Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God bless the zinnias

A scorching hot summer + leaving for 6 weeks = sadness and sorrow for the garden.

As my sister said, "Why did you plant so many flowers when you knew you were leaving?"

Why sister, I was wondering the same thing.

Bless my sister and mother, who came over as much as they could to water. But when the weather is 100 degrees glued tight to three weeks, what can be done?

Only a few plants died for good and gone. A coneflower, some dahlias, a cardinal lobelia, and that delphinium that wasn't in the budget in the first place. It was accursed.

The strawberry oxalis is making a comeback.

The irises are brown and have holes in their leaves.

The astible never bloomed.

The black-eyed Susan made a valiant effort.

The salvia looks great. Almost like it didn't have to live through a Missouri summer. Almost as if I asked Aaron to squeeze a few plants into a Honda Civic plump with suitcases and bikes and camping gear. You don't take plants on roadtrips? Weird.

But the zinnias. Oh the zinnias. Two packets of $1.00 Wal-mart seed never looked so good.

I love the zinnias. I am forever allied with them. They are happy, bright, heat-loving, and the more you pick them, the more they bloom. What's not to love about them?

Come April, buy a package of zinnia seeds. Scatter them in some scratched up soil. Water when you remember.

Come August, you will feel like you are a real gardener after all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meet Me in St. Louie, Louie

We spent a couple of days in St. Louis last week before we hit home. It was delightful. There is something about travel that makes me feel so alive and spiritually alert. Little changes for a few days bring me such joy and open my heart to see God's Kingdom from a new angle.

We left Lake City at four in the morning last Wednesday. We were on the road at the same time those fugitives from Florida were caught in Southern Colorado. I give this detail to spice up the 14 hour drive to Kansas City, which really was quite ho-hum. Except for the part when Aaron rolled up the window on my toes.

We rolled into suburban KC about 10:30 at night and pulled ourselves out of bed at 6 ayem the night morning to board the AMTRAK! We rode a train to St. Louis! How stinkin' fun is that? We figured between gas and parking fees in St. Louis, we'd have spent about as much to drive.

Priceline came through with a sweet hotel deal...

and we spent the next two days EATING!

Crepes and

Italian and

gelato and

leftovers in the park.

We went only to places within walking distance.

Old courthouse and

old post office and

the Gateway Arch.

It was an awesome trip, and we return to Bolivar with joy and peace. Each day is a gift, and whether we're living the good life in Louie or getting back in the groove of work, we are blessed!

Friday, August 5, 2011

family time

It has been a great couple weeks of family time!

My mom and dad were able to come spend 4 days with us, and Rachel, Nathan, and kids were able to hop over for a day and a half during a break from a conference in Colorado Springs. This made almost one whole Casey clan; Peter was at Kanakuk doing good work. We missed you, bro!

The Windy Point overlook. Some switchbacks to ascend, but an awesome view at the top. Right, sis? :) I was in the background doing my Russian/clown dance to pull out those smiles.

Look at that little guy! Is it any wonder I melt under his influence? "Hodo me, Lara!" Translated, "Hold me, Lara." OF COURSE!

The men dominated some horseshoes, and Abby hit Poppa square in the head with hers.

A last breakfast at the bakery with my parents.

Ryan, Aaron's brother, came to visit us about a week after my parents left. He got in around 10 at night, and 7 hours later, we dragged him out of bed to hike Mt. Wetterhorn with us. Mt. Wetterhorn was the last local fourteener we needed to summit. It is the most technical of the five fourteeners scattered around Lake City, but with some slow, steady grips we made it to the top!

Around 5:30 in the morning, right after we realized our borrowed Jeep wouldn't make it to the trailhead. Luckily, the early parking only tacked on 1/2 mile to our hike.

There's the mount, dominating the horizon.

The last hundred feet of steep ascent.

And we made it! Such an exhilarating rush to stand on a doorstep of the heavens and see this any way you turn:

A few days later, Aaron and Ryan biked the entire Alpine Loop, a distance of 50 miles and an elevation climb of over 5,500 feet. What powerhouses!

Standing at the top of Cinnamon Pass, one of two passes they had to climb on the loop.

We leave for Missouri in two days. So in the next 48 hours, we will be living up the ice-cream mountain life! Peace out and we'll see all you Bolivar people soon!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sometimes Pictures Don't Do It Justice

We can't believe it's almost over! We leave next Wednesday to head back for a short trip to St. Louis before the whirlwind of Bolivar begins. We are excited to be back but ready for a moment of rest in between. We have loved being in Lake City and seeing our friends Nick and Brittany, the Casey and Hamann clans, and my brother in a few hours.

This is a blog that I wrote July 27th but haven't been able to post because of internet stuff.

Well, I have a feeling this is long overdue. Today, Lara and I woke up and hiked 4 miles up the mountain ledge to Crystal Lake, situated directly under Crystal Peak.

This was my favorite hike next to Cataract Gulch (a trail that follows a cataract up to the Continental Divide and Cataract Lake). It had a great view of town, Red Mountain and the surrounding peaks, aspen groves, and great climbs. By the end, you’ve arrived at a serene lake, quiet and peaceful.

Of course, we brought our new camera to capture views, things we did, etc. As we walked down, we discussed our next invention (as if we have invented other gadgets and gizmos): the smell camera. Walking past pines, flowers, breezes off the lake, we wanted to capture all the aromas. Candles don’t do it justice, just as a picture doesn’t do the actual view justice.

Which brings me to a thought I’ve been mulling around in my small, insignificant mind the last couple weeks.

As you can tell, some of these pictures are posed - set in a certain way, ordered, etc. The self timer has been a great invention to capture everyone while having no one behind the camera. But as we walked through the mountains, we stop to pose at so many places. Later on we can relive those moments captured through a shutter. But I know my own tendencies. Notice this picture (which I also have/will have up on Facebook). Epic picture. On the edge of the cliff, gazing off into the world, the mountains wild behind. Can’t say that Lara caught this candid. Would I be out on that ledge if I knew Lara wasn’t going to take that picture? Um... probably not. I’m not big on steep stuff just for the fun of it. But I wanted epic... at least hoping people would think me epic. The truth is, I spent 15 seconds out there. Not enough time to ponder world peace. Not enough time to find the answer to end poverty. Just enough time to get a picture.

I am a person infatuated with myself. I want to portray a picture to people by my pictures, updates, etc. I want to create. Create myself in some way, any way. I think back on the college days and wonder what it would be like to enjoy those friends, memories. I want to recreate it.

“Wait, wait... go back to that spot. That’s perfect. Great picture.” Well, that moment was passed. That thought, that face, that overwhelmness by the mountains is over. But let’s capture it. Let’s try to recreate it.

Now, I’m not bashing pictures. There is a great place to remember. We are commanded to remember. We want to remember. But we also want to relive. And what I’ve found in myself is sin in those moments. I have ceased to allow God to create, allowing Him to be the Creator. I become the creator of those moments, memories. “I think it would be better off this way.” “It was way better the way I experienced it before.”

In pictures, I find myself not looking at the lake, but at the picture just taken of the lake, even though the lake is right there! I forget about listening to the wind and birds in my hammock, but think about how cool of a Facebook status this would be and what others would think. I stop thinking about the Creator and start thinking about the created (myself, the pictures).

One of my favorite memories of being out in Lake City was doing a midnight hike with my brother and a couple of buddies up Handies Peak. The moonlight was overpowering, the shadows casting off the ridges. I will never forget how little I felt, how powerful God was, how amazed by His creation I was. I tried painting it once (I am a terrible painter so it wasn’t good), but I couldn’t get it to a point where it was real. We draw still life pictures because they try to capture something that we get a glimpse of in the picture, but experience in reality. C.S. Lewis talks describes a painter who painted because He wanted to tell people about light. He was overwhelmed with its power and wanted others to know.

What I’m trying to say is, are we allowing God to be the Creator in our lives, in our experiences or are we trying to take control? With our pictures, our memories, our “creations”, what are we telling people? Are we telling people how epic we are? Are we creating to portray ourselves in a certain light?

Or are we describing how epic our Creator is, trying to describe just a glimpse of who He is.

May pictures never do your life justice. May our God do your life justice.

P.S. For the smell camera, we are going to have to work out the kinks (i.e. not allowing people to capture bad smells and use them against others, etc). Any ideas?