In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Beautiful Adventure

It was about 4 o'clock, and John was still sitting on the floor playing legos with Sammy.  "Are we still going hiking? because if so, we need to go now," I said.  John replied, "Okay, okay." 

So we got ready.  We threw a few water bottles into a backpack, grabbed a sweatshirt for each boy, and set off for one of our favorite local mountains. By the time we started hiking, it was already 5 pm.  Andrew was in John's backpack; the other boys were walking on their own.  It was still bright and sunny, but getting late.

(BTW, my camera is being fixed, in a land far, far way (Texas), and I am stuck with my cell phone camera. Better than nothing.)

We started the slow shuffle up the mountain, and after about 50 yards, Sammy was saying "Are we almost there?" A lady on her way down passed us and giggled at his comment.   I said, "Um, no.  This is going to be a long walk.  Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving!"  And, after asking the same question three more times (with the same response), he listened!

 About a quarter of the way up, the boys took a little break:

I am such a poor planner.  Or rather, non-planner.  About half-way up I thought, "Geez, we should have brought a flashlight."  Because it was starting to look like this:

And this:

Aaron and John (with Andrew on his back) were up ahead, and it was just Sammy and me, trudging along.  And he was not complaining. He was just walking, and talking, and getting compliments from the hikers going down:  
"Keep it up Buddy!"
and they said to me: 
 "Startin' em young! That's great." 
So, we were both feeling pretty good about ourselves.

After MANY rocky stairways, switchbacks, and conversations about Bobo Fett and Jengo Fett, we made it to the top, and it was GORGEOUS:

it was also
and getting

 "We are idiots!" I thought to myself "Up here, in the dark, on this mountain, with three children!"
 John wasn't at all concerned.
  Thankfully,  he was also more prepared that I was.  He DID think to bring a flashlight

So, after a few crackers, dates, chocolates, and pretzels we headed back down,
through the rocky and steep terrain
in the dark.
With one flashlight between the five of us.

There were a few brave, avid hikers still on their way up.
They were not giving out compliments.
Instead they had questioning looks on their face which probably betrayed their thoughts:
"Nutty people, up here in the dark with three children!"
No one was patting us on the back now.

But it continued to be gorgeous.
And no one was complaining.

As the night grew darker,
and the footing less visible,
and Sammy continued to trip
(while holding my hand),
I continued to worry,
There is no one out here!
Someone could trip!
Someone could fall and hurt himself!
John could fall and hurt himself and Andrew!
And THEN how will we get down?

I started to think of hikers lost on trails
and trapped on Mt. Everest (it was kinda cold out there...)
and helicopter rescues

And then I would try to relax, and look around and enjoy the beauty.
Because that seemed to be what John, and Aaron, and Andrew were already doing.

Sammy was still talking about Jengo Fett.

I spent much of the walk down wondering if this was
a beautiful adventure
or a foolhardy endeavor.

We could have been safely at home,
playing legos.

But we would have missed this:

and the thrill,
and the sweet conversations.

We made it to the bottom
and proud
of ourselves.

I suppose that is often how life is.
In order to experience the beauty
and enjoy the adventure,
and feel accomplished,
you have to take risks,
despite the worry
and potential trips and falls.


Sometimes that is hard for me to remember.

Have you been on any foolhardy endeavors beautiful adventures lately?


"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
Helen Keller


  1. oh how beautiful! I love your pictures and your words. such beauty to endure and ponder. Where was this, btw?

  2. I remember many a hike with Champ (when he was in the boyfriend role) where I thought we were certainly going to get lost, or eaten by bears or whatever. I eventually learned 2 things: 1) I was missing all the beauty and wonder of the hike 2) Champ is an Eagle Scout, so I really should relax ;)

    those pictures were beautiful!!!!

  3. Oh Julie, you are such an amazing writer. I loved every single word... and that you have chosen to allow us to come along in all your adventures, whether hard or easy. You are often in my thoughts and prayers.
    And thank you for Hellen Keller's beautiful quote. So true.

  4. Dearest Julie, it seems that each time I read your blog my heart is so touched by your words, that I end up with tears in my eyes. I really do! You have an extraordiary gift of speaking to the soul. God Bless You friend...don't ever stop.
    Hugs, Sharon
    P.S. Working on your quilt right now!!!!

  5. Mt. Everest?! Too funny. Those photos are gorgeous. Not bad for a cell phone, but I'm sorry to hear about your camera. I hope it gets fixed quickly.
    What a great adventure you went on! I would have taken one look at the clock and wussed out and would have totally missed out on that amazing sunset

  6. always a pleasure to read your posts. Thanks for your musings about this late, and somewhat spontaneous adventure. When will you write the book that these are all begging to be a part of?

  7. Such a cool story, so happy you guys were able to go on an outing together - and what a GORGEOUS view!! Makes me want to come to AZ again...!

  8. i love this post! i think you got it just right at the end – that IS life. i also love your new look – the header is perfect.

  9. Boy, does this speak to me right now, where not a day goes by that I don't think we're nuts for agreeing to a year in Romania. I don't want to miss the adventure, but I sure have trouble blocking out the what-ifs! If they have sunsets like this, though, I just might be all right.

  10. You survived! Yay for you for stepping outside your comfort zone. Yay for adventures. Yay that it was you and not me! ;)

  11. Oh I loved this post. I really really loved it.

  12. Andrew is wearing my hat!! That makes me so happy!!

    This is a beautiful post - what great memories you are making for your boys!

    (And Andrew's wearing my hat!!!)

  13. What an amazing little adventure you all experienced! You captured some really great pictures with that cell phone of yours. I am uber impressed! Now I am feeling the pull for a family adventure!

  14. This is beautiful! I love that you had such a great adventure. Those "mishaps" make such great memories, huh?

  15. Julie, your thoughts, emotions, and expressiveness in your writing are truly a gift. Perhaps a book should be coming! God's blessings on the journey from this time forward. Hugs, Aunt Donna

  16. The photos are gorgeous - amazing what cell phones can do! Thought of our own hike in the dark (with only one flashlight) over a jagged lava flow in Hawaii. What a wonderful adventure - just like yours!

  17. I love that quote! My favorite hiking snack is M&Ms, peanuts, and raisins all mixed together. Yummy!
    (p.s. your cell phone takes pretty darn good pics by the way.) :)

  18. BEAUTIFUL! I love this post! But one question... Are you sure these pictures were taken with your cell phone? And if so, what kind of cell phone do you have? They look like they were taken using an expensive professional camera.

    SO unbelievably happy for you!


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