Peace in his presence

Riley ran back to the car for some equipment and I realized I was alone. 

I haven't been alone in the woods since living back home in Michigan. These woods dwarfed those ones though. Thousands of years of growth. Trees that were so tall and wide they seemed more like skyscrapers. I looked up, unable to see the tops of the redwoods I was standing under. The nearby river was a soothing sound. The moss and ferns blanketed the forest in a giant quilt, made up of every shade of green. The fog silently moved through, covering and exposing new scenes constantly. I realized that there is no anxiety here, only peace. When I quiet my surroundings, I realize what is truly on my mind. Him

I can not feel this peace or see this beauty without thoughts of the creator. I unconsciously whisper "thank you" when I am in the woods, no matter what state I am in. This is where I feel his presence, even more than in church, prayer, or meditation. 

The work, the traffic, the tv shows, the smart phones..they all cause small amounts of anxiety for me. Nothing that I actually notice, until I take it all away. Those things are distractions from what is important. There is nothing for me to do but appreciate, and feel grateful when I am in nature. The woods are my xanax, my peace, my place. The deep breaths taken in that space filled me with life. I instantly knew the reason that I am here, my purpose, and I thanked my creator. Even though I am not thinking of him always, he is always thinking of me.

I just needed that reminder, that peaceful moment in the woods. 

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All photos taken in Redwood National Park.

Pinnacles

Riley had some downtime at work last week so he did a quick search of all of the national parks. He told me there were nine in California alone and we had just been to Yosemite at the start of 2018. 

"You want to go to all of them this year?"

This is just one reason why I love my husband. I get so caught up in the routine sometimes that I forget to plan stuff like this. We also have a lot of weddings that we are traveling to this year so we are unable to take a big trip, Riley always finds a way to see new places no matter the budget or time constraint. 

The closest park (that I had never heard of) was Pinnacles. It is a "baby" of a park, just established in 2013. The truth is, I wasn't very excited to go since it was not a place I knew of and when I looked up pictures they were less than impressive. Well, I am glad they were because we were pleasantly surprised. Our easy, 2.5 mile hike was beautiful and had us crawling through caves, marveling at rock formations, and listening to the sweet sound of the wind in the trees. This was so peaceful, one of those hikes that you didn't know you needed. There was one section that wound up and around a valley, sheer rock cliffs towered above us, and there was no one around. The weather was so mild, the sun warmed our backs and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. I couldn't stop thinking how grateful I felt for this day, for my husband, and for our life together. 

I did something new, I brought a special oil called gratitude that I was given for Christmas. I smelled it, and rubbed some on my wrists periodically throughout the hike. I wanted a beautiful, simple memory of that day whenever I uncapped "gratitude" in the future. I hope it reminds me of the weather, and the happiness, and the peace that Pinnacles national park gave us that day. 

We drove home and Riley made some chicken tom kha soup for us (his specialty). We looked through our pictures and talked about the day, I just had one question.

"Which park is next?"

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