mission mountains – ronan, MT

of all the mountain ranges i pass repeatedly here in montana, the missions are the ones that stick out the most.  every time i see them i think for a moment of what it must be like for visitors here to see them for the first time.  they appear after you crest a long hill on highway 93 like a slap in the face- you know, one that mellows you out after a bout of hysteria.

to anyone taking this route to kalispell, i highly recommend taking MT-35 through bigfork.  the drive along flathead lake is unbeatable.

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gratitude

it’s my firm belief that gratitude is one of the most powerful forces in this world.  sometimes it’s the only saving grace we have when things feel harsh or worn-out.  some people don’t take the time to consider why they’re lucky, especially if they’re feeling particularly unlucky- which is the most necessary time to do it.  there have been numerous articles about gratitude and its impact on your physical and emotional well-being (here is a link to one published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter).  in a sense, gratitude really can help you fake it until you make it- by considering the positive side of your life, you change your attitude and your life, in turn, begins to change as well.

having lived in poverty for a long time, i am always reevaluating my circumstances and trying to check myself about the things i complain about.  today, while discussing the term “voluntary simplicity” with someone, i said jokingly that it seemed like the positive term for “broke”.  this made me think about basic human needs, and how bad off any of my friends or i actually are at the poverty levels we’re at.  it was then that i chanced upon this image.  i put it as my desktop background- to remind me of what i really have.

happy independence day <3

celebrate all your freedoms.

now this moment – a meditation

sometime ago i read the phrase, “dwelling quietly in the present moment”.  i’m sure it was in a book about buddhism, although it can apply to anyone in their own lives.  it is rare that we take enough time to be present; we are always thinking ahead or worrying about the past.

the meditation i have been doing recently is one i call “now this moment”.  when i have time to myself (because it does cause me to focus my mind, and so it’s not fair to do it when someone is trying to talk to me and so on) i sit and say to myself, “notice this moment.  now this moment.  now this moment.”  i space them apart by a few seconds and with each repetition i try to take absolute firm notice of the details of that particular moment.  i notice the tiniest things.  a cloud that looks like a seahorse.  a rust patch on someone’s bumper.  an osprey perched in the trees.  it’s lovely.  and it really helps me to calm my mind, especially when i find myself thinking way too much about the past or future- as is wont to happen all the damn time.

as you think about that-

here are some moments.

here’s my home.

who loves dog parks?

who loves dog parks?

the weather today was SO beautiful that i busted through my house cleaning and stuck the dogs in the car for a trip to the park.  eighty degrees, clear blue sky, happy dogs, and i found a free ice cream coupon in my wallet- i was set.  all it cost was the price of the gas to get there.  what a groovy day it’s been.  the whitefish dog park is really well maintained, and our dogs love going there.