The Cycle of Hope and Despair

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Mt. Rainier, Washington State

Changing Attitudes and Feelings

…Social Media

Over the past 10 years myself and many of my friends have shown gratitude on social media with an abundance of pictures of families, social outings, and travel. Like everyone, this is why we participate. As social media evolves, with these daily examples of life, it is clear we are beyond blessed and thankful, and show this each and every day of the week.

Many times I felt the struggle of guarded feelings of jealousy and being envious.

COVID-19 US Ground Zero

It is March 16, 2020, Washington State. Up the road, just east of Seattle is Kirkland. Life Center of Kirkland, had the first casualties from COVID-19 the past month. The virus is spreading from China, to Italy, most of Europe and the United States.

Within a month or less time, we moved from denial to acceptance. We have sent our kids home from school for six weeks, closed public places, and started to shelter in place. We collectively looked at facts as evidence and then became people who sought hope in our medical community and governing powers, more than seeking our own self recognition.

Hope can be fleeting, however. Hope is and will be challenging. It is a hard to maintain and even harder place to live. When hope dwindles you easily begin to drive down a road of despair. Just that fast.

When you loose hope together and willingly, despair consumes you.

The Cycle of Despair and Hope

Today it flipped for me. As my husband and I walked a few miles through the surrounding  neighborhoods, the lesson I saw was many people standing outside in their front yards looking for us to say hello or to stop. Keep in mind it is chilly here in Washington State, 35 degrees and breezy and clear. Yet I never saw so many people outdoors, cleaning the garage, working in the yard, playing with their dogs, walking.

 “I am good,” I say, “how about you” with a smile, not looking away and down at my phone like I would have done on any other given day. Today my glance lingered, my smile lasted a bit longer. Then it was apparent. I added a word of encouragement keeping my social distance.

Isolation Spreads Despair

No one wants to feel isolated and despair lives in isolation. Hope thrives when we are together even if it is at a distance. We need a reassuring smile to see we are still going on but, remember we have done it to ourselves when we feed into despair.

Togetherness Builds Hope

As I walked I continued to think hope will be the big idea and safety net today, especially in light with what’s around us. Observe, listen and above all else remain positive. We are learning a new way to navigate life and cope with fleeting hope for a short time.

When you become tired and weary let others lift you and don’t drive down that road of despair and take others with you.  I was headed there when I stepped out my front door feeling alone today.  Help each other, reach out from a distance.  We are in this together.

Take that step.

Trail Grub and Snowshoe Video

Nothing is more important than good food on the trail.

A few weeks ago my friend Carrie and I ran into three ladies who had hiked the Wonderland Trail successfully a few years ago.

Since we were hut mates for the evening, Carrie, mostly picked their brains for the entire evening. Their food looked delicious and they talked about how many things they had dehydrated and dumped into ziplock baggies.

Ziplock baggies is key here because on the Wonderland it is pack it in and pack it out. You might find yourself with trash for days if you take the store brand sealable cooking pouch bags. Also if you’ve ever actually sampled those, they are hit and miss with taste with some of the desserts being overly sweet and lacking fresh taste.

When we returned after our stay at the hut, these recipes magically appeared in my email box.

I’ve also decided to dive into the world of dehydration. I should be able to do this with my oven that has low and convection settings.

Also important to note, a wonderful website TrailCooking.com

I’m doing the happy dance!

High Hut 1

Seated left to right:       Carrie, Lisa, Shannon, Susan, Catherine

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  Snowshoe Video

 

Mountains Calm Me

I spent a few days visiting my son and daughter in-law in Ft. Worth, Texas a few months ago when I captured this amazing picture of Mt. Rainier.

My son recently had had an emergency procedure for a spinal tumor. He is doing great now, walking all over and will make a full recovery. It was emotional for me to leave him once again. I cried a bit on the plane but as we descended towards Seattle the beautiful Mt. Rainier completely overtook me.

As photographer, I grabbed my camera, futzed with the setting and readied myself for the perfect opportunity to get a clean shot at that lovely mountain sitting proudly in the solitude of the setting sun.

As I sat perched and contorted in a seat behind the wing with the haze of a dirty and frozen window, the mountain seemed to look back at me as if saying sorry I’m not much of an opportunity or comfort right now but I am here for you.

My point in all this is, today as I look at my camera sitting on my desk and process photos, I realize there are many people we know that live like the mountain. As we become older, we begin to spend less time with family and friends and our world seems to shrink.

Because of this, a lot of self talk that occurs. We contemplate, rewind the past, and perhaps think if we had the past to do over again how we would do it differently.

Most importantly, I’ve experienced more loneliness and was a bit scared I wouldn’t feel valued for the first time. This fear of being isolated can get in the way of connections to others, the ability to be patient and thankful towards one another, and to be a comfort when others need comforting.

I saw a quote this morning,

Choose Kindness

“Today you could be standing next to someone who is trying their best not to fall apart. So whatever you do today, do it with kindness in your heart.”

First Hike

I met my training and hiking friend Candace at Pt. Defiance in Tacoma for an urban trail hike for our first hike of the year.

This January, I set goals for two hikes per week in addition to my regular gym and and replacing my endurance running workout. 

Since I recently trained and finished a 1/2 marathon in December, my body felt sore, tight and fatigued, so I took a well deserved running break. I also had some hamstring tightness that resulted in high hamstring tendonitis. It took about 6 weeks of recovery with no sprinting or high knee stepping at the gym. I also saw an acupuncturist for 3 non-invasive treatments to the area with the TENS unit hooked up to me. 

San Antonio 13.1 Marathon December

Note: The best advice I can give you with any injury or before embarking on daily physical training is see a doctor. During your training make sure you have adequate rest and nutrition. Needing a nap at noon everyday, or having frequent injuries is a sign of overtraining, not enough calories or both.

Since my endurance training has now been mostly replaced with hikes, I will need to pay close attention to my weekly workout and calories. Some of my endurance training will count as endurance, while others days are simply beautiful urban hikes which refuel my recovery and add to my rest days and spirit.

I also continued to meet with my personal trainer who noticed my dietary intake had changed with poor eating habits over then holidays.. My potassium, calcium and iron percents were well below normal based on my nutrition tracker MyFitnessPal as well.

During January find a beautiful urban hike such as Pt Defiance Park. It has an abundance of nature trails. Garmin measured the loop at about 5 miles. Calories 400 at sea level and 420 ft at the highest point. Just breathing in the abundance of oxygen completely restores me. Washington Trails Association Trip Report