Mojave in my Heart

From a not-so childlike beginning in New York City to my child inspired world here and now


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sunrise hike

What is it that we always want more of? Or, less of? As we approached the holidays this year, I felt a strong desire to just BE together. Freedom to BE together. Perhaps Santa could arrange time together rather than things?  Perhaps we could remind ourselves that this time of the year is a gift to be free. To not feel the yoke of commercial obligation, but to take that moment and breath deep and remind yourself that YOU are FREE. I had an inspiring thought in the fall about the Sabbath in this regard– that truly the gift is freedom.

One of our favorite 12 Days this year was our sunrise hike day. Santa left warm undershirts, hot cocoa powder, and a map…a beguiling map that we were to follow the next morning to experience the beauty of the sunrise together as a family.

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Stephen and I were very tired during the holidays and honestly, it was challenging to gather the mental and physical, as well as emotional energy to follow through on this and some of the other 12 Days. Nonetheless, we set the alarm and went to bed early, unbeknownst to us, we were to receive an incredible gift the next day!

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Arlene and Ada? Amazingly excited to hit the trails at 6 am on a chilly, Colorado, winter morning. It was truly exhilarating to begin the hike. The mountains, black and silhouetted against a dark, but lighter background. The air was refreshing and almost nourishing. The quiet. The solitude. It was truly incredible and we were only 100 feet into the hike.

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We followed the map and landed at the star. What a spectacular spot to await the rising of the sun! We poured hot cocoa, settled in and waited. Suddenly everything was okay out there. Serenity and peace washed over me. There was no where else I’d rather be.  Within minutes it seemed everyone had found their own space and quiet, both physically and internally.

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What a miracle to experience the sunrise. Awaiting something so special, so simple was  at the heart of that morning. The season, too. It was dark, then it was slowly light.  It was just us and then there were animals. It was cold and then slowly, warm all the way through. It was quiet and then there were birds.

I did indeed get what I wanted for Christmas. A priceless experience– seemingly extravagant in how greatly it filled me up, yet completely free.


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trails of advent

 

Advent started early this year and while it seemed so soon after the girls’ birthday and Thanksgiving, I was feeling ready ! I was eager for our weeks of increasing darkness, the traditions of Advent, the girls’ choir, a joyful Christmas and our very sweet 12 Days.

We follow a theme for each week of Advent. Here is a well-known verse among Steiner schools which we loosely follow:

The first Light of Advent It is the Light of stones:
The Light that shines in seashells In crystals and our bones.

The second Light of Advent It is the Light of plants:
Plants that reach up to the sun And in the breezes dance.

The third Light of Advent, It is the light of beasts:
The Light of faith that we may see In greatest and in least.

The fourth Light of Advent It is the Light of humankind:
The Light of hope, of thoughts and deeds,
The Light of hand, heart and mind.

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I decided we would focus our first week of Advent doing what we love and found a way to work it into our main lesson block: hiking!! We explored new trails and revisited some well-loved ones all while looking at the stones that make up the corner of our world. Colorado is an incredible place for geology– from the Rocky Mountains to the high-plateau plains to the massive dunes. There are canyons that rival those in Arizona and many lovely spots in between right here in our backyard. We visited: Sanitas Mountain and Valley, Settlers’ Park, the Old Kiln Trail and a new trail (to us) in Morrison.  I focused on trails that had distinctive red sandstone of the Fountain Formation so we might notice how the “same” rock can be so different. What initially looked like only brown and tan rocks, maybe some “red” here and there, became shades of purple, pink, orange, yellow, grey, and so forth. My girls loved getting down on the ground, hugging and climbing the rocks to admire, examine, and wonder. In addition to the colors of the rainbow, we discovered beautiful new vistas, fossils, lichen and incredible rock formations (like the fins at Red Rocks). In the midst of our block on John Muir, we too found ourselves being called outside to the “school of nature.” We even rode our bikes to one of the trails! I’m grateful for the reminder, I feel at peace outside. Maybe that blanket of peace and joy was  needed not to pave the way for the weeks of Advent, but for the news of Wendy’s death.

Sanitas Valley

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Settlers Park

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Morrison Slide Trail

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Old Kiln Trail

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Shortly into December we received the tragic news that Stephen’s sister died. It took our breath away. We talked about our time at the beach with her this summer, the last time Stephen checked in with her– about a song they loved.  Our lives are constantly uncertain. We just never know. We paused and turned inward. Within a few days we were back in North Carolina to grieve and be with family. So much to say here. Wendy here in white tank top in between Scott and myself.

Pullen Park

Pullen Park