Archive for Other

Veterans Day

// November 11th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Other, Reflections

I’d like to say “Happy Veterans Day” to all of our country’s finest, but somehow it doesn’t quite seem fitting to these men and women who have given their lives and their limbs for this land and the people who inhabit it.

So instead, to those who have served and are serving, who have given everything and are still giving.  I would like you to know you are in my prayers.  I would like you to know me and my family are thankful.  We are grateful.  You are not forgotten – not today, not any day that we remain free.

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

God bless you!


// October 14th, 2011 // No Comments » // Getting biblical, Other

An alpine start is necessary in climbing, but who knew it was also necessary in film production.  Getting up before the sunrise is critical for capturing the best light and the best shots.  Just a few days ago I had the opportunity to help out Eli Pyke with a shoot for his company Zion Pictures –  Eli called me and told me he was doing a shoot close to where I live and that he could use some help.  I immediately offered knowing this would be a great opportunity to learn, and that I had enough skill to be of some value to what he was doing.  A pastor, who is a friend to a lot of people I know  in the Vail Valley and has just recently written a book called Replenish, was putting together a DVD to compliment his teaching aimed at church leadership.  Lance Witt was the executive pastor at one of the nation’s most visible and influential churches called Saddleback in California.  There he pastored under Rick Warren – the guy who gave the Benediction at President Obama’s inauguration – and was in charge of a staff of 400 (just a little country church).

The shoot went well, the weather was outstanding, and I learned a lot about production.  What I didn’t expect from these few days of work was to come away from a work project having been ministered to by the content.  It is so easy, no matter what we are doing, to be so ingrained in the mechanics of the workflow that we miss out on the words being spoken – not just into the microphone, but to our hearts.  Lance brought out a team of people whose work in ministry is to see to it that those who care for others take a little time out to care for themselves and maintain a healthy relationship with Jesus.  The focus of the Replenish series is to do just that – keep people on track with priorities and work, to not get to caught up in the mechanics, and keep an ear open for the Lord’s voice.

You can find out more about pastor Witt and his wife Connie and their work here:

To learn about Mindy Caliguire  from Willow Creek Community Church and her work at SoulCare go here:

To meet Pastor Shaun from a church deep in Detroit who has no interest in Rock Climbing but is helping others climb out of trouble go here:


Climbing Mount Everest With A Blind Partner

// May 6th, 2011 // No Comments » // Climbing, Other

Jim Cantelon speaks with Eric Alexander about how he managed to climb Mount Everest with a team, including his friend, blind climber Erik Weihenmayer.

A Standing O

// October 18th, 2010 // No Comments » // Leadership, Other

Just the other day I gave a keynote address to the St. Joseph’s Academy community Prayer Breakfast in Brownsville Texas.  When I was done addressing the audience I received a standing ovation.  This is certainly an honor and to be honest I find it most humbling.  I was able to stand up and talk about the faith that is required to climb the Everest’s that we all face, and the courage it takes to face mountains of doubt.  I shared about teamwork that goes beyond mere cooperation to accomplish common goals, and challenged people to depend on each other and on God as they persevered onward towards that end.  I shared from my climbing experiences and at the end of my time in this small border town found that I was the one who actually received a message.

The message I received was from those who give their all to the students and community in humility and hard work every day and make a difference in those lives.  In a short time I can say my life was touched by the warm reception, kindness, dedication to doing a good job, and the pride of a collaborative effort that makes the community strong.  I think they gave me a standing ovation because they understood the message, were already applying it, and felt as though someone understood them for who they are and what they are doing.

So now back home I stand and return the applause.  Keep up the good work, persevere and never give up on those you serve St. Joe’s.

Michael W. Smith Bought Me Dinner

// September 21st, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Other

My father -in-law Rob takes care of the chapel at Beaver Creek.  This picturesque chapel is in the mountains of


Colorado where I got married six years ago.  Sitting at the base of the Beaver Creek ski area it is frequented by various celebrities, some of whom have even spontaneously dropped in to tickle the ivories of the Grand piano.  The piano is big, black, shiny and beautiful and among other things expensive to tune.  When people drop in and start hammering away on this thing of beauty my father in-law is quick to let them know they need permission to play and sends them on their way – unless of course they are making wonderful music.

One fall night last year a joyous group had entered the chapel and began to play and sing without notice or permission.  Rob quickly ran down to see what was going on and told the group that they really shouldn’t be playing.
Rob, however, recognized the music and said “that sounds like Michael W. Smith.  You know hes used to come and play at the church here and even led worship down in town one time.”  He went on with stories about Michael, Kannakuk camps, his kids, when someone from the group interrupted and said “this is Michael right here.”  Rob got embarrassed and said they could keep playing.  Before they did they asked him to take their picture, which he did, and the funniest thing of all was that they gave him some money and said “go have dinner on us.”  I laugh to think that he accepted it, but also that in the picture he took were probably a few other well known artists.

Just yesterday Micheal returned and played to the students at a local school where my church meets and then went up and played another spontaneaous concert at the chapel.  I told Rob to go back down, take a picture, and try to get us all dinner – he declined laughing at himself from last year.  Thanks Mr. Smith for entertaining our town and for buying dinner – enjoy the piano and have a nice time here in Beaver Creek.  learn more about Michael W Smith

Garbage For Christmas

// September 2nd, 2010 // No Comments » // Other

Satisfaction Guaranteed or your trash back! That is the slogan of the Vail Honeywagon service which picks up our garbage every Thursday morning. Trash day at our house rolls around with all the excitement of Christmas and the garbage man being held in esteem as high as Santa Claus. My two year old twin girls run and scream with excitement when they hear the truck rumble down the road and laugh with anticipation as the pneumatic lift hoists the heavy bin with refuse from the neighbors behind us. Running to the door, I scramble to keep up with the girls as they now scamper up the driveway to wait for this incredible machine and its display of power and engineering. A squatting position is assumed, as a sign of submission to the great truck, and adoring waves are thrown at the man who is today’s hero. The event begins. All of the things we don’t want in our lives, all of the foul, stinky, rotten garbage is taken away; steaming bags of smelly diapers, spoiled food, and the most putrid of all – junk mail. Who in their right mind would want to take this stuff, of all things, from our home? The man is a hero indeed, yet do we wave, smile, say hello? Most of the time – especially before my girls – I would never even see this magic mystery man as the can would go out full and come back empty.

Now I look at him differently and with admiration because the garbage man resembles someone else I know. This someone has also picked up the garbage of my life and taken it all away. He’s done it for all of us, yet very few run out to meet him or want anything to do with him. I want to run to him with the same enthusiasm of my girls because he died taking out my trash and he first came on Christmas day. That someone lives again and wants all the trash we still put out, his name: Jesus. Thanks garbage man for showing me that trash day is a gift like Christmas.

Friday Afternoon Stress Relief

// August 20th, 2010 // No Comments » // Advice, Other

Spending too much time at the computer?  Need to get outside?  Take a break right here and imagine you just rode this bike 2,000 vertical feet and had to set it down to go retrieve your lungs off the road before a coyote gets to them.  Take a second, say a prayer, focus on your to do list and when this is over go do it and put as #1: Have a great Weekend!

Anger Management

// August 12th, 2010 // No Comments » // Hiking, Other

Is anger really something that we should let control us? I was out on the rocks doing some climbing on what was a stunning Colorado morning. I was making a personal video with my Canon 7D (an expensive semi-pro SLR) to use for an upcoming web-conference. I had shot some clips and had some fun climbing around, setting up, and even tried to get a shot rappelling. To get this shot I had to set the camera up on a tripod close to the edge of an 80 foot cliff. It all seemed great; I grabbed a few wild raspberries, ate them, clipped in to the rope, hit record, and then laughed my way down the face thinking for sure I had captured something cool for my little production. I felt free almost as if I had just been able to fly.

My camera was surely jealous, it too wanted to taste this freedom, at least that is my only explanation. Because just as I unclipped from the rope I could see a dark shadow falling. Then I heard a few loud cracks, and once I realized what had happened, released a few loud cracks of my own. A gust of wind had knocked over my precariously placed picture taker and sent it pummeling down to the platform of granite below. I got the clip I needed, but somehow this failed to make me smile. I was angry. In fact I was so angry that no outburst ensued. I was beyond emoting. Perhaps there in lies a lesson on managing anger – usually there is nothing you can do about it anyway, so why waste a beautiful day. When it gets bad like this, you just have to say – “it is only stuff anyway.” WWJD? He probably would have had a cheaper camera, and set it up properly to begin with, but I know he would not have had a little bratty fit. Proverbs 29:11 – A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.

Something Old, Something New

// August 8th, 2010 // No Comments » // Hiking, Leadership, Other

Standing on top of 14,015 foot Wetterhorn peak recently with twenty new friends, offered me a new perspective on climbing these old mountains, the act of which sometimes makes me feel as old as they are.  I had been here before on top of this remarkably beautiful and rugged mountain, but every time out offers something different.  I was climbing with a group of “tweeners”, teenagers between high school and college and our objective was to challenge ourselves in the mountains and then apply the lessons learned in the day to a talk that night.  The talk would focus on college life and how best to prepare for the mountains of challenges that lie ahead.  The group had travelled from Indiana for the experience of climbing a couple of Colorado’s famed fourteen thousand foot peaks, and their enthusiasm was immediately made apparent to me.  There were a lot of questions, a lot of nervousness, with enough excitement and energy to light a small city.

For me the thought of waking up early, setting a slow pace on familiar ground, with a large group did nothing to make me nervous, excited, or even feel challenged.  The challenge for me now was to not let my crusty attitude diminish the joy of their new discovery.  The rains came and doused our camp threatening to dampen our gear and our spirits as well.  I have spent a lifetime pursuing outdoor adventure and have seldom felt this way, but it seemed to be getting a little old.  Maybe it was me. Maybe I am getting old!?  Was it the rain?  Was it the longing to be with my family?  Am I too out of touch to hang with teenagers anymore?  Am I impatient, irritable, selfish…or just old?

Shelter From the Storm

// February 10th, 2010 // No Comments » // Climbing, Other

Last week and again tomorrow I will be teaching the students at The Vail Academy and the Charter Academy how to build snow shelters for winter survival. For most outdoor programs it is beneficial to have good weather, but for this I am actually hoping for a storm. Lots of heavy, wet snow. The kind that soaks your clothes but makes perfect snowballs – this also makes perfect shelter. In thinking about this and lessons from it, and by personal experience, I have seen that the very thing which the storm is driving at us could kill us, but it is that exact thing which can save us from it as well. The saying goes that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When the storm gives you snow, make shelter, if you are lonely – make a snowman or woman. If you are thirsty melt it and drink. What storm is life hammering at us today? Is there something to be snatched from the storm and used to make us stronger or potect us? Don’t get beat down by it instead be delivered. Let the wind and snow give us a place to go to get away from wind and snow. Ecclesiastes 7:12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. We will gain wisdom if we can weather the storm, it may not be the Ritz but the storm has given you what you need to make it through another night.