Monday, August 27, 2007

small town Sunday: wahoo

The world has been moving too fast for me. Even when I did make it to Green Mountain Falls a few weeks ago, I found myself unable to sit down and record the hilarity of it all. That particular Sunday was surprisingly packed out, due to a baptism, a dedication, and the conclusion of the week of VBS. As one baby was baptized, another dedicated, I found myself almost in tears. Somehow the beauty of watching a community commit to stand behind these children, of watching parents hope the best for their children, got to me.

Upon walking into the sanctuary, I had been a little confused by the amount of cowboy hats and general western gear to be seen in the pews. Was it in honor of the town’s upcoming festival? Not long into the service, I discovered that all the down-home decorum was to celebrate the end of VBS, which was called “Avalanche Ranch”. The kids sang some awesome songs, all dressed in hats and bandanas and such, and we all learned a new way to say amen: “Wahoo!” I like that.

Afterward, as I sipped coffee in the courtyard, I chatted with a group of people about the upcoming move, and about the imminent journey to Canada. They listened with genuine interest and support, and faithfully asked me about it when I returned. There are few things as encouraging as being among a body that actually takes interest in one another’s lives.
Needless to say, I breathed a sigh of relief to be back in my sunny pew yesterday. The children’s sermon included the usual moments of hilarity. The pastor, who told a story about going to see the local wolf preserve on the night of a full moon, asked the kids if they had seen the preserve themselves. One of them let the church know that his parents keep breaking their promise to take him, but they said they’d go next month. The pastor promptly looked out at the crowd and said, “Note to parents: You’re going to the wolf preserve in September. You heard it here first, don’t let ‘em down.” I loved it.

In fact, I loved so many parts of the morning. My British friend sat behind me, and I could hear her endearing accent as we prayed the Lord’s Prayer and as we sang our hymns. The elderly woman who shaved her head in honor of kids with cancer is sporting a nice grey shag as it finally grows out again. At the potluck, I chatted with new friends, and compared stories of frustrating weekends with the man sitting next to me. I was so encouraged by his honesty about how sometimes he just gets mad when things go wrong, mainly because I spent the day before in a state of fury as one thing after another failed to go my way.

Perhaps most importantly, I found my heart at rest in the rhythm of the liturgy again. We sing it every Sunday: “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”

Wahoo to that.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

nice mug

The crew from our weekend in my hometown. Cool cats, if you ask me.

the beauty of the Bells

Here are some pictures from a recent trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Maroon Bells. As Chris said, it's one of those places where it is so beautiful, one wonders if it is real. Pretty dern amazing.

one man's legacy: a second snapshot

"Climber remembered for kind heart, adventuresome spirit."

This was the title of the article written after Peter's memorial service last week. The article is chock full of more examples of the impressions he left.

"He was a man of peace. He longed for peace."
"His courage level was second to none."
"He touched others with his life."
The list goes on, words describing who Peter was in the eyes of those who shared his life.

For the full article, check out

Thursday, August 16, 2007

a fresh page for a new story

I've begun a new adventure in life over the last couple weeks. In fulfillment of a long-time dream, some friends and I have moved into low income housing for the year to come. In this case, low income housing has taken the form of a trailer park. All of our stuff is currently half-in and half-out of boxes, all strewn across the floor of a dingy, white single-wide trailer.

I know that our year will be full of adjustments and lessons and tale-worthy happenings. In light of this, another blog has been created, one that can be focused only on chronicling our experience of living in the trailer. So, for any who are interested in keeping up with this new adventure in my life, I refer you to the newly added link "Trailer Tales,", under the "places to go, people to read" section of this blog. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

even the young leave a legacy

I recently returned from a week in my hometown. It was a fantastic time, hanging out with family and friends, then hosting some friends from Colorado Springs. We visited the Maroon Bells while they were here, which I will post some pictures of soon.

Another thing happened this weekend, though, that has left a mark on me. A high school friend of mine, Peter Jessup, died while summiting the same Maroon Bells we hiked to the base of on Saturday. Those of you who know me, know that I am constantly asking the questions, "What do you want your legacy to be?" I think it is one of the most important things we can think about.

As I read his obituary today, I felt like I got a glimpse into someone who lived out a solid legacy in his short life. I just thought I'd put it out there for any who have begun to ponder the question.

"Peter Brian Jessup, 27, highly respected humanitarian, died Aug. 9, 2007, while descending South Maroon Peak at the Maroon Bells, 12 miles from Aspen. Peter was born Aug. 9, 1980, to Ted and Judy Jessup. He attended Glenwood Springs schools and graduated in 1999.

As a high school student, Peter had a dream of becoming a marine biologist. This past year, he was determined he could still chase that dream. He traveled to Colombia, South America, where he sought PADI scuba diver certification, and obtained his open, advanced and rescue certifications.

He attended Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and graduated with a major in theology in 2003. During his summer vacations, Peter worked as a nurse's assistant at Glen Valley Care Center, providing care for senior citizens. He also participated in a semester abroad program, in which he traveled to the Dominican Republic. There he became fluent in the Spanish language and assisted in medical care in rural areas.

Peter was a cancer survivor. In the summer of 1997 he was diagnosed with leukemia. Upon his remission, Peter determined that his mission was to help others. Peter spent several years employed by Catholic Charities, Western Slope, where he coordinated assistance and advocacy to Latinos of the Roaring Fork Valley. He also mediated and interpreted cases within the local court system. Peter was awarded the staff award in the 2005 Garfield County Humanitarian Services Awards in February 2006, given by the Garfield County Human Services Commission and the Post Independent newspaper. He was nominated by Tom Ziemann of Catholic Charities.Peter became the community organizer at Congregations and Schools Empowered/Metro Organizations for People, again assisting communities from Aspen to Parachute.

This summer, Peter returned home to begin his next adventure, becoming a river raft guide for Whitewater Rafting in Glenwood Springs. He planned to return to Colombia later this fall and obtain his master scuba certification. His ambition was to dive the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. We will never know where Peter's adventure and love of life would have taken him and his sparkling eyes, and his infectious smile and laugh.Peter loved the outdoors and all it had to offer, good music, dancing and reading.

Peter is survived by his wife, Alejandra Rico Jessup of Glenwood Springs; his grandmother, Ruth Jessup; mother and her husband, Doug Britten, of Glenwood Springs; father and his wife Mary of New Castle; sister Jennifer (Jonathan) Wachtel of Denver; stepsister Sarah (Zeph) Williams of New Castle; half-brother Kip Jessup; half-sister Morgan Jessup of New Castle.Visitation is from 5-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at Farnum-Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs.Msg. Tom Dentici will officiate the funeral service and resurrection Mass at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church in Carbondale."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

how to get lost near Green Mountain Falls

When hiking the Catamount Trail near town, make sure to follow the trail, which is clearly marked with yellow cirlces.