Updates

This is a view of San Francisco from the top of a Berkeley bike climb. I live in Berkeley, Calif. now. I know. Crazy.

This is a view of San Francisco from the top of a Berkeley bike climb. I live in Berkeley, Calif. now. I know. Crazy.

Greetings from the West Coast!

First, even though I am what feels a solar system away from Missouri, my thoughts (like many others) are on the Ferguson situation a lot. Sending prayers for peace, love and justice and positive thoughts for that community and families involved. It is a topic of conversation even out here.

Wow, how life can change. A couple of short months ago I was working in a middle school counseling office in rural northwest Colorado. Now I work in a penthouse for a media company in downtown San Francisco. Phew. It is quite overwhelming.

For those who haven’t heard, here are some updates on my life:

  • After two years in Colorado (mainly Steamboat), I have relocated to Berkeley, Calif. 
  • I am writing for C-Change Media. It is the small operation behind the websites Poets & Quants and Tipping the Scales.
  • Anyone in and around the Bay Area hit me up! Seriously. This isn’t a “hit me up sometime but I don’t actually have time or want to meet up” pleasantry. This is a “I don’t know anyone outside of my roommates and am desperate for old or new connections” plead. 

As to be expected, it has been a culture shock and shift from my comfortable Steamboat life. Here are the biggest differences I have noticed from Steamboat to Berkeley in the six (five?) days I have lived here:

  • Rustling in the bushes is usually a person instead of some sort of animal.
  • Cyclists do not wave to other cyclists. Except for me. Starting the revolution of friendly cyclists!
  • There are more different types of restaurants from different countries in Berkeley than total restaurants in Steamboat.
  • A “powder day” seems to mean something different here.
  • I don’t think the weather changes here. Ever. 

More “normal” posts to come soon as I get settled and set in my “big kid” job (career). Gah. Also would like to acknowledge my great appreciation and thankfulness to those who have sent prayers and positive thoughts and have shown support and encouragement. 

#ThankfulThursday – End of July Version

This is last November 19th in Steamboat. I was getting chest-shots in November. I had to hike up, of course. I am thankful for Steamboat, snow and the ability to enjoy it.

This is last November 19th in Steamboat. I was getting chest-shots in November. I had to hike up, of course. I am thankful for Steamboat, snow and the ability to enjoy it.

First! Let’s get caught up on some happenings. As someone who has spent a ton of time volunteering, this trend in “volunteerism” or volunteer tourism is for sure interesting to me. Regardless of the intentions behind 20-somethings volunteering, it seems to be growing.

But I do understand the opposing side. Just last week I was doing a phone interview and just mentioned off-hand spending some time at orphanages in East Africa. The lady immediately said, “You should put that on your resume!” I had never even thought of it. So it is the chicken and the egg thing. Is this a trend because desperate unemployed college graduates needed something extra? Or did employers start looking for something to separate applicants? Probably putting too much thought into this.

On to the thankfulness!

  • Blueberries, Honey Nut Cheerios and Coffee. Always.
  • Understanding and supportive parents. And extended family. And friends.
  • My friend Daniel and his contagious passion for bouldering.
  • The humility from a 20-mile ride in a Colorado monsoon.
  • Lessons learned.
  • The hues of soybeans against wheat against bluebird skies.

If you haven’t seen, below are some links to some recent published writing projects. I hate to continually push this onto my beloved readers, but if you have made it this far into this post you either care about me or enjoy my writing. So, check out these links. If you don’t want to read them, click on them and leave your browser open for 60 seconds. Media organizations look at what people click on and how much time they spend on those pages. Since I will be unemployed starting tomorrow afternoon, extra clicks cannot hurt how previous and future employers view my writing. Sorry. I know. I am not proud of asking this.

http://tippingthescales.com/2014/07/i-dropped-out-of-law-school-before-starting/

http://www.mountainonline.com/mountain-biking-goes-evel-knievel-butte-montana/

Enjoy the Thursday and look for things to be thankful for!

#AffirmationWednesday – Because there should be no limits on when or where to affirm

My friend Daniel and me got to spend some bro time this weekend. We ate meat, drank beer, climbed rocks and arm-wrestled. But this post is about another impactful person in my life.

My friend Daniel and me got to spend some bro time this weekend. We ate meat, drank beer, climbed rocks and arm-wrestled. But this post is about another impactful person in my life.

Editor’s top note: Here is some recent research that connects the environmental issues with human well-being. Interesting and pertinent stuff.

When I was in my final semester of graduate school, I was fully planning on doing AmeriCorps. My mind was all over the place with research, writing and trying to graduate combined with a ton of personal issues and thoughts. I applied for an AmeriCorps VISTA job in Steamboat Springs, Colo. I knew I wanted to help underserved youth.

The former executive director of where I served told me to apply to their other AmeriCorps program as well. I did and had an interview set up with the program manager, Lindsay Kohler. I wrote it down wrong on my calendar. Totally spaced it and missed it. I sent an email begging for mercy. I figured I had not only blown my chances at that job but also the original one. Lindsay responded and said it was no problem and rescheduled another interview. Despite multiple offers, I knew what I was going to do. Work with people who knew forgiveness and understanding.

Three things Lindsay has taught me:

  • Forgiveness and understanding. Obviously. But it went through the initial experience into multiple times this year when Lindsay moved from coworker to supervisor for me. Lindsay truly wants to help people and so she constantly looks past frustrations and difficulties to ideas of how to help. She is constantly looking for ways to putting others first. And this stems for her consistency in forgiveness and understanding.
  • Passion towards helping underserved youth. This is what Lindsay does and continues to do. She has been serving underserved youth in multiple capacities since being at Partners in Routt County. She worked in a middle school. She did grants and fundraising and marketing. And now she runs the program that puts AmeriCorps in middle and elementary schools. But do you know what the bottom-line, guiding factor is in all of Lindsay’s decisions and actions? Helping the kiddos. Always. How she and her mentor crew can help in the best way.
  • Running passion and dedication. I have consistently stated throughout my life I am more impressed with the people who run and train but never lead the pack than the people who do lead the pack. Lindsay is not a pack leader. But she is out there training through Steamboat winters anyway. Relentlessly. I watched Lindsay walk into the office day after day with snow and ice all over her after a mid-day run. And it was never about dreams of winning races. It was about the struggle. And the fulfillment of completing a challenging course. It was super inspiring.

There obviously is a ton more to Lindsay. But these are the three most prominent things I learned from her after two years of near daily contact. So, if anyone wants (or knows someone who wants) a fulfilling experience mentoring at-risk youth while being mentored by a passionate, dedicated supervisor (and friend), look into the AmeriCorps School-Based Mentoring program for Partners in Routt County in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Two posts in two days – BIG TIME

One of the reasons to miss Steamboat. My old running path.

One of the reasons to miss Steamboat. My old running path. Love the emphasis on “very.”

*Editor’s top note: Have you heard of cellulose? It is in a lot of our food AND all of our paper. If you are one of those granola, weird-o, hippees who care about what goes in their food, read this article. I am going to throw away all shredded cheese in my aunt and uncle’s house as soon as I get home.

Hello, again. Yesterday’s post led my Memaw to call me three times at work and ask my psychiatric nurse practitioner aunt to be on suicide watch. Additionally, it left my mother crying in front of the computer screen. Not my intentions. It also led to a lot of outpouring of support and relation from a lot of people. My intentions. There is a power in the relation from vulnerability. The older I get the more I am affirmed we have to be open and vulnerable with each other. It breaks down enormous walls and leads to connection, compassion, understanding and love. How resplendent.

So to appease the concerned readers and help with perspective, I am using my blogging power to declare every Thursday from this point forward Thankful Thursday. #ThankfulThursday if you will. Because despite potential criticism I am a sucker for lame hashtags and alliteration. On this Thursday, here is what I am grateful for:

  • The ability to ride my bike to and from work.
  • Coffee and blueberries every morning.
  • Being able to work in a climate controlled office stocked with snacks and beverages.
  • The people who love and support me.
  • Sunshine. I have been on the Front Range for almost a month and only once have I walked outside in the morn to clouds. I was SO offended the Sun let me down. Perspective.
  • Connection.

What are you thankful for today? It is imperative to think about.

The State of the Nathan Address: A Lack of Running and Loving

This is Boulder. It is where I work for three more weeks. Then I will be unemployed. Hit me up if you are anyone else wants a slightly above-average writer with a big heart.

This is Boulder. It is where I work for three more weeks. Then I will be unemployed. Hit me up if you or anyone else you know wants a slightly above-average writer with a big heart.

Editor’s top note: If you do not what is going on with the current influx of refugee children entering the good ol’ U.S. of A., you need to. This is a serious issue and will only keep getting worse if nothing is done. Here is a good article explaining it (please, please, please read and educate yourself on the issue): Go here! On to regularly scheduled programming.

Hello. Once again it has been over a half a year. And honestly, there hasn’t been a ton of depth to share. There are two reasons for this post. The first is because of a conversation I had a few weekends ago. I was in Jefferson City, Mo. celebrating a good friend’s wedding. Sunday morning I had a conversation with a mother of someone I grew up geographically close to and went to high school with. Her daughter is a Facebook friend of mine. We really haven’t talked since high school but she was forwarding my posts to her mother. Her mom thanked me at a brunch the morning after the wedding. No “where have you been?” or “I miss your posts.” Just a thank you.

The second reason is the state of my life. Let me tell you, I have slipped in virtually every aspect of my life the past half year or so. The roles I have messed up in no order (to my knowledge) are: employee, friend, Christ follower, son, brother, significant other, roommate, renter, athlete, blogger and probably others. All of this came together last night and led to a big low. And so before I continue, this is a fair warning, I am getting ready to go into a pity-fest. If you want, skip to the end. I definitely would.

Two years of trying to live a life as an AmeriCorps volunteer and have fun in a ski town has left me fatigued and broke. I now commute by bike 40 miles round trip everyday because I cannot afford gas or a closer place to live (Front Rangers, hit me up for a hike, bike or java!). I also cannot run so it is serving as my cross training. Financially speaking, I have made some horrible decisions.

OK. Gross. I cannot go on. Long story, short, I am in a weird place. With no one to blame but myself. But things have changed. First, apologies! I will not name names but those who have been wronged will know.

I am sorry for not responding to emails. Or phone calls. I have wronged people by not showing up or being responsive. I have squelched other’s love. I have refused to allow others to love me. I have stopped communicating. I have created strife instead of simply listening and being there for others. I have stopped taking care of myself spiritually and it has bled into other aspects of my life. And so it goes.

This is not a “everyone feel sorry for Nathan” piece or a “God is good and awesome piece.” Because, well, I don’t really know who God is right now. I haven’t spent enough time with God. But that is changing now. And hopefully it will bleed love into lives around me. It will.

If you are still with me and have gotten through the (slightly pathetic) monologue, here is the take away. I have grasped onto a lot out of fear. I have not reached out to others because of fear I have already hurt them and they don’t want to connect anymore. And last night as I was trying desperately to reconnect with the Universe, I realized fear and grasping onto seemingly safe and familiar things in our lives leads to selfishness, oppression, dysfunction and a shallow, meaningless life. Maybe others already know this. I just learned it. Now it is time to do something about it.

Editor’s bottom note: Life is gorgeous and things are really great. Everything will work out. and like a close friend told me last night, I have much to be grateful for. I just need to look outside myself and into those blessings. They are everywhere. Relationships, forests, cities, apple orchards, mountains, deserts, everywhere. I hope you take time to find yours today. I will for sure. I need to more.

Where have I been?

Photo cred: Megatron McCord. Some backcountry on Rabbit Ears Pass. One of the most beautiful things I have learned recently is from the astronomer, Carl Sagan. Sagan posits we are all connected through what he calls "star stuff." That is, every atom in our bodies was created eons ago by a star. And we all have that star stuff. We are all connected through it.

Photo cred: Megatron McCord. Some backcountry on Rabbit Ears Pass. One of the most beautiful things I have learned recently is from the astronomer, Carl Sagan. Sagan posits we are all connected through what he calls “star stuff.” That is, every atom in our bodies was created eons ago by a star. And we all have that star stuff. We are all connected through it. The Mountains and snow also have star stuff. 

“Once there was a Tree. And she loved a little boy.” – Shel Silverstein

So, where have I been? Lots of places. And I will get to those later. But a few specific words at the right time from the right people have brought me back.

Here are some words, exchanges and situations that have been weighing heavy on this Heart recently:

  • An honest, tough love email from a good friend, who I have neglected recently. I will spare the details, but this was not just about the neglect of a single person or relationship. This special person called me out on laziness and an extreme lack of communicating gratitude towards others. Of course the selflessness of this friend was on complete display by making it about others who have been neglected and not herself (even though she absolutely has). So, to my good friend, I am sorry. Soon I will get over the embarrassment of disappointing you and others and we will rebuild this relationship.
  • A comment from a new Impact in my life. There is a new force in my life. There is no telling how long this person will be in my life, but I am grateful for the time I have had. Again, I will spare specifics, but suffice to say, it took one statement at the absolute perfect time to make me reconsider a recent decision. The perfect words and the perfect time from an impactful person can change everything. That is precisely what happened.
  • Missing an opportunity to spend an extended weekend with my family. And by missing, I mean choosing other, less important ventures over spending time with multiple Trees in my life.

But all of this is in the past now. And it is time to move forward. So, to all of the Trees in my life who have continually loved this little boy, thank you. You are appreciated and thought about constantly. Whether I communicate that through words or actions, you are with my thoughts and heart.

When I think about all of the trees in my life, I think about two quotes from two of my favorite authors. Both are on my mind daily and both I strive (and usually fail) to reach.

“He said to me I was a tree in a story about a forest, and that it was arrogant of me to believe any differently. And he told me the story of the forest is better than the story of the tree.” – Don Miller

“And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”  – Norman Maclean

Where is your forest? Who is in your forest? Who are your Trees?

Here is to hoping you find your forest sooner than later and you find you can love completely without complete understanding.

#AffirmationMonday – The Man Who Taught Me it is OK to Love a Kansas Jayhawk

So, the American Medical Association might have some input on making cheerleading a recognized NCAA sport. I honestly don't see why it shouldn't be a sport at that level. They do athletic stuff that would take a ton of training for me to be able to accomplish. I am for it. Happy #AffirmationMonday, everyone!

So, the American Medical Association might have some input on making cheerleading a recognized NCAA sport. I honestly don’t see why it shouldn’t be a sport at that level. They do athletic stuff that would take a ton of training for me to be able to accomplish. I am for it. Happy #AffirmationMonday, everyone!

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I have been blessed with a lot of good male role models in my life. My grandfather, Jack Edwin Allen, is one of them. He also turned 81 yesterday.

For as long as I can remember, my grandpa and I have playfully teased each other about the Mizzou-Kansas basketball rivalry. We used to have a game where if one of us made fun of the other person’s team, we had to give that person 10 cents. A dime is a lot to a 10-year-old. Not so much for a grown adult. Looking back on it, I think it was his way of getting in a few good diggers for a small investment.

1) My grandpa is wise and smart. I think it can just be assumed that someone who has seen many seasons of life will be wise. My grandpa definitely falls in that category. He has had many life experiences and has spent much time reflecting on them and growing from them. And we are blessed to have him share those life lessons and experiences with us.

But he is brilliant as well. To be a civil engineer for an oil company, designing pipelines around the West, you have to be smart. He passed that on to each of his children. It does not take long to realize how smart he is by interacting with him. I do not think I have met someone who processes, contemplates and analyzes like him. I hope to have half of his brilliance at some point in my life.

2) My grandpa is absolutely a hard worker. It is insane. He always has been. But it is crazier the older he gets. He instilled in me early on a strong work ethic and the importance of getting your work done. When my brother and I would spend time with my grandparents in the summer, we did chores with my grandpa every morning. We got to go fishing or go to the park afterwards, but it was always about finishing the chores first. While we were not stoked about it then, it is one of the things that has made us who we are today.

And even though he is now 81, he continues to work on projects and chores as much as possible. It is actually really humorous to watch him help my dad with stuff. My dad will tell him to sit down or take it easy and he just continues working right next to my dad.

3) My grandpa is a fighter. He has been battling lung cancer for a few years now. Even though his body is tired, he continues to fight. I also have a young cousin named Jack. Big Jack is Little Jack’s main male role model. And you can already see the benefits of that relationship. Little Jack is an incredibly smart little dude. He has an engineering brain like his father and grandfather. Little Jack works hard. Last time I was at his house, he came home from his pre-school and immediately would water all of the plants in his yard. Even though it was over 100 degrees.

My grandpa continues to fight. Probably for many reasons. But I think one of those reasons is his love for Little Jack.

My grandpa is a great man. A strong, wise and tough man. He has and continues to teach me many things. I love him and am proud of him. Even though he is one of the biggest Jayhawk basketball fans I know.

#AffirmationMonday – Number Eight – I Have a Beautiful Sister, Her Name is Lydia

This is my mother and me, circa spring 2012. This post is about my sister. But my mother has played a large role in my sister's life. Mainly, birthing her. But, they are best friends as well. I am happy my mother got to have a daughter.

This is my mother and me, circa spring 2012. This post is about my sister. But my mother has played a large role in my sister’s life. Mainly, birthing her. They are best friends. I am happy my mother got to have a daughter. Also, photo cred goes to Melissa Hatfield.

Having a decade difference in age from a sibling is a gift and a curse. Moving out of the house when Lydia was seven led to not getting to know her as well as my brother. We just didn’t get to spend as much time together. But it is an absolute gift in terms of being able to remember every part of her life.

I can still vividly remember the day my parents sat my brother and me in their bedroom and told us we were going to have a younger sibling. I remember the night she was born. My grandma driving laps around the hospital in my mom’s minivan, as my brother and me tried to guide her to a parking place. I remember holding Lydia in my arms for the first time. I remember the first time she smiled.

Here are three of the many reasons my sister, Lydia, is an awesome person:

1) Lydia is hilarious. It is what I hear a lot from people who know her. Or meet her. And it is so true. Mainly the humor comes from this ridiculous sass she possesses. But, one of her best qualities is her ability to see the humor in life. She is able to laugh at herself. She is able to laugh at circumstances and situations. It is rare and contagious.

Being around her or interacting with her reminds me to do that in my own life. To always look for the humor in life. And to laugh often. It is one way Lydia’s life has made mine better. And a way she has made me a better person.

2) Lydia tries everything. As someone who found a passion I wanted to stick early, I respect and admire this a ton. Lydia has done so many different sports and activities. And I think it is because Lydia loves people and relationships. She constantly wants to get to know people and develop new relationships with others. It is incredibly refreshing to hear about and watch.

I love talking to my mother and hearing her talk about what Lydia is up to. What her new hobbies and passions are. And I love having parents that encourage and support that type of attitude towards life. She teaches me to break out of my comfort zone with people and circumstances. To continually try new things and meet new people. Because it is how she lives her life.

3) Lydia is brilliant. She has always had a large vocabulary. She very much benefitted from living in a house with people a lot older than her. But she has a desire to learn. She loves to read. She seeks out people older than her and learns from them. She absorbs everything.

I think what is most impressive is how smart she is about life. She is incredibly mature for her age. She gets life. She gets that it is about relationships and people. And to get that at such a young age is so wonderful.

Lydia has a beautiful heart. She is accepting of all types of people. What’s more, she loves all types of people. It is that passion that makes her see the humor in her own situations and circumstances and relationships. It guides her to get out of her comfort zone and try new things and meet new people. And it has made her “life-brilliant.” She teaches me new things all of the time. I love her and am proud of who she is.

I spent the first ten years of my life not being able to imagine having a younger sister. I have spent all of the years since not being able to imagine what it would be like to not have Lydia.

*Editor’s note: There was an interesting (brief) article this morning about why people live in Oklahoma when it is so prone to tornados. First,  I am not entirely sure why this is a question. I am not sure where tornados rank with other natural disasters in terms of prevalence and destruction. But couldn’t you ask the same to someone who lives on the coast about hurricanes? My experiences with people in Oklahoma is akin to people from other Heartland states – hardworking, loving and always willing to help others. That would be enough to make me want to stay somewhere as well. Tornados or not.

*Editor’s (second) note: So, I ran a race this weekend. The success wouldn’t have been possible without a HUGE group of supporters near and afar. I am blessed with amazing friends and family who constantly support and love me. Also, it wouldn’t have been possible to train at the intensity I have been able to without an enoouraging and flexible staff at Partners in Routt County. Not only was I allowed to leave for runs in the middle of the day, they constantly showed interest in my training. They were all at the race on Sunday (two of them running themselves). The encouragement has been humbling.

Horrible Things Happen Everywhere, Even in Ski Towns and I Have No Idea Why

Got to spend the past two weekends with these fine people. Multiple things to say about this photo. First, great to spend time on the University of Missouri campus again. Miss that place. And Columbia in general. Proud of my younger (obviously not little) bro for getting two degrees in four years. And doing it with #madsteaze. Four people in my immediate family have attended college. Between us we have eight degrees (seven from the University of Missouri). No pressure, Lydia. Later that evening I had a good friend tell me I looked homeless. Now I know what he was talking about. Have a feeling all of that hair will be coming off soon.

Had to throw in as many positive things to this post as possible. Got to spend the past two weekends with these fine people. Multiple things to say about this photo. First, great to spend time on the University of Missouri campus again. Miss that place. And Columbia in general. Proud of my younger (obviously not little) bro for getting two degrees in four years. And doing it with #madsteaze. Four people in my immediate family have attended college. Between us we have eight degrees (seven from the University of Missouri). No pressure, Lydia. Later that evening I had a good friend tell me I looked homeless. Now I know what he was talking about. Have a feeling all of that hair will be coming off soon.

The rest of this post won’t be as dramatic as the title. Just had to let it out. All of my Steamboat friends have heard the news. For those outside of the bubble, if you don’t want to click on the link (I don’t blame you), a third-grader’s life was taken by his mother early Wednesday morning. More details will come out regarding motive and what actually happened soon enough. For now it just doesn’t matter. This type of situation sucks.

I realize children (and others) lose their lives in unjust and unfair ways daily. But in a small ranching and ski town in northwest Colorado, everyone is affected. Everyone cries. Everyone is connected. Steamboat’s crime is usually someone doing drugs or getting drunk and either starting a fight or doing something equally stupid. The police blotter during ski season is always entertaining. Children are not murdered here. So this hurts the entire community.

Working at a youth serving nonprofit, it stings even more. Everyone in this office loves kids. We have a wonderful, brilliant, caring, loving, passionate mentor full-time in the elementary school affected. Cannot imagine how she is feeling now, but if I know her the way I think I do, she is being strong for the rest of the kiddos.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, I had a post about tragedies. I had the opportunity to address a question I am asked about my faith more than any other question and avoided it. “Nathan, why do bad things happen?” Or, “Why does God let bad things happen?” It is an incredibly touchy subject and one I am nowhere close to being qualified to answer (I haven’t had truly tragic situations in my own life and I am no theological scholar). When I am asked one of these questions, three immediate responses usually come to heart and mind.

1) I don’t know. I just don’t. This was part of the Boston post, so I won’t spend too much time on it, but I don’t know why bad things happen. In one of Don Miller’s books (not sure which one), he compares us trying to understand God to a pancake trying to understand us. I think it is true. If we are to believe in a Devine Being, it is impossible for us to expect to understand this Devine Being.

I think a lot of Christ followers get caught up on trying to justify and explain God and why things happen and our individual reasons for faith. Here’s the thing: it isn’t our responsibility to justify or explain God. God doesn’t need us to do that. Admitting not knowing how God works is fine. Admitting you are not completely sure why you follow Christ is fine. So, what do we do then?

2) Jesus wept. My favorite part about the miracles Jesus performed is not the actual miracle. Although they were awesome. It was the compassion behind the miracle. Jesus was full of compassion and His Heart would break for people. When bad things happened, Jesus mourned with those who mourned. Jesus showed compassion, empathy and an unfathomable love towards everyone.

It is one of my favorite qualities of Jesus. He understood sometimes all there is to do is grieve. And that is OK. We don’t have to try to fix things immediately. We don’t have to insist things will be better. There is a time when it is good to just sit next to someone who has had a loss and weep with them.

3) Beautiful things are created from the ashes of a tragedy. They are. People are often bonded through tragedy. It does take a decision to allow that to happen, but it can be there. And while I do not think God “causes” or “allows” tragedies, I do think He is there ready to embrace us and weep with us. If we allow it. And then He is ready to create gorgeous things with our lives.

We live in a world where evil is as prevalent as Beauty. We have seen both. But, if we mourn with those who mourn, share burdens and allow tragedies to bond us together and to a Higher Spirit, gorgeous things happen. It is not easy. And I still do not know why children (or anyone) are murdered, enslaved, oppressed and bullied. I never will. I do know hearing the high-pitched, uncontrollable laugh of a small child being pushed in a swing by a parent as I run by a park in downtown Steamboat gives me hope for the Good in people and the Good around us. And one day, all things will be made right.

*Editor’s note: Super pumped about getting to spend this weekend with good friends and my brother. Two of the subjects of #AffirmationMonday posts will be in Steamboat this weekend. #Blessed Yampa River Festival, some running races and sunny, 70 degree weather is going to make this a special weekend. Hope all of you enjoy yours as well. Be sure to spend as much of it as possible outside. Because…

*Editor’s (second) note: Sometimes (often?) people get greedy and do not respect or appreciate our Natural World. I am biased, for sure. Four out of the eight degree in my family are from the School of Natural Resources at Missouri. But through the greed of some, a scary world is being created for future generations. Obviously there are multiple sides to every story. I studied journalism, I get that. And I often do not condone the tactics used by Greenpeace. But deforestation is a real problem. And if you think it is OK because it is another country. This world is getting smaller and smaller. Everything is connected.