Hello everyone. I've been away in Phoenix, Arizona for the last 5 days and haven't been keeping up with my blogging in the meantime. I did want to post some reflections on the trip and how it made me think differently about certain aspects of my life.
First off, we went to Phoenix to go celebrate my father's 50th birthday party and I couldn't be happier that we did. It was great to see all of my parents' friends and our family come celebrate with him on his milestone birthday (although in my mind it's just another day, as Dad would say as well). My parents are both very young to have a son that's 30 (that's me) and 27 (my brother), but it works out well for all of us as they are very active and adventurous. Not only were they up for whatever we want to do, they even come up with their own crazy agendas. I love that about them. My brother is very cool as well and I love counting my family as my best friends (along with Evelyn of course).
Secondly, my parents surprised my brother and I with some tunes that they've been learning on the banjo (my Dad) and the fiddle (my Mom). Needless to say, I was stunned and so proud. I think it's awesome that they're learning these very difficult instruments and I'm so proud that they've made such progress is so little time. They were playing old fiddle tunes very well for the 5-6 months that they've been playing them. My jaw was on the floor when I walked in the house from the airport and saw them playing them. I always knew that I got my musical abilities from somewhere and I think my parents are realizing that they have it in them as well. That's so inspiring. My brother and I have been playing for some years, and we are now complete with the "Stackhouse Family Band." :-)
Thirdly, going back to that adventurous part: my parents and I went hiking Monday in Usery Park outside of Phoenix, and we did some pretty intense hiking. We climbed roughly 2000 vertical feet and a trail that was at least 3 miles (although we dispute that as it seemed much farther and we're not just saying that because of the elevation gain). Seeing the panoramas and the views of the Arizona valleys was stunning to say the least. It's a mental health wonderland up their on the mountain and I literally am excited about the next visit out there so I can do it again somewhere new. I love the crisp air and the warm sunshine when you're trekking up the mountain. There's nothing really that compares to that feeling of reconnecting with the outdoors.
Lastly, I'm grateful. I'm grateful that I get to spend such great times with my family while I'm young. I'm also grateful that we can put any differences aside and just love each other no matter what. That is great when you think about so many people out there that just can't seem to get along with their family because of petty differences. During the Holidays, I'm thankful that I have these things. I think I will always be grateful and thankful for that.