A Family Visit

This is what happens when you ask your (very) generous parents to bring you some good Colorado beer when they visit:

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We had an awesome week with my family (minus my sister), which we spent hiking, swimming, canoeing, sightseeing, eating, biking, and just hanging out.

Sometimes words get in the way, so here are some of the highlights in pictures.

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it’s a small world after all…

Hopefully the song won’t be stuck in your head for too long…

I have all sorts of weird connections with people I know, and I used to think it was because I lived in the same chunk of Northern Colorado for 27 years (my whole entire life, minus the last two months).  Really, though, the world isn’t always as big as it seems.

Thus follows a funny story centered around this guy, Martin’s Pugsley.

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We joke that he makes us instant friends everywhere he goes with us.

We rode our bikes to church on Sunday (Martin was on the Pug), and afterward ended up talking with a couple who had been desperately trying to figure out who we were all morning by texting friends pictures of the bike and describing any person in church that they didn’t recognize.  They waited around and made a beeline for us as soon as we went to our bikes.  We talked with them for a while, exchanged phone numbers, and got invited to a small group (we’ve been just waiting for an invitation from someone!).

Here’s where things get crazy. We went to small group on Tuesday, which happened to be hosted at the home of THE guy in the valley who is completely obsessed with fat bikes (he’s famous around these parts).  Barely had introductions started and D. (aka fat bike aficionado) starts asking us details about our car, and if we happened to visit in March.  He whipped out his phone and showed us a picture he took of our car (with bikes–including the Pugsley–on top) when we were visiting the area for the first time a few month ago.  He had posted the picture on Facebook, asking friends who from Colorado was visiting.  Further into the conversation, we realize that we had met his wife while riding one of the local trails when we were here again in May.  As it turns out, this couple is also from Colorado, went to college at CSU, and went to church at Summitview and The Rock!

Everyone else in the group was laughing and trying to assure us that they don’t usually stalk people.

By the end of the night (we stayed late…after well-past the 10 o’clock whistle), it started to feel like we hadn’t moved 1,000 miles away from home.  The world seemed to shrink a bit as we laughed and talked with people with common interests and random connections that we didn’t expect–and all because of Martin’s bike!

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.

At Home

We’ve now been here for 3 weeks, and are fairly well settled–at least physically.  I think it takes a while to settle into a new place emotionally.  That’s not to say we don’t love it here–we absolutely do!  We’re simply still adjusting to a new town, a new state, and a new pace of life.  It has been good for me to be in a slightly uncomfortable space again because it is forcing me to re-evaluate my priorities and re-adjust my attitude about many things.

Here are a few highlights from the last few weeks:

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Martin and his dad got to drive this contraption 1,000 miles (in the wind and rain).

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This is actually the back of our apartment, but we use it as the front door.  Thanks to my mother-in-law, we have some nice flowers, tomatoes, and basil.

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We are right next to the train station.  I thought that this would bother me, but the train noise is actually kind of fun most of the time.

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It takes about 5 minutes to ride to the city beach. It also only takes 2 minutes to ride to a delicious ice cream shop.  As you can imagine, these rides are often paired together.

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We are about 30 minutes away from Glacier National Park, which is truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  This is Avalanche Lake, where we saw a moose our first week here!

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Here is evidence of said moose, so you know I’m not making it up.

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The Tour Divide route goes right through town.  If you don’t know, Tour Divide is the most impressive (and craziest) mountain bike race.  It is a self-supported, 2700+ mile race from Canada to Mexico that (more or less) follows the Continental Divide.  You should look it up.  The little yellow smudge on the left side of the picture is a racer.  We’re nerds, so we sat out on the side of the road to cheer for riders.