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A Journey To Find Home

It’s a four letter word that means so much. 

For some it means safety, a place of rest.
For some it brings back painful memories.
For some, it is a hole in their heart. They have never known home.
 Home is an idea that they’ve heard about in movies but something they've  never experienced themselves.

I grew up in an incredibly stable home. Home brings back memories of mom and dad, brothers, pranks, enchiladas, and a house on a mesa with blue skies all around.

But ever since I moved to college when I was 18 (and moved every year since), home doesn't feel nearly as stable as it used to. Is home where I grew up? Is home where the husband man and I live? Is home where I went to college? 

Or is it a little bit of all of those?

They say "home is where the heart is" but what if my heart is in three different places at once?

My heart lies with my mom, dad, and brother in southwestern Colorado with its beautiful mountains that you can reach out and touch, the river that we live on during the summer, seeing dozens of familiar faces at church, and green chile. 

But my heart also lies in Colorado Springs with majestic Pikes Peak serving as the backdrop to trips to the zoo, times spent at Five Guys (can I get an amen for hamburgers?!), and all of my college memories. 

I’ve moved five times in five years- 4 were within the same city and moving to different apartments and areas of town. Granted, moving in the same city is soooo much easier than different towns (at least I wasn’t having to make new friends each of those four times!), but it still left me with a feeling of unsettledness. 

There are perks to living like a fugitive. 

#1 I don't have a lot of crap. Minimal crap = quicker move 
(this works awesome for my very anti-clutter personality)

#2 I still haven’t been summoned for jury duty. Not once. It’s because they can’t find me! My parents can’t remember my address, much less the county! I’m not sure this is legal and maybe that’s why all my friends back home are getting called multiple times in one year for jury duty. Sorry guys.

Anyway, I digress.

Often when I am in “one” home, I long for the other.  Does this yearning mean that I don’t have a true home? 

Or is it that I simply haven’t learned the art of contentment?

Contentment in realizing that home is where my heart is… and accepting that maybe my heart and and home can be in multiple places. 

Contentment in being fully present in whichever home I’m at, without yearning and longing for the other. 

Contentment in realizing that though my house may change yearly, I can still have a home.

Maybe home isn’t a place, but rather a state of the heart. 

As I think on the things that I associate with home, I realize that I don't think about a house or apartment. Instead what comes to mind when I think home, is people and memories.

Maybe home is being with the people you love. 
Maybe home is making memories.
Maybe home is feeling safe, content, and loved.
Maybe home is the place to freely laugh and freely cry. 
Maybe home is where I relax and regain strength for another day. 

I do know that home is finding peace in knowing that my ultimate HOME is with Jesus.

As I face my sixth move in six years (in a couple months to a new city), I realize that home is so much more than a place. 

My neighborhood, my commute, my friends, and my surroundings may change yearly. But the peace, safety, joy, and contentment of my heart doesn’t have to change with it. 

Over the next few months (and probably next few years as this likely isn’t our last move), it is my goal to find a peace of home in my heart, instead of the four walls that I sleep within at night. 

I want to find home in my husband, in my family (even if they’re not physically present), in the memories I make, and ultimately in knowing that the best {home} is yet to come. 

How do you find or describe home? Have you ever felt displaced or like you didn’t really know where home was?

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My Colorado initiation... My first 14er

I was born in Colorado, raised in Colorado, went to college in Colorado, married in Colorado, and still live in Colorado. 

I'm a Colorado native x 23 years, and this fact comes with an unspoken expectation that you love the mountains, you adore the outdoors, and REI is your favorite store. 

I haven't quite yet jumped on the REI bandwagon, but I do love the mountains and adore the outdoors... But it's taken me awhile to get there. 

My deep secret? 

I used to hate really dislike hiking and camping. 

Camping was no fun because my parents did boring adult things together, my brothers did weird boy things together, and me... Well there's only so many books you can read. 

The hiking thing... Let's just say one bad experience of getting caught in pouring rain, my mom and I getting separated from my brothers and dad, and freezing all the way back to the camp scarred me for a long time. And to be honest, I didn't really think mountains were that great until I saw and lived in other parts of the world helping me to realize that my own backyard rivaled the beauty I'd seen in countries all over the world. 

Anyway, back to the present day. I now LOVE camping... Probably because the husband man is now my partner in crime, and now that I dig the mountains, I dig hiking. 

As of three weeks ago, I still had not climbed a 14er (for you non-Colorado folks that's one of the 53 mountains in Colorado that are 14,000 feet or higher). 

That fact alone is sort of unheard of for a Colorado native. It sometimes feels like an unspoken rule that if you are a Colorado native you needed to have done at least one 14er (if not multiple).

You could say my family is into the mountains. 

(One brother- he probably hiked like this for hours.) 
(Photocredit: Isaiah Branch-Boyle)

(The other brother- must you run up this mountain??)
(Photocredit: Isaiah Branch-Boyle) 

And clearly the parentals are not just sitting at home watching tv. 

My brother has done several 14ers and even though I do hike my fair share amount now... 

(See? Proof!) 

I decided it was high time to conquer the 14,000 foot mark. 

So the husband man and I set off.... 

Pikes Peak was our mountain of choice, peaking at 14,114 feet. We started at the lovely hour of 6am (4:30am wake up call!),  and I soon realized maybe there was a reason I had avoided this journey for so many years. 

The climb was steep. And not like steep and then evening out. It was just straight up steep. It was doable and I had hiked steeper things in Guatemala, but my calves were feeling it 5 seconds into the hike. 

I live at 6,500 feet on a daily basis and figured that we would be climbing slow enough that I wouldn't feel the elevation. 


At one point during the hike (we were probably around 12,500 feet) I was hiking while eating a bite of granola bar and then trying to take a drink of water... And I realized I couldn't breathe. 

It was then I realized that I probably should stop, eat, drink, and then start hiking again. There just wasn't enough air to do all three at once. 

About four hours later we marched to the top and had a seat in the little store at the top. I did feel pretty BA sitting there among all the other people who drove or rode the train up. I too had driven to the top of it before, also contributing to my guilt of never actually hiking it

We spent an hour at the top eating lunch and taking obligatory pictures. 

"First 14er with the rings on"

"And a first for this Colorado native" (this is my shaming picture)

And of course we had to take pictures with a Which Wich bag because that meant free sandwiches the next day! 

I might hike Mount Everest if it meant I got free food. Okay, probably not, but I would consider it. 

The hour we spent at the top proved to be an hour too long because we started hiking down and saw this... 

We started hiking as quick as we could to try and beat the storm. 

But half an hour later it started hailing and lightning so we had to take shelter under a couple of rocks. We emerged almost an hour later to a winter wonderland. 

While we huddled in the rocks Alex remarked "This is the first time I've seen lightning go horizontal in front of my eyes at eye level."

We were up high and there was lightning all over, striking (what seemed to be) super close. We were thankful for those rocks! 

This is our post-huddle-under-a-rock-for-an-hour picture. I promise I'm not as close to crying as I appear in the picture. 

The last few hours down were uneventful and we made the full 13.6 mile trek in about 8 and a half hours. Had we not had the storm fiasco we would have made it in less than 8 hours but oh well. 

So, now I feel like an official Coloradan. Will I do another 14er? Probably. Is it my favorite thing to hike? Not really. 

But it was worth it because now my family won't disown me. But it was mostly worth it because of my free Which Wich sandwich. 

Free food for the win!

So what should my next 14er be? Is there an unspoken "rite of passage" in your state or family? 
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