I was made to be wide-eyed all the days of my life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Variation on a Theme: Death, IV


Certainly the faithful love of the LORD hasn't ended; certainly God's compassion isn't through. 
Lam. 3:22 CEB

Monday, October 22, 2012

Variation on a Theme: Death, II

Ask the birds of the sky, they will tell you.

 Job 12:7

Variation on a Theme: Death, I

Cords of Death

The ropes of death had become tangled around me. The ropes of the grave had surrounded me.

I called on the LORD 
in my distress.
I cried to my God for help. 
He heard my voice from his temple, and my cry for help reached his ears.
-King David

We are mourning the sudden and tragic loss
of a close and greatly loved uncle, 
Jon Clawson. 

"My times are in your hands." Psalm 31:15

Yellows, Browns, Browning



If you get simple beauty and naught else, you get about the best thing God invents. 
-Robert Browning

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blues, Purples and Mary Oliver


I took a walk around the family acreage to observe the fall scenery and keep seeing dusky blues and swarthy plum purples.

I guess October colors aren't always gold and orange.

Harvest Home Purple Cabbage
Wild Berries
Harvest Home Peacock
Marty is our mystery bird. A classic peacock, he showed up on our property one day with clipped wings and pulled feathers. Now he roosts with the barred-rock chickens and the white down-feathered ducks.
His plumage feathers are growing back slowly, but it's still an interesting lesson present.
Beauty is never gone forever.
It fact, it never ceases to come back 'round.

Purple Cabbage


"Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." 
                                        Mary Oliver


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hiking Pike's Peak

So, here's another Colorado Story.

A few weeks back, in the end fringes of the month of September, I had the chance to hike the backside of Pike's Peak with the students at Summit. At 14,115, feet it's one of Colorado's 54 fourteeners, and it remains my first (and only, for right now) fourteener to hike. The day started early and was absolutely perfect for the 6 mile hike to the top from our starting base at the Mennonite Camp. I hiked the backside last year, and it's amazing what a 2nd time 'round perspective will let you see.

 I saw the switchbacks differently because I knew the terrain better.
 I had a different feeling towards to route to devil's playground, because I knew a reprieve came afterward.
I saw the big, obtuse obstacles near the summit as a joy, instead of curse, for rest remained at the top, just within reach.
It was a good hike, and I'm sure I was reminded at least once or twice of Moses as he climbed a mountain and met God.

Hiking the Back Side of Pike's Peak
Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Stephen (photo cred), Andrew and I held silent moment, missing Micah via his buttery scones.
 (Confession: They got a little moldy in the mail. Sorry, M.)
Jen and Laura on Pike's Peak

Now fast forward a few weeks. Add a brother, a sister and her boyfriend who have yet to see what life could be like at 14,000 feet.
Mix into the tale another perfect day, a red train and way to the top of Pike's Peak that is less, shall we say, grueling.
Cody and Ben came out to join us on a long road trip home, but not before heading over to the Pike's Peak Cog Railway to, you know, take a train up that mountain.
As I've said before, and will say again
                                        "There is something magical about trains."
There's also something really fun about becoming a tourist for a day and seeing something with a different view. And so we did.

Pike's Peak Cog Railway Station
Pikes Peak Cog Railroad Station
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railroad Adventure
Pikes Peak Cog Railroad Couple
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railroad
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Tree
Pikes Peak Cog Railroad
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Apparently, I'm still the best ever at taking the worst ever self portraits.

Pikes Peak Cog Railroad
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
At the Top of Pikes Peak Cog Railroad
Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Ben recently moved home from Kappa, Hawaii, and was feeling the sub-degree weather at the top. I guess it hasn't snowed in Hawaii for a while.

Pikes Peak Pose
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
It was cold, actually. Really cold. I forgot how much flats don't work in snow.

 But, oh. The view.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway

And the classic pose. I guess this isn't the normal tourist behavior. At least, that's what the girl at the top from  Norway said.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway

All in all, it was a mountain adventure worth remembering, and I think we will.
If you haven't already, please add "Take a train" to your bucket list, plan a trip and go.
Go with the ones you love.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Summit Summer

Ahem. Hello.
I'm alive, back in Minneapolis and I'm slowly getting back into world-wide-web-picture-sharing mode. I thought that I'd pull some gems out from the lost land of July. Here's a spackling of pictures from what happened to be a few really great weeks in the Colorado Mountains.

Okay, I guess it was a few more than a few.
Ten weeks, really.

MountainsI was called to the Garden, again. Mountains have a way of calling out names, and this summer was no exception.
Garden of the Gods at Summit Ministires

Manitou Hotel Summit Ministries

I had the outstanding opportunity to work and study Christian Worldview at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Summit is designed to equip young people for a life of faith and active culture making in their world. They do it well and with a lot of chutzpa.
It's a glorious pleasure to live in an old white hotel along side two-hundred incredibly interesting people.
To quote the founder, Dr. David Noebel :" It's more fun than a human oughta have."



Kitchen Dessert at Summit Ministries


Students attending Summit hear over 70 hours of lectures on Christianity, Culture and Apologetics from speakers like John Stonestreet, Sean McDowell and Dr. Del Tackett.
John Stonestreet with hosts a daily radio snippet on Christianity and Culture Here.
Session55 (2)

I also spent a legitimate amount of time riding on Julianne's school bus through the mountains...
Garden of the Gods with Summit Ministries

... and loved meeting and making new friends via small groups.
Summit Ministries Graduation
Summit Ministries Graduation Session6
Small Group at Summit Ministries in Colorado
Small Group at Summit Ministries

I had the chance to work with these two classy men in the classroom:
 David Knopp (who keeps a tremendous blog here) and Stephen Sutherland (who doesn't blog, but would probably want you to read this.)  I'm not sure how exactly our paths were allowed to cross again, but I'm a better woman because of it.

I'm also a better woman because God's graced me with Joanna Dukes this summer. Possibly the most practical Tolstoy reading, poem slinging, letter writing, mountain climbing, ab-ripper-personal-trainer and psalmist woman I've ever roomed with. She's in my top 10.

Friends at Summit Ministries

Garden of the Gods Portraits

And again I was reminded this summer that if you look for you love, you'll find it. (Or it will find you.)
And so, I found love, again. In Manitou Springs:
Engagement Photos, Colorado Springs

Engagement Photos, Colorado Springs

Love seems like a good place to end the summer, eh?
Minneapolis, Minnesota is a good place to end the summer. And that's where I'm at -hunkered down in my rent-a-basement bedroom, cozy in amidst a stack of counseling textbooks and a pile of story boards, head reeling with all the stories I've experienced thus far- and all the Untolds to come.

This summer was outrageous. So many people, so many stories, and so many continued possibilities.
What are your Autumn possibilites?
Mine have a whole lot to do with October.

So, best to you.

Laura Clawson

I'm writing letters.
(hint, hint)