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How to extend your birthday if you love sisters

by Shawni

…and your sisters love you too:)

And you all love hiking. And service. And talking.

Oh, and eating, of course.

When my sisters asked how they could help celebrate my birthday of course the answer was sisters hiking. Because that’s what we do as we discuss the whole wide world.

And there were some good deals from Utah to the desert, so they they jumped on board.

I marveled over and over again, as they were here for the weekend, at how incredibly lucky I am to have these women as mine.

(WISH the sister-in-laws could have come too, but two of them just moved to NYC, one lives in Hawaii and the other in Switzerland…not quite as feasible as my Utah sisters! So glad Charity recently moved from London so she was close enough to make it.)

I also marveled that their husbands, especially Charity’s, were so awesome to hold down the forts at home while they were gone. They are rock stars. (I mention Charity’s specifically since she has four children five and under, and that is no joke!)

I marveled at how we all love Mother Earth so much we feel it in our bones.

I was so grateful we could do some deep psychological work to figure out our Eyre-ness. (ha! we have some strong genes going on sometimes!)

Things to do with visitors in the desert:

I think out of all the things we crammed into those few days I loved the setting up the apartment most.

There are so many refugees coming to the desert right now and I’ve had the opportunity to work with an organization that gathers donations (in a warehouse filled to the ceiling) and uses the donations to set up apartments for the newly arriving families.

This is something I signed up to do on my birthday, but due to some logistics for the family it didn’t work out. So it was actually perfect that this one was available when my sisters were in town.

We met at the warehouse and piled our car to the brim with everything we would need:

And then we got to work setting up this new place for a family who would be arriving that evening.

Loved working alongside my sisters setting up tables and shower curtains and beds and arranging the kitchen with supplies.

We loved picturing the family who would arrive, how they would feel, how they would adjust, which American things would be most strange to them.

Hiking Camelback Mountain

I loved climbing the boulders of the back side of Camelback:

…the views stretching out below:

…taking in the incredible sky at the top.

Watching the color gather on the horizon on the way down:

I LOVE the smooth shapes of these rocks:

We gloried in the sky-turned-red when we got back to the trailhead:

We stayed overnight in a hotel and did some deep talking in the hot tub. We did yoga and basked in the sun and desert landscape the next morning:

Wonder Spaces

No Eyre sister visit is complete without some man-made art (intermixed with the God-made kind).

So I took my art-loving sisters to a place called “Wonder Spaces” filled up with so many uniquely creative art exhibits:

The human mind comes up with some pretty incredible creations.

Loved this room filled right up with ideas and hopes and dreams: “things to do before I die:”

And I think we all especially loved the room projecting our shadows in all kinds of variations. Loved watching them/us, long and wavy, multiplied, multi-colored, intermingled together in so many different configurations just as we are in life.

(trying to spell “Eyre” in those last two)

Flat Iron Hike

I love the challenge and victory of Flat Iron: in my opinion one of the granddaddy hikes I love here in the desert.

(“Granddaddy” meaning it’s a good, challenging one.)

See that peak up in the top center in the picture below?

That’s where we were going, and that picture is more than half way up.

If you look far down below in the picture below, on the right, you can see a little part of the parking lot where we parked.

Yep, that’s FAR away.

There is something about the pushing of your body, concentrating on footholds and gravel slides, the exhilaration at the top.

We had tried to cram so much into this day that we started pretty late, and were pushing it to get back before dark.

Loved watching the sky darken on the way down, those clouds making a protective covering,

…somehow keeping it light enough we could find our way without our flashlights.

I love how my iPhone took pictures in the dark at the end…they are almost like paintings, don’t you think?

Back home to hot tub and love Dave and the girls up:

…and cards of course. Everyone looks particularly enthused about that card game, right?

But don’t let that picture fool you, it really was much more exhilarating than it looks, and Lucy was on cloud 9 with all those awesome aunts loving her up.

I got to have my sisters with me at church, and then they made a delicious dinner while I had to go to a church meeting:

Josh was with us on Sunday too…so we had five out of the nine kids all right there in my kitchen.

…along with Dave and Lu too:

(Claire was in and out, of course, because I should know by now that it’s the way of the world to see less and less of your children their senior year…boo!)

Bottom line? My sisters are awesome.

And so is Mother Earth.

And husbands and artists and airplanes.

We came up with some fun ideas up our sleeves I’m excited to introduce some time soon!

Some other sister gatherings:

Sisters in Switzerland

Three sisters and a mom

A visit to experience the beauty of the South

Speaking of sisters…

Sound of Music sisters in Austria

Sisters in Sedona

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