I’m finally back! I know some of you might have thought that I had forever given up my blogging, because of my not-so-ritual ritual of posting about once every four months or so then expecting everyone to go nuts over my”AAAHHH I’m back!!” post.
I’m so good at words. And yes, those are the best ones I could come up with. And YES, I was an English Major. That’s besides the point.
Since I’ve been gone (cue Kelly Clarkson), I finished a 6 month long-term Substitute teaching assignment that kicked my butt, and now, I can breathe for the first time. I’m not going to go into it that much right here right now, so I’ll save that story for another time.
After finishing said butt-kicking job, I decided to go on a two-week solo trip out west (to breathe for the first time) to Salt Lake City, Bend (Oregon), Yellowstone, and the Tetons (both in Wyoming). That’s right, I said solo. I didn’t say sobbing, but solo. Although I’m quite sure I had quite a few breakdowns during the trip.
I know what you’re thinking: “why would you want to go on a trip like this by yourself? Wouldn’t that be lonely?”
Well, sometimes yes, but also no; yes, because it is nice to share moments in beautiful places like these with someone else, and then no, because you get to learn, like I did, how fun it is to do things on your own. Essentially, I was never really on my own, because I stayed in Airbnb locations where you are usually bound to meet people that you can talk to, unless you’re staying in just a house by yourself. I stayed in a pretty cool one-person hut on a property complete with a greenhouse, some gardens, a chicken coop, a tepee, and even a common house, so I still got to meet new people.
I also wasn’t by myself because I was constantly in communion with Jesus, whether I was super stressed out, or just simply saying “wow God, wow,” at his amazing creation, like, oh this:
I want to go on a spree and tell you guys everything that happened all at once, but I don’t want to lose you in the process, so I’ve decided to separate this into several different posts. Plus, I love keeping people on the edge of their seats, but not in a dreadful, thriller movie type of way. I’m hoping one day to perhaps write another memoir-type thing about this, but for now, here’s what I have to offer:
People have asked me so far what my favorite part of the trip was, and, well, as my fellow travel-loving friends know, that question is nearly impossible to answer. So, I’ve decided to say that there were four highlights. I have since revised that list, several times, but there are, for the most part, four highlights. I will, like I said, post these in a series over a few weeks or so.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you in chronological order:
…and, here we go:
Highlight 1: Bend, Oregon, Week 1, June 12-17
Technically, my journey began on June 10-11 at Salt Lake where I actually dipped my toes (just the toes, nothing more) into said Salt Lake, and saw where the antelope play and the buffalo roamed, but that wasn’t even the best part. Like I said before, this will also have to be another story for another time.
While I was in Bend, Oregon, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at a horse ranch. If you ever have the chance to go out there, do it. Not only is Bend a beautiful area with the three sisters Faith, Hope and Charity, and Mount Bachelor all snow capped and doin there good old mountain thang in the background, but also the ranch is such an amazing place. What a great story of how God can use even a forgotten cinder pit and turn it into a working horse ranch that pairs broken youth (both mentally and physically) with horses who are also sometimes both mentally and physically broken. While I was visiting, I didn’t feel like just a visitor- I felt like a valued team member, and even got a t-shirt at the end of it all to prove it.
And by the way, meeting one of the founders-according to our volunteer coordinator at the farm I volunteer at here in Lancaster-is like meeting Pocahontas. She’ll look you deep into your eyes, and it’ll feel like she’s looking into your soul. Try talking to her for just five minutes without spilling out your entire life story and/or crying. Not like I did either of those or anything.
Before leaving, I had the chance to go up to the cross positioned at the top of what used to be the cinder pit, which also just so happens to have one of the best views of both the ranch, and the Sisters. If God can make something that we pass by indifferently on a daily basis (like an old quarry, for instance) different and beautiful, think of what else He can do. After surviving the most difficult job I have ever had for six months, and finally getting away (both physically and mentally), I could take a step back, and look at where I was. God had brought me through everything, and now, I feel different, and more prepared for anything.
So if you can this weekend, take a moment to get away and reflect. I’m sure you’ve gone through tough times as well, but think about where you are now. Those things that happened in the past was God equipping you with tools for the future. I also hate that cheesy saying that goes something like, “if God brings you to it, He can bring you through it”, but it’s true. With Him, you and I can face anything.
So without further ado, I conclude today’s post, and therefore the first highlight of the trip. Hope you’re feeling excited for the next one. I know I am because oooh man, it’s gonna be a good one, I can tell!