The Beauty of Peaks

Nadine and I are on a 3+ week journey that has taken us from Arizona to Colorado to now Wyoming.  We have some wonderful friends that invited us up to their summer-house at the foot of Grand Teton National Park.  We were going to Lacy Washington for Tyler’s college graduation from St. Martins University, so we took them up on their offer. I had been to the Grand Teton National Park with my folks when I wan young, but had forgotten most of what I saw.  Nadine had never been to the park so it truly was a new adventure for both of us.

It took about 8 hours of driving from Grand Junction, Colorado to Jackson, Wyoming and it was well worth the drive.  Over the next two days we saturated our eyes with the beauty of God’s creation with snow-capped peaks, emerging mountain flowers, more rugged peaks, and more yellow and white flowers.  It was breath-taking to take in the sights.  A few pictures below cannot capture what our eyes took in.

We journey through life having opportunities to view some of God’s creation.   When we are given those opportunities, we need to take advantage of it.  Worshipping the creator rather than the creation keeps our focus centered on the source of life and not the results of his choice to create.  We have been truly blessed to see in the last few days what He has created for us to enjoy.

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What You See Isn’t What You Get

We have been on this 2 week journey through Arizona and now Colorado.  We stopped in Grand Junction to visit friends and family and found something very interesting.  First of all a side-note.  Does anyone know how Grand Junction, CO got its name?  For those who don’t of which I was in the camp, the Colorado River and the Gunnison River start in different places in Colorado, but are joined in Grand Junction, making it the grand junction of two rivers.  Just thought you would like to know or maybe only one or two of you would.

Back to my story.  Outside Grand Junction there is a national park called Colorado National Monument.  The picture seems pretty non discript to me from a distance.


It seemed like another mountain until we entered the monument.  Then things changed.  We first came across a herd of desert mountain sheep  There were about 10 or so and we got fairly close to them as they were grazing in the rocks.


The more we climbed up the monument, the more beauty began to open up to us.

It was anything but boring.  Around every turn we encountered more beauty in the rock formations than I had ever seen.  From coke ovens to independence rock to smoke stacks.  Colors that even my color-blind eyes could appreciate.

Before we began to drive into Colorado National Monument, it seemed like any other mountain drive, but once we made a commitment to take the drive, it was anything but mundane.  It reminds me of perspectives we often have with people we come in contact with.  On the surface the person may be like any other person and we categorize them as such.  But if we take the time to investigate their lives and look closer at them as a person and the experiences they have had in their lives, the boring turns to beauty.  The mundane turns to exciting.  The ordinary turns to the unique.

On this journey, God is ready to give us new and different experiences if only we are open to listen to Him and take the steps necessary to turn our ordinary into extraordinary.

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Snow in May

Nadine and I had been planning on taking a 3 week road trip to Colorado, followed by Wyoming and then to Lacy, Washington to attend Tyler’s college graduation.  We were anticipating this journey for a long time and June 29th came for the eventful caravan ride.  It was uneventful on the trip to Colorado Springs and then to Denver for a few days at each place to visit family and participate in some consulting with a client.

May 3rd arrived and we had planned to drive from Denver to Grand Junction to visit Nadine’s family for a few days.  We said goodby to her son and family and off we headed on Interstate 70, a drive of 3 hours and 59 minutes to be exact from our travel app.  Little did we know that rain in Denver turns to sleet and then to snow and snow-packed roads. The higher we went the more snow we saw.  Warning signs stating that chains were mandatory were flashing every few miles.  It was becoming slushie on the highway when we entered Eisenhower Tunnel at the top of the mountain.  We thought we were in the clear when something happened.

We exited the 2 mile tunnel only to find total show packed roads coming out of the tunnel and a 6-7% decline coming down the mountain.  Cars and trucks were sliding in every direction in front of us and as I put on the brake, my truck began to skid as well.  We couldn’t stop.  My brakes were to no avail.  We were going to hit the cars and truck in front of us and we had nothing we could do to stop it.  Except for one thing.

On the right side of the semi-truck in front of us was a pile of snow that no one was venturing into.  My only thought was I didn’t want to hit the truck so I guided the wheels to the right of the truck and my truck began to go in that direction.  I was in knee-deep snow but I didn’t hit the truck and the snow brought me to a stop.  I put the truck in 4-wheel-drive and passed the semi on the left and began to head down the mountain at 5 miles per hour.  I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw that the semi I had almost hit was beginning to slide with the back-end moving into a jackknife position.  He had blocked off all cars in back of him.  We finally got down to where the snow was beginning to melt on the freeway and continued on our journey.

How many times do we find ourselves cruising along in life thinking about our destination only to find that a snow storm hits our path and causes us to have to deal with the difficulties that are facing us.  It may be a financial crisis.  A relational crisis.  A vocational crisis.  Whatever it is, we feel helpless in solving the problem as we did when we were sliding in the snow and had no brakes.

Fortunately we realized that the Lord had directed our thoughts to turn to the right and gain control of our truck.  On this journey when we find ourselves being out of control of our circumstances, God is only a prayer away to give us guidance and direction to our circumstances, if only we would call on Him.

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Decision-Making Tree

Decisions are an everyday occurrence and sometimes we get tired of making decisions all day long.  What to have for dinner?  What clothes to wear for work?  What clothes to pick out for school for our children?  To go on the busy freeway or take the side streets to avoid the traffic?  What advice to give to our teenage child or adult child, or just listen and not try to fix the situation?  To exercise or not to exercise?  To take the new job or keep the one we have?  To move or to stay put?  I could go on and on with the decisions we are confronted with each day.  Sometimes it seems that ignoring the decisions seem like a better alternative only to have those stored away decisions come to hit us in the face.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a decision where we can’t lose by making the decision, but could have a tremendous win by going down that road.  Let me give you an example of what I mean.  There is a story in the bible of a city that was cut off from any food entering it.  The people were dying of starvation and were confronted with the decision of what to do.  There was an army outside it’s gates waiting to kill everyone in the city gates, and people were running out of food–literally.  The story begins with lepers talking about the city’s plight.

“Now four men with a skin disease were at the entrance to the city gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s surrender to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.””  ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭7:3-4‬ ‭CSB‬‬

These four men were looking at their options and choices.  1.  Doing nothing and dying (they said it twice).   2.  Going into the city where there is a famine and dying.  3.  Surrender to the Arameans’ camp and if we live we live and if we die we die.  You see the decision tree they were talking about had all the scenarios with possible outcomes.  In all of their negative scenarios they were going to die which is what was going to happen to them anyway.  Their third choice opened up the door for them to live.  You see no lose and only a win by staying alive.

Lets say you want a raise and the raise can only come about if you ask your boss.  If you say nothing, you haven’t lost anything because you are in the same place you were at before you started wanting a raise.  If you ask your boss for a raise and he/she says no, you haven’t lost anything and if he says yes, you have gained something.  No lose and only win situation.

By thinking about making decisions with a no lose scenario and only win perspective, it gives us more boldness to ask for what we want.  On this journey we are going to be bombarded with all kinds of decisions.  If we can grab ahold of this concept, we are going to become more bold in going forward and not allowing our fear to stifle us.

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Working With Integrity

When I was growing up, my dad would take me places where he was called upon to fix a sink, or tile a wall, or place formica on a counter top.  There was almost nothing that my father couldn’t do.  He didn’t fix his own cars, but other than that he worked on almost everything that needed fixing or was broken and needed repair.  Small appliances.  Washers.  Dryers.  Leaky toilets.  Light switches.  Re-wiring circuits.  You name it, he fixed it.

Not once in all the time that I went with him did one of his clients ask for a contract for the job he was about to do for them.  My dad was a man of his word.  If he said that he would do a job, you could take it to the bank.  He was honest as the day is long and had a reputation of being a man of integrity.

I write about this concept of integrity because I came across a passage in the bible that caused me to ponder.  The story was found in the book of Kings and described one of the kings named Joash.  He was the king of Judah and was called upon to bring the nation of Judah back to the lord.  He was also called upon to rebuild the temple that had been damaged.  He had a plan of how the temple was to be rebuilt and we take up the story from there.

“Then Joash said to the priests, “All the dedicated silver brought to the Lord’s temple, census silver, silver from vows, and all silver voluntarily given for the Lord’s temple — each priest is to take it from his assessor and repair whatever damage is found in the temple.” But by the twenty-third year of the reign of King Joash, the priests had not repaired the damage to the temple.  II Kings 12:4-6  Silver that had been collected by Jewish men and women coming to the temple was being given to the priests who were supposed to give it to the workers to repair the temple.  Unfortunately, 23 years passed by and nothing had been repaired.  Where did all the silver go to?  What was it spent on?  What did the priests do with the silver and donations?  What happened with their integrity?  Their honesty?  Their responsibility to fix the temple?  Evidently, they had none, although they were the religious leaders of their day.  They gave King Joash their word to deliver the silver to the workers of the temple, but their actions didn’t follow their word.

An entirely different experience happened with another group of individuals that were part of the rebuilding process.  It says, “No accounting was required from the men who received the silver to pay those doing the work, since they worked with integrity.”
‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭12:15‬   The priests were told by Joash to give  the silver to these men who were to give the money to the workers.  No accounting was required.  They worked with integrity.  This group of individuals were honest people and took what silver they had and gave it to those who were doing the work.  Their reputation was impeccable.  Their word was their bond.  They did what they said they would do.

On this journey, our reputation is so important.  Being people of our word to people we come in contact with can cause people to trust what we say because our word is consistent with what we do.  We have a choice to be like the priests or the men who required no accounting.  Everyday our word can be our bond.

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A Free-Flying Kite

I told you about a book that my wife is reading entitled Reunion.  In the very first part of the book Bruxy Cavey tells about his experience with his dad flying a kite.  He and his dad got it up in the air and then his dad went somewhere else, leaving him alone to fly the kite.  “As a boy I had a vivid imagination, and I often personified my toys.  To me, my new kite was a person, deserving of the freedom to explore its own potential.  It seemed to pull away on purpose, struggling to be completely free of the constraints of the sting and my guiding grip.  (Ya, I was a weird kid.)  I felt I was holding it back from flying as high as it could fly and going wherever it wanted to go.  So I let go.  At first there was a flutter of freedom and flight.  But is was short-lived, and the maiden voyage of Bruxy’s first kite ended with a nosedive into dirt.”

The kite in some respects is typical of our journey through life.  We are tethered to our parents during the early years of life and begin in the teenage years to want to be free from their control of our strings.  We think that being free of those constraints of our parents will give us the freedom to fly wherever we want.  Once that freedom is given, we find out rather quickly that freedom carries its own consequences.  What we thought would bring us fulfillment only brings disappointment.  Broken relationships.  Worn-out-cars.  Our income not going far enough to meet our expenses.  Jobs that lack enough challenge.  Broken friendships.  Death.  The list goes on and on.

There was a song sung by Peggy Lee entitled Is That All There is  It’s a song about life from being a little girl to the point of being old and standing on the edge of death.  When we are free and untethered, we find that what seems to be of value in this world fades over time and we continue to ask the question, “Is that all there is.”

We have the opportunity in this life to become retethered to the One who brings purpose and meaning to life.  As Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly.” John 10:10.  On this journey, if you find yourself untethered and floundering through life, it might be advisable to retether yourself to the God of this universe that does have a purpose and meaning for everyone walking on this earth.  We only have to recognize that our freedom has led us down the wrong road and ask to be tethered to the One who can give life and give it abundantly.

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The Sharpening Process

I got up this morning and had a desire to go and work out.  I don’t always get that desire, because the comfort of the bed at 5 am is more of a draw than getting out of bed, walking to the closet and putting on my workout gear to drive 12 minutes to get on the rowing machine and sweat for 30 minutes.  But this morning I had the desire.  It didn’t seem like I was there for an hour, but I was.  I lifted some weights after working on the rowing machine and finished by putting some hand sanitizer on before walked out to my truck to drive home.

What happened next is what I want to talk about.  I came into the living room from the garage and there Nadine was, sitting in my red chair and reading a book.  She had her coffee by her chair and seemed in a very upbeat mood.


The book she was reading was entitled Renuion written by Bruxy Cavey.  She was excited about what she was reading and began to read some excerpts that touched her soul.  I found myself being sucked into her enthusiasm and began to be hit by the same material that touched her.  Her learning was rubbing off onto me.

I was reminded about Solomon, the wisest person on earth, who wrote about this phenomenon.  He says, “As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.” Proverbs 27:17.  When iron hits iron, two things happen.  There are sparks.  There is heat.  There is a sharpening process whereby one piece of iron causes the other piece of iron to become more sharpe.  That is what was happening this morning.  As Nadine began to read to me, I was becoming enlightened by the passages she chose to read.

On this journey we will come in contact with people that are close to us.  They may cause some sparks to fly.  They may cause some heat to produce in our interaction with them.  Or they may cause us to become sharper in our understanding of life and how to grow.  Make sure that your mind is opened when the interaction occurs to become sharper.

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