July 14, 2009

Colorado Beauty

Today was full of moments that made my heart sing. First of all, I woke at 5:51 a.m. after having NOT been disturbed by Lucan all night! This was the first time he completely slept through the night. Let's hope it's a trend.

After waking the baby to nurse (then pumping even more milk), I donned my running gear and enjoyed an almost five-mile run along a beautiful trail near Rhonda's condo. The trees and rippling creek almost completely disguise the fact that one is in the middle of the Mile-High City. It had been about 10 days since my last run, so my body was craving some exercise. While my muscles enjoyed a workout, my spirit felt nourished by the sights, sounds, and smells of God's creation.

But the trail I hit this morning was merely the appetizer to the main course, a small taste of the beauty we soaked up later in the day. The whole family piled in the Suburban (Grandma included) and drove to Echo Lake near Idaho Springs, a nice, winding drive off I-70 up the mountain. We met Joel, Sarah, Anders, and Haiku (their dog) for a picnic lunch right by the lake. After we had cleared out the food supply, we hiked about halfway around the lake, where we stopped to take turns throwing sticks into the water for Haiku to fetch. This delighted the kids, of course, and nearly satisfied Haiku's thirst for adventure.

Walking the path through the forest brought back memories of family vacations, during which we would travel through and camp in the woods and mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. I remember fishing, swimming, cooking, eating, exploring, climbing, and just being. Time seems to stand still when you're camping. You can examine industrious bugs, listen to breezes rustling through the trees, watch water tumbling over rocks, and smell wildflowers. Stress gives way to tranquility. The wonder of nature turns my heart to the Creator and His awesome majesty.

God has blessed me with many moments like this recently, from our final trips to Mt. Charleston and Red Rock Canyon in Nevada to our side trips to see Bryce Canyon and Arches National Parks. I feel at home here in the West, and I find myself missing and reminiscing about family trips of yesteryear--going to visit my grandmother in the Continental Divide of New Mexico, seeing the red cliffs stretching for miles in either direction of her house; tromping through the woods and canyons where my father grew up and listening to his "I remember when" stories; fishing in mountain streams while Mom set up the camp "kitchen" in hopes there would be fried fish for dinner; hovering under the blankets during a thunderstorm and hoping the tent was indeed waterproof.

There's just something about being with family and experiencing the beauty of this earth together.

I've begun praying that God will provide a camper for our family--we haven't been camping at all since I was pregnant with Charis! There's no reason we shouldn't be planning camping vacations, other than the fact that currently we have two tents, and neither Ted nor I relish the thought of sleeping on the ground. Though we're headed far away from the Rocky Mountains for our next assignment, I pray we will take time to appreciate the beauty that will be close to our new home and spend time making memories with our kids, memories they'll take with them into their next phases of life.

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