ben always wants adventure. spontaneity. experience. 
i, on the other hand, want a vacuum cleaner or a new skillet. 
i think practical.
it can be kinda boring. 
one night ben asked me at bedtime, "what do you want for your birthday?"
"let's go ziplining through the redwoods," i replied non-chalantly. 
i couldn't have caught him more off guard.
i saw this canopy tour in sunset magazine and thought now is the time to live it up!
forget the practical (at least this year) and create an adventure to add to our story of life together.

i love that God gave me a fall birthday! i absolutely love the colors and the season.
Our Creator gave us the most amazing day of blue skies and leaves dipped in oranges, reds, and yellows. weather was perfect.

ben is an expert at finding great places and he found the best breakfast place in sonoma county. it is nestled into the town of occidental just a few miles from our ziplining experience. 

breakfast sandwich with ham, egg, and cheese and a side of perfectly seasoned red potatoes for me.

french toast with a side of eggs and sausage, biscuits and gravy for ben.

a big brunch was in order since we would be in the trees for over 2 hours.

 deep into the redwoods
temperature drops.
sun's rays hidden
we strap on harnesses.
make them tight. snug.
this is one time we want everything fitted.
we learn lessons on the ground
how to brake, slow down, speed up.

high up in the trees we go.
i couldn't be more excited. 
the thrill of what lies ahead makes me beam.
i'm really gonna do this. i'm r-e-a-l-l-y gonna do this.

"what have i gotten myself into?" ben wonders.
he couldn't be more scared.

it's one of those shaky fears. 
when my words quiver coming out of my mouth.
i move about to stay calm.

i hate heights. like being on a hotel balcony. i stay to the wall and look out. never down. 
leaning over makes me queasy. 
i find myself hugging a tree. looking out. never down. 
do you know that redwoods sway?
they have a deep root system and 'hold hands' with other redwoods. 
yet they grow very tall and sway in the wind. 
not much comfort 80 feet up holding onto one. 

"sit down in the harness," the guide says.
"lean back."

 gravity takes hold and away i go.
my hands cling to the latch on the line.
my feet wrapped.
the zipping sound slides with me.
i scream.
i laugh. 

it's as if the trees are watching me.
clapping in the wind applauding my bravery.
they smell of eucalyptus and evergreen. 
i am in their midst. 
hidden from the hustle of the city. 
soaring from one tree to the next.

the first zipline was a blur. 
too focused on the rules to enjoy.
the second zipline was more relaxed.
still controlled.
the third zipline. 
800 feet of pure bliss.
i took liberty to look down. 
trees below.
the sun's rays found me.
this line lasted.
the fourth, fifth, and sixth ziplines satisfied.

we climbed a wooden spiral staircase farther up the redwood.
harnesses still attached to trees and lines.
that's comfort.
our guides took us across two sky bridges.
the seventh zipline.
is it really over?

the last task, the hardest.
swing out and around and repel down 80 feet.
it was the swinging out that had me locked in fear.
i had to do this on my own.
i liked the push of gravity more.
the guide had earned my trust at this point. 
i would do my part.
alas, the repel and my feet meet earth. 

the earth felt strange after being in the trees for 2 hours.
yet what felt the best was having this adventure with ben.
an adventure, a day i would repeat a thousand times over.

living in northern california 
we take advantage of the mountains and the ocean.
zipline through the redwoods
followed by a family birthday dinner on the pacific.

my gifts on this birthday?

a school mom tells me our children are well-behaved.
a couple sitting across from us at dinner tells us they were encouraged to see our family pray together.
my son tells me, "mom, you're the funniest person i know," as we wrap freshly laundered sheets over our faces. (a high compliment coming from our silly son)

"i find no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 john 4