Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Learned About Community While Biking 28.2 Miles Down a Volcano

At 10,023 ft above sea level, you can't see all the way down to the bottom. You can only see clouds. And, well, the crater.

The view as the sun rises is breathtaking, but I think my family has just as much fun huddling around each other like penguins trying to stay warm.

Once we see the blazing sun, the six of us pile back into the van with three other couples to drive out of the national park.

Owen, our guide, lectures us about the rules for the ride and how many different ways there are to die. I'm extremely nervous - I'm not very athletic and I'm suddenly not very confident about my ability to balance on a bike. Owen lines us up by height (shortest in the front, tallest in the back), and we're off.

We fly down the side of the volcano, reaching speeds up to 30 miles per hour. It is exhilarating. It is cold. It is beautiful - I can see all the way down to the Pacific.

The rider in front of me, Daisy, is terrified. She is riding her breaks, causing me and all nine riders behind me to do the same. Owen coaches her, trying to coax her to let go, but it doesn't seem to do much.

At first, I am frustrated. The breaks hurt my hands and I want to go faster. But then I realize that Daisy is doing the very best she can. Owen is setting the pace, and I am staying close behind her, my very presence pushes her along, encouraging her forward.

Later, when Owen rearranges us and I am in front, I am the pace setter. Every little move I make affects the rest of the group. When I break, they break. When I speed up, they speed up.

As we flew down the volcano it struck me that this is not unlike community. I am going to reach the beach no matter how fast we go and whether or not Daisy herself does. But her progress affects me. If she slows down or falls away from the faith, I must slow too. I miss out on the beauty of the full family of God.

But when she flies, oh, but when she flies, she paves the way for me to fly too. Her holiness and closeness to God show me an example that allows me to flourish.

And when one of us messes up, or struggles, like when my mom couldn't get her bike to stop on a giant hill, one of us can reach out to assist, helping each other reach the finish line.

So while I could have biked down the volcano on my own, the experience was so much better in communion with others. Thank you Jesus, for giving us community to help us fly towards you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Best Moments from our trip to Maui

Aloha, friends! I am back from Maui quite a few shades darker (seriously, I am so tan). Hawaii was incredible. The weather was perfect (minus a minor hurricane glitch), the landscape was so beautiful that it looked fake, and the people were incredibly laid back. I don't think I've ever felt quite so disconnected from the world while on a trip before. It was a perfect nine days of just relaxing, being with family, and trying not to get too sunburnt.

Here's a quick recap of our trip, in the format of a list of bests!

Best Adventure: Biking down the side of a volcano! More details to come on this tomorrow.

Best Meal: Crab Mac & Cheese at Honu on our very last night. Oh my goshhhh. I would go back to Maui just to eat this again.

Best View:

Drinking: Iced White Mocha
Reading: The Paper Magician

Just kidding. Here's Ka'anapali Beach without anything blocking your view! That island in the distance is Molokai.

Best Sunset:

The sunset in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Best Loss of "What are the Odds": "What are the Odds" is a game where you challenge someone to do something. You ask them, "what are the odds you'll eat an entire pizza?" and they answer saying something like, "1 in 10." After counting to three, the challenger and the challengee say a number in that range. If they say the same number, they have to do it. If they say a different number, they do not have to complete the challenge. At the end of the beach, there's a giant black rock that juts out into the ocean. If you swim out far enough, you can climb up 20ft and jump in. Tommy is not a fan of doing things like this. Steph, Joey, & I all jumped, and we wanted Tommy to join in the fun. After making all sorts of offers (like endless baked goods, Joey being nice to him forever), Tommy lost What are the Odds and had to jump. It ended up being a great experience, and we were all glad he did it!

image via.

Best Ocean Experience: Snorkling right next to a sea turtle off the coast of Maui! Amazing.

Best Hawaiian Moment: Either surfing, or attending the Luau! Surfing is hard, but super fun! And the Luau was a sweet way to try traditional Hawaiian foods while watching hula!


Best Book Read: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book was so enchanting, I could hardly put it down. It's the story of two opponents, competing to show who is better skilled at magic. The two main characters have been bound together their whole lives, and the story is about how they overlap and how the magic that they create is a gift to others. I highly recommend it.

image via.

Best Parents in the World: MINE. Huge shoutout to my generous parents for taking us on this trip!

Aren't they so cute!?

But the best part of the whole trip was being able to spend 9 days of carefree timelessness with my family.

Aloha, Hawaii! Can't wait to see you again.

Friday, August 1, 2014

7QTs on 22 States, Moving Day at the Office, and Weird Trollies that I Found on My Desk

It has been pretty crazy in the office this week. Lots of new people are starting, and today is moving day! Many departments are moving around and getting new desks. Luckily, Events is staying in our little back corner. I'm looking forward to being neighbors with Formation, staring at Allison, Theresa, & Katie through the far window in our office, and continuing to have yelling conversations with Christine through both our open doors.

We are having our very first whole events team lunch today! Well, minus Carol. Our three new teammates are all in Colorado now, so they're coming up for lunch! We're all excited to introduce them to our very favorite mountain Thai food place. Can you say pineapple fried rice?

It'll be just like this, except more Thai & less wings
Welp, it has been one week since Jess & Seth's wedding & I'm pretty convinced it's time to have another reunion. Who will volunteer to get married next, just so we can all see each other??

This was on my desk today when I got into the office...

What is this mystery trolley!? Where did it come from?? What does it mean!? We may never know. A few months ago I discovered a random green army man on my desk and I still have it. He, the rock, and Mary are happy to welcome the San Francisco trolley to my desk trinkets.

I'm aware that is very sad that my picture frame
(which has been there since March), does not have a picture in it.

Remember the state thing I'm trying to do? Great news: as of last Thursday, I had never been to Michigan. And, I guess I went to Alabama a few times as a child, so that brings me to a total of 21 states visited!

AND, the goal is even closer than that... tomorrow morning I will be flying to HAWAII for our first whole family vacation in four years. Ten whole days of relaxing and adventuring and being with family and not working. It's going to be so great. 

Also, that's 22 states, meaning I only need to visit 3 more before March. 25-in-25 is going to happen, people.

Speaking of vacation, I'm going to take a quick hiatus while I'm with my family next week. I'm looking forward to sleeping in, reading on the beach, biking down a volcano, & just being with my family. I'll be back in Colorado in about a week, so I'll talk to ya'll then.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!