Saturday, March 5, 2016

Arizona 2016

This week, this life, these people I'm meeting, the stories I'm hearing and have been part of telling.   And, oh this road I'm traveling...
It has awakened something inside of me that I didn't even know was sleeping.
A month ago we planned a trip for just the two of us. 
 As long as we have spoken, our words have revolved around children...  
...and heavy things... 
And always, always hard decisions; most of which took a lot of discussion, because every single outcome mattered.  Every single choice we have made and continue to make has a lasting impact on our family and we have always known it, and valued it above all else.  Together we have always put stock in the whole of this family before ourselves, just the way we believe it should be. 
For the first time in three years we felt like we were really ready to spend time away. 
It was a trip that we felt was necessary to revive our spirits, to re-strengthen them for the days ahead.  To tap into our hearts and feel the love between just the two of us.  But also, I know we both felt like this would be a time to reflect on where we have come from, what we have endured together along the way, all the days that we have walked that have led us exactly where we are today. 
Together, we talk a lot about it but I think more than anything we just needed to feel it. 
Alone.  Together.  And far away. 
This week I didn't discover anything substantially new within myself.  It wasn't life-altering in a 'finding myself' kind of way.  But it was absolutely enlightening and important.  The beauty and the majesty of what we were able to experience was far beyond my wildest dreams.  And to experience it together, in the sunshine and dry air-it was exactly what we needed.  
This week as we climbed higher and higher toward the Heavens, I really did feel our girl close.  There is something very engaging about the way the earth is in tune to our spirits and in these moments of total solitude where I was pushing my abled-body to it's limits, I experienced a freedom that I haven't in a very long time. 
There was nothing that needed to be said.  There was nothing to be done.  There was simply he and I and the vastness that is God.  

I found myself at the height of our trip, literally, in total awe of our Father once again.  
I found myself thinking about details and moments within our last year that have been too difficult to process until now, and allowing myself to really think about them.  I also found myself thinking about the love I am in; the love God has provided all of us and felt completely and totally overwhelmed with His goodness in my life. 
For five whole days, I really allowed myself to fully feel. 
I was completely held captive by this place; a place where I was totally surrendered.
Hurt and happy, pain and joy, love and hate; all gave way to moments of perfection in the middle of nature where my breath was literally taken away. 
By him, and her, and them, and life. 
My what a life. 

While in Sedona we made sure our days were full.
  The very first morning we climbed cathedral rock which was my absolute favorite part of our entire trip.  Just when the other adventurers stopped climbing, we climbed higher and the reward was incredible beauty!  I have never in my life seen or experienced anything like it.  When you read about Sedona, Arizona, you will likely read about the famous vortex's within the canyons or mesa's. 
All I can say is that when you know you really do just know. It's indescribable. 

[cathedral rock]

Another one of my favorite things that we did was driving to lookout point at sunset.  Almost every night we watched the sun go down in the valley from a different place on some rock or mesa.  It was incredible and the valley really is completely inspiring. 
The colors of the sky against the rocks and the way that they changed with each passing minute; their fleeting yet sustainable vibrancy-it was eerily comparable to life.
And in that way, I adored it all.

On the second day of our trip we hiked for 8 hours and for a total of approximately 15 miles. 
Unfortunately I have to have foot surgery in 2 weeks so I have been resting leading up to the trip, knowing that I would basically push myself to my physical limits.  This day, indeed, I did.  We hiked to 'devil's bridge' which was amazing.  I happened to enjoy being under the canyon more than even the view from the top.  And then after a really great lunch and feeling totally sun-drunk, we hiked another 5 miles around one of the city's largest mesas.  It was incredible.  

(devils bridge)

On the last active day of our trip we visited the Grand Canyon, which really was a dream come true for me; something I always wanted to do but never actually thought would be a reality.  I am so thankful for the chance to travel and experience life in it's fullest capacity.  What a gift it is to have lived and continue to live such a rich life in so many, many ways!

We missed the kids a lot but honestly focused so much on being fully present. 
It was good to not feel worried about them.  It was good to know that they were in good hands. 
And it was really good to come home again. 
Though, in coming home we tasted the bitter reality once again. 
Our baby really is gone. 
A five day trip that was not only spiritual, and stretching but also truly healing came to a post-vacation head in a really epic crash the day after returning.  Overwhelmed and exhausted, I think we both just ached for the lady who is missing... 
Never ever from our hearts, but definitely from our home.   And I think that's what makes traveling easy and even important.  She goes with us where we go.  But at home, in our safe place, the void of her is more recognizable than ever.  
The next several weeks will be incredibly difficult for me, I can tell.  My emotions and the memories are relentless.  It was this week last year that Mabel had the seizure that changed everything.  She became so sick, so quickly and everything is a reminder.  It all feels like an open, oozy, very raw wound and oh, how it's painful. 
Please continue to pray for our family.  I will always be humbled and grateful that you do.  With so much adventure, joy, goodness, and love-we sure experience equal parts grief and sadness and I'm not quite sure that will ever go away.   So thank you for lifting us high in your hearts and thoughts.  We need your strength, as we always have.  

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