Strip away all the commercialized junk that has been attached to one of our biggest holidays (like a pilot fish eating scum off a whale’s belly) Thanksgiving is truly a wonderful time of reflecting on the importance of family, heritage, and God’s grace to us. For the first time in a long time, I am going to be without family on Thursday and even though I will be able to play in the 3rd annual turkey bowl (football game) and eat food with friends from church, it really isn’t even a close third to spending the day with family.
With that being said, Charlie, Margaret Ann, Katherine, Lenkie, Janie, Sandra, Mark, Elliott, I love you and miss you very much. I am SO thankful to have brothers and sisters that aren’t perfect, but we DO love each other and for that, I am blessed. To my children, Andie, Shelby, and Caleb, you truly are my GREATEST accomplishments. To be able to be your dad has been the greatest gift God has given me on this earth. To all my nieces and nephews, Lisa E. Matthew E. Amy, Jeanie, Emily, Sarah, Andrew, Shari, Paul, Stephen, Amanda, (I have MANY MANY more), I love you all and I am proud to be a part of such a large, wonderful family!!
God, I want to give you thanks for my family. I pray You will continue to bless us and keep us for Your purpose. Use us as You see fit, keep us in Your house. Amen!
Matthew came over Saturday afternoon and we headed to the “China Wall” trail (forestry service road 212) with Ryan to do some snow “jeeping”. The view of the Taryall valley draped in snow was quite impressive. With the snow falling, no wind, and 22 degrees, the cold was not intimidating or oppressive, but inviting, peaceful. We stopped to prep for the trail ahead, airing down my tires to 14 lbs. We took the trail up to the left and down the other side of the ridge. From the top of the ridge, you could see the snow covered valley and Pike’s Peak off in the distance. With no one else out there, the inviting beauty is deceptive. To get stuck out here in this cold would be a dire mistake. We made our way down the ridge into the meadow, heading towards the river, surprising several mule deer on the way. We made our way to the rocks. The traction was pretty good as the snow was a dry snow. I got out and guided Matt as he drove Wasabi over the first obstacle. We drove down to the next and biggest obstacle on the trail, surprising a few more mulies on the way. I got out to ground guide again while Matt drove, and he insisted I “video” him driving, so I only got pictures of the obstacle. We got down close to the river, and decided to put a few rounds down range. We packed up and headed back to the trail head. We capped this short trip off by stopping by “Rudy’s” on the way back home and got some of the best brisket in town.
There are so many facets to King David’s life that reveals the worst and best of what our relationship with God can be. I Samuel, chapter 27:1 states “Then David said [a]to himself, “Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than [b]to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand.”
When David focused on God, he prospered, he thrived, even among his enemies. But when David took his eyes off God and focused on Saul, it drove him deeper into sin; David went to live with the Philistine, the very people that he had fought against for mocking God. We all do the same thing David did. We all tend to retreat into our sin when we focus on ourselves, or the people around us, instead of focusing on God. Why? For me, I know that when my focus is on God, I am acutely aware of the grace and mercy that is extended to me on a daily basis because of my sin and God’s righteousness. This awareness makes it very easy for me to extend grace and mercy to the people around me, to be more loving to them because of the love shown to me from God. But when I am not focused on God, I am only aware of unattainable expectations (usually perceived, not real), false impressions or emotions (gossip, he said she said stuff), and anger.
Lord, help me to stay focused on you. I want You to be my filter for the rest of this world. I want to see my neighbors, my coworkers, my children, and my wife THROUGH You.
Wanting to take advantage of good weather, I went camping this weekend with two friends from life group and church, Chad & Skip. We struck out from the Goose Creek trailhead, which is right on the edge of the Hayman burn scar, and at 8000 feet. This isn’t the most scenic place due to all the barren hills, but the scenery quickly changed as we headed north, up Goose Creek. We came to a typical forestry service bridge built over the creek and saw the clear and obviously cold (Ice in the water) water. We could also see where the trail meandered along the river for a bit before the trail and the river split, with the trail going up in elevation and the river continuing north, but down in the bottom of the valley. We continued on the east side of the river a started going up and up. I had brought Taz with me and Chad had “Nanook”, his 3 year old Alaskan Husky. They were playing well together, leading the way up the trail. The trail continued to climb in elevation until we had separated far enough from the river that you could barely hear it down below. We went approximately 2.5 miles in, and found a great campsite out on the end of a rock finger, jutting into the valley. Taz enjoyed the rocks as much as we did. There was more than enough firewood just laying around, so we got our camp together, got a fire started, and settled in for supper. The next morning, we we woke up to beautiful weather, a little chilly (27 degrees), but the sun warmed things up really quick once it topped the ridge to our east. Chad and Skip made a water run while I watched the fire. We had breakfast, then started out on our hike. We hiked the main trail for maybe another mile, then found the camping spot that Skip stayed at this past summer. We followed it down to the river for some more water and beautiful scenery. We filled up with water, then decided to follow the deer trail that ran alongside the river back towards camp. We followed the deer trail south, and saw the perfect campsite right next to the river. We grabbed the coordinates for it so we can save it for next summer. We worked our way back to camp, fixed lunch, then laid out on the rock finger to relax and soak up some sun. I told the guys we looked like a bunch of lizards, sunning themselves. We then packed up camp, made sure the fire pit was cold, then headed back to the Jeep. What a great trip! Good weather, good company, and amazing scenery.