Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I'm very excited about this:

Monday, June 28, 2010


I've done the math.

The summer after I turned 18 my entire family put my stuff in my little purple Subaru and Mom and Dad's Ford Windstar and we all drove across the Nevada desert to Los Angeles for my freshman year of college. They helped me get my dorm room situated. Dad even put my bed on a loft - he built it - and my dorm room smelled like saw dust for my first semester. I loved that. Then they left. That was my first move.

My freshman year at APU was wonderful, except the the dirty, fast paced, materialistic Southern California culture. That was tough to deal with my first year on my own. But I loved studying music at APU. I love my friends, my classes, my teachers... But I didn't go back. I had left my things in a storage container out there and Dad and Janelle actually drove back to California to pick up my things while I was working that summer. Can you believe that? I'm still not sure how that all happened. Then I moved an hour south of my home town to Colorado Springs for the remainder of my college years. That was my second move.

And each summer in Colorado Springs I moved my things to a new living situation. Sophomore year I lived alone in an apartment to myself. Junior year I lived in a beautiful big house (we called it "the castle") with some great friends (third move). Senior year I lived in an apartment with my husband (fourth move).

Then we moved to Kenya. We put our stuff in "storage" (my old bedroom at Mom and Dad's house - VERY generous of them!) that year up in Littleton (fifth move).

The next summer we moved back to Colorado Springs into the same apartment building that we had lived in as newly weds. We only had a 9 month lease (sixth move).

Then we moved to Illinois for grad school (seventh move). We got to stay at Trinity for two years. Which was amazing. It was my first summer that I hadn't packed up all of my belongings to relocate. I was antsy and confused. Ha!

Last summer we came out to Utah for Landon's PhD (eighth move - which we did in two stages - putting our stuff in storage for 2 months).

And now that summer has rolled around again, we are relocating 30 minutes south in Salt Lake City (ninth move). I am relieved that we are doing a local move. It has been a very long while since I have been able leave my clothes on the hangers, put our perishables into a cooler instead of the trash can, and toss them into the back of the car and unpack the same day.

I would love to claim our new little house for the next four years through the remainder of Landon's PhD. But I fear we may outgrow it if procreation is ever on the agenda.

By the way - this is my 500th post on this blog!!!! yay!!! it only took me 3 years to to get here. Thank you for reading, friends! Wow - I am amazed that you have the desire and ability to endure me for 500 blog posts. cheers!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Savoring Kaysville Evenings

(all pictures are of the mountains behind our house from our back porch)

I've never lived somewhere with days as long as these. In Utah we are farther west than anywhere else I've ever lived in the Mountain Standard Time zone. So after the sun goes down behind the Rocky Mountains for my Front Range friends and family, it is still shining on us. And the Rocky Mountains are east of us, so we get to watch the sun travel all the way to the bottom of a flat horizon (for us - the Great Salt Lake). So Landon and I have been enjoying our evenings outside in our back yard lately, watching the sunset, and enjoying the twilight until about...9:30. Wow.
We are moving on Tuesday. So I am trying to savor the remainder of our days with our big yard and mountain views. Where we are moving we will be squished between other little bungalows, unable to see the mountains from our back porch or windows. Although we will be much closer to the mountains and much closer to school -  so we are so very excited! I just know that the peace and joy of catching a glance at my favorite beasts whenever I pass through a room with Eastern facing windows won't be in my every day. Not at home. But i'm hoping to get out of the house anyway and find a job in the city.
Yes, my friends, things here are surely changing...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Missed Adventures are still Adventures

We've been pretty bad lately at achieving our outdoor sporting goals. Well, mostly just rock climbing.

Saturday we drove into Little Cottonwood Canyon (can i just interject and say that I am SOOOOOoooo excited to move to Salt Lake City and cut a half hour off of all of our trips!).  We went to go rock climbing. Just a quick 5 pitch route that should have been pretty easy, but I was still nervous. We had to cross a roaring river to get to the other side of the canyon to start our approach to the cliffs, but the bridge was demolished. We drove and walked up and down that river to try and find a different way to cross. Maybe in the fall, when the rivers are not roaring from snow-melt we will be able to wade or hot stones or something. With the Spring raging water, it was too dangerous to cross on a pipe or fallen tree. So we hiked around a little. Then we drove up to Alta and Snowbird and looked over the prospective ski terrain, talking about where we might ski this next year. I love to think about skiing. And we left the canyon having never dug our fingers into any cliffs.
(Ruth Lake still covered in ice)
Yesterday we drove up the Mirror Lake Highway past Park City deep into the Uintah's. We hiked 1.6 miles (so short!)  through the woods to put up our camp next to Ruth Lake. We've been here before. Last September, and it was so incredible with the mountain views and rock climbing, crystal clear lakes and almost utter solitude, I've been squirming to go back.
(Duvick in the Mountains)
We got there in the afternoon so we could have all day to rock climb until it got dark - it was the day that we would receive the most sunlight of any day of the year (sunset at 9:45 out here!). But our hike in was long because it was through a lot of snow, actually. And the actual trail was difficult to spot and when we did see it, it was often running beneath a stream of snow melt. We finally found the perfect camping spot beside Ruth Lake: flat enough for a tent, close enough to trees to block the wind, and a close distance for running water for drinking and i love sleeping without ear-reach of running water.
(hiking on snow!)
We weren't sure if we could make it to the cliffs. It was very obvious that no one besides snowmobiles had been to this lake in many many months. And cliffs were North-facing, so we guessed the rocks would be cold/wet and the snow on the approach had less a chance of melting than the rest of the snow around us. And we had a hard enough time keeping our feet dry on the hike in. But we thought that we would just hike the 1/2 mile over there and see if it would be possible to try to climb the cliffs.
(getting water from a stream of snowmelt)
The first thing we did was begin to filter water into our bottles to take climbing. We packed 4 bottles, but only packed 2 with water in them so that we wouldn't have to carry the extra weight. And we had already emptied one on our way in. But the water filter was broken. It was brand new, never used, and broken.
(Landon problem solving. pretty awesome filter though, huh? no pumping!)
There is no plan B when there is no water. So we cancelled the climbing trip. If we can't get water, then we certainly can't make it there and back - even if we didn't climb at all - and still spend the night. So we brainstormed boiling water to drink and to make our dinner (spaghetti). But Landon didn't think that we had enough gas to fuel the burner for that long. And it was too windy to have a fire (the evergreens around our camp we red, dry, and dead from the beetles). We walked around through the forest for awhile, drank some Fat Tire, and packed up our stuff and hiked out.
(New Belgium, thank you for making Fat Tire in cans. Perfect for backpacking trips!)
(you better believe we went straight to REI and exchanged our brand new water filter for another one).
(water running from everywhere!)
Just being in the mountains was wonderful. We didn't see any wildlife, though I was on the look out for Moose, Bear and Deer. It was amazing to have those woods completely to ourselves. I loved being surrounded by the tall snowy peaks, the smell of conifer and ponderosa, and the sound of running water from every direction! Though I left with wet and muddy feet, the skin on my face was burned by the warm, high altitude sun. Things at home are a little stressful with preparing to move, working with sponsorship, and looking for a new job. My heart and my mind were completely de-stressed during my time in the mountains. It was such a physical feeling of burdens lifted as we drove deeper into the Uintah's.
(me gusto Fat Tire tambien)

In the mountains I feel so at home, so at peace. These misadventures were not at all a waste of time.

(a frozen Ruth Lake again)
I am so grateful to live life beside the mountains.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy First day of Summer!!!

We are celebrating this longest day of the year by backpacking into the Uintah's to go rock climbing and camping. I have been craving some mountain solitude lately....desperately. 

....maybe some pictures will follow soon....

I hope that you will celebrate this first day of summer with some time out of doors today. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Now on to Captain Red-Beard

Our days are a bit different lately, with Landon out of school now. I think I babble too much about me. And I know that some of you come to this blog with a deeper interest in Mr. McBrayer than his hot-stuff wife, so today it's all about him (without his prior approval).

Landon has been busy busy busy with things around the house and around town. He has been given his teaching assignment for this fall semester. He will be teaching an under-grad course in philosophy and religion, as he is the resident expert. So Landon has been planning and reading for that class. On top of this he and some of his philosophy buddies have put together a reading/paper writing study group just for kicks. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. Those graduate students...

Doons found us a house to rent come July, which is an amazing blessing! It is about 3 miles from his school and only a few blocks from an organic foods store and coffee shop. And don't forget, only 15 minutes from the ski slopes (And our open invitation still stands) We are so grateful for a home to rent! (and I had a job interview this morning for a wonderful organization - so we will see where that takes us). God is opening doors for us here and we are so grateful for his provision.

Mr. McBrayer has been de-winterizing our house and getting it ready not only for the summer but for our move in a few weeks.

He got in a few more days of skiing before the snow turned to sludge:

And yesterday he waxed the last of our skis, putting them in hibernation for the summer months.

And on top of all of that, he has been an amazing chef and wonderful support to me as I continue to work with sponsorship and job search. 

Just a little update. And he has facebook now. So shout him a hollar!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This flower is called the Colorado Blue Columbine

I love Columbines. They are a very delicate and beautiful flower that grows in meadows, woodlands, and higher altitudes. If you are hiking in the mountains, as you climb higher and higher, you will notice the vegetation tapering off. Along with the mosses, peeking through the cracks of the rocks and beside the edge of the trail the Columbines still grow. 

The Colorado Blue Columbine is Colorado's state flower, which means that I have cherished these little beauties my entire life, much like the Blue Spruce and "America the Beautiful" and anything else that Colorado has a bit of a stamp on. The seeds and roots are actually poisonous and very toxic to be ingested. I've always appreciated them because Columbines don't need to be nurtured like most flowers. They are hardy, and even plant themselves in the cracks in the rocks - and they return every year no matter how treacherous the winter. What little inspirations, they are.

Mom planted Columbines at her house, which I got to enjoy during our visit there. When we arrived home to Utah, I was delightfully surprised to see some of these sweet friends towering over the weeds in the dirt beside my front porch. What a delight, to arrive home and see the Columbines here to greet me!!

For the last 5ish years, Mom and Nell and I always talk and tease and contemplate getting tattoos together. We've actually gone as far as to sit in a tattoo parlor and wait for our turn, until one of us lost courage and we went and got ice cream instead. Lately, the Columbine is what I've wanted for my tattoo. It is so beautiful and has been such a significant symbol throughout my life - always carrying different meanings and significances, but it has been prominent in my heart throughout my life. Signifying mountains or remembrance or strength and tenacity, or Colorado or home.... what a lovely flower.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I'm so sorry for my lapse in posting. Though I did warn you, not even I could imagine the time that would pass.

(Kale and Saeran. Our 7mo. old nephew and niece)

Landon and I have been with family. When we are with family, I really don't like to blog. We got to see McBrayer's at the beach in Florida and Sheely's in Denver. Landon and I are so blessed by our families. Eight babies ages 3 and under make for an exciting and exhausting extended weekend at the beach. Not only have we been with family, and enjoying the beautiful nature at both the Gulf and the Rockies, but we are thrown into another period of unknown. Although this one is scarier than others, I think, anyway.

We don't have enough employment to support us. It's a scary place to be. Our lease is up in two weeks along with my contract of employment with Sponsorship, and I'm realizing that without income we can't get a place to live. I've applied to over 80 jobs these last 3 months. And i'm not being too picky. But I know that if I throw my application at Starbucks that even there, I wouldn't make enough money to pay our bills.

I try to be a woman of Proverbs 31: a woman who will "laugh at the days to come". Meaning, to trust God with my future, and not carry it upon my own shoulders, trusting him unwaveringly. And that is getting more and more difficult as my family's well-being is my responsibility and we are very soon to be homeless.... of course, this sounds silly. Someone is bound to rent us a house, right? Or we could live with my parents until I find a job.....if that could be soon....  But when it comes down to it... Quite simply, come July, we don't have a house or a job. And July is quickly approaching and I feel like a deer in its headlights.

This is becoming a constant thought. Like a popcorn kernel stuck in my throat, is our financial situation in my mind. Except that it is also such a heavy weight.

I haven't even kept up with your blogs very well. Which makes me sad, because I know that your lives have been changing a lot in  these last 3 weeks. But I will do better. And I will keep you posted.

I hope that you are continuing to grow in your love for God and for others and that you will take some time this summer to live a little wild!!!