Thursday, August 16, 2012

Park Journeys = Life Lessons

Thursday, August 9 I embarked on a Journey to Yellowstone National Park. No words can express the amount of gratitude I feel when I look back over the last week. I was gifted with an amazing camera to use while I was there. My first attempt at photography! I was amazed at how I saw things differently through a camera's eye. The big and the small of Yellowstone seemed to pop in a way that I never appreciated before. My mother was an exceptional artist and I was lucky enough to have this door opened for me to finally appreciate what came so naturally to her. On September 9, 2003 my mother made a journal entry addressed to her two oldest grandchildren and "all to come for today", it read:
"Message to Joshua &Nathanael & all to come for today, don't be superficial. Take time to really listen, to store away, to really hear. Don't be so eager to speak, to draw attention to yourself that you don't savor the moment with the person you're with. Moments are few and pass quickly. Take time - make time - to be real."
Yellowstone and the company I kept while there....that was REAL. The silence that surrounded us gave us the ability to really hear and learn from one another. Along life's journey, we are faced with blessings. My blessings last week came in the form of ten amazing kids who allowed me to be a part of their lives for five days during the Park Journey's Yellowstone trip. They made an impact on my life in a way that I'm not sure they can fully understand. They are all amazing, smart, talented kids who possess the power to do anything they want. In the majestic backdrop of Yellowstone National Park, they have renewed my spirit to become a lifeling learner. This is just a short note to them.


Brianna, Lauren, Lateeka, Latrice, Mikayla,
Sean, Cortney, Xavier, Khalil and Jacques:

Throughout your life you will be faced with challenges. Those challenges are all merely steps that mold you and make you who you are. Some days are amazing, like that photo that is perfect on the first take. The lighting, the depth of field, all of it just seems to fall into place effortlessly. Other days, regardless of what you do, you still don't get the photo you want. The key is to never stop working for it or believing that you can achieve it. Never be ashamed to ask those who have more experience than you for help. (Thanks to Sean and Xavier I finally got the picture I wanted. It was one of 600+, but it's mine and it's perfect to me.)

Work, endurance, and humility breed success. Each of you has an amazing gift that you possess and you have the opportunity to make a difference in your lives and the lives of those you touch. You have the ability to impact people, always keep that in the back of your mind with the words you speak and the actions you exhibit. Much love to all of you. You have contributed to my life and my Yellowstone memories and I will be forever grateful to you.

Yellowstone is a part of all of us now and we too have left our mark there "STEEEEVE". When things get tough, and they will, be reminded of this time and realize that prior to Yellowstone, you were strong enough to endure the string of events that brought you to that peaceful and grand place. You will endure again and your Yellowstone will be waiting. Recognize that you have NO boundaries, you have NO walls. You have the choice to make the life you want. Be mindful in your choices and you'll see your skies open up!

Finally, don't be afraid to take the road less traveled. It is down those roads that you find the stillness of Trout Lake, the majesty of Yellowstone Falls, or the vivid colors of the Grand Prismatic.

 "There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."
- Lord Byron

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