How I Lost My Mind In The Desert

Me at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, CA

I suppose there’s a component in my DNA that has programmed me to become obsessed with the desert. It was two generations before me when my bloodline found solace among like-minded people in the same situation out in the desert. I wrote before about how my grandmother felt a little closer to God while looking out into the sunrise over a clear Arizona sky. It was after that moment over the phone that I told her that I understood and felt the same way.

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Life Lessons From The Snowy Desert

It’s been eleven years since the first and latest time I had to bypass the grapevine heading south to avoid a snowstorm.

I had to go all the way around the mountains from Bakersfield by trekking backward and by taking the coastal 101 down to Southern California. It took me about six hours, but it put everything in perspective. I was able to be on the roads that I never have seen before. However, this was before the explosion of smartphones and the Waze app, and it became an event that I will always remember.

Now, 11 years later I had to do it again. However, this time my vehicle headed due southeast facing the desert. I was stuck in an endless line of cars that would snake around the mountains in a different direction. Instead of seeing the Pacific Ocean as I cruised along the highway 101, I would have to go through the Mojave Desert past the old dry brush weighed down by piles of freshly dumped snow while driving on pitched dark and icy roads.

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How Lent Changed My Entire Life

catholic rosary during lent

It was during the sunnier days that were sprinkled throughout the spring of 2000 when I decided to (temporarily) abstain from drinking any carbonated sugary liquids. I had only ever had my first sip of soda the year before at the age of eight and decided that this dessert-like treat would be the thing that I would give up during the religious time of Lent.

The 40 days (or so) before Easter was an important time for my classmates and me who attended a Pre-K through 8th-grade Catholic school complete with habited nuns and mass held every week. Having something to give up for Lent back then was even more important than the reasons why Catholics gave up things for Lent in the first place. However, my recently created addiction to caffeinated beverages proved difficult to manage despite the entirety of the Catholic Church breathing down my neck with guilt-gifting looks. Continue reading “How Lent Changed My Entire Life”

Across State Lines

13083371_10209041309613957_6841760751063450198_nI glanced over at the odometer and watched the digitally scribed numbers on my dash grow as I crept forward through the California desert. Death Valley’s hot breath blew past my windshield and into the open windows of my mid-sized vehicle as my tires continued to spin over dusty asphalt roads that were beginning to sizzle in the late spring heat.

The car full of people that I was towing were all headed over the first of three state lines that I would end up crossing within a month’s time frame, and with every border I crossed, and every mile that I traveled, I could only hope for more to come. Continue reading “Across State Lines”