Lost and Found on Trail

As many of you may know by now, our family loves to travel and explore!

This summer, DH planned another amazing adventure for us that took us on an exploration of the pacific north west of the continental USA.

DH is especially well traveled so any opportunity to get to see a new place for the first time together is a real treat! He also happens to be a fantastic travel planner and takes the credit for our many family travel adventures.

Feel free to read about our adventures in Africa climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and summiting exactly on our twins boys tenth birthday, which allowed them to hold the world record for the youngest To officially Summit Mount Kilimanjaro! What a gift 💕

https://mindmuse.blog/2019/06/17/embarking-on-kilimanjaro/

Okay back to this summers travel.. we landed in Portland Oregon and drove straight to the trail heads of Maultnomah falls. As I’m grabbing my camera to hit the trail ,I realized that I had forgotten to pack my hiking or running shoes!! Oyiee 🥴Luckily I was able to borrow some from my family and off we went!

Pearl #1: pack for your vacation ahead of time, considering specific activities ,so that you can bring appropriate gear. Just open your luggage and keep throwing in stuff you’llneed, at least a week before your trip.

Maultnomah falls views was breathtaking! I promise it looks way better in reality than the still pictures you see hanging in hotel rooms etc. There are other hikes around the Maultnomah falls such as Bridal veil trail which was also totally worth the short hike. We did this hike first which ended in a lovely water fall and a beautiful creek that our kids enjoyed exploring.

We took a break to get some pictures on the bridge alongside numerous other tourists . It was close to 6 pm when we began the 2.6 mile moderately challenging hike up Maultnomah falls ( 823ft, 11 switchbacks, pretty steep ) while the sun was still very high in the sky .

Needless to say the nearly vertical hike up was challenging but doable , switchback after switchback we climbed. Meanwhile scattered all around us were glorious views. The sky was beautiful and warm as the sun cast gorgeous shadows and lines on everything in its’path.

I will only give you the following pertinent details about our hike up. Having almost four teenagers they were basically running up the climb thanks to their athleticism.

They took turns hiking in pairs, while at times the youngest daughter was leading the hike. On family hikes, I tend to bring in the cabiose often. Perhaps because I enjoy admiring all of my family from behind their strides as I count my blessings for each of them. Ofcourse it could also be my shear laziness or that I have diminutive athleticism compared to my children’s young blood and DH’s strong chiseled muscles 🤪

The hike was demanding and I kept pushing back placing one foot infront the other, as I counted my switchbacks to the top.

Suddenly the terrain flattened and allowed me some breathing space to reset my mind and focus inwardly. Just as soon as a prayer of gratitude came to my heart, I also added a prayer of protection for all of us on the hike.

With the space created, I was more intentional and realized that by now DH has slowed his pace to wait on our youngest who has started to dwadle perhaps frustrated this hike was much longer than we all had expected😏

Then I stopped to take a sitting rest while I waited for DH and our youngest to catch up. A few mins later DH was there and we exchanged “trail greetings”, that’s when he noticed there was a fork in the road right at the spot I had decided to stop.

Pearl #2: Keep an eye out for trail signs!

He told me he wanted to wait there for our youngest to make certain she took the right path at the crossroads . At that exact moment , my mind flashed to the three oldest ahead! I wondered if they all stayed close together? Did one of them lag behind and missed the fork on the road? My mind was beginning to race with anxious thoughts now .. the devil is such a liar! I literally JUST found my calming space on the hike and there I am now about to freak out!

I began bolting down the path running as fast as I could to our children,while I called out their names loudly. I don’t know how long I ran on that path before I heard two of them respond to my calling “ We’re here at the River mom!” The River was the end of the hike up , the top of the waterfall which was our destination before we turn around and head back down.

Phew! My mind was about to start to relax but not until I asked if they were ALL three together? They answered affirmatively for two but stated that their brother was trailing behind them…. Oh shoot🤬

Pearl #3: Don’t hike alone , bring water, have time piece etc etc

I didn’t even remember if I eye balled them before I quickly made a U turn and headed back UP the path to find my missing twin.

I passed DH who has stayed at the fork waiting to make sure our youngest didn’t do what I now feared her brother had done.

We agreed to reunite after I found our son and off I headed without even thinking .

Technically DH was a more seasoned hiker than myself , and if anything I should have let him go on the search himself. He likely maybe more efficient but my momma’s heart would not let anyone else do this job other than myself… I HAD to go find my son!

Besides I couldn’t manage the angst of waiting for the search to be completed.

I was off running with so much adrenaline than I imagined possible in my tired body . My legs just kept moving while my mind raced and raced… it must be a mother’s worst nightmare , the fear of harm befalling her offspring.

My mind flashed to all the horror movies where children are kidnapped on lonely trails and never seen again.

Then the waterworks came flooding my eyes, my tearfulness kept getting interrupted by my thoughts which challenged me to HAVE FAITH.

I didn’t want to be lean into my crying because it somehow meant that I was accepting the possibility that my child was in fact lost on the trail.

I prayed , I bargained with God then I blamed myself for having agreed to go on this adventurous hike. I mean those views were NOT worth loosing my son!

I was now hiking down that notorious fork in the road . I even warned some hikers on the path to watch for the fork and take the correct path to lead to the river , which was the infamous top of the amazing Mount Maultnomah.

The path got more and more quiet and isolated. I was no longer seeing any hikers and I was panicking as I was left to only my own thoughts. It all seemed like eternity , as I prayed my son to come back to me.

Then I saw a couple who were hiking from what seemed to be a completely opposite direction on the path.they were coming from the direction I was headed in search of my son.

I asked them in between breaths if they have seen a young boy as I described my son to the couple. They both shook their heads and THEN said the most dreadful utterances , that they had been hiking for almost 20 mins and hadn’t ran into anyone on the hike.

I almost lost it ! 😱

Do I keep going in search of my son? We hadn’t lost site of him THAT long, had we?Do I go back and inform DH that I hadn’t succeeded on my quest to find our son yet?

My head was spinning at this time and I could hardly focus on any one thought..

I believed the couple but I also didn’t want to believe them . I was now at my own crossroads, then my panic REALLY set in.

Confused I started to head back for more help and just as soon as I turned a switch back that led me facing back the path I had originally gone looking for my 13 yr old teenage baby, I saw him calling out to me.. Mom!!

In a flash we both were speeding towards each other , mostly in silence , and then my tears really gushed out like a heavy release as I embraced him with all my might.

The couple watched our reunion with some puzzled look that there was a boy indeed on the trail after-all ,but I could hardly notice anything other than my son at this point.

We didn’t have many questions for one another , we were just so darn happy to be reunited! He told me how sacred he had been when he realized he was all alone on the path without coming across anyone . I tried not to imagine him so lonely on a path.

Gratitude filled my heart for God’s protection on my son. He may have been physically alone on that path, but I know God was right there on the path WITH him!

We hiked back to reunite with the rest of the family and the hike back ALL together , was the sweetest. This time, I hiked again in admiration of my independent little humans , but now I hiked with two kids in front, and two kids behind while DH brought the caboose.

There were many more family hikes on that trip as we discovered the gorgeous pacific north west coast of the continental USA together , BUT we did it TOGETHER💕

Have you ever thought you lost a child in your care ? Do you cry at joyous reunions?

May God always go with us on all our life trails!

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences .

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Football Nail clipping

Our 13 yr old twins now play football!

Yes “American “ football! …Complete with tackles and hits😳

The interest began last fall at the invitation of the football coach after they participated in the school’s summer football camp.

I reluctantly agreed while swallowing my nervousness about my own fears of them getting hurt, since football seemed to me like such a physical sport😏.

I mean you have people literally charging FULL throttle and throwing their bodies FULL on at one another , in quest of this brown and white oblong shaped object ,prized on the football fields.

I conceded and they have played and loved every minute especially all the way to winning the championship game last year!

Of course once they tasted a winning team , naturally they wanted to continue playing football this year.

So we signed them up.

More 7th grade boys apparently felt the same and the team has now amassed so many new members this school year.

Some whose parents could no longer resist their young boys’ pleas to let them play. They too threw up their white flags and braced themselves for the football rides.

The excitement for the football team at school has been building all summer !

Football practices began and our boys have been playing daily since the latter part of summer break and are still loving this crazy physical sport … their football passion is honestly competing with their long term ice hockey commitment.

We’ll see…

Finally this morning was the day of the football jamboree!! It’s the official unofficial first games of the season.

So this morning we woke up early and I drove with our boys all the way down to Washington Missouri for their first football jamboree while DH managed the score boards at our youngest daughter’s ice hockey game in town.

We really have to divide and conquer with our busy family schedule😅

My muse for this blog post was really what occurred as soon as I announced to our sleepy sons who had fallen asleep on the ride that we had reached our destination for the jamboree about an hour after we set out for Washington Missouri.

As they got out of the car and began to gather their protective chest pads and helmets, I noticed one of them grab a nail clipper he brought along with him and started to trim his nails.

Since we were in a hurry, I offered to help him to speed us along.

While I trimmed A’s nails as we both stood in the parking lot facing the car’s open trunk, I was moved by his reasons for needing to trim his nails right before the football jamboree.

A said he wanted to make sure he didn’t scratch anyone with his nails during the games. A beaming smile came across my face as I was grateful for this child’s caring heart!♥️

Even though he was about to go out on that field to make tackles and hits (or whatever other physical tactics is involved in this game of football that I am still a learning novice at , lol), …..his good natured self wanted to make sure his nails did not accidentally hurt other players?

There in that parking lot, dressed in all that football padded and almost taller than me now, he was still my baby !

He was letting me help trim his nails, which for he and I , was one of our bonding activities for so many years until his preteen self felt that he had “ outgrown” needing his mother’s help with nail clippers.

I loved helping him trim his nails and I absolutely love his caring heart!

They both had a great time on the field and I cheered excitedly for good plays and winced when players got sacked 😳

I prayed for protection for ALL the babies turned preteens and teens out there on the fields and ice rinks or whatever other sports folks are playing.

And Yup! We’re still playing American football 🏈 🤷🏽‍♀️🙌🏽🙏🏾🥰 and loving it!

Do you have any special bonding traditions with your loved ones?

Feel free to share if you’d like, and if you don’t have any, it is never too late to start some 😍

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences . Please feel free to also “follow” by clicking the follow icon, so you can get notifications on future blog posts and not miss out !💕

*DH ( darling husband)

Alaska Calling

“ A girl like you should see the mountains” – those were the words he said to me while on our long telephone conversation .

You see we had just starting dating ,after our chance meeting at Ohare airport but we were separated by distance for the next several months until graduation. He was doing a sub internship in Alaska and I remained at my school in St Louis.

Not withstanding our busy schedules and the time zone differences, we made time for our evening long distance phone calls. This was before the days of cellular phones popularity , and he had let me borrow his bright green telephone with the longest rippled cords I had ever seen . The long cord allowed me flexibility to be able to walk around my townhouse while we chatted the night away.

We conversed about any and everything! This is one of the beauties of a new relationship. Each conversation is magical and everything is so brand new and intriguing. It’s a wonder we both were able to keep up with our personal daily obligations!

It was also during the Lenten season and as Catholics, it is commonplace to choose “ a Lenten obligation “- that year I decided on the challenge to say my rosary nightly. This was a complicated by my more natural inclination and enthusiasm to converse with my favorite human nightly .

I had shared my Lenten quest with him , and he decided he’d join me in praying the rosary nightly. I didn’t quite expect this , although I wholeheartedly welcomed his offer to join my nightly prayers.

Praying the rosary (a beautiful meditative prayer by the way, typically takes about twenty mins and is filled with many spiritual rewards . Most nights , we started strong and finished together.

However, there were also nights that my tired self was lured to sleep with the repetitious prayers, only to be awakened by the louder voice on the other end, announcing that “ we “ were done praying the rosary and it was indeed bedtime. You mean, you just let me “ finish “ the rosary and hopefully getting some credit for keeping “my” Lenten obligation for the day, all while catching some zzzs?.. wow! thank you!

I was starting to fall more and more in love with him!.

On a recent trip out west, I was exploring the google maps of the states as we drove our now family of six across many state lines. I remarked at just how far across the world Alaska seemed on the map. You see, incidentally I did take him up on his invitation for me to see the mountains of Alaska – over a weekend!

The truth is that I had Nooo idea that I had just agreed to travel almost half way around the world just for a weekend🤨

He was living and working in a remote part of Alaska , which also meant that he had to drive 8 hrs just to come pick me up from the Anchorage airport . Our reunion and time together was magical albeit too short , but totally worth it . We whale watched, hiked, listened to music, saw more wild life such as mountain goats , visited ski slopes and cliffs, dined and it all was pure bliss!

We packed a lot into barley 48hrs together and my only wish was that I could have seen the heavenly magical dance of the Aurora borealis too.

Almost 20 yrs later , and with our growing family, I would still make this “ crazy” decision to travel across the world to see mountains with you because you’re right … “ a girl like me should see the mountains…with you♥️

What “ crazy” gestures have you made for love – both young and old love?

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences . Please feel free to also “follow” by clicking the follow icon, so you can get notifications on future blog posts and not miss out !💕

Where does YOUR heart need to BURN with LOVE?

I encountered these words during my morning meditation and prayers on the Hallow App today, and I must say it kinda burned!

These inquisitive words were invasive, as if searching for my own vulnerabilities. The inquiry also appeared to imply that this would not be an easy process, I mean BURNS tend to hurt right?

So I wasn’t sure I especially loved the inquiry, however I valued and welcomed the challenge to at least explore further …

You see, I also don’t particularly love roller coaster rides simply because it requires relinquishing ALL my control and trusting . Trusting that the mechanics of this piece of giant metal that promises thrill and excitement will also land me SAFELY on solid ground.

I still DO get on rollercoaster rides from time to time with my family , and I am always glad I did, once the ride IS over lol.

I value that I challenged my fears and insecurities and allowed myself to become vulnerable and therefore more free.

This is what this chance encounter with these words is doing to my heart.

It is like the invitation of a shiny rollercoaster inviting me to take a chance, take a leap into the most vulnerable parts of my heart and explore.

Where does my heart need to BURN with LOVE?

I don’t know about you but I could find at least a few places where this needs to happen in order to cultivate a more enriched soil for my soul’s growth.

How about you my dear reader , Where does YOUR heart need to BURN with LOVE?

Is it in forgiveness? AND forgetting ( A work in progress for me)

Is it in generosity and charity?

Is it in kindness?

Is it in patience?

Is it in alms giving?

Is it in impulsivity and self control ?

Is it in courage to find and USE the gifts we are given?

The list can go on and on…

Ultimately, I am grateful for this chance provocative thought and welcome the challenge of where the exploration takes me.

Much like those thrilling rollercoaster rides with the kids and DH* , I look forward to conquering my fears , landing safely AND looking back to be glad I challenged myself.

I DID THAT! Thank you Disney’ s Everest or Six Flags’ Mr Freeze 😏😅

I hope you too choose to get on your own version of your rollercoaster and be triumphant in conquering vulnerabilities!

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences . Please feel free to also “follow” by clicking the follow icon, so you can get notifications on future blog posts and not miss out !💕

*DH ( Darling husband)

Mother Of Multiplies ( M.O.M)

I have belonged to a Facebook group of Physician Mother of Multiples for many years . On this platform women physicians swap helpful advice with each other, related to raising multiples – twins, triplets, quadruplets etc etc

We share advice on a variety of topics ranging breastfeeding advice to dilemmas about having twins graduating from different colleges on same weekend… how do parents manage the need to clone themselves in two different states?🤔🤔

On this platform and others alike , I have made new friends and reconnected with old friends as we navigate being working mothers of multiples( M. O.M)

In general, I have always felt blessed to share space with mothers of ALL types, whose wisdom are pearls and our common experiences , reassuring and comforting.

Mothering is a BIG task that can leave us at times questioning our abilities. Therefore any time one gets reassurance that they are not alone in whatever struggle/ challenge/puzzles OR even Joy equals a good thing!

Thirteen years ago today, my DH * and I joined this beautiful club of Parents of Twin Boys, ( with our 17 month old daughter who already blessed us with our original Parent title status !)

Life WAS busy AND beautiful!

I vividly recall my LONG twin pregnancy complete with a medically indicated bed rest beginning at 19.4 wks EGA which “ interrupted “ my residency training program at the time . My family supported me in more ways than I can even enumerate! Thank you 🙏🏾

My SIL helped nanny our 17 month daughter, while helping me stay off my feet. My mother came into town and supervised that I was eating enough calories to gain appropriate weight for the twins , Incase I go into preterm labor and they “ come early”.

My DH was my ROCK- relying on him literally for both physical and emotional support when I was weakened physically or fighting my own doubts.

I was scared but hopeful.

My wonderful Obgyn referred me to an amazing high risk Obgyn who was God sent in EVERY way and managed my pregnancy till we delivered two healthy wonderful boys into the world close to midnight on June 24th 2009!

Interestingly they were almost born on different dates since they were born 8 mins apart through a natural birth at 11:37 pm and 11:45 pm.. and we even avoided any NICU stay… phew and alleluia!

Grateful for twin actually born on SAME day!🥰

They turn 13 yrs old tonight and I couldn’t be more grateful to God for their light in our lives! They are healthy, brilliant, kind and handsome young men and I get the blessing of being their mama♥️♥️

I am giddy with excitement to celebrate them this entire weekend and in the meantime as I await the sun rising on this glorious day .. I lift them up in prayers and ask you to join me in sending up a prayer of thanksgiving and blessings on their lives.

Happy 13 th birthday to our Double Blessings ♥️♥️, pray lines always fall in pleasant places for you both.

With All My Love,

M.O.M

As always, thank you for reading my blog and of course I welcome your comments and any shared experiences . Please feel free to also “follow” by finding and clicking the follow icon, makes it easier to share these musings with you and ensures that you can get notifications on future blog posts and not miss out !💕

*DH ( Darling Husband)