You know those little moments that give you a peak over the mountain standing in front of you? You know… the ones that broaden your view and open the window wider than you knew possible? As we head back to school and sports, the girls were practicing their gymnastics at home. Ellie plopped herself straight into the splits, making it look easy, yet it was something she hadn’t done before. When I asked her how she did that, she told me she didn’t know she was supposed to go all the way down. For the last two years of ballet and gymnastics, her teachers have hovered above the ground, never demonstrating “the splits,” but their best attempt at them. So, Ellie mimicked the attempt, instead of the real objective, even though she was capable of more. As her parent, I never knew she hadn’t been told how to do it right, so I never thought to tell her differently. Isn’t that the way it is for all of us? Do we ever really know what we are capable of? Who tells us how to do something? If it’s a teacher or parent, do we question it? On a bigger scale, when faced with life’s challenges, does anything really equip us for facing it?
Colorado “Winter Trip 2017-18” was an eye-opener for us this year. Lots of obstacles in our way did not deter us, although upon leaving, we still questioned whether we should be going… yet these temps had us racing from IL.
Life feels that way a lot of the time… uncertainties fill it, and all of us just do our best to navigate, even though at times, we almost feel blind. A record-breaking lack of snow in what we hoped would be our winter play land, sick friends, new job difficulties for others, the loss of a child for another friend we were visiting, and some crippling news en-route had us holding our breath in a place with little oxygen to begin with (as demonstrated by another friend there with the flu, and then pneumonia, who had been put on oxygen at this special spot atop the mountains at 8000 feet) . Just breathe.
Alas, travel is not just a reward for working, but education for living. I truly believe that, and it’s always been reconfirmed with each journey we take. There is comfort in being with those you love, continuing traditions in one of our favorite places, and gaining strength by tackling new things and times together. If we didn’t do these things, would we ever really get these glimpses over the mountain to see what we can really do, or what life is all about?
While we stayed with our dear and generous friends, we made some wonderful memories… while lift tickets run $80+ during holiday times, we were able to fit in a beautiful evening of night skiing at Granby Ranch (near it’s more popular neighbor Winter Park) at a whopping $15 lift ticket price for skiing from 4-8pm, and aside from a bit of altitude sickness for Gav, had a glorious night. The weather was mild, the sunset was magnificent, the slopes were not busy at all, and the girls finally mastered the slopes on their own. Hurray!
Despite being ill, our host took us on an unforgettable snowmobile journey through the mountains with their family, ours, and another set of friends. It will never cease to amaze me how well they can accommodate our big family and others.
(complete with hot pockets heated on the mufflers)
The kids all enjoyed another tradition of seeing a local neighbor’s annual one hour light display and show.
While there wasn’t enough snow to get a “real” snowshoeing experience, the bonus is…. we were able to walk further to see our favorite meadow on the East Inlet Trail,
followed by an evening of grand fireworks at Granby Ranch. It was the first time we had experienced massive fireballs over our favorite ski mountain.
Every night was filled with games and amazing moments with a group of people we are honored to call friends.
Before leaving our gracious hosts on New Years Day, we were able to join together for a morning of tubing with the next family we would be meeting at Snow Mountain Ranch that afternoon. Nothing can replace being surrounded by those you love for wonderful moments of fun together.
There is more to tell from this trip, but upon returning from this 10 day adventure to the mountains in Colorado, we find ourselves tackling a 2018 like no other year. We are staring our biggest challenge in the face, with no idea how to navigate or what this next season of life will look like. Yet, seeing Ellie do something she didn’t know she was capable of gives us that hope that the challenges of 2018 will go better than expected, and that we can all join together to find strength. We can only hope we too will achieve a potential we don’t realize we are trying to achieve. 2018 will change us. All we can do is hope that this “different” will be discovered through newfound wisdom that will build us into something better. For all of us facing a new year, with new challenges… “Be brave. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. For the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9