June 27, 2011

When God first came alive for me

I'm working through a book called "Holy Conversation" by Richard Peace.  In the 2nd chapter, it challenges me to briefly tell a story about how God first came alive for me.

I remember attending a week of Christian camp in the Summer between 8th and 9th grade.  There, through the testimonies of the camp leaders and counselors of how God had changed their lives, God first came alive for me.  Having grown up in a Christian family who attended and served in church weekly, God was already part of my life and the lives of those around me.  However, I hadn't heard any life-transforming stories from the people around me.  Either they hadn't bothered to mention, or figured at my age, I wasn't interested.  But now, I was hearing firsthand from people who had experienced God as a real and personal change-agent in their life. 

Also, during that week, the camp leaders challenged us to daily read our own Bible and pray.  Soon after camp, I wrote to a friend and pen-pal my same age who had been a Christian herself for a couple years and asked her for some ideas on where to start when reading my Bible.  She wrote back with a list of some of her favorite verses, and some suggestions of where to start.  I then began to do my own Bible reading, sporadic as it was.  But I noticed that whenever I did, God always showed Himself to me through His Word.  I could see Him pointing out truths I needed to hear as I read that day's chapters.  I still find that today, as through the Holy Spirit, God teaches me about Himself, and myself, and helps me put life in His perspective. 

I'm thankful today for those camp leaders, and my friend who helped point me to God, and challenged and encouraged me to experience God for myself through study and prayer.  God is truly alive in my life every time I seek Him.

June 12, 2011

Colorado Family Vacation - Days 1 and 2

Now that my soldier is home and my children are out of school, it's time to explore Colorado!  So we took a week to leisurely go to some parts of our state that we hadn't been yet.

Sunday afternoon, May 29, we set off going South on I-25 past Pueblo.  Our first discovery was a "point of interest" sign I encouraged Derek to follow to see what was so interesting.  It WAS interesting, but we weren't sure what it was until that evening when I connected my netbook to the hotel's wi-fi and did a search.  The thing was Huerfano Butte.  There was no interpretive sign to tell us what we were looking at, at least not that we saw. Our online research fascinated us more so than the viewing of the orphaned butte itself.  Especially after we saw the next phenomenon, the radial dikes in the Spanish Peaks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  We only viewed these from the interstate, but the angle of the evening sunlight really made them stand out.  We decided we were already having an interesting vacation, geologically at least.

Monday morning, we headed toward the Great Sand Dunes National Park, but got sidetracked when we saw a sign pointing up a road for Zapata Falls.  It was relatively early in the morning, so there wasn't a lot of traffic out, and once we hit this road, and it turned into an unimproved gravel road, in land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, winding up the mountain, we wondered what sort of adventure we were getting ourselves into.  It reminded us of a drive we took on Maui in 2007 into a park where there were reported to be big redwood trees, which we never found, but had fun looking.  After a few slow, bumpy miles, we found a few trailheads, and finally the one to hike to the Falls.  It was a short distanced hike we felt we and our children could handle, so we took it, and were rewarded with a pretty neat view.  With all the snow the Rockies had this past Winter and Spring, there was plenty of snowmelt coming down this waterfall, and many others we observed on this trip.  After exploring and taking pictures, we headed back to the car and drove back down to the road toward the dunes.  The video at the visitor's center at the Dunes was very interesting - the most well-done and interesting video of it's kind I think I've seen, actually.  It was a VERY windy day, and pretty cold, and we didn't really wear proper footwear for dune-hiking.  So we explored only briefly, until the wind bothered us more than we could stand.  I had no desire to hike the dunes, especially to the top.  These are the largest sand dunes in North America, and they ARE pretty spectacular.

I intend to come back and edit this later with some pictures.