God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Following Closely

This photo was taken shortly after the start of the Creede 50k. If you look closely, you will notice that everyone in the photo is walking. That is because this was a fairly steep hill, even though it may not look that way in the photo.

Before I started running trails regularly, I thought it was important to run even the uphill portions of a race. That wasn’t even possible (at least for most of us) on this course. But even on a course less difficult than Creede, it is inefficient to try to run all the uphill stretches. Holding back on the difficult climbs actually leads to running a faster overall time.

I came across the following challenge recently: “What area of your life do you need to leave behind in order to follow God more closely?” At first, I thought of only “bad“ or negative things to leave behind. But I have come to realize, as with running, there are things which may seem good but are counterproductive and hold us back.

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Unexpected

This is a photo of the Rio Grande River, taken during the drive to Creede, Colorado to run the 50k. The fog over the river was striking. I’ve seen this fog over water many times before, but don’t remember driving beside the fog for such a long stretch.

It takes a specific combination of circumstances to produce fog in this pattern. It also takes a specific combination of circumstances to produce a rainbow. Both are predictable, to some degree. Predictable and yet often seen unexpectedly. Blessings are often like that – predictable but often unexpected.

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Colorado River

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. O that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your prosperity would have been like a river, and your success like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains. Isaiah 48:17-19

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Resolutions

Great Sand Dunes NP

With the New Year, many people make resolutions. Often, they are based on spur of the moment choices. Not surprisingly, many people have already broken their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January.

A few years ago, my wife and I resolved to visit as many National Parks as we could. As we reflected on our experiences hiking in Grand Canyon and Yosemite, we realized this was the type of trip we really enjoyed. Great Sand Dunes was the 7th National Park we visited last year.

The best decisions are usually made after serious reflection.

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Year End

Sunset at Lily Lake, Estes Park, CO

This seemed like a good photo to reflect on the end of 2021. It was a difficult year in many ways for many people. Optimism was high during the summer; a survey showed almost 90% of Americans thought that things were getting better. Then Delta hit. Now Omicron. I’m sure many are wondering if things will ever be “normal” again.

I don’t have an answer to that question. I used to be fond of saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” I never felt that way in 2021. Maybe we’ll get to that point in 2022. I do know that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery

O Radiant Dawn

O Wisdom of our God Most High,

guiding creation with power and love:

come to teach us the path of knowledge!

O Leader of the House of Israel,

giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:

come to rescue us with your mighty power!

O Root of Jesse’s stem,

sign of God’s love for all his people:

come to save us without delay!

O Key of David,

opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:

come and free the prisoners of darkness!

O Radiant Dawn,

splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:

come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the

shadow of death.

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:

come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:

come to save us, Lord our God!

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Unsearchable

Great Sand Dunes NP

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable God’s ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord / or who has been God’s counselor?” “Or who has given God anything that he may be repaid?” For from God and through God and for God are all things. To God be glory forever. Rom 11:33-36

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Experience

Another great reminder of the impact of perspective. This photo was taken from near the top of one of the higher dunes in Great Sand Dunes NP. You can get an idea of the size of the dunes by zooming in to see people hiking across the ridge in the middle right of the photo. It is harder to get an appreciation of how steep these slopes are. For that, you really need to hike up them. Truly experience them.

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Stabilizing

This is a photo of Great Sand Dunes NP in Colorado (seen in the distance). It is an amazing landscape with a fascinating geologic history. This valley was once covered by a lake. Sediment from the surrounding mountains filled the valley and the lake receded. Exposed sand was blown by the predominant southwest winds toward the Sangre de Cristos mountains, but during storms the winds blow back toward the valley. These opposing winds cause the dunes to grow higher and higher. Small dunes continue to form in the surrounding sand and migrate across grasslands, joining the main dunefield. Some of these migrating dunes become covered by grasses and shrubs and stop migrating.

There are multiple terms we could use for the stabilizing influences in our lives: rock (on which we stand) and anchor (for our boat in a storm) come immediately to mind. I guess we can add the grass and shrubs (for our sand dune).

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