Spring Forward 2015

"Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart..." Isaiah 7:4
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong" 1 Corinthians 16:13

This past weekend, we took the girls to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch (HCR) for the start of their Spring Break. Both girls enjoy HCR...they like the dude ranch, they like the horses, and the goats. They like being in the woods, they like getting dirty, and they like being with their friends. But this past weekend, something changed in them that has me pretty dang excited. They both took to the rock and enjoyed the climbing like never before. The girls climbed...and kept climbing...and kept desiring to climb some more.

Both girls climbed like never before. They climbed with purpose. They climbed with desire. They climbed with confidence. And most importantly, they climbed with heart. Sarah posted a few pics on Instagram and she proudly hash tagged them with, "girlswhoclimb" saying that they climbed with a "big heart and fierce determination."
Obviously, I have the girls rock climbing because I love rock climbing. Selfishly, I envision a day when both my girls are in their 20's and they're lugging their "Old Man" up a multipitch mountain face. Even more selfishly, I am passing the love of climbing and all things outdoor because I know this is something we can do together for the rest of our lives. I see into the future, and I see Sarah and I, with our grown children, and grandchildren exploring mountains, and valleys, and rivers, and passing down the lessons of Truth, and beauty, and relationships, and all things that matter in this world. To be secluded in these places, and strip down all the distractions of our everyday world to get to the core of what really matters most: To know Jesus intimately, to trust Him, and to grow into strong and courageous women who will go on to deeply love the people and places they will be called to.
Over the years, I have watched the girls timidly rope up and inch their way up a wall to starting to feel comfortable with rock climbing. They have learned to trust the gear, their abilities, and myself (belayer/partner) to comfortably get up the wall. They are still aware of the risks, the exposure, and the scary feelings they feel in their stomachs before a climb (I still go through these things as well as any climber alive)...but they are learning to harness their emotions and feelings and allowing their pursuit to the top to overcome the hindrances below.
 And this is what I'm most proud of. Not that they are becoming climbers...and sending routes, but everything that happens internally to get to the top. Before a climb, you get butterflies, anxiety, you battle doubt, and your body acknowledges the fact that everything you are about to do is not right. We are not suppose to be climbing...it's inherently dangerous and against all your internal survival mechanisms. Then on route, you are fully aware of exposure and the mind games begin. You begin to battle the wall/mountain and yourself, trying to control fears that can paralyze you half way up (just this past weekend we saw a pompous grown climber literally psych himself up on a wall...he did not move for minutes, completely freaked out, and later found hunched over with head hanging low between his legs...not saying a word. He was terrified for his life).
In addition to the climb...the days itself are long. Within those days...everything varies. Approaches, weather, animals...You are exposed and have to be flexible, tolerant, and be willing to take a toll on your body...both mentally and physically. But you keep going. You keep hiking. You keep climbing. You get tired and you find ways to keep going. You stay motivated, stay positive, and don't let the setbacks of the day dictate the rest of your day. You know things aren't easy on an "outdoor day"...but you keep working, keep smiling, bounce back from failure, and you know that at the end of the day...it was a good, fun day...and you've earned it. The girls are at this point right now...and this makes me happy.
So...this life...these experiences...this love for this sport and the outdoors...as admitted...is a selfish plan to gain future partners in my daughters who will learn to accept and invite hard days, doing hard things in the mountains that will yield into wonderful accomplishments and life-long memories that are only had by those willing to sacrifice a lot in the outdoors.
But spiritually speaking...there's more to gain and more to teach to my daughters from the things we do together. When we rope up, and climb...something else is happening. An application is being learned...and I'm prayerfully teaching my daughters what the bible teaches us:

"Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart..." Isaiah 7:4

On the wall, we often say: "Hannah/Pia...you have this. Keep breathing. Stay calm...keep breathing...you have this. Look for your next hold...you have feet to your right...lean right carefully...your doing great...your in control...you are looking good...good...good..."

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified..." Deuteronomy 31:6

On the wall, we often say: "Hannah/Pia...Hold above you...Throw for it, pull up...you can do it. You can make this move...Rope will catch you. Don't worry about the fall...you are secure. You can make that move...you are safe. I have you. Go for it...its You...on you...Throw!"

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong" 1 Corinthians 16:13

On the wall: "You got this...believe in yourself...You can do this. Believe...Believe!"
I'm teaching my girls to be strong and courageous. I'm teaching them to trust. I'm teaching them to have faith in themselves and faith in much Greater things.

The girls are getting older. And they will be entering new stages and seasons that will challenge them in the years to come. They will move from season to season and each place they are in will present its own issues/struggles and hardships. They are going to be exposed...they are going to be tired...they are going to be in for long days...and they are both going to battle the things of this world-spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I will teach the girls that their strength, courage, and comfort come from the Lord. They should always seek Him first...and put their trust in Him. But I want them to also know who I am and what my role/calling is in their life. I am their Daddy. I understand the privilege and blessing...and that one of my jobs is to raise them to understand who they are in Christ.

So this is for and to my daughters, looking forward...this is my everyday prayer and promise to you...this is my letter to you as your belayer/ a partner in life and most importantly your Daddy:

Do not be timid of your struggles...take them head on carefully... Keep composed and I'm right there below you, reminding you to breathe. Breathe sweet girls. Take time to breathe. Don't be afraid! You have this. I'm right here. I have you. Be strong and courageous! Do not lose heart...No! Do not be terrified! I am here sweet girls! Always! I have you! Keep breathing...Look, right next to you...there's your next hold. Go for it. Don't worry...I'm still right here. Don't worry about falling...it happens. But I'm still right here...ready to catch you. Don't be afraid of what's ahead. Be courageous...and go for it. It's ok to fall. It's ok to fail. It's ok. I'm still here. Don't ever forget...You got this! Stay calm, breathe, and believe in yourself. Girls...You can do this! Believe!...Believe!

Take to the world and love like never before. Desire the good things. Engage with purpose. Move forward with confidence. And most importantly, share Jesus with others. Never lose your fierce determination to love one another!

I love you...and will always catch your falls!

What: HCR Spring Break Weekend
Who: Reyes-Ortiz family and Pasquels
When: March 7-9, 2015



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