Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Vail Pass Bike Path

"I remember the days of long ago, I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land." Psalm 143:5-6


Colorado in September is brilliant. And personally, my absolute favorite moments are standing still under golden aspens, watching the leaves dance to the cool mountain breeze. Watch a leaf closely, and I swear you can see them flutter with joy. Each one dancing to their own tune. But I think you know this...and you know that it makes my heart happy. Thank you for this...

Like David in the psalms, I can't help but to consider all that you built. It's a continuous brush stroke, filled with surprises of love, laughter, and beauty.  Nothing else fills me like the way you do. Nothing. Yet everything gets in the way between us. Too many days are going by without you. I am dried out. I am parched. Why do I do this to us? Jesus, my soul thirsts for you.
I know my thirst comes from my willingness to stay away from you. I am sorry. I am so caught up with myself that I forget the days of long ago. I forget what you're hands have done and what they are capable of in my life. I just continue on selfishly...which is lunacy considering who you are. Help me! I know that you have saved me as a whole...but I pray for daily salvation. I need it. I really need you to save me from everyday. Please! I can't continue to keep choosing to wander out in the desert when I have a home in the Springs! What's wrong with me man! I have issues.
Please continue showing up for me. Sometimes I do pay attention. And when I do, I am very thankful. Like this past weekend...I had one of the most joyful times. Sure, I stood under your work and knew this was built by you...The mountains, the trees, the skies, the sights and is all great. But it wasn't your most beautiful creation or works of your hand... The most beautiful definitely goes to the relationships you have built over the years. There is over 100 years of relationships between the Pasquel, Causey/Lay, Hendrix, Beckham, and Lawler families.  And in that time, you have been carving out one of the few masterpieces of my life. Jesus, let me continue to meditate on this creation amongst a few more I am aware of.  This is Living Water. These people you bless me with quenches my soul.
So please help me meditate on all your works. Especially the relationships you have built. Please allow me to be more intentional and stand still with the people I love. Please allow me to watch my friends and family closely, see them flutter with joy and dance to their own tune. I know this will make my heart happy. But I think you already know this...:) I love you!
What: Vail to Frisco Bike Ride
Who: Josh and Adrienne Cauey, Lauren Lay, Jeremy and Melissa Hendrix (this blog post is for you!), Sarah and Ugly Pasquel
When: 09/20/15
Stats: 13.6 miles and right around 1,500' descent from the top.
This is a sweet bike ride. We rented bikes down in Frisco, CO...for about $40 pp. A shuttle to Wilder Gulch TH is included. They drop you off about 13.6 miles and 1500' up through Copper Mountain. The ride starts off with a few steep switchbacks but relatively safe and on paved bike path.
The first few miles are quick, but beautiful. You head SE/E towards Copper Mountain.
We stopped in Copper mountain for lunch. Seemed like a neat town, but it is dead this time of year. We enjoyed good apps and brews in town.
This is a fun...very fun bike ride. Most people can do it no problem. Take your time and stop in Copper Mountain for lunch. Enjoy the views. Stay on the bike path while riding, stay off when not. Someone in our group almost collided with a rider...they were completely in the wrong and should be scolded. Continue the remaining 8 miles or so into Frisco and ride through town. Frisco has tons of shops, restuarants, etc, etc...typical mountain town. The trail is straightforward, easy to navigate. Just head down and continue forward. You end up cruising and using your brakes more than you pedal. Which is the kind of bike ride I like. I had a blast with my friends and will bring my girls back here one day to ride down this path again.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Lawlapalooza: action verb; 1) to say goodbye to the Lawdawg; 2) to put the Lawdawg down ;3) death sentence; 4) a remetamorphosis from "Lu" back to Aaron Lawler.

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Cor 16:13-14

I've known you since you were a 15 year old pimpled face awkward kid. You have always been Lu to me. Goofy, funny, idiotic...but always kind, honest, and loyal. You are one of my oldest and dearest friends. You are and forever will be one of my best friends. But it's time! Time to say goodbye to the old...and move forward with the best years of your life. And to your've been moving on. I am very proud of you. Proud of your family. And proud that you call me friend.
Dear Erin: THANK YOU! We didn't know if there was a wonderful enough human with the capacity to endure this weirdo, with his funky and awkward idiosyncrasies and even worse wardrobe...especially as he continues to wear his hat backwards with those hideous Wildcat shirts. His sense of humor is strange, his actions are often a conundrum (I swear he could have been a character on Seinfeld), and his thought processes...well...I don't even know! As one of his friends, I get it...but I doubted that he would find a sweet girl that would accept his mess. I'm glad you have. My prayer for you is that you have more days you find his "Lu-ness" more endearing than not. He'll get there...I'll make sure of that. Matter of fact, there are a couple of guys in his corner that will make sure of it as well. We promise you that we will encourage him to be the man you deserve. We promise you that we will encourage him to be a wonderful daddy to sweet Maddie. We will advocate for your marriage and family. We will continue to strengthen him up, so he can stand firm, watch over this family with all the love that you and Maddie deserve. We are his friends, we are his family...and now we're proud and excited to call you friend, and more importantly...Family. We love you. our circles, we do not do marriage alone. As the saying goes, "It takes a community to raise a child...", I also believe that "It takes a community to build and sustain a marriage." You already have friends who freakin' love you dude. And you have a network of support to lay your burdens on...this I know. Listen to those who love you:

Lu, there is obviously a ton of marriage advice you can find out there, but you have to learn to filter what is good, bad, and/or what will work for you and Erin.  One core piece of advice i would offer  is to always have no "exits" so to speak.  whether you're in the butterflies and unicorns lovey stage or the i hate life and marriage season.....never have that "well, if this doesnt work out....." thought in the back of your mind.  fight for your marriage.  and never be afraid to get help....from friends, counselors, family, whatever.  we're all messed up and all need marriage is perfect.  Your bachelor party weekend was a great reminder of how thankful i am for your lifelong friendship.....cant wait to see this next chapter of life for you brother. -Jeremy-
Whenever I think of Aaron, I think of a good time. I know no matter what we do, I am going to enjoy myself.  We joke about his selfishness, but he is really the opposite, because he will join in whatever activity everyone is doing and have the best time possible.  I am truly thankful to have him as a friend and while selfishly I would like to him to remain the old Lu.  I know he has a bigger calling in life as a daddy and a husband and can't wait to see him write the next 30 years of his book in his life.  I love you more than you will ever know and wish you the best luck in your future marriage sentence. -Nick-
Aaron, you are a brother to me.  Can't put into words what our friendship has meant since our sophomore year in high school.  As you, Erin, and Maddie begin this next stage of life together, remember marriage is a gift from God.  In Ephesians 5, God reminds us that our role as the husband is compared to Christ in relation to the church.  Hold tight to that, because though the journey is not always easy, but it is wonderful.  I have no doubt Erin is getting an great man that will love and protect her.  It may take a little time to smooth off some of those rough Lawdawg edges, but she's getting a great man.  I'm proud for you, looking forward to the seeing and being a part of the journey.  We're here for you, congrats you married up! -Josh_
To the future Lawler's...or Ollech's, if that's ya'lls thing...We are excited for you guys! We love you!

What: Lu's Bachelor Party
Where: The Ozarks in NW Arkansas
Who: Brad "Benny" Hardin, Don "the new 2/3rds" Brockman, Germany Hendrix, Coors Light Beckham, "Candy Store" Causey, Ugly (me), and the final official appearance of the LAWDAWG himself!

Quick notes of the weekend: Bachelor parties for 30/40 year old dudes...not quite the same. Lets just say:
1) talked about food allergies
2) children
3) prostate exams
4) and at one point, smelling and applying lotions while discussing essential oils...

...but we can say we stayed at a "manly man's cabin." At least we had that going for us...BTW, I still say the skin on the railing is Elk. Josh, is there anyway to verify?
We did a little climbing...
some cornholing...some kayaking...some fishing(less)...and a lot of making fun of each other!

but the thing we did the best, is throw rocks at other rocks. Because that's what stupid boys do ladies! All in was a fun weekend. Good food, good drinks, good times!!!!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ouray, CO: #nopermitneeded2015

"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:1-2

#nopermitneeded: (n) 1. someone who is accepted; welcomed; approved...loved.

#nopermitneeded: (v) 1. to welcome; to invite; to never turn away.

#nopermitneeded: (adj) 1. generally believed to be part of "what's going on."
This fun hash tag is an inside joke poking fun at a couple of climbing guides we ran into last Summer while staying in Estes Park, CO. We were going up to a local crag with our "big" group when the guides asked if we had a "permit" to climb. What? A freakin' permit to climb? A joke right? They went on to explain that a permit was needed to guide a group or climb in a large party. Of course we explained that we weren't a group...just a bunch of families looking for fun. They weren't pleased...You see, they had their own plans that day. They had a group showing up and they wanted the walls to themselves. I don't know if they were trying to scare us off...or discourage us from climbing there...who knows. Either way, it was evident we weren't welcomed and they preferred we stay away. Outside of a few special places, you don't need a permit to climb stupid don't need a permit to be outside...and you don't need a permit to simply hang out and have fun.

So welcome to #nopermitneeded! All is welcomed! If you want in...we want you in. I would like to think that our attitude is the opposite of those guides. So for those interested...please join us. We are a varied bunch...with different backgrounds...and different outlooks. If you happen to know any of us...and you thought to yourself, "Man, that may look like fun..." You are invited. We want you to join in on the fun. If you happen to see any of us in the gym, or in the community, or you want to send me a PM online...don't hesitate, we are an open bunch and love our growing network of PEACE, LOVE, and HIPPINESS (see what I did there).
#nopermitneeded also resonated in my heart on a different level. I really started to reflect on it on the way home, and discussed with Sarah that this silly little hash tag has bigger implications for our lives. I asked myself, "how often am I closed off to others?" I conducted a quick inventory of my interactions with people...some strangers, some acquaintances, some closer than others...and reviewed my actions. What is my body language saying? How's my tone? Am I ignoring folks? Am I keeping things to myself? Do I want to turn others away so I have the "wall" to myself per se?

mmm...Yeah...maybe...sometimes. Maybe more than I like to admit. How many people have I turned away...both intentionally or not? I'm afraid to know...especially since so many people have welcomed me in their lives. I am not deserving of the people who love me...they are a blessing to me...they don't even know how much so. I don't even think I know how much so...

But I do know this...when I'm with my people, I feel great. I feel loved. Everything is in place...there is no question that I am accepted, approved, and better yet...wanted. That's a pretty dang good feelin'. And it all started with an invitation at some point...With some it started back in high school, with others out of college, and others even more recently. But at some point, we were all strangers...with a choice to make. Do I entertain this stranger? Will I let this person in my life? Will this person let me be a part of theirs? There's a lot to consider. But looking back...the people I have today are all products of having a #nopermitneeded heart. There are no rules or regulations governing our "walls"...just acceptance and approval. There's nothing I do to "earn" their relationship...they simply have never turned me away. They are there...and they want me to be a part of "what's going on!" We have continued loving each other...and that how it works. #nopermitneeded
Who: Gilbert Girls, Happy Hendrix's, Lost and Confused Reyes-Ortiz's, Hellish Hardins, Pasquels, with appearances from the Bradley's, Lauren and Joe.
What: Annual Family Vacation Outdoors
Where: Ouray/Ridgway Colorado
When: July 1-July 6
On the trip, we climbed...we hiked...we ate...we drank...we napped...we laughed...we ate some more...and climbed some more...and laughed...and swam...and rested...and enjoyed views...and napped... and 4th of July'ed...and drank...and you get the point...I'll let the pics tell the rest of the story:

If your reading this...and this looks like something you want for you or your family. You are welcomed. We have a place for you. For the #nopermitneeded group, I thank you friends for making more memorable moments for the Pasquels. I know my girls will remember these days forever. And Sarah and I will grow old with these beautiful memories...I smile and my heart is warm. Thank you and I love you all.
p.s. I would like to forget Jeremy's awful moments on the side of the mountain...Its not the mountain that almost killed me that day. Terrible...just terrible.