I'm back from Colorado. What a great time we had as a family, one of the best ever. Our annual Summer vacation has been to Western New York to see my parents for the past 14 years. Since my parents moved here last Fall, we had to find a different destination (that was cost friendly also). We decided on Horn Creek based on various recommendations I have received over the years from different friends. Our expectations were exceeded, we hope to return next year!
I won't bore you with details of our family vacation, I'll just give you a few highlights:
1. Family time- we spent virtually all day, every day together. My parents came with us also, this was a great blessing. I have no memory of my grandparents, only one was alive when I was born, and she died shortly thereafter. It has always been my prayer that my children would have meaningful relationships with their grandparents. By God's grace, with Shari's folks just 2 1/2 hours away and my parents 1.5 miles from us- this is happening. A whole week together really enhanced this.
2. God's glorious creation- I am convinced Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in this country. The mountains are awe-some. The camp is at 9000 feet up the Sangre de Cristo mountain range (just below Horn Peak). The scenery is breathtaking, the weather is temperate, and the wildlife is plentiful. While I felt naked hiking through elk/mule deer/antelope country without my bow, it was nevertheless thrilling to see these various animals in their natural environment. I hiked several miles every day and never got enough of the Lord's Earth.
3. Special Memories- Of the several new memories made as a family, a 10 mile hike with Shari and AJ is the most vivid. We climbed to 12,500 feet in order to get to the "Horn Lakes", which are between two of the peaks you see above. This was a 10 mile round trip hike/climb. When I signed the three of us up, the guide said it was open to those who were 8 years old and up. It was listed as an "intermediate" difficulty level hike, so I signed up AJ, who is 8 years old. As it turned out, he was the only 8 year old to complete the hike this Summer and he joins a relatively short list of those who have ever made the hike at his age. I was one proud Daddy, I admit it. He was such a soldier. I know he takes after me in one area- he didn't stop talking on the whole first leg of the hike! That's hard to do when you're trying to breath at 12,000 feet! Shari and I hope to climb Horn Peak next year. I have some more weight to lose before I do that...
4. New Friends- It was a nice change to be relatively anonymous. I love being a pastor and further love the sheep God has given to my (our) care, but a little time away from being a corporate leader was nice. We didn't know anyone, so all the people we met were new friends. One couple was from Shawnee, Kansas! Small world. We hope to keep in touch with some of these people, maybe even see them again next year.
5. Times of Worship- As Providence would have it, the worship leader for the week was Nathan Clark George. He is the son of a PCA minister in Illinois and an extremely gifted singer/songwriter. He is also licensed to preach by his presbytery and an all-around wonderful brother with a heart for Christ. I will write a separate blog reviewing and recommending his music, but for now I'll say he did a tremendous service for God's glory by leading us every day in worship. In addition to Nathan's ministry, a baptist brother from California, Pastor Tim Pettey, led us in a topical/biblical study entitled "Becoming A Family God Can Use". His straight-forward, creative teaching on being a biblical family was a real blessing to me personally and to everyone in attendance.
6. No email, cell phone, or blog access- I didn't really miss any of these, too busy. I am glad to have them back though.