My Trip Highlights (Josh)

Despite the challenges we are adjusting to which we wrote about in previous blog posts, I want to assure all you reading this that our trip is a dream come true and that the majority of the emotions I am experiencing are warm, fun, and positive.  One of the Miller family traditions is to ask each other what our favorite part of the day is at dinner time each night.  It provides a way for us to focus on the positive happenings of the day and encourages conversation around the dinner table.  I hope this post will be a “favorite parts of the trip” conversation.

1.) Risk, Adventure, Exploration & Travel.  I (Josh) was born with the mind and spirit of an entrepreneur.  This trip is stimulating that spirit within me.  For the last 14 years, I have focused on developing my business (Wire Craft Electric) into a company that would be able to operate profitably without me.  Often, a man’s dream is only partially realized on his own and then he must operate in faith, to realize the remainder.  This is my situation.  If I had all the power and control over my life and my circumstances I would have left home for this trip after my business was larger and more profitable than it is currently right now.  The next statement I will make may sound strange, but I believe I am enjoying myself more on my trip now because my business is not fully where I wish it to be.  There are several reasons for this that I will attempt to unpack.  First, and most significantly, I am needing to trust more fully in the goodness and wisdom of God than I would otherwise need to if my business was larger and more profitable.  There is an element of risk and adventure in this that stimulates the entrepreneur in me.  My dream since before I started my business was for my company to operate profitably without me.  This trip will be my first major test to see how good of an entrepreneur I really am.  My situation requires me to trust my employees to a greater degree than I ever have before.  This trip is requiring me to be less self-reliant, and trust others and God in a way I never have before.  Ultimately, I am pushing the limits of what I have been capable of doing on my own to this point in life, and am learning and growing through this experience.  And it is my belief that learning and growing are some of the most vital ingredients to experience a healthy, fulfilling life.  This is my current experience.

2.) Riding my bike.  When I was 15 years old I worked a summer for my Aunt, saved up all my earnings, and purchased a dark maroon Cannondale brand mountain bike.  I lived in the hills of Issaquah and I rode that bike everywhere I went.  It has been a passion of mine to ride and explore the world to this day with that same bike.  22 years now I have owned that bike.  It is now strapped to the back of my motor home in the company of the other 5 bikes my family has brought with us.  On this trip, I have had the privilege of riding my bike through the scenic country sides of Glacier, Craters of the Moon, Grand Teton, and the Wind Caves.  For this I am grateful.

3.)  My Family.  One of the primary reasons I went on this trip is because of my family.  Even the tagline of our blog “Kids may be the best reason of all to seek adventure” suggests this.  Two things I would like to highlight about my family here.

A.) I am naturally most comfortable in life when I am in control, when I have a plan for my life and that plan is being executed exactly the way I expected it to be.  Painfully, I have learned over the years that life never follows my plans the way I plan them.  Fortunately I was attracted to, and married a woman who is gifted with being flexible in most any situation and can be carefree and have fun, regardless of the stresses surrounding her.  In past years, our differences (planned and predictable vs. flexible and spontaneous) have resulted in much stress and strain in our relationship.  Recently, including professional counseling, we have focused on learning to work together in our differences instead of against one another.  The fruit of our relational work is showing itself clearly to me on this trip so far.  In the past, I would have experienced stress and frustration on any given day that I didn’t have a plan for exactly how every thing would run and if the day was not running according to that plan.  We do have an outlined plan for our trip, but I am resisting the temptation to plan every minute of the trip.  I am learning to feel the freedom to be more flexible just because I am with Mel.  She feels no stress in the situation- neither must I.  It is as if I can borrow her strengths, when my strengths do not suit me in a given situation.  I can simply look at her face, know that she feels no stress in the situation, and enjoy the moment more fully than I would otherwise be able to on my own.  This experience has been a great joy for me.

B.) Morning cuddle time.  On the days when I am not waking up early to experience an epic bike ride through the beauties of America’s National Parks, I am finding myself woken up with squirming children in my bed.  Mel and I share a queen sized bed in the back of our motor home and all 4 children sleep in beds in the front of our motor home.  In the mornings, one or more of our children wake up before the rest, climb into our bed and squeeze in between Mel and I.  Back home I can rarely remember this phenomenon taking place.  Be it because of the small space, the increase in free time or the new bonds we are creating as a family, this is now becoming a daily experience.  For those who are familiar with the 5 love languages, one of my primary love languages is physical touch.  I deeply enjoy close physical contact, evident in my passion for wrestling and Jiu-jitsu.  Experiencing more close physical contact with my children stimulates my feeling of love with them.  This is a highlight for me.

I could continue on with this post, but I have been writing for well over an hour now and am now getting hungry and need to help Mel with the children.  We just made it to the Badlands last night and we have two full days here to enjoy it.  I’m sure I will continue to write blog posts like this.  Please continue reading.  It helps me feel connected to the one I love and the ones I could not bring with me.  All my love.   Josh

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