To The Hills

While we have watched Covid statistics rise and the overall state of our nation precipitously decline our anxiety has pushed us to our limits. Jeff and I were finally able to escape for a much needed physical/mental/emotional health break – and it was fabulous.

No work. No news shows (including our favorite late night comedians) Limited internet and putting social media on hiatus.

We went to our happy place, of course! This year marks 27 summers at our special family retreat in Big Sky, Montana.

As some may recall, Last year due to the time crunch of our schedule and my choir commitments, we flew to Boseman, rented a car and drove to the mountain for a fun, although quick get-away. This year, we enjoyed the journey – taking the long road trip, having extra time to laugh and chat, begin to unwind and enjoy the view.

The Idaho Falls Temple next to the Snake River
The Grand Tetons seen in the distance from Ashton, Idaho

During our 9 days in Big Sky we hiked every day [except one, due to severe rainstorms]. We wandered among towering lodge-pole pine forests and walked through green fields dotted with colorful wildflowers. We bought a local map and explored several great new trails this year we’ve never tried, plus revisiting a few of our favorites! Eight major hikes in total, and lots and lots of miles walked. I took SO MANY photos I definitely should write a little post about each of them.. So, stay tuned! Trail stories to come. 🙂

North Fork to Beehive Basin
Cinnamon Mountain

We breathed in giant lungfuls of fresh air, soaked up some sun, and experienced an adventure being caught in a freezing hail storm on an incredibly long difficult hike … which made curling up by a cozy fire that night all the more awesome.

Everything is extra green this year due to an abundance of rain

We ate lots of healthy delicious food, and enjoyed spending some quality time with my parents.

Family Selfie

The Mountain village was much quieter than usual this year due to Covid closures, and travel restrictions. So, we enjoyed the solitude. This year we were treated to several wildlife encounters. Including several Bald Eagle flyovers. Such a majestic sight!

We relished being able to trade Utah’s blistering 90°F temperatures for Montana’s blissful highs of 55°F. We even had a couple nights of snow!

Beehive Basin

This is truly heaven on earth.

I’ve learned being in nature is incredibly healing, and empowering. I believe it is one of the best reasons Our Maker literally “made” this earth – and all of it’s wonders – for us to discover, care for and enjoy! Human beings desperately need more trees, trails and rivers in our life! We need more sky. We need a lot more air. Try it. Turn off your electronic device. Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the sun (or rain, or starry night) and just breathe.

Lava Lake

We lost all track of time – a wonderful thing to do. All too suddenly we were bidding a sad farewell to our peaceful Mountain haven. But, Jeff and I returned refreshed, with a positive outlook and renewed energy to face all the craziness. We have a new resolve to spend more time out-of-doors – at least once every day – connecting with the earth, trees and sky. We have been spending much less time being consumed with the news of the day and anxious about the ever expanding fear, anger, and unrest of our chaotic world.

Lone Peak

Our family continues to remain informed and vigilant. We do our part to slow the spread of the pandemic by simply washing our hands, practicing distancing and wearing a face mask whenever we have to be in a public space. We mourn for those who are suffering from the virus and those who have lost a loved one. We also mourn for the senseless killings of black and brown lives, we decry the systemic racism & bigotry that plagues our society and that we have been awakened to as a nation. We look for ways to listen and learn, and to become better allies. Our family wants to be part of changing this world for the better. It is exciting to feel the energy, knowing so many others feel the same way, and our country is awakening.

It is an understatement to say this is an “unsettling time” to be alive on this planet! The future feels completely uncertain. One of the hardest parts for me is just the “not knowing” timetable … not being able to make any long-term plans. I really love planning – especially anything travel related! We won’t be flying any time soon, or going to Europe, but as we have just seen there are plenty of adventures we can have closer to home! Another hard thing about the pandemic is feeling like we have no control over anything anymore – we are literally forced to “live in the moment”. It’s difficult.

Despite the evil, corruption and sorrow in our society, there is also great goodness, love and kindness. On Saturday I experienced this first hand!

It had been a long, sweaty, exhausting day spent on a big cleaning project. My daughter and I were hot, tired and famished. I rarely get take-out, but this was a dinner emergency! We went to a local eatery with a drive-through lane. When I got to the pick-up window I held out my credit card, but was told that the stranger in the car ahead of me had just randomly paid for my entire order – on purpose! How cool is that?! By the time I heard this news, the car was gone. I suddenly felt like I was on a memorable episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. You know, the one about “Paying it Forward”? …. So, of course, I paid for the order of the woman in the car behind me in line [feeling a bit guilty because my order had been over $25 and hers was only $11]. But, you know what? It felt ridiculously fun and incredibly empowering to do something completely selfless and kind for a complete stranger – and for absolutely no reason except to bring a bit of goodness into their stressful day. So, now I am going to start looking for more ways to do random acts of kindness! Do you think I could find something to do every day? That would be a fun challenge. It wouldn’t have to involve money. I’ll need to get creative! It wouldn’t always have to be for a stranger, either. It could be for a friend, neighbor or family member. This is something I can control about my life right now. Being a good human. Doing random acts of kindness. Looking for the beauty in the world. Going outside in the sun and sky [bonus if there’s trees] every day to enjoy the gift of God’s earth – which really does help put everything into a more manageable perspective. As the scripture says, I will look up “unto the hills“, with gratitude for every blessing great and small, trusting in the promise of a brighter day ahead. I do believe those days will come. Things will get better. I don’t know exactly when, but we just need to hold on for a while. And, meanwhile, try to do more acts of random kindness for each other.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence comes my help

My help comes from the Lord, which made heaven and earth

Psalm 121 KJV

May the Lord keep you from all harm. May He watch over your life, your loved ones, your coming and going – both now, and forevermore. Stay well dear friends, be kind, breathe deep, and enjoy spending some time going outside today! – Holly


  1. Hi Holly – I always love reading your posts. They are so uplifting and the pictures are Heavenly. The older I get the more I think about what Heaven will be like and look like. I know I can’t even come close with what I imagine, but some of those pictures do.

    Things have been tense here in Louisville. They are still protesting every night, but I never go out at night, so I feel safe. I don’t know when it will all end, the protests and the Virus.I only go out when I need to and I always wear a mask. Hard to breathe in one of those, and it always steams up my glasses, so it’s hard to see, too. But, this too in time shall pass.

    The only thing I know for sure is, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future”. It’s all in God’s hands and He is in control. So, I feel safe. Love to you and your family, Lynne

    Liked by 1 person

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