“I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am.” John Newton
As fall leaves change into winter which transforms into spring and summer, I think of the ways we change, hopefully leaving old hurts and harms behind, and becoming more loving and forgiving. We are only stuck if we choose to be.
Fall in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California draws one into intense colors and deeply refreshing air. Meg and I stayed with good friends at Sorensen’s Family resort, located in Hope Valley south of Lake Tahoe. Large meadows at 7000 feet spread out below Carson Pass and the West Fork of the Carson River. Hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing makes this area a year around outdoor magnet.
Sorensen’s itself offers delightful cabins set amidst aspen trees. Friendly service and an intimate restaurant made out stay an easy one. We hiked through gorgeous color, which intensified after a light snowfall on our second night. Despite a two day drive to get there, we would love to do it again.
“The Kingdom of God belongs to those who have let go of their possessive attitude toward everything, including God. God is pure gift; we cannot possess him just for ourselves. We can possess him only by surrendering to him and by sharing him with others.” Fr. Thomas Keating
“Be still and know that I am God.” I am challenged to take this call to stillness beyond the mountain top experiences and bring it to the busy valleys of life. I am slowly realizing that each breath, each encounter with people and Creation, is unique and needs to be treasured rather than avoided or endured. I pray that our loving Lord will bless and deepen our encounters, giving us rest and refreshment in the busyness we encounter each day.
As fall bursts forth in early October and fades slowly into November, I mark another season that has passed. Winter lies ahead and I am another year older. Yet God moves with me through the seasons. He is ageless, eternal; in Him and with Him, I live forever.
“Whatever the day, whatever the circumstances, faith tells us the God is present with us. The God who gave us life, sustains it and gives it meaning beyond anything we can imagine in this lifetime. Our life is only the beginning, not the end. God is both in and beyond everything. Leap from doubt to belief and remember that God loves you, delights in you, and yearns for your response of faith in God and in His creation.” Reuben Job
One of my pictures was selected for the cover of this recently published coffee table book. It shows Mt. Ngauruhoe which is the major mountain along the Tongariro Crossing on North Island, New Zealand. Mt Ngauruhoe was digitally altered to appear as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. I am humbled and honored to have this picture on the cover of a truly fascinating book. It was commissioned by the American Hiking Society, and published by a most excellent company, Rizzoli International Publications. If you enjoy beautiful pictures with excellent descriptions of trails around the world, you can order it from Amazon, or your local bookstore.
More and more, I am convinced how little our politicians, in this country and in the world, can do for us ordinary people. We are the ones who spread the good news of love and forgiveness, not merely by words, but by our interactions, our interconnections with our neighbors, whether we know them well or not.
Despite terrifying acts of violence we can still choose our response: to pray, to restore, to heal.
By creating us in His image, God has shown us His deep and abiding love. Together, we can outweigh, and outlast, all that distorts this image.
Stephen Gould captures this idea most eloquently:
“Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ”ordinary” efforts of a vast majority.
“We have a duty, almost a holy responsibility, to record and honor the victorious weight of these innumerable little kindnesses, when an unprecedented act of evil so threatens to distort our perception of ordinary human behavior” Stephen Gould
Scouts from Troop 514 left early Saturday for their annual rock climbing weekend at Hoffer Lake, above Anthony Lake. We knew we would encounter skiffs of snow, but little did we realize we would be breaking trail in close to twelve inches.
We enjoyed true winter camping. The boys adjusted for the conditions, working together to pitch their tents, cook their food, gather firewood and stay warm.
Hoffer Lake was lightly frozen. The late afternoon light created marvelous color tones on the lake. When I awoke Sunday morning after a chilly night, I was grateful to be there, amidst this snow cover beauty, rather than simply sitting in my easy chair at home drinking coffee. Coffee outdoors by the campfire was much better 🙂