I found joy in simplicity. Something I learned in Cambodia from people who didn't have much of anything was that I don't need material items to be happy. I learned that I could live more simply and still 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 living in Cambodia with the little we had. I learned to admire how people lived off the basic necessities and made do with what they had. I loved disconnecting and not having Facebook on hand all the time. I learned I could live with less material items in my life. I learned to love walking in torrential down pours and appreciate the raindrops on my face, and equally loved the feeling to coming home to shelter from the rain. 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 greater than ourselves. As I am surrounded by these beautiful mountains, my soul rejoices. I find peace and a closeness to God. I try to 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 for me). Good things come from these mountains. One of our favorite nature spots is Yosemite National Park.