simplicitee

Reading, thinking, biking, sharing…

Religion versus God October 22, 2008

While I am not a religious person, I have always been a faithful person.  I pray daily and seek out God in the little places: in nature, in others, in my heart.  Before I act, I always try to ask myself if the action is aligned with my morals and values.  Above all, I try to be God-ful, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always trying. 

The most important values to me are love and kindness and I think all actions can be judged against them.  These values apply to our relationships with others, the earth, animals, and God.  During this election season (and earlier), I have been appalled by the hateful venom that has come from religious establishments in this country and from the lack of willigness to care for the less fortunate.

Reading blogs and listening to the likes of James Dobson, I keep hearing that the two most important issues for Christians in the election are protection of traditional marriage and unborn life.  I dont think either of those are bad values.   Marriage between a man and a woman is sacred and beautiful.  I also think abortion is generally morally wrong and I dont support it.  However, I also dont  beleive in a constitutional ban on gay marraige, nor am I part of the pro-life camp. 

Spewing hate towards the gay community and pro-choicers is wrong, wrong, wrong.  I really dont see how civil unions threatens anybody’s traditional marraige.  Are these people really that insecure in their marraiges?!?!  Civil unions are  not going to destroy anybody’s marraiges or corrupt your children.  In contrast, banning gay marraige is hateful and judgeful.  How about trying out a little love and kindness, and if your God dissaproves, then let him judge, not you.

Likewise, overturning Roe v Wade places a woman’s rights to control over her body (and her life) in jeapordy.  Taking away rights moves us towards a slippery and dangerous slope.  Nobody is pro-abortion, they are pro-choice.  If the pro-life camp spent the amount of energy and money they spent fighting abortion on adoption,  contraception, and opportunity for women, I think they would go much farther in reducing abortions.  In addition, they would empower women rather than dimishing their rights.

By focusing so much on gay marraige and abortion, Christians are completely missing the boat on far greater opportunities for good.  If Christians are concerned about murder of the unborn, they should be equally outraged about the murder of US soldiers and Iraqi citizens.  They should be concerned about the underpriveleged and struggling.  Providing universal health care is the decent thing to do.  Caring for veterans and the mentally ill is the moral thing to do.  Protecting the environment is being thankful for the gifts God has provided.

It is my opinion that the fundamentalist movement in this country doesn’t have much to do with God at all.  It has to do with fear and judgement rather than love and kindness.  I hope that the true Christians will vote in November (Republican or Democrat) with their hearts rather than with their church.  I will be, and I dare anyone to call me a heathen.

 

Worth a thousand words October 6, 2008

Filed under: adventure,arizona,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 3:10 pm

I will write up a report on TOWM soon, but first I want to share some pictures from the last several weekends of biking.

This is a picture of the McDowell’s on a hot summer morning.

 

Sweaty but still smiling.

 

 BB at a beautiful lookout in Prescott before we started descending.

 

Lovely little pool that we ran into late in the afternoon.  I stopped for a snack.

 

 

Going through a tunnel blasted through the rock.  This was in Flagstaff. 

 

Riding through the aspens; moments of joy.

 

Flagstaff September 23, 2008

Filed under: arizona,Camping,Flagstaff,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 8:11 pm

Photo Credit

We escaped to Flagstaff for the weekend.  These little trips become so easy when you do lots of them, things are organized, you know exactly what you need for 2 days camping and biking.  Flagstaff was cold and windy when we arrived early Saturday morning.  It felt like fall!  We set up camp quickly and headed out on the bikes.  

What a ride.  We rode singletrack for 5 1/2 hours, sweeping through all kinds of scenery: meadows, aspen forest, pine trees, red rock.  I was so giddy, I was flying.  After 2 1/2 hours, Blair finally made me stop to eat something.  I didn’t even feel like I was working.  “This is mountain biking,” Blair said.

Sunday we rode from camp, climbing several miles before we started “the climb.”  We rode waterline road to Abineau Canyon.  The road is surrounded by Wilderness area and offers spectacular views.  Every time I went around a corner my heart jumped in awe.  Right before the cabins, the road winded through the most amazing forest of aspens.  I had never seen anything like it!  Fat aspens as far as the eye could see.  (I will post some pictures once I get them uploaded).  After the cabins, the road became more primitive.  There were areas where the whole road was covered by rock slides.  The wind also picked up and was blowing me around like crazy.  Just as my legs were starting to give in, we made it to the end of the road, Abineau canyon.  This was at 10,500′.  I think that is a record on my mountain bike.   From there, we were able to see the Grand Canyon!  What a view!

From there, we had close to 20 miles of downhill.  Both Blair and I were riding slow to enjoy the scenery and also to keep from getting too cold (we were freezing by the bottom).  This was a fabulous ride.  Lots of climbing, but never too steep and jaw-dropping beautiful.

I feel so blessed to have a weekend like that.  In so many ways I am blessed.

 

Wilderness therapy September 11, 2008

Filed under: God,happiness,love,Nature — onarete @ 4:21 pm

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.  -Mother Theresa  (Picture credit)

I am a life-long worrier.  I have  been busy worrying since I was a little kid.  Sometimes, I worry about important things.  Am I headed down the right career path?  Am I saving enough money?  Is our government protecting the less-fortunate, the environment, and our civil rights? 

But more often than not, I am worrying about really stupid, unimportant stuff.  Did I lock the back door?  Why is my bike making that creaking noise?  Am I going to make it to work on time?  I drive myself crazy, and I am pretty sure I make the people around me crazy also.

The last couple of weekends I have gotten to escape to the wild.  Well not exactly the wild, but I’ve gotten to escape to nature.  And the same thing happened that always happens when I get outside: I quit worrying.  My mind goes quiet and my body literally fills with joy.  My soul is filled with wonder and amazement, love and happiness, peace and spirit.  I’m not the person who goes to work, exercises each night, makes phone calls, runs errand, tries to stay connected to family and friends.  I just am.  And I am well.

Being in nature is our primal condition.  Animals, trees, water, mountains, deserts: these are all a part of who we are as humans.  And yet so much of our modern life is spent separated from it all.  An article in the Oxford University Press suggests the same:

Humans have spent many thousands of years adapting to natural environments, yet have only inhabited urban ones for relatively few generations.  Whilst modern ‘westernization’ has doubled our life expectancy, it has also created disparities between ancient and present ways of living that may have paved the way for the emergence of new serious diseases.  ‘As more people survive to older age, and as patterns of living, consuming and environmental exposures change, so non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer have come to dominate.’ Further, mental, behavioural and social health problems are seen to be an increasing health burden in all parts of the world.

According to the World Bank and the World Health Organization, mental health disorders currently constitute 10% of the global burden of disease. In Australia, depression costs the economy AUD$3.3 billion in lost productivity each year. Estimates suggest by the year 2020 mental health disorders will rise to 15% of the global burden of disease and depression alone will constitute one of the largest health problems worldwide…The evidence invites us to ‘look outside’ for solutions to this global contemporary health epidemic.

Clearly, our health, mental and physical, is effected by our environment.  I would also argue that our spiritual health is affected.  For me at least God is nature, they are one in the same.  Which makes sense.  Our connection to nature is primal; our connection to God is primal.  A sense of our true self can only be found outside the city limits.

For me at least.

 

Happy Birthday to my Mom August 19, 2008

Filed under: family,happiness,love — onarete @ 5:17 pm

 

Today is my mom’s birthday.  She was the first love I ever knew; I loved her before my own birthday.  Everything warm and cuddly and safe is my Mom, even now.  She is the only person in my life who’s approval I’ve never had to work for or who’s love has felt unconditional.  My mom has never made me feel disappointed or embarrassed or insubstantial.  Every good moment in my life and every success has been possible because I knew she was the safety net beneath me.  She loves my sister and I so much; she is an inspiration to all to love like her.

My mom stayed home with us growing up.  Now as an adult, I realize what a huge sacrifice that was.  She was always, always there.  She did crafts, and threw birthday parties, and poured warm water into the kiddie pool.  She made me macaroni-and-cheese, and took me to ballet, and prayed with me at night.  She held my hand, and made Halloween costumes, and listened to me read while she cooked dinner. 

She’s still the best mom–a great friend, caregiver, and role model.  I miss her every single day and always feel like life is gonna be alright when I see her again.  Mom, I love you so so so much.  I hope you have a great birthday and know you are loved.

 

The God of Small Things August 11, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,happiness,life,love,summer — onarete @ 6:00 pm

Even small things can delight us,
Even small things can be precious.

 

My Weekend:

1.  Riding my bike. 

2.  Eating mexican food.

3.  Spending time with Blair.

4.  Watching the Olympics.

5.  Swimming in the pool.

6.  Reading bike magazines.

7.  Sleeping in.

8.  Taking naps.

9.  Eating potatoes.

10.  Talking to my sister on the phone.

11. Watching TV at the gym.

12.  Laughing.

13.  Loree’s birthday party.

 

Catching up August 4, 2008

As usual, the last few weeks have been a whirlind.  Finally, a moment to take a deep breath and rewind.

STP:  KD came to visit and we rode Seattle to Portland with another of her friends.  200 miles in 2 days, crazy fun.  Here we are at the finish line (pic stolen from KD).

Idaho:  I went and visited my family in Idaho Falls for close to two weeks.  The highlight was an epic mtn bike ride with my dad from the Kelly Canyon area to Driggs.  We rode up and over Garns mountain at 9,015 feet.  Not only was it fun and beautiful, it was awesome to experience it with my Dad.  It is a day I will never forget. 

 I also got a fun, if impossible, ride on the South Fork trail with Blair.  One of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Other than mtn biking, Dad and I went on a killer road ride.  I also got in some fun cruises around town, an overnight float trip on the South Fork, swimming at Heise, lots of good cooking by Mom including homemade ice cream, fantasy Tour de France, and most importantly lots of love.  My family means so much to me!

Road trip:  Blair and I drove back to Mesa in a rental van with all of his stuff.  The first day we drove to Zion National Park and arrived by mid-afternoon.  We rode that Pa’rus trail and then the road into the canyon.  At the lodge, we locked up the bikes and went for a hike to the Lower, Mid, and Upper Pools.  Zion definately counts as one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been.  We also went swimming in the river; I thought I had died and gone to heavan. 

The next day we drove to Flagstaff and went biking in the Shultz Pass area.  These trails were fun, fast, and we loved biking through the pines.  We had planned on camping overnight but a monsoon hit us, and we drove back to Phoenix in the downpour.

Mesa:  Now I am back at work and back in Phoenix.  I didnt realize how much this seems like home to me, until I went away and came back.  I love the dessert and the sun and my life here.  Blair is here with me now too, which makes it that much better.  We’ve gotten in four rides since being back–Hawes, another Hawe’s ride (this one at night), S. Mountain, and the McDowell’s. 

All and all, life has been pretty darn good.