Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics...go USA!

There's something about the Olympics that makes me come alive. I love the Olympics. I love the glorious moments of victory and the agonizing moments of defeat. Words are unable to express the amount of time, energy and dedication the athletes put into their sport in order to display their talent for the entire world to see. Every 4 years the world gets the opportunity to know the athletes' stories and temporarily take them on as their own.
My favorite sports to watch are Gymnastics, Track & Field and Swimming. I love them actually. I am so excited to see the routines and world records that will be broken. There's no doubt in my mind that Michael Phelps will become the world's most decorated olympic athlete, regardless of the new swimsuits. Gymnastics and Track & Field have a tough 2 weeks ahead of them with fantastic competitors from numerous countries, but I'm sure the USA will represent well.
I think one of the things I love the most about the Olympics, is that they bring people together. Amidst things like presidential elections, radical extremists and people fighting over various ideas and opinions...comes a common ground to root for one's country. (Unless you're "anti-China" which is's just the location of the Olympics. Look beyond that and support your country!) In addition, what truly ties the olympic experience together is the memorable Bob Costas. I'm naming him "Voice of the Olympics".  
Tonight's the television broadcast of the opening ceremonies and I'm watching the whole thing if it kills me.  The show each country puts together in support of the olympics is always amazing. The lighting of the olympic flame is one of my favorite aspects. The year the man shot the flaming arrow to light the flame was by far the best. I'm sure China will not disappoint. Go USA!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Camping...friend or foe?

Recently James and I invested in Martin family camping gear to have for years to come. It's been so much fun knowing that we now have a great tent and super comfortable cots to sleep on, cute lantern, big cooler and a grill grate. Simply put: we're camping snobs. No matter where we go...we want to be comfortable. There's no desire between us to hike for miles with all our needs strapped to our backs. Officially: we're Car Campers and proud of it.
However, nature has a way of defying all of our selfish and controlling attitudes. This past weekend we went camping with our dear friends the Rutledges and Vonks at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska. First of all, it was beautiful there and we rented a boat and had a great time skiing, tubing and wake boarding. This was about all we had going for us. "Hot" is not even close to describing the temperature we were immersed in for the weekend. "Blazing hot as Dallas" describes it a little better. I don't think I've ever been so inescapably hot before. On top of the heat we had sand in everything, biting flies, huge beetles and toads everywhere. Our comfort level was at a zero the majority of the weekend, even with our top notch camping gear. The result this weekend was that camping to me seemed more like a foe than a friend, robbing us (for the most part) of relaxation.
Despite the less than ideal conditions of this past weekend, we will still go camping 2 more times this summer. There's something about camping that is simple and beneficial beyond words. Placing one's self in God's creation brings a sense of vulnerability and simplicity that is hard to find elsewhere. No cell phones, computers or tv's to distract one from the moments of great conversation and elements beyond control. Camping frees people to just be, relax and connect with those they are with. It also makes one more appreciative of one's home and the "easy access" to things they possess.
I think camping in the mountains of Colorado is the perfect camping situation. Minimal bugs, no humidity, common breezes and cool nights that welcome camp fires...can you go wrong? And if you're lucky enough to find a spot near a river or lake you're on top of the world! (literally) In such cases camping is your long lost friend bringing you renewal and relaxation that you deserve the most.
So pack your vehicles with your favorite camping foods, gear and good attitudes and head out on a camping adventure. Regardless of the situation you encounter, remember that you're amidst God's divine creation full of unknowns and no demands. Sit back by the fire, roast a marshmallow and intentionally forget about your cell phone. No twittering allowed.