Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wake me from my sleep.

So Amy is actively involved with a new(ish) online community called "Overcome the Lie," and I've been watching their Instagram feed for awhile but hadn't really joined the party until today. Today they started a 40 Day Challenge, and as I was reading about it, I didn't even think for two seconds before I emailed saying, "Count me in!" The challenge is all about discovering the enormity of God's love for us, and I feel like I need that reminder these days.

Anyway, one of the first things that you're supposed to do for this challenge is choose something to fast from during these 40 days. (Confession? Had I known about the fasting aspect ahead of time, I might not have signed up. I have a strange aversion to giving things up for God. So, obviously, I needed to be a part of this thing.) I thought and prayed throughout the day about what I should fast, and nothing came to mind until tonight when we were praying during Bible study and asking God to pour his Spirit into us.

Pretty much any time someone starts talking about the Holy Spirit, I get this one song stuck in my head. (I posted the YouTube video awhile back.) So of course, as we're praying tonight, I'm hearing these lyrics:

"Spirit of the living God, come fall afresh on me;
Come wake me from my sleep.
Blow through the caverns of my soul;
Pour in me -- to overflow..."

And then I was struck with this absolute certainty of what I'm supposed to fast: my snooze button.

It sounds silly, but that button has been such a burden on me for pretty much my entire adult life. I've tried, to no avail, to give it up and just start "being" a morning person, but nine times out of ten, I still wind up snoozing for at least half an hour and finally waking up frustrated and groggy. The last thing on my mind on those mornings is spending time with Jesus, because obviously I've caused myself to run late for whatever the stupid alarm was set for.

I don't know if this fast will "cure" me of my snooze-button habit, but I know I need to make it about more than just managing my mornings better. It's about dedicating my first few waking minutes to Christ; dwelling in his presence and refocusing my heart and attention on him. And I don't want those minutes to be rushed or half-asleep -- or worse, completely forgotten like they have been lately.

So feel free to text me, IM me, comment here and otherwise pester me asking whether I snoozed my alarm on any given day. I'm praying God will give me the strength and wherewithal to hear my first alarm and immediately remember this 40-day promise I've made and follow through with it.

On that note, I should probably have been asleep like two hours ago! Oops...


If you want to join this community, check out OvercometheLie.org. The founder is super sweet and responsive, and I feel like this community is going to do some awesome things in the future!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back-to-back foggy hikes!

Pardon my lack of posting lately, and forgive me for the fact that I will probably never get around to filling you in on the last several weeks. In a nutshell: I ran a 10K, I painted a sunset, I went on my first business trip, I sang in the pouring rain on Easter Sunday, I had my first Chick-Fil-A sandwich, I turned 28, I went on some hikes/walks, I went wine tasting (twice), and I saw an opera in San Luis Obispo with Joe.

Two days, two hikes, 12 miles, 2,679 calories, and zero views. Yep, friends, that about sums up my weekend! (Get it? "Sums?" Cuz of all the numbers? I crack me up.)

So I went hiking both Saturday AND Sunday of this past weekend, because apparently I am a masochist, and/or I seem to think my legs are made of magic (spoiler alert: they kind of are).

I don't think I've mentioned on the blog yet that I started a group on Facebook for Santa Barbara hikers. It started because I was looking around, hoping to find that a group already existed, to no avail. So "Take a Hike!" was born in early March, and as of today we have 116 members and have organized five official hikes with anywhere from three to 17 participants.

Anyway, I set up a hike on our Facebook page for Sunday at Cold Spring Trail, and then toward the end of last week I asked Amy if she had any interest in hiking with me on Saturday as well. We decided to try out McMenemy since neither of us had done it before. (And somehow I was under the impression that McMenemy was only about 3.5 miles round trip, so I figured it'd be an easy one to do in the same weekend as the planned six-mile hike for Sunday.)

Amy and I ended up hiking McMenemy up to Saddlerock and back, which would have been about 5.5 miles round trip except for the slight "detour" that added a half mile -- and by "detour" I mean "Tabitha failing to remember which way we were supposed to go." So it ended up being six miles even. It was a beautiful hike with just enough challenging spots to keep us sweating (but not dying); the only thing that was less than ideal was that the fog was pretty dense for most of the hike, leaving us with very little to look at outside the trail and immediate surroundings. Theoretically, McMenemy boasts amazing views of Montecito, so I guess I'll have to try this one again on a sunnier day.

Then came Sunday. The weather report claimed that the sun would be coming out by 11 or noon, so I figured our 2:30 start time meant we were sure to have a clear, sunny hike up Cold Spring Trail.

Not so.

It was significantly foggier than Saturday! As frustrating as it was to have another hike with no stellar views to be seen, I think we were all grateful for the cool air as some parts of the trail were quite challenging and sweat-inducing. (I mean, obviously. I burned over 1300 calories each hike, so I got pretty doggone sweaty.) Most of us ended up turning around at the eucalyptus tree, which made it a six-mile trip total, but a few turned around a bit earlier, and a few brave men ventured to (what they thought was) the top -- that is, Montecito Peak -- but was actually some crazy detour to the water tank that Amy and I actually crossed during our McMenemy hike, making their total trip about a nine-mile hike!

I had a blast this weekend taking on two long hikes (my longest up to that point was about four miles), and I am truly amazed that my legs are actually working today (hence: magic). More than anything, all this hiking just makes me want to keep exploring more of the many hikes in this area! I just need to find a more accurate weather forecast, is all.

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment:

Saturday - McMenemy Trail to Saddlerock

Top left: At the start of McMenemy Trail
Top right: Amy's signature pose, crossing the creek!
Bottom left: McMenemy Bench - Great rest stop / photo op
Bottom right: Saddlerock! (I'm on top of it looking down at Amy and the "view" aka fog)

Here's me on Saddlerock (photo courtesy of Amy)!

Left: Crossing the creek on the way back
Top right: Us on top of Saddlerock!
Bottom right: Climbing up the water tower...
(This is the same water tower that the boys somehow found Sunday!)

Sunday - Cold Spring Trail to the Eucalyptus Tree

Top left: Natalie, Levi and me at a mid-hike water break
Top right: Evidence of how dense the fog was; you can see Todd and Helly,
but there are like six more people behind them!
Bottom left: Still some pretty sights despite the fog
Bottom right: Natalie the tree-climber (at the eucalyptus tree)

Top left: Corinne, why you so pretty after hiking three miles?
Top right: Nick, Toby the dog, Ulf and Nehemiah - the brave boys who kept going!
Middle right: Levi caught mid-snack. (Tee hee)
Bottom left & bottom right: Natalie found a California newt toward the end of the trail!
She made him a home and named him Toothless...get it? (I didn't.)