live with us this year, and that meant figuring out how to get her horse here from 1400 miles away in Moses Lake, Washington. There are companies that ship horses all around the states, and they were able to deliver Roy to Cheyenne, about 50 minutes away from us in Laramie. Stars was so excited it's all she could talk about! Actually, we were all pretty excited and waiting eagerly for that phone call from the company telling us that he'd arrived.  Everything went smoothly, even unloading the horse from the specially-oufitted semi-truck-trailer. 

353. Fancy photography with old props
Stars' friend Chesca is really good at photography - she took a bunch of photos of Stars to add to her portfolio. Stars looks stunning and I loved the props and settings they used. You can't see it in this picture, but the old wooden chair Stars is sitting in is in the shallow water of the Laramie River, swirling around her feet. 

354. Riding bareback
Blaze loves riding our horses bareback, and she's getting really good at it, too. Whenever I see her loping around on my old horse Rebel, it reminds me of when I first got Rebel and taught myself how to ride like an Indian. 

355. Riding in the dark
In addition to riding bareback, another thrill is riding in the dark, having to trust your horse (they have much better night vision). B. and I went a trail ride just the two of us, and he talked me into taking a new trail off the Happy Jack trail that we love to ride in the fall because of all the yellow aspens along the trail. The new trail (Devil's Crotch! - what a name!) had some amazing views - along with a beautiful sunset, but it was longer than we bargained for and meant we ended up racing to get back to the horse trailer before dark. Galloping through a twilight forest with low-hanging branches was a scary thrill! 

356. Organizing a community mapping party
Maps are a great love of mine, with my background as a geographer and the analysis work I do with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). So when my boss asked for someone in our office to volunteer to help organize our first annual Laramie Mapping Party, I raised my hand (not without some nervous "what am I getting myself into" thoughts.) It was a lot of work, but we ended up with about 50 volunteers and a great experience. Our event even made the local newspaper.

357. Jokes that writers like
An author and a brain surgeon went golfing one spring day and the brain surgeon said, "I'm taking a six weeks off this summer to write a book!"
The author stared at his friend and said, "That's a stunning coincidence. I'm taking six weeks off this summer to become a brain surgeon."

358. Opposing ideas
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
Nicole shared this quote with me, and it made me think about how the Bible sometimes seems to contradict itself. The concept of free will and predestination are two ideas very opposed to each other, yet both are supported by the Bible. Some will say it means the Bible is untrustworthy and contradictory, but I think it's an instance of how God's ways are above our ways, His understanding beyond our understanding. These opposing ideas are divine paradoxes to me, part of the mystery and beauty of God. 

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