Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Caprock Canyon Photos

I still don't have much of anything to write about my weekend. I have lots of feelings and thoughts and emotions. Mostly they feel like things I want to keep to myself. But here are a few of the pictures I took. The area was beautiful. We saw the Milky Way at night. 

This was a rock we saw in the dry river bed of the canyon. I liked that it was shaped like an angel wing. Had I been able to pick it up and carry it home, I might have done so.

I don't know how many buffalo they had, but there were lots of them. I saw a bunch of them together but it was dark and I didn't get good photos. This guy was all alone getting a drink of water.

Scenes from the park. It was beautiful, I tell you.

I believe this one is called Cathedral Rock. 

This is one of my favorite photos from the trip. We were down in the river bed, looking up.

Sunflowers in the riverbed.

I know my presence has been sporadic around here. As always, I hope to be around more consistently.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thin Places and Mountain Tops

(A sneaky beginning to a glorious story of a tribe of women, buffalo women, who finally met each other face to face after years of interacting online. Actually, this is just a teaser. . .)

These are pictures from one of my favorite "thin places," a small open-air chapel. I've posted pictures of the building before. It had been a very long time since I'd been here, and I needed the visit.

I googled and found this article that did a decent job of writing about thin places. I've included some of my favorite parts below:

"I’m drawn to places that beguile and inspire, sedate and stir, places where, for a few blissful moments I loosen my death grip on life, and can breathe again. It turns out these destinations have a name: thin places. . .

Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves. . .
Yet, ultimately, an inherent contradiction trips up any spiritual walkabout: The divine supposedly transcends time and space, yet we seek it in very specific places and at very specific times. If God (however defined) is everywhere and “everywhen,” as the Australian aboriginals put it so wonderfully, then why are some places thin and others not? Why isn’t the whole world thin?
Maybe it is but we’re too thick to recognize it. Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked." Eric Weiner
I can think of several places right now that qualify for me as thin places. Most of them are simple places: the Baptist camp where I spent weeks in the summer and later worked as a teen and an adult, the retreat center where I did my first silent retreat, often our place in the country qualifies, and sometimes, oddly enough, I feel it in a cemetery, mostly when I also have my camera. There are other places, come to think of it, where I experience the feel of being in a thin place, mostly when I have my camera. Like the author says, the thin places are where we become our more "essential selves."

Speaking of becoming my more essential self, let my say here that being with my tribe of women on that weekend in Caprock Canyon was both a "mountaintop" experience and a "thin place" experience. It feels, in some ways, disrespectful to write too much about the experience. I will say here, now, that I had high expectations for the visit, and it was way more than I ever could have expected. Using the word "glorious" would not be an exaggeration in describing it. I have pictures, and I have more to say, but I am still savoring the whole glorious experience.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Adventure Time

I'm flying to Lubbock Friday morning. It's probably been nearly ten years since I have last flown anywhere. My husband has been with me on every flight I have ever taken. I'm flying out of Houston, so I know it is a relatively simple process (though we will be landing in Dallas, I believe). But still, I am a tiny bit worried about getting to the right place at the right time.
I have never spent the night outside in a tent. Well, I don't know, I might have stayed out in someone's back yard in a tent when I was a kid. But my point is, I've never been on a real live "all night in a tent in the middle of nowhere eat what you bring to cook sleep on sleeping bag/air mattress" camping trip. I know. I've lived a shelter life!
When I land in Lubbock, a woman I have never met will come pick me up and take me to the camping place (unless she is actually an axe murderer, in which case...)

Any tiny bits of discomfort and anxiety I am feeling as so very well worth it, because I am about to fulfill a dream of many years--an item on my unofficial bucket list that I keep in my head (mostly). I am about to meet several of my blogging/writing friends whom I've known only through the internet! I will be seeing Spooky Rach again, after having met her several years back in a cemetery in Galveston. There will be a few friends whom I've also wanted to meet in person who will not be able to make this trip, but we are already talking about another trip next year. Whoo-hoo!
It's sometimes hard to explain to others who do not tool around the internets much (some of whom tend to see the whole process as a bit scary), but I consider my small group of blogging/writing buddies to be one of my tribes. I've felt supported and encouraged by many of them through the years and I hope they feel the same about me. They have enriched my life by allowing me to see women and lives that are in many ways different from mine, and yet there is also the common thread of something-or-other that caused us to connect in the first place.
So, many firsts for me this weekend and I'm looking forward to every single one of them.
(Oh, we're going to a very lovely State Park with scenery that is totally different than anything I'm well acquainted with--and no humidity, how will I survive? I will let you know! There will be pictures to follow!)
More to come. . .

Oh! And in addition to this little adventure, we had a program through the wellness program where they offered classes on learning to swim or improve your swimming. I said if they ever offered it where you could go after work, I would sign up. Me and my big mouth! They offered it right after work and I signed up! I can swim a little bit. I do really well when I know I can stop and my feet will touch the ground! :) But I do want to learn to swim better and possibly utilize my newly improved swimming skills for exercise purposes!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stormy Metaphors and Beginning Again

I read recently that metaphors are good but you can’t push them too hard, can’t take them literally, or they begin to break down.

I once had a therapist say, with what I construed as disdain, “you use a lot of metaphor when you speak, don’t you?” He was a substance abuse therapist, very cut and dried, but with a wicked sense of humor. I liked the guy a lot but I always felt a bit sorry for him that he couldn’t seem to enjoy the beauty of a good metaphor.

Anyway, I came to realize not long ago that I could not, should not, hold myself responsible for damages done by various storms in my life. I cannot be held responsible for what I did not know when the winds began to blow.

My responsibility after the storm is to assess the damage, to figure out the best ways to recover and work to protect myself better in the future, not to beat myself up because I got caught in a storm.

(Well, I guess there is a whole 'nother direction this could go, if I just foolishly ran into the storm seeking a thrill. But I digress. That's not at all what I did. That's not what I have held against myself for years and years.)

It’s not my fault the storm hit me. Storms hit us all. It is not indicative of a character flaw to be hit by a storm.

I've heaped so much blame (and shame) on myself (and also allowed others to pile it on me). I'd love to stop that now and learn to tell myself in the kindest way possible to begin again.

See? I suspect my metaphor is beginning to break down (or perhaps I've wandered a bit and lost my way with it, not noticing that the wind was beginning to pick up).

But still, life is often a series of storms and falls where we lose our balance (or we are blown off balance, you know, by the storm) and it takes a while to get back up.

I really do know how to spell, but it was late one night when I was working on this "wisdom card." I was engrossed in trying to write legibly with the correction pen. Almost as soon as I wrote the extra "c" I realized I'd made a mistake. I made a mistake on a quote about beginning again with a tool that is supposed to correct mistakes!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In the Flow

I've had this project on my back burner for quite some time. I'd taken a deck of playing cards and did backgrounds on them. The technique was that you glued several of them to a piece of scrapbook paper (this means the back will be nicely finished with minimal work) and slathered on paint and paper and whatever else you wanted to add and then cut the individual cards out. Tonight I decided to start gluing on my various sayings and reminders. I'm calling them wisdom cards and when I am done I will have at least 52 cards with sayings and quotes on them that are personal reminders to me.

It's kind of mindless and meditative work for me. The time flies by and my spirit is quieted.

I took this one into Photoshop Elements and edited it a bit. The others are just scanned in with no editing on them. I may go in and later and enhance the others, I'm not sure.

I have four more but I will wait until another day to post them. And I have many more to do. But for now, I have other things to do that I was supposed to be doing in the time I was working on these. ~sigh~ It's no wonder I am generally always a day late and a dollar short!

I did buy myself a fancy new planner and was working a bit on laying out some goals for myself. I'm trying to live a more intentional life. And also to get myself a little better disciplined and organized.

(I should make it clear that the first two cards are quotes that were spoken to me, I did not write them.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Word of Enlightenment

I sent this to a friend, who replied with this: "Oh yes, true.  But what I keep hearing from The Department of the Interior is that the OTHER thing that screws us up is having a deep sense of how we WANT things to be, along with a sense that we shouldn't want that, or that we should never inconvenience anyone else by trying to get it."
Yeah, well, that is one of my ongoing battles, the tension between knowing when the picture in my head of how things are supposed to be is a big fat load of pomposity and when it is a legitimate expectation of how life really is supposed to be. I almost always hear it as a big fat load of pomposity, and that I shouldn't inconvenience anyone by trying to get what I want. My "Direction of Correction" is in learning that sometimes others will be inconvenienced by things I want, and that does not mean I am selfish for wanting what I want.

If you don't get your tension right, you're sewing is gonna look all fonky, and the threads will eventually get all entangled and break. If you don't get your tension right on your bicycle chain, you're gonna fall off and bust your arse. Life can't work like it's supposed to work when you don't have your tensions rightly adjusted.
(I was just fooling around in my journal and did the one up top with colored Sharpies, then edited the photo on my phone by putting the frame around it and decided to also do a black and white version.)