Sporty, Strong & Spiritual

Packing for the hospital… an activity that takes more thought than it would seem.  Back in the chemo days… we always took our memory foam mattress to lay on top of the parent’s bed.  It always sat ready by the back door, and I bought two of all toiletries so that I didn’t have to pack them each week.  One of the worst things that could happen to a parent in those days was to forget a toothbrush and have to use the complimentary hospital toothbrush – wow, what a difference a toothbrush can make!

Overlooking the Columbia River Gorge
Our numbers were small today!

Anyway, I am working at not packing, and not thinking about tomorrow’s surgery.  Instead, I am going to blog about hiking; one hike in particular.   Later in the summer our Young Women will be going on a three day backpack trip.  (My one night of backpacking last year seems to have qualified me to be on the planning committee along with some fine young women.)  We have been going on a series of practice hikes; last week we wanted to spruce it up a bit and here is how it went:

Our yellow ribbons

The hike was planned – we were going to meet at 7 a.m. and drive up the Columbia River Gorge to Wahkeena Falls.  None of the adults had completed this hike.  Our committee had the fun idea to make it a scavenger hunt… this is hard to plan without knowing the trail.  Therefore, the night before I drove up with Natalie and her friend, Laura.  We hiked the 5 mile trail, made our plan and came home to quickly put it all together.   They had allowed my input on the trail but when it came right down to it, they wanted to do it on their own.  I was not allowed to see what they were typing and was given my own set of instructions.  They did a great job.  The next morning they got a 20 minute head start to “plant” their signs and clues along the way.
The trail is steep – judging by MY fatigue the night before, they chose the stopping points.  Here they would place a yellow ribbon into the ground with the rule that the girls must stop here, wait for everyone to catch up, and then I would read them a clue.  They knew that I would be bringing up the rear…  There were a total of 15 stops.  I want to type in a few of those stops because I was touched by the words that I read that morning and want to share them.

Stop #3 – this was at a sign marking an unused trail called “Perdition”.  I told them it must have been a “hellish” trail, so here is part of their “clue”:  Think about what you are doing when you make a bad decision…Be careful, Satan will slowly tighten his grasp on you.  He will do it slowly, maybe it’s a song or a TV show, you know what tempts you.  Don’t let him tempt you, you have the upper hand.  Yeah, you all pretty awesome… we love you but would like  you to think before you act. Is that one sit worth it…truly worth it?  And now for the candy... (they found Hot Tamales hidden in a tree.)

Wahkeena Creek tumbles down the
mountain – gorgeous scenery!

Stop #5 – Here someone had to do the Hokey Pokey (who then became trail leader), and the final reach of the hand revealed a bag full of $ Store sheriff badges with this note:  My dear sisters, in this world we live in we must protect our rights.  We must protect our values.  Much like the sheriffs did in the wild wild west.  Stand for Truth and Righteousness!  Let you light so shine before men!  If you refuse to wear this, the repentance rope will welcome you into its fold.  Carry On!  (The repentance rope was included to be used in case someone broke a rule or complained – they would have to be tethered to a leader at the back of the group… no one needed it).

This is only .25 miles.
Worth the walk.

Stop #9 – When we were doing this hike yesterday, this is where Mom felt like a break – we’re sure you do too.  Now look at the ground.  Roots everywhere!  We have a question for you… do you know what your great-great-great grandmother’s name is?  If you do… good for you, but if you don’t you might want to find out, because this woman lived.  She had trials and she had to make choices… What if she decided that kids weren’t worth it, or she just couldn’t make it through this life?  Her decisions affected you, she planted roots.  And like her, decisions you make will plant seeds whether you know it or not.  Are your seeds good or bad?  If you don’t think you’re worth it then think about them up in heaven rooting for you.   They want you to succeed.  And so do we!!! (They found Sour Patch Kids candy.)

Life is like waterfall!

Stop #10 – This was a beautiful waterfall and we asked for impromptu devotional thoughts on the theme of water.  The girls were able to think of some nice thoughts, particularly after Bishop Anderson shared these thoughts… he said that life was like the waterfall.  As we tumble we hit the rocks and it might seem painful, but these are the things that purify us and make us beautiful.

Those were my favorite notes.  Our overall hiking experience this summer has the theme of “Courage… for such a time as this” (from Esther).  Other stops included riddles and quotes, “I am born in fear, raised in truth and I come to my own in deed.  When comes a time that I am called forth, I come to serve the cause of need.  What am I?”  Of course, the answer is courage.    Courage is like a muscle, it is strengthened by use.  / Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway (John Wayne).  We stopped at a trail intersection to find plastic Easter eggs full of candy hidden about.  There were a few designated group photo spots.  Our final clue was a box that we could not open until we reached the summit – in it we found party hats/favors for a surprise birthday party.  Andrea’s birthday was earlier in the week and Bishop Anderson’s was that day.

Bishop got funny looks –
bringing up the rear
with a sheriff badge!

We then took the wrong trail and got back to our cars sooner than expected.  A little bit embarrassing, but nice to be done early – kept our day on a good schedule.  Cold watermelon at the cars finished the adventure…

Andrea collected ribbons

Here are few personal lessons that I learned.  First of all, I was so pleased to get to each stop and pull out such thoughtful and fun tasks/notes.  This showed me that my sweet daughter is not only listening, she is learning to teach others.  I would have never been able to pull this off at this age!!  The next lesson was also valuable – I had spent the week praying about this hike and how to pull off a scavenger hunt.  No ideas had come to me and I was getting worried.  (I didn’t even tell our other youth leader our plan until after I had done the pre-hike the night before because I couldn’t see how it was going to work.)  The great thing is, theideas didn’t come to me, they came to Natalie and Laura.  This was an experience that was meant for them.  My job was to provide the venture, and hike up and down that mountain a couple times.

Laura & Natalie
Job well done!

Good lessons.  Good girls.
Natalie just came in to read over pre-op instructions.  She is treating brain surgery as an adventure and we are all benefiting from her positive attitude.  She is a strong spirit who will be made stronger.  I am proud to be her mother.

We will report to the hospital at 7:30 for her 8:00 MRI.  Surgery should begin around 9:30 and last about three hours.  One night in ICU.  One or two nights on the regular floor and then home.  My plan is to be home by Wednesday – and wait for the news that her tumor is benign….





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