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Archive for the ‘Story’ Category

I had the pleasure of attending the Rabbit Room Retreat at Laity Lodge last weekend. The weekend included a stop for Texas bar-b-q, sessions on Tolkien and Flannery O’Connor, good conversation over mouth-watering meals, an intimate in-the-round concert, a hike up to a scenic overlook, star gazing in open fields, discussions on community and creativity, time with dear friends, breathtaking scenery, and so much more!

Words don’t begin to express what a magical and restful time I had. Here are some photos instead:

Driving through the Frio River is like a baptism.

Driving through the Frio River is like a baptism.

Great Hall, Laity Lodge

Great Hall, Laity Lodge

Great Hall overlooks the Frio River. The river is an astonishing shade of turquoise.

Great Hall overlooks the Frio River. The river is an astonishing shade of turquoise.

Consider the wildflowers...

Consider the wildflowers…

We had perfect weather for sitting outside.

We had perfect weather for sitting outside.

Wildflowers were in bloom. I was very happy.

Wildflowers were in bloom. I was very happy.

The hike up to Circle Bluff

The hike up to Circle Bluff

One view on the way up

One view on the way up

View from Circle Bluff

View from Circle Bluff

Threshold

Threshold

Blue Hole -- The water is 40' deep here!

Blue Hole — The water is 40′ deep here!

Winding Road

Winding Road

Morel Mushroom

Morel Mushroom

Texas Bluebonnets

Texas Bluebonnets

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush

 

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The Daily Dash

I hope to blog about some highlights and favorites of 2014 soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d mention here that my cat Dashwood started a blog of his own (with a little help from his human). You can read about his antics here.

Mr. Dashwood enjoys big cups of coffee, long books, and cuddling on cold nights.

Mr. Dashwood

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100 Years

Earlier this year, I stopped at the local used bookstore on my lunch break. As I scanned the shelves in the back room of that shabby, ivy-covered brick building by the railroad tracks, a title caught my eye: A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie.

A Diary of Private Prayer

A couple of years ago, when Andrew Peterson wrote about the book on The Rabbit Room, I bought an old edition. I had never seen the book anywhere else, up until that afternoon in the bookshop. I slipped it from its snug spot on the shelf, turned it over in my hands, and inhaled the dusty scent. It was the same edition. I lifted the cover to read this inscription:

Inscription

What?! It looked like my Grandma Lorraine’s handwriting, and she lived in Minneapolis in 1967… I have since confirmed with my dad and two aunts that, surely enough, it is my grandma’s handwriting!

Grandma Stewart

Lately, I’ve been reading her autobiography. When she was in her 70s and couldn’t sleep, she sat at her typewriter and composed a 31-page memoir. I read this today: “The Lord really works in mysterious ways.” Indeed!

Grandma Car

Today is her 100th birthday. She died a little over 18 years ago, shortly after I turned 16, but her legacy lives on. I have a lot to thank her for, not the least of which is a godly heritage–and a love of books!

Grandma and Grandpa Kopp

Happy 100 years, Grandma! I love you!

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When I found out that the regional airport offers flight lessons, I decided it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. So, on a hazy Sunday morning earlier this month, I flew a plane!

The Piper and me

The Piper and me

When I met the instructor, Frank, at 7:30, he had already done the pre-flight. The first thing he asked me was, “Do you understand how planes fly?” I didn’t think “magic” was the answer he was looking for, so I had to admit that I didn’t. He gave me a brief physics lesson, went over the basic controls, and it was time to board.

As I climbed up onto the wing, he said, “The pilot sits on the left side.” I sat in the right seat and he corrected me. It became apparent that was the pilot! *Gulp* (Of course he still had full control, or we wouldn’t have made it very far.)

As we taxied down the runway, he let me guide the plane, which is done with foot pedals–one to go left and the other right. I wanted to grab the controller and steer it like a car, but flying and driving are two very different things. Let’s just say, I’m glad that no one was watching me. I didn’t manage to drive the plane off the runway, but I might have come close…

Once the plane was in position at the beginning of the runway, Frank took over. It was just like taking off in a commercial jet, minus the flight attendants’ pre-flight spiel. Oh, and the fact that this plane wasn’t much bigger than my Ford Fiesta. And of course, I wasn’t a passenger–I was in the pilot’s seat.

The view of the airport (Photo Credit: Degner Regional Airport... I was not even thinking of taking photos at this point!)

Photo Credit: Degner Regional Airport…I didn’t take any photos during the flight.

Near where the above photo was taken, Frank took his hands off the controller and declared that I was now flying the plane. *Gulp* I took hold of my controller. “So, what exactly do I do?” He had me pull the controller toward me, which lifted the nose of the plane and brought the plane higher yet.

Soon, we were 1,000 feet above the ground, with the whole town spread out like a blanket below us. I had a whole new perspective on this town where I’ve lived most of my life. We circled around my neighborhood, and I was able to pick out my house! Then we turned back toward the airport and Frank landed the plane, safe and sound.

It was a short flight, but it was a great introduction to flying. I won’t be in the air again anytime soon, but I’m thankful for the experience.

When I was recalling my adventure to my friend Reagan, she was reminded of a poem that hangs on the wall in her home.

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (WWII pilot)

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

A post-flight photo op with the instructor

A post-flight photo op with the instructor

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A few weeks ago I stopped by Straight River Sports and Fitness. I was looking to replace my 16-year-old Cannondale hybrid, the bike that’s been to the Montana and Canadian Rockies and served as my main mode of transportation in college.

Team Terrrrrific takes on the Rockies in 1997.

Team Terrrrrific takes on the Rockies in 1997.
[Thanks to my Uncle Rol and Aunt Lori for this unforgettable experience!]

Since college, my riding has mainly been on city trails. There’s nothing wrong with city trails, and when I stepped into the bike shop on that Monday evening, that’s the kind of riding I had in mind. I was instantly recognized in the shop as the owner of the white Electra Amsterdam that I bought five years ago. Ann, the co-owner, said that she just mentioned my bike during a presentation she gave at the high school earlier that day, and was wondering if I was still riding it.

Electra Amsterdam with all its bells and whistles

The Electra Amsterdam with all its bells and whistles! This bike is a lot of fun, and has gotten many compliments, however, I may be selling it soon. A girl only needs so many bikes… [And this girl has a small garage.]

When I told her that I was looking for a new bike, she asked me what my goals were. Or, as Donald Miller might ask, “What story do you want to tell with this bike?” Good question! And one I hadn’t properly considered. Ann took me out to test drive a couple of fitness bikes. When we returned, she asked if I had any other questions, which gave me the perfect opportunity to ask about the road bikes on display in the front of the shop. We took a couple out for a test drive, and immediately I could tell the difference. It became apparent that, if I were to purchase a road bike, it would be more of a commitment–think bike shorts, shoes, jerseys, gloves, and computers. Plus, road bikes aren’t exactly an ideal for city trails–they beg to be taken out on county roads. I also learned about the bike club, which would give me the opportunity to ride with others. I had a lot to think about when I left the shop that night. After some consideration, prayer, and one more test drive, I made my final decision.

My new yet-to-be-named Giant

My new yet-to-be-named Giant!

I have entered the world of road biking! A couple of nights ago, I participated in my first ladies’ ride. There were five of us total–two mother/daughter pairs and me. We went for a “leisure ride” on county roads and I ended up biking nearly 24 miles! For a seasoned cycler, that really is a leisure ride, but it’s my longest ride since high school. I was the slowest of the group, but everyone’s got to start somewhere, right?! I’m looking forward to miles of new adventures, and to the tales this Giant will tell.

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Lindsay (sitting) and me with our younger siblings.

Lindsay and me with our younger siblings.

When I was one year old, my mom went back to work part time. She called the local Bible college to find a babysitter for me, and was connected with Janet, who had a newborn daughter named Lindsay. That was 32 years ago this summer. Little did anyone know that I wasn’t only getting a babysitter, but a lifelong friend.

With friends Jennifer and Jana in Kauai for Lindsay's wedding. (Sept. 2006)

With friends Jennifer and Jana in Kauai for Lindsay’s wedding. (Sept. 2006)

I can’t imagine life without Lindsay. We’ve shared many adventures, from Kindergarten to Lindsay’s wedding in Kauai. Together, we survived wilderness camp in the Boundary Waters the summer before eighth grade and have been on a number of hikes in the mountains near her home in Colorado.

Hiking near Vail during my visit in 2009.

Hiking near Vail during my visit in 2009

Today is Lindsay’s 32nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Dear Friend! Here’s to many more shared adventures…

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May 1st: Achilles arrival

May 1st: Achilles arrival

Happy February 93rd, as they’re saying around here. We had a record-setting snowfall to begin the month of May. The totals around here were 15″-18″, which is one of the biggest snowfalls that I can remember–anytime of year!

What a serene scene...

What a serene scene…

When everyone else is complaining, I look to my friend Reagan for some cheering up. She may be the last person I know who’s still revelling the snow…

Cheery Hill

May 2nd: Cheery Hill

If we wear the winters we weather like badges, then I will wear this one with pride. I imagine years from now, we’ll still be talking about the Spring of ’13. And the May Blizzard will go down in history just like the Halloween Ice Storm of ’91, the European Heat Wave of ’03, and the Great Flood of ’10. [I like to think about that scorching summer spent in Spain on days like this.]

May 3rd: Snow is falling again!

May 3rd: Snow is falling again!

I’m not going to commit to a photo a day, but I’ll try to post some photos as I believe, hope, and expect that we will finally see spring by the end of the month. With a late May birthday, it’s the #1 wish on my list. 😉

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