25 June 2009


On my run this morning, looking around, listening to the sounds of my old stomping grounds, I realized not much has changed around here: it's still super muggy, some of the trails in the park still flood, my road still doesn't see much traffic, and the river still runs high in the summer.

At home, there are still several motorcycles in the garage, my air rifle still hangs in its place, and we still have Macs. There's cereal in the cupboard, snacks in the fridge, and strawberries in the garden. Dad still rides to work, mom still plants flowers, and Luke still plays basketball.

One year ago, at this very hour, I was getting ready to get in the car and leave for basic. The time passes quickly. I've changed a bit, grown a lot.

But all that is the same could change, and I'd be happy, because I know one thing will never change: God loves me, and so does my family. In a world where nothing is constant - except, maybe, in my hometown - that is a blessed assurance.

21 June 2009


"Patience and love. Sometimes tough love."

Talking to my grandparents and parents on the porch after dinner, I asked the fathers what the most important thing they'd learned was. Grandpa Schave answered very quickly with "Patience."

He talked of raising his two kids and caring for his two grandkids, of times when frustration was easy and patience was hard, but only patience made for good children. Love is always necessary, but it's not always exactly what we'd call nice.

He talked of his son Scott, who got a lot of tough love from Grandpa. But when Scott went to get married, he asked his dad, my grandpa, to be the best man: "You're the best man I know," he said.

Thus ensued stories of laughter and of tears from all four of my grandparents and both of my parents, some about my uncles and parents, some about my brother and I. My Grandma Mc, considering all this, said, "I've got a few lady friends without children. What an empty life that must be. I've been so blessed by all of my children - what's the point without them?"

She raised my dad and his brother as a single mom - yet she found joy as a mother, even during the hardest times. There is pain and worry and sorrow, yes, but there is joy.

What my dad said ties right into that: "Patience and letting you guys fail at things that wouldn't hurt you, instead of making everything perfect all the time." It must be hard - and very worrying - to see your child fail, but as I look back on it, I see that I am better for it.

I pray that I can one day be as good of a father as my fathers have been to me.

19 June 2009

Things I learned this week

Here's a list I wrote down in my notepad while we holed up throughout Combat Survival Training in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It was a hard week, but in the end, it was worth it: I made some good friends, learned a lot, and got rescued by a Blackhawk.

-It is possible to carry a 40 pound ruck 5 clicks a day at 9,000 feet on less than 1,000 calories.

-It's OK to keep checking your makeup when your makeup is camo facepaint.

-You don't need a towel, washcloth, shaving cream, running suit jacket, or scarf for a week in the woods.

-God did a very nice job on Saylor Park.

-If you don't put much in your stomach, nothing comes out the back end.

-It's easy to get apathetic about maintaining your gear when you're tired, hungry, and cold.

-It's dangerous to get apathetic about maintaining your gear when you're tired, hungry, and cold.

-You can gain your men's respect quickly by telling them you fail if they fail.

-There are a lot of hillbillies in Saylor Park, as evidenced by numerous piles of shotgun and handgun shells in clearings.

-A brace can really help start a fire.

-Vaseline-soaked cotton balls are great fire starters.

-You know you're hungry when ants and leaves look tasty.

-Rabbit liver is pretty good when it's not overcooked.

-There isn't much meat on a duck neck, but it's worth some effort if it's all you get to eat for the day.

-Gore-tex is real good stuff.

-If it ain't rainin', it ain't trainin'.

-A pace count can keep you from getting lost.

-Hunger is the greatest of spices.

-From on top of Falcon Peak, Saylor Park looks pretty flat.

-Saylor park is not flat.

-It's easy to have natural spiritual conversations at 9200 feet in the dead of night.

-City kids are really loud in the woods.

-The sun doesn't always rise due east.

-Sometimes you have to chew your water.

-It's possible - and possibly deadly - to get overhydrated.

-Always trust your compass.

-When you picture your cats after a week in the woods, they look like bobcats.

-Sitting on an anthill can result in an itchy feast.

-"Eat the strawberries" sometimes means you gotta eat the strawberry leaves.

-Having ants in your pants really does make you jittery.

-Boredom is the hardest part of evasion.

-Camping is much more fun with food.

-Aspens make for noisy leaves, but pines make for noisy sticks.

-Returning with honor is entirely possible with faith and knowledge.

The Real World

Sitting around our poncho shelter camp last night, I heard one guy ask, "Anyone remember what the real world's like?"

After a week in the woods, civilization seems distant and rather unimportant. Life goes back to the basics when in the woods: water, shelter, food. If something doesn't have a use there in the woods, it's forgotten. Housecats look like bobcats in the memory, and even the most hated foods sound delicious.

But I must ask: which world is more real? The world of televisions, microwaves, cars and cell phones? Or the world of mountains, forests, beavers, and streams?

Get out into the real world for a bit. Let me know what you think.

06 June 2009


Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

After missing church last Sunday because of training, I got the chance to go with a friend tonight to my home church out here, Woodmen Valley Chapel. I needed it, and I was glad to go to the house of the Lord.

During the opening music, one of the church members painted a 4' x 6' canvas of Pike's Peak. Beautiful. It was her form of worship, and as we sang songs about the wonder of God's creation, we could look at the painting and be reminded of the amazing view right outside.

During his sermon, our Pastor spoke of three ways of responding to creation: pantheism, where we worship the creation, which leads to a very hollow life; and hedonism, or consumerism, where we use creation for our own needs without care for the consequence.

Suddenly, Pastor took a bottle of black paint and squirted all over the beautiful painting. He was almost in tears - the painting was destroyed. But it was more than a painting. It was the painter's worship. He said it was one of the hardest things he had ever done on that stage. He had talked with painter about it a lot, and had her assurance it was alright. But it was disgusting, to him, to us, to everyone. It is an image I'll never forget. Lesson: Christians are stewards of God's creation. And when we dishonor that creation, we do something far worse than ruin a small canvas.

I have not yet mentioned the third response: worship. We worship God because of the truth, of the beauty, and the authority in His creation. Nothing we have is our own. If you think something is truly yours, that you've earned it, that you've got a right to it, ask yourself this: will it be mine in a hundred years?

I watched Fight Club last night, and even a raw, secular movie like that shows this truth. I'd be very careful watching it, but Tyler Durden makes some good points. "You are not your job. You are not the money you have in the bank. You are not your car. You are not the contents of your wallet."

You are a child of God. A recklessly loved, endlessly pursued child of the living, caring, almighty Creator God.

How will you respond?

02 June 2009


Can you smell it?

This generation needs a revolution. We're lost. Sex, drugs, and everything else have left us broken and disenchanted.

There is more. There is a lot more. Some say it's restricting. But it's really liberating. And it's life.

There is one source for life. It's been around a long time. Forever.

Check out YouthCanLead.com for more. The website is still in development, but it's coming quickly.
It's led by some of the people that have shaped my life as God spoke through them. People that showed me what living life to the fullest actually means.

01 June 2009

Death by PowerPoint

How not to do it:

10 hours of PowerPoint briefings in one day. With 574 people in the room. Teaching stuff you'll teach again later with equipment in hand and people in the field.

Your points won't be powerful. They'll be sleep-inducing. To keep people awake, AETC has a rule for ten-minute breaks every hour.

But there's a better way. I recommend that AETC adds the 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint presentations. It will keep students awake enough to actually learn something. 10 slides max. 20 minute presentation. No font smaller than 30 point.