Start

Well, it’s been over three years since my last post, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to start again. Sometimes it’s best to just start and not worry about the rest yet. So here’s my start.

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random news

I’m not sure where to start this post.  We’ve been so busy with life- working a lot and cramming in adventures every chance we get that I haven’t had time or the desire to write.

I guess I can start with the big news, in no particular order:

1. Martin and I celebrated 5 years of being married at the beginning of the month!

2. I get to teach in my own classroom next year at a school I love. I am excited to teach 4th grade next year (originally I was hired for 5th…the easiest way to explain it is that there was last minute shuffling and I changed grades).

3. My brother Michael is living with us for the summer and working at the ski resort (where I am working this summer too!).

4. We moved again in March- just across town.

I think that’s all the big news. Other than that, Martin has been REALLY busy at work because the Grand Depart for Tour DIvide was on Friday, and Glacier Cyclery is one of the first bike shops in the first 400ish miles of the route. I finished the school year for a 2nd grade teacher and then jumped into my summer job the day after school got out (I guess I’m learning to be flexible and to roll with things instead of stressing out…hopefully I can grow in that this year!).  About a month ago, we got to host my sister and a couple friends and show them all around (and take them mountain biking for the first time). We had a blast showing them around, hanging out, and seeing them get excited about everything here. Other than that, there have been a lot of bike rides and some hiking.

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We were only able to bike halfway up on this trail because the snow got too deep (not that you can tell from this picture). That’s Whitefish Lake and town in the background.

I’ll try to share some more adventures soon!

 

happy spring

Um…I am not sure what happened over the winter. Sorry for the long absence. Truth be told, it was a bit of a rough winter, although a beautiful and snowy one.

But now it’s SPRING!

We took a quick day trip to play and explore in a fun place on Sunday. 

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Any guesses as to where we went? Your hint is that a river does, indeed, run through it.

We had a blast doing some easy paved and gravel riding while exploring a network of trails that more or less follow the river (in and out of town). We, of course, visited Big Dipper Ice Cream and had dinner at Tamarack.

Looking forward to going back to MIssoula again soon!

uncomfortable

It is good to step outside of where you are comfortable.

And sometimes it’s good to be shoved out of your comfort zone, far beyond where you thought your breaking point existed.

It’s good to  be occasionally shoved because you are made much more aware that you are not in control. You are not a master of your circumstances, no matter how hard you try. 

I prefer to step out of my comfort zone because it still gives me the illusion of control; I choose when, where, and how far to step.  The trouble is that I often choose not to step, for a whole litany of reasons largely centered around self-preservation.  The longer I choose not to step, the more coffin-like my frame becomes as my heart shrinks smaller and smaller until it is a small, cold, hard stone, much like the Grinch in the classic Dr. Seuss tale.

Being shoved very much feels out of control, running on air, trying to find solid ground but not quite finding it. You have no choice but to keep running, pretending not to notice that gravity should be sending you to the ground miles below (remember Saturday morning cartoons, where the laws of gravity didn’t apply until the characters noticed that they should be falling?).

Last May, I began taking calculated steps out of my comfort zone as we prepared and moved from the region in which we had both lived our entire lives.  The unknown slowly became more familiar as we settled in and started making friends.

At the end of August, I was pushed off the comfortable cliff.

On a Friday, I walked into my fifth interview at a fifth school in the area. The interview did not go particularly fabulously, but I was offered two long-term substitute jobs instead of the job for which I had applied. On Monday, I met the school’s staff and participated in all the beginning of the year inservices. On Tuesday at noon, I found out that I would be taking over a class immediately, as the teacher had gone into labor three weeks early. On Wednesday, I walked into the first day of school, teaching first grade. Maybe I should mention at this point that my experience is in teaching fifth grade.

It has been so good for me to have to hit the ground running, asking a million questions everyday, not knowing how to navigate anything. Those that know me well know that I am a control freak who likes to have my life planned out weeks in advance. Any deviation from the plan completely stresses me out, which is ironic because the plans ALWAYS change.

On top of it, we’ve been trying to figure out a new town, a new state, church, small group, and friends. Yet, quite honestly, it hasn’t been that bad overall. I have seen God’s grace poured out so abundantly. I have seen so many ways that He has provided people and things to make the circumstances so much better than the worst case scenario.

I am loving this spot I am in because it has given me clarity on so many things that I know God has been trying to teach me for so long. It has forced me to be honest with myself about some ways I desperately need to grow. It has helped me see that I can run farther on air when I am dependent on God to sustain me.

It’s good because it’s in the unknown that we grow.

Now, if only I can remember that, and continue to step out into the wild adventure.

Bill Creek Loop

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We’ve ridden this trail a couple of times since moving here, and I have a love/hate relationship with it.  First off, It’s hard. It’s a little bit above my technical skill level (think lots of climbing, lots of roots, lots of rocks), and so I get too tired too early in the ride.  Also, the bugs are quite resilient, and sections of the trail are in poor condition and very difficult to ride walk.

The first time we attempted this trail, it took us forever to find it and we were actually afraid of getting lost (GPS isn’t very helpful when the trail isn’t marked on your map).  It was also windy, cold, and took us much longer to finish than we had planned.  That same ride, I got a flat tire, and then not five minutes later, Martin fell off the trail and broke his helmet and hydration bladder.

The second time we rode it, I was pushing my way up a hill, frustrated, exhausted, and wondering where Martin went.  I came up over the hill and saw Martin off in the distance, pinned under his bike.  This normally wouldn’t frighten me, except that his was waving his arms and I could hear him yelling, “Help!” over the wind.  I started to panic and push my bike more quickly (I was walking up the hill at this point).  Then over the wind, again, “Help! Hurry, I am stuck!”  I hopped on my bike, pedaling as fast as I felt comfortable.  Upon reaching him, amid my frantic questions, I finally realized he was laughing.  Apparently, what he had actually been saying was “Hi! Honey, I am stuck,” (in his best British grandmother voice)! He was thoroughly entertained by the fact that he had tipped over while trying to stop and was harmlessly pinned under his bike.  After I stopped hyperventilating and sobbing, I agreed that it was pretty comical. (For the record, it was never his intent to scare me, and he felt terrible that he had caused me so much panic).

Both times, I have been so crabby that I am surprised Martin didn’t leave me in the woods with the wild animals.

So why do I love this trail?  It sounds pretty awful so far, I know.  I love this trail because each time I have been on it, God has met me where I am and been completely gracious to me, whether through the physical beauty of his creation, or through the patient heart of my husband.

The wildflower-filled hillsides are an absolutely spectacular sight in the late afternoon sun.

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Of course, my photos don’t quite do them justice.

Plus, Martin hasn’t left me on the trail yet.  He’s patiently stayed by my side and let me figure things out.  (More accurately, he has ridden ahead and patiently waited for me to catch up, offering encouragement along the way).

During difficult sections of the trail, I get the chance to grow in character and to persevere. Even when I do so unwillingly, God is gentle and pours out his grace on me.

It is so good to have opportunities to grow, and I am thankful for them.