As I’ve been sharing these journal entries with you, I’ve known this one was coming. I’ve been a little nervous about it. I feel vulnerable posting it and I don’t do so lightly. To expose my weaknesses and the process I went through in a desire to change – that’s not an easy thing to do. So I ask the same thing I did in my very first post on this adventure. Be kind. These are my innermost thoughts written in my journal and addressed to my husband at the end of a most amazing journey. These are the thoughts that have brought an incredible transformation in my life.
I’ve got 4 hours for solo time. Just me. I chose a spot not far from camp, overlooking the lake. We’re meeting back together at 12:30pm and heading to Barney Lake – the location of our first overnight.
Jake – in just over 24 hours I’ll get to talk to you! My heart soars at that prospect. I have the next four hours to think and ponder and make some goals about who I want to be when I get home.
I’m sitting beneath Crown Peak, the mountain we climbed on Day Three and was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
It’s a good metaphor. I’m just not sure what it is yet.
Yesterday after we got into camp and I was so drained, I put my sleeping pad on the ground and slept. Not long, probably 20 minutes, but it was helpful to shut out the noise.
Then we did Walls, an activity which encourages us to let down the walls that we build around ourselves, the walls that keep us from being vulnerable. We sat in a row, 5 on each side, facing another person. We held our hands up and put palms together, looked into the other’s eyes. Pete gave us prompts on what to think about, what to share, etc. We rotated and shared something different with each person. We talked about strengths we saw, our vulnerabilities, how we felt. It was a powerful experience, though emotionally draining.
We came back to the gathering place (no fire since we are in the Humboldt Wilderness again) and had dinner. I’m pretty much sick of eating and didn’t have more than few bites. Then we discussed an article by James Allen on Temptation. Honestly – I was so exhausted I can’t even tell you what was said. The hike – the emotion of that – mixed with the emotion of walls – added to six full vigorous days and I was spent.
I was grateful to collapse into bed at 9:45 and fall asleep. A lot of the boys slept nearby under the stars. I was too exhausted to even consider it.
This morning we slept till 7:15! Yay! I have a feeling we’ll be up early tomorrow for the last steps home.
I took a shower cloth *bath* and put on my last fresh pair of undies and I’m ready to go! My cold sores quadrupled. I must have 10! I haven’t had a case this bad since you started pilot training in Del Rio! I’m a little self conscious about it. My lips are huge and sore.
Now it’s time for solo time. I want to use this time to write inventories. I did one a few days ago for Sam so I’m doing Josh, Betsy, You and Me. I’m sitting near the waters edge and the sun hasn’t quite crested the peaks to shine on me. There’s a slight breeze and it’s cool.
I can’t remember all I’ve written this week. Sitting in view of Crown makes me think of that day. Pete, James, and Dan got me to the top. James and Dan did a lot of the reaching for my hand – showing me where to step, allaying my fears. Pete would scout ahead and he would say – we’re almost there! Just around this corner and there’s a Starbucks (or an escalator or a sidewalk).He’d say – we’re 95% of the way there. Just a little further. Between those three men, I got to the top.
As I sit here on Day Seven, on our way back home (almost) I wonder if I would want to do this again. Just like so many other things we talk about, the reality is much different than the idea. I want to do more outdoors with the family. I’m not ready for another 8 day expedition – but 4 days, 3 nights would be ideal. A hike in/hike out. We’ll have to condition Sam and Betsy.
This trip was baptism by fire. The only think I haven’t done is pump (filter) the water. The boys take turns doing that. I ate oatmeal on the first day only. I have not been hungry this whole trip. I wonder if my body is under so much shock that it’s just surviving.
What do I want most when I get home? YOU.
Honestly – my first thought is of calling you to let you know I’m safe. I just cannot wait. I can’t wait to hear how everyone is. I’m anxious to figure out things with Josh and hopefully be able to see him. I want to be in my hotel room – soaking in a bath – shaving my legs, washing my hair.
Food? Honestly I just don’t care. A yogurt with granola would be nice. I’m looking forward to washing my clothes and smelling fresh. I’ve tried my darndest, but you just can’t get clean out here. I’m intrigued to step on a scale to see how much I’ve lost. I know I’ve lost some weight. My pants keep falling down. I’m guessing 7-8 pounds. My muscles are bigger and stronger. I’m glad we took measurements before I came so that I can compare.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts on my mind about life when I get back. The biggest thing I want to change after this experience is to be present. I want to put away the distractions of Facebook, Simply b, email, texting, phone calls, meetings, etc and I want to spend my time connecting with our children. You and I have always done a good job of connecting, but I sometimes allow distractions to come between me and my time with the kids. I want to listen to them when they talk. Hold them on my lap. Hug them everyday. Invite them to spend time with me. Share stories. Go for walks. Oh Jake. I yearn to be that mother.
Being out here reminds me that I can find peace and joy in the stillness. That life continues even when I’m not checking Facebook everyday.
In just a few years, our children will be grown and gone. All of them. What are the memories I want them to have of me? I want to be present. I think that is the one change that will affect our family the most for good. I considered things like: do hard things – live up to my potential – seek out adventure – more time outdoors – all those sorts of things.
What I’ve learned, what has spoken to my soul is to be present.
How can I do that? I’m looking forward to a schedule that will allow us some stability in our day. Family scripture study, daily devotional, FEC (Family Executive Council), inventories, structuring time, evening time with the boys, hugs – lots of hugs, words of affirmation, soft voice, time out with us, reading aloud, doing projects, playing together, baking, cooking.
Nothing is more important than my relationship with you and our children!
How can I remind myself to each day to be present – to put away the distractions? I need a morning routine that starts before the kids get up. Personal scripture study, prayer, exercise, meditation, yoga, etc. Put myself where I want to be emotionally and then give myself to our family.
This solo time is proving an exercise in staying present!! My thoughts keep turning to home – to the things I want to accomplish. But also – just to be reunited with you! The time is finally here! I’m anxious to hear about your week and all that has happened! I’m anxious to get the next phase of our life going! I can’t believe that we are packing up to move the day after I get home! It’s going to be so busy! I hope all is well there. It’s been tough being separated and not knowing anything about what is happening!
24 hours. I got this. I can finish this adventure with my head held high. I’m so thankful for it. I’m especially grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.
I’m so thankful for solo time and the epiphanies I have had. I feel like I’ve had the chance to connect with you and our children, through my thoughts and through the inventories, even though you are not here.
My course is set. I cannot wait to get back and start implementing my plans. I look forward to being more present, connected, selfless and loving.
Although there have been daily moments out here when I didn’t want to be here, I am so thankful. I know I will be better because of it. Though right now I never want to do it again! Ha! Unless you are here. I’ll travel to the end of the world to be with you!
It’s my last night in a tent! That’s bittersweet. I survived! We leave at 5am tomorrow. I should be able to talk to you by 11am your time. Can’t wait to hear your voice! Tonight we’re sleeping with the fly off the tent so we can see the stars.
I can’t wait for clean clothes and a potty tomorrow! Looking forward to hearing what has happened while I’ve been gone! Love you so much. Can’t wait to see you!
Oh – I just realized I didn’t write about the trek today! It was almost all downhill except for the portion that wasn’t. The switchbacks were ridiculous and went on forever. Honestly I have no recollection of how I could have accomplished that trek in the opposite direction. It even had its challenges on the downhill.
James walked with me for the whole hike and we had a good talk. We talked about being loving and accepting of all people. Can I just say that I love Pete too? Those two are really incredible. I talked more with Greg about mentoring Josh. I would love if we could get to Costa Rica and visit his family. Maybe we could take a week after training? I think it would be really powerful for Josh.
Everyone on this trip has made such an impact on my life. Changed my soul. I have so much respect for them!
Time for bed! Love you!
Some notes not from the journal:
This day was life changing for me. It’s been over a month since I was there by the lake – all by myself – reflecting on my life. Yet it feels like it happened this morning. It was such a powerful experience. All week I had been contemplating my purpose in being out there. I had been thinking about my potential and about doing hard things. I was so proud of myself for being there and doing it. Then that morning as I sat by the lake – I felt the Lord whisper to me. That’s what it was, a whisper. Not a thunderbolt. Not a shout. But a still small voice. I was instructed to be present. My family needs me. They need me to put away the distractions of the world and to focus on being here, now.
The power of those revelations still hangs in the air and I’m reminded of them daily. I choose to be present in my home. You may have noticed that I’m online less. Heck! It’s taken me a month to get to posting Day Seven on the blog. I’m choosing to spend my time differently. My mornings are spent focused on home and family. I don’t read my emails or social media until afternoon (unless on the rare occasion I have a second before Betsy wakes up). I’ve rescheduled my meetings and classes for afternoon or evenings when the kids have gone to bed. I’m making dinner – every night – and we eat around the table. I leave my phone in my bedroom until after lunch. I also leave it behind when Jake and I go on date night or out for a walk. These seem like such little things, and really – they are. But they keep the distractions at bay and allow me to live in the moment with my family.
I haven’t been this happy or content in years. My priorities are where they should be and it feels right. So when I say that eight days in the backcountry changed my life – I wasn’t exaggerating.
One of the other things that I did during solo time was inventories for everyone in my family. This exercise (along with FEC) is our greatest tool in homeschooling and raising our children. If you’d like to learn more about them, I write about doing inventories here and here. I talk about FEC here.