Control

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“If you try to control everything, and then worry about the things you can’t control, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustration and misery.”

~Unknown

Photographer: Jason N.

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Trip of a Lifetime

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This big summer trip has officially ended, and it is very bittersweet to be back home. I missed my room. I missed my bed. I missed my birds. I missed dance! However, my family and I have made so many great memories together for the past month. We saw parts of the country that we may never get to see again. I saw landmarks that I never imagined I would ever see. This was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so blessed to have experienced such beautiful places. I recall:

being on the edge of my seat at that rodeo in Cody

taking a ride through Bear Country and seeing those wild animals stand inches away from our car in Rapid City

eating the best steak I have ever had at the Big Texan in Amarillo

a giant crow smacking into our car on the interstate in New Mexico

traveling through all of the Fly Over States (love this song!)

almost getting lost as we tried to find our way to Devils Kitchen in Wyoming

driving through Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs as pea sized snow hits our car in June


We are now back to reality. We are home! Thank you all for joining me on this fun adventure, and I really hope you enjoyed this series of posts. Which place are YOU most interested in traveling to after reading?

Albuquerque & Santa Fe

New Mexico is unlike any other state I have ever visited. The unique architecture and culture made me feel as though I was in another country! I loved how the modern towns expanded upon the pueblos of the Native Americans and preserved the building style that initially shaped the state.

Downtown Santa Fe is very historic, and it is the home of the “oldest church structure in the U.S.A. The original adobe walls and altar were built by the Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico under the direction of Franciscan Padres ca.1610”. I am so fortunate to have been able to see The San Miguel Church still standing tall after all of these years.

I also really enjoyed walking around Old Town Albuquerque and looking at all of the beautifully hand crafted jewelry in the little shops. We spent most of the day visiting the Albuquerque Biological Park and exploring the botanical gardens and aquarium. This fun adventure ended with a peaceful sunset over the Rocky Mountains…

Colorado Heights

Standing on the top of Pikes Peak 14,115 ft in the sky was definitely an experience that I will be sharing for a long time! Unfortunately, my family and I somehow managed to reach the top in the middle of a thunder-snow storm. We decided to stand on that mountain anyway and enjoy the impressive, hazy state of Colorado below. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pinch on my foot! My family thought I was crazy at first, but it all made sense when my hair stood straight up seconds later. Guys, I experienced an electrical discharge in a thundercloud over 14,000 feet in the sky… I know that this sounds unreal, and I know you may be thinking I have lost my mind. Whether you decide to believe me or not, I definitely didn’t want to leave this bizarre lightning encounter out of this post.

In addition, the Royal Gorge was definitely a grand landmark. I can now say that I have walked across the highest suspension bridge in the entire country! The Arkansas River raged below as I peered down down through the small spaces between the wood flooring. My mother suggested that I take a photo from this viewpoint, and I actually really like how it turned out! What do YOU think? Across the horizon, the river sliced a path through the rocks and cut through the landscape, creating a powerful moment in time…

#Colorado Heights

Yellowstone Reflection

Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my entire life… Neither pictures nor words can describe how spectacular it is, and it is something that you must witness yourself to truly grasp the wonders of Wyoming. I was able to gain a better understanding of how powerful the forces of nature are and how insignificant I am when compared to the ‘big picture’. GOD has created such diverse, beautiful world, and I am so thankful to have gotten a better glimpse of it. I will never forget that special place where stars lit up the sky… snow capped mountains smiled in the distance… crystal clear lakes shimmered… wild buffalo grazed in the distance… and moose, elk, deer, bear, and mountain goats all welcomed us with warm hearts. I was very sad to depart, and I am already missing the magical state of Wyoming.

South Dakota

*An ocean of lush, green grassland extended farther than eyes could possibly see. The hills were rolling waves, and the grasses rippled as they swayed in the wind.

*Rock mountains towered above us as we gazed up in awe. I couldn’t help but wonder if my imagination was getting the best of me.

*Fertile farmlands blossomed with corn and wheat for miles as the endless land surrounded us from left to right…

Scenery ranged significantly in the breathtaking state of South Dakota. Experiencing Mount Rushmore outside of a history textbook is something that I will never forget. It is a massive monument that is absolutely flawless! The balance of each detail is unbelievable, and I am still astounded that the creation of the masterpiece was even possible! On that note, we also visited the Crazy Horse monument. While we were there, we went into a Native American museum and viewed the historic jewelry, dolls, chief headdresses, clothing, and pottery of the Indians that use to call the area their homeland. Not too long after, we visited a retired gold mine and learned about how the miners use to search for the precious material! It was very interesting, and I learned lots of neat facts. Our busy day ended with a walk through Rapid City and the mouth watering taste of homemade truffles from a chocolate shop. What an amazing journey through South Dakota!

Exploring Nashville

Despite the wet, windy weather that took over Nashville, we still had a great day exploring Music City. We visited the Ryman Auditorium (“the mother church of country music” since 1892), line danced, and experienced lots of live music. I am so lucky to have seen Preston James perform that night… He made Blake Shelton’s team on Season 11 of my favorite singing competition, The Voice! He is so amazing, and I am so fortunate to have seen this 17 year old star perform right in front of me.

Thanks, Nashville!