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I can hardly believe it. Tomorrow is already Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner. Just last week it seemed as if I were preparing to graduate from college, and now I’m married and living in Texas. Wow, how the time flies. Although I love spring and summer (mostly because I spend the majority of my time outdoors during those seasons) I would have to say that deep down my favorite season is autumn. Not really because of the weather, I guess, but mostly because of the amount of personal reflection I do during this time. Just as the weather transitions from hot, sunny summer to cold, blustery winter, so do I feel a change in my soul.
I caught myself silently reminiscing yesterday afternoon about our honeymoon in British Columbia earlier this summer. I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of how blessed Joe and I are to have the opportunity to travel as much as we do. I remembered one of the first gifts Joe got me when we were dating. He bought me the book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss, and he filled it with his own creative embellishments about some of the places he hoped to take me. As I continued on with my regular hub bub that afternoon, my mind kept floating to other memories of the past year. Before bed, I jotted down a brief list of the places Joe and I had been over the course of the last year, whether it was for business or for fun. It was somewhat overwhelming to see the list, and as I skimmed over it my heart was filled with a deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness.
I got to thinking – this would make a fun blog, both visually and in light of our more serious journal entries lately. So I decided to use the power of Google to construct a map-like journal of all the places I have been to in the last year. I have been blessed to experience beautiful places and many wonderful people on my journeys. I hope that my travel journal will inspire you to write about your own adventures and what they mean to you. Enjoy xx.
1 – Los Angeles, CA: I traveled to southern California over a long weekend where I met up with Joe and a handful of our friends from the summer tour. We stayed at our dear friend Chandler’s house, who has since passed away from cancer. We attended The Call, a Christian conference held annually, and also had the opportunity to go skydiving for a day in Perris, CA. Chandler did a tandem skydive, too! 🙂
2 & 3 – Springfield, SD & Willmar, MN: Since I was a little girl, I have spent almost every Christmas visiting my grandparents and relatives in Springfield, South Dakota and Willmar, Minnesota. This year was no different! Since my brother joined the army, we really only get to see him once a year at Christmas, so our time together is always so enjoyable.
4 – Perkasie, PA: The remainder of my Christmas break from school was spent in Perkasie, PA at Joe’s parent’s house. It’s always nice to spend time with Mike and Lynn. Joe and I were able to plan out some of the early details of our wedding, and Lynn and I gathered addresses for the save the dates and invitations.
5 & 6 – Fayetteville, NC & Outer Banks, NC: Mid February is about the time I start to get the itch for spring to come with warmer weather. So, as you can imagine, I was quite happy to pack up my bags for President’s Day weekend and hop on a plane with my parents to visit my brother in Fayetteville, NC. While there, we traveled to the Outer Banks, a beautiful coastal area on the eastern side of the state. What an amazing place! We were able to dip our feet into the Atlantic, see some old lighthouses, hike around the east coast’s largest living sand dune, and enjoy a delicious seafood dinner together. My favorite part was visiting the Wright Brothers National Monument in Kitty Hawk.
7 – Perkasie, PA: For spring break I was back out to Joe’s in Pennsylvania. We had plenty of wedding planning to keep us busy on this trip!
8 – Perkasie, PA: Immediately after graduation from college (yippee!) I headed to Joe’s for a week and a half. It was stressful being away from home right before the wedding, but it was nice spending time with my soon-to-be husband 🙂
9 & 10 – Boulder, CO & Vedauwoo, WY: We spent the week before our wedding with some of our closest friends and our photographer in Colorado and Wyoming. Climbing was a big chunk of our trip, including an all-night epic in the Flatirons. This was such a bittersweet time for me.
11 – Squamish, British Columbia: Joe and I spent our honeymoon in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. We stayed at a five star resort, but spent our days climbing in the beautiful mountains. It was a nice combination – comfy lodging and rugged days – and definitely necessary for a honeymoon 🙂
12 – Mineral City, OH: At the close of our honeymoon, we hopped on a plane straight to Ohio, where we met up with the rest of the group for the summer tour traveling to music festivals. What a quick transition that was! One day I was in the mountains of Canada and the next I was in hot, muggy Ohio surrounded by tons of people.
13 – Shirleysburg, PA: The largest Christian music festival, Creation East, is held in Pennsylvania every year. It is by far the most physically and mentally challenging festival of the summer. We all had a blast, but were very happy to pack up our tents at the end of it.
14 – Oshkosh, WI: Next stop on the summer tour was Wisconsin. I’d never been here before, and it was quite the treat! Instead of being outside in 100 degree weather, we were able to sell shirts from our booth inside of an air-conditioned gymnasium. We were all thrilled.
15 – Rapid City, SD: Every summer we have a week long break between our festivals in WI and SD, so we have the opportunity to stay at my house in Rapid City during that time. Climbing at Mt. Rushmore as a group was my favorite part.
16 – Coeur d’alene, ID: On our way to Creation West, we stopped in Coeur d’alene, Idaho to see our dear friend John Loeffler and his family for a couple days. John is the host of the radio show Steel on Steel (www.SteelOnSteel.com).
17 – Enumclaw, WA: Our last music festival as a group every summer is in Washington state. We had a blast together, enjoying our last few days together in the more bearable weather.
18 – Colorado Springs, CO: To promote our Save the Storks project (www.SaveTheStorks.com) we traveled to Colorado Springs, CO. Joe had the opportunity to speak at Summit Ministries, as well as show the Stork van to a number of different ministries.
19 & 20 – Moab, UT & Zion National Park, UT: Every year in August we take an end of the summer fun trip. This year, Joe, Bryan, and I road tripped out to Moab, Utah and Zion National Park for a week’s worth of climbing and canyoneering.
21 & 22- Colorado Springs, CO & Longmont, CO: Joe and I headed back to Colorado Springs for a week and a half to continue promoting and speaking on behalf of our Stork project. We also spent three days skydiving at Mile Hi in Longmont.
23 – Rapid City, SD: To wrap up the summer, Joe and I spent some much needed down time at my house in South Dakota. We took care of some administrative tasks, went hiking in the Black Hills, and spent a day at Angostura Reservoir with my parents and friend Halley.
24 – Sioux Falls, SD: Every year over Labor Day weekend Life Light festival is held in Sioux Falls, SD. This is a great festival because we are able to stay with my Aunt Brenda and see friends from the area. This was my favorite festival this year.
25 – Springfield, SD: On our way back to Joe’s in the van, we decided to stop and see our grandparents and relatives on our 1,000 mile trek home. We spent a couple days in Springfield, SD with my grandmother. I showed Joe the old farmhouse and we went four-wheeling.
26 – Omaha, NE: We stopped to see Joe’s grandparents, aunt, and cousins in Omaha, Nebraska. It was fun to catch up with them for a few days, catch up on sleep, and see Joe’s cousin’s new baby 🙂
27 – Hebron, IL: Our last stop on the way back to Joe’s in PA was in Hebron, Illinois where his brother and wife live, along with their three kids. Playing with Ida, Ana, and Emmett is always a blast. My favorite part of the weekend was riding bikes and four-wheelers with the kids.
28 – Shippensburg, PA: Finally back to Joe’s house! We signed up for a festival last minute, which was a fun easy weekend with friends. We took care of some other administrative business while at Joe’s and got out the wedding thank yous!
29 – Orlando, FL: At the end of the month, we spent a week in Florida for the CareNet conference where we promoted our Save the Storks project. Someone gave us free Disney passes for a day so we had the chance to be big kids for a day and ride the roller coasters!
30 – Dallas, TX: Joe and I arrived in Dallas, Texas for what was supposed to be a week, but turned into an extended stay. Our main mission in Texas was to finish raising the funds needed to complete and operate our first Stork bus.
31 – Still in Texas! The bus is almost done!
32 – Denver, CO: For Halley’s birthday I flew to Denver, Colorado for a long weekend. Halley and Jana drove and picked me up from the airport. We spent the weekend shopping, indoor skydiving, and being girls!