DETAILS: Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle | Stanley Adventure Stacking Pint | Indy Brand Bear Tee | GAP Shorts (similar) | Chacos
We grab our gear, fill our Stanley vacuum bottle with coffee (iced, of course) and head off into the great outdoors. We don't get to adventure together as much these days since I live far, far away in the wild, wild west, so I especially treasure this time together. We hit the trail, and as we walk along taking in the fresh air, I think about all of the adventures and backpacking trips we've been on and all the things you've taught me. How to setup a tent, build a fire, enjoy the stillness of the wilderness...
There isn't too much talking as we walk. It's not that we don't want to or that we don't have anything to talk about, but you and I value taking in our surroundings, and sometimes that's best done in silence. Plus, I can't really talk AND continue breathing while walking up this steep trail.
We reach our destination and it takes my breath away (as if I had any extra breath to give). How I have missed these mountains I grew up in. The clouds hug them close, giving them that smoky look they are so well-known for. The late afternoon light paints the landscape in a soft golden glow and my eyes tear up a little trying to take it all in.
I'll pour the coffee into our Stanley adventure pints, and we'll sip and talk as we wait on the sunset. You ask me about Colorado and work and friends. You ask how my heart has been these past few months and I'll tell you it's fine, but after a few moments of silence, the tears will flow freely. I'll tell you about all of the hurts and the fears and the things that have been hard. I like to pretend I have it all together around you because I hate for you to worry, but your patient silence has a way of always getting me to open up and be honest. You listen well, remind me to be kind always, and offer wisdom that I hold on to. I've always appreciated the way you listen and give feedback without necessarily trying to fix everything. Thank you for that. I'll tell you life isn't all hard, though. There is so much good and so much grace and so many wonderful friends who make this place sweet. I'm getting outside and adventuring as much as possible to explore this beautiful state. I'll tell you I don't know how long I'll stay here, but I'm loving the time that I've been given, and I'll stay as long as Jesus wants me to.
We're losing light and should head back down, but before we do, you tell me how much you miss me, and that you wish I lived closer. I know it, and I miss you too (more than you know), but thank you for supporting me in this current adventure. It means the world to me. I love you, Daddy.
Stanleyness to your favorite adventurer.
Brave heart, here's what I want you to know...
That first week is going to be one of the most discouraging weeks of your life, and you are going to think you made the biggest mistake in moving here. It's going to be stressful to say the least, you'll think seriously every five minutes about packing up and moving home, but you are going to make it through that week and the next and the next, and Jesus is going to provide in ways you didn't expect.
You are going to experience homesickness like never before, you'll feel an actual pain deep in your heart that you can't explain, and you're going to cry unexpectedly and uncontrollably in public all the time. You'll be depressed for about three months, and you're going to go through a grieving process like you never imagined, but your friends are going to do their best to make this place feel like home for you. In the process, you will learn that it is okay to like living here, it is okay to make new friends, it is okay to start new traditions, and it is okay to put down roots. None of that makes less of the home you grew up in or the friends who are dear to your heart there. I want you to remember that you didn't give up when you wanted to move back home. You stuck with it, cried it out, hugged it out, pushed forward, and it may have taken months to feel okay, but you did it.
Around month four, while sitting at your favorite spot, you'll realize you hadn't had the thought of "maybe I shouldn't have moved here" every day that week. That fearful thought will slowly fade until it no longer exists. You'll realize that Jesus does not lead you where he does not also go. He is with you always, to the end of the age.
You are going to see some of the most beautiful places in this new state of yours. Your little heart that longs for adventure will get its fill. No matter what people say, you won't lose your sense of wonder at living by the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The peaks and ranges will take your breath away every day, and that's the way it should be.
You'll go home for Christmas, and it will be so good for your heart to see family and friends, and to be back in the place you grew up, where you are known and loved. You'll be worried about how you'll react to leaving and heading back to Colorado. You'll hug your mama and daddy on the sidewalk at the airport, and you'll hold back the tears as you wave goodbye. But you'll get on that plane heading back to your new home, and for the first time, you realize you are going to be okay. You are okay in this new place. You have friends and community. You have a life here. And until Jesus says otherwise, this place is your home.
Jesus is going to give you some of the most unexpected and wonderful friendships here. They are relationships that will take work and intentionality, but they are so worth it. This year you made friends, you trusted, you took risks, you got hurt, you grew, and your story isn't over.
I don't want you to ever forget what this move was like, and how you felt, and the way that surprised you. I don't want you to forget what you've learned and how you've grown. I don't want you to forget how good Jesus is even in the hard. I don't want you to forget that this time, this adventure, is a gift. Don't take it for granted. Here's to another year in this beautiful place.
LOCATION: Glen Eyrie
OUTFIT DETAILS: Kanarra Chaco Shoes | Patagonia Better Sweater
Let me tell you about my friend, Abby. We became friends after both of us had gone through the joyful process of breaking a foot. Just kidding...I wouldn't wish those days on anyone. But let's back up a little bit to five years ago. Abby and I were both on staff at Eagle Lake for a summer, but we were serving on separate programs so we didn't get to interact all that much. I always thought she was really energetic and funny and someone I wanted to be friends with. We had tons of mutual friends and saw each other through the years, but never long enough to get to BFF status, you know? It wasn't until last winter when we were both in Texas for a friend's wedding that we bonded over the fact that we'd both broken a foot. We swapped stories of crutches and wheel chairs and not being able to shower for far too long...and that was only the beginning.
We are two friends who work for a summer camp and love the outdoors, so Chacos for us are kind of an essential part of our Colorado casual style. They are the go-to shoe not only for our summer mountain lives but our off-season lives as well. PLUS, they maybe have the greatest arch support in all the land, which is the best for our poor broken feet that need all the help they can get for the rest of our days. We've been rocking the Kanarra shoes from Chaco for several weeks this spring and they are living up to all you'd expect out of a Chaco shoe. Quality materials, great colors, stellar fit for everyone's feet...do I need to go on? They are for work, play, and every day life. The perfect crossover shoe from weekend casual to outdoor adventure!