I am hiking across acres of Southwest Colorado with my fabulous best friend, a Black Mouth Cur that I named, appropriately, “Blessing” on our morning “walk” through the fields and woods of the farm where we now live. It is out … Continue reading
When the Impossible Becomes Possible: Sometimes It’s the Little Things
When the Impossible Becomes Possible: Sometimes It’s the Little Things
November 09, 2014
I was on a hike with my dog Blessing in the middle of a national forest this morning when I needed to take a break. I had settled next to one of the multiple pine trees and as I was fiddling with my stuff my glasses fell off. No big deal, I’ll pick them up in a second after I finish with what I’m doing here.
Later we continued on, Blessing chasing after chipmonks and squirrels while I marveled at the beauty of the woods even though the scenery has changed drastically with the cold and freezing weather we have been having; the starkness creating a black and white old-photo look. It’s still pretty in my mind and it’s wonderful to be able to be out and about, particularly with my wonderful Black Mouth Cur, “Blessing”.
I stumbled upon what I thought could be old bones and I wondered why I couldn’t quite make it out.
No wonder I was having difficulty! Then I realized that my glasses were way back there, along side a tree. Along side a tree that looked like hundreds of other trees! I’m in a dense forest for Petessake, NOT on a trail. We have been bushwacking and meandering, WHERE could I have left my glasses?!
It did not take long for me to realize the IMPOSSIBILITY of this situation. How far had we hiked since my break? Did we head out straight ahead? No, we bushwacked for a while. Was it a big tree, was it a smaller tree? Oh, this is sooooo impossible!! THERE ARE SO MANY TREES!
I had only one course of reasonable action. Pray.
So I did. Nothing fancy, not long, just a request for help finding my glasses. Did I have a heaping dose of faith? Nope. Just a prayer for the impossible to be possible, would He even answer such a minor thing when He has intense global issues, healings, protections and provisions, and millions upon millions of prayers to respond to?
We start back, and the more ground I cover the more I am convinced I am totally doomed. Blessing doesn’t mind, she is happily rechecking for little critters to harass. I wished I could say, “Blessing find my glasses. Go girl, go to where we stopped before.” but her understanding, although remarkable, would not comprehend my request. Feeling defeated, overwhelmed with the “unattainableness” of the situation, I prayed again, “Oh please, Lord. PLEASE help me find my glasses!”
I looked down to take another step and what do I see (WITHOUT my glasses on at that) are … YES! My glasses!! My colorless frames blending in with the fallen leaves, so very hard to see, so very hard to find .. right there at my feet. I had acres to cover, and my Lord directed my stumbling path to this very location. Talk about a needle in a haystack, this was a glowing example!!
I don’t know if this is a “you had to have been there” thing for others to grasp the total mind-blowing moment when I saw my glasses there, right where I had left them. The IMPOSSIBILITY of my making it back to that exact spot. What are the extreme odds?!
I began to cry and I spoke to my Lord, “God, You blow my mind. This was such a minor thing and You helped me. You answered that prayer of This Is Impossible, But Can You Help. Thank You God, Thank You so very much!” and I continued to shake my head at the incredibleness of this situation and thanked Him again and again sporatically as we trekked.
As we continued our hike, I wept off and on. Why? I am so humbled that He cares so much. I told Him, “If You care this much about such a trivial thing in my life … Lord, oh how much more You care about souls!! Your love and willingness to Personally interact with mankind is so beyond my mere human comprehension!”
I don’t know what situation, what IMPOSSIBLE situation you are facing right now. What I do know is, that I was led to post this “minor miracle” in my life to give you hope. Because God is no respector of persons. Meaning that He does not favor one person or their needs over another. He knew in advance each person who would read this and He is using this to speak to you. I sincerely hope that you’re listening to Him and that you will respond to whatever it is that He has for you. You may think it’s too trivial to bother Him with, or it may be so huge that your faith was weakened. Hear this:
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN CHRIST JESUS!
Talk to Him!
Imagine all of this could be yours! (Or is it already yours?)
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him will I trust.’.
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His Feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and your buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you.
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More than two decades ago, then-33-year-old Dan Price had a wife, two small children, a high-interest mortgage, and a stressful job as a photojournalist in Kentucky. He worried daily about money and the workaday grind.
“I told myself, ‘buck up and pay the bills,’” said Price. “This is just the way normal life is.”
Then he learned about what he calls “the simple life.” Price read Payne Hollow, a 1974 book about author Harlan Hubbard’s rejection of modernity and his primitive home on the shore of the Ohio River. Price’s marriage dissolved soon after, and the whole family moved to Oregon, where he grew up. Price opted to move alone into a tiny cabin in the woods, then a flophouse, then a teepee, and finally into an underground “Hobbit hole” on a horse pasture near a river, where he still lives. During the winter, he decamps to Hawaii to surf and avoid the harsh weather.
Price’s version of the simple life costs $5,000 a year, which he earns from publishing a wilderness zine and doing odd jobs around Joseph, his eastern Oregon town. “I like being able to do what I want to do,” said Price, who pays $100 a year for his land. “I don’t believe in houses or mortgages. Who in their right mind would spend their lifetime paying for a building they never get to spend time in because they are always working?”
Price is part of a long tradition of eschewing the American dream of a house with a white-picket fence, from 1920s hobos to 1960s hippies. Nowadays, groups going back-to-basics are just as diverse, such as live-off-the-land types like Price, punky street kids, and twentysomethings living in modest group homes known as intentional communities. But they all have something in common: They’ve chosen poverty.
Some, like Price, have lived this way for decades. For others, it’s a decision spurred by the recession and its exposure of economic precarity. Either way, it’s often a political choice, one that questions a consumerist, deeply stratified society. The intentional poor are “looking for something real that goes beyond commodity,” said Karen Halnon, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University and author of “Consumption of Inequality.”
Dan Price talks about why he’s chosen to consume less and embrace a simple lifestyle with an income below the poverty line.
Dan Kerr, now an assistant professor at American University, lived as a squatter 20 years ago in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and says the lifestyle was a way to challenge the notion that “the one-family home with a 9-to-5 job” was “the only way to provide meaning to our lives.”
That New York neighborhood is still a hotspot for street kids, or “gutter punks.” A 23-year-old who identified himself as “Banjo” (then admitted that wasn’t his name) came to the city for Occupy Wall Street and now hangs out on the eastern tip of 14th street. He explained his choice as more relevant than ever: “We saw how mortgage companies screwed people,” he said. “The economy is a joke. We travel all over, and people help us out.”
At Sycamore House, an intentional community in Harrisburg, Pa., young people volunteer with nonprofits in exchange for food, rent, and a $400 monthly stipend.
Emmy Corey, the program’s director, said that a third of residents signed up after struggling to find work after college. “Doing this has offered more security than the job market,” she said.
Of course, no matter how bad the job market is, there are clear distinctions between those who have the privilege to opt for poverty and those who are poor through no choice of their own. If things get rough, Price has a career to fall back on. Banjo can return to his childhood bedroom, where he stayed before hitting the road. Corey’s young charges aren’t stuck in high-crime neighborhoods with subpar schools and services like most of America’s poor. And people who choose poverty are often free to make exceptions; despite his otherwise modest lifestyle, Price pays $53 a month for a cell phone and owns both an iPad and a MacBook Air.
The demographics of these two groups are also starkly different: The pockets of people who choose poverty are nearly all white, experts say, while around half of the impoverished in the U.S. are black and Hispanic.
For people involuntarily living on four figures a year, upward mobility would be a gift, not a trap. “Those people know that if they gave everything up, it wouldn’t be so easy to get it back,” said Kerr. Many have trouble understanding why privileged people would turn their nose up at creature comforts, “especially if you grew up yearning for these things,” said Halnon.
Still, some among the intentional poor believe their lifestyle can serve as a model for anyone who narrowly defines success as being wealthy. “People are so incredibly spoiled,” said Price. He prioritizes self-reliance and feels strongly about never using food stamps or welfare. “My job is simply to live as pure and authentic as I can and make an example for people.”
Sometimes, though, intentional poverty isn’t a rejection of mainstream success so much as a deliberate means to it.
John Brecher / NBC News
Amy Hayden sits in the room she rents for $135 per week in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Utilities are included, but when her landlord said air conditioning would cost her an extra $5 per week, Hayden instead bought the fan at left on Craigslist.
After being laid off twice from journalism jobs in Chicago, Amy Hayden, 40, moved to New York City last year with $50 in the bank and a dream of working in publishing. She was inspired by reading the memoir Just Kids by singer Patti Smith, who arrived penniless in New York in the late sixties determined to make it as an artist.
“I hear a lot of messages about how you can’t be an artist in New York anymore,” said Hayden. “That makes me angry, because you can. It just depends what kinds of changes you want to make.”
Hayden now lives on $1,000 a month or less, renting a tiny room for $135 a week and picking up blogger jobs and one-shot gigs between her publishing internship hours. She plans to write a book about living frugally in New York. If a literary agency offered her a job tomorrow, she’d take it, but she wouldn’t “sell out” and go into marketing or PR. She’s made the choice “not to just look for any job.”
At least for now.
While Price vows to live simply until he dies, Hayden expects to do this for no more than three years. Kerr, too, abandoned the squatter life for graduate school, and eventually, a stable university job — studying voluntary homelessness.
In 1995, Kerr recalls, there was a squatter eviction on 13th street, a moment which separated the privileged from the stagnant poor in dramatic fashion. “I could go back home to Cleveland,” said Kerr. “Some of the other squatters weren’t so lucky.”
These are not ordinary times and I am ready to dive off into the deep end.
Finally, I have reached the “want-to”, the readiness, the acceptance of furthering my “wilderness experiences” and I am willing to dive into the deep end, even though I can’t swim a single stroke on my own. Really, I can’t swim. I can fake it with fins on my feet, otherwise I’m floundering and lost in the vastness of the ocean, definitely “without a paddle”.
Recently there have been monumental mountains/changes in my life. I lost a sibling to suicide on July the 4th to name just one. Amazing how this tragedy has paved the avenue for a renewed and reconciled relationship with other family members, as only God can arrange, making beauty from of ashes. Two of us got together yesterday and it was a delightful day of reunion and of memories, discovery, jokes…
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TRAVELING ALONG THIS IMPRESSIVE RIVER, WHICH IS FLOWING NORTHWEST, paralleling the coast, I scramble up a hill for a photo op. Standing as close to the edge of my perch as safely possible, I hesitate to begin shooting. The awe and power of the river is complimented by the fantastic diversity of the rock walls and it is commanding my full attention. Clearly, iron dominates the rock canyon, leaving a fantastic rusty patina which is frequently interrupted with dark green trees and shrub. Gray to black mudstones, siltstones and sandstones further the pleasant variations. Even a swipe of golden brown color to complete the picture.
The river’s edge cuts a raw, white, jagged saw tooth line, the salt-crusted shoreline and boulders that rise above the water, where the natural water’s pulse and current spray have frequently misted the protruding boulders, scatter these highlights throughout the landscape. The current is intense, furious whenever the canyon walls insinuate upon the channel.
There is an odd, captivating rock formation close to the more turbulent section of the channel. It appears as though molten gray rock has spilled from the canyon wall with a round, spoon-shaped end closest to the water’s edge with its wide handle, ladle-like, balancing on the upper riverbank. This salmon-frequented river flows primarily northeast before changing course to southern pastures and wetlands.
Only a few hours into the trek and I’m met with dry-grass contrasting a man-made path with lush forests of oak and pines and other trees that I can’t distinguish, looming into its distant future. This revs my energy level, the promise of cooler, green pastures is inviting.
It doesn’t take long to leave signs of civilization behind and soon the hushed, fog-covered forest embraces my curious nature. Every step is soft, debris-mulched and fragrant under my boot.
This is true paradise.
On up the trail I continue, not knowing just why I feel I should get really deep into the forest today but I am very happy to be here, doing what I’m doing. The scenery never gets old, thank You God. The wildflowers are in full bloom and some are exceedingly fragrant. Their youth is renewed every spring, man, what a thrill that must be! I continue to scan the ubiquitous plant life and deeply inhale the surrounding scents. The perfume of the forest, nothing can beat it. The fragrances change as I proceed, pine mingling with wild licorice, licorice mingling with bay, bay mingling with mustard … I’m not sure if the oak trees have a scent but their dropped acorns are like marbles under my boots.
There is a spot reserved for me under a very large sequoia, its branches outstretched in a welcoming, “Come hither, under my canopy and rest.” I oblige. I remove my pack, habitually snapping the belt closed and settle down for a snack. The sound of rusting paper from my energy bar has apparently alerted many creatures, the most forward and aggressive of which is the scrub jay in front of me. Not far behind are a few squirrels & chipmunks in various stages of anticipation and wariness, and I’m beginning to wonder where Thumper and Bambi are.
I ignore the advancing blue jay and tip my head back to see if I can see any sky. What I do see sends my heart racing and my hands shaking.
My head now on a swivel, I check my surroundings more thoroughly, then up again into the trees. I begin to rise, keeping my eyes on the trees above me, moving ever so carefully, forcing slow and deliberate movement.
Where is mama bear?
Two curious black bear cubs are peeking down and over the foliage of the pine that is right next to the big sequoia that I am against. Still looking up, I reach for my pack, once again thankful for my habit of cinching the belt, and toss my power bar over past the oak that holds the cubs. Backing away, thankful for the soft, cushy debris and needle-carpeted ground I am looking everywhere. Seriously everywhere. Behind me, above me, beside me. No longer does my immediate forest hold a critter audience, the animals have left town.
I just can not even believe this is happening.
My heart ratchets yet another level as I swing my eyes towards the scraping, then soft thump sound. NO WAY! Those cubs are heading towards me, SNAP! I speak firmly to them, “No bear!” but apparently they don’t understand English. The larger of the two is still, although a bit hesitant, coming forward. I am nearly paralyzed with fear. WHERE IS MAMA BEAR?
I bump into a bush, maybe a tree I don’t really care and could not afford to be distracted with finding out. My entire body is shaking, my muscles feel weak, defenseless and inadequate. I sneak a look and find the path I came in on still backing away. Both cubs seem to be very perplexed, the smaller a bit distracted with a flying insect of sorts, the other looking from its sibling then to me, sizing up the situation. Thankfully they are remaining grounded where they are. But for how long, and the million dollar question: Where’s mama bear?!
I need not wonder any longer.
Emerging from the underbrush, sending a fleeting glance toward my power bar, is protective mama bear! She brawls at her cubs like a mother admonishing her children for straying beyond the yard, then gives her full, very direct attention to me. Somehow I continue to back away, averting eye contact, wild and insane thoughts swirling through my mind. Out of the corner of my eye I see the cubs scrambling up a tree to safety. Obedient children now that mom’s back.
Realizing that I have been shaking my head in a “no, no, no!” while retreating further, I force every cell, every adrenalin dump into sniper-concentrated focus. I know the choices on what to do, now how on earth do I choose which avenue to take? “Read the body language” comes back to memory and I continue backing away, not saying a word, my hands needlessly out in a “stay away” gesture.
Mama grunts threats, her sounds deep and quite menacing, then makes a swipe at the ground in front of her, sending dust and sticks flying into the air, shaking her lowered head. I’m reminded of a bull about to charge and I’m certain I’m going to lose it completely, right here. Right now. She has not charged me, I take this as a very good sign. I am still backing away when suddenly I’m falling, and I still haven’t landed yet!
Tangled in brush and briars, I look up the hill to see if she has decided to follow, then end me. Piece by piece, Marybeth-mulch nourishing the forest. At this point I have lost all reason, tearing my clothes and skin as I thrash through the sticky under brush in full panic mode. I don’t see her, I have lost my pack somewhere along the fall and I no longer care. I am completely overcome with irrational fear as I begin to run down the trail. DO NOT RUN FROM A PREDATOR but I figure after the fall that I’m far enough away and I’m around the bend so that she can’t see me? Panic trumps reason, it really does.
I am back to the manmade pathway, out of the dense forest and I have not heard any movement or growl behind me since the fall but every fiber of my being is still at high alert. I collapse in a sobbing heap, then I begin to laugh. I think perhaps I’m hysterical, just a thought.
Once I recovered and was shakily on my way home I was first, exceedingly grateful that I was reasonably unharmed. Physically. Emotionally I’ll probably never be the same. I thought about the good habit of keeping my keys and phone separate from my pack and for the habit of always fastening my pack belt. Even though I lost my pack, had I not fallen, I would have had it for minute protection or for the first aid kit inside it.
Establishing good hiking habits and knowing how to interpret and react to animal behavior goes a very long way. Even when you mess up the best laid plans.
For information on safety, signs of presence, and first aid please click:
It has been 27+ years since I’ve been so reckless.
I’ve had the companionship of a dog or two in my young adult years but I do believe that I am learning more from this dog, Reckless, than ever before. Is it because I’m more mature or is it the Hand of God working through one of His instruments? After all, God spoke to Balaam through a donkey (Numbers 22:22-35) what is to keep Him from using an animal again for instruction? (Although I stake no claim to being a “Balaam”)
As I have been working with her, enjoying some of the previous training she had received from a previous manager (she’s a rescued dog) I am also having to gently retrain the negative “training” she has endured as well. As my patience is tested through her confusion, my thoughts roam to my heavenly Father God, which some may find…
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Must See Photo: Wild Dolphin Jump Spin Anomaly
The animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me. From amazing maneuvers to unbelievable skills, we’ve seen many things in the wild that were thought to be virtually impossible.
I already knew that dolphins were very intelligent, so much so, that even military establishments have experimented with them in various capacities.
Now, a wild bottlenose dolphin has pushed the envelope of astonishing feats and it was done during a simple session of showing off for humans.
Here’s the splashy photo, along with some commentary on this event from GrindTV. Frankly, if not for the picture, I’d have never believed it.
Volunteer naturalist captures extraordinary image showing peculiar water formation around midsection of leaping mammal
Steve O’Toole was photographing playful dolphins Sunday afternoon off Dana Point, California, and did not realize until later that he had captured an extraordinary image.
It reveals a circular disc of water around the midsection of a leaping bottlenose dolphin, making it appear as though the mammal is hula-hooping.
O’Toole is a volunteer naturalist for Dana Wharf Whale Watch and a board member for the Orange County chapter of the American Cetacean Society. He said passengers aboard the Ocean Adventure encountered about 50 offshore bottlenose dolphins, which began jumping in the swift catamaran’s wake.
“This particular dolphin caught my attention because when leaping out of the water, it started twisting its body, whereas most dolphins only leap,” he said. “When the activity ended, I briefly looked at my camera’s screen to make sure the pics were there.
“I noticed something unusual with this particular picture and didn’t think much about it, knowing I’d take a closer look when downloading pics to my PC.”
The photo, which might be one of a kind, has been widely shared on Facebook and other websites.
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, an ACS researcher, said she has photographed thousands of dolphins during a span of 30 years, and has never captured or seen a similar photo.
Was I right? Is that amazing or what? Even in captivity, this is something that’s never been achieved or even imagined possible.
Did I hear someone say close up? Well, here it is!
I could go into a whole production about dolphins, but I don’t want to take anything away from this astonishing trick. Could it be just an accident or does this dolphin know exactly what he’s doing? Maybe dolphins can do this kind of thing, no sweat! Of course, I’ve never heard of anyone witnessing such an event, let alone getting evidence.
This is something I’ll never forget…..
Ethereal, 8-foot-long ‘sea serpent’ caught on video
Scientists have released video of an 8-foot-long, shimmering oarfish taken about 200 feet below the ocean surface — and it is breathtaking.
Elusive and alien-looking, the oarfish has a thin, eel-like body with squiggly iridescent markings that glow blue in the video. It also has a long dorsal fin that stretches the length of nearly half its body, and large round eyes rimmed in silver.
That bright white blob you see in the fish’s spiny dorsal fins is a parasitic isopod — sort of like an ocean version of the roly poly bug — that has attached itself to the fish. It is a common parasite of marine fish, but it is the first time one has been seen on an oarfish, said Mark Benfield, a marine biologist at Louisiana State University.
Benfield is the lead author of a paper describing the oarfish video, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Fish Biology.
Despite its great size, the fish orients itself vertically, with its head toward the ocean surface, and its blunt tail hanging down. This allows the fish to scan the water above for the krill and other small crustaceans that it eats, and may help it appear smaller to predators who are lurking below, said Benfield.
“The striking thing is they swim by undulating their dorsal fin like a propeller, and they can change direction instantly,” Benfield said. “Most of the time they move slowly and stealthily, but when they want to, they can move fast.”
Benfield’s research usually leans toward small sea animals such as zooplankton and shrimp. But since 2006 he has been working with several oil companies stationed in the Gulf of Mexico who have agreed to give him time on their remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to scan the waters for marine life through a project called GulfSERPENT.
The ROVs, which are usually used to find new sources of oil, are not ideal for finding wildlife. They are noisy and large, about the size of small cars, and they shine bright lights and lasers at whatever they see. But Benfield said it is easier to get time on the hundreds of ROVs owned by oil companies stationed in the Gulf Coast than it is on the handful of ROVs around the world that are devoted to scientific research. Since he started working with the oil companies, he has collected about 40 hours of undersea footage from the Gulf Coast a week.
Since 2008, Benfield has captured video of the oarfish on four different occasions through the SERPENT project. The most recent video of the oarfish, shot in 2011, was collected when Benfield was working with the Natural Resource Damage Assessment group to determine the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“We were just finishing up scanning the water column about 200 feet below the surface when my technician yelled,” said Benfield. “I walked into the lab and saw this giant oarfish. I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and we followed that thing for 10 minutes.”
When you watch the video below, keep in mind that the oarfish is looking at a large, bright, noisy object in the water that is unlike anything that occurs in its natural environment.
“It starts by backing away from us tail-first, and then finally it got fed up and took off,” said Benfield.
The fish shimmers in and out of view for the first few minutes of the video below. If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, I suggest starting at the five-minute mark to get a good look at it, and then fast-forwarding to the nine-minute mark where you can see it zip away like an underwater lightning streak.
Alaskan Killer Whale Gives Fishermen a Surprise
After snagging a halibut on to their fishing line and starting to reel the fish in, an orca swam up from the deep and stole their catch.
Frank Sanders recorded the killer whale stealing the fish and posted this video online. It has since gone viral; as of this writing the June 8 post on has garnered more than 6,800 likes and 28,000 shares on The Alaska Life Facebook page alone.
The video opens with a shot of a fisherman holding his pole while the cameraman stands behind. As the hooked halibut is being recorded an ocra swims up from the depths and tried to get the fish.
“Leave it there! Leave it there,” one of the men says, instructing the fisherman to allow the orca to eat the catch.
As the blog Pete Thomas Outdoors reported, the wider context of the incident is unclear; it is unknown whether the shot was contrived with the halibut used as bait for the killer whale.
In any case, the video should serve as a reminder to man that nature has a way of biting back — as should the one below, which features a shark stealing a fish from an angler on a kayak off the coast of Hawaii.