Tetons. 

Day 4: Into the Tetons 
Friday morning was the calm before the storm in the Tetons. We’d get to meet them! Hike into them and find out just what they might have to offer us. Over the last year I’ve heard over and over not to rush through them. Like the rest of this trip, they did not disappoint us. Vast. Massive. Impressive. Mighty. All of these words have new meaning after this trip. I’m more in love with the mountains than I even knew. They are breathtaking, though some might say it’s the altitude, I know otherwise. Mountains are my love language. I literally am at loss for words. Just thankful that my eyes have the opportunity to see something this beautiful. In every sense. The sun reflecting off lakes of water, the jagged mountains covered in snow, the evergreen forests, the grassy plains. The fresh piney air in my lungs here. You can’t have a bad view here, every direction I take a photo thinking nope this view is even better than the last. 
We grabbed coffee and baked treats in Jackson at the cutest little bakery called Persephone and found our way through the city of Jackson before heading into the park. 
We drove into Grand Teton National Park and oh my. My, oh my. It’s magnificent. Whether it’s the fact that everything is flat and then all of a sudden huge 13,000 foot mountains rise up, or maybe something else all together. 
My heart sees something about these mountains it understands on another level. It relates to how hard the trek can be, it relates to the beautiful views from the top or maybe just along the way. It understands feeling tired, worn out, achy. It understands that it’s not always easy or great, and sometimes you start scanning every which way checking for bears or snakes or mountain lions oh my. It’s like life. We prepare and we try to make plans but around every corner something new, amazing or scary, presents itself. 
At the end of the day, God has blown me away. He is amazing. He got us here on a dream. And we sat on the dam at Jackson lake knowing in basically twelve hours we were running that dream. 13.1 miles, with this incredible view. The mountains as our spectators. 
Friends…chase after what you love. Make sure to make time and save money for things in your life that take your breath away. It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind. To get stuck in the rut. To rationalize that it’s too much time or money, but I’m here to tell you it’s possible. Chase it. Pursue those heart eyes. Your dream might not be running through the mountains, or even mountains at all, but chase it. And never forget it’s worth it. 

(We hiked Jenny lake, taggart lake, and Bradley lake. We sat at oxbow bend and the dam at Jackson lake.)

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Road to the Tetons. 

Day three of our adventure to the Tetons was an eight hour drive to meet their snowy, jagged lines and incredible wonder. It is incredible. 
Funny thing is that I got a text from a friend along the way who was being silly and said that the journey isn’t about the destination, which is true, but the literal road to the Tetons has me thinking of the mental one that’s gotten me here. 
I wish I could express to you without being overcome with emotion how God planted this dream in my head through my sister and then my friends and family…almost 9 months ago and here we were driving through Wyoming to actually complete it. 
Listening to country music and talking about all that life has brought our way and we made it here. Laughing, feeling like we’ve lost our minds to altitude and maybe a little bit to sugar high. 
Reflecting on the mental preparation for this race is more than difficult for me. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t sound or look inspiring. It’s not clean neat lines. It’s defeat. It’s pain. It’s hopelessness. And tears. Many, too many tears. Good thing my friends and family are rockstars. 

Over a month ago I sat in a hospital room feeling like I couldn’t run this race. It didn’t matter how beautiful everything else was. All I could think about was hip pain. 

But there’s also faith. Hope. And the goodness of God that shines through even the worst situations. 
I know life could be worse. I know I have it good. But defeat and hopelessness and hurt try to make their way into your life and no one is immune to that or excused from it. Those things will try and try and try again. 
Eating BBQ at bubbas and dipping our feet in our hot tub was the part of the start to our welcome to the Tetons, but this trip is going to end with breaking our fears. Breaking what we thought we couldn’t do…and in all that we are coming out of this place better than we went into it. 
So thank you for this push. All the people who’ve contributed and supported. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, even when we don’t feel we have it to give. 

Colorado. 

Day one and my heart is already over flowing. How I missed this jagged horizon. 
Seeing the snow on the peaks as we landed was literally heart eyes, happy tears, and a million other emotions. 
It’s too hard to describe the vastness. 

It’s too hard to describe how massive the mountains truly are. You just have to experience them. 
We were all exhausted today. Hardly any sleep maybe 12 hours all three of us combined. I can’t tell you though how thankful I am for friends who are cool with this.

This crazy adventure. Days packed with hiking, driving, and anticipation of what we will find. 
Tuesday we drove to the broadmoor at Colorado Springs and then to hike garden of the gods.
The broadmoor I might say was more than expected. It started to rain upon arrival and the troopers I have for friends say we are going to take on the 224 stairs….steep stairs to view all seven falls. Not only that, but to hike inspiration point at the top, in the rain. Facing our fears of heights, we did this together. 
The second adventure of our day was hiking through garden of the gods. I spent too much time with “mountain brain” laughing with two girls as we named our own rock formations instead of just finding the ones  given. 
Thankful. Beyond thankful. We are beyond pumped for what the week brings. 

Roots. 

About a week ago I put together my new bed. You think when you purchase a bed that it will arrive put together, but this one did not. I guess It feels good to look at something you put some work into. I almost threw in the towel and just returned the thing, since it’s been such a pain to get this far. After I put it together though, I slept on it and it didn’t collapse. Which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Yay!

You see God has given me a home for the last however many years of my life. I didn’t even realize until recently. Somehow He has never left me no matter how crazy or ridiculous I’ve been. I could not be more thankful.
I’ll be a little transparent and vulnerable with you all. I don’t have the words yet to talk about some of the hurts and pains of what I’m walking through at the moment, but one day God will give me the words and the call to share them.

For now I’ll just share this, I like adventure, a lot, so I’m more often ok with the exciting call to go than I am to stay. I am content in life, and love the big and small moments, but I also will never stop going towards dreams and a life of full, adventurous living. One of those small dreams (call me a girl) was that I’d meet this amazing guy and when we got married we’d pick out a place to live and we would spend some amount of time “camping” in the living room without furniture, because we wouldn’t have any. Maybe make a fort out of blankets as ridiculous as that might be and just laugh, because you may never be in that same opportunity again. Maybe even put tiny glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, or plain throw the sleeping bags out back to sleep under the real ones, because YOLO. I believe God gives us the desires of our hearts, but sometimes they look different than we thought. So when I moved this past June, I spent the first few nights sleeping in a sleeping bag in the middle of the floor soaking in the beauty of “camping” in my living space. Because it has been a silly dream of mine. This was by choice I could have done something else, but God whispered to my heart. So I decided to step into the adventure lover I am and quit waiting for someday, because I’m afraid of spoiling something that may or may not happen. No matter how big or small the adventure, because God created me to love these silly moments, God’s calling me to take it. 

Recently though I bought a bed. That is a big deal for me. I might have to move it or get rid of it one day. Furniture when you aren’t in a place you will stay seems more like a hassle than a benefit. But God’s teaching me what it means to stay. To grow some roots even when you feel afraid, see He showed me that in my mind if I have no possessions or pets, it’s so much easier for me to pack up and go, right? Easy to move if needed, embracing the fact that I’m not tied down. 

However, settling in isn’t settling and it most certainly doesn’t mean I’m tied down. 

I still hold things of the world loose, but it doesn’t mean that I keep nothing so I can leave whenever unattached. That is a false sense of freedom, and it’s powered by fear. It would also never happen. I get attached to people I encounter and share life with. I get attached to places I fall in love with God in. It’s ok to be attached. When it’s healthy it simply means I cared and loved well, that I loved right where he planted me. God is teaching me that gaining roots means I can dig into what I love, right where I am, thirsty for God to take over in that place wherever that is. 

The truth is that beautiful souls create beautiful spaces wherever they are.

And that doesn’t mean stuff, it means I cultivate an environment of vulnerability and acceptance. It means that I focus on the internal heart and it externally changes this place. This is where God is leading me. 

Break to break open, not to fall apart. 

My heart has been in a state of hurting, and that makes it hard to care about anything else, but recently God has been talking to me about new, fresh beginnings and with that came everything I own in white, and I started to like the simplicity in my heart mirrored in my external environment, because God is doing a new thing, and I’m going to give him the whitest canvas to paint on.

 Even if what you love is just all white everything, all the nature you can soak in, and a passport. The adventures grow from here and they will range from funny stories about changing batteries in smoke detectors, or lessons in mowing the lawn, to meeting new people and hearing their stories, to getting on planes to explore the great unknown and everything inbetween. The truth is the older I get the more I realize how much and how little I need roots. 
See God can use me either way and He can use you too, but there are moments in our lives where He teaches us to grow roots and stand planted, and when He teaches us to go get up and move your feet because you can’t stay here. Both can be just as painful and just as beautiful. 

God has given us a gift friends and it is so much more. We have the ability to dig deep where we are, in the lives around you, everywhere you go. God is doing a new thing in each of us. He calls us all differently, but it’s beauty all the same. Maybe you feel afraid to do something bold? Maybe you feel afraid because you aren’t being asked to do something that looks or feels bold, but rather to stay, or stand planted. Look for your opportunities around every corner. Don’t be afraid to tell your stories if you feel drawn too. Don’t be afraid to break open. Connection brings us all closer. I cherish your stories and I haven’t heard them yet. Feel free to message me if you feel drawn, because I’d love to hear them. Share, connect, grab coffee. 🙂

More to come friends. This is just the beginning.

Grand.

imageIt’s been a crazy few days. Actually weeks. Life has not felt instagram worthy, and yet it always is.

A few weeks ago God gave me an opportunity to see the Grand Canyon. I’ve been dreaming of this experience for awhile now.

I remember the bus trip there. Long. Early morning. Maybe a little bit anxious. Disappointments arose throughout the day, but God kept reminding me that the goal was Grand and not the pitstops along the way and to just embrace the journey.

When the moment came to walk up, it felt so strange and I saw it in the distance and can feel it even now as I type the words, the lump in your throat, eyes filling with tears. It’s here. It’s in front of me. It doesn’t even look real. I was expecting it to be alive. To move. I don’t know, but it was so still. It just was.

I escaped off and found a quiet spot to enjoy this moment with Jesus and take it all in. I sat at the edge and felt God tell me in my heart, “This is how much I love you.” I got you here when you never thought you would have the time or the money or the company. And here you are. Tears filled my eyes, because I knew it was true.

This past week, Jesus asked me to come outside one night and watch the stars with Him. I laughed thinking about the funny, amazing wonderful times I’d spent in this home. I cried thinking about what I’ll miss as I move on to the next one. I cried seeing the girl I was when I moved in and the woman I am now as I move out. New beginnings can be exciting, but they can also be terribly scary.

On that porch, I sat under the starry summer sky and sang song after song to Jesus. Crying and just being thankful. (It’s ok you can laugh at the scene of an almost 30 year old wrapped in a blanket laying on the deck watching stars, my neighbors and my roommate probably did.) I’m so thankful for this life. Even when it hurts so bad you want to wallow a little longer…And then you hear God pursue your heart.

I heard Jesus say to me on that porch looking at this beautiful, breathtaking sky I can’t even comprehend, “Jamie, this is how much I love you.” (cue ugly cry)

Now all this to tell you. This life is short. It’s a speck in time. My heart is so alive and in love with the King of it all. He is in love with you. Not the kind that falls in and falls out. Not the kind that does what it wants when it wants or when you do what it wants. Not the kind that is convenient. The kind that breaks the norm. The one that kicks down doors and walls to get to you. The one that never stops chasing you. And He is the creator. He is the King. He is everything.

Now bear with me. I’m talking telescopes. I read something beautiful and I want to urge you to look at this beautiful reality. (Science nerd.)

The hubble space telescope.

“The light the telescope can see has been traveling for years and years to get there.” Whoa. “So you’re telling me that the light it’s seeing for the first time right this second is light that’s been already traveling toward it for years?”

Yep.

Unbelieveable. Even before that telescope could see-even before it existed-light was already traveling toward it . It may be that the Hubble is chasing the edge of the universe, but the reality is that the light from the edge of the universe was chasing the telescope way before scientists had even made the plans to put it into orbit. The telescope has to “choose” to see, yes. But the glory to be seen was always there, always sprinting right down to its level. -Grace Thronton

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The Light of the world has been in love and pursuing you before you were born. Before you chose Him. Before you knew maybe that He existed.

The point of this was absolutely beautiful and I hope that you can see it. You see, I saw the Grand Canyon and I was amazed when God said I love you this much. It seemed like it was a huge deal, right? Except God challenged me and then he hit it home when reading Grace’s words. She used the example of the ocean. It’s massive, but you see, the ocean or the Grand Canyon and all it’s grand-ness ends. It has limits. I might not see the end, but it does in fact end. However when God showed me the stars He was calling me to know and understand something that I cannot yet comprehend. Limitless. Boundless. Endless. Infinite. However you want to word it, love.