Ramblings, Change, & Resolutions

Another year is coming to an end.  Wow. What happened?

To finish the year off, I wanted to write something deep & meaningful, something to summarize how amazing life is. But found myself at a loss for what to say. Life is good, & God is awesome. I sat around & stared at the screen for a long while… Finally I decided just to write "generally" about what this past year has been to me. To briefly write about the good, the bad, change, hopes and aspirations….

For me this year has been probably been the best yet. Much has happened.

2014 in a nutshell: Traveling in Europe, skiing 8 out of 12 months, hiking up mountains, floating down rivers, working in my garden. My year was filled with good sunny & snowy moments, & sure, some not-so-good stuff happened too, but that's life right? I was able to explore, meet new people, learn & grow. I've been blessed with good health & work. Blessed with an amazing church. I've got some really amazing friends & family. (you know who you are.)

Looking back on this year, it's amazing so see how God has worked (& is still working) in my life. To see how time changes things & perspectives… Past experiences fade into the distance, & the rough edges soften. Golden memories linger. Sometimes it seems that day-to-day life can be mundane & repetitive, but now, when I look back, everything is different. How is this possible?

Change is constant - like dark foamy waters swirling around - sometimes change hits like a tidal wave, ripping away those you love, & slapping you in the face, or presenting a new challenge. Change is change, challenge is good, big or little - we need to except the challenge & make the most of it - sometimes change slowly creeps in without you realizing it, until it's lapping around your ankles… Change makes us grow & opens our eyes to see our strengths, & faults, whether we like it or not. Change, by God's goodness & mercy, can beautify us. It makes us realize how much we need one another, how frail or strong we are, change makes me realize how much I need Jesus.

Change is inevitable, theres nothin' I can do to stop it. God is working in my life, in your life - making things happen for us. He never gives us more then we can handle, & with each coming day He is preparing us for the next. Even when we don't see it, even when we can't feel it, even if it's not evident…God is working.

When change is before us, we need to stop & examine our hearts. Don't let your heart become callused. We need to be soft. (Personally I'm pretty thick-skinned & have to work hard on this.) Do not let the world make you hard.  Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. There are so many fragile things in this world. People, dreams, & hearts break so easily. Change is part of life. Everything will be okay in the end. If its not ok, it's not the end.
While change is constant, & life can be a roller coaster, somethings are unchanging, anchored & unmoving.  The cornerstone & foundation of my life is built upon God. He is always there for me. When I took this pic, I was 7 days at sea in the middle of the Atlantic - It stormed, rained, the boat was really rocking around.  I was the ONLY person who ventured out on deck & saw this double rainbow. I spent a quite moment mulling on God's promise to Noah, & His promises to all his saints in the Bible. ..Wet clothes clinging, I stood alone on deck, the cold wind whipping my hair whipping across my face. Change is gonna happen, but God is always there. He's ready to listen to your prayers, guide your steps. He is my Rock, my salvation, what should I fear? Whatever has happened this past year, & whatever is out there, just below the horizon - I know that I am never alone. 

// Resolutions for 2015:
some silly, some serious

1. Seek Jesus more
2. Organize & prioritize - work, play, home, lesson planning, etc. (LIFE in general.)
3. Run more (like with running shoes on roads & paths; trail run)
4. Read 3 books a month - (Honestly, I've been slack with reading. Little goals. Baby steps.)
5. Attend farmer's markets regularly - grow more in my garden, cook with what I have
6. Travel to a new country - Iceland, perhaps? (Totally doubt this will ever happen, ha…)
7. Pray more

With that said - I'm gonna start no.7 right now! I'm resolving by God's amazing grace, that however feeble & poor my prayers might seem to me, that I will pray on — Let's pray together through the last moments of  2014 - & into 2015! Let's face this new year bravely, facing the unknown while knowing that everything is gonna be ok - & whatever has happened, or does happen in your year -  is all part of God's plan. God works every situation for your good, & ultimately for His glory. (Maybe we just cannot see it yet!) Stay strong, do good work, stick to your resolutions & keep the wonder!


Polar Bear Painting Project

Look at their adorable painted bears! This was an easy project for the kindergartners - took about 35 minutes. 

You need: blue construction paper, acrylic paint, sharpie markers, & oil pastels.
(& of course - paper towels, brushes, jars of water, & erasers. But you should know that.) 

First we practiced circle shapes, drew the bears lightly with pencil, then we painted it all in, & added the snowflakes. While that was drying, students used oil pastels to draw the scarves - using two colors, layering them to create stripes. Then we used the sharpies to draw facial features, & lastly added a white highlight in each eye! The kiddos signed their names & we were finished! I absolutely LOVED the way these turned out. So much fun! 


Hot Laps in November

"What good is the warmth of summer,
without the cold of winter to give it its sweetness.
" ~John Steinbeck

The first day of the 14-15 ski season has arrived! Waahooo! Its felt like winter for quite sometime, with snowstorms, icy roads, & sub zero temps - but now it truly feels like winter - because the lifts have started turning! Winter is the best! I am SO excited for ski season to finally be here & STOKED to be back on the mountain! Good people, good mountain vibes - fun snowy days - got my November shred in! (I skied 8 out of 12 months this year, was trying to get all 12 months in, but due to traveling it didn't work. Oh well, always next year, right?)

The snow is sparse this season (as of November 28th, the 1st day open; only lower mountain lifts are operating), & the weather forecast is not looking promising - EVERYONE: Pray for snow, okay?!! But, snow or not, I still love going up to the mountain & skiing. Early season is fun; you ski because you've been counting down the weeks, days, & hours till the season starts - Oh, & don't forget how you've been checking weather reports every chance you get, hoping for a snowy forecast. You ski when conditions aren't the greatest, because you love the sport. You ski to say you ski. You ski to hang out with friends & catch up how everyone's summers went. You ski to earn that drink at the end of the day. ;)

(To all of my rad snowboarding friends, you are okay too, I guess. hehe.) Early season skiing is like the hot laps of a nascar race - Everyone's stoke is getting built up, we're all getting ready, toned, & super excited. We can ski the off piste in the trees where there might be pow hiding. We can find bumps & give them a try. We can enjoy the sunshine & fresh air. We can work on improving our ski technique. Take a ski class or two - who's ready for Town Series?! Mostly, I'm just glad to be back on the mountain & have skis on my feet!

See ya on the mountain, & here's to a hopefully snowy season! Cheers!



Showing BLUE tonight in BILLINGS MONTANA! The event is FREE! See you there! 

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNKQ-tkf-ds
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bluebeatsgreen 

7:00PM Friday (10.17.14)
Holiday Inn Grand Montana 
5500 Midland Road 


in misty rain at dusk

I'm restless. 
Things are calling me away.
My hair is being pulled by the s̶t̶a̶r̶s̶ (mountains) again. 
~Anais Nin (& me)


Hiking in September -

Mystic Lake, Montana. 435 acres, 205+ ft deep, elevation 7,683 ft. 
I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains, & now live by the Rocky Mountains. Mountains have a very special place in my heart. As a child, I spent every moment of free time playing & exploring in the mts & foothills. Now, as an adult, the mountains are still my "playground" year-round. I always feel like a little child when I look at the mountains. I also feel very privileged & blessed to be able to live & walk among them. The sheer size of mountains, always strikes me with awe. Makes me realize how small & helpless I am. I hike as much as I can during the summer, & ski during the winter. It soothes the mind to be in the mountains - getting away from the hustle, noise, & businesses of life is refreshing; it puts things into perspective, lets ya see the big picture. The beauty & complexity of God's creation is amazing. There's no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this! Move your body, still your mind. Hike while you can. Go outside & do something you will remember. Do not view mountains from the scale of human thought, explore His earth & keep the wonder!

"Slow down & enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss when going by too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going & why." - Eddie Cantor 

down to earth….


Rock Climbing -

Recently rock climbing is the latest thing I've gotten into. I have zero experience, but am learning (sorta). I've gone climbing at an indoor facility couple times, & just free-climbed around, having fun but probably making a complete fool of myself, (not that I care). Anyways, this week I finally went outdoor climbing! I really loved it, could totally get addicted - it was as thrilling as it was challenging. I had a blast, (its such good exercise!) I got a few bruises & scrapes, & earned some new stuff; how to tie a couple special knots, how to self-repel - & various rock climbing terminologies. (Belay! Belay! Belay!) I'm a bad judge of distances, but I'd guess by the time I reached the top of the cliff I was around 70(ish) feet high.

I went climbing with one of Beartooth Mountain Guides' guides. Beartooth Mountain Guides Inc. is a guide service & outdoor recreation service school, based in Red Lodge MT, they operate in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. If you are interested in backcountry skiing, ice climbing, mountaineering, rock climbing, backpacking, snowshoeing, etc. check them out! It's a great way to have fun & learn something new!

I would really encourage you (if you're not already) to go outside - try something new. (If ya live near Red Lodge, check out Beartooth Mtn. Guides!) Utilize whats around you. Simply enjoy this beautiful world we live in. Keep the wonder, keep the stoke high.(Enjoy summer while it lasts!) You can always have more work, but you can never have more time. That's something I'm coming to realize, more, & more. Ya gotta make time for what ya love (recreationally speaking, that is). Don't wait for opportunity - create it!


Doing Good, Giving Grace

WHY DONT WE JUST TRY AND MAKE THE BEST OF TODAY AND TOMORROW (& the next day & the next day & the next day & the next day & the next day & the next day & the next day & the next)

This summer I've spent a fair amount of time at home, with my parents, brothers & 6 pets. It's safe to say there's never really a "dull" moment here at the house.  One moment the dog has escaped, or the sprinkler system has malfunctioned, or some of my brother's friends show up for supper & a spontaneous night of playing cards… There's work to do, meals to cook, laundry to fold, dust bunnies to catch, a garden to weed, 2 acres to mow, etc. I love it, it keeps me busy. I try to make the most of it; to truly love & appreciate my family while I'm here…

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” -John Westley

Wow, did ya get that? Thats pretty much doing good e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Doing good is usually fun, I mean helping people or animals gives any of us a good feeling inside, right? But we are all selfish beings, who have the tendency to do bad - even when we are doing good. We have the tendency to do good, only when we "feel" like it. So often we do good, while looking sideways, or we do it begrudgingly, & have conceited thoughts in our hearts. If ya think about that, we'll both find that we haven't done as much good as we've fooled ourselves into thinking we have.

I'm preaching to myself here!! I need to do good because I have a Savior who set the ultimate example of selflessly doing good for bad people, like me. When I'm having a hard time doing good, or I get bogged down - I need to remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. All things I do reflect what I believe - & I believe in doing all things as unto Christ - because he did everything for you & me.

Sometimes, it's easy for me to get frustrated while thinking about people, possibilities, work, relationships, & the (generally beautiful) mess that life is. Each day is an irreplaceable gift, & yet I get easily distracted by stupid things that don't matter or affect me. Compare-ism is the thief of joy & contentedness…I need to stop comparing myself to people.  I need to be comparing myself to Christ!  I need to always make the most of life. I need to do good, at work, to others, my family, (& myself for that matter). I need to strive for greater things. I need to focus on what is at hand, I need to genuinely care for others & make the most of everything. I need to give grace - I have received grace (time & time again) by the people in my life - & I have received unconditional grace from my Heavenly Father. I am so undeserving, & yet he loves me, does good for me, & gives me grace when I am at my worst.

Anyways. All this to say, don't lose time, make the most of it. Yesterday is the past, what can you learn from it? We all have a few scars, but by God's grace we can move forwards. Tomorrow is a mystery, so don't bother stressing about it. As a Christian, I know that God already has everything figured out for me, so I don't need to worry about it. (Sounds easy right? But actually its hard not to worry, something I always need to be working on - deeply trusting God & his infinite plan that is sprinkled with amazing grace.) Today? Well, there's no time like the present. Today is a gift - savor each precious moment. This moment is your life - & its bursting with flavor & spice! We need to be good stewards of our lives & with what we have been given. Sometimes life can get crappy, & bad things happen & pain demands to be felt. Sometimes we've gotta take what we're served. But we can try to fix it when we don't like it, just make the most of it. Be content with what you have. Receive & give grace.

Let's get out of the woods & into the path. Lets try to see things clearly, tread lightly, & live fearlessly. Let's do good. Let's live intentionally. Let's see the beauty around us - so many people "get used" to beauty - So I challenge you to do good, give grace, & keep the wonder with your eyes wide open.… Never stop seeing beauty, its everywhere, & can be found in unlikely places…

P.S.  My name is Grace, in case you didn't know. If ya look the word up in the dictionary, the definition is: simple elegance or refinement of movement. (Funny, because I'm actually a klutzy adult, who is always tripping over everything. I get lots of "graceful" jokes.) The 2nd definition of 'grace' is: the free & unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners & bestowal of blessings.


Dog Dayz of August

"At the end of the day your feet should be dirty, 
your hair messy & your eyes sparkling."

Today one of my good friends & I kayaked over 20 miles on the Clarks Fork River. The Clarks Fork is a winding & s-l-o-w river, even when that water is "up" & muddied. Really enjoyed this day - It was so quite & peaceful. & I got the most amazing (ever) tan on my legs. We saw lots of beautiful birds & waterfowl: a couple bald eagles, a golden eagle, sea gulls, pelicans, geese, numerous species of ducks, & "sand piper" type birds. The sun was hot, & the water was cold; it was a perfect day for relaxing on the water, enjoying creation, & soaking up summer…

… Here's some music for your ears too. A song that reminds me of summertime. & days gone by, & the simple repetition of life; longings, dreams, work, knowledge, fulfillment - journeys to find ourselves, only to find we already know who we were - & already have what we want.

"I know there's California, Oklahoma and all of the places I ain't ever been to, but down in the valley with whiskey rivers, these are the places you will find me hidin', these are the places I will always go, these are the places I will always go, I am on my way, I am on my way, I am on my way back to where I started." ~The Head & The Heart


Currently Spinning -

 M U S I C 
the other- 
(ask your doctor if its right for you)

I'm a total music junkie. I *always* have music playing. When driving I keep my windows down & the radio blaring, or I have my iPod streaming out the cars' speakers. I've got massive iTunes library, & listen to Pandora a lot too. Also have lots of cds. I play music when I'm cooking, painting, cleaning, working in the garden, running, etc.! (You get the picture.) I love music. It adds so much spice to life, & so often captures a feeling or mood much better then you could express it. When I'm depressed there's music, when I'm happy there's music. When I feel inspired, there's music to keep me going. I often get in musical ruts. I'll have my own secret "theme song" for a month or couple weeks. I get stuck on songs & play them over & over… But hey, if ya like what you hear, why not?

Do you ever turn the volume up louder & louder 'til you reach that perfect level of "ahhh yes, I cannot hear anything else" 

 I have very peevish & particular tastes in music. I won't go into that now, but I will say that I don't like country or bluegrass music. Especially bluegrass. Got nothing against it, just not my cup of tea.
It's those songs that expressing feelings you can't say.

But music like this (just below) is a style I completely love! It's raw, genuine & thoughtful. I'm currently hooked on Jared & The Mill. They use all the same instruments that a bluegrass band would use, but the instruments are played in a different style. (I'm still completely hooked on BROODS btw - A completely different style & sound from that of Jared & The Mill. ha!) Jared & The Mill is basically like an American "Mumford & Sons". (I like Mumford, but think they are somewhat overrated. haha.)

I'd put J&TM in the folk genre of music. But I normally like listening to indie rock, alternative, electronica & singer/songwriter styled music. (think: Ben Howard, Josh Garrells, Washed Out, Ellie Goulding, Active Child, Jose Gonzalez, Band of Horses, Birdy, Beta Radio, Imagine Dragons, Sleeping at Last, Nora Jones, Parov Stelar, Bastille, Florence + the Machine, One Republic, Prinze George - to name a few main stream artists I like.)

Anyways, thanks for reading my rambling thoughts! Give Jared & The Mill a listen! I own their album Western Expansion! Tell me what you think! What kind of music do you like?!

Please note: The song "Breathe Me In" has a coupe salty words in it.. 


The Beaten Path, Montana 2014

Life is breathtakingly beautiful…. 
(photo cred: Stephaine)
So, this past week, I went hiking in some of the most beautiful country I'd ever seen - & it was right in my "backyard" too, in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness! I hiked the Beaten Path - a rugged (but not that difficult) 26 mile hike in the heart of the Beartooth Mountain Range.

EDIT: If you want more photos & better details for "The Beaten Path" - here's my blog post from this year (2015) 

 I started my Monday morning at the Red Lodge Cafe, where I met up with the rest of the gang & ate a leisurely breakfast.  Bud, Ruth, Diane, Steph & myself were then drove over the Beartooth Pass & dropped off by a friend - arriving at trailhead at about 12:15pm, & hiked up hill 6 miles to Russell Lake - the camp site for the night.
Camp at Russel Lake.

Getting pounded with hail!
When we were on mile 3 en route to Russell Lake, we got caught in a storm. It poured rain & hail for a good while… We all had proper rain gear, & stayed dry for the most part. Eventually the storm let up, & turned into a light drizzle. (Which I honestly didn't mind; it kept the mosquitoes away.) The mosquitoes were REALLY bad, but they always are during the summer in the mountains… We set up camp in the rain, & ate a hot supper - thanks to freeze dried Mountain House food, & a mini gas camp stove! I bedded down for the night at around 8pm. It was a long wet & cold night. I stayed plenty warm, snug-as-a-bug inside my mummy bag, but didn't sleep much.

The next morning we were up by 6am - the skies were clear, it was 43 degrees, & the sun was shining! Perfect! We ate a hot breakfast, took down camp, & started hiking at about 8:45am. We hiked slowly, taking lots of breaks & photos of the snowy tundra, along the next 7 gradual uphill miles. The sun shone all day long, & the temperature was in the upper 50s - mid 60s. Along the path we stopped 5 different times to remove our pants legs & hiking boots - to put on water shoes to ford little rivers & streams that crossed the trail. We were able to find good crossing spots; where the water was never more then thigh deep.
Dewey Lake - view from camp, 2nd night. 

We all forded the little rivers/creeks without incident, & stayed pretty dry. The water was cold & fast, & all of us hikers were top-heavy with our backpacks & equipment, so each crossing was a little tedious. The last thing you wanted was a soaking wet backpack. My backpack weighed 36 pounds on the first day - but the 2nd day it weighed bit more, because my 2 person tent (that I shared with Steph) was all wet from the rainfall the night before. Ha! We camped the 2nd night at Dewey Lake -  arriving there at around 4pm.
Walking over one of many snow drifts. 

Dewey Lake was lovely - there were a couple other folks camping there, across the lake. It was nice to see more humans out in the middle of the trail. We broke camp at about 8am on the 3rd day - we hiked 9 miles (mostly downhill) to Elk Lake - making many stops for water, snacks, & photos of the amazing waterfalls, mountain views, roaring rivers, (& yes, there might have been more then a few selflies!) We stopped at Rainbow Lake for about 45 minutes & cooled our hot feet off in the water.
That's me! (photo cred: Steph)

The trail along Fossil Lake, elevation 10,000+ feet.

"Slow down & enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss when going by too fast — you also miss the sense of where you are going and why." -Eddie Cantor 
(Amazed by the beauty of God's creation along the trail!) 

Around 6:30pm, we arrived at Elk Lake. We found the perfect camp spot 200 feet from the lake's shore. That night we had a hot supper & a glass of wine! (Ruth, bless-her-heart had carried a small 500mL carton of Rex-Goliath Saunignon wine in her pack!) We toasted to an amazing hike, thankful we'd made it thus far without incident, & to newfound friends! (Did I mention all of us ((with the exception of Steph & I)) only met each-other the first day of the hike or a week before hand?!) By the end of the hike, we all knew each-other pretty well.

Standing on the edge of Impasse Falls. It's around 300ft tall. 
Elk Lake
After supper, I splashed around in the lake. It felt amazing. Between the layers of bug repellent & sunscreen on my skin & 3 days of hiking, I felt grubby. The water was cold & refreshing. This was our last night in the mountains - The temperature was warm, & the stars bright. I slept well that night. We broke camp after breakfast at about 9:45am, & hiked another 3ish miles, down to where our vehicle was awaiting us. We hiked on the mountain side, following the roaring river down to East Rosebud Lake - the end of the trail! It was like 11:30am - we made it! Civilization! All in all - it could not have been a better hiking experience. We didn't get eaten by grizzly bears or torn apart by wolves, (we did see some wolf poop near the trail) & no one got injured!
Bud, Ruth, Dianne & myself at the end of the trial. (Steph took the pic - thanks girl!)
Throughout the hike, I was constantly amazed by the views - the sheer size of the mountains, the roaring waterfalls, the crystal clear lakes & delicate wildflowers that carpeted the earth's floor.…Don't know how many times I stopped along the path to have "wow" moment, when standing on the edge of a cliff by a waterfall or looking at the mountains.… So much beauty is up there, that no one would normally ever see. But its beauty that God put there for his glory alone. No one has to see it, because He does. I felt very fortunate to be able to share the sights that not many eyes get to see. The old hymn "This Is My Father's World" kept coming to mind as I was hiking. What a beautiful world we have, I feel so blessed to live where I do. I'd do the hike again in a heartbeat (wanna go with me?!) - I truly loved every moment of it.

__Click here to see map of The Beaten Path __

photo cred: Steph


Walking Contest

…Just a random video I stumbled upon. Watch it; the narration is humorous, 
the style is cool, and its all rather relatable. Happy Wednesday night, folks.

        Walking Contest from vania heymann on Vimeo.


G A R D E N I N G • 4 0 6

My garden.
July has arrived! Montana is dry, hot & my garden is in full bloom. I've been spending a lot of time digging' in the dirt, pulling weeds, & picking beans. Its hard, but very enjoyable work. I think that gardening is therapeutic - I can spend a couple hours in the garden, with my earbuds in, listening to teachings or music, while battling the ever-present weeds. Work on my tan. ;)

Garden size: 30x50 feet.

Favorite tools: stirrup hoe, mantis rototiller, & the hori hori knife
Whats growing: green beans, carrots, onions, tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, acorn squash, peas, tomatillos, brussels sprouts, purple cabbage, green peppers, crook neck squash, onions, basil, chives, sunflowers & cosmos.



Flying by - Skiing in July:

Summer is FLYING by! I cannot believe that its July. Wow. Where has time gone? There's still SO much I want to do - places to go, people to see, I'm afraid I'm gonna run out of summer before I'm able to do everything!

But I have been having a wonderfully fun summer so far (hence the lack of blogging). My summer has been busy. Work (teaching) has majorly slowed down, giving me lots of free time to do fun stuff. My summer has been filled with family, out of state friends, gardening, skiing, personal art projects, kayaking, hiking, backyard bbqs parties with family & friends. I've been on the road a lot, always seem to be going somewhere. Nowhere very far from home, but when you live in a state that is as big, open and spread out as Montana, hoping into the car to drive 2hrs one way is nothin'.

In-between all the fun & action, there have been some wonderful lazy dog days…. Stay up half the night, sleep till 11am. Clean house. Watch tv on Amazon Prime. Work in the garden. Go on long bike rides. Watch the sunset from the roof. Cook good food, drink good drinks. I think its those stay-at-home days that make the "go-go" days all the more better, & vise versa, dontchya think?

Eventually I'll get some more photos up (because I just know that you are dying to hear more about my summer) and actually write something better then this chatty small talk. - haha. In the meantime enjoy these pics from a trip a recent July ski trip at Beartooth Basin! I've gone skiing 4 times (so far) this summer. Here's another post from another ski trip, with more information.

Beartooths and the highway snaking its way up the mountains side.

I don't think you could ever get enough of nature. To be surrounded by it is to be stilled. The mountains, the trees, the endless plains, the big sky. It salves the heart. Soothes the soul. Makes me think of how mighty God is - Close your eyes & just stand still for a moment. Take a deep breath & fill your lungs with cool mountain air. Mmm.

Skis on my feet make me happy!

Snow is frozen hard & gnarly in the morning. Later in the day, its was heavy & wet.
(And yes, I know the tip of my skis don't match, it drives me crazy.)
Awkward thumbs-up for selfies & skiing in July! 
30 foot cornice. I didn't ski off this, came down beside it on the edge  - but there were some amazing skiers who would take the drop. It was awesome to watch!

Below are some photos I found from last years' Beartooth Summer Session

This is the view when standing down below, looking up at a skier dropping off.
Photo by: Gavin Gibson
View from standing near the top - Photo by: Gavin Gibson


Skiing in June / Beartooth Basin

Beartooth Basin, summer ski area.  
Can't get enough of this mountain air in my lungs! 
So recently I went skiing! Can you believe it? Ya can't beat June in Montana. I enjoy getting out, & having adventures, & I absolutely love skiing. I went with a friend this past Thursday & Saturday - skied Beartooth Basin & Gardener Headwall. Here's some iPod photos! 

Beartooth Basin. 600 acres of skiing terrain that varies in pitch from 15 to 50 degrees. (That's pretty dang steep!) 
Top elevation is 10,900ft. with 1,000ft. of vertical lift serviced terrain. Two high-speed puma lifts & quick laps make for legit leg burn. 
I skied trails 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, & 9 multiple times.
This is a ticket office for Beartooth Basin. Parked just off the road, up top. $45 for a full day lift ticket. $35 for half day. $20 power hour. There is no shelter out here, other then this, & an outhouse.  It's basically backcountry skiing, with lifts. At 10,900ft. the weather can change in an instant! While I was out here, the temperature was around 45'f, but later it dropped to 34'f & started spitting snow(This pic by Jamie Schectman)
Shreddin' the gnar, at Gardner Headwall. Ski down, hike out.
The cornices were anywhere from 15ft. to 30ft. tall! 
This ski area has some amazing steep headwall & cornice skiing - 
Check it out at http://www.beartoothbasin.com/about.html 
I spy a skier, do you?  

Gardener Headwall. Ski down, hike out. It was actually pretty sweet - we parked the vehicle up near the top, hiked a short distance to the snow.. Skied down & hiked for about 20 minutes out the other side. When you have to hike out, (backcountry style) you really savor skiing down, by taking in the views & making each turn count. After we hiked out, we would hitch a ride with whoever had room & was driving our way, back around towards the top.
This is me skiing down. The snow was so cool; heavy & soft, but totally fast. Gardener Headwall.

I had a fantastic time, & am hoping to get back up there at least a time or two more, before the lift operated area closes mid July.  The Beartooth Mountains are so amazing.

Here are more links to other blog posts on summer skiing:


Currently Spinning —

I've been listening to the BROODS 

Here's their entire album on Soundcloud - 19 minutes of groovy chill music. 
I like it a lot. I actually LOVE it, & have been listening to this non-stop for like the past couple weeks. It's been the soundtrack to my June. Give it a listen! See if your ears like it!


Craft Art Project —

Soooo, for a fun "crafty project", I had two students (ages 5 & just-turned-7) work on mixing primary colors. We used different sized plastic cups as stamps to create circles with black paint, then painted the insides with color. It was so much fun, & great practice for working on "painting inside the lines". We also tried to use complementary colors to paint around the inner circles.
The finished pieces were pretty cool - looked like modern art you might see hanging in a museum somewhere. ;) 


Beartooth Mountains —

today is the oldest you've ever been, & the youngest you'll ever be again.

Today a friend & I when up into the mountains, & did some kayaking at West Rosebud Lake. The lake is located at the base of the Beartooth Rocky Mountains. We did a little hiking too, climbed up some gigantic boulders & ate lunch. The mountains are so majestic & snowcapped year round - I'm always struck with awe at the sight of them - & even more awestruck with the One who created them. To put it simply, when I see mountains, I think of God. He's so awesome, He *created* the mountains. He owns the skies - & still He wants my heart… It was a really beautiful day, the water was FREEZING cold, (guessing around 40 degrees) but the sun was nice & hot. Perfect Friday.

"You are worthy, our Lord & God, to receive glory & honor & power, for you created all things, & by your will they were created & have their being.” Revelation 4:11


Sketches —

Here are some sketches from my Europe trip! All were done with ink pen, India ink, some pencil, & watercolors. I'm hoping to actually spend more time working on these pictures -  painting them bigger on canvas with oils. These are just fun studies. :)

"Azores Country Cottage" 9x11 watercolor/ink sketch.

"Cable Car Tracks, Lisboa, Portugal" 9x12
"Busy Intersection, Madrid, Spain" 9x9
"The Crooked Alley, Tangier, Morocco" 6x8


My trip to Spain, Morocco, Azores, Portugal, & Gibraltar

 TRAV•EL |ˈtravəl|
no obj. ] make a journey, typically of some length or abroad:

"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us. We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, & adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes wide open." 

So. I recently returned from a rather impulsive trip. My trip lasted for 24 days. I traveled by cruise ship, ferry boat, bus, jet plane, gondola, car, and foot. I visited the Azores, Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco. It was such an opportunity, I'm so thankful I was able to go….  Still can't believe I went!

The great gorge in Ronda, Spain.

I was blown away by all the history, the architecture, the people, the different lifestyles & customs. I'm still thinking about the amazing sights I've seen & all the neat people I've met. I'm thinking about these people going about their daily lives, an entire world away from where I live; so similar to me, & yet so very different.
"In your life you meet people. Some you never think about again. Some, you wonder what happened to them. There are some of you that wonder if they ever think about you. And there are some that you wish you never had to think about again…  
But    you   do." - C.S. Lewis 
Children playing in the warm Mediterranean Sea. Nerja, Spain.

That's the only thing that really bums me out about traveling. It's thinking about all of the amazing people that touched my world briefly that I'll probably never see or have anything to do with ever again. That, & the fact that I've just barely seen a tiny corner of the world - there is still SO MUCH that I haven't seen…yet. I've always had wanderlust but I've really got the wanderlust bug now. I don't think its ever going to be satisfied. ;) 
A door within a door & arches for good luck. Tangier, Morocco.
I'm thinking about the richness of life, & the thrill we get when venturing into the unknown - the anticipation, the uncertainty. It was exciting, I really loved it. I was drifting alone in a sea of people. I was unable to comprehend the languages that were spoken around me, I was unable to read & understand the billboard road signs. It was a humbling, funny & interesting experience. When passing locals on the streets, we would look at each other & wonder about each other but didn't ask or talk. Maybe a brief nod of acknowledgment was exchanged, along with a greeting of "buenos días or buenas trades, or buenas noches" just depending on the time of day. I know a random handful of rather unhelpful Spanish nouns, & I know how to say I don't speak Spanish or understand. (Something I had to say about anytime anyone tried to talk to me. Ha!) I can ask for a bathroom or a doctor, I san say yes, no thank you, etc. But I really didn't interact with too many Spanish people outside of hotel workers. 
Frigiliana, Spain. A charming seaside town built on a hill.

Spain has an unemployment rate of 28%. Portugal is 15%. Morocco is about 11%. All the cities I went to, however beautiful & ornate, had a slightly impoverished & dirty feeling about them. Even the rich people didn't have as much as you would expect, the poor folk has much less then you would imagine, but made the most out of what they had. Gas prices in Spain were around 1.44€ a liter or $7.25 a gallon. (Can you, if you are an American, imagine paying that much for gas? Makes the current $3-$4 gas price seem good.) So with gas in Europe being that expensive, everything else was equally expensive. I took around $300 cash for spending, I converted about $200 dollars to Euros & got about $140 Euros back. (The american dollar is worn less, so I "lost" money converting it.)

Oh, I did I tell you about the airport in Madrid? It was so nice - so quite! There were no annoying tvs to loud overhead speakers. It was a "silent" airport. I enjoy flying, & this was one of the nicest airports I'd really been to. So relaxing. (But I did get heckled twice by security. They gave me the "patdown" and searched my carry-on.) I don't think they liked my camera. Ha. 

"Backyard" of the Spanish Royal Palace. Madrid, Spain 
AND European restaurant service was so laid back & relaxed compared to American restaurant service.  It was pretty interesting. You didn't have the waiter coming by to check on you every three minutes - in fact, if you wanted anything, you practically had to wave your waiter down. & you aren't supposed to tip the waiters/waitresses over there. Apparently they actually get paid. 

Street of stairs, in Tangier, Morocco. 

And another thing I wasn't expecting was that *everyone* in Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar smoked. It's apparently a European thing. They all smoked & looked fabulous doing it. Everyone there dresses nicer. Smart street style. I don't know how they can afford all those cigarettes. (Everything was so expensive!) But it was pretty nasty. I cannot stand cigarettes or 2nd hand smoke. 

Fishermen off the coast of Morocco. 

Some people were friendly, others were not. Some were happy, others had a hollowed look in their eyes, as they scanned faces in the crowds, not seeing anything. I saw rich & poor people, gypsies,  businessmen, professional beggars, homeless folk - all intermixed with each other & perfectly happy to ignore each other. Just like anywhere, I suppose. They were all going about their daily lives, living their own life… We're all such curious beings. 
Cadiz, Spain - a beautiful city. The weather was really warm & dry.

 Traveling makes me think of when I was younger, I would spend hours & hours walking in corn fields & the woods -  exploring & searching for arrowheads. (I was a strange child, I grant you.) Whenever I did find an arrowhead, I always wondered about the Indian who once held the arrow. What was his name? What was he doing? How old was he? Where was he from? What did this land look like 400 years ago? Has anyone stood where I'm standing? Was someone here a month ago, an hour ago, a year ago, or never? I wondered the same things about the people & places I saw while traveling…  I suppose I'm so awestruck because I've never been anywhere so historic & far from home. I've traveled to 30 states, (20 more to go!) & until a few weeks ago, had never been outside the US. As an artist, I'm always curious about & constantly amazed by people's perspectives & lifestyles. 

Edge of the city & high country. São Miguel, Azores.

 São Miguel town square. Azores.

Lisboa, Portugal. 

The Puente Nuevo bridge, Ronda Spain. 

I'm thinking about the peculiar way people see things so differently from one another. I'm always wondering if someone has seen what I see. When you look at a person - any person, remember that everyone has a unique story. Everyone has gone though something that has changed them, & made them who they are today. I don't think any two people ever see the quite the same thing. It's interesting & complex. So much happens that we'll never know about or see! But the real things haven't changed. 

It is still best to be honest & truthful; to make the most of what you have been given; to be happy with simple pleasures & to have courage when things go wrong, to stand strong for what you believe in. People are people no matter where they live or what they do. 

The narrow alleyways of Tangier. 
I'm feeling truly blessed to have an awesome Lord & Savior, to belong to my rad family, to have so many wonderful friends, & to live in Big Sky Country! It's truly a wonderful thing to be alive. The world is a big place. Explore it. Look through key holes. Meet the moment. Live adventurously. 

"Travel is about the gorgeous 
feeling of teetering on the unknown.


So right now, stop whatever you are doing, (but you can finish reading this!) - Get up off your lazy bum & go outside, stand there in silence. Take in your surroundings. Look at the people. Look at the landscape or buildings. Look at the rocks, streets, look at the flowers. Look up at the sky & contemplate how awesome & meaningful life is. When we really stop to look, this life is pretty amazing.

"I want to travel across the world 
& breath the air of new places."

Coast of Africa. 

On the ship I met one of the few Americans, an old man named Sid, who hailed from NY. He was 87 years old. After the trip was over I gave him a hug, & he looked at me & said, "Time is now. Enjoy life." It kinda sad, because I doubt I'll ever see him again. We met, shared stories over good food & wine, left a few small footprint on each other's lives, then moved on.
Standing ON the Rock of Gibraltar! Took a gondola up to the top. 
Bird's eye view of Atlantic while standing atop the Rock of Gibraltar. 

Now I say the same to you. Time is now. Forget your age & enjoy your life. It doesn't matter if your 18, 37, 59 or 100! I'm 22. I don't know who you are, or if there's even anyone here reading this. But I want you to go out & enjoy the life you've been given. Be enthusiastic. Be Thankful. There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. Never apologize for your enthusiasm - never. Live with purpose. Grow. Laugh. Party. Communicate. Travel. Think. Care. Love. Keep the wonder.
Soli Deo Gloria!