Commemorated with a climb at Hanging Lake


What if we resolved ourselves to truly be partners?  Could we enlist genuine trust in one another’s intention?  Could we trust that we are united in the common goal of cultivating an amazing family?

These were the questions I contemplated, as we made our way to hike at Hanging Lake outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado on our 12th year anniversary.

It had been a rollercoaster of emotions leading up to the trip.  We had recently moved a family member into our home that was struggling to care for himself.   Our routine was disrupted.   Our summer schedule was packed with family gatherings, BBQs, and weekends at the lake.  We try to savor the best quarter of the year weather wise in Wisconsin.

With the urgency of the request, we agreed unanimously and unequivocally that we were willing to help this young man.  This is a quality I admire in my husband; he is compassionate and generous.  My professional and educational track centered on health, wellness and caring for people. We both had faith that we could make a difference in his future.  Which is my first lesson of love;

Marriage requires both people to either have, acquire or agree upon common morals.

As the weeks unfolded we realized we had been so united in our desire to help that we had failed to communicate the details of how we would structure our new family dynamic and what were the terms of our new arrangement.

When we arrived to the entrance of Hanging Lake Trail, there was a sign indicating the parking lot was full.  Although we had been tipped off to arrive early for a chance to get a spot, we were told by the parking attendant that the wait was 45 to 60-minutes.  Hanging Lake is considered a difficult hike.

I am so glad we were not deterred by either the difficulty of the climb or the delay to get in, the scenery was symbolic of marriage with its peaks and valleys.  Like any relationship, ours had experienced it’s ups and downs.  My second love lesson;

Expect and prepare for life’s transitions, to create stress on your relationship.

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  • new member of the household
  • career change or a new position at work
  • demanding big project at work
  • a loss of a child
  • moving, selling or buying a home

None of us are immune to it, these events will add pressure to your marriage.  Have a conversation in preparation before the tension arises.  Discuss how the transition or hardship will affect you as a couple.  Make a game plan.

This was an early lesson for me in our marriage on 10/6/05, only 2 months after our wedding, I journaled.

“There has been a lot of planning, organizing and preparing for the wedding.  Our bond as a couple has grown and we are very fortunate.  Taking on the position as Spa Manager is a major challenge, there is a lot of work to be done.  The first task we need is a blueprint/guideline for handling situations when they arrive and creating a more structured and consistent schedule.”

Knowing that life will shift and priorities with eve and flow is an important aspect of marriage and growth.  At some point your career is the focus, then it may be your kids and flip to housing.  While the emphasis of your time and energy changes the third lesson I have learned:

Never allow your marriage to end up at the bottom of your list.

New relationships are filled with excitement, dating and partners displaying their best selves.  Over time we lose that momentum and we stop trying to impress each other.  Moms are in sweatpants and buns; dads are barely showing the initiative to surprise their wives with a dinner reservation and the exciting moments dwindle down to your child’s academic achievements.

As we climbed the canyon and my husband reached his hand back for me, I felt an adrenaline rush.  The fear of the unknown.  What was around the next stretch?  The uncertainty of my physical ability to complete the climb, yet I felt the security of knowing he was right there. He was leading me to the peak.  We embarked on an adventure together!  Looking down from the midpoint was just as rewarding as gazing up at the peak.


Being right isn’t always worth it!  Relinquish the power.

From that same journal entry 0n October of 2005, I wrote:

“I also have to learn to relax, believe and relinquish control and criticism.” This is something I continue to work on, in this 12th year of marriage.  I type A and have a specific way in mind to handle every task on my list.  James has a different approach to the same task.  Over the years I have learned that if I want him to contribute to parenting and household duties, I need to allow him to do it his way without my input.

Communicate and create shared goals and write them down.

Like most couples, we have been talking and sharing dreams since we met on UW campus in 2000.  As I go back through and look at my journal entries, I find that ever goal we set as a couple, every goal I set as an individual has become my reality.  When hardships arise, and trust me, they do; “Laufty plans often go astray.”  Those bigger picture, larger goals pull us through.

On 6/7/07 I journaled;

“I am in love with James, I love him admire him and trust him more now than ever.  We have been married for almost 2 yrs. and dating for 6 yrs. and 7 months.  We still struggle with the same problems we always have.  We communicate about them and I know we will eventually conquer them.”


Anniversary Hike

At the peak of the trail at Hanging Lake there was a steep winding stone stairway with a black metal railing, beautiful backdrops flanked every turn.  The air was so crisp and when we reached the top and it opened up to a crystal-clear lake with cascading waterfalls dripping water in from the cliffs, enclosed by ancient towering trees.

This was an experience I will never forget we left the trail feeling revived and connected. Later that afternoon we went to Iron Mountain Spa.  Another set of amazing views; the Rocky Mountains and Colorado River, this relaxing oasis has 16 natural hot spring soaking pools, a large family pool and a bar.  A perfect way to wind down after a difficult climb.  Here are the lessons to recap!

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  • Marriage requires both people to either have, acquire or agree upon common morals and goals.
  • Expect and prepare for life’s transitions to create stress on your relationship.
  • Never allow your marriage to end up at the bottom of your list.
  • Being right isn’t always worth it! Relinquish the power.
  • Create shared goals and write them down.



When Laufty Plans Go Astray!

Sound too good to be true?  Well, keep reading…..

We had dinner at Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse, they gave us a rooftop table since it was our special date.   As luck, would have it after we got our drinks and appetizers it began pouring rain.  That gave us a good laugh as we gathered our belongings and scurried inside to a table a bit too close to the kitchen.  We finished our dinner.  Everything was scrumptious and I would recommend this restaurant, for also having a great atmosphere and service staff.

As remarkable as an anniversary could be, we left the steakhouse elated.  We decided to grab a bottle of wine and head back to the Watersweeper loft.  With mountain views and a fire pit on the rooftop of our rental, we filled our glasses and decided to watch the sunset and enjoy some fresh air.  I wanted to be present and relish in this moment.   As I stepped out to sit with James, I left my phone behind.  I pulled the door shut and heard a click.  The door was locked from the inside.  James had got in the habit of doing this each time we left to venture out.

Trouble in Paradise

The loft’s owners also had a boutique they ran below the rental but it was closed.    We were locked out.  I had no phone, no shoes and I immediately felt doom set in.  I wanted to place blame on James for locking the door and ruining our perfect anniversary.  We had already had a key incident this summer, read about our camping fiasco.

I realize that marriage has highs and lows but did we have to experience it all in the same day?  We talked about our options and aside from the boutique, there were several other businesses on this main strip we were staying.  We walked down from the rooftop and I saw a couple people standing next to a truck that had just finished their shift at the Italian restaurant.  I approached them and explained our situation and they jumped into action and started helping.

Good people still exist!

We found the Watersweeper rental contact information online by searching for the boutique.  Unfortunately, no one answered, we left a message and the group decided they would stick with us until we got a callback.  We invited them up to our rooftop, they grabbed a bottle of tequila out of their truck and we spent the next hour chatting with these friendly strangers.

The loft had a screened in porch area between the rooftop deck and the loft.   Our new friends started moving things around, checking in drawers and behind frames for an extra key.  Honestly, they looked experienced casing the place.  Ginger used a card and broke into the rental and just like that we were back in.

I didn’t know if I felt more relief or suspicion about our new found friends.  We called off the owners and said we figured it out.  Our guest came in for a look around the place and a celebration toast.  They respectfully left us to finish our anniversary night after that.  What a bizarre ending to an unforgettable day, that took our love to new heights!