Family Trip - San Juan Mountains

The highlight of the trip for me was taking the FJ onto some jeep roads in the San Juan Mountains. I wanted to see the towns of Ophir and Telluride, so we decided to take the Ophir Pass trail down into Ophir and then Telluride, followed by Last Dollar Road and on into Ouray (pronounced yoo-ray).

Here is the FJ along the road to Ophir Pass. FJ headed to Ophir Pass

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Family Trip - Durango

Following the visit to Cortez and Mesa Verde National Park, we headed over to Durango, Colorado for a few days. I was most excited to visit the San Juan Mountains to hike and take the FJ up on the jeep trails, but first we had to take the obligatory train ride from Durango to Silverton. I have to say, I was pretty skeptical of this train ride. It was expensive and going to be long, so I wasn’t too excited. However, I was impressed with the effort they make to keep the late-nineteenth century feel of the train. In addition, the views from the train during the ride are spectacular. Unfortunately, it was raining very hard the day we rode the train, causing a mudslide part of the way between Durango and Silverton, forcing the train to turn around about half-way. The company re-imbursed half our ticket price, which was very kind of them, and the ride was still great. I highly recommend it.

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Family Trip - Mesa Verde NP

After spending a couple of days in Moab, our next stop was Cortez, Colorado so we could spend some time at Mesa Verde National Park. None of us had ever been there and we were very excited to see the Pueblo ruins.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Cortez, which has a very kid-friendly “fort” in the room, complete with a wall, TV, and two bunk beds. Our kids loved it.

We spent a couple of days visiting Mesa Verde and were unable to see everything. Here are a few photos from the visit.

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Family Trip to Colorado - Day 1

The family and I are taking a much-needed trip to southwestern Colorado to visit Mesa Verde National Park, the San Juan Mountains, and Ouray. We’ll be making a few other stops along the way, but those locations are foremost in our minds as we pack the back of the FJ Cruiser with our stuff and head out to Moab, Utah.

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Twitter Losing Value to Me

I find myself utilizing Twitter less often these days. There is so much noise, no matter how relentlessly I curate my timeline, that it has become unmanageable. There are occasional nuggets found within the torrent of tweets but it is such a chore to sift through the dross to find those nuggets that I find I simply skip to the top of my timeline. Am I alone in doing that?

I still derive great value from the blogs I follow via RSS. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be an antiquated way to “socialize” on the Internet, but it works. I’ve noticed that, along with the rise of social media platforms, the quantity of bloggers has declined while the quality of posts seems to have increased. I think the ease with which people can share via social media platforms has turned us into consumers and creators of digital junk food - Cheetos-like bits and bytes we consume with our smartphones. To be sure, blogs used to be somewhat the same, where people recorded the mundane details of life, but that action has largely migrated to Facebook, Instragram, and Twitter.

It takes more effort to blog and write long-form material. As a result, these days, the quality has improved. Twitter’s quality has definitely declined since I joined years ago and I find I rarely read my timeline anymore. Add to that the recent timeline changes Twitter announced and I wonder if my days on the platform aren’t numbered.

Stick With A Format

I recently worked on a portrait project where, in the course of discussions with the subject, it was decided that I would shoot on both film and digital formats. I will never agree to that again.

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Measuring Others

“Do not condemn others, so you are not condemned. For that judgement you use to judge, will be used to judge you, and the measurement with which you measure, will be used to measure you.”
Matthew 7:1-2, my translation using NA-28

I read these scriptures this morning and they dovetail with some of my thoughts recently about our relationship with others - in our families, our church organizations, and in our society at large.

How many times have I been frustrated by members of my ward, or my wife, or my children because I measure them against a standard that is not fair for them, that they cannot meet? Would I be better off not measuring them at all, and appreciating them for who they are? Do I give others the grace/charity that I would hope Christ gives to me? I certainly want Christ to measure me against a very liberal, flexible, and merciful standard, so do I use the same type of standard in my dealings with others?

I wonder if I spend too much time learning doctrine and not enough time practicing it.

The State of Grace

This past week I gave a lesson to the young men on Christ’s grace. I enjoyed preparing for the lesson and hope my comments sparked some thought among the young men.

The Greek word used by Paul in the New Testament, and particularly in Romans, where he really digs into grace, is χάρις, which means grace, but in greater context means a gift freely given to someone, even though they may not have earned it, and where no payment is expected. It is the root of our word charisma or charismatic, which allude to gifts someone inherently possesses. Paul, when referring to Christ’s grace, is referring to the gift Christ gives us - a gift we have not earned and for which we cannot repay him.

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White Rock Bay

I have been itching to get out west of Salt Lake now that the weather is warming up. I love the west desert in the late winter and spring. Life is springing up again, there is green grass, and the weather is perfect.

My daughter and I went to Antelope Island to hike around. We ended up on an overlook of White Rock Bay on the west side of the island. We found a nice rock outcrop shaped like a huge chair and settled in for a snack while we waited for the sun to set and provide some nice lighting. This image was taken near that spot, looking out across White Rock Bay toward Elephant Rock in the distance.

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Human Beings, Love, and the Play

I ran across this quote recently in the course of my reading and thought I’d share it.

Works of Love, pp. 92-96 (SV XLL 86-91), cited in S. Kierkegaard, Parables, pp. 47-48:

To love one’s neighbor means, while remaining within the earthly distinctions allotted to one, essentially to will to exist equally for every human being without exception.… Consider for a moment the world which lies before you in all its variegated multiplicity; it is like looking at a play, only the plot is vastly more complicated. Every individual in this innumerable throng is by his differences a particular something; he exhibits a definiteness but essentially he is something other than this—but this we do not get to see here in life. Here we see only what role the individual plays and how he does it. It is like a play. But when the curtain falls, the one who played the king, and the one who played the beggar, and all the others—they are all quite alike, all one and the same: actors. And when in death the curtain falls on the stage of actuality (for it is a confused use of language if one speaks about the curtain being rolled up on the stage of the eternal at the time of death, because the eternal is no stage—it is truth), then they also are all one; they are human beings. All are that which they essentially were, something we did not see because of the difference we see; they are human beings. The stage of art is like an enchanted world. But just suppose that some evening a common absent-mindedness confused all the actors so they thought they really were what they were representing. Would this not be, in contrast to the enchantment of art, what one might call the enchantment of an evil spirit, a bewitchment? And likewise suppose that in the enchantment of actuality (for we are, indeed, all enchanted, each one bewitched by his own distinctions) our fundamental ideas became confused so that we thought ourselves essentially to be the roles we play. Alas, but is this not the case? It seems to be forgotten that the distinctions of earthly existence are only like an actor’s costume or like a travelling cloak and that every individual should watchfully and carefully keep the fastening cords of this outer garment loosely tied, never in obstinate knots, so that in the moment of transformation the garment can easily be cast off, and yet we all have enough knowledge of art to be offended if an actor, when he is supposed to cast off his disguise in the moment of transformation, runs out on the stage before getting the cords loose. But, alas, in actual life one laces the outer garment of distinction so tightly that it completely conceals the external character of this garment of distinction, and the inner glory of equality never, or very rarely, shines through, something it should do and ought to do constantly.”