Kim Harms

Life Reconstructed


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The Backpacking Story that was Years in the Making

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Four years after sending a query to Creation Illustrated hoping to write about my first backpacking trip, I received an invitation to write the story.

Four. Years. (I’ve had to wait quite a while for responses to queries in the past, but four years is crazytown. )

It was worth the wait, however, because that query turned into an 8-page spread in the magazine. I love writing for online publications, but there is something extra sweet about pulling a magazine out of the mailbox and finding your byline in print. The fact that it was backgrounded by a giant photo of Palisade Head on the North Shore of Lake Superior and the article was sprinkled throughout with photos of Corey and me made it even more awesome.

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I’m thankful I married a guy who pushes me out of my comfort zone. If it hadn’t been for his insistence, I never would have taken that first backpacking trip or the half-dozen more we’ve taken since.

I wouldn’t have stood on top of Mount Trudee. I wouldn’t have traversed the infamous “Crawler’s Ledge” on the Kalalau Trail in Kauai. I wouldn’t have showered in a waterfall or bathed in a river. I wouldn’t have eaten guava straight off the tree or had the sound of ocean waves lull me to sleep in my tiny little tent on a beach in Hawaii. I wouldn’t have watched my boys skip rocks across a lake high on a mountain in Colorado and I don’t think I would understand the draw of a trip to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (Corey’s next adventure).

I’m also thankful I get to be a writer. I don’t think I will ever tire of arranging words on a page. Even though sometimes it takes four years to get the go ahead to write 🙂

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Backpacking and Breast Cancer

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I posted the following statement on July 18, 2016.

We cancelled our plans for a family backpacking trip to Colorado this summer because a backpack and chest expanders are a bad combination. (Just wearing a seat belt across my chest right now about drives me batty.) Next summer the Harms family will be climbing some mountains.

On July 11, 2017 we climbed a mountain. Well, kind of. We climbed most of the way up a mountain in Byers Peak Wilderness in Colorado. We camped by Horseshoe Lake 11,200 IMG_6535feet above sea level where we were secluded from the world (except for one other family and their 4 alpacas 🙂 )

It was fantastic.

I love backpacking with my family. Something about all of us doing a challenging thing together brings me great joy. I love the taste of  Mountain Meals eaten out of a bag while sitting on the ground, and I love relaxing by the campfire together before retiring our sore bodies to our tiny little tents. I could do without the middle of the night trips to the outdoor loo, but I guess it wouldn’t be backpacking if I didn’t have to pee outside. IMG_6542

The Gift

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, our friends/tax guy/realtor Chris and Tami Hicks offered us a week of their timeshare. Not only did they offer it, they made sure we took them up on the offer by reminding us every month or two that they wanted to give us a vacation. So thank you Chris and Tami for the condo with a view of the Rockies, and for helping me accomplish a goal.

We had a fantastic week of swimming, rafting, hiking, eating lots of junk and relaxing in our own personal hot tub room.

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An Easy Section of the Hard Trail

My boys might say that rafting or cliff jumping was their favorite part of the trip, but for me it was definitely the backpacking.

Goal Achieved

Last year at this time I was recovering from reconstruction surgery #2, and dreaming about the day when I might be able to extend my arms over my head again. This year I strapped on a 20 lb. backpack and climbed a mountain.

Last year going for a half-mile walk with Corey was a grand accomplishment. This year I hiked for hours on what alltrails.com lists as a HARD trail.

Last year I had no feeling in my alien breasts. This year…still no feeling 😉 (A relatively small price to pay to rid my body of cancer.)

But that’s not really what this is about. This is about living the life God gave me to the fullest.

Last year that meant a lot of resting and letting other people take care of me. This year it means checking the goals off my Post Cancer To Do List and hopefully encouraging other women who are in the midst of hard things.

Backpacking is my last checkmark.

List complete.

I guess it’s time to write a new one.

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BOY MOM MONDAY – Proverbs 16:25 The Right Path

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Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.

Our family enjoys backpacking together. Following a trail in the woods away from regular life gives us quality uninterrupted family time, great exercise and an appreciation for all the modern conveniences we enjoy in our day-to-day. You know, like beds and toilets. 🙂

But it is important to stay on the trail. Veering off can lead to injury and/or getting lost.

A couple years ago, one of our boys decided to walk along the rocks in a river. Not a big deal. He wasn’t at risk of getting lost, and what boy doesn’t love climbing on rocks and playing in the water? What he didn’t take into account however, was that rocks are slippery when they’re wet. He took a tumble right into the river.

This did not lead him to death as our Proverbs verse says today, but it did lead to drenched clothes. Clothes we had to hang from sticks over a campfire to dry.

Our kids don’t always think clearly through the path they are going to take and find out too late that the rocks are wet. As they mature, my hope for my boys is that they will learn to discern God’s “right path” from the path that seems right to them. And that in doing so they can avoid consequences far worse than wet clothes.

Dear Lord, I pray that my kids will not be deceived by their own sometimes skewed perspective of the right path, and that they will seek you and follow your path, even when the wrong one is enticing. Amen.


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The Mid @ Scary Mommy

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I’m over on  The Mid at Scary Mommy today giving advice to my younger self. Feel free to check it out.

An author/teacher whom I have an immense amount of respect for said that the best advice he ever got as a writer was, “You must be willing to walk down the street naked.” Every time a piece of me goes out into the world of cyber-space via an article I’ve written, I have a better understanding of what that statement means.


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Nature Proclaims – christiandevotions.us

I am excited be the writer of the August 5 devo at Christian Devotions. If that site brought you to this blog, welcome.
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My devo, Nature Proclaims, was a result of the first backpacking trip my crazy husband convinced me to take with him. (We’ve since gone on 4 additional trips; 2 as a couple and 2 as a family.)
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I went through my old writings and found a few photos and a list I wrote after completing that first trip. Turns out, you can learn quite a lot when you step out of your comfort zone and into the great outdoors.
Here We Go
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A few things I learned or was reminded of on our journey:
1. God is a God of tremendous beauty.
2. God is big enough to make lakes so big you can’t see across them, but he still cares about little things like lost cameras (ask Corey about the extra 6 miles he hiked for me).
3. God provides. – Thank you to Kristin and Amos, who allowed two stranded hikers to set up camp on their site.
4. God, not the weatherman, is in control of the weather. Rain was forecasted for our whole trip, and we had sunny upper 60s and 70s all day Saturday and Sunday.
5. I am capable of more than I thought. I hiked 16 miles in one day!!
6. Flush toilets are a beautiful thing. I almost cried when I sat down on an indoor toilet with FOUR rolls of dry toilet paper just waiting there to be used!!
7. The $50 you save by getting a cheap motel at the end of the hiking trip is NOT WORTH IT! (Think dirt, a roach on the curtain and Brady Bunch era bedspreads.)
8. My husband is my VERY BEST FRIEND.
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I so enjoy these trips, because they make me appreciate everyday things I normally take for granted.


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Anxious or Trusting

I just recently noticed that this devo of mine was published online. That was a fun surprise 🙂

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIVIMG_0301

“I’m a little anxious about this trip.” My husband’s words the night before he was to fly to Wyoming for several days of backpacking made me uneasy. Corey doesn’t get anxious. It’s a sign that something is going to go wrong. What if the plane crashes or he gets hurt on the trail? I was now anxious about Corey’s trip in a little four-seat plane.

He arrived in Wyoming the next day in one piece and had a fantastic trip. And I’m certain his anxiousness had more to do with the thought of leaving me alone with our sons in the midst of some significant life transitions than with his own safety. But his comment caused me to be anxious nonetheless.

It’s funny how small things can send our minds reeling. One off-handed comment snowballed in my mind into a disaster that never happened.

God gives us a clear remedy for anxiousness. Do not be anxious about anything. Anything! In everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, we should present our requests to Him. And His peace, which is a peace beyond anything this world can provide, has the ability to protect our hearts and our minds. The next time Corey flies off on a backpacking adventure, I plan to trust the truth of Scripture instead of trusting my untrustworthy imagination.

God asks you to trust him with your circumstances or life issues that are causing you to be anxious. Whether it’s a new job, a move across country, or a child who is having a rough year at school. Maybe like me, you need to let go of your fears and let God show you He’s in control.

 

You can find this and a lot of great devos at Christian Devotions.


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Hatchet and the Superior Hiking Trail

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Our family had our first “wilderness” adventure together this summer. With all of our necessities on our backs, we packed in to a primitive campsite on the Superior Hiking Trail and spent the night away from all modern conveniences.  And we all came out alive.

The boys filtered water from the Split Rock River, gathered firewood off the trail and set up their own tent. They inhaled their mountain meal like it was the most delicious food they had tasted in their lives, and Owen said he liked river water better than regular water.

Aside from one child falling in the river, an almost bad log on a leg accident, the ongoing fight with killer mosquitoes and this mama losing her voice, the trip went pretty much without a hitch.

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It was during this vacation that I started reading Hatchet aloud to the boys. They loved it. It may have had something to do with the fact that they felt they could relate in a tiny way to the protagonist, Brian, who was on his own far from civilization. In fact, when Brian started a fire with the paper-like bark from a birch tree, the boys were like, “Hey, that’s what we used.” Brian was roughing it a bit more than we were, but I think it made them feel like bonafide outdoorsmen.

Basic premise of Hatchet: After a crash landing in a small plane somewhere in the Canadian wilderness, Brian Robeson is left alone to survive with nothing but the clothes on his back and the hatchet attached to his belt.

Here’s a list of what the boys thought were the best parts of the book (spoiler alert)

* Brian crash-landing the plane in a lake after the pilot died of a heart attack

* Seeing how Brian figured out how to catch fish and hunt birds

* When Brian figured out how to get the survival pack out of the plane 

I thought it was fun to “watch” Brian’s mental processes and to see how creative he was with what little he had. Kind of like a kid version of Castaway.

Overall, it’s an excellent story. And kudos to Gary Paulsen for writing a page-turner of a middle-years novel with basically one character. This one is highly recommended by the Harms boys and the Harms mama.

We’re looking forward to starting Brian’s Winter next.