Colorado Adventures: Mount Evans

One of my favorite things to do is to explore with my dad. We often get in the car with some water and snacks and head out to find whatever is in store for us. Yesterday, we traveled to a very small town for coffee. I don’t think it’s even a town; there is only one Safeway, a liquor store, and a Starbucks. It’s on the main stretch of Colorado’s 285 highway.

On the way home, we took an exit to where dad grew up sledding. It dumped us into another “little town”, again using that term loosely. It was mainly a post office, a restaurant, cabins, and a small camp. We stopped twice to ask for directions to this sledding hill dad loved as a child, but the town was practically empty, no one to ask. So we ventured through and found ourselves in Evergreen, our favorite fishing spot. Evergreen is quintessential Christmas. In about .25 of a mile and you’re through it, but it’s always full of warm coffee shops, and a very frozen lake. We saw that it was snowing on the mountains surrounding Evergreen and thought we’d take a quick detour.

That turned into many hours in the mountains, where we ran into Mount Evans and drove through surprising snow. We had no intentions of finding this back road, but loved every moment of it. Breathtaking beauty on roads never traveled. We were dressed totally inappropriately for 2 feet of snow, but still got out of the car and enjoyed it.

I could spend every single day exploring Colorado, stumbling across mountains, playing in the snow, and grabbing a coffee in a tiny, tiny town. Colorado is ever healing for me, a pure balm to the soul.

There is surprising beauty everywhere, but you must adventure.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of man.

 

With love from the front range (& beyond),

Cam

Christmas Letter 2014

Christmas

This year, I purchased photo Christmas cards for the first time. I’m laughing at myself now. They were so expensive and for what? I think next year, I’ll buy standard cards and write each recipient their own letter. I’m tired of the mundane traditions of the season and instead want to take each moment as it comes, revel in it, and be intentional about it’s purpose. Until then, enjoy your Christmas cards with a photo of us on the front; just what you wanted!

For those that follow me on this blog, Instagram, or the now semi-retired Facebook, it seems as if a Christmas letter is outdated. I remember as a little girl, I would have to stuff each letter into the card. As I grew, I started to edit my mother’s letters and take out the details that I was inevitably embarrassed about, albeit true. These days, you don’t need a letter when you have every. single. detail. about someone’s life, most of them you did not want to know. I could tell you the things I’ve eaten in the past 24 hours, or how I’ve (not) gone to the gym, or what I think of the person who cut me off, but why are those things important? They’re not. When we pass on, will you be remembered by the things you have done or said or shared or will share? I can’t stomach what y’all would think of me. So this Christmas, the focus is on Jesus. I could fill this letter with Dillon’s career accomplishments, my daily life as I’ve come to know it, family affairs, or what we plan for the next year; sure, they may be interesting, but they do not matter in comparison to much bigger things.

So this year, the letter is about Jesus.
You may stop reading now, I totally understand.

This time last year, Dillon and I packed up our entire lives and jumped into black water. We could not see the bottom and begged God to help us stay above it. The story continues that He did, we survived, and our life is steady these days. Yet, it goes so much deeper than that. Please know, I can only speak for my own heart, although it’s often in rhythm with my husband’s, so this is largely from my perspective. His story is his to share.

In the past…I suppose many years, even though I wish it was a blink of an eye, I’ve battled some things that I would not have chosen for myself. As humans, we piece together this life we want, comprised of everyone else’s lives, to result in the perfect circumstances. In my heart, that was built as a castle, a castle that I lived in for many years and it was made of pure, thin, fragile glass. I did not dwell with God, I stayed within my own self and the only way God was going to get me out of it was to take it down in one swift motion of gut wrenching pain. What was a swift motion, became a drawn out ache, coloring everything I saw. I was mostly angry with God, as He had taken away the glass house I had tiptoed in for my entire life. As the years went on, I sought council, friendship, and healing, my life was rebuilt. I felt like God took the glass away, and has rebuilt a small dwelling in my heart, made of heavy beams and only roomy enough for Him.

The outside of me has followed suit, letting go of the things that fit the frailness of my heart and in came a sturdy, simple, and naturally beautiful things that resonate with God. Instead of feeling as though I must look perfect all the time, I instead thrive off feeling real and dirty and hard working. I have been stripped of everything I used to fill my heart other than God.

The journey was long, is long I should say, and full of many steps. I still thank God every day that my husband brought us to Colorado, as it was completely vital to my healing. I will die here and enter heaven through the Rocky Mountains. I still walk those steps every day and have to check my emotions daily. More than that, I have to check my heart daily. Am I pushing God out? Am I replacing Him with things that only served to shatter my world? Each day is a step, sometimes forward, sometimes backwards but at least I am on steady ground again.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord. – Psalm 40:1-3

This Christmas season signifies a huge leap of trusting God, and of massive amounts of healing. I am forever, and ever joyful to be thriving today, but only by the grace of God. I hope this transforms every moment for me and leads to monumental things in this next year.

There is no better summary of the year than this: God is a God of redemption, healing, and is an expert craftsman. I may not always want it, but I can depend on God being my constant, even when glass houses break.

With so much love, peace, joy, and holiday cheer from the front range,

Cameo Abigail Pierce

Recipe: Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

Tis the season for peppermint hot chocolate! Before you grab that powdered concoction with a laundry list of junk in it, try my dairy free version with about 15 less ingredients.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
1 c. almond milk
2 T. pure maple syrup
1 1/2 T of cocoa
Drop of peppermint extract

Heat almond milk until scalding. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients until completely smooth.

You’ll be totally surprised how delicious and creamy it is, dairy free and refined sugar free to boot!

Happy Holidays!

October & November Update / Thoughts about adoption

I hope this finds you well and living in the goodness of Jesus. Our life has been uneventful, but fulfilling. We have moved into our new home and totally love it; it’s bright, open, and best of all, packed with people every Thursday night for small group. We always want our home, in whatever capacity, to be open for people, to be a safe place and a welcoming place. As we are blessed with space, so we give it back. Our cups runneth over with those who enter and we are grateful for every guest who finds refuge here.

We will cut our Christmas tree down next week, and once it’s up and decorated, I’ll post some photos. Of course, I would much rather have you walk through the door and sit in our living room. You are welcome any time for any reason at all. This Saturday is our town’s 79th Annual Starlighting. The entire town shuts down and we gather in the downtown square and read a poem, sing Silent Night, and count down the lighting of the huge star that sits on THE Castle Rock. It is the biggest event of the entire year in our little town. You can read more about the history here. I am so excited and I will likely cry through the entire thing. Sure, it’s a bit hokey, but I’m all about hokey.

One of my best friends and I are planning a trip to Europe in February and I’m really looking forward to that! I’m mostly looking forward to a beer and pretzel, followed by chocolate cake in Germany. Is that stereotypical of me to think that? Is that like every other place in the world thinking that Americans only eat burgers? Because that’s true. I eat a lot of burgers. Regardless, I’m thrilled.

Our families are doing well. My daddy is finally recovering from his broken leg back in February, mama is enjoying her time with committees and ministry, which she’ll do until she dies. The little boys are doing great too! Karson is finally tall enough to see the top of the pool table and Kaiden is a world famous scientist in the world of 6 year olds. Dillon’s younger brother Jake is finally home from his trip and I’m exhaling for a successfully safe trip across the United States. Their parents’ businesses are growing wildly, and their ambition and dreams course through Dillon’s soul just as much.

The weather is balmy, about 60* during the day, and in the 30s once the sun goes down. Last week, we got roped into the polar vortex and it reached a high of 0 degrees one day, sans wind chill. It was my most favorite day, I love the shift in seasons.

If I may also shift direction of this post, I’d like to share my heart. I don’t think I have a whole lot of readers, so I like to use this space as a canvas where my heart and mind can collide and make sense of things. If you read this along the way, welcome in to my soul.

For my entire life, I’ve always known I will adopt. It’s always been a part of my story, and as Dj and I grow in Christ, it’s become ours. God has moved in Dillon’s heart immensely, as in mine. We will adopt.

The way I see it, adoption is Christ.

If I get the pleasure and honor of being a mother via adoption, it will be beautiful and exciting and a moment of straight up goodness from God.

But there is heartbreak first. A mother must give up her child, hoping that by her choice, this child will have a fighting chance.

Her heartbreak is my hope.

Isn’t that Jesus on the cross? God gave up His son, that by that sacrifice something beautiful would come of it. It was painful and hard but it changed the world.

I hope to replicate that in my small, insignificant life. That by a woman’s sacrifice, something beautiful would come of it. It will be painful and hard, but it will change the world for that child and for our family. 

I think of her often. If we adopt, when? How old is our birthmother right now? Is she 5? Is she 15? What is her family life like? Does she love Jesus? Does the father of her child love her?

It breaks my heart that something I desire so strongly in life comes at the cost of a broken life for her. If I believe that God has called me into adoption, then I must also believe that God has called this girl into a scary life…brave, yet hard decisions have to be made.

I pray for this girl, whomever she may be, wherever she might be. Whenever our worlds finally cross paths, I will hug her and tell her that I have prayed for her for years, and I thank God that she is a pure reflection of redemption.

Goodnight, all.

Four days, hours of sanding, 5 coats of paint and stain, and lots of time to dry, here she sits. I am in love with it, but think next time, I shall pay someone else to do it. 🙂

Recipe: Paleo Fried Chunky Monkey

Sometimes my old eating habits come back, especially when the ice cream man drives down out street MULTIPLE times per day. I’ve weened off most refined sugar and eat fruit minimally compared to my other three food groups of meat, vegetables, and nuts. 

I tell ya though, come 10:00 o’clock, I’m dreaming of that Tweety Bird ice cream popsicle with bubblegum eyeballs. So, I must act fast to squash said sweet craving or indulge myself in moderation. Tonight I inuldged myself in quite possibly, the best paleo dessert known to man.

Fried Chunky Monkey. Banana’s fried in coconut oil, topped with cinnamon, honey, shredded coconut, walnuts, and Enjoy Life chocolate chips that were so perfectly melted. 

image

I certainly am no food photographer OR maker of beauty award food, but it’s only because I don’t have the patience to NOT eat it.

Here is the recipe:

Paleo Fried Chunky Monkey
Serving: 1 

1 ripe banana, sliced
1 T of coconut oil (or butter, as fat is so good for you)
Honey
Crushed Walnuts
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Enjoy Life Chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips)

In small saucepan, heat coconut oil on medium-high heat. Place banana slices in pan and cook on each side for two minutes, flipping over with a small spoon, as not to crush their tiny banana souls. They should be golden brown on each side when done.

Place in small bowl and immediately top with toppings (chocolate chips first so they can melt). Enjoy!

Love from the front range,

Cameo