The adventure around the corner…literally!

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“You’ve been out on adventures, I see,” said my friend. We sat at a high table, our lunches ordered, and catching up during a long overdue visit.

I guessed he was referring to my pictures I’d shared on social media, mainly of forest and prairie lands, some of old farm houses and wheat fields.

I didn’t want to disappoint him but I also needed to be honest.

“I’ve been taking photos just around the corner, actually!” I explained. “About 20 minutes down the highway from my house. Some at a park and some at a tourist historical site.”

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He lights up as he starts telling me about his hour walk just the other day that took him into wetlands he didn’t even know existed, even though he’d lived and worked in the area over 20 years.

His adventure just around the corner from where he lives.

Facebook pictures of friends in far away places, emails from travel bloggers, and overheard stories in coffee shops of warm places can make our hearts and minds discontent.  We become aware of what we think we are missing out on, and our awareness starts to focus on where we are not rather than where we are.

Thankfully God created our minds to change.

It’s our choice, though.

For awhile now uncertainties around finances had me choose to stay closer to home. Believe me I wasn’t pleased about that at all especially when my sisters flew off to their Ireland and Scotland adventure (that was my idea in the first place)!

And sometimes my mind did wander to poor me…

So I began to ask myself what adventures can I take myself on closer to home that are affordable and new?

Once the focus shifted to where I am, my list of places to explore exploded along with new (and always wanted to try) activities. It’s probably going to take me a couple of years to get through them all!

One of those activities is to find owls! So far I’ve photographed chickadees and hiding wood peckers, but still have a list of places to explore and seek for birds of prey. So if you are patient with me, I’ll be taking you on my owl seeking journeys.

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And borrowing the words of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz “There’s no place like home,” is there?

What places near you have you yet to explore? Or activities still to try?

If in a place and time where travel and activities seem limited (and I know those times are tough), I pray God shows you the delight that’s in the very corners of your present places, filling your mind and heart with contentment.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12:13

 

 

 

 

Breath of Contentment

My brother ‘n law loves to fish. After he and my sister secure their fifth wheel for another weekend at a lake campground, he’s soon seen steering the electric motor of their inflatable boat to a cove where the fish most likely are to be. He is a catch and release fisherman. And so content that my sister, generally after he’s been gone a minimum of four hours, will try to catch his attention by waving her arms from the shore. And often he does not see her, so wrapped up in the moment of fishing with no regard of how much time has gone by.

In the meantime, and perfectly understandable, my sister thinks he should be back at the campsite after a certain amount of time. And I sympathize with her. Yet, I also am inspired by my brother ‘n law and his ability to not ‘should’ himself into the next thing. Instead he catches and releases moments, reacting to both the tug and slack of his fishing line as they come–content with either.

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In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul teaches us how to be content even when we don’t have what we think we should have, or be where we think we should be.

 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to be content, however doing so I have not been as graceful as a casted fishing line. Instead, I’ve tugged with the “I wish that turned out different because…” or “I wish I could have afforded that vacation to…” or “I should be instead of….” And tension is created between the past and the future, instead of keeping me in the stillness of the present. So I hold on to these words of Paul too:

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Pressing on is not letting go of what you hope for, however it is trusting God’s got you in your place for a purpose and to stay present with a heart of gratitude. What helped me over the summer is starting to write my gratitudes down daily (a habit I had stopped).  And, of course, included in these gratitudes are camping weekends with my sister and brother ‘n law!

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What circumstance is God wanting you to be content in?

And, if you are a camper, where is your favourite spot to go?

A Breath of a Past Adventure

We’ve had a very rainy summer in my part of the world. How about you? I’ve not had new adventures this summer, however I have been blessed by past summer adventures taking me off my beaten path. One such adventure was during an early July weekend in 2014. Three friends and I explored the highest peak of Mount Assiniboine in the southern continental ranges of the Canadian Rockies.

We reached Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park by helicopter from Canmore, Alberta  The park can also be reached by 15 hour hike that includes an evening at Byrant Creek Shelter.  But the helicopter ride up was worth every cent in my opinion! I remember exiting the helicopter and saying to my friend, “No other moment this weekend can get better than that!”

However, there was no moment that topped another. Our two days were full of stunning scenery, satisfying hikes, and a lot of laughs along the way. Yes, we were clothed in many layers and our rain gear (mine completely out-fitted by MEC, my favourite ‘forever lasting’ adventure clothing gear store) was well-used, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Instead, the weather added to the adventure. Later my girlfriend remarked how one of my photos captured our one minute of sun breaking through the clouds.

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We spent our nights in one of the 5 Naiset Huts. and cooked our meals in the adjacent cooking hut. Cooking huts are a wonderful place to easily engage in conversations with other travellers. We spent our first evening enjoying a beverage in the charming common room at the Assiniboine Lodge.

When it was time to leave, my friends L & J decided to hike out.  When B & I took the helicopter down, we also got to sit in the helicopter’s front seat! A couple of days later I found out from L that they missed a turn, leading them on the wrong trail and adding six hours to their return hike. Yikes! Having an experienced, excellent map reader is a must on any back country trail! Yet, even then, we can all make mistakes and get on the wrong path. But thankfully, with perseverance and a hopeful spirit, our way is righted.

 

I’m ready for another adventure. How about you? What is one of the favourite places you have visited? Or, what place do you recommend for my next adventure?

 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Road tripping Breathing Space

Listening to the morning local CBC radio show, the broadcasters raised the question: What was a memorable road trip for you? One mentioned a trip from the Yukon to Edmonton. This made me a tad sad, as I was suppose to be taking my own road-trip to the Yukon in mid-June. However, needed to cancel. Yet, I do have many memorable road-trips including the maritime province of Nova Scotia.  Below are a few pictures of rural life. And the last, a popular tourist spot: Peggy’s Cove.

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It was July 31, 2008 when my daughter and I started out on this road trip around the island. I was very new to photography and drove her a bit crazy with all my picture taking. 🙂

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Have you done road trips? If so, what has been your most memorable? Or what road trip would you recommend?

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
-C.S. Lewis

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
-Ralf Waldo Emerson