Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Gospel for Salt Lake City

It is always energizing to see a group of people catch a vision, roll up their sleeves, and dig in to the grim, joyous work of reaching a specific area of Utah with the gospel.  Though Salt Lake City is only forty miles north, it has a very different culture and needs than Provo.  I am not affiliated with this church plant, but I wish them Godspeed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Through the Windshield

Bubbles and I logged 3,300 miles through eight states last month.  That's a lot of tanks of gas (ouch), a lot of "traveling mercies" (thanks, Lord), and a lot of time to contemplate the scenery.  Here are some of the sights I enjoyed at 65 mph.

Colorado on a sunny fall day.

A few weeks ago, I told a native Coloradoan (Coloradite?) who I'd just met that theirs is my "drive-through state."  I think this was taken negatively, but that's certainly not how I meant it.  Those eight hours on I-70 are scenic and thoroughly enjoyable, minus the Denver traffic.  West to east, desert to mountains to plains, I find Colorado provides just the transition I need, physically and mentally, from Utah to Kansas.  Plus, I have not yet grown out of the stage where it's exciting to drive through the tunnels and hold my breath.

A Colorado cottonwood: "...the light-reflecting, wind-loving trees of the desert, whose roots are always seeking water and whose leaves are always talking about it, making the sound of the rain."

That's a quotation from The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather, which I had finished reading just a few days before this trip.  The book is set partly in a small town in eastern Colorado, and the windswept landscape plays an important role in the story.  As I left Denver and the Rockies behind and made my way across the prairie toward Kansas, I couldn't help but think of Cather's vivid descriptions—the lone, stalwart cottonwoods in particular.  And it occurred to me: I could learn a lesson from the desert cottonwood, how it yearns after water and speaks of it unceasingly.

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.  (Psalm 73)


Grain elevator west of Susank, Kansas.

"I love the prairie!  So often have I seen the dawn come and the light flood over the land and everything turn radiant at once, that word 'good' so profoundly affirmed in my soul that I am amazed I should be allowed to witness such a thing."  (from Gilead, Marilynne Robinson)

Wyoming, in all its snowy, windy, foggy, freezing glory.

While I was staying in LaGrange, Wyoming, a storm blew in and dumped several inches of snow on top of a layer of ice.  So I postponed for a day the last leg of my trip.  I should have waited another day or two for the roads to clear, but I was itching to get back to Utah and I just plain didn't know what I was getting into.  The first two or three hours were... an adventure.  I lost count of the wrecked or abandoned vehicles along the way.  Still, there was no denying the beauty of snow-covered southern Wyoming—a cold, treacherous sort of beauty that I was glad enough to leave behind and reach Utah.

I drove west through Provo Canyon as the sun was setting.  The Utah horizon was the only "welcome home" I needed.  Thank you to the many who prayed me through this trip.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Forthwith!

Blogger's guilt: I've got a bad case, Doc.

And so I should, considering it's been a scandalous 3.5 months since my last post.  But I'll skip the excuses, since none of them involve a life-threatening illness, or the loss of all ten fingers, or a whirlwind romance culminating in a three-month honeymoon at a wifi-less Swiss chalet.

Instead of writing excuses, I'll write—hang onto your hat, now—I'll write a post.

There.  I've committed.

Silence, prepare ye to be broken forthwith and heartily.  Yea, verily and amen.