Friday, October 30, 2009


These pictures are from a retreat our Leadership Team at work attended this week at Sylvan Lake. The top picture is a hillside I drove by on the way to the lake. It had snowed the night before and it's hard to describe how pristine everything looked while I was driving up in the early morning. This picture does not do it justice.

The cabin is where we held our retreat, and the lake is the view we had out the cabin windows while we had our retreat.

I am so blessed to live surrounded by God's beauty, and to be able to see the golden eagle I saw driving up to the cabin, and to listen to the owl's call that night as I sat outside by the fire watching the lake settle into the evening and the snow falling.

Black and White

I recently joined a group on Flickr called Minimalist Black and White. This is a photo group that posts pictures only in black and white. I don't post on it (although I probably should) but I love to look at other people's pictures.

I have always loved the stark beauty inherent in black and white photography. The lines are so clean, it's clear where one thing starts and another ends, and even the shades of gray that show up are beautiful.

I sometimes wish life were more like black and white photography. I wish danger zones were more apparent, that things were what they seemed, and that the gray areas held more promise than they sometimes do in life.

I look back over what I just wrote, and I know that life is all about the gray shades. No one is one thing or another, we are all mixtures of black and white and gray and blue and pink and magenta and violet and every other color. We would be boring, colorless.

But my heart is in pain for a friend whose life is lived in shades of gray, of uncertainty. He feels powerless to change what is challenging in his life and thus lives without color. His vision is that of black and white; he's right, everyone who doesn't agree with him is wrong. His black and white vision is his prison. Tonight he's in his own solitary confinement and my heart aches for him.

It's when life gets tough that I wish it were as easy as black and white; it's when I look at where that viewpoint gets a person that I remember black and white is better left in pictures and that life is better lived in color.

Hugs to you, my friend. Hugs to you and I wish I could fix it for you but all I can do is be your friend. I hope it's enough.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Snowflakes Falling

I was driving home from points East today, and watched as the first snowflakes fell, in a storm that promises to be a beast. The first (I think) Winter Storm Warning for the year and I got to drive home as it was beginning. It began (like everything else usually does)...slow. Picked up speed, so that by the time I got to Vail, it was picture-perfect, huge, Christmas-like snowflakes. I went into work for about 45 minutes and when I came out there was about an inch of wet, heavy snow on my car. Thank goodness I had my snowbrush in the car already. And my sweet hubby had snow tires put on my car on Sunday. Justin time. :)

I love winter, and I don't care who around me hates it. There are few pleasures in life better than cozying up on the couch with a blankie, a cup of hot chocolate, relaxing music on the stereo, a good book, and snow falling outside. Now doesn't that sound peaceful? Add in a fire in the fireplace, a dog and a cat sleeping in front of it, and your family cuddled up with you, and that right there is a pretty good depiction of a level of Heaven.

You can talk to me all you want about how shoveling is a pain in the keister, and driving is dangerous, and it's too cold, etc. etc. It's all going in one ear and out the other. Snow makes everything beautiful. It outlines tree branches and makes them works of art. It adds a quality of magic to Christmas lights on houses. It evokes the mystery of Christmas and starts us thinking about how life is much bigger than the little daily pieces of living.

Grouse about the snow if you want to, but don't be surprised when I shout my glee louder than your complaints. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Long days and Short Years

October 14, 2004 October 14, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday, baby girl. I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Crystal Clear

Today God coated the world in crystal. Heading down from Estes Park, a freezing fog had left every blade of grass, every pine needle, every barb on the barb wire fence, was outlined in shimmering ice crystals. It was breathtakingly beautiful, ethereal, like being in Heaven itself. I felt so blessed to be there, sharing the sight with my family.

It's hard for me to reconcile such beauty in a world full of so much pain. I am blessed with my health, the health of my friends and family, a job I love that allows me to take care of my family...I feel selfish just listing it all. And yet there are people out there struggling to feed their families, to keep their families together, to keep a roof over their heads. It's so incongruous.

I know God has a plan for all of us, whether we know it or not. I know that everything happens for a reason. I know that we may never know the reasons for things that happen; that the reason may reverberate through generations before coming to fruition, and that it's not for us to know. I trust in God to know what's right. But for the sake of my friend who is struggling through more than one person should really have to...I hope that life eases up for my friend soon. I hope that the reasons for my friend's pain become as crystal clear as the blades of grass this morning, so that the struggle does not appear to be in vain.

On another note, today was the year anniversary of the last day I spoke to my friend, Kim. It was on this day last year that I sat in her hospital room for two hours and we had a heartfelt conversation. I knew at the time it could be our last, and yet I refused to believe it. I'm so incredibly grateful to God that we were given those two precious hours alone, so we could speak freely. When our time was up and I could no longer delay leaving or risk missing my flight, I gave her the longest hug I could, kissed her, and forced myself to walk out of her room, down the hall, down the elevator, and out the hospital door. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

She died exactly one month later.

I'm sure God's reasons for taking her at 33 years old are crystal clear to Him. They are not to me. I am not angry at God. But I miss my friend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Written on the plane home from Kansas City, MO

I am homebound, trailing sunrise behind me. I feel so empowered, as though I could do anything, and the light behind me is the illumination of the insight I've gained in Kansas City. I feel almost as though I've learned more about how to help my personal life than professional, although I certainly gained many practical, useful skills for the communciations center.

What's been refreshing is the reminder that relationships really are the meat of what we do. Relationships with peers, supervisors, those we supervise, and the world in general. We certainly forge a relationship with each caller. I will be more aware of the importance of each, especially the ones that try my patience.

Building a relationship based on trust paves the way for everything else that comes--strategic planning, emergency planning, financial planning--everything. If people trust you, then when you bring proposals to them, or direct them in times of crisis, they know you have their best interests at heart, and will follow you.

What an incredible responsibility. What you owe to someone who trusts you so implicitly is tremendous. You cannot fail, and if you stumble, you had better make amends quickly. Trust is so deep and yet so fragile, and not always easily rebuilt.

I learned more about myself this week than I expected to. Some of it was pleasant, some of it was very difficult to face. I know that the pivot point is the choice I make with what to do with the knowledge.

I feel like I have 32 new friends: 30 people in class (minus me) and 3 great core facilitators. What a gift to receive! What a priceless treasure waiting to be discovered in each one!

I feel renewed and re-energized, and I hope I can retain this feeling and bring it to my coworkers and my family.