Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Top 5 (July 29)

* "Biden Family Scandals Are So Much Bigger Than Hunter’s Hookers And Burisma Bribery" (Margot Cleveland, Federalist)

  "5 Biblical Reasons for Skepticism on UFO Testimony to Congress" (Joshua Arnold, Washington Stand)

* "Planned Parenthood’s Depraved Marketing Gimmicks" (Elise McCue, Daily Signal)

* "Maybe Black Lives Matter After All" (Steven Hayward, Power Line)

* "One in Six Democrats Believes Violence Is Justified to Restore Abortion: Poll" (Ben Johnson, Washington Stand)

And this week's bonus recommendation? It's actually a quick video clip created by a snack bar company. Nevertheless, its message is enlightening and challenging. Indeed, it is certainly one to think about...and to pass around. 

* "Three Generations" (Nature Valley video clip)

Saturday, July 22, 2023

The Top 5 (July 22)

In addition to this week's Top 5 of the articles I'm recommending for you, a couple of bonus selections are included from Fox News regarding important religious developments you should be aware of.

* "There’s a War on for Your Kids in Public Schools" (S.A. McCarthy, Washington Stand)

* "Five Essential Truths About the Left" (Steven Hayward, Power Line)

* "Electric Cars Are a Scam" (David Harsanyi, Jewish World Review)

* "The Left Attacks ‘Sound Of Freedom’ Because It Exposes An Uncomfortable Truth About Moral Boundaries" (J. Antonio Juarez, Federalist)

* "7 Ways the FDA Decision to Sell Birth Control Pills Over-the-Counter Hurts Women" (Ben Johnson, Washington Stand)

And the bonus links?

* "Putin and Russian Orthodox Church forge an unholy alliance to take over Ukraine: Putin's Russia isn’t just at war with Ukraine, it’s at war with Christianity" (David Curry, Fox News)

* "The Chinese Communist Party is rewriting the Bible: Gospel according to Chairman Xi has Jesus turn killer instead of forgiving sin" (Rep. Mike Gallagher By Rep. Mike Gallagher, Fox News)

Friday, July 21, 2023

The Latest 14er Adventure: "Let's Go to the Video"

Aldo De La Cruz, a friend and neighbor who I was honored to have join me on our latest attempt of a Colorado 14er, is a dedicated and imaginative physical fitness advocate who uses videography to encourage and assist others in their workouts. Well, he brought along his camera (and even a drone!) to capture a bit of the feel of high mountain hiking and we were quite impressed by the results. You might be too. It's about 8 minutes and I'm betting you'll find it moving and fun.

Saturday, July 08, 2023

The Top 5 (July 8)

News you can use? You bet!

Here's my five highest recommended reads for this weekend.

* "5 recent Supreme Court rulings you should know about" (Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention)

* "Affirmative Action Is Another Nonsense Leftist Position We’ve Been Conditioned To Take Serious" (Edie Scarry, Federalist)

* "Joe Biden: The Biggest on Abortion" (S.A. McCarthy, Washington Stand)

* "The U.N. Is Planning To Seize Global ‘Emergency’ Powers With Biden’s Support" (Justin Haskins, Federalist)

* "Is Christianity Still Relevant in a Less Religious Culture?" (Rob Schwarzwalder, Washington Stand)

And for a bonus recommendation this week, here's an example of how important it is to not just watch life go by, but rather to continue to enthusiastically, courageously engage in whatever ways God opens up for us:

* "The Latest 14er Adventure" (Denny Hartford, Vital Signs Bog)

Friday, July 07, 2023

The Latest 14er Adventure

It was the 5th of July and I had decided once again to keep up the recent tradition of climbing a Colorado 14er on my birthday. That tradition had begun in 2016 when, with the inspiration and encouragement of my youngest brother, Ric, I successfully climbed Mt. Bierstadt to celebrate my turning 65. Since then I've had a couple of years with injuries or weather keeping me from attempts, but this summer was my chance to raise my total to 6 summits. 

And, by God's gracious permission and protection and empowerment, I was able to make a successful climb of Mt. Quandary alongside 3 engaging and inspiring friends: Ryan Garvey (a 20-year old student/athlete/musician/ardent Christian disciple); Aldo de la Cruz (a 36-year old athlete, chef, and YouTube physical fitness advocate who is my across-the-street neighbor); and Scott Lawson (a 50-year old athlete, longtime Menard's staff member, and Claire's and my godson who currently hails from Springfield, Missouri). 

Claire got up to see us off very early on Wednesday. As a matter of fact, we left the condo in Keystone at 4 and arrived at the trailhead at about 4:30. Within minutes we were on the trail. It was pitch dark when we started and our first 45 minutes or so of a very steep opening ascent were made by flashlights. Thus, I snapped this photo "Dawn On the Trail" some 60-70 minutes after we had got underway.

And, not long after, I caught this scene, "Morning Horizon."

It was quite cold for the first hours of the hike and we were sometimes moving through the misty clouds that seemed both to descend from the sky and to rise up in swirls from the valley between Quandary and North Star Mountain to the immediate south. Exciting, yes. But it created a moody and mysterious atmosphere too. But, as we climbed higher, we were extremely pleased to have the sun burn through the clouds every now and then. The next photo is "Above and Beyond" looking back towards Hoosier Pass and the southeast.

This next photo ("Cloudy Ridge") shows a ledge of Quandary's south side, North Star Mountain, and Mt. Lincoln.

Here's one of about a dozen mountain goats we encountered during the day.

For much of the first couple of hours, the guys allowed me to lead the way, but Scott and Ryan took over when the going got rough. Scott took this photo of me, Ryan, and Aldo as we hiked along the edge and up towards the toughest sections of the climb. You can see here how the clouds seemed to come from different directions. And, of course, you can see how profound can be the experience of seeing the world (and oneself) from such a vantage point.

Nearing the summit, I tried to capture a bit of the awesome feeling with this photo looking just a bit southwest to the rugged peaks beyond. ("A View Across Monte Cristo Creek.")

Of course, this snowfield just before the summit wasn't the most dangerous section of the hike. After all, if you fell here, you probably weren't going to break anything. Nevertheless, it was one of the most tricky parts of the effort, especially since none of our company has spikes available. I was very pleased, however, that I had attached a snow basket to my hiking pole. It helped a lot. Again, this is one of Scott's photos, showing me and Aldo just before we reached the top. That last hour had made for an extremely tough pull for this old dude and Aldo very graciously, patiently hung out with me (our other two partners being just a ways ahead) the whole time. 

And at the top, "Summit View" and "The Crew At the Top" with Ryan, Aldo, me, and Scott enjoying the grandeur and beauty for awhile before beginning the very long, tough descent. Very long and difficult, especially for the septuagenarian! Thank You, dear Father for allowing me this remarkable, inspiring, and memorable adventure with my friends. (See the postscript too.)

P.S. -- That evening we enjoyed another terrific tradition; namely, a celebration dinner at The Empire in Breckenridge. And particularly nice was that the rest of our Keystone party -- Ron & Linda Scheffler -- joined us for the feast. The Schefflers have often been a part of these Colorado excursions with Ron being a three-time veteran of 14er climbs himself, including Mt. Quandary. We had a delicious meal and stimulating fellowship...but it didn't stop us from making a real early night of it and enjoying the deep sleep of the truly tired! After all, we had to be on the road home early the next morning. My most heartfelt thanks to Claire, my fellow hikers, my friends who prayed for our safety and success, and to our very kind heavenly Father.