Special Sunrise ~ Best Shot Monday

On our first day in Tahoe I awoke several times throughout the night and finally decided to stay up around 4am – my typical wake-up time considering the 3-hour time difference.  After hearing that a few groups (also East Coasters who were wide awake in the morning, and completely dragging by early evening) had gone down to the lake to see the sunrise, I knew I had to do it too. 

Friday morning found us taking a stroll around the resort which ended with an “I’m-too-chicken-to-go-any-higher” hike up a nearby mountain.  Saturday, I felt peace and we climbed higher and hiked longer since we knew where we wanted to go and didn’t “happen upon” the trail. 

Following the celebration dinner where everyone came together to share in rich conversation and the accomplishments of our weekend’s work, we proceeded to hoot, howl laugh and cry through the Open Mic portion of the evening.  I’m not sure if the headiness I felt was due to the overwhelming sense of awe that I had spent three days with such talented and intelligent people or if it was an effect of the margaritas.  Perhaps one intensified the other!  Either way, it carried me back to the room where I sleepily crawled into bed for the final night.    

          “Are we going to the lake tomorrow?” Melissa asked.
          “If we make it, great!  If not, it’s no big deal,” I replied.  “I’m not going to set an alarm.  We’ll see what happens.”
          “Are you sure?  You’ve wanted to see it since we got here,” she continued. 
          “I know, but it’s a late night and a long day tomorrow.  We’ll see.  G’night!”
          “‘Night.”

I welcomed sleep and savored the restorative rest I knew I’d need for the day of travel ahead.  Knowing that we were slowly adjusting to the time change and suspecting our latest wake-up yet, I accepted that I’d see another sunrise, another day.

*                    *                    *

The darkness in our room was my first clue that I’d awoken in time, even without an alarm.  I checked the clock – 4:59.  Having researched it earlier I knew that dawn typically broke around 5:45 – just enough time to walk the mile or so into town to the lake.  I contemplated staying in the comfort of my warm bed for a couple hours longer knowing that I wouldn’t have the luxury of sleeping in once I returned home to the kids I desperately missed.

Then, in the quiet of that room, I knew I had to go.  I’d never felt more certain of anything in my life than I was at that moment.  I knew that God had prepared something special and that he was inviting me to share that beauty with him.

Pier 1

Sunrise 2

Sunrise 3

Sunrise 4

Sunrise 5

It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite among these, because they each capture a portion of my experience. If you can, leave a comment telling me which one you like best!

What’s shining in your world today?

Falling in Love

This might not be what you’d expect, but I fell in love today at the Denver International Airport.  There I was with too many bags and two good friends walking into a gift shop that contained too much glass for me to be entering.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the canvases in the right corner where color, images and words collided into beauty.  As if I were casting off burdens from years of self-doubt, pity or worry, my tangible bags sat heavily around my feet while my fingers floating over the cellophane-wrapped prints. 

Who is she?  What’s her story?  She’s probably some local, I thought to myself.

I had so many questions and yet I wanted to savor the words and the depth of the work.  I found her book and immediately started reading about the person behind this work.  I smiled in disbelief when I read, “Kristen currently lives in Northern Michigan with her three children, Anya, Mia and Van.”

Who would’ve thought that across the country, in a store I’ve passed dozens of times, I would eventually discover the creativity of an artist living mere hours from me.  I can’t help but think it’s serendipity.

Our Retreat

Tahoe 3

We planned, we traveled, we arrived with countless ideas.
Quickly, we realized that our project seemed larger than it
seemed at first glance.

Tahoe 5

We reveled in thought-provoking work, in discussion, discovery,
and distance – breaks from the rigor of intense learning.

Tahoe 6

We explored, both the possibilities and the uncertain
landscape that surrounded us both
physically and metaphorically.

Tahoe 1

We gazed in awe. We savored the splendor
of shadow giving way to
glorious light.

Tahoe 7

We marveled at coexistence
~ sun and moon ~
in the same morning sky.

We embraced the challenge
and forged ahead,
encouraged by the
certain satisfaction
that lie beyond.

Tahoe 8

We stopped, wary,
and witnessed the horizon.
Catching a glimpse of
what will ultimately
be our view,
we walked
down the mountain
changed.

Perfect Picnic

So, it’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t written much about our trip…it’s not for lack of desire, believe me.  Here I thought summer would offer some time to rest, relax and recuperate!  I think I have most of the pictures I snapped ready to share, so you can expect to be bored riveted for the next few days as I give an account of our first cross-country (well, sorta) road trip.

Knowing our kiddos are accustomed to at least 4-5 hour trips to the upper peninsula we figured that getting in an 8-hour driving day would be just about right.  That meant we hoped to stop for the night in St. Louis, MO.  We choreographed our departure just perfectly and were on the road by 2:40 am (yes, a.m.) and made it a good 4 hours before the kids woke up!  Even though we’d left on only one dim light as we carried the kids out of the house, there was a minor moment of panic as Calder began announcing “It’s dark, Mom!  Look at the lights!  It’s dark outside.  Where we goin’?”  We sat in silence for several miles and he soon fell back to sleep!

Here’s a couple shots at one of our pit-stops where Seneca enjoyed some lunch while Calder wandered around playing with his slinky!  I wish I remember where it was – all I know is it was H-O-T and H-U-M-I-D!!

Slinky 1

Slinky 2

We finally arrived in St. Louis where we enjoyed a picnic under the arch…because after all is was only 11am!!  That’s right.  There we were at our destination for the night before noon!  

Lunch 1

Lunch 3

Lunch 2

(He dropped his sandwich and was pretty upset that he couldn’t finish it!)

Arch 1

Crazy perspective – but I love that I captured her kissy face!  She did this non-stop all week! 

Road Trip 001

The first of many family pictures on our vacation adventures!

Road Trip 002

 This one is my best shotfor today!  I’m ga-ga for the sunflare!

As we headed back to the car, we heard heavy sighs from our full-bellied babes.  Exchanging a knowing glance, we loaded up and continued on our journey as they settled in for their afternoon naps. 

Sleepy Traveler

Sleepy Traveler 2

While the entire journey was better than we could have ever imagined, those moments of peaceful sleeping were priceless!  We weren’t retrieving thrown toys from the furthest nooks of the backseat, singing “She’ll be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” or “Oh Susanna!” for the umpteenth time.  Turning our anticipated 8-hour day into 14 hours (well 13 with the time change) was impressive to say the least. 

I’m quite sure the kids were in need of some space to run around, so we encouraged them to do just that.  Of course, the pool was fun and refreshing, dinner was delicious, but of all the things they enjoyed the most – the air conditioner provided the greatest entertainment for the night!

Wordless Wednesday ~ Meeting

Annual Meeting 2

Following my first presentation.  I spent several conference calls and Google doc hours with these gals!

Annual Meeting 1

At the Special Focus Networks social – yummy appetizers that made me feel like a big important person!

Annual Meeting 3

Dinner at “The Original Mexican Restaurant” – super tasty!  Even Seneca’s mouth was watering!!

Sculpture

How could I not take a picture of a Calder?! 🙂

Alamo

The Alamo – pretty cool albeit small in comparison to the buildings around it.

Alamo 3

The wall around the Alamo.  Now that I see this shot, it would’ve been way cool had I focused on the sign instead of the window.

Alamo 2

A cool little walkway next to the Alamo.

Me

Since I never have any pictures taken of myself – I thought, why not?!

Alamo 4

Another cool little building near the Alamo.

Annual Meeting 4

This was an outdoor amphiteather-type place.  It was pretty cool because they had it set up to really project the speaker’s voice using the natural acoustics and a few well-placed shield-like things.

Though not altogether wordless, I thought today was as good a time as any to share some of the fun from my trip!