Friday, January 25, 2013

Highlight of our trip today - mountain biking around Bell Rock

I'm in an exercise-and-chocolate-ice-cream-induced state of bliss. Kai, Lukas and I just had a peak experience mountain biking next to Bell Rock and Courthouse Rock, two huge red hills shaped like a bell and, uhm, a courthouse. This was a highlight of our trip so far! The boys kicked my ass, pedaling up and down some really technical mountain biking routes. This was not a sweet little innocent bike ride. This was a ride for hard core bike enthusiasts. I'm talking major rock jumps, steep descents, rocky like hell. So much fun!!! Kai led most of the way, while I kept (or tried to) keep an eye on Lukas in front of me. No chance. They left me in the dust, and I kept hearing their screams of joy ahead of me, a huge smile on my own face, lungs bursting, leg muscles burning, grinning all the way. The scenery was mind-blowing in every direction.

After we got back to the RV, where Steve and Eva were waiting, the three of us bubbled over with stories and endorphins. We made Steve go bike the same route by himself, while we drank a gallon of lemonade, ate sandwiches, and devoured ice-cream. When he got back, he kept marveling, “I can't believe the boys did that!!!” No kidding.

I keep reflecting on the lives of my sons. They have experienced a lot of adventure in their lives so far, pushing their physical boundaries, seeing incredible beauty in nature. Steve and I are both adventurous and have always taken our kids with us. Hiking, canoeing, bicycling, exploring, traveling...
Brandie commented a couple of days ago how much she loves the way we raise our kids, and how it is so different from most people she knows. We “just do it”, even if it means pushing ourselves to do so. It might stretch our own comfort zones or physical abilities, but we do it, because we know we would all miss out otherwise. It's so worth it!
I absolutely adore the fact that my kids can be out in nature, totally engaged in little things, finding adventure as they go, never complaining that they are bored. They don't need TV or video games or organized sports and activities. I love that about them.

Yesterday, we got a fair bit of biking in as well. Although it was a little rainy, we managed just fine! After exploring Sedona by foot, spending some quality time in an excellent bakery, and finding a sweet little RV park with awesome clean, hot showers, we decided to put Eva in the bike trailer and head out to see what we could find. After a quick stop at a visitor center, we decided to bike eight miles roundtrip up to a spectacular little church on a hill, called Church of the Holy Cross.

This is the church as seen from the bottom.
Here is the inside, looking out.
This is the view from the top, right in front of the chapel.

Another view from the top.
This is looking down on the mansion of the guy who invented laser eye surgery.  He has a great view and all, but people who visit the chapel all stare down at it, some with binoculars.  You can't sunbathe naked there!

I am deeply spiritual, but I don't go to churches. Nature is my church. Sitting with my family in this little chapel on the hill, however, I felt moved to tears. It felt holy, sitting there with my arms around my kids, who all sat silently, without being told to do so. A hushed silence settled over us as we sat all alone, looking at the flickering candles people had lit, looking out the huge windows to see beautiful red rock mountains around us. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I said a prayer for Lukas' heart aneurysm to heal, for love and light to descend on earth, for people to wake up out of their trance so we can all survive on this earth.

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