Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
The Rebelution is a counter-culture movement that we happily support. Here's a snippet from their website which describes the philosophy.
The official definition of the 'rebelution' is "a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture." When you look around today, in terms of godly character and practical competence, our culture does not expect much of us young people. We are not only expected to do very little that is wise or good, but we're expected to do the opposite. Our media-saturated youth culture is constantly reinforcing lower and lower standards and expectations.
The word 'rebelution' is a combination of the words "rebellion" and "revolution." So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it's not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It's a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious culture. Actually, we like to think of it as rebelling against rebellion.
Not only was it a real treat to see the behind-the-scenes action of a taping session, but this was a topic about which our kids could really get excited. We had participated in the Harris brothers' Modesty Survey a couple of years ago and were already familiar with their website, so when we heard they were in Colorado Springs, we jumped at the chance to hear them.
The message is so inspiring, so motivating. We loved it! If you haven't joined the movement, please do. This is one time when it's really ok to rebel.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
We had an opportunity to spend some time with these dear friends yesterday and catch up on what is going on in their lives. Brief visits throughout the years have allowed us to stay in touch but not really up-to-date. It was wonderful to be able to sit down and talk at length about everything and about nothing.
Sorry, Jim. It really was a Rainy Mountain.
Dean, Liz, and their boys are part of a church planting mission near Denver and were able to share how God has confirmed and directed the process. It is so encouraging to see God at work in such a mighty way and know that He is affecting lives that might never have heard the Gospel without this work.
This motley crew is the offspring of these two former college yahoos who grew up to be responsible, productive adults making a difference in the world in which we live. We pray these guys do the same, whether they are playing roller hockey, writing novels, reporting the news, producing life-changing films, or just eating us out of house and home.
Speaking of eating, a home-cooked meal after weeks of eating out was worth the price of admission alone. Thanks so much, guys!
We had a wonderful evening and loved every moment. Thanks for having us. Hope to see you on our side of the Mississippi soon. Happy 16th Birthday, Jake.
We love you.
The red rocks and cliffs here really stand out against their surroundings. This one is called Balanced Rock for obvious reasons. It weighs 700 tons, so let's all hope it continues to be balanced.
The Kissing Camels are on the top of this rock. Can you see them? The right camel's head and hump are visible while you can only see the left camel's head. There is a small hole underneath their heads.
The park is a very nice place to visit with lots of trails to enjoy during a peaceful morning.
However, we found no entryways into the Labyrinth. Sorry, Percy.
- He loves me more than football.
- He makes me laugh.
- He encourages me.
- He prays for me.
- He writes me songs and sings them to me.
- He inspires me to make things happen, to follow my dreams.
- He loves our children and spends time with them.
- He takes care of his parents.
- He is the spiritual leader of our home.
- He's the steady rock in the midst of my mania.
- He gets all of my jokes.
- He shares all of my secrets.
- He listens.
- He is the SHMILY king.
- He tells me I'm beautiful.
- He knows where my thrift ends and my snobbery begins.
- He tolerates my never-ending lists of projects.
- He takes me shopping.
- He completes me.
- He's my very best friend.
Happy Anniversary, Kev! I love you.
We are all avid Adventures in Odyssey fans, and our kids were very excited about the Whit's End area of the Welcome Center. They had a ton of fun exploring all of the exhibits and seeing all of the Odyssey paraphernalia displayed there. Four of us were within the height limit and able to traverse the three-story A-Bend-A-Go slide. Hang on. It's a wild ride.
We had lunch at the Whit's End Soda Shoppe, and yes there are a couple of Wodfamchocsods on the table there.
Our children were also able to add their voices to their very own episode of Adventures in Odyssey in the Kids' Radio studio. That was so much fun. It was great just watching them.
I'm afraid to give away any real details because things could always change, but I will say that the guests are two rebel brothers who have a phenomenal message to share. More to come!
We arrived at Grand Teton National Park on Saturday nearing lunchtime. Although we had pretty much scrapped our original plan to camp there for three nights, I was wavering. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. Blue skies stretched for miles, temperatures were in the 60's, the campgrounds were not yet full, the park was breathtakingly beautiful.
Nonchalantly, I commented that one of the campgrounds we had considered was just up ahead.
We drove a bit farther and stopped for a picnic lunch beside the lake. The mountains on the other side were a perfect backdrop, and I was lost in the romantic idea of pitching our tent, sitting in our chairs by the lake, reading books all afternoon, doing a bit of hiking, cooking over the campfire, and snuggling into our sleeping bags at night.
Again I tentatively suggested, "You know, we could just camp here like we'd planned."
Finally, my wise and practical husband patiently reminded me that we spent two days drying out our tent, tarps, and other essentials inside our condo in Big Sky. Yes, we just moved the dining room table and chairs into the living room and set up our tent there for a couple of days. He and our children were not idealistic at all when it came to repeating the South Dakota scenario.
We moved on and enjoyed the stunning scenery for the rest of the afternoon. There was a funny moment when we read about the French explorers who named the Tetons. I didn't do my homework on that one, I must admit. I'm sure our friends in France can appreciate the humor there.
Our plans to do any hiking were halted by signs like these that mirrored those we had seen in Yellowstone.
We stopped briefly in Jackson Hole and witnessed once again the abrupt shift in the weather that we have experienced in our time here. Black clouds rolled in from seemingly nowhere. Dazzling lightning bolts streaked out of the sky time and time again. Ultimately, the skies opened and rain poured and poured and poured. My papa would call that kind of storm a "real gully washer." That it was.
We ducked into a store for shelter, and all I could think was how thankful I was that we were not in a tent in GTNP. Praise the Lord.
We drove a bit farther into Wyoming, met a sweet biker couple who steered us toward a small town where we could find a nice place to stay, and spent a restful night warm and dry in a delightful little hotel with an indoor pool and a hot breakfast the next morning.
God is good.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
He will not allow your foot to slip;
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD will protect you from all evil;
Psalm 121 NAS
Friday, June 19, 2009
Nonetheless, our boys found a huge pile of snow to climb and proceeded to bean each other with snowballs. How many times do you get to do that in shorts and t-shirts?
The real draw for most visitors to Big Sky is this big guy, Lone Mountain. The slopes here are considered by many to be some of the best in the country. At over 11,000 feet it offers much to downhill fanatics. Double Black Diamond, anyone?
Our time here has been delightful, but we'll be heading out for another adventure tomorrow. With no firm plans for the next few days, we will be vagabonds somewhat. Who knows where we'll be tomorrow night?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The Upper Falls are the smaller of the two at 109 feet.
At 308 feet high, the Lower Falls are almost twice the height of Niagara Falls.
Visitors like us have been drawn by these breathtaking vistas since 1846 when Jim Bridger, possibly the first white man to see them, first arrived on the scene.
Around Yellowstone Lake the scenery makes yet another abrubt change. The waters here are tranquil and serene with snow-capped mountains in the distance. Don't be fooled, however. The falls are just a short distance away.
In a matter of ten minutes we went from being at about 8500 feet above sea level with snow falling to around 6000 feet and 63 degrees. The weather here is as variable as the landscape. Showers blow up quickly and can dissipate just as fast. It is truly fascinating.
We had planned to hike out to Natural Bridge, a rock formation carved out by erosion, but the trail was closed due to danger of bears. Yikes! Those plans quickly changed. May the bears enjoy their time at Natural Bridge. We were happy to let them have that trail all to themselves.
After a few stops for more geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and buffalo sightings we headed out of the park for a strategic visit to DQ. Every geyser gazer loves a treat now and then.
We will return to YNP for the last time on Saturday as we make our way south to Grand Teton National Park. What a week this has been!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
There were fun and games galore and window shopping in stores we couldn't afford.
We were also able to peruse last Sunday's sermon and just generally catch our breaths.
Thank you, Lord, for peaceful days.
We were only about 20 minutes from the next predicted eruption, so we found a spot and sat down to wait. The photo above is how Old Faithful looks between eruptions. Some steam rises from the hole, more at some times and less at others.
Always ready, our filmmakers were poised with cameras awaiting the perfect shot. It could happen any moment.
The rangers claim their predictions to be accurate within 10 minutes either way. It's actually pretty fascinating. The people around us were hilarious, however. They complained about how long they'd been waiting...45 minutes, can you imagine waiting that long to see such a natural wonder?
For this particular eruption, Old Faithful provided a few little teaser spouts before actually turning on the charm full-force. Our fellow geyser gazers moaned and lamented that it had better be more than that.
We liked it so much we decided to hang around for the next eruption, predicted to be about 90 minutes later. We walked back to the car, got our picnic lunch, and ate while waiting for Old Faithful's next performance.
During that time, a park ranger gave an informational talk about Old Faithful and how it works. At the end, he stated that the next eruption would take place in about 30 minutes. A lady behind us turned to her companions and asked, "What do you think? Should we wait? Is it worth it?" Amazing.
This time, Old Faithful began its powerful spout all at once without its initial little spurts. In fact, I read that the best indicator of an imminent eruption at Old Faithful is the crowd in the stands. If the benches are full, it's about to happen. If they're empty, you just missed it.
The eruptions lasted about 4 minutes each, and we were not disappointed.
We enjoyed walking around the Lower Geyser Basin for the remainder of the afternoon. There are over 150 geysers in that one square mile, so there are lots of trails to explore.
The geyser basins have a desolate feel with their barren terrrain. Vegetation is scalded by the heat of the geyser blasts. The acidic nature of the surroundings doesn't provide a healthy growth environment. The sulfur smell and steam rising from pits gave the early settlers the impression of Hell bubbling forth on the earth, and I have to agree. The stark contrast between these areas and the green mountains surrounding them is staggering.
And then you happen upon something like Morning Glory Pool. Its rainbow of colors stands out among the gray of its surroundings. The colors are from the microscopic bacteria living in the extremely hot water. These bacteria thrive in environments which cannot support life for humans or most plants and animals.
Our Creator God is amazing. What a delightful nature He must have to include such wondrous things in this world He made for us. What a Mighty God we serve.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
We even stopped to make a couple of snowballs because, you know, boys will be boys.
The falls were spectacular and just the perfect treat for us waterfall junkies.
This sighting was a real treat as there are only about 200 bighorn sheep in YNP today. Seeing one is pretty rare, so we felt privileged. Just a short way up the road we pulled over and were able to watch four females and two young across the canyon. Amazing!
The elk sightings have been pretty exciting as well. How about the photo below for all of you deer hunters? These guys were just taking it easy this afternoon.
We looped around by Mammoth Hot Springs for a closer look at the lower terrace and then headed back through West Yellowstone toward Big Sky and our yummy supper. We just need a little time to recharge for tomorrow.
Old Faithful, here we come.
We were able to get in a short hike to Harlequin Lake before lunch, and then we rode over to the Norris Geyser Basin. There we were able to see a few minor eruptions like the one above at Steamboat Geyser. The last major eruption here was in May of 2005, but if you're lucky enough to catch one, it's a special event. Steamboat erupts at heights 2 or 3 times that of Old Faithful, but it is much less predictable.I just cannot get over these snow-capped mountains. Their majesty is staggering. We even drove by several huge patches of snow which were on ground level with us. Temperatures hovered around 50 today, sometimes a little less and sometimes a little more depending on our location. That is quite an experience for this little Southern hothouse flower.
The hot springs, geysers, and mud pots here in Yellowstone are at temperatures much higher than any human can withstand. People have been scalded to death from falls into these geothermal features, and some contain enough acid to eat through boots. Translation: Stay on the boardwalks!
More exploring is on the agenda for tomorrow. For now, this girl needs to get some sleep.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Alas, the thought came a bit late. You can enjoy it with your family though and experience a little bit of the joys and trials those courageous homesteaders encountered. It's definitely going on our list of future books to share.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thankfully our guys are honor graduates of the Mr. Mike School of Tent Camping, so after four days of almost constant rain, we were dry and happy inside our little tent. We learned a bit about camping in the cold, however. Even my husband, hater of all things polar fleece, was snuggling down inside a sleeping bag liner. Brr...
Custer State Park is absolutely beautiful and teeming with wildlife. This big guy and one of his buddies were just grazing along the side of the road. We were repeatedly warned that "Buffalo are dangerous. Do not approach." We did not approach. We just drove by slowly. We saw countless deer, pronghorns, prairie dogs, buffalo, as well as the odd mountain goat and bighorn sheep.
Our visit to the Black Hills was completed with a stop at Crazy Horse Mountain to view this carving which has been in process for over 50 years. The size is immense. The entire carving of Mount Rushmore could fit on the part of the mountain directly behind Crazy Horse's face. Yes, that little area to which the scale model of Crazy Horse seems to be pointing in the photo below. What a great reminder to all of us to dream big dreams.
We also visited Wind Cave National Park and toured a portion of the cave where we saw frostwork, popcorn, and boxwork formations.
Tomorrow we head on over to Big Sky where we will be staying for the next week. Hopefully we will have lots more fun to share. For now, we're just happy to have real beds, a nice, clean real bathroom, and a climate-controlled dwelling. Ahh...the joys of civilization.