The Beauty of the Great Outdoors

I got back from a wonderful outdoors service project Saturday evening. I was a facilitator for a group of ten excellent, eager college freshman.

We left the University of the Pacific at 9 am on Friday. We drove to the YMCA Point Bonita branch in Mill Valley above San Francisco. It was freezing when we arrived! We dropped all our stuff in the old military barracks we were sleeping in that night and then we met in our group. We played a few "get to know you" games and explored the area. We hiked up mountains and down to the beach. I definitely got my work out in for the day. We returned and ate dinner, delicious Mexican food that was so good, people were scrapping the guacamole bowl! We then had s'mores and enjoyed a warm but mercifully short campfire. We then dragged out tired selves to bed.

The next morning we were up and the very reasonable time of seven and got dressed for a day of service work. Groups were spread out and engaged in an array of volunteer work. Some groups cleaned sand dunes and up and around the housing units at Point Bonita. Other groups fixed up fire circles and built boxes to house fire logs. My group did awesome work. We sanded and cleaned the benches around the fire pit, we packed up and organized items in the Discovery Room (anywhere from sea shells to rocks to bones), and general clean up around the camp. I had the good fortune to do some fun work: trail maintenance.

A group of about twelve of us hiked a mountain, over the ridge, down the other side, down into a valley, through the valley and down a steep, loose-rock hill to a secluded rocky beach.
It was a beautiful hike and we were blessed with a clear day. We could see the whole city, the Golden Gate AND the Bay Bridge. Along the way, we took out invasive plants and cut back plants that were growing into the trail. We were huffing and puffing after climbing on our hands and feet up from the beach, but it was worth it. Another place that was worked in that I wish I had was the garden.

This place is amazing: they grow all their food and recycle it back into compost to grow more food! They are an inspiration and it is a great place to bring kids to to learn about their outside world and how important and connected it and we all are. The YMCA staff were excellent; all helpful and knowledgeable, and the food was delicious! There's nothing like hot soup on a cold day.


On Leave

My brothers are visiting on leave from the AirForce. They are two great guys with a lot of experience under their belts now. They are doing a great service to all of us and is doing my family very proud. One will be returning to Idaho and the other getting stationed in Japan. All I have to say is that they are doing a great and wonderful thing that I myself do not have courage to do. I am very proud of them both. Keep them in your prayers that they stay safe and can daily see the Lord's work in and around them.

Its a beautiful thing when people step up and help others out. We do not have a lot of that in this country. It probably has something to do with what our ideals are, which are along the lines of independence, every man for himself, me me me (which is very relevant with the narcissistic facebook and even these blogs)... Its just beautiful to see others helping others, just because, not because they are getting recognition or paid or whatever. Engaging in these actions, in my eyes, shows a love for people, even those that you do not know. Amazing.


And we won't come back till its over over there!

Well, he's not technically going over seas, but my little brother is off to boot camp tomorrow. He's enrolled in the U.S. Air Force and is going to serve our country good. I have another little brother who is already doing an awesome job and serving our country. He's been there for about, what, a year and a half already? Geez its been a long time since he left :( Anyways, the one that is leaving tomorrow, Denzel, he wanted to play games tonight. It was pretty fun: him, my mom and dad and myself played a few games. We started with Cribbage. It was Me and my mom against Denzel and my dad. They whooped us! Or, as you would say in the game, they snaked us! They beat us by over I think it was 15 points. Sad. But we followed up with dominoes, all of us against each other, and I won! Yup! :) It was fun, a good way to end the day. As we played we listened to Jamie Cullum. Lisa was under the table trying to get our attention and my other dog Ruby was in my room on my bed, trying to stay away from the dreaded force that is my dad. :) She terrified of him. Poor thing :( Before we played games tonight, my mom, Denzel and I went to church. The pastor called Denzel up and damn near the entire church went up and laid hands on my brother and asked God to guide him and keep him safe from harm. It was really touching. My mom cried. Normal. :) Anyways, it was good fun, and playing games was an awesome ending to a good, peaceful night. So all pray for my brother Denzel that he is safe, and pray for my other brother A.J. and my cousin who is also in the Air Force, Ryan. May God keep them all safe and let them do their duties to their country (haha, doodies... :) )