Quiet Strength & Boat Docks

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend time in beautiful Trout Creek, Montana. What an opportunity for a previous Montana girl! I was thrilled to be in a gorgeous setting surrounded by people who have done nothing but bless me since I’ve known them. It was refreshing to be somewhat off the grid while being in such a space that allowed me to recharge and focus on getting back to what is truly important in this life. I take sole responsibility for the fact that there was no post last week but am also owning up to the fact that this life is meant to be enjoyed. I’ve also come to the conclusion that one post I’m proud of and took time to write is better than two hurried posts in one week. All about balance friends. 🙂

A short walk from our cabin (and I mean merely steps), was a dock. On my last evening in Montana, I headed for the dock, book in hand and fully ready for peace. While I was laying there, with the sun dancing out at me whenever the clouds fancied moving out of the way, I was content. As the dock gently held me, I listened to the water swishing against the sides of it and felt such stillness. Between all going on in my life, these moments are rare for me. I become contemplative and exceedingly grateful whenever I am lucky enough to have such experiences.

IMG_20170602_154334612Towards the end of my Montana weekend, I had heard this word, “quiet strength,” used in reference to me. I didn’t know that I had entirely believed it at first but the more I allowed myself to accept love not only from others but also myself, the more I realized it might not be so crazy after all.

When the waves and water are crashing up against the side of the dock, it remains strong and in place. It might sway a bit with the forces of nature going on around it but will continue to stand firmly. I have been pushed along and nearly faltered at times, yet this reserve of strength within keeps me going. It was never about whether the dock moved when situations were uncertain or trying. But rather, the fact that it was able to hold itself up no matter what came at it. Even supporting others in the process at times. What is below the surface when the world is doing its very best to drag us down is the source of something incredibly great.

Our unique characteristics and personalities are not to be shied away from. Each of us exudes our strength differently and perhaps, some are still on the journey to find what that looks like. After the passing of my mom and the events that followed, I began to see how clearly defined my strength really was. It didn’t look like my sister’s, my mom’s or even the woman next to me. It was divinely my own. How I performed under pressure, the choices I made in the aftermath of hurt and seeking to focus on being the very best me I can, no matter what. Looking back, I was shaken and life crashed down on me hard. The waves still rock me, reminding me of the fragility of it all and to take nothing for granted.  One of the absolute best take-aways from these past couple of years is to finally know me. To stand with my head held high in the face of conflict, to admit when I am wrong and to accept others with the same grace I ask for. I am blessed to walk in that knowledge each day. To face the woman in the mirror with 100% confidence and say, “Quiet strength is anything but weak. You are fierce. You are mighty. You are enough.”

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Glacier National Park: Photo Recap

My dearest friends! Life is filled with varying twists and turns, sometimes, completely knocking us down when we least expect it. To recap these past few weeks, I accepted a residential mentor position which led to me to move into a beautiful home within Spokane. Also, I am now going through a breakup that was put into motion as of two weeks ago. Needless to say, this world can leave you breathless in a myriad of ways. One minute you’re on the very tippy-top, where the sun shines just a bit brighter because you feel the pieces falling into place after months of patience and hard work. But then, in the same breath, you are thrown for a loop by immense change. That is what this experience has been for me, a reminder of impermenence and that our identity cannot be held in other people or worldly possessions. So yes, in all that doesn’t make sense right now while I sift through this, I would like to share pictures of a super happy time in my life.

I’ve truly been working on giving myself grace as I navigate this transitional time in my life. A time where I am making decisions solely for myself while simultaneously going where I feel called. A time where I want to plan more for me. A time where I can reflect on whether the decisions in my past were truly my own or the whims of a young woman hoping to make other people happy.  The transitions right now feel great and the amount of patience and perseverance required is trying at times. I just keep reminding myself that if mountains were easily climbed, everybody would do it.

Glacier Park- July 2016

















Continue climbing those mountains friends!!

Exploring the Hiawatha Trail

I just celebrated one year with my wonderful guy! We don’t usually get time off together because of our opposite work schedules. However, I just started as the Staff Manager at a restaurant here in town and they are closed for some holidays. As luck would have it, we both had Labor Day off from our jobs. We both knew we wanted to do something outdoors so we figured what better way than to bike the Hiawatha Trail, located just 90 miles from where we live. Neither of us had biked the trail before and were very excited after learning more about it online.

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After an early morning drive (and some much-needed coffee on the way), we were ready to head out! The trail begins in Montana near Lookout Pass but you quickly enter Idaho while biking through the first tunnel. The “Route of the Hiawatha” was a train route of the Milwaukee Railroad that looped through the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana. Though the original trail was much longer, the current biking trail is 15 miles long. We parked at the East Portal and then rode to the Pearson trailhead, where there’s a shuttle that will take you back up. Well, it takes you about 1.5 miles away from the lot.You just have to bike back through the first tunnel.

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The very first section of the trail is this 1.66-mile long tunnel. It’s super dark so be prepared with lights!

The temperature was in the high 40’s to low 50’s when we started out for the day. The first tunnel is definitely the coldest part. I was freezing! (I was also slightly underprepared as I don’t know too much about proper cycling attire.) I recommend some thin gloves for that part of your journey. Other than that, I had on a light jacket with a hoodie and a couple layers underneath. We were super lucky we didn’t get rained on during our ride. It ended up being a beautiful sunshine-filled day!

 

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Amazing views everywhere you look

The trail consists of not only 10 train tunnels, but 7 trestles as well. Trestles are the structures that look like bridges in the pictures and are supported by huge metal beams. We stopped on one of them to get a feel for how high up we were.img_20160905_095814314_hdr.jpg

 

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Standing atop one of the trestles. It’s quite a ways up!

 

 

 

 

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img_20160905_095817015_hdr.jpgIf you’re visiting the area during the warmer months, I urge you to put this trail on your to-do list! They charge you to use the trail, as well as to take the shuttle back. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could ride there and back, eliminating the charge for the shuttle. I recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time, just to make it a little quicker when you pick them up. Finally, bikes, helmets, and lights are available for rent should you need them. Find more information about the trail here —-> Hiawatha Trail

Hoping you all get to enjoy a little bit more summer!