Due to a family tragedy (see more towards the end of this post), we left bright & early Christmas morning to head to Colorado. Our parade of cars headed cross country. Tyler spent most of the ride with Grandpa & Grandma, taking pictures like the one above. I chose only to share the one, rather than the 500 others.
Mid-America was very flat. And not good when you really have to go to the bathroom. Where do you stop?!?!? These small towns don't even have gas stations! Or else the ones that they have are very scary. We were a little scared, for real, at one place in particular. We were afraid Andy was being held inside for not buying anything. We contemplated just leaving him rather than going back in. But don't worry, he eventually came out on his own.
On the way out, we noticed this bridge. Chloe couldn't see it. She kept saying, I don't see it! We were saying - it's right there, over the whole road. I think she was just being Chloe.
Tyler kept asking if we would see the Cornhuskers stadium. We said, no way, we won't be close enough. It turns out, our hotel that first night was right next to it. We had a perfect view of it. I think Tyler stared out the windows at it for hours. I also have about 100 pictures of it.
First, how can she stare at a tv screen with the mountains outside her window! But really, those DVD players saved my sanity on this trip. Thank you Tessmanns for sharing them with us!
Hannah was my photographer. I was driving, so I couldn't take pictures. She really did a great job. And these two did so good on the whole trip. It was days of driving, and there was hardly any complaining or fighting (see the first picture reference of Tyler being in a different car). And only 1 throwing up!
We had to drive through a mountain pass. Literally up through the top of a mountain. It was amazing. I kept talking to my van, saying you can make it up this, you really can. Who am I kidding - I was telling myself that for myself! I am still amazed that I drove all the way to Colorado - by myself! (well, I had family in vehicles in front of me & behind me) but I actually drove it. Even in the big cities. God provided in so many ways, and I couldn't have done it otherwise.
I was just so in love with the beauty of the mountains. The majesty of God on display.
Approaching Colorado Springs. The sunset was so brilliant we could hardly see.
This is a picture of Kaila & Hannah. On the left is a few years ago. They are such cute cousins! On the right is the two of them at the funeral. My how they have changed into such beautiful young ladies.
Sadly, the reason we went to Colorado was for the funeral for my niece, Kiana. Kiana died tragically on December 23 at the age of 14. This is Kiana when they were here visiting. She & Kaila loved to make make fun of our accents (especially the word bag). And they always giggled at how Chloe would announce her arrival "Chloe Kapitz is here"
Kiana & Tyler coloring at Happy Joe's.
This is when I went to Texas for the wedding & got to spend time with the girls.
Kiana was a beautiful young woman. She is deeply missed by us, and so much more so by her loving parents. In the midst of such tragedy, we continue to stand in prayer with our family for continued healing & comfort as God continues to work. God has used her life, and death, to showcase His glory in so many ways. Displaying God's truths on love, forgiveness, gratitude, and then putting feet to those truths. Grace & the Gospel in action! Kiana was not only our niece, the kids' cousin, a granddaughter, a friend, a daughter, a sister - Kiana was a professing believer in Jesus. That means as her sister in Christ, we will meet again in Heaven, as we together worship our Lord & Savior. What great hope & joy that can be found in Him, regardless of the circumstances.