August 3, 2021

run into the storm

~July 14~

I woke up at 5am and my brain wouldn't turn off so I knew I needed to get up and take advantage of the time and go to the mountains.

I started my car and started driving through my neighborhood. The radio came on, but it wasn't music playing--it was the eery beeping of an emergency alert for flash flooding in Maricopa county.

Maricopa county is huge. I could see storm clouds in the north, but certainly I would be fine in the south! 

The thought crossed my mind that this was a lot like a hollywood movie--the girl gets in the car and the emergency alert goes off and you know the name of the movie is "thunderstorm" so you are rolling your eyes at her dumb decision to ignore the warning and yelling at her just to turn around and go home for goodness sake. 

Like the girl in those movies, I did not go back home like I should have. Whether it was over confidence, desperation to exercise, a sense of adventure calling to me, or just foolishness, I drove on to the Santans.

I parked next to just a handful of cars and started on the trail. Was it another warning that the usually packed parking lot was so empty?

Yes, yes it was.

I climbed to the top quickly, just in case a storm was actually on the way. I enjoyed the peace of the empty trails. Sure there were a few others I could see in the distance on their bikes of hiking, but we never crossed each other.

At the summit, I debated whether to turn around and go straight back down or continue down and around the loop. I saw another hiker on her way down the loop, too, so I guess that made me feel more comfortable that I wasn't the only one on the mountain. I chose to carry on.

As I was nearing the bottom of the far side of the mountain, the wind picked up. I looked at my phone to see that Eric sent me a text message telling me how hard it was raining at home and checking on me. The wind blew even harder and the dust started to swirl and I could see dark clouds and dust heading my way at a quick speed.

At the bottom of the mountain, I looked to the trail to the left. The sun was shining that way. I could see blue sky and puffy white clouds. I looked to the trail to the right. The giant dome of dust was rolling in, the sky was dark, and a flash of lightning lit the sky in the distance. To go left meant walking towards the calm and the main parking lot which is farther from home but where I could call and have Eric pick me up. But the storm is also heading that way...wouldn't I then be running with the storm? To go right meant facing the storm head on and whatever elements and dangers that would come with that but getting back to my car in the shortest time. The left was inviting and tempting. The right was bleak and frightening.

I went right. 

Don't you know by now? I am nothing but a fighter and and adventurer. I don't run away. I face everything head on. The only way to get away from the storm is to go through the storm.

Pictures don't do this storm justice. The wind was fierce and the rain was pummeling me and stinging my skin. I was drenched within a a minute.

And then there was the thing with the lightening. The desert in the middle of a lightening storm is not the place you want to be. There is no cover, no shelter.

I prayed the hardest, most sincere prayer and then ran the trail with all my might. 

The only problem being I am in the worst shape that I have been in since cancer. Running was hard. And a muddy trail with flowing water was difficult to traverse.

The worst of the storm passed and while the rain still came down, the wind didn't blow as hard. I took my phone out of my soaked pocket to try to capture the adventure.

Hiking in the rain didn't seem too bad at moments. It's warm rain in Arizona so it actually felt refreshing. However, as soon as I would settle into thoughts of enjoyment and start to relax. I would see another flash of lightening. So I'd start running again. Thank goodness the lightening was constant though!

It was such a happy sight to make it to the last turn in the trail that would lead me to my car.

After 45 min. in the storm, I was safe, albeit drenched, in my car.

I said a prayer of thanksgiving to have made it out of the storm. I'd like to think I emerged from that storm a little bit wiser, too. 

Sometimes in life, we are hiking a trail and we see a storm heading our way. We may think that we can turn away from the storm and go towards what appears to be a calm sky. But is that going to get us where we want to be? Or is that just going to give a us a few more minutes to delay the inevitable? And ultimately, would that make it more difficult for us? Would it mean a longer time in the storm to run with the storm? Would we just have to wait at the other end for someone to rescue us?

Let's face our storms with courage and with God. Pray hard then run harder. If you know that's the only way to go to get back to your car and your home then face your storms head on. For isn't that how you will get out of it the quickest? And maybe you will find moments in that storm that are actually enjoyable and give your relief from the heat of life. Maybe then you will see how capable and strong you are. A little water and mud never hurt anyone. The lightening might be frightening, but you can only control what you can control. Since you are already there, trust God and use your best logic and common sense to stay as safe as you can. Notice the beauty of the storm as you go along--the clouds, the newly created mini waterfalls, the desert smell. Maybe think about how you can prepare better next time by being in better shape, too. Choose to see the adventure of the storm and embrace it since you can't change it.

Let's face the storms we have to face and emerge a little wiser and stronger. 

August 1, 2021

July 24th

We found a great place to celebrate the 24th of July. Yeah it’s true that Pioneer Day has never made made it on our calendar before, but a chance to go to a rodeo and parade in small town America in the mountains meant that it didn’t even matter what we were celebrating. Though pioneers are a pretty good reason.

We started our road trip with a stop at the Burger House in Globe. 

We got stuck for awhile on the road because a truck drove off the side into the canyon. It was so sad and sobering. We saw the medical helicopter flying away before they let us by. I said a little prayer.

Saturday morning was the small town parade.

Our kids discovered the joys of parade candy and frisbees being thrown their way. By kids I mean teenagers, too.

Fire truck water to end the parade.

We headed to the food trucks, car show, and outdoor boutique.

It was stormy all weekend and as we drove to Taylor for the rodeo the rain was pouring down. It was super intense and I questioned our decision to drive to attend a rodeo, with little kids, in the rain. I was telling Eric “Nope, not us. We are not sitting in this.” However, as soon as we parked at the rodeo, the rain miraculously stopped. A Pioneer Day miracle!

But it was a muddy mess down there. A beautiful muddy mess.

Baby girl enjoyed her first rodeo, too.

They called the kids down for the calf chase. Without hesitation Layla jumped up and started booking it down there. Her two friends started down after her. Right into that deep mucky mess. No hesitation.

That’s Layla in the light pink long sleeve. You can’t tell but the mud was so deep that her boots got stuck. She abandoned her shoes. Again, no hesitation. 

Perry wanted in on the action. Despite our attempts at persuasion to keep him dry and clean, he went down there and plopped right into the mud.

They were filthy when it was over. I’m not sure if they regretted it, but as much as we tried to clean them up, they weren’t exactly comfortable the rest of the night.

Brinna was asleep in Eric’s arms and baby was asleep in mine, but we stayed til the end for a beautiful fireworks show. 

It made me get that America feeling—proud to be an American, grateful for freedom and for people who bravely came before us and protect our freedoms, and happy to be right there with my family close. 

July 27, 2021

back to school

Another school year has begun! We are so ready for 12th, 11th, 5th, and 4th grades. 

I can not believe this is Kyler’s senior year. I have such mixed emotions about that myself. I am so excited for him but I am also so sad to think that this is our last year with him. He has really grown into an amazing, mature, thoughtful, hard working, outgoing, fun-loving guy. He is a natural born leader and listener and wise beyond his years. 

Kacin is starting his Junior year! I have such a good feeling about this year for him. He is looking forward to wrestling season and dedicating himself to the sport. He quietly goes about doing good and putting in the effort. He's not one to draw attention to himself on stuff that truly matters, but he has such a good heart. He has found a job as a Ninja Warrior coach that he excels it--he is so good with kids and super athletic. I am so proud of him and excited to see what this year has in store for him.

Off to 5th grade! Same school, same teacher, but many new friends. He is discovering who he is and what he loves. When we were at a dance recital for the girls we saw some boys dancing hip hop. Perry really enjoyed watching it so I asked him if that was something he would want to do. He explained to me that that wasn't his thing because he was a baseball player and he liked bowling. I love how aware of himself he is and that he identified that way. Because this year we found him some things he truly enjoys--baseball, bowling, swimming, American Ninja Warrior, Survivor, listening to books on audible, drawing, and math facts. He is a fun 5th grader and hoping this will be another year to make lots of progress, especially in learning to read.

Layla is a 4th grader. I prayed long and hard all summer long about the right school choice for Layla. I'm so grateful for the early morning inspiration I received about which school to send her to. As soon as we walked through the doors of her new school for Meet the Teacher, I knew that this was the right place for her. I could feel it. And I know she could, too. Her teacher is amazing and approachable and such a great fit for her. Her peers have been so welcoming and inclusive. I'm so grateful that God helped me make this decision for her. Layla's creativity, thoughtfulness, kindness, and wisdom will shine ever stronger this year and I know she will continue to grow in so many good ways.

I am home with only two little ones right now. And Brinn will start preschool soon. I think some time to myself during the day with a calmer atmosphere is going to help me so much. I have my own goals to focus on nurturing my children's spirits, minds, and bodies this year by holding consistent scripture study, cooking and preparing more nutritious food, and helping them with their school work or areas they have been struggling with academically. I want to be present with them and keep a healthy balance for myself. 

Yay for the start of a new school year!!