I found joy in simplicity. Something I learned in Cambodia from people who didn't have many earthly belongings was that I don't need material items to be happy. I learned that I could live more simply and be happy. I lived that whole summer with alternating between 7 pairs of shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shoes, and 2 dresses (for church). I didn't look fashionable, but I made adventuring fashionable in my life. I worried it was going to be too much sacrifice with less technology, fewer transportation options, less money, but we were really happy there. I loved getting to see how people lived off the basic necessities. I loved walking in the torrential rain pours. I loved disconnecting and not having Facebook on hand all the time. I learned I could live with less material items in my life. Since then, I seek to live my life a little differently than before. I don't spend a lot of money on clothes and wear my clothes until they have holes. "Recycle" is a big word my kids know all too well. We max out as much of our items as possible. I learned I can be happy with less.
I found peace and power in stillness. Every now and then, AJ and I take our family away from the city for a quick escape to the mountains. The mountains have a great way of reminding us that we are a part of something special. We are a part of something bigger. As I'm surrounded by these beautiful mountains, my soul rejoices. I find peace and a closeness to God as I embrace the stillness of all around me and reflect on my life, my desires, and my goals. And every time I return to the mountains in the snow, I get excited because then I know it's time to get into my monoski, break the bonds of my wheelchair, and shred (or fall...either is pretty fun and acceptable for me). Good things come from these mountains. One of our favorite nature spots is Yosemite National Park.