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Dec 11, 2011

Christmas Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Full Moon Shot

We went to the Christmas Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, with our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. What a wonderful time. Here you can see the full moon through the lights. Click here to see the rest of the photos.

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Oct 8, 2011

Quoting Steve Jobs

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it's quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."

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Oct 3, 2011

Started Life Keys last night

I'm facilitating Life Keys again at City Church Eastside this fall. Started last night and will run six sessions. Had 13 people join me for the course. I'm offering the course every spring and fall as part of my new staff role there. If you have any interest in scheduling Life Keys for your group, go here and contact me.

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Sep 27, 2011

Back to Atlanta

Well, it's always hard to get back in gear for the fall after having a fun summer. So, since Labor Day, I've done a celebration of summer fun. Haven't done a post of substance except to finish and post Chapter 9. We drove back to Atlanta, and got back last night. Already moving into the rythym here, with several coaching appointments already lined up. Looking forward to finishing the last quarter of the book, as we wind down the last quarter of the year. So, look for more posts with the illusion of substance as fall unfolds.

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Sep 24, 2011

Mama Bear and her Cubs

We have seen a mama black bear with two sx-month-old cubs around our cabin a couple of times this summer. Everywhere we hike, we see rocks turned over, where she is teaching them about looking for bugs under rocks. I was off running errands yesterday when Genie took Smokey for a walk. Smokey is our 40 pound Keeshond. They were walking back up the road from our lower meadow. Smokey was running around in the woods and barking. All of a sudden, Genie heard crashing through the woods, and a bear cub came running across the road with Smokey in hot pursuit. Since we knew there was a mama and another cub somewhere, Genie was quite excited. We hike with bear spray, and she had hers in her hand with the trigger ready, waiting for mama to show up. Smokey returned when she called, and they hurried back up the hill. Here's a picture of the cub in our meadow a couple of weeks ago.Black Bear Cub in the Meadow

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Sep 3, 2011

Miner's Cabin Circa 1890

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Just off our property is an old miner's log cabin. The US Forest Service logged it in their database of historic structures, and told us it is one of the best preserved they had seen. They guessed it was built in the 1890's. Gold was found in in 1859 in the creeks flowing out of the Front Range. Prospectors traced it to the source, and gold was found throughout these hills. Our property has dozens of mine pits scattered around. A family of miners named Fye built this cabin. We met young man whose grandmother used to stay in another cabin close by every summer. When we asked him whether the family hit gold, he pointed to a beater of a Toyota and said, "Does it look like it?" His grandmother told him the menfolk mostly just came up to the cabin to drink and tell stories.

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Sep 2, 2011

Bears in the Meadow

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We have bears visit the cabin several years each year. On our first day out here this summer, We saw mama bear come across the yard with two cubs. They are all black as night. Around dusk last night, we were sitting out on the deck with company, when Genie saw the mama again. She was in our lower meadow. She seemed to look right up at us on the deck. At first we did not see the cubs, and wondered if something had happened to them. By the time I got out with the camera, she had moved on, but I saw both cubs dash across the open meadow to catch up to mom. I managed to get one decent picture of the cub.

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Aug 25, 2011

Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship

I'm reading Alan & Debra Hirsch's book of this name. I've seen Alan speak a couple of times at Exponential. Here's a quote from the early part of the book:

Peter Vardy, a British philosopher who has studied the writings of that wild disciple Soren Kerkegaard, says,

All too often the domains of society and conformity, the social expectations that come from raising children, setting up home and the like, become a substitute for individuality in the God relationship. This (Kierkegarrd) sees as a travesty of the Christian demand. He blames this on priests and the general wish for mediocrity. There is a demand by "the crowd," the mass of people, to live an ordinary, unexamined and passionless life in which God is essentially irrelevant, and yet they want this life to be regarded as Christian.

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Aug 23, 2011

Hiking across Colorado

Dan Whitaker and Mark Jones have spent July and August hiking and climbing a 600 miles path from Durango, CO to the Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Denver. We met them as they entered the Indian Peaks Wilderness at the Hessie Trailhead around lunchtime today. I had just spent two hours fly fishing Boulder Creek, while Genie hiked with Smokey up to Lost Lake. Glad we met up.

We visited with them while we ate lunch. Great stories of adventure at high altitude. Dan and Mark have posted periodic updates on progress and pictures are posted at Hike across Colorado where you can see some of their journey. They have traversed some incredible country. They have one more segment, and hope to finish their trek by climbing Longs Peak on August 30. To see a map of their adventure, look here. Good look and Godspeed.

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Aug 22, 2011

Balloons over Boulder

Balloons over Boulder

Got up yesterday morning and saw hot-air balloons rising over the city. Love seeing the balloons fly.

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Aug 21, 2011

Nature without Nannies

I just read an article called Nature Without the Nanny State by TIMOTHY EGAN. Here's a short excerpt:

So, the conundrum: More than ever, an urban nation plagued by obesity, sloth and a surfeit of digital entertainment should encourage people to experience the wild — but does that mean nature has to be tame and lawyer-vetted?

My experience, purely anecdotal, is that the more rangers try to bring the nanny state to public lands, the more careless, and dependent, people become. There will always be steep cliffs, deep water, and ornery and unpredictable animals in that messy part of the national habitat not crossed by climate-controlled malls and processed-food emporiums. If people expect a grizzly bear to be benign, or think a glacier is just another variant of a theme park slide, it’s not the fault of the government when something goes fatally wrong.

I've visited Yosemite twice this summer, so the news about 16 people who have died there in 2011 really grabbed me. I think Egan is onto something. When in Norway visiting friends a few years ago, we hiked to a place called Preikestolen (the Pulpit). On the hike in, we found places with chains attached to rock walls to give a handhold where there was a steep dropoff. When we got to Preikestolen, you could walk right up to the edge, sit down and dangle your legs over a 1500 ft cliff.

Gregg & Genie at Preikestolen.Preikestolen, Norway

In the good old USA, a person gets hurt in a park and they want to sue, like it's someone else's fault. Here, you'd encounter fences and warning signs, and still people find ways to get injured and killed. Do we really want to live a life with guardrails everywhere we go?

One final quote from the article: Yosemite’s most lyrical advocate, the naturalist John Muir, anticipated the urban hordes as the population moved away from field and farm. At the dawn of the 20th century, he saw the parks as places to escape “the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury.” But Muir also expected people to have some basic understanding of the outdoors.

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Aug 17, 2011

Rainbow Closeups

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Aug 14, 2011

Out of Solitude

Love this quote from Henri Nouwen's Out of Solitude:

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world.Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says thanks. We are likable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indespensable. In shore, we are worthwhile because we have successes. And the more we allow our accomlishments, the results of our actions, to become the criteria of our self-esteem, the more we are going to walk on our mental and spiritual toes, never sure if we will be able to live up to the expectations which we created by our last successes.

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Aug 9, 2011

Hummingbirds Feeding

Broad-Tailed Hummer at feeder

I was sitting on the deck yesterday afternoon, trying to capture photos of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds at our feeder. Managed to get this shot in motion. Then I noticed another hummer feeding on the Indian Paintbrush in the yard, and shot half a dozen shots, not knowing what I'd find. Out of the six, this one came out well.

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird on Indian Paintbrush

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Aug 5, 2011

Osprey on nest

On our drive down the Peak to Peak Highway on the way to Mount Evans, we stopped at a lake on the Gilpen/Boulder County Border. At the top of a telephone pole at the edge of the lake is an Osprey nest. We saw the Osprey on the nest. A couple of days ago, as we drove by another lake, Genie saw an Osprey flying with a large trout in its claws.

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Aug 1, 2011

Protesting Forest Service Logging

Stop Logging

A neighbor is posting signs protesting the mechanical thinning going on down our road. The first signs disappeared the same day. See more here.

Clearcut Forests

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Jul 30, 2011

A grandchild's tear

I was back in Atlanta for three days to visit my mother. Just before I returned, we heard from our best friends that her dad had died. I went up to the funeral on Thursday. There was an hour long visitation with the family at the church before the service. After hugging our friends, I went looking in the crowd for their three adult children. We've known these kids since they were born. I went up to them one at a time, finding them in the crowd. The first sister I found with a tear in her eye. Then, I went to her twin, and found her weeping as well. As the crowd moved into the sanctuary, I saw their eldest, their son, looking through the window at the coffin, with an anguished tear in his eye. I was deeply moved.

I don't remember crying at my grandfather's funeral. I don't remember my kids crying at my dad's funeral. Neither grandfather invested themselves their grandkids. The look on those three faces spoke volumes about the loving relationship our friends' children had with their grandfather.

We have three granddaughters, ages three, five and six. One of the true joys of my life is the time I spend with these three grandgirls. Later on that day, I spoke with my daughter and my son, Florrie and Andy.  I told them about the memorial service, and shared two aspirations that arose from it. I said, "I hope to live until my grandkids are adults, and I hope our relationship is such that whenever you send me off, there will be tears in my grandchildren's eyes." May it be so in your family. What a blessing.

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Jul 22, 2011

Early Morning Visitor

I'm glad we took in the bird feeders off the porch last night. At 5:30 AM, the dog started barking like crazy. I came downstairs in time to see a mama Black Bear with two small cubs ambling across the yard just below the deck. Watched them for five minutes as they wandered across the meadow and into the woods. We have seen this bear for several years, and she has come here to get birdseed before. First bear sighting this summer. I tried to get a picture, but it was too dark.

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Feb 19, 2011

Here's why we call it Eagle Peak

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Genie saw a big bird soaring above the meadow this morning near our Colorado cabin.  She got her binoculars and declared, "Bald Eagle." I grabbed my camera and shot these photos off the front porch.  This is why we call our place Eagle Peak. We see more Golden than Bald Eagles here so I was pleased with the sighting.

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Dec 27, 2010

You can't problem solve your way to success

I consulted with a large congregation in conflict early last year.  At the second meeting, the Long Range Planning Committee attended.  They were in the midst of creating strategies and plans, but there was no vision in place.  They did not like to hear me point that out, and went on their merry way.  The situation blew up later in the year, and the pastor left.  Now they are in transition, have lost hundreds in worship, and are beginning a process to discern a vision for the future.

A litany of problems moves congregations to action.  "We need a strategy," leaders assert.  So, they implement change to solve a problem.  "Let's start a new worship service," is a common response, and then the worship war starts.  Anyone who has tried exercise or diet plans knows that it's rarely enough just to want to move away from a negative reality of being overweight.  In a course called Creating What Matters, my friend and mentor Robert Fritz described it this way:  "Problem-solving is like building demolition--you are trying to take something away.  Creating is like architecture, trying to make something new. Moving away from a negative situation is not a vision."  Fritz says, "Have you made the fundamental choice to live a healthy life?  In so doing, you will readily adopt secondary decisions that are negative, like diet or exercise, in service of creating a healthy life."  We will choose negative choices that are moving us closer to a compelling vision, but we rarely choose them for their own sake. Read More.

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Dec 26, 2010

Time in the Wilderness, Time with God

This past summer, God called me into a season of prayer, meditation and discernment.  After a time of betrayal, tests and trials, I was seeking God’s still small voice to lead me forward on the path to which I am called.  Where do I go to spend this season? To our cabin in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado.  For ten years, we have spent summers, and a couple of months of winter, here on the mountain in the wilderness.  It is a place of peace, healing, restoration and a home where we give thanks for wonderful times with family and faithful friends.  Our land is surrounded by National Forest, with views of the Continental Divide, the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park. 

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The mountains have been a special and holy place since the time nearly forty years ago when God revealed himself to me in these same mountains.  Now I’m a city boy by birth and rearing, from Atlanta, far from these mountains.  But, since my first trip here, the Rocky Mountains have been my spiritual home.  I am not alone in seeking God in the wilderness.  From the time of Christ, his followers have withdrawn to seek God through solitude, seeking peace and quiet in God’s holy places.  Read More.

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Dec 23, 2010

Resilience, a gift born of challenge

When disaster comes, where do we find resilience? We watch with awe and wonder as people pick themselves back up after a disaster.  We wonder how we would respond.  Haitians already caught up in poverty endure a horrible earthquake, and now a cholera epidemic.  The Gulf Coast, barely recovering from Katrina, is experienced the slowly unfolding disaster of the BP oil spill.  Some disasters are natural--acts of God, we call them--while others are man-made.  Many disasters, both natural and man-made, affect large populations.  Others, rooted in betrayal and deceit, are intensely personal in nature, and affect only one person, a family, a business, a church or other small group.  Sometimes the disaster comes with a phone call from the doctor's office.  A pastor friend told me, when I was mired in challenge and conflict, "Gregg, at least you have your health.  I know many, many people who lost their health with a single phone call from the doctor." Read More.

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Dec 22, 2010

Fishing High Mountain Streams in the Indian Peaks Wilderness

For a decade, I've spent summers in the mountains above Boulder, just outside the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  Since arriving in Colorado I've become an avid fly fisherman.  I'd done it in fits and spurts for years, but never mastered actually catching fish on a dry fly.  Let me tell you, it's a whole lot more fun when you start catching fish.  That's why they call it Fishing and not Catching.

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I've started a section of the blog dedicated to fly fishing, one of my passions.  I'll be writing about various streams and rivers I've had a chance to fish.  I have a book titled, Fifty Places to Fly Fish before you die, and I've notched off a few of them.  I've found some special places of my own as well.  Enjoy the trip. Read More.

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Dec 17, 2010

Values & Goals Circa 1995

I focused strongly on learning time management skills in my sales and management career.  The methodology I studied focused on first articulating your values and overarching goals, and setting your long-term and short-term goals to move you towards the overarching goals and values. As I began to articulate my values, I found very little overlap with my life.

I have worked for 25 years to align my values and my life.  In 1995, I began articulating my goals for my second career.  In order to make sure that I continued to increase the overlap of these two circles, I spent time formalizing a list of values for my second half, and what goals I would set to live according to those values.  Read more.

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Dec 15, 2010

Humility: A Painful Lesson to Learn

My friend and colleague Beth Marie Halvorsen did her doctoral work looking at two dimensions of the godly life, framing them as a continuum.  The dimensions were boldness versus humility.  As a lay person learning leadership in the business world, I did not have many role models who demonstrated humility.  It is not a trait common to successful business leaders. Boldness I understand. Read more.

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Dec 13, 2010

Harmless to Everyone

At my recent men’s retreat, the topic was self-awareness.  We read an excerpt from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Hansen and Les Hewitt.  The book identifies three levels of being:  mechanical and asleep (child stages), awakening (adult stages), and conscious and awake (self-realization stage).  I was particularly interested in harmlessness, a behavior that falls into the "conscious and awake" stage.  For the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on what it would mean for me to live in a way that's harmless to all, and I’ve been surprised at what I’ve found. Read more.

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Dec 8, 2010

How Will You Deal With Betrayal?

In the 10 years since I sold my business to live a life as a Christ follower, I have seen several instances where trusted friends and colleagues have turned away.  For some, that meant saying yes when subsequent behavior really said no, and for others it was outright betrayal.  This may be the bitter fruit of the Christian walk.  I found that these moments bring with them great disappointment and pain.  As we live out the life of faith, there will come a time when we face betrayal.  We will experience what Jesus experienced, when trusted friends betray us in a “Judas moment.”  How will we respond to betrayal? Read more.

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