number four – thoughts from the summit

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Hello, friends! I cannot wait to tell you all about the wonderful opportunity I had during the first week of August. Thanks to some rockin’ people over at Diabetes World Tour, Every1Matters, and the Sweet Foundation, I was able to join a small group of Type One Diabetics as we backpacked through the Sierra Nevada in California. The team assembled in Las Vegas, Nevada, where we could get to know each other in preparation to summit Mount Langley in the Sequoia National Park.

While I hope to upload a post with a little bit more info about the trip, I wanted to talk first about summit day and our final push to the top.

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At this point in the trip, the team had been backpacking for three days through both Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park. Summit day was going to be the longest and most difficult day be trekking.

At two-thirty in the morning, we layered up and stumbled from our tents into the cold air. Coffee and cold oatmeal were passed out among the group and eaten slowly in  folding chairs that circles the site. We set out at four o’clock and walked the switchbacks by beam of our headlamps. It was still before noon when the final summit came into view. A few more miles of scrambling and we found ourselves standing at 14,042 feet, surrounded by peaks in every direction. Pockets of snow spotted the landscape that was otherwise a series of yellow, tan, and grey. Looking down over a drop-off that was thousands of feet deep seemed to overshadow the fact that we were tired and dirty… mostly dirty.

Several things came to mind as I sat on the edge to take in the view. Mostly, I was shocked by how little I worried about on the trail. All of my problems from back home seemed to melt away to such a degree that I couldn’t even remember what they were when I tried. The textbooks that I needed to order, the boots I wanted to buy, the emails I had to send… none of it mattered as we stood on the summit of the mountain. I realized then that being on the trail seemed to make everything a little bit easier. Clothing on the trek was worn for function and purpose, everything else was disregarded.

I wished in that moment that I could somehow apply this worry-free mindset to the rest of my life…The days off-trail when I am overwhelmed with school, work, and relationships. Maybe all we can do is attempt to remind ourselves of this. Maybe the best we can do is try our best to remember that there exists simple and peaceful places that don’t revolve around consumerism and the opinions of others. That way, we can be on the summit all the time.

love, maddie

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number two – raisin bran

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About two years ago, I read Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller. An unbelievable novel that incited drastic change in my everyday life and overall outlook on what is truly important in this world. My paperback copy was instantly (and throughly) marked with annotations and dog-ears in an attempt to save all of the important lessons that Miller has to offer in the brief 253 pages. One of the passages that stuck out the most, however, goes as follows;

“all the while we feel a need for new furniture and a new television and a bigger house in the right neighborhood. We drive around in a trance, salivating for Starbucks while that great heaven sits above us, and that beautiful sunrise is happening in the desert, and all of those mountains out West are collecting snow on the limbs of their pines, and all of those leaves are changing colors out East. God, it is so beautiful, it is so quiet, so perfect. It makes you feel, perhaps for a second, that Paul gets it and we don’t–that if you live in a van and get up for sunrise and cook your own food on a fire and stop caring about whether your car breaks down or whether you have fashionable clothes or whether or not people do or do not like you, that you have broken through, that you have shut your ear to the bombardment of lies that never, ever stop whispering in your ear. And maybe this is why he seems so different to me, because he has become a human who no longer believes the commercials are true, which, perhaps, is what a human was designed to be.”

This, I feel, is a passage worth sharing. It is hard to hold back from simply typing out the two pages that precede and follow this passage, as all of the writing is deeply inspiring and inexplicably calming. I’ll wrap up this post with one more quote from later on in the book, which occurs after Donald and Paul finish a long and difficult trek through the Grand Canyon.

“‘You were right about the cereal, Paul.”

‘Whats that?’

‘The cereal. Being the best thing to eat right now. I could go for a big bowl of Raisin Bran and cold milk’….

‘You know,’ Paul begins, ‘its funny. Two weeks ago when we talked about thing we wanted or our aspirations, we would have talked about houses or boats or cars. Now that we’ve been on the road for a while, everything is reduced to a bowl of cereal.’ Paul develops a smile as he stands straight again. ‘Isn’t that just beautiful? Cereal. There are people in this world who are killing themselves because they want more and more of nothing. And the only things you and I want in this world is a bowl of cereal. That just shows you how the things we think are important really aren’t important.'”

Both of these passages are good reminders that it is the small things in life that can bring us the most happiness. Miller’s work in this novel puts everything back into perspective, at least for me, reminding the readers that happiness and meaning do not lie in expensive possessions or approval from others. Cut back, be happy, and learn from Paul.

love, maddie

number one – an introduction

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Hello, friends! Welcome to me, basically. My name is maddie and I am a common eighteen year old girl, living in the beautiful state of Colorado. I love the little things, a being who thrives off of summer peaches, second-hand clothing, climbing gym happy hours, and that happy happy mountain air!

This blog is going to be a place for me to share my thoughts/feelings, recipes, pictures, (hopefully) a little bit of inspiration, and LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE. Here’s to all of the  passages, growth, Bible verses, connections, and exclamation points that have yet to come! I can’t wait for you to follow along on this journey through our wonderful wonderful world, so feel free to flip through what I have to offer here. Let’s go!

love, maddie