So yesterday i climbed one of Colorado's famed fourteeners. Tackling Mt. Sneffels was perhaps one of the hardest things i have ever done. We met at the church at 6 pm and drove an hour to the pass, then 40 minutes or so up it, in 4WD, in Suburbans. About 8:30, we started climbing. i soon realized why several experienced climbers i know call Sneffels their least favorite climb. it is ALL boulder fields and scree [loose glacial leftovers of dirt and rock]. You can't see anything pleasant unless you turn around. The first 30 minutes i dealt with a physical block--the altitude. it was so hard to move, even though i wasn't sore and my pack wasn't heavy. i just couldn't breathe. One member of our group actually turned back because of it. But after a while, i got adjusted. Then it became a mind game. Honestly, i didn't know if i could make it. The loose boulders were seriously no fun. No fun to look at, no fun to climb, i kept feeling like i was going to slip and fall... then, about 3/4 of the way to the summit, another intern climbing above me knocked off a torso-sized boulder which headed right for me. Luckily, i didn't freeze and managed to scramble away, traversing faster than i ever had before, and it missed me. If i hadn't moved, i wouldn't have lived, literally. The thought of it made me cry. "i hate these boulders!" was all i could manage to mutter the rest of the way up. if there were any nice meadows where i could've frolicked, i would have stopped. Except the thought of staying in the boulder field alone was really mortifying, so i pressed on. After the last boulder field, you have to climb across and up an open face, which was my favorite part of the ascent. Finally, i could see something worth climbing for! The San Juans looked gorgeous. Then we reached the summit and i stood 14,150 ft above sea level. Wow. i could see the Blue Lakes, mountains all the way to Utah, ski resorts... amazing. Reaching the top brought a true sense of accomplishment. Grabbed some lunch, shot some quick pics and headed down, hurried by hail. After climbing about 1/4 of the way, we reached some loose scree and were able to slide on our heels, controlled by hands and leaning back on our packs, about half of the rest of the way. That was my favorite part! The descent took about an hour and a half. We missed the rain, which was a real blessing. i will climb another fourteener, if i get the chance, but never again Sneffels.


What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

a group of girls and the Montrose Dance Academy owner [who goes to our church] did an amazing dance to this today at church, to Fernando Ortega's version. Very moving, indeed.


i went camping last night in the Uncompaghre National Forest. It was amazing. We had to four wheel drive for 30 minutes to get to our spot, a cove near the base of Courthouse Mountain, next to a stream. It was peaceful and amazing. The wildflowers were so vivid! It's the greenest place i have been in Colorado by far. Our group was almost all guys, but i had so much fun with Caroline, the one girl who went. Hurrah for her! She is totally a Colorado kid... she told me she would take me rock climbing, which sounds pretty exciting! A bunch of the interns are climbing Mt. Sneffels, the nearest fourteener, Monday. It is supposedly a hard hike/climb, lots of scree [loose rock] and stuff. i am really excited, even though we have to leave at 5 am. i will let you know how it turns out.


fyi, my friend chris has started his own blog. it is pretty good. when i switch around the left bar, it'll get a link.

i apologize for being such a poor post-er this summer. There, i said it. Anyway, 3 weeks and 2 days left here in Montrose. Bittersweet for sure. i have met some amazing folks who have taught me a lot. i want to tell y'all a bit about one of those people, the associate pastor, Bruce. He gave the most amazing talk in our "Bible, Life and Ministry School" session yesterday... on the Theology of Ministry. Basically, we don't do ministry because we love people, or because we love Jesus and want to serve Him, we are ministers because God first loved us, and we know he loves others too. And that theology has to impact every part of our ministry. We talked about having a Theology of games [things like Christ wouldn't embarrass people for an easy laugh] and a Theology of friendship and of time and everything. it was so good. Plus, Bruce has made me aware of a bad habit i [and many others] have: using the word "just" in prayer [e.g. "God, just do this"]. That language simply limits God and doesn't reflect our views of His sovereignty or His desire to lavish great gifts upon His children. Plus, he has the 3 cutest little girls ever. And they like me. Monster bear hugs and big smiles from kids aged 2, 4 and 6 make a day great to me. The little blessings of children.


i love the west. Yesterday we [4 interns + a fam from our church] went to Mesa Verde, a national park in the Southwest corner of Colorado. It is where ancestoral Pueblo/Hopi people lived in cliff dwellings for 700 years, farming on the mesas above. We got to see several dwellings up close, go in a kiva, and crawl around one dwelling, Balcony House. It was really neat. I was amazed at the ingenuity of the people and how well it was preserved, considering that the natives took off in 1300. On the way there and back we were able to see some of the most beautiful things in Colorado... the red mountains, Mt. Sneffles, Telluride, Durango, Ouray, Silverton, Beaver Creek Falls... i am in love with this region. i am hoping to climb a fourteener [a 14,000 high mountain] next week, which should make my Colorado sightseeing and adventures complete. Until the next trip anyway.


Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice,
You became nothing, poured out to death.
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life,
and I'm in that place once again.
I'm in that place once again.

And once again I look upon the cross where You died.
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside.
Once again I thank You,
Once again I pour out my life.

Now You are exalted to the highest place,
King of the heavens, where one day I'll bow.
But for now, I marvel at this saving grace,
and I'm full of praise once again.
I'm full of praise once again.

"once again" by matt redman. taught to me by the banchoreans. sung at youth worship tonight.


This summer has given me a newfound respect for people in Youth Ministry. Sunday School and youth group and small groups and one-on-ones along with events all the time. Stressful and tiring. i hope they know that they make a difference.


i have been back for two days so i figure i owe everyone an update. We [hs from our church and the scots] worked with an inner-city church, supporting them and different ministries they are aligned with. The first day we got there [after 8 hours traveling with lunch and traffic] we went to flat irons mall, which was quite nice. Then the next morning we got up and oriented and i headed with about 8 others to a volunteers of america [sister org to salvation army] mission and moved literally [no joke!] 10 tons of canned goods. that's 20,000 pounds! The two males [gav and kyle] and i were the unloading/stacking team and unlike the other team, we didn't get to use a cart. So, the three of us moved that much by hand. Actually, by arm muscles :o) we helped with some church admin later that day and the next day, got up at 5:30 so we could set up for a gigantic rummage sale put on by one of the non-profits to fund their food bank and provide clothes and household goods for poorer folks. then i did an outreach in the hispanic community, giving out juice and inviting people to free english classes at the church. it was there i met a bum, a woman probably 30 who looked more like 60. she spoke english [unusual in this neighborhood] and began talking to me and we just had a pleasant chat about where she had been and where she was going. all of the sudden she reached out and began stroking my hair and touching my face. my first reaction was to jump back: this dirty, already-drunk-at-10am woman was touching me! then two things struck me at once... a. all people need physical touch and b. Jesus touched lepers. So i fought the reaction and just smiled at her. i went back for lunch and to help clean in the church. then, we went to an assisted living facility [a low-key nursing home] and sang some praise songs and visited with those living there. i ended up talking to two blind people [a man and a woman] both of whom were musicians. they were fascinating and chatty and i was [literally] almost left there because i didn't notice everyone leaving! we had planned to go to a park, but rain kept us in. we ordered pizza and then, out of the blue, the two guy interns not on the trip showed up! now, Montrose is a good 5 hours from Denver, so it was a shock. After many minutes of talking and trying to figure out why they were there, the truth came out-- they were going to the NSync concert! Someone in the church gave them tickets! so, that was really funny. And then i went to the youth group of the church we were staying at. Finally, that night, we had a LONG praise and worship time :o) and paper plate awards. i got "happiest girl on earth". then lots of photos and talking and stuff. The following day we packed up, did a little shopping and took the scots to the airport. then i drove all the way home. so i was pretty exhausted. the worst part was that i really got to know some of the scots and found them to be quite lovely and cool and then they were gone :o( maybe i will go to banchory and visit them someday.


Guess what i did tonight? Went to a ceilidhs [pronounced kel-tee] goodbye dance at church for the Scots. It was amazing! Scottish dances are amazingly fun and not too complicated. Plus, they are great aerobic exercise. i am going to learn several and teach them to Tarheels. i am off to Denver for a few days to work in inner city missions. i will return Saturday. Send me email if you miss me!


Guess what? Sean taught me to drive a stick. he taught me to shift a few weeks ago in his cougar, but refused to teach me anything more in his precious vehicle. Then today, he borrowed an old truck from our bible study leader, Dr. Bob, to haul wood for an elderly couple. this is a beastly, 15 year old Ford F250 with a seat FAR away from the pedals and a huge gear shift. He had stopped by the house for something and just asked, "do you want to learn to drive a stick?" So, a few times around the parking lot at FPC and then i drove home. Then, after dinner we borrowed my host fams old camry. he told me i was the most natural of all the people he has taught. i was declared fit to drive and sent off on an errand by myself after about an hour of driving around town with him. it is exhilarating!


i have gone a few days without an update, so i am due. Let's see... rafting was amazing. i have found a new passion. Anyone from the Triangle interested in going in September, let me know. It is great fun. If i wasn't rubbish, i would want to be a rafting guide next summer! The fourth of July brought with it the annual church picnic, hosted by the interns. Fun was had by all. Amy's youth group from Scotland is on a mission trip and staying at our church and they have provided entertaining moments with frequency the last few days. i even made the official quote of the day for the first day of their trip by saying that i wanted to learn to shag... which to North Carolinians is a form of dance. Not to the Scots. More speech censorship needed, i suppose.


One of the other interns, Stephanie, her host family is the Irvings. Mr. Irving owns a hot air balloon company and this morning he took all of the interns up for a ride. We got all set up, then went in two shifts and i was relegated to the second one, so while Amy, Steph, Sean, Beth and Abigail [non-intern] went, the rest of us "chased"--followed the balloon by car! very adventurous, trying to find roads, etc. Then after 20 minutes, it was our turn. Nearly 2000 ft off the ground, i could see so far and the mountains looked breathtaking on the horizons. Our time went by so fast! Inside the basket, you don't really feel motions, you are just floating and it is peaceful and pleasant and fun. Nate, Betty and Tyson held on for dear life, which amused me, but i got some cool pictures. After we landed gently, we packed up the balloon and headed to the Irvings to cook over a campfire. It was fun. i really deserve the nickname "Mom," fixing messed up concentrated oj and demanding the boys and kids not blow bubbles towards the food, etc. we go rafting tomorrow, which i am excited about. don't let me whine about this job!


Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, Who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for all we adore Him.
PRAISE TO THE LORD, THE ALMIGHTY by Joachim Neander, 1680