In the Wilderness

Adventure, oregon, Personal, Photography

IMG_7503.JPG

 

Last week I spent seven days in the Malheur National Forest camping. Seven days. No cell reception. No wifi. Not even a landline. Camping.  That is the longest amount of time I have spent, 1. camping, and 2. without any outside communication since I can ever remember.

It was a time spent with family, chatting, hiking, eating and playing Old Mexico.

Since there wasn’t facebook or instagram to distract us we were able to focus our attention on one another, and head to bed earlier and wake up way earlier than usual. This meant I got to see seven sunrises, some I saw with Seth by my side, others on my own.

I always hear people talking about quiet time, but up until this trip, I had never truly realized the importance of being quiet. At rest with my thoughts. Disconnected. It’s amazing the things you can observe and hear (or not hear) once you shut everything else off.  I learnt to listen to and recognize the sounds of the wilderness, deer running, coyotes howling, and a black bear creeping – trying to go unnoticed.

How much time do we honestly take to do this? To have absolute quiet time and gather or expel our recurring thoughts. We don’t. I don’t. This trip showed me how I’m letting the noise clog up my life, leading me to feel disillusioned and ending in a game of constant comparison.

I’m not where I want to be.

Am I failing at my calling?

Is this even my calling?!

Pointless, and hindering little thoughts.

These are some of the things I struggle with as a result of the daily noise. & sometimes it takes a trip into the wilderness to separate the important stuff from the trivial, what really matters and bring things back to perspective.

So today I’m encouraging you to take a trip to the wilderness – whatever that means to you. & then tell me how it went.

Companies I love: Sackcloth and Ashes

Companies I love, Favourite Things

Sackcloth&Ashes: Night Sky Wool

About a month ago I came across Sackcloth & Ashes on Instagram and their short bio was enough to make me want to find out more: “With every blanket you purchase, we will give a blanket to your local homeless shelter”.  I tend to be drawn to companies who are working to help their community, so this struck a note with me.

I headed over to their website and was really impressed by their story and ‘let’s do something about this’ attitude.  After a series of events Bob Dalton’s mum (Bob’s the guy that started the company) found herself living on the streets.  This is an educated woman, with two degrees non the less, she even had a family yet she ended up homeless.  Not everybody chooses to be homeless and everybody most certainly deserves a second chance.

About ten years ago I volunteered at Crisis, a charity for single homeless people, helping with their monthly newsletter which was composed of stories and articles written by the people at the shelter.  The contributors were far smarter than me, and most had not ended up homeless by choice. This totally changed the way I viewed homelessness and realised how easily and quickly it can happen.

After Bob’s mum’s experience, he called shelters and found out that what they needed the most was blankets. After all, winter comes round every year and even summer eves can get pretty cool in some parts of the country. So he started making blankets right here in the Pacific Northwest and selling them, and the same blanket that you buy is also given to a homeless shelter near you.

I looked through their shop and fell in love with their Night Sky Wool (80% wool and 20% polyester) blanket, and since my birthday was coming up I figured I’d give my sister a ‘hint’ about what to get me. She didn’t get it for me. But my mother-in-law surprised me with it.  I think I may have actually squealed when I opened the box, and was genuinely taken back by the quality of the blanket and how cozy it is.  This will be something we’ll treasure for a long time and take with us wherever we go… especially as winter begins to set in begging for nights spent on the sofa, bundled up in my new blanket.

To find out more information about what Sackcloth & Ashes is doing visit their Shelters page, and while you’re there have a look at their blankets – they have a fab selection!

From The Weekend – Timberline Lodge

Adventure, Personal

HeyleThienes-_-Snowboarding-1
It’s been a while since I went snowboarding, but having just finished acquiring all my gear, I was dying to go. So needless to say when my friend Carrie and her boyfriend invited us to go to Timberline Lodge and take advantage of lower spring season tickets, I jumped on it! It ended up being Carrie, Andy, Carrie’s sister Jenny, and my own little sis Laura!

HeylenThienes-_-Snowboarding-2
We had a blast trying to make it down the hill, taking a number of drops on our butts, and of course – dealing with the dreaded lift. Laura and I finally made it off the lift at the end of the day without falling either flat on our faces or on some awkward position and then being shouted at by the attendant to move out of the way! If you know me, you know I can’t always hold my temper, but I tried really really hard that day 😉 I just wanted to shout at him that I obviously wasn’t on the floor by choice…

HeylenThienes-_-Timberline-Lodge
A serious tumble on my part (I was seeing stars for a while), mixed with sore muscles and a long ride home demanded we stopped at the lodge for an après-ski cuppa hot chocolate. I had never been to Timberline Lodge before, and boy was I blown away by it. It was built in the 1930s and is now a National Historic Landmark, it’s beautiful and rustic on the inside and the furniture is to die for, I want all those couches in my house (if only they would fit!).

Three days later I still have a sore neck that I can’t get enough Tiger Balm on and a few bruises on my palms, shins… but now I just can’t wait til the next time I go again!