Dreaming Of A White Christmas

I think my internal thermostat may have been reset on my recent trip back to Montana.  Last week it got down to what Florida considers cold.  I was driving to work wearing just a light sweater and I got quite the look from the guy in the next lane.  He had on a huge coat, beanie, and gloves!  I seriously burst out laughing!  I wasn’t cold at all!

For years I tried to avoid the cold and snow.  I thought this trip would remind me why I moved away from it, but it completely did the opposite.  Now I truly am dreaming of a white Christmas.  I just want to breathe in that clean, crisp air once again.  I want to act like I’m 5 years old playing in the snow…making snow angels, building snowmen, sledding down the biggest hill.  I want to bundle up in those cozy sweaters and drink hot cocoa in front of a fireplace.  Christmas doesn’t feel the same when it’s nearly 80°F and the only white powdery stuff around is sand!

For more magical winter moments check out my Winter Wonderland series!

Step Of Faith

It takes a real act of faith to step out of the obscurity of your comfort zone and into the unknown.

Sometimes God only allows us to see our next step or two of the journey.

It’s in that place of vulnerability and total dependence on God that we have our greatest adventures and greatest triumphs.

Be sure to check out all the posts in this Winter Wonderland series!

Magic of Winter

We finally made it down to the Roe River.  The way the steam was coming off the water and the light was shining through was nothing short of magical!  It looked as if it must be a passageway to a secret wonderful world!

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Check out the other posts in my Winter Wonderland series!

Giant Springs Means Giant Views

As gorgeous as the falls and the island were, the most incredible winter wonderland I have ever seen in my life was at Giant Springs State Park.  Giant Springs is located in Great Falls, MT.  It is home to one of the largest fresh water springs in the country and the Roe River, once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest river.  I want to spread this out over a few days.  It’s just so beautiful and I just want it to last a little longer. 🙂

Welcome to Giant Springs!

Welcome to Giant Springs!

A Glimpse Of Where We're Headed Tomorrow

Tomorrow we will visit the Roe River just past the bench.  Check out all the posts from my Winter Wonderland series!

Island of Adventure

As promised in my post yesterday, let’s go check out that island below the falls Meriwether Lewis was talking about!  Although I didn’t see his eagle, it was an incredible sight with beautiful surprises around each corner! Be sure to … Continue reading

Black Eagle Falls

I arrived at another cataract of 26 feet. … below this fall at a little distance a beatifull little Island well timbered is situated about the middle of the river. In this Island on a Cottonwood tree an eagle has placed her nest; a more inaccessible spot I believe she could not have found; for neither man nor beast dare pass those gulphs which separate her little domain from the shores. The water is also broken in such manner as it descends over this pitch that the mist or sprey rises to a considerable hight. This fall is certainly much the greatest I ever behald except those two which I have mentioned below. It is incomparably a geater cataract and a more noble interesting object than the celibrated falls of Potomac or Soolkiln. – Meriwether Lewis, June 14, 1805

These falls were later named Black Eagle Falls for the eagle Lewis wrote about.  They are the first in a series of five water falls that make up the Great Falls of the Missouri River.  Tomorrow I will take you down onto the island Lewis writes about so we can get a closer look of the falls and those trees.  Be sure to check out all the posts in this Winter Wonderland series!

Black Eagle Falls/Dam

Black Eagle Falls/Dam

Winter Wonderland

Come experience a Montana winter through my eyes!  Over the next few days I will be sharing a series of photos I took on my recent trip to Montana.  While I’ve never been a huge fan of cold weather, I’ve always found winter so magical.  A fresh blanket of snow can cover something ugly and dormant, and turn it into something crisp and pure and shimmery.  Anything seems possible!

Enjoying A Winter Wonderland

Enjoying A Winter Wonderland

I’m An Official Polar Plunger!

What an incredible experience!!!!  Friday night I did my first ever polar bear plunge and I think I might be hooked!  The event raised over $41K for Special Olympics Montana.

I checked in about an hour before the event, so I could have plenty of time to warm up and get changed into my costume.  If you’re crazy enough to plunge, you should dress the part.  There were so many cute costumes…Duck Dynasty, Cindy Lou Who, pirates, Santa, the list goes on and on.  The winner of the costume contest, however, was a team of nursing students called Public Enema #1.

My team (The Copsickles) were up first.  I left the warm building to wait in a heated tent.  My plunging partner kicked off the event by giving a short speech (too cold for a long one) and some introductions.  I had planned to wait in the tent until the speech was over, but was rushed onto the platform in that -26°F air. They didn’t want any lag time between the speech and the jump.  If my costume was a little silly on its own, it looked outright ridiculous standing on a platform with a bunch of cops in uniform!

Waiting To Take The Plunge

Waiting To Take The Plunge (Photo by Jennifer Gooldy)

The first two sets of Copsickles made the plunge.  Then it was our turn.  We stepped onto the ledge of the pool.  Three, Two, One.  I flung my hands in the air and kicked my feet up as I plunged into that ice-cold water.  I will never forget that sound or the feel of that icy water completely swallowing me.  I quickly swam to the surface losing a shoe along the way and made my way to the other end to exit.  I grabbed the ladder and immediately let go.  A thick layer of ice had completely coated the ladder.  I lost my other shoe.  A man on the platform reached out his hand for me.  The next thing I remember I was standing next to a hot tub frantically looking for stairs that weren’t there.  I contemplated just diving in head first, my head was already wet after all.  I decided against that and just put aside all lady-likeness for a moment and kind of rolled into the hot tub.  You can see a video of a few of the jumps here.  I am in the second to last set of jumpers on the video.  Oh, and I’m totally creeping in the background at the beginning.

Jump!

Jump! (Photo by Jennifer Gooldy)

The only thing I can compare the rush of a polar bear plunge to is my first time sky diving, jumping from safety into the unknown with life threatening consequences if something went wrong.  It was exciting.  It was exhilarating.  It was something I definitely want to do again.

I made so many great friends at the event, but some of my favorites have to be athlete John and his adorable girlfriend Katie.  John earned the Golden Plunger award for raising the most money.  He raised over $7K all by himself!  Katie just gushed over him.  She leaned in close as if to share a secret with me and told me she was the luckiest girl in the whole world.  How can you not love people like her, so full of joy!

Post Plunge with Katie and John

Post Plunge with Katie and John

Freezin For A Reason

It’s official! I’m taking the plunge tonight, the polar bear plunge! I’m so thankful for all my friends & family who have supported me! We’ve raised almost $300 in 24hrs for Special Olympics Montana! I’m super excited to be making the jump, but equally excited to be supporting such a great cause. I’ve been involved with Special Olympics for most of my life & it’s always held a special place in my heart.

So let’s get to the logistics of the jump. They are expecting temperatures to drop down to -26 tonight! Don’t worry though! There will be rescue divers in the water and EMTs on site. Immediately after the jump we get into a hot tub to warm up.

I’m on the local law enforcement team, The Copsickles. Since they are one of the major sponsors of the event we will be some of the first to jump. I love that, because it just means more time in the hot tub for me!

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Should I Take The Plunge?

Just when I thought the adventure on this trip was winding down, tonight I was presented with the opportunity to do a polar bear plunge this weekend! Why on earth would this Florida girl jump into freezing cold water when it’s -20 out? The event is to raise money for the Special Olympics, but also why not! I’ll keep you posted if I raise enough money tomorrow to jump!  If you are interested in donating, you can do so here.

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