Monday, June 30, 2014

The Irony is not Lost (Though the Wifi Is)

The most detrimental downfall to having a blog about living in the mountains (like this one is temporarily) is that the Internet does not always reach all the way up those solitudinous peaks.  For instance, this is the first day I have been able to connect to the Internet here in Shenandoah for almost three weeks.  However inconvenient this has been, no real harm has been done.  In fact, our community is probably better for it since we've been forced to find other things to do with our time like play games, hike, and just plain talk to each other.  Hopefully this deepened community can continue to grow even with the renewed distraction of the Internet.  

I have not been idle on my time away from the online world.  Here are a few snapshots of what I've been up to besides working (which is not generally exciting enough to take pictures of), hanging out with new friends (I don't really take "memories" pictures.), and continuing to lead Sunday services (It would be pretty awkward to snap a photo before starting my sermon.).  

At the Rose River Loop trailhead

Cave Cemetery, also along the Rose River Loop,
where the families of a few Civil War soldiers are buried.  Learn more here.

At the Cave Cemetery

Snake on the trail! Have yet to identify which kind,
but there are several species that call Shenandoah home.

Rose River Falls.  This loop is my favourite
trail I have hiked so far.

I spotted 13 hawks while at the summit of Stony Man!
One took off right over my head as I came off the trail to the overlook.
There is always more to share than I can convey in words and pictures here.  Despite the challenges of living and working here in Shenandoah, I am enjoying the overall experience and especially the community of people I am growing into.  Some of you may know I worked in Sequoia National Park (CA) for the summer a few years ago.  That summer I made a few close friends, but hiking and camping were the two main events for me.  This year, I am doing much less hiking, which I was disappointed about at first, but I am coming to suspect that God has me here to be a lot more involved in the community aspect of life in the mountains than just being in His beautiful Creation.  Anyway, here I am!

Prayer & Praise

Praise God for consistent attendance of our Sunday services by several Christian co-workers.
Pray for more opportunities to share the love of God with non-Christian co-workers whether through Sunday services or other encounters.

Praise God that we are able to save much of our earnings to pay for Ty's last semester of school as well as loans and living expenses when we return to Rochester.
Pray for patience and energy for both of us at work.  Park jobs are often stressful and it is easy to become discouraged, exhausted, and caught up in the general atmosphere of discontent and gossip.  

Thank you for partnering with us through your prayers!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friends in High Places

View from Little Stony Man
It helps to have a friend in high places.  We made a new one the other day!  This post kind of continues on with the idea of community I was talking about before.

Several days ago one of the guys who works in the bar, Matt, returned from a 10 day hike on the Appalachian Trail.  Matt had been around maybe the first day we arrived, but had been gone since then.  I was hanging up posters advertising our Sunday services in the employee lounge (called Dottie's Place) and he asked me about them.  He got very excited when he heard there were Christians leading worship here at Skyland, Big Meadows, and Loft Mountain.  Later on he pulled me aside and said he and people from his home town had been praying for God to send more Christians to Shenandoah!

We had a long chat about faith and the Shenandoah area, and how, for him, they are intertwined.  It is both exciting and encouraging to live in community with another member of God's family up here on the mountain.  Actually, there are a few other Christians here as well, which was already a blessing, but talking to Matt I could really feel the passion and desire he has to see Shenandoah National Park transformed into the image of the kingdom of God - "on earth as it is in heaven" were his exact words.
View from Miller's Head Overlook

Pray & Praise with Us
We are praising God for this new friendship and can't wait to see what will come of it.  Our first worship service will be this Sunday here at Skyland.  I will be giving the message and Ty will be leading worship.  Your thoughts and prayers would be much appreciated!  Prayers that the small community of Christians here would continue to support one another and influence the atmosphere of this mountain positively by showing Christ's love and living according to His example in every situation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Surviving in Community

Even butterflies gather in community!
Ok, that's cheesy, but I snapped this photo
on a recent hike to Cedar Run Falls
and thought it was cool enough to share!
I have experienced "living in community" in several different contexts:  There was, of course, growing up in a house with my family, then several rounds of summer camp, then a program called Katimavik where I was thrust into a house with eight other students from all over Canada, then college, living with other friends, and now, finally married life.  All of these contexts have taught me valuable lessons through fun times and times of conflict.  There is no doubt that living in community is hard.  This summer, my husband are both continuing to create our own community and living in community with other employees at Shenandoah National Park.  It's going well, and we are settling in to our new home away from home, but I have realized that we are only doing so well because of the help of others around us.