I happen to be one lucky mama.
My cute nephew, Justin is my personal mountain trail tour guide.
Every Tuesday morning we meet in some obscure (usually gravel) parking lot and he hauls (quite literally) me and my 5 children up some gorgeous mountain trail.
Sometimes it's just too much for the 3 year old.
We end up overlooking the valley that we call home.
One of those tiny dots down below is actually my house.
We drag along anyone else who is brave enough to join the throng.
I've learned a thing or two about myself during these sweaty excursions.
I grew up in California (well, that I already knew).
The nearest mountains to our home looked like tiny pencil drawings on the horizon.
Some days you could not see them at all through the smog.
It literally took hours to drive to them.
While we visited them a few times in the winter to play in the snow, I did not spend much time in their majesty.
As a young single adult, I told myself I'd never live in Utah.
I loved my California sun.
Plus, I figured there were plenty of Mormons in Utah, I was better off where I was.
And I was happy about my decision.
Until I wasn't.
I moved to Utah in the Spring of 2000, supposedly for college.
The first time I walked out the front door and saw the huge looming mountains just overhead, I was stunned and it was love at first sight.
For weeks I could not help being in awe of their beauty every time I stepped outside.
I had no intentions of staying in Utah forever, however.
Until I met Mr Bird.
One of the first things we did after we were married was to go up in the mountains on a camping trip where we canoed to the back of some unheard of place, packed our stuff into a deserted spot and slept under the stars all by ourselves.
Not a hiker or a camper to be seen.
It was beautiful.
My love for these mountains has only gotten stronger each Summer season I spend in them.
They are part of me now.
They are part of my children and my family and my home.
I love to look out the kitchen window and see the mountains ablaze in the setting sun.
I love to hear my children's laughter with their cousins as we plug along another beautiful mountain hike.
I love to take off my hot, stinky shoes and dip my toes in the cool mountain streams.
I love to watch the sun come up behind the tallest peak.
I love to look below and for just a moment take a break from the worries and stresses of this thing called life, and just breath.
I love spending time with so many awesome family members and friends.
I love how the leaves on the aspens twinkle in the early morning light.
I love saving our yummy snacks to eat at the very tippy top.
I love the exercise we get from climbing nature's stair master.
I love the first hike of the season, when the winter snow has melted and the world is just turning green again.
When we finally reach the top, I love the soothing spray of the waterfall on my hot face.
I love the millions and millions of wild flowers.
Their beauty and wonder is etched into my heart.
I have learned that I need these mountains.
They keep me focused.
They help me to know my creator as I see his hand in their majesty.
I've learned that this place is my home.
These mountains are my mountains.
I've learned that no matter how hard the climb, it's always worth it once you get to the top.
I've learned that when I'm breathing the air up there, it feels like I'm finally home.