I am a writer and hiker/backpacker, and I am fervently pursuing helping anyone who has experienced loss and/or brokenness use hiking and the wilderness in order to find healing, wholeness, and joy.
This adventure began on January 4th, 2016, when I started writing as a way to cope when my daughter received her terminal diagnosis. I started writing as a form of processing the overwhelming thoughts and emotions, and eventually made my way into the wilderness, where I discovered the power of using hiking and backpacking as a tool to find healing, wholeness, and joy.
I grew up hiking and camping, and always considered myself an “outdoorsy” person. However, it was not until I discovered hiking as a form of healing that I truly began to appreciate the depths of the mountains, and the lessons they can teach. Previous to losing my daughter, I would have told you that I loved hiking and backpacking, but it would have only been a partial truth. I liked the idea of it, I did not love the act of it. However, as I experienced the brokenness that the world can so harshly bestow upon us, the mountains became my sanctuary. As I navigated through the mountains, the mountains guided me through the depths of my new reality.
Step by step, the mountains helped me be strong in my weakest moments. Slowly but surely, they helped me discover that despite the greatest depths of despair, joy and pain can coexist. The world is full of brokenness, and we have all experienced hurt in some form. There is pain in each of our hearts that bears a heaviness on our soul.
I have no doubt, that you have experienced brokenness in some capacity.
This leaves us with the lingering question, if we are all broken, how do we live wholly?
This is the question I faced every moment of every day, after losing my little girl. Is living with wholeness possible after we have been broken to the core of our being? Can joy exist in the midst of this much pain? Does despair ever go away? Is it possible to be content when your world will never be as it should be?
These are questions I wrestled with, fought through, battled against, screamed at and wept over. And sometimes I still do those things. But the mountains have become one of my greatest sources of inspiration to tell me that yes, it is possible to keep living. Yes, joy and pain can and do coexist. We do not have to live in a constant state of despair. And contentment does not mean we have to be grateful for the things that have caused our brokenness, but it does mean we can find peace despite our brokenness.
The mountains provided a safe place for me to face my biggest, darkest demons. They taught me how to push through the depths of my uttermost agony. They have taught me what I am capable of, and how beautiful life can be, regardless of the things the universe has put in our path. They have helped me find healing, wholeness, and joy. And I believe they can help you find those things as well.
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if the mountains have helped me fine healing, wholeness, and joy, then they can help you find those things as well.
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Would you like to be part of a community that facilitates using the wilderness to find healing, wholeness, and joy? Bethany hosts a Facebook group (completely free) that does just that. Click here to request membership.
Here are a few things you can find on this blog:
Ayden Nicole depicts our journey with our little girl, Ayden Nicole, who was diagnosed with a terminal condition at our 20 week ultrasound. This is where my writing journey began. Ayden means Little Fire, and Nicole means Victory of the People. Our Little Fire has taught us more than we ever wanted to know about life, love, humility, tragedy, and so much more.
Mountain Moments is where I share my experiences in the mountains, and how they have helped me find healing, wholeness, and joy.
Hiking and Backpacking – Go here to find tips and tricks for hiking and backpacking. Everything from meal suggestions, gear guides, and trail reviews.
Picking Poppies – Poppies are a symbol of the legacy that Ayden left on our hearts, and they act as a constant reminder of the beauty despite the pain. They are a reminder of all the good things. Picking Poppies is a monthly post, on the anniversary of Ayden’s birthday (the 22nd), where I share stories centered on love, kindness, and living with intention.