Saturday, June 8, 2013

A look back...

On this date eleven years ago, I was walking down the aisle to marry the man who I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.  It was a beautifully, simple celebration and we were surrounded by loving family and friends.  We were young, a little (ok, maybe a lot) naive and ready to start our lives together as husband and wife. 

Fast forward to a little over a year ago.  A little more than a month before ten years would be celebrated.  The man who I thought I would be with forever dropped a bomb on me.  Apparently, he had been unhappy for quite a while and was not "in love" with me anymore (among many other issues he proceeded to list).  I'm honestly not sure how long my state of shock lasted.  I remember that night clearly, but the days that followed were a blur.  I was emotionally more fragile than I have ever been and it was a scary place to be. As the numbness wore off, I think I felt every emotion one could possible feel.

Anger. Disappointment. Failure. Bitterness. Sadness. Disbelief. Frustration. Shock. Miserable. Unhappy. Weakness. Fear.

When I finally processed the situation,  I offered possible solutions...anything to save what was suddenly falling apart before my eyes.  Every solution was shot down.  His mind was made up and I had to accept that.

The year that has followed that bomb has placed me on paths I never imagined I would take. Some of those paths have been painful to walk down, but the majority of them have led me into the space of some amazing people and places.  I am constantly reminded of the incredible family and friends I have.  Their support and love have helped carry me to my current situation.   And what is my current situation you might ask....

Happy. Amazing. Free. Adventurous. Relief. In Love. Joyful. Content. Brave. Strong.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bucket List: Item #1 - Hot Air Balloon Ride (part 2)

After a brief rest at the hotel room, my mom and I headed back to the festival site.  The festival itself was a typical small-town festival.  Lots of activities for the kids, a car show, food and not-so-great live music.  Truth be told, we were a bit bored waiting for the 4pm flight.

I checked in and paid for my flight around 3pm and got my pilot assignment.

We sat around for another hour or so until it was time to find my pilot.  This was a little hectic, but we finally found Roger Clark, his wife, Christie and his family and friends who made up the crew.
We talked for a few minutes while waiting for the "OK" to fly.  Once we got the "OK," it was kind of a whirlwind!

The crew picked a spot to unload everything.

photo by LSPhotography

The crew was great about explaining the whole process to me while it was happening.  Then they began to fill the balloon with cold air using a large fan.   

Then the hot fill began...

photo by LSPhotography
photo by LSPhotography
Then it was time to get in the basket.  The warned me that there was no graceful way to get in the basket.  My mom managed to capture this lovely photo of me going in.

photo by LSPhotography
At this point, my mom was brimming with excitement because she found out she could ride in the chase vehicle to take pictures.  I think she was just as excited as I was!

Within minutes, we were slowly lifting off the ground.  It was the most free feeling I have ever felt. 

photo by LSPhotography

photo by LSPhotography

We steadily lifted higher and higher and higher.

Roger and his wife were super nice and we had a wonderful conversation that jumped all over different topics.  He was great at explaining the details of how a hot air balloon works and how they are made.  Incredibly fascinating!  They were also kind enough to just let me take in the whole experience when I needed to. Just thinking back to it, I still get a little choked up.  It was a truly exhilarating experience that I would do again in a heartbeat. And, quite honestly, words don't do it justice, so I will show you more pictures from high above...

At some point we found out that the name of the balloon I was flying was "Ruah." The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind.  How incredibly fitting for where I was mentally and spiritually at the time.

After landing in a small neighborhood (can you imagine seeing a hot air balloon land in front of your house?!), the team deflated the balloon and packed it up for the trip back to the festival site.


We piled into the pick-up truck and began the trek back.  Once we arrived at the festival site, we said our good-byes to the crew and mom and I headed to find dinner before the scheduled Balloon Glow.  We found one of the restaurants we saw in the downtown area earlier and had a delicious dinner!   We soon headed back to the festival for the Balloon Glow.  All of the hot air balloon crews set up their balloons right before dusk.  As the sun sets, they begin introducing each balloon and it's owner, etc.  When they are announced, they make the balloon "glow."  They do all kinds of different "glows" (twinkles, one at a time, etc).  It is such a beautiful sight!

I have already determined that I will definitely take another hot air balloon flight.  It was well worth the money and is truly an experience that I will treasure forever.