It’s been awhile since my last post, which is usual, but life has kept me busy with two jobs, community involvement and everything else it has thrown at me. So I thought I would post something related to all the hype that’s been occurring of late. I’m talking about the Trump travel ban and the chaos that has subsequently ensued as a result. Now I’m not one to get into political discussions on social media. That’s not me. I like to keep my political opinions to myself. I prefer to talk about positive things, writing, travel and other tidbits that could be otherwise helpful.
I do feel for those affected by the ban. I have Muslim relatives, and I want to travel to the Middle East someday. Being one who loves to experience new places and cultures, I think about those suffering injustice around the world. So I offer a prayer, which was shared by one of my fellow members at my Rotary club. This prayer is not just for those affected by the travel ban. It’s for anyone who is depressed, confused or just looking for someone to come out of the shadows and tell them, “everything’s going to be alright.”
So here’s the prayer, and if you like it, please share it with others:
We pray today for the day when peace is known in all the world.
We pray that understanding will triumph over ignorance, that generosity will triumph over indifference, that trust will triumph over contempt, and that truth will triumph over falsehood.
Bless the leaders of all nations.
Bless those in harms way.
Bless those who are suffering.
Bless those who are scared
Bless those who are dying and the lost and unknown dead.
Bless those who love and those who are helping.
Bless those who can do nothing but wait.
Bless those with limited information.
Bless those of limited understanding.
Bless those who, though with good intentions, do wrong.
Bless us all and give us strength to be instruments of peace in all we say and do each day.
Happy New Year to all my followers, and may 2017 be prosperous, challenging (in a good way), and above all change you for the better! And if you’re likely making New Years’ Resolutions as you party the night away with friends and family, make sure they are ones you can actually stick with.
As we say farewell to 2016, it’s time to reflect on the year for us. I’d like to share some significant things that happened to me this year:
- I earned my master’s degree in education
- I plotted a new YA contemporary fiction novel, which I will work on in 2017
- I took up a new hobby – Tai Chi
- I traveled to new places (Seattle, Cleveland, Portland, OR, and southern Arizona)
- I hiked alone in Saguaro National Park
- I rode a segway for the first time
- I decided not to pursue a doctoral degree, and moved back home to Canada (huge turning point!)
- Contributed over one hundred hours of service in volunteering
- Joined Rotary International
What about you? What was memorable about 2016 for you? Write a list down – great to do if you wake up feeling wonky in the morning – of the all the highs and lows of 2016.
Happy New Year, and I look forward to another year of blogging in 2017!
It’s been over a month since my last blog post, which is the longest streak since my blog was born, so I thought I’d post about my hiking trip in the Sonoran Desert.
I’m an avid hiker. I hike most weekends, whether it’s in the woods or along the riverfront of downtown Cincinnati. It rejuvenates me from the weekly grind, while allowing me to reflect on life’s happenings. I’m inclined to hiking the way many people are to yoga, or just working out at the gym. It’s something I couldn’t do without, and will keep on doing until the day my legs give out.
Last month, I traveled to southern Arizona to hike in the Saguaro National Park. Arizona is one of my favorite states in the country, mostly because of the desert scenery all around. I’ve had a thing for the desert of the southwest U.S. for as long as I can remember. I owe it to my days of watching Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons. I had researched about the Sonoran Desert, which is how I came across the Saguaro Park. After countless days of pondering the idea, I decided to make the trip.
The weather was absolutely perfect for a hike, and there were only local hikers in the park, so I felt like I had the place to myself. I went hiking by myself, might I add, which is likely causing some of you to drop your jaws. This wouldn’t surprise me. I have a unique gift for appreciating solitude, so for me this was just another typical day. Despite the hazards (killer bees, rattlesnakes, gila monsters), everything went smoothly. For miles, all I could see was a sea of green giant cacti, which look more like giant green corn on the cobs from afar. Just being alone with my thoughts and God allowed me to recharge and look back on everything I had accomplished since last September. I would definitely recommend this kind of trip to anyone with a taste for adventure. I would (and plan to) go back and hike in this national park again someday.
Interested in hiking in the Saguaro National Park? Here’s a few tips that I’ve learned from my experience:
- bring a gallon of water, sunscreen, a hat, and a whistle (if you’re going alone)
- the fall and spring is the best time to hike. A local I met told me that the temperatures are pleasant, and the cacti are not in full bloom yet (less likely to run into swarms of killer bees)
- wear light color clothing and hiking shoes are a must. Parts of the park are rugged and require climbing up hills. Sandals are a no-no.
- hike in moderation and know your limits. Stop periodically for rest and replenishment
- bring some snacks for the hike. I brought along beef jerky and granola bars.
- A word about killer bees: unfortunately, they are present everywhere in the park. They say if you come too close to their colonies, they will repeatedly “bump” into you as a warning. Heed this sign and go the other way. These bees are notorious for swarming you by the thousands. The worst thing you can do is kill one because they release a scent which alerts other bees in the area, which will mean you’re done for.
- Carry a fully charged phone with you in case of emergency, though coverage is limited in the park.
- Take a moment to pause in peaceful reflection during your hike. It will help you appreciate the moment.