Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Alpine Loop

The summer I came home from college mom, dad and I set out on a crazy adventure. Dad had just bought an international Scout II and wanted to test it’s limits so we planned a trip to Colorado. He welded a rack on the top of the Scout to hold our gear and we hit the road.

The plan was to drive the Scout up through ATV trails and camp, in a tent, in remote areas that big campers can’t go. We drove through Wolf Creek pass, into Silverton and Durango. At the time I bemoaned the fact that Dad would wake up every morning and drive us into town for a donut and to find a Kmart. He was in search of the ultimate mattress pad that would make sleeping on the ground more comfortable. With every stop to Kmart the gear on top of the Scout would get higher and higher. It got ridiculous. We looked like a band of Gypsies pulling into town. To make matters worse, every morning we had to restack all our gear onto the top of the Scout so we could set out on the next adventure. When we’d pass under a bridge dad would jokingly ask me to get out and check the clearance.

One morning, mom and I came out of the KOA bathroom from taking our first real shower in days. Dad was sitting behind the wheel with his cap on looking at a map. He had found an old mule trail, called The Alpine Loop. It was a 65 mile strip of road full of hair pin turns through the San Juan mountains boasting two 12,000 foot passes. It was one of those, “Only the strong will survive” kind of drives. Dad wanted to drive it and he wanted mom and I to go along.

Before I knew it I was staring down the side of the mountain. There were literally only inches of clearance on the side of Dad’s tires. The mist was making the mud slick. At one point the nose of the Scout was pointed directly up in the air but Dad just kept climbing up the mountain, loving every minute of it. Once I realized we probably weren't going to die, I could appreciate the rare and beautiful view of the terrain.

I’ve been thinking about my dad all day. I miss him. I wish I could thank him for sharing so much of his life with me. He blessed me in every way he could. Most importantly, he showed me how much better the view is when you dare to take the road less travelled.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Diving In To The 6

My new favorite pass time is watching our boys swim. Sean has a new swim suit with floaties in it. He calls it his “shark suit” and David can swim on his own. The other night Ruby was already asleep and it was still warm outside, so I took the boys to swim.

David chose to start out his swim with a dive into the deep end. As he put his toes to the edge of the pool all the other neighborhood kids just stared; then when he jumped in they gasped and screamed at me, “Ooooooh! Miss Anna! Your son just jumped in ‘the 6’” “The 6?” I wondered. Then I looked and realized they were referring to the deep end of the pool. I wanted to find out how their mothers had so instilled the fear into their children about not swimming in “the 6”! By the looks on their faces they were imagining David met his fate in the mouth of a shark.

I couldn’t get “the 6” out of my mind for the rest of the night. It’s like I finally had a picture of the way I had been living before the last six months – really the last year. We are starting to see glimpses of Divine providence as our family has been plunged in to the deep. It was time to sink or swim. When we dive into the Glory of our Heavenly Father, the deeper we dare go the more beautiful our relationship with Him becomes.

If you don’t care to read some of the lessons I’ve learned you can stop reading here. But I thought I’d share some things that have changed about who I am in this process. Maybe someone else can relate. I’ll try to limit myself to 6 deeper things I’ve learned about life.

1. God’s power and attributes are as real as the air we breath. He never fails to see His plan for our lives through. Though we may face difficult circumstances, pain, death, and discouragement - God is there and He is working.

2. The power and attributes of God are not attached to any other name, denomination, mode or method other than JESUS. There is no other name where by we can receive Salvation, live to the fullest, and enjoy eternal life.

3. While it is painful to know that others, even Christians, can hurt me with their words and actions; I cannot attempt to shield myself by making my highest goal pleasing or impressing others. I have to “fix my eyes on Jesus. The author and finisher of my faith.” Hebrews 12:2 (paraphrased)

4. God made Chad and I for one another. Our love has been put to the test. We’ve laughed, cried and worked through difficult issues in bad circumstances with admiration and respect for each other. Through it all we see how enduring our love is.

5. David, Sean and Ruby are amazing kids. God has given Chad and I both the gift of time to spend with them like we’ve never had before. Slowing down and paying more attention to them has done wonders for all of us.

6. Someone told me not too long ago that to encourage someone means you’re giving them courage to “go for it!”. I would have lost heart with out the encouragement of many of you. I've learned when you dive in the deep end of life your true friends become easy to identify. They’re the ones cheering for you to kick your feet and SWIM!

Can’t wait to see what’s in “the 7” ☺