Tuesday, July 15, 2008

London, England 2012?

I went on a long bike ride this evening. It was beautiful, beautiful winding road-up and down-on my way through the Siskyou National Forest. The river off to my right eventually turned into a very rocky, narrow gorge with tall, old timber clinging to the banks offering a picturesque backdrop to my panting up...up...up...burning quads and knuckles holding tight pushing-pulling my way with slight glances to the right calming my mind and easing my breath. This is God's country! It truly is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Yes, I love mountains and snow, palm trees and white sand, warm beaches and fresh tropical fruit, but this place is untouched, undiscovered, still a hidden treasure that others have not yet seen, have seen and can appreciate, have seen and are accustomed to. My soul connects with creation in this place...even when I'm panting on an uphill ride.

My adrenaline is flowing on rides such as this and with it an outpouring of thoughts. I usually come back in from a ride (or run for that matter) ready to conquer, inspired to walk outside the norm, ready to move move move! I come back with gumption. Yes, that's the word-with courage and spunk and guts! You can still hear it through the keys on my computer, can't you?!?

All that to bring me to this point. I've come to an understanding of making plans vs. setting goals. These always fell into the same category before, but something in me has learned, or decided and understood the need to differentiate. I've stated numerous times, I don't want to plan right now, I'm just praying. Well, I've felt very unproductive and decided part of praying is also making decisions, not waiting for heaven to fall on my face! I have this opt-out attitude when it comes to making decisions for my future. I'm looking for someone else to decide...how cowardly of me. Plans vs. goals-of course they look the same so often. Plans, the action to reaching a goal and the decision to put in the effort/discipline to reach the goal. The point is-I have to set goals, I need them to move me forward and there is a difference between making plans and setting goals. There are SO many books out there and numerous advisers who would encourage one to set 1, 2, 5, 10 year goals etc. I have a list of dreams, but I've never written down what I'd like to accomplish in the next 5 years. I'm not sure if that is laziness or fear of adding pressure and a "get it done" kind of lifestyle. I kinda like meandering.

My friend Sara likes to tease me about "what's next?". We ran our first marathon together and since then she seems to think I've always got something up my sleeve! My last visit to Portland, we went on a long walk and I shared about wanting to buy an around-the-world ticket to travel the world, sell my car and live in NY city because I'm sick of gas prices and want to attempt to live independent of a vehicle (yes, these ideas come after my runs!;) ), move to Nashville, open a restaurant etc etc etc.! I'm worn out! Too many plans! So, it comes down to my goals in life. What are those 2, 5, 10 year goals? Here is one for you, the next 4 year goal is to go to the Olympics, 2012 in London England! I'm already so ecstatic and recruiting folks to come along. No, silly! I'm not competing. I've followed the trials in Eugene, track and field, and was in awe of those athletes. Just sit back and watch them move, the human body amazes me. And it seems so wierd, but something in me clicked as soon as I decided I wanted to go and watch. Something in me settled and decided it's time to buckle up and work hard, save money and make some great plans for attending. I can feel some of you chuckling at this random silliness, but honestly, I don't have a husband or a family or a career I'm passionate about which would lead me to staying put. And something this simple has clicked. Or maybe I just needed the next goal to look forward to. Something to achieve.

So, in the last post I said I was going to share something on the single life. I've been doing some market research :) and some reading and long time reflecting. Here is one simple blip from my experience. Timing is everything. As much as I'll admit hoping for a harp player (another story here), I've really been more concerned with myself and understanding what I have to offer, learning who I am and what I can give to others, before that is determined for me, before I accept what is culturally expected from my small town roots, to my church background, to my own desires and where they stem from. I know what my mom is thinking, "Steph, stop thinking about it" oh but that's not me. I'm an analyzer and you'll love me for every bit of it! I realize there is no end to learning about ourselves, but I'm absolutely grateful for the last few years of turmoil, growth, friendships, travel, moves across the country, foreign territory (physical, emotionl, relational, spiritual) etc.

Note to the reader:
These posts feel very random and wordy lately. I think I could gab at you and go on and on buzzing about and, well, I hope I'm just getting to the point too. Thankful for your kindness in my randomness.:)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hello! (out of practice=randomness!)

Wow, too long since I've been on here. There have definitely been moments (especially on my commute) where I've wanted to write my thoughts down, but then I get home and distracted and it doesn't happen.

I don't have a lot to share on here, yet. I'm not really sure I have much to share at all, inspiration is running thin these days and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's the lazy days of summer, maybe my crazy hours (though I'm enjoying the restaurant environment), maybe I'm around people all the time and find that I don't spend as much time internally carrying on a conversation! Just a different place these past few months.

I purposely came home without much of a plan. I had a plan, but I've got many of those. Depending on the day I may be headed back to Portland or jet-setting and on my way to Europe. AND I've heard plenty of reasons why both should be the right next adventure. My problem= making a decision!:) I'm realizing the great value of stopping and digging in to a place. I did some of that in FL, but think my roots didn't go too deep because I was so far from home. I used to think I needed to be out somewhere in the world serving God, maybe a third world or developing country, maybe some place on the other side of the states. I've known in my head and have come to understand, our serving the Lord does not depend on place but function. I hate the saying but it is so true, "Bloom where you are planted." It's so cliche, but fitting! I'm chasing that perfect place to plant, but it does not exist. It is merely heaven planted in my heart. It makes me look forward to what is ahead.

So, I had a mentor/pastor encourage me to continue to write and go back through some old journals. I'm planning on it, but I'm so scattered right now I'm not sure I'm ready. I'm living in two places (three the next few weeks) and moving about with my pillow and suitcase! Reminds me of Costa Rica...I recall the end of my time there and looking forward to not living out of my backpack. This has stirred that want in me to make some "big girl decisions" and find a place to unpack the boxes and items I've tucked away since January. It sounds so trite, but I'm really looking forward to unpacking my coffee mugs. I wonder if that is symbolic of sitting down, journaling, and thinking about things that stir. Hhhmmm, maybe there is a connection there.

That must be it for now! I leave for work at 4:23am tomorrow and it is off to bed for me. Thanks for following.

Soon to come-something about the single life!