Wednesday, June 30, 2010
So here's a little patriotic fun. Match the descriptions below with the pictures above.
1. Directing the choir singing, "God Bless America"
2. Saluting the flag
3. yelling at daddy to grab her a hot dog
4. Looking for her torch, it's there somewhere...
5. Wow! Look at those fireworks!
We are so divided in this country right now about what is good for America. No matter what, we need to thank God for our blessings and go celebrate our independence!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
During the storm last night we went to visit our friend in the hospital. When my husband took him to smoke I went outside to enjoy the storm and the rain drenched crape myrtle. It has been so dry that I found myself dancing in the rain. I saw the birds fly overhead through the dusky sky as the rain subsided. The cleansing of the air and the saturation of the vegetation brought a deep breath of appreciation for the gift of water.
To the thirsty I will give water
as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I think most people that know me well would say I have an adventuresome spirit. My children even see that I am much braver now in trying new things that when I was younger. I have improved skiing, gotten over my fear of heights, gone on high passes without wanting to hurl, and gone in helicopter rides and hot air balloons. It feels in many ways like I have more 'joie de vivre' than when I was not so 'up in years'.
I seem to have kept my sense of humor (some would argue this), increased my spontaneity, and am enthusiastic about where I might travel next. I can't wait for the next trip with my husband and being at those trailheads before 7:00 in the morning to catch the cool morning and great sightings of wildlife. God never fails to surprise us with some stunning, unexpected possibility on each trip.
I so enjoyed my last trip with my friend in Colorado. Often my alter ego, Cornelia, answered in a shrill British accent when questioned about directions, "Well, I don't really know, now, do I?" Our tired bodies and spirits were lifted to a higher place as we giggled like young girls, gasping to catch a breath. We journeyed down the Colorado byways loaded with great joy and expectancy. That freedom to be totally who you are keeps you young!
Giggling, singing, praying, eating healthy, and exercising; all are important to keeping young. It also helps that I have a gorgeous, generous husband that loves me. We still very much enjoy a drive in the country, just talking or not. Being with each other is precious.
I find myself in awe of God's creation. I think that is a big factor in feeling like I have renewed youth. It is my passion to capture some of that beauty and pass it on to all of you. I find great awe in seeing the morning dew on grass, the tender new green color of the aspen leaves of spring, or the unbelievable beauty of enormous mountains covered with trees and snow. I tremble with thanksgiving as my youngest grand baby smiles broadly when I go to pick her up for the day. I thank God for the relationships He has given me, the most valued being the one I have now with him that extends into eternity.
Your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
In the midst of triple digit temps and continued expectation of those through the next week, I thought I would send out some of my pictures of Independence Pass. From the previous post just outside of Aspen we were soon on a road that was so narrow at times that cars had to allow one way traffic on parts of it. It was cold, exciting, and adrenaline producing! We actually saw a lone cross country skier at the top.
In contrast, very hot and humid days make me lethargic. The desire to go out and get in a hot car goes way down on the list of priorities. So, I will stay inside with some Fresca Peach soda and play under the ceiling fan with my grand daughter.
Sometimes we cannot physically escape our circumstances, but we can go to our thinking and change it. What we are thinking about can drastically change our relationships, our acceptance, our quality of life. We have some good instructions:
"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable...think about these things."
Monday, June 21, 2010
This beautiful scene was one of those that elicits the following general conversation between my friend and me on our road trips through Colorado byways:
(me)"Wow! Look at that!"
(friend) "Do you want to go back?"
(me) response 1, "No, go on."
(me) response #2, "Yes!"
This one was a "Yes!".
We were headed out of Aspen gaining altitude as we neared the narrowly carved roads of Independence Pass. We were still in the marshy green area just outside of town. We curved around a beautiful home that had a lake to its side. The fence came into view, and soon after I noticed the bright red canoe resting in front of it. The ethereal quality of the place seemed like it froze us outside of time. It was one of those vistas that hit me in the spirit and stirred up my soul. It deeply moved me, and God would reveal later what He wanted to show me. All I knew at the time is that I wanted to stay for awhile. The vista drew me in to quench my tired mind and body with God's peace.
A few things that really help me rest when I go to Colorado are no television and radio, a shut down of most news, and lots of quiet time to read other things. We talk and laugh, and I get to minister to my friends with some cooking and massage. I melt into the mountain life as I watch the birds squirrels, deer, elk, and foxes close to the cabin. I have the freedom to go hike and take photos in a beautiful place. I give myself the gift of solitude and long talks with Jesus.
As I have often returned to these two photos I have come to understand that it speaks to me about being a 'fisher' of women and men. Even as we are called to tell the story of Jesus, we are also called to rest so that we can be filled again to go and tell the good news. Jesus preached to the crowds, then slipped away to be with the Father. The 'coming away' is important to being restored and revived so we can joyfully carry the message of love and grace. Must be a good plan if Jesus did it.
Come away to a deserted place
all by yourselves and rest awhile.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
One of the most expansive areas we visited on our last trip was the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Headed west out of Gunnison we entered the enchanting Blue Mesa Reservoir. Each turn brought forth deep appreciation for the color blends our eyes were taking in. We passed the Dillon Pinnacles as their huge red columnar formations relented to a change in color due to a soft, gigantic cloud soaring overhead that blocked the sun for a few seconds.
The ever-changing blues are due partly to the time of day and very much to the clouds floating overhead, casting their own personality into the watery blend of azure palette. The waters at the beach changed like pages turning as the sun and clouds danced overhead to play like painters with the canvas below.
The most simple, yet amazing thing that struck me was the grand movement of clouds in just a few seconds; and what an effect that had on the mountains and lakes. I had seen such scenarios from airplanes as huge clouds cast their shadows on the terrain below. But today I was seeing a grand play as a cloud would swoop in and in a few seconds cover a whole mountain and be on its way to another. I was overcome by God's GRANDNESS, HOW BIG HE REALLY IS, AND HOW HE COVERS US WITH THE SHADOWS OF HIS WINGS. As I saw how He covered a whole mountain with one cloud in an instant on one day on one planet in one solar system of the world He created, well He seemed pretty in charge of the big stuff and the little details as well.
Sometimes when my eyes get glimpses of how great He really is I shudder to think what my real home is going to be like. I am so glad, while I am an alien in a strange land, that He casts the divine shadow of His wing over me. Such grandeur in little sips makes me yearn for my home up above. Aren't you glad He gives us glimpses of Himself in nature that sustain us until our race is done?
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge
in the shadow of your wings.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
As we traveled on down the road along the Fryingpan River we came across some wonderful pastures full of dandelions. A small pond caught our attention and we noticed an eagle on a post at the other side. As we turned our attention back to the car we noticed a lovely visitor at the fence giving us a grand smile. We were so glad that 'our' plans had been scrapped and in exchange our 'tour guide' took us on a route full of blessings.
It is indeed exciting to turn every corner knowing you are in tandem with God. That foundation of travel has blessings whether you are walking through the red valley covered with yellow blooms or the valley of the shadow of death. As Psalm 23 goes, "I will fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff; they comfort me.
God goes with us in every new place. There is no place He is not. It is good, wherever we travel, to yield to the guidance of the shepherd who knows what is around every corner.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge.
Friday, June 18, 2010
On our two day girl getaway from the cabin we had decided to go see the Hanging Lake at Glenwood Springs. We had done some research and were looking forward to seeing the area. As we approached the exit for Hanging Lake after the glorious drive on the beautiful highway through the canyon, we were greeted with a sign that said the road to Hanging Lake was being repaired and would not be done until August!
Alas, we have learned to go with loose plans because we know there is always a divine detour by default that will be awesome if somehow our planned route gets derailed. Leaning in and listening has gotten us on some amazing roads in the past. We would not be disappointed! We continued on in a drive of faith to see what God had for us. We would trust in God to direct our path.
Turning around, we headed back out of the canyon and found ourselves in the cute mountain town of Basalt. We meandered through the town and found ourselves on a road going east through beautiful red cliff outcrops. We spied a Garage Sale sign in the midst of this beautiful drive and decided to stop. The woman having the garage sale was delightful and encouraged me to go up the steep red hills behind her house to see if I could identify and photograph the flowers. The mixture of cowboy mallow and penstemon orange and purple against the rusty red-orange soil was breathtaking.
The homeowner told us the area was named 'Seven Castles' because of the seven huge red outcrops along the Fryingpan River. It was truly a beautiful drive that we probably would not have discovered or driven on purpose. By default we found ourselves on a divine detour that was to lead us further down the road to some more charming and stunning vistas.
...to be continued...
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Monday, June 14, 2010
We saw these beautiful Hays Creek Falls along HWY 133 north of Marble. A father and his two children were at the base. The noise was deafening. The two daughters told us to go back because it was scary and the footing was slippery. Yet, the vista drew me across the road to the base of the falls. The waters poured out and swirled around tree limbs and rocks as they made their way down the red canyon walls.
Have you heard the voice? Have you gotten the invitation? Jesus, himself, invites you to the water of life. He tells us in John 7 to come to him and drink. Has He sent out the invitations to those who are prettiest, done the most work, done the least harm, have better jobs, or just those hopeless drunks on a street corners and the critically ill? Does He want those most talented, or those that have the least disease? Does he want men, the best-dressed, and the smartest first?
I am to understand that He has sent the invitation freely to all His children, without respect of persons. It is not our goodness, or sex, or anything of ourselves that gets us to come to the water. It is responding to the love that calls us to our fountain of every blessing. We need but drink to have that thirst removed from our souls. The water runs with grace and mercy; it gives us peace that passes all understanding.
So, come to the water! You have the invitation to come as you are. Come walk in the stream of everlasting life.
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
I know each time I head for a getaway in Colorado I am going out in joy, and knowing that I will be led back in peace. I have great expectancy of the hills and mountains bursting forth into song. The quaking of aspen leaves, whether they be tender lime of spring or bright yellow and orange of fall, touches a deep resonance of harmony within me. I find in myself a wellspring of life that comes forth in giggles, smiles, and even an alternate personality named 'Cornelia' on this last trip.
The little bunch of dandelions was taken on the walk along the fence leading down to Buffalo Park Rd. The red clay road and the geese in the field were taken along the Fryingpan River drive east of Basalt. The fields of dandelions in front of mountains were taken around Almont, between Crested Butte and Gunnison.
I have come back with a new appreciation for the beauty of the dandelion. Add a mountain range, a red clay road, some beautiful geese, and a forefront of just dandelions becomes a feast for the eyes. Add painted white clouds on a brilliant blue sky and you have a masterpiece! I hold these vistas in my heart, visit them in my dreams, and thank God for the opportunity to be surrounded by such abundant beauty.
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song.
One of the places I have longed to see in Colorado is the Maroon Bells area outside of Aspen. It is controlled by only being able to see it through a scheduled bus ride. There is a fee to enter the area. However, my friend and I neared Maroon River Road and noticed there was nothing preventing us to turn in. As we traveled up the road we noticed a sign that said private cars were allowed to continue because the bus service did not start until June 19th. Then, as we neared the toll booth, the ranger waved us on, saying "It is free today because of being National Trail Day!" We were on our own, at our own pace, with no charge to explore the Maroon Bells!
We saw beautiful pristine water in Maroon Lake, hummingbirds and butterflies galore, beautiful peaks and rushing waterfalls of the Maroon Bells, and a funny marmot. As we breathed in the tremendous scenery, we overheard a gentleman state to someone in his party that "It is a shame the only things blooming are just dandelions". We were amazed, in the midst of such beauty, that such lack could be spoken. BTW, I had photographed several flowers in the Maroon Bells, and they weren't all dandelions or yellow flowers. It reminds me of how often we concentrate on what we DON'T have in the midst of great abundance.
Spring is God thinking in gold, laughing in blue, and speaking in green
Frank P. Johnson
I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I have that feeling of "going home" both ways on the semi-annual trips to Evergreen. I am leaving Texas and my loved ones to go to the cool mountains and less traveled roads. Both places hold the title of 'home' to me. Until I go to my room up above in the place prepared for me, I will be grateful that I can call these two earthly places 'home'.
On the drive home from DIA I become watchful for wildlife and the first signs of mountain peaks. The most anticipated view is driving the curves around the lake that take us up to the cabin off of Buffalo Creek Rd. I know I am about to see Mt. Evans in all of its glory from the top of the hill. I will see THE FENCE that I walk at least twice a day while I am there. I will certainly see fox, deer, elk, cyclists, and hikers. I will see wildflowers and aspen in their seasonal glory. I will see and hear tons of birds: hummers, woodpeckers, crows, bluebirds, jays, beebs, barn swallows.
The thing about seeing the fence as we approach the drive is that it shouts 'home'. It brings anticipation of rest, lovely shared food, giggles, and sweet crazy adventures. I treasure this beautiful second home where I have much simple treasure and happiness. It revives and nourishes my spirit. I am very blessed to be 'at home' when I am away from 'home'. It is amazing as well to return to Dallas to be met by the man of my dreams. My treasures as I arrive at each home are sweet, indeed!
Our sweetest experiences of affection are meant to point us to that realm which is the real and endless home of the heart.
Henry Ward Beecher.