You know that “high” you get when you do something that takes some guts?

I’m not talking about super duper big things (although those are good too…read here for more on that. I like getting out of my comfort zone every once in a while). I’m talking more about things like how as the shyest teenager on the planet years ago, it was so exhilarating to me when I finally got up the guts to go talk to a teacher about a grade I was worried about at school. I felt like I had conquered the world. Or when I talked myself into trying out for something…a school officer, cheer-leading, etc. Whether I “made it” or not, I had done something a little tougher than I was used to and I always ended up being glad in the end, whether or not the process was agonizing.

I think maybe that’s why I love roller-coasters so so much: because riding on a roller-coaster pushes me a little out of my little realm of comfort…it scares me a little. Maybe it’s good to be scared in life a little bit…face the unknown.

Anyway, I bring this up because this year our traditional trip to Bloomington Lake (up in the mountains about 45 minutes from where we stay at Bear Lake) ended up taking some guts.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it always takes guts to jump from this rope swing:…into the always freezing water (that’s glacier run-off in the background).

But this year, this was the view from that exact same spot:

Yeah, that is ice covering a good portion of the lake’s surface. Summer was so slow in making it’s grand entrance this year that all that ice had hardly had a chance to give way to the crystal clear lake below.

This is how it usually looks up there:

It’s usually spilling over with wildflowers.

It honestly takes my breath away it is so gorgeous.

Taking into consideration all the rain this spring I was bracing myself for some serious knock-you-out-with-beauty vistas. I figured it would be the most vibrant trip to date.

But this is what we were greeted with when we got there:That is SNOW covering the parking lot.

Let’s just say we weren’t quite prepared for that (nice flip-flops, right?)

The paths up to the lake usually look like this:

(awwww…look how cute those little kids are…)

But this year, this was what we got:

Poor little flowers were trying their darnedest to poke their heads up through the snow.

Last year:

This year:

Ok, so you get the picture.

It was cold.

But still beautiful…

My heart jumped when I saw that lake at the top still half-way frozen over. Because I knew I still had to do it: I still had to do the rope swing. Because I always do. The jump is always scary yet invigorating. (And plus I want my kids to see me do hard things so they will too.)

When we got to the top of the lake we found that the rope swing was broken. It was all wound up in the tallest branches of the tree that holds it. Irretrievable.

My words said “darn it,” but inside my heart celebrated.

At least I had planned on doing it, right? Too bad that circumstances out of my control barred the way to my rope swing glory this year. “Too bad, so sad.” I thought to myself. “Now let’s go take some more pictures.”

Until someone stated the obvious: we didn’t need a rope swing to get in the water.

And then the peer pressure sunk in.

We had to do it. A few of us picked our spots and counted down on the side.

And then counted down again to help get our guts up a little more.

And then, just like that, we did it. We embraced the challenge and we dove right into that ice water.

And then we shot out of there lickety-split. I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen any of us move that fast before.


I knew it would be cold. It always is. I planned on it being freezing.

But I had no idea how it would make it feel like every cell in my body was cracking in half in combustion of being so shocked with ice.

As we looked at each other in wonder of how much colder it was than we could have even imagined it being, this sense of accomplishment began to grow. It showed in our huge smiles. We had just done something tough.

And it was invigorating.

How I hope I can embrace little things like that in life to give me and my family that little nudge. That little push to dig a little deeper or reach a little further.

Because there’s nothing like doing something that takes some guts every once in a while to help life feel that much more fulfilling.

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  1. I would just like to thank you for making this post. Because I really needed it today. Like, my future depends on it.

    Today was the dreaded 'results day' here in the UK and I got the exam scores that determine whether I get to go to college in the fall or not.

    My results weren't what I was expecting. They weren't bad, I mean, I got my place. But all day I've been questioning about whether I'm really READY to leave my parents and go off to college and live on my own. I was wondering about if I should not go and re-apply next year.

    And I kind of feel like the Lord has something to do with you making this post today. On the EXACT day I needed it the most.

    So I'm going to college in the fall. You have no idea how much you have just saved my future. Thank you SO much, Shawni, you truly are a blessing.

  2. You are so brave! I guess since I'm not a water person that cold lake jumping scares me even more.

    We did the Stewart Falls Hike in July and it looked very similar to your snow photos here. I had no idea we'd have such a different hike this year.

  3. I love Bloomington! I took my hubby up there for the first time a couple years ago, and as you said, it took my breath away again. As it does every time. I've never seen it still frozen over, though! I've seen plenty of snow up there in August, but at least the water isn't frozen. You are very brave. I don't like swimming at all – especially in cold water. No more than my feet have ever been in that water because it's so cold. But you have taught me something here about doing things that are scary even when we really don't want to do them. It's something good for me to think about and remember.

  4. I was wondering that too. You've talked about your shyness in two posts lately, yet you seem anything but now. So yeah, I'd be interested to know that too.

    And boy does that water look cold! I believe in doing hard things too, but you guys are a heck of a lot braver that me- I think I would have chickened out of this one!

  5. Oh my, why did you do that? That just looks painful! I can't believe there was that much snow up there in July! I went to high school in Idaho and we would always go bridge jumping into freezing water, but not iced over freezing water. You are a brave woman!

  6. Such a great point. It doesn't have to be huge, it just has to be something you push yourself to do/achieve—and it can give us and our children so much confidence and pride. Thank you (and good luck to fellow reader Sophie)!

  7. Dear Shawni

    Since you are a young women leader I would like to ask for tips and ideas for young women camp, mutual and to get the girls into personal progress. Thanks

  8. Sophie, I am SO happy for you! I'm so excited for you to be going to college in the Fall and I wish you the very, very best of luck! I'm sure you will benefit greatly from getting out of your comfort zone and doing something different from what you're used to. It may be tough in the process but I'm sure you'll learn so much. Good luck!

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